black agenda report medley

NYPD “Jump Out Boys” Have Been Accosting People for Years
Katelyn Burns, Black Agenda Report, Aug 5 2020

A silver minivan had been driving just ahead of a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Manhattan when it came to a sudden stop. Five men in plain T-shirts and cargo shorts came pouring out of the vehicle and grabbed a young woman in the crowd off of her skateboard. They then violently placed her into the van, driving off, leaving surrounding protesters confused and upset about what just happened. To some observers, it looked like a kidnapping; in video clips, protesters are seen surging forward, trying to intervene. Then, immediately, a group of about a dozen uniformed police on bikes circle the van to push people away. The men in the van, it turns out, were plainclothes officers from the NYPD’s Warrant Squad, and they were detaining a young woman who was later identified as Nikki Stone, an 18-year-old homeless trans girl. An NYPD spox, Sergeant Jessica McRorie, told Vox:

The NYPD had probable cause to arrest her for five previous crimes.

These included allegations of vandalizing police cameras with stickers and paint around City Hall Park in Manhattan. The NYPD said that while officers were detaining Stone, protesters assaulted them by throwing rocks and bottles. But video of the incident shows only one bottle rolling around on the ground in the aftermath. Protesters who witnessed the incident disputed the police narrative. Clara Kraebber, a 20-year-old Oxford student told Gothamist:

None of that happened whatsoever. We literally turned the corner and were met with a line of police who attacked us without warning.

The incident left many asking why a violent police abduction was necessary over alleged vandalism.It has also prompted new questions about police abuse in the wake of federal officers in Portland, Oregon, similarly snatching protesters off the street. Several prominent NYC elected boxtops decried Stone’s arrest on Twitter. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted:

There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them in unmarked vans.

House Judiciary Chair Rep Jerry Nadler also shared video of the Tuesday arrest on Twitter, calling it “terrifying” and “unacceptable” while demanding an explanation. NYC Council member Carlina Rivera, who tweeted the following morning that Stone had been released from police custody, said that she would be exploring legislation  to change the NYPD’s use of plainclothes officers in unmarked cars making arrests. A GoFundMe to assist Stone, whose nickname is “Stickers,” has raised over $42k to help her find housing. However, the unit that made the arrest, the NYPD Warrant Squad, was not created as some new policing tactic in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that have swept the nation in recent months. It’s a shadowy group of plainclothes officers who have been detaining persons of interest in the city for decades. Until Tuesday night’s arrest, many New Yorkers were unaware of the squad’s existence, and yet taking suspects into unmarked vehicles, especially in Black and brown communities, has been a longtime tactic of the squad, legal experts and advocates say.

The NYPD Warrant Squad is a remnant of the department’s expansion into counter-terrorism in the wake of 9/11 under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. These days, however, according to several people with knowledge of the squad’s tactics, it focuses less on counter-terrorism and more on rounding up persons of interest for the department. Like in the incident seen in the video of Stone, officers from the squad (or, perhaps more accurately, squads) typically operate in plainclothes, with nothing identifying them as police, and utilize unmarked vehicles. At its inception, the squad was meant to be a tactical unit to apprehend the city’s most dangerous wanted criminals. Appearing in plainclothes added to the element of surprise when taking on a potentially armed and wanted suspect.

Nearly every precinct in the city has its own warrant squad, which is typically part of a precinct’s detective squad, Jennvine Wong, a staff attorney for the Cop Accountability Project at the Legal Aid Society, told Vox. Over the past 15 years, the Warrant Squad, along with the NYPD’s anti-crime unit, has developed a reputation in the city’s Black and brown neighborhoods for using plainclothes and unmarked vehicles to disappear or accost people off the street. The anti-crime unit’s reputation was so bad that in June NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea disbanded it, reassigning officers to other units. And both units’ secretive tactics are so common that some lower-income neighborhoods have developed a nickname for these officers: “jump-out boys.” Writer and criminal justice organizer Josmar Trujillo, who lives in Spanish Harlem in Manhattan, told Vox the squad has strayed far from its original purpose. He said:

Jump-out boys is a term that describes undercover non-identifiable cops. But you know that they’re cops, the cars that they drive and what they look like, usually with the cargo shorts and the Under Armour and the steroid arms. They just jump out on people. The problem with the Warrant Squad is that oftentimes they’re framed as catching really dangerous people. But most of the warrants in NYC historically have been for low-level misdemeanor and under.

Several years ago, the city revealed that the NYPD had over a million open warrants. With so many open warrants, the police couldn’t possibly arrest everyone; Trujillo said officers would therefore sometimes round people up just to meet an arrest quota. After years of speculation from critics of the police, in 2015 the NY Daily News reported that Staten Island officers were in fact given arrest quotas to meet. A 2015 Vice report detailed how the Warrant Squad frequently raids homeless shelters, seemingly to meet those quotas, waiting until the middle of the night when potential detainees must be inside the facility for the night or they lose their spot. Jonathan Allen, who sometimes stayed in the city’s Wards Island shelter, told Vice at the time about his experience with the squad:

You’re disoriented and angry. You’re asking, ‘What’s going on?’ Then they crush you into the vans like sardines.

Maryanne Kaishian, senior policy counsel and staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, told Vox that defense attorneys would often meet with clients and ask about how they were detained, and the response is that the “jump-out boys” appeared suddenly and physically pulled them into an unmarked car. And they don’t even necessarily need a judge-signed warrant to do so. Kaishian said:

Often what happens is people are arrested on mechanisms called Investigation Cards (I-Cards). This is not an arrest warrant. It is not signed by a judge. It’s an internal piece of information that’s shared amongst the members of the NYPD describing the person to be arrested and saying that another cop has probable cause to make the arrest, which then they argue confers probable cause to any officer that might encounter that person.

I-Cards are issued for persons of interest to investigators, but they also present an opportunity for police to detain people and get around the hassle of getting a judge to sign off on a legitimate warrant. Wong wasn’t sure how often the squad picks up people based on I-Cards. She said:

The Warrant Squad should only be effectuating arrest if there’s actually a warrant. So it could be a bench warrant from criminal court or an arrest warrant. They almost never have an arrest warrant. It’s usually just for bench warrants.

Bench warrants are issued if a person misses a court date without an excuse, while an arrest warrant is signed by a judge and allows police to arrest and detain a suspect accused of a specific crime. An NYPD spox also did not respond to a question from Vox over whether they had a warrant for Stone’s arrest, or whether the officers detained her based on an I-Card. There are the protocols for the Warrant Squad’s arrests that are shaky, criminal justice reform advocates say, and then there are the tactics. The prospect of plainclothes officers roaming the city and disappearing people off the street without potential judicial oversight raises serious constitutional issues. The squad’s lack of clear, observable identifiers may help them capture unsuspecting persons of interest, but a sudden, potentially violently arrest is often disproportionate to the crime they are wanted for. And any physical reaction to what amounts to a kidnapping can draw charges of resisting arrest or assaulting an officer. Kaishian said:

When a person is accosted by surprise, they have a natural reaction. Someone will run, they’ll fight, they’ll yank their arms away from someone who’s trying to pull them into a car. These acts were often charged as resisting arrest or obstructions of governmental administration. So in addition to the charge for the warrant or the I-Card that was issued, even if they caught the wrong person, the person that they grabbed would be subjected to additional charges simply for responding to that terrifying situation.

The practice of law enforcement officers snatching protesters off the street most recently gained widespread attention earlier this month in Portland, Oregon. Over the course of several days of intense protests, federal agents were caught on camera “disappearing” protesters into unmarked vans before whisking them away to detention. To be released by federal agents, ProPublica reported Tuesday, protesters were forced to sign an order which stated they were not allowed to engage in further protests. The practice was widely denounced by Demagog elected boxtops across the country, including by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who first won office in 2014 promising criminal justice reform. But when faced with his own police department using the very same “secret police” tactics in his own city, de Blasio waffled. He said of Stone’s arrest at a press conference Wednesday:

I think it was the wrong time and the wrong place to effectuate that arrest. Anything that even slightly suggests that is, to me, troubling and it’s the kind of thing we don’t want to see in this city. This is not Portland.

The mayor promised to discuss the arrest with Dermot Shea, the NYPD commissioner, but also said he would not push to discipline the officers involved. However, the Stone incident was not a one-off and the Warrant Squad’s tactics have been used for decades in the city’s Black and brown neighborhoods. It’s only now, after a white woman was grabbed on camera in midtown Manhattan, that more people have taken notice of the squad. Trujillo said:

People have created the space for you now to question the validity of policing at a more fundamental level. If the NYPD is willing to do this to someone who’s participating in an organized demonstration, what do you think that they’ve been doing for years when no one’s been looking in housing projects in the Bronx? If you’re outraged over the things you’re seeing on video right now, that’s just like a fraction of it.

But creating systemic change within the NYPD has proven difficult through the years. Often, “reform” has simply meant changing the name of a historically abusive unit which can then just continue on until the public discovers it again and calls for more reform. A report by the Intercept in June detailed the NYPD’s “shell game” of disbanding units only to replicate them later with a new name. Trujillo said:

You can say ‘abolish the Warrant Squad’ or disband it, kind of like the anti-crime unit was disbanded.

But he also points out that before the anti-crime unit became notorious for brutal tactics, the city’s street crime unit was operating in a similar way. The street crime unit was disbanded in 2002 while it was tied up in litigation over the Amadou Diallo shooting, a 23-year-old immigrant who was shot 41 times by NYPD officers in 1999, only to be recreated again within the anti-crime unit. The issue is these units, and their tactics, are baked into the city’s legal system. When de Blasio or Shea decline to discipline officers, it’s tacit approval for abuses of power, reform advocates say. When district attorneys decline to prosecute abusive officers, it only reinforces the NYPD’s impunity. In other words, there’s plenty of political blame to go around. Eliza Orlins, a candidate for Manhattan district attorney and a career public defender, told Vox:

This isn’t just Portland inspired. This is something that has been going on for years and that’s because the Manhattan DA Cy Vance has let the cops run wild without any accountability.

Wong agrees that prosecutors in the city are complicit with condoning abusive police tactics. She said:

While there may be individual prosecutors who take their ethical obligations very seriously about disclosing everything you need to know about officers and these kind of tactics, my overwhelming experience with this office is that their prosecutors are going to hide that information for as long as possible. They are going to, in a way, be willfully ignorant about it so they have plausible deniability.

This is why many reform advocates are calling for defunding the police, or at least reimagining what the police does. And it’s clear to Trujillo that abolishing police units cannot be a one-time deal; it has to be a long-term process to make sure that police and prosecutors don’t just reinvent the wheel when everyone stops paying attention. He said:

It’s important to have baseline demands, but it’s also important to keep challenging ourselves, make sure that if the police are trying to be two steps ahead of us, we have to be three steps ahead of them.

Detroit is No Portland
Diane Gee, Black Agenda Report, Aug 5 2020

I’m going to do something, that I can tell you, because we’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore. Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country.
– Donald Trump.

BLM is straight up about police brutality. The starting point of this discussion is the actual numbers. Black people are murdered six times more than White people during interactions with the police. They are more likely to be stopped in the first place with or without cause, and 85% of those stops result in some sort of arrest, compared to 70% for White people who are generally only pulled over with cause. They are more likely to be tased or beaten, as well. Despite the violent-crime, fear-mongering hysteria, overall crime is down dramatically since the 1990’s. But murder by police is the exact opposite of this trend. Let that sink in. Way less crime, way more extra-judicial murder by pig. If overall crime is down, why have we militarized the police with tanks, military-grade armor, and chemical weapons? Of course, we can go back to Cheney’s wet dream of 9/11; terrorism was Bush’s excuse for militarization, and the drill they ran in Boston for one teenager under Obama was a complete display of a city under military siege. Is it just weapon sales, or something more nefarious? Why now does the Turd want to sic the Feds on us?

There are think-tanks funded by the richest people in Pindostan who fear they could lose their very extreme privilege should the people become seriously fed up with living in poverty. They are paid to research everything from media to video games to social media to branding and marketing. Despite the knuckle-dragging candidates they vet and sell us to keep the status quo, they include scientists and social engineers who know climate change is a factor, and they know that when you outsource jobs, you profit more but risk an unemployed populace that cannot purchase your products. Yet they are paid handsomely to tell us everything is “great” and we are doing awesome. The whole country has suffered since the 90s, poverty levels are near or above the Great Depression levels. They sell us “simplify!” and “declutter” as a way to “free” ourselves to the joys of not being able to afford damn near anything. They fear a class war, that we will rise up. This is pre-emptive warfare.

None has suffered worse than my Detroit. The auto industries and surrounding cottage industries that supported it are vast hulking piles of rubble and decay. The gorgeous neighborhoods of my youth are reflected in my own home. I can afford food, maybe a cheap-ass picture to hang, but my windows are being held in with duct tape. Detroit houses are crumbling of poverty, repair is expensive and food and heat matter more to existence. In a repeat moment of Joe Kennedy sweeping up foreclosed properties during the Depression, hundreds of acres of neighborhoods are being bought up by the rich, and torn down for some future gentrification project. After all, there has been talk of moving Wall Street here should oceans rise. We have all the fresh water. Cars made abroad for pennies on the dollar cost more than my parents paid for their house. We can no longer afford the cars we used to make and were able to buy easily. We are all working more than one job to get by. We have always been a racially-charged powderkeg since the 1967 riots. Now, whatever you want to say about Mayor Coleman Young, he made it mandatory to live in the neighborhoods you patrolled if you chose to be a policeman. The unions eased racial tensions by equalizing income and allowing workers to feel brotherhood with one another. That too, has all been rescinded.

Not one fire, no vandalism, no theft or looting has happened as a result of the peaceful BLM protests in Detroit. Yet gun sales are way the fuck up. By replacing “terrorism” with race war, Trump and his directors have fed the fears of Black people from Whites and the pigs, and White people from Blacks and the pigs. And the pressing narrative of “Private Property” having more value than people will not wash to those of us who have lost nearly everything. So, what will happen if the Orange Hitler sends troops here because he hates cities that oppose him, and his ego doesn’t allow that? Our options are few.

  1. All hide in our houses until the boogieman calls victory and brings the troops home. Uh, never gonna happen; he will keep them here until November.
  2. Governor Whitmer calls up the State Police to defend our cities against black-ops kidnappers. Unlikely.
  3. Shit gets real. Sorry to be crude, but this will escalate a completely peaceful movement to deadly. We aren’t cappuccino-lapping vegan pacifists. (Not that all of Portland is, but please. This is Detroit.) We have survived poverty, abuse, pandemic and are strapped. You are more likely to see an RPG here than a hockey stick aimed at the gas canisters. It could get really ugly.

In this scenario, reaction to federal violence (survival mode self-defense) will be painted as cause for more violence. It will reinforce Trump’s delusional portrayal of us. I woke to bad dreams of all these kids raised on urban warfare in video games, now adults on both sides of the fight, sniping from shells of burnt-out factories. Then the sound cannons and microwave cannons were brought out. This is on the ego of one man, but could only happen with the Military Industrial Complex and the 1%’s blessings. I have seen few if any Demagogs in Faschingstein speak out about it. Think now about real estate. Portland, Detroit, Chicago: all have been targeted for a federal response. Why? The second most dangerous place in Pindostan is Memphis, Tennessee, with a Demagog mayor in a soundly Thug state. Birmingham, Alabama is third, the same. Yet no troops for their violence. Why? The pattern to me is post-industrial water access. But I tend to look at the bigger picture. All I know, is Detroit is no Portland, and this inciting of violence by Trump will not go down the way they think it will. I pray the kids in the military shooting at other families in our own cities will say “Fuck this shit, this is not what I signed up for, killing our own.” Its gonna bring a whole new meaning to the word “triggered” when we all have actual triggers too. It would be lunacy sending troops to Detroit. One can only hope someone talks Trump down before his morning snort of Adderall.

AFRICOM Crying Russia in Libya: A Pot and Kettle Syndrome
Netfa Freeman, Black Agenda Report, Aug 5 2020

Despite its diminishing global heft, Pindostan remains a superpower of hypocrisy. These days when it comes to Russia one can get a case study on Pindo imperialism simply by inversing the accusations Faschingstein levels against that country. The real Russiagate was perpetrated by Bill Clinton in1996 when Pindostan financed the reelection of Boris Yeltsin. Pindo government and corporate media rail against the relatively young Russian media outlets RT.com and Radio Sputnik, while VoA has been broadcasting shameless Pindo propaganda without a pause for 78 years. Now the State Dept and AFRICOM are up in arms, claiming that Russia is sending weapons to Libya, including anti-aircraft missiles, and that the Wagner Group, a private Russian paramilitary organization, has mercenaries there. ForeignPolicy.com says:

The shadowy mercenary outfit waging secret wars on the Kremlin’s behalf from Ukraine to Syria to the Central African Republic, seems like something from a Tom Clancy novel.

One would think FP and AFRICOM commanders have never heard of the White House hit squad Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) and its Africa counterpart Frontier Services Group.

Blackwater is just the most well-known on a list that includes Defion Internacional, Aegis Defense, Services, Triple Canopy and G4S Secure Solutions, all of which have eared shadowy backgrounds of their own. Only three months ago, the Pindo government used the Florida-based security company Silvercorp in a botched attempt  to overthrow the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela in a 21st-century version of their failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Last March, Pindo mercenaries were arrested in Haiti as part of a half-baked scheme to move $80m for embattled comprador Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

Maybe Pindostan doesn’t use mercenaries in Libya but it is only because of the bloody Pindo & NATO decimation of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in 2011 that international sharks now circle the war-torn nation. There, imperialist militarism is waged by proxy with neocolonial powers vying for unfettered access to the country’s oil and others, like Syria, trying to find some level of regional security against rivals entangled in the conflict. AFRICOM lessens the need for Pindostan to use mercenaries in Africa. And with some quarters of the Pindo government wanting to reduce its footprint on the continent while Sec Def Esper denies that there will be withdrawal from Africa, it should be remembered that AFRICOM is an orchestrator of African military operations. It can then theoretically achieve both seemingly conflicting claims and still maintain its white supremacist neocolonial hegemony over the Black motherland. Libya is divided in a civil war between the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the Egyptian-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) in Benghazi. Above all, Pindo interest there is to protect the oil operations of Hess and Conoco Phillips.

Access has been a major Pindo interest in Libya since its cozy relationship with King Idris, whose rule was overthrown in 1969 by a group of Libyan Army officers under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi. This was a telling era, with the cold war playing out on the African continent. The USSR gave military support to the newly-independent revolutionary governments of Angola and Mozambique and to the ANC fighting apartheid South Africa. Aside from military aid, the USSR offered educational scholarships to young people, mainly in the former English and Portuguese territories. Soviets gave little in the way of economic aid or trade during that time, but suffice it to say there was no great Soviet strategy for taking over Africa.

Pindostan on the other hand was busy trying to undermine decolonization and African independence every chance it got. It overthrew and assassinated leaders through coups d’etat to install puppet governments beholden to Western imperialism. Pindostan wasn’t in a position to get in on the direct colonization of Africa during the 1884 Berlin Conference, but with its master influence over global trade and financial institutions (WTO, World Bank, IMF) it became a major neocolonizer of Africa. Pindo tensions with the resistant and pan-Africanist Libya led to its Apr 14 1986 airstrikes against Libya that killed and maimed untold numbers, including Hana Gaddafi, the 9-month-old adopted daughter of Muammar Gaddafi. Pindostan used its age-old accusation that Libya was sponsoring terrorism to justify their atrocity.

Now, Pindostan is trying to rein in one of its own former surrogates used against Gaddafi, Khalifa Haftar, who seems to have Russian support. Once a colonel in Gaddafi’s military, Haftar had a falling-out with Gaddafi in the 1990s, was then given Pindo citizenship and brought to live in Langley, where he began working with the CIA to overthrow the Libyan government. Haftar supported several attempts to oust Gaddafi, including the 1996 uprising in the Jabal Akhdar Mountains of eastern Libya by what the WaPo described as “a contra-style group based in Pindostan.” Haftar, now leader of the LNA, held a senior position in the forces supported by the Pindo regime-change Operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011. Today the State Dept and AFRICOM are blaming Russia for militarizing the energy sector, dividing Libya’s economic institutions and trying to “subjugate critical infrastructure to foreign interests.” Pindostan’s accusations at Russia in Libya should fall on deaf ears if the Pindo history in Libya means anything.

Clearly, Pindostan is an oligarchy with a foreign policy beholden to the interests of the rich. As the neoliberal order falters, the only recourse for the ruling class is militarism and war, which is in itself big business. So-called pro-peace liberal legislators think the world has time to wait for their ranks to grow so they can leverage more votes for cutting the bloated Pindo military budget. As if all that is needed to end Pindo warmongering is a Pentagon with 10% less money. Death and destruction reigns on the Black Motherland and the culprit AFRICOM propagandizes hypocrisy against Russia. Yet not one liberal politician will unequivocally declare that Pindostan has no moral business in Africa and AFRICOM has no legitimate or altruistic purpose. It ain’t just about money and budgets. The Black Alliance for Peace is organizing the Pindostan Out of Africa Network to wage the anti-imperialist campaign, Shut Down AFRICOM. Join the campaign. Join the Network. The Pindo and global white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy is waging militarized repression against African (Black) people domestically and internationally. Our only recourse is building mass radical Pan-Africanist and internationalist movements for survival.

Pindo Left Silence on China Helps Lay Foundation for Pindostan’s New Cold War
Danny Haiphong, Black Agenda Review, Aug 5 2020

Pindostan is waging a New Cold War against China. In rapid time, sanctions against the CCP have been leveled, the Houston consulate closed, and a host of other provocative measures employed by the Pindo political establishment. Largely missing from worldwide opposition to Pindo aggression toward China is the Pindo Left. The Pindo political establishment has successfully convinced majorities in Pindostan that China is an inherently monstrous country controlled by organ-harvesting, Muslim-suppressing communists. This includes the Pindo Left, which has said or done absolutely nothing to stop the Pindo elite’s dangerous maneuvers toward the PRC. The Pindo Left has helped lay the ideological foundation for Pindostan’s New Cold War against China.

Pindo economic, political, and military warfare toward the second largest economy in the world would not be possible without an intense propaganda campaign centered on the dehumanization of the Chinese people. Far-right evangelicals such as Adrian Zenz have been recruited by the corporate media to spread lies daily about China, and the Pindo Left has joined in the mainstream chorus. Only a few organizations on the left such as The Black Alliance for Peace have denounced Pindo war provocations toward China. Many more have aligned themselves with the State Dept’s anti-communist crusade against a mythical “China threat” that has brought relations between the two major powers to their worst point since normalization.

Left support for anti-China Pindo policy comes from the usual suspects. Democracy Now! has regularly run headlines repeating corporate media and State Dept talking points on everything from Hong Kong to Xinjiang, but has been largely silent on Pindo war maneuvers in the South China Sea or the Asia Pacific. Jacobin has routinely agitated its DSA-heavy readership to support Hong Kong “pro-democracy” protestors despite ample evidence that the NED has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into spurring the unrest. The Nation has condemned the Pindo Left for doing less to support democracy in Hong Kong than Marco Rubio. Now that Pindo imperialism has ratcheted up military and economic pressure against China, the consequences of the Pindo so-called Left’s anti-China posture are becoming clearer by the day.

The Pindo Left is, for the most part, a Pindo exceptionalist Left, a Demagog Party-oriented Left, and a white liberal Left. China is not the first target of its imperialist gaze. Since 1959, Pindo Leftists have condemned socialist Cuba for not being sufficiently communist enough and have stood by and watched as the Monroe Doctrine-led Pindo imperialist albatross has attempted to economically starve Cuba and Venezuela into submission. In 2011, Pindo and Western intelligence spread lies about a Viagra-infused mercenary army organized by the Libyan government to suppress “its own people” and found ample support from the Pindo Left for NATO’s jihadi insurgency that toppled the most prosperous country on the African continent. That same year, the Pindo Left stood side by side with the Pindo regime change operation in Syria, and even supported egregious imperial lies about the ruthlessness and inhumanity of the Syrian government.

In every case, Pindo militarists in situation rooms and editorial offices of major corporate media outlets created a dehumanized target for the Pindo Left to aim its ideological opposition. The case of China has only added fuel to the Pindo Left’s lust for war. Claims of China’s so-called Uyghur concentration camps, repression of Hong Kong “pro-democracy” protestors, or so-called espionage operations to steal Pindo patents make China out to be the aggressor nation within a world poisoned by Pindostan’s endless wars. None of these claims contain a shred of evidence, but the truth behind them is never the point. The point is to reinforce the ideology of Pindo exceptionalism, which is so effective at seducing even the most progressive forces in Pindostan to support the notion of a Chinese bogeyman and all of the imperialist policies being put into place to curb it.

The centrality of race cannot be understated in the massive support that exists in Pindostan for the New Cold War against China. Widespread anti-China sentiment comes at a time when Pindo law enforcement and DHS BORTAC troops are repressing protestors opposed to racist policing and mass incarceration against Black Pindos at home. Pindo imperial aggression toward China also comes amid a global pandemic set to kill 200k people in Pindostan by Nov 1, a devastating yet avoidable catastrophe that disproportionately terrorizes Black and indigenous communities. This is not to mention the fact that Black workers in Pindostan are suffering through a second Great Depression in less than fifteen years. The Pindo Left’s willingness to participate in a hostile New Cold War against China rather than place full attention on the myriad of crises engineered by Pindostan’s own political economy is an indictment of its racist character.

Race relations, which is a politically correct term for white supremacy, are often misconceived by the Pindo Left and its liberal class as an ugly individual trait shared only by Donald Trump. But the racism that undergirds the New Cold War against China is nothing new. It is part of a centuries-long process of colonialism and imperial subjugation that has historically been met by anti-colonial and even revolutionary resistance. China’s century of humiliation was not merely experienced on the mainland. In mid-19th century Pindostan, migrant workers from China faced brutal discrimination, exploitation and racist violence. White supremacism in the form of Yellow Peril propaganda led to the passage of anti-“coolie” laws and eventually the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which enforced immigration bans based solely on race. The dehumanization of Chinese migrants as unfit for white citizenship would influence Pindostan’s imperial approach to the PhilippinesJapanKorea, and Vietnam and encapsulate more than a century’s worth of history filled to the brim with examples of genocide, internment, military invasion and racial discrimination.

This context is left out of the Pindo Left’s condemnation of modern China entirely. To acknowledge the history of imperialist aggression toward China would require humility and more importantly, a commitment to the right of oppressed nations to self-determination. Self-determination is the bedrock principle of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist resistance around the world. Since 1949, the PRC has shown the world what a successful anti-colonial struggle can achieve when society is organized to defend the principle of self-determination in practice. Over the same period, Pindostan has operated as the chief violator of self-determination and sovereignty around the world, staging several hundred coups and direct military interventions in all corners of the globe.

A number of moves made by Pindostan in recent weeks point to the ever-increasing danger of military aggression toward China worsening in the coming weeks and months. The latest update to the NDAA includes an increase in “defense” spending of close to $100b to counter the “China threat.” Closure of China’s Houston consulate will no doubt inspire the military industrial complex to pursue further escalations in the South China Sea. Pindo sanctions against the 98m-strong CCP impacts a large section of the population of China and erodes the material basis for peace and solidarity. Pindo exceptionalism requires an enemy to justify military conquest abroad and racist terrorism at home. In the case of China, the Pindo Left has shown itself to be a force in search of an enemy rather than a force in search for peace and liberation.

There is no time to appeal to the sensibilities of a Pindo Left that is criminally complicit in the machinations of imperialism. What is needed now more than ever is a return to the self-determinationist principles of the Black Radical Tradition. Black Alliance for Peace organizers and BAR editors Ajamu Baraka and Margaret Kimberly demonstrated these principles in their remarks given at the No to the New Cold War online event on Jul 25. Kimberley and Baraka made clear that the racist and imperialist war on the Pindo mainland against Black Pindos and the oppressed at home is directly connected to the wars that Pindostan wages abroad. Revolutionaries and peace-loving people fight the roots of war, injustice and exploitation, not the people who find themselves targeted by them. That is what the Black Radical Tradition has done for centuries. As the Pindo Empire threatens war with China to halt its ongoing decline, engagement with the principles of the Black Radical Tradition will be a key ingredient in the survival of humanity itself.

Political Prisoners: “Say Their Names”
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report, Aug 5 2020

It has become a righteous ritual: the recitation of the names of those whose lives were snatched away by the armed agents of the Pindo state. Mass movements were assembled around the names Oscar Grant (2009), Trayvon Martin (2012) and Michael Brown (2014), prompting women of the movement to launch the #SayHerName campaign  in 2014, to “lift up” the stories of Black women victims of police violence, “who they are, how they lived, and why they suffered at the hands of police.”

The ancient ritual of “pouring out” libations on the ground to memorialize the beloved dead was popularized by Boyz II Men and Tupac Shakur in the Nineties, and has long been incorporated in formal and informal recognition of the deceased heroes and heroines of the Black liberation struggle. But what of the scores of political prisoners that the Pindo state has condemned to a social death in the world’s largest gulag? These men and women still struggle under the most hellish conditions against the same enemies of humanity that hundreds of thousands rallied against in the George Floyd mobilizations.

“Free Huey,” “Free Bobby” and “Free Angela” were once rallying cries that energized millions. But seldom are political prisoners’ names shouted during today’s mobilizations against the murderous Pindo mass incarceration state or the global imperialist killing machine. Who is “lifting up” their stories and telling a new generation “who they are, how they lived, and why they suffered at the hands of police” and jailors?

This is a grave political error, not an oversight. Movement activists of today will inevitably become the political prisoners of tomorrow. Some have already been sentenced to long terms in prison for alleged “crimes” in Ferguson and Baltimore during the rebellions of 2014-15, and agents of the state have doubtless drawn up lists of “Black Identity Extremists,” whatever the current official categorization, and their non-Black allies, for surveillance and arrest when the political time is right. Others have died mysteriously. Unless folks are under the delusion that victory over the “fascists” is imminent, the condition of political prisoners should be a deeply personal, as well as political, concern to all activists and their families and friends. The cage doors will clang shut for many of us before this struggle is over, in addition to all the libations that will be poured for the dead.

Neglect of our political prisoners exposes a discontinuity in the Black Liberation Movement, revealed in the shouting of “orphan” slogans, whose political ancestors seem unknown to the sloganizers. The men and women that fought for Black community control of the police and self-determination for all peoples half a century ago are Malcolm’s children, and therefore the political grandfathers and mothers of today’s George Floyd protest organizers. Whenever marchers chant, “Whose Streets? OUR Streets!” or some variation on that theme, they are building on the struggles of a previous generation of fighters, some of them in their 80s and still locked up. Say their names, goddamit! If you need help finding these still living, breathing, fighting political ancestors, the Jericho Movement  has a list:

Abd’ul-Azeez
Mumia Abu Jamal
Sundiata Acoli
Imam Jamil al-Amin, aka H Rap Brown
Jalil Muntaqim
Joseph Bowen
Veronza Bowers
Kojo Bomani Sababu
Fred “Muhammad” Burton
Byron Chubbuck Shane (Oso Blanco)
Bill Dunne
Romain “Chip” Fitzgerald
David Gilbert
Jeremy Hammond
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Hanif Shabbazz Bey
Kamau Sadiki
Larry Hoover
Abd’ullah Malik Ka’bah, aka Jeff Fort
Maumin Khabir
Jaan Karl Laaman
Ruchell Cinque Magee
Malik Smith
Marius Mason
Ed Poindexter
Rev Joy Powell, community activist
Mutulu Shakur
Russell Maroon Shoats

Although the bulk of the Jericho Movement list are former Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army members, there are also Republic of New Africa activists; the former SNCC leader once known as H Rap Brown; surviving members of the Virgin Island 5; a community organizer serving life plus 16 years, the lone woman on the Jericho list; Native American and Chicano freedom fighters; and class war, anti-imperialist and anarchist political prisoners, enough still-living political ancestors to engage the voices of all the social sectors that have been mobilized around George Floyd’s death and the deepening crises of the capitalist imperial order. “Black August” is the month when genuinely “woke” activists redouble their efforts to free our political prisoners, for all of our sakes, and for the continuity of our struggle. The Black Is Back Coalition is therefore dedicating its annual conference, Aug 15-16, to the fallen and imprisoned. As the Call to Conference states:

If today’s resistance appears unusual it is only because Pindostan has succeeded in hiding evidence of our anti-colonial struggle in the 1960s when, unlike the movement of this era, protest achieved a revolutionary character. During that time courageous men and women boldly stepped forward, sometimes with arms in hand, to challenge the cruelest and most powerful opponent of our freedom, the hegemon that bestrode the world of poverty and broken dreams it had created.

Half a century later, the carceral state refuses to set these aged freedom fighters loose. The Black Is Back Coalition is honored to Say Their Names. Go to BlackIsBackCoalition.org to see how you can participate. Power to the People!

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