Saturday, June 30, 2007

US Imperialists Hit Dead-end in Somalia Occupation

Sunday July 1, 2007

Bush hits dead-end in Somalia

By Ernest Mpinganjira

Chances are that the United States has run out of options in Somalia after the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ms Jendayi Fraser conceded last week that Washington’s support for the ouster of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) by Ethiopia might have been a miscalculation.

In an interview with BBC, Fraser conceded that the use of force in Somalia had only aggravated an already atrocious situation.

Asked to comment on the spiralling armed violence, Fraser said: "It is hard to say whether it (Somalia) is better or worse off because I think Ethiopia’s action was an action in the context of other actors’ actions. It is difficult to frankly say so. What is better is that the international community has converged on a set of recommendations for a way ahead."

The statement is perhaps the boldest ever admission by the Bush administration that it had hit a dead-end in its fight against terrorism in East Africa, with Somalia regarded as the gateway for terrorist groups and organisations opposed to Washington’s hegemonic presence in the region. Fraser spoke two days before UN refugee agency, UNHCR, reported on Thursday that more than 3,500 people had fled the capital Mogadishu this month following an escalation in violence in urban areas.

The UNHCR report added that some 123,000 of an estimated 401,000 civilians who fled heavy fighting in Mogadishu between February and May had returned to the capital to find their shelters either shelled by insurgents or demolished by the government.

Reconciliation talks failed

The UNHCR update on the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, although familiar, came just two weeks after US-sponsored political reconciliation talks failed to kick off on Somali soil as the insurgents intensified their onslaught on the transitional government.

Against this backdrop of utter gloom and despair, Fraser, who was in East Africa when the Ethiopia-backed transitional federal government forces drove ICU out of Mogadishu in February, conceded that the invasion had inadvertently subverted peace-building process in the war-weary Horn of Africa nation.

The US top diplomat on African affairs’ remarks were prompted by the collapse of all-inclusive reconciliation talks in Mogadishu after Hawiye clan militia leaders declined to take part in the conference.

The Hawiye elders have refused to recognise President Abdullahi Yusuf, who hails from the Darood clan. The latest developments confirmed, not for the first time, that Washington has been a serial blunderer in the war against international terrorism.

Having hit another dead-end in Somalia, any action by the West would leave East Africa in the eye of a storm that is gathering pace in Iraq and the wider Middle East.

The imbroglio in the nation ravaged by 16 years ethnic-cum-political turmoil leaves East Africa on the precipice of a major humanitarian and political crisis as the nest for international terrorists expands along the Somali, Kenyan and Tanzanian coastlines, believed to be safe havens for international criminals. The Ethiopian invasion last December, necessary as it was at that time, looks to have outlived its importance.

Observers noted that delayed deployment of international peacekeepers — blamed on the US and European Union’s failure to honour their pledges to underwrite African Union force mission of 8,000 troops in Somalia — had worsened the situation. Only 1,700 Ugandan troops are in Mogadishu and are overwhelmed.

Amid the chaos, the US said Mogadishu can still find peace based on UN and International Contact Group on Somalia recommendations. Fraser said the recommendations include "emphasis on political dialogue and national reconciliation, working together to try to end an insurgency and extremist terrorist attacks that are taking place in Mogadishu today and continued support of the people of Somalia through humanitarian assistance." Through the International Contact Group on Somalia, she said, "I think we have a constructive path forward, but a difficult one because there are those committed spoilers who are trying to undermine any form of new governance, that is, the transitional federal government from taking hold in Somalia." Fraser added, "Somalia has been in prolonged conflict and a stateless country for more than 16 years. There have been warlords and various factions in Mogadishu throughout this period.

It is a mistake to equate Somalia with Iraq. Somalia has its own internal dynamics; its own history." In spite of growing evidence of recourse to suicide bombings, Washington remotely hopes Somalia will not slide into Iraqlike mayhem. Evidence on the ground shows, however, that Somalia is no different from Iraq. "It (Somalia) has the history of a failed state in Africa – the uniquely only failed state, quite frankly, in Africa. It is enough to say that there has been an escalation of violence and in particular terrorist-type violence. That comes from the support these remnants of ICU, particularly the al-Shabbah militia, are receiving and their training on explosive devices, which we haven’t seen in Somalia before." The latest exodus of displaced people was triggered by an The latest developments in Somalia confirmed, not for the first time, that Washington has been a serial blunderer in the war against international terrorism, writes Ernest Mpinganjira escalation in suicide bombs by groups believed to be sympathisers of Islamic militants ousted from power early in the year. Transitional Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi survived a suicide bomb attack mid last month in which seven other people died.

Fraser denied that the US had lost the bid to save Somalia. She said: "The US is committed to continuing to assist the Somali people to find political reconciliation and power-sharing a formula that might help them. The Nairobi process took quite a long time and it is the result of it that we have a charter that establishes a way forward for the people of Somalia."

"We are committed to giving and helping them realise the vision for 2009, which is an elected government. It seems remote at this time but all we can do is work towards it," she said in defence of the accusations of procrastination in providing financial support for AU peacekeepers for Somalia.

Where's Condi?

30 June 2007

EGYPTIAN President Hosni Mubarak hosted an all important summit at the Red Sea resort of Sharma el-Sheikh last week to try and find a solution to the dangerous impasse that Gaza now finds itself in after Hamas routed out supporters of Fatah.

President Mubarak's guests included the two principle stakeholders in the conflict, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel. King Abdullah of Jordan also attended.

While the summit was described as cordial, and with "a good atmosphere," it lacked however one very important actor — actually, more than an actor, more along the lines of a director — someone who has the power to convince, coerce, sweet talk, threaten, encourage or perhaps do all of these at the same time if and when the need arises.

For Abu Mazen, as Abbas is also known, this was probably the most important summit of his career as president of the PA. Having broken off all negotiations with Hamas, the Palestinian leader was laying his political career on the line. Going back to Ramallah without gaining some concession from Israel would have been tantamount to political suicide.

In light of what had just transpired in Gaza Abbas was walking on very thin ice. He needed to return with something to show back in Ramallah. And he could have used all the help he could get. Certainly, Egypt and Jordan were on his side, lobbying Israel on his behalf. However their power of persuasion with Israel is nowhere near that of the United States Out of some 11,000 prisoners, Israel said it would look into releasing 250. And that is why Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice absense was so noticeable.

So where in the world was Condoleezza Rice while one of the most important mini Arab summit was underway? Rice was in Paris, though she probably would have rather been in the heat of the Sinai than the heat she faced in Paris.

Secretary Rice found herself under fire for her track record as chief diplomat of the United States. And she also took fire for President George W Bush's policies.

Looking obviously irritated by the assaults from journalists during a Press conference she held with the new French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Rice said the United States had "determined enemies who try and strangle" attempts to install democracy in the Middle East. She said that this did not in the least surprise her and she singled out Syria and Iran as two countries where Washington and countries allied to the United States faced difficulties from.

Defending the US military intervention in Iraq — a far higher controversial issue in the rest of the world than it is in the United States — Rice said: "It would be wrong to say that with the overthrow of [late Iraqi president] Saddam Hussein, one of the most brutal murderers of the 20th century, the Iraqi people have gained nothing."

On the Palestinian issue Secretary Rice said, "it would be wrong to say that in the Palestinian territories, despite the difficulties there, the rise of a man who believes in a proper road to peace in which the Palestinians and the Israelis can live side by side, in peace and security, means nothing to the Palestinian people," she went on to say, referring to President Mahmoud Abbas, who has now won the support of the West.

But her words of support would have had far greater impact had they been spoken in Sharm El-Sheikh rather than at a Paris Press conference.

Rice rejected the argument that the Middle East had been more stable before the US invasion of Iraq.

"People say, well, the Middle East was stable. What stability? The stability in which Saddam Hussein put 300,000 people in mass graves? That was stability? The stability in which the Syrian forces were embedded in Lebanon? That was stability? The stability in which Yasser Arafat turned down an opportunity for the Palestinians to have their own state? That was stability?" she asked, in reference to the 2000 Camp David peace talks that former president Bill Clinton tried to get going just days before the end of his presidency.

She went on:

"The stability that produced Al-Qaeda to, on one September day, cause 3,000 deaths? The stability in which we never spoke about democracy in the Middle East, allowing unhealthy extremist forces to be the only politically organised forces in the Middle East?"

Rice defended US policies in the Middle East, saying that spreading the ideals of democracy was still the best defense against extremism. Perhaps had she stood next to the Palestinian president her words would have had greater impact.

Claude Salhani is International Editor and a political analyst with United Press International in Washington, DC. Comments may be sent to

Cuba in Africa: Internationalists Tell Their Stories

Cuba in Africa: Internationalists tell their stories

Special for Granma International

CUBAN doctors and teachers are now a familiar sight in the world. Over the last five decades, the Revolution’s solidarity has brought health and education to millions of people, and thousands of young people from the Third World are studying for free in Cuba.

However, many people do not know about Cuba’s historic aid to national liberation movements, especially in Africa, for several reasons: first, the omission and/or distortion of that history in the mass media; second, the discretion required to protect the lives of both Cubans and those they were helping; and finally, the modest silence of those whose actions helped change the world for the better.

In the past, enemies of the Revolution have taken advantage of this lack of knowledge — including among the Cuban people themselves — to spread lies and slander about Cuba and the anti-imperialist movements it aided.

They have tried to liken the Cuban internationalists to European and U.S. mercenaries; they have claimed that Cuba went to Angola on the orders of the Soviet Union, creating a completely false version of history, and then there are those who repeat the idea that the sacrifices were not worth it. In reality, the only thing that the Cubans have ever taken out of Angola — a country rich in diamonds and oil, making it the object of the imperialists’ desire — was the bodies of their fallen comrades; moreover, it was only after they decided to provide military aid to the newly-independent government, not before, that they informed the Soviets.

Now, the Cuban government, Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR) and combatants themselves are filling that void of information about what is referred to in Cuba as la epopeya — their epic feat — in Africa.


“For a certain period of time, we preferred for it to be the [African] peoples themselves who related that history,” said Jorge Risquet of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, who was a leader of the Cuban forces in Congo-Brazzaville in 1965-1967 and an organizer of the Revolution’s collaboration with Angola.

“But 30 years have passed. Now, those of us who were the protagonists of those epic feats are disappearing. That is why it is better for those of us who were there to write that history while we are still alive. And it was decided to declassify a number of secret documents that were kept filed away for a time.”

Risquet spoke with GI after a May 26 gathering of about 190 of the 437 Cuban combatants who completed missions in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde between 1966 and 1974. Organized by the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, it was the first large-scale reunion of these veterans, marking the 41st anniversary of the start of Cuba’s aid to that national liberation struggle, which forced Portugal to recognize that it would be unable to sustain its colonial power in Africa, affirmed retired Brigade General Harry “Pombo” Villegas, a central leader of Cuba’s missions in Africa and vice president of the combatants’ association.

Sitting at Risquet’s side was retired colonel Pedro Rodríguez Peralta, who headed Cuba’s forces on the Guinean southern front and was held prisoner by the Portuguese from 1969 to 1974. “We no longer have any prisoners,” Risquet noted. “We no longer have a military struggle in Africa; instead, we have white coats, an army of white coats [referring to Cuba’s solidarity missions by medical personnel],” Risquet affirmed. “Therefore, now we can talk about what we did in those wars, what we did for our African brothers and sisters.”


War in and of itself is not glorious: it is full of bloodshed and suffering. The Angolan people and their Cuban allies faced an enemy that murdered innocent civilians, as in the case of the notorious Cassinga massacre; at times, they suffered hunger and loneliness.

There was also heroism. Those who did not know how to read and write were taught. Medical attention was provided to victims of the invading forces. The Cubans’ supply caravans worked miracles in the jungles and deserts. They shared everything with their African brothers and sisters in struggle, including glory, as in the decisive battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which was the beginning of the end for the racist South African apartheid regime.

Two results of the effort to make it possible for those who took part in these events to preserve and tell their stories are Operación Carlota (Operation Carlota) and La Epopeya de Angola (The Epic Feat of Angola), two documentary series directed by Cuban journalist Milton Díaz Cánter for Cuban Television and broadcast in late 2005 and December 2006 to May 1, 2007, respectively. He himself an internationalist combatant who served two missions in Angola — 1976-1977 and 1985-1986, the second time as a cameraman for the FAR — Díaz Cánter captures the pain, pride and revolutionary conviction of the Cuban combatants, many of whom were very young.

The first series, comprising dozens of brief, personal accounts by Cubans who went to Angola — the mission’s code name was Operation Carlota — is divided into three historical periods. Its showing in Cuba was part of the activities in late 2005 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the start of Operation Carlota — named after an African slave woman who, machete in hand, led a slave rebellion in Matanzas province in 1843.

La Epopeya de Angola comprises 22 episodes — 11.5 hours in total — and together with its unique, valuable footage features interviews with hundreds of Cubans and Africans, not just the central leaders, but the ordinary men and women who changed history.

Foreign-language subtitles for both series are being prepared; in fact, the documentaries were made with the idea of being available for viewing in other countries as well, Díaz Cánter explains. Now he is working on a three-hour miniseries that should be finished by the end of the year and will be a concentrated version of Epopeya, he said.


One book essential to understanding Cuba’s presence in Africa is Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-1976 (2002, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), by Piero Gleijeses, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. It is the product of many years of research, including access to Cuban, European and U.S. files, as well as interviews with African officials and leaders. A Spanish-language Cuban edition is also available (Ciencias Sociales, 2003). It is complemented by Cuba y África, Historia Común de Lucha y Sangre (Cuba and Africa, Common History of Struggle and Blood), by Piero Gleijeses, Jorge Risquet and Fernando Remírez de Estenoz (Ciencias Sociales, 2007), which features an essay on Cuba’s presence in Africa from 1975 to 1988; Risquet’s speech on the 40th anniversary of the mission to the Congo; and an essay on Cuban solidarity in Africa from the ‘80s to today.

Other useful titles (some only available in Spanish):

• 100 Hours with Fidel by Ignacio Ramonet, (2006, in Spanish, French, Italian and English editions by various publishers).

• The African Dream: The diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo by Ernesto Che Guevara (2001, Grove Press). The Spanish-language version is Pasajes de la guerra revolucionaria: Congo (Editorial Grijalbo-Mondadori, 1999). Note: the Congo diary of Brig. Gen. Harry “Pombo” Villegas is soon to be published by Editora Política.

• From the Escambray to the Congo: In the Whirlwind of the Cuban Revolution by Víctor Dreke Moja (Pathfinder, 2002). (Editora Política is to publish a Cuban edition this year).

• Secretos de Generales: desclasificado, by Luis Báez (Editorial SI-MAR, 1996).

• Historias secretas de médicos cubanos, by Hedelberto López Blanch (Pablo de la Torriente Brau Cultural Center, 2005).

• El segundo frente del Che en el Congo. Historia del batallón Patricio Lumumba, by Jorge Risquet Valdés (Editora Abril, 2000).

• Operación Carlota, by Milton Díaz Cánter (Verde Olivo, 2006). Transcriptions from the TV series.

• Our History Is Still Being Written: The Story of Three Chinese-Cuban Generals in the Cuban Revolution by Armando Choy, Gustavo Chui and Moisés Sío Wong (Pathfinder, 2005).

• Cangamba by Jorge Martín Blandino (Verde Olivo, 2006).

• La Batalla de Cabinda, by Ramón Espinosa Martín (Verde Olivo, 2000).

• Victoria al sur de Angola, by Pedro Hedí Campos Perales (Verde Olivo, 2006).

• Angola: Saeta al norte by Jorge R. Fernández Marrero and José Ángel Gárciga Blanco (Letras Cubanas, 2003).

• Trueno Justiciero, Mis campañas en cielo angolano by Humberto Trujillo Hernández (José Martí, 1998). •

IN his December 2, 2005 speech marking the 30th anniversary of the military mission to Angola and the 49th of the landing of the Granma yacht, FAR Day, President Fidel Castro affirmed:

“The history of Europe’s imperialist and neocolonial pillage and plunder of Africa, with the full support of the United States and NATO, as well as Cuba’s heroic solidarity with its sister nations, have not been sufficiently known, if only as a well-deserved reward for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who wrote that glorious page, which, as an example for the present and future generations, should never be forgotten. That does not negate the need to continue making it known.” •


After the triumph of the Revolution, its earliest aid in solidarity to another people in struggle went to Algeria, fighting to overthrow French colonialism; in 1961, a Cuban ship took arms to the guerrilla forces there and returned full of wounded and orphans. Later, Cuban troops traveled to Algeria to help defend its threatened borders. Likewise, it was the first of many African countries – both in war and peace – to receive Cuban doctors and health personnel.

In 1964-65, the Revolution’s leadership responded to a request from national liberation forces in the former Congo-Léopoldville — today the Democratic Republic of the Congo — and Commander Ernesto Che Guevara, together with dozens of Cuban combatants, went to fight together with them; another group was sent to the former Congo-Brazzaville.

At the time, Portuguese colonialism faced several independence movements in Sub-Saharan Africa. In ’66, the Cubans provided their aid – military, medical and material – to the anti-imperialist forces of the African Party of Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). After a decade of armed struggle, Portugal admitted its defeat and on September 10, 1974, Guinea-Bissau won its freedom.

Likewise, the Cubans fought together with the revolutionaries of Mozambique and Ethiopia, and helped the newly-sovereign governments create and train their armed forces.

From 1975 to 1990, some 400,000 Cubans voluntarily left their homes and families and crossed the ocean to fight side-by-side with the Angolan people, who after winning their independence from Portugal, faced invasions from the South African and Zairian regimes and counterrevolutionary forces allied with those governments and backed by the USA.

More than 2,000 Cuban internationalists gave their lives to defend Angola’s independence, win Namibia’s and contribute decisively to the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa.

Many Cubans participated in more than one of these struggles; some who fought in the Congo, for example, also fought – and died – in Angola.

“The Cubans came to our region as doctors, teachers, soldiers, agricultural experts, but never as colonizers,” affirmed South African liberation leader Nelson Mandela. “They have shared the same trenches with us in the struggle against colonialism, underdevelopment, and apartheid. Hundreds of Cubans have given their lives, literally, in a struggle that was, first and foremost, not theirs but ours. As Southern Africans we salute them. We vow never to forget this unparalleled example of selfless internationalism.”

War Time Dissent: An African American Historical Tradition Vindicated

PANW Editor's Note: The following article examines the anti-war and anti-imperialist tradition among African organizations and leaders in the United States. This article is being reprinted in honor of the 66th birthday of Kwame Ture (aka, Stokely Carmichael), who was born on June 29, 1941 in Trinidad. Ture joined the ancestors on November 15, 1998.

Forty years ago in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), spoke forcefully and widely against the United States invovlement in Vietnam.

The Touchstone, Vol. XII, No. 1, Feb./Mar. 2002

War Time Dissent: A Black American Tradition Vindicated by History

by Lee McQueen

"Huge demonstrations of black protest greeted the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Stokely Carmichael's and Martin Luther King Jr.'s public condemnation of the Vietnam War -- against the 'better judgment' of many liberals (Black and white alike) -- was a watershed in the 1960s. The wave of mass opposition to the Reagan-Bush administration's support of South Africa's apartheid regime is likely the most well known example. And more recently, we should not forget that the Congressional Black Caucus stood mostly alone in Congress in protest of the U.S. overthrow of the democratically elected government of Grenada." -- Frances M. Beal, Black America and the Struggle for Peace, Michigan Citizen, October 21, 2001.

The attacks of September 11th, the release of the Ali movie, the celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, and the advent of Black History Month otherwise known as February have converged to fill me with a sense of urgency in drawing together the threads of time that link Black American presence in America from slavery to the present as voices of dissent and concern for America's morality. When reading coverage of the "traitors, cowards, and terrorist sympathizers" who happen to be Black, lurking among the "true patriots" who happen to be White, it causes me to raise the question ... How on Earth Did We Ever Get Here? How did criticism and caution come to equal treason and sympathy for terrorism? Rather than going on at length on how I feel about the racial epithets that accompany the typical "If you hate America so much then go back where you came from" recommendation, and rather than make repeated attempts to justify dissent as a cornerstone of democracy, I wish to allow history and the passage of time to do that by providing an extensive list of quotes from historical Black dissenters whose words and deeds garnered hatred and anger from the moderate-to-conservative mainstream of both Black and White cultures at the time.

Frederick Douglass was the most effective and imposing Black speaker and author of his time, he being a former slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, reformer, and champion of human rights. Doubtless, Black men and women held opinions of America's war policies prior to Frederick Douglass, particularly since Black men had fought on behalf of America in both the war of Independence in 1776 and again in 1812. But written records of Black opinion and thought are understandably scarce since reading and writing by Blacks was against the law and most Whites were not interested in how they felt about the wars of that time.

From Frances Beal's commentary on Black America and the Struggle for Peace published in the Michigan Citizen, October 21, 2001 we know that "As far back as 1848, for example, Frederick Douglass condemned U.S. aggression against Mexico as disgraceful, cruel and iniquitous. His son Lewis spoke out 51 years later to deplore U.S. policy in regard to Cuba, the Philippines, Hawaii and Puerto Rico as hypocrisy of the most sickening kind." In his speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" delivered on July 4, 1852, and published in My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglass also commented on the celebration of America's War of Independence from Great Britain by saying, "What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustices and cruelty to which he is the constant victim ... Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay bare your facts by the side of the every-day practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that for revolting barbarity, and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival." And in so doing, Douglass laid the foundation for the worthy and honorable tradition of protesting America's efforts for imperialism and colonialism and suppression of people of color as a foreign and domestic policy to uphold White supremacy.

Black press, in general, followed the tradition of Douglass's editorship by using the written word as a tool to voice their opinions on the marginal status of the Black in America. For instance, a Baltimore Afro-American editorial written in December 29, 1929 makes the statement regarding the dispatch of Marines to Haiti during bludgeoning and lynching of blacks in Sherman, Texas: "If the marines must fight, we suggest that President Hoover order them to Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Georgia."

Further, Richard Wright, prior to the Pearl Harbor attack that marked the entry of the United States into World War 2 delivered a speech, "Not My People's War", on June 6, 1941 before the League of American Writers council meeting. He basically stated that WW2 was not a war black people should participate in because of their treatment in America. However, in a show of solidarity and in an effort to "close ranks" to score the "double-v" of victory (equality) at home and conquest abroad for Black enlistees, Wright modifies his tone on December 15, 1941 by stating, "I pledge my loyalty and allegiance, without mental reservation or evasions, to America. I shall through my writing seek to rally the Negro people to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Administration in a solid national front to wage war until victory is won." (Michael Fabre, The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright, University of Illinois, 1993). Like Frederick Douglass during the Civil War and W.E.B. Dubois during World War 1, Wright held the optimistic view that if Blacks proved their loyalty to the United States government by fighting for freedom abroad, they would reap the reward of freedom at home. In the later Cold War years, W.E.B. Dubois made a joint statement with actor/activist Paul Robeson and Benjamin Davis, et al, "We Charge Genocide" in New York in 1951. "White supremacy at home makes for colored massacres abroad ... lyncher and the atom bomber are related." And so, Dubois recognized that silent, quiet loyalty breeds the perception of acquiescence to the unacceptable status quo of second-class citizenship of Black Americans.

A Crisis editorial LVIII written in the August-September edition in 1950 outlines the recognition by Black Americans that their treatment within U.S. borders mirrored the treatment of people of color abroad by the U.S. The hypocrisy and irony of America's stance for freedom was impossible to ignore: "... We will never win the political war in Asia as long as Koreans and Asiatics are gooks in the eyes of our fighting men. Whether we know it or not, Asia is in revolution. Her people fight for nationhood. Here is America's opportunity to live up to her own revolutionary past by helping the struggling masses of Asia to economic security and political independence."

Paul Robeson stepped up to the plate to confront America's march towards imperialism and made it relevant for Black Americans in his autobiographical book Here I Stand, "... if we don't stop our armed adventure in Korea today tomorrow it will be Africa." And earned the full wrath, hatred, and anti-communist hysteria that laid in wait for Blacks who protested the United States government for any reason whether it be lynching, brutality, discrimination, etc. Robeson continues, "When will Americans learn, that if they would encourage liberty in other countries, they must practice it at home? ... The world has learned the terrible lesson of Hitler: racism, backed by the power and technology of a modern industrial state, is a monster that must never be unleashed again. What difference is there between the Master Race idea of Hitler and the White supremacy creed of Eastland? Who can convince the European peoples that the burning cross of the white-robed Klan is different from the swastika of the Brownshirts? America, of course, is not a fascist nation, but the deep-rooted racism here and its violent outbursts arouse the worst fears of those who survived the holocaust of Hitlerism." From the Autobiography of W.E.B. Dubois, Robeson's treatment as a direct result of his dissent is assessed thusly by Dubois: "The persecution of Paul Robeson by the government ... has been one of the most contemptible happenings in modern history."

Thus, we learn that it was not only writers and scholars who practiced dissent as an American tradition. Artists and entertainers with the benefit of worldly experience on foreign stages were able to assess their domestic situations with a broad view.

Josephine Baker spoke to Critica on October 6, 1952 and said the following in regards to World War 2: "I met thousands of Americans from the North and from the South. They believed, in good faith, that they were fighting for democracy and civilization that were being menaced by totalitarianism. Many had no hesitation in expressing their horror and their indignation at the news of massacres of Jewish prisoners. But as for the Negro, the Southerners still continued and now keep on thinking that all the evil that is done is all right, and is necessary. How they reconciled these two opinions is something I have still not been able to figure out." She continues her insightful observations by saying, "Unless there is a halt to the wave of lynchings, electrocutions without proof, collective aggressions and other beauties of the American way of life, it means that all the blood spilled in the last war has been in vain. The apparent enemies of Hitler see his triumph multiplied in the Southern United States." Like Robeson, Baker caught the attention of the U.S. government enraged by her audacity in speaking with foreign press about "family issues."

However, the efforts to censor and red-bait and ruin did not stop Louis Armstrong in the Fall of 1957 from remarking, "The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell ... The people over there [Soviet Union] ask me what's wrong with my country, what am I supposed to say? ... The Government could go to the devil with its plans for a propaganda tour of Soviet Russia."

Malcolm X, the ultimate Black radical is quoted in Clyde Taylor's Vietnam and Black America as saying, "If it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country." Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965.

Risking the benevolence of White liberals and alienating many Black supporters, Martin Luther King Jr., acknowledged his internal disturbance regarding the Vietnam War in several sermons. In "Strength to Love" delivered in New York in 1964, he said: "We must not engage in a negative anti-Communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy ... we must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, injustice, and racial discrimination which are the fertile soil in which the seed of Communism grows ... Millions of citizens are deeply disturbed that the military-industrial complex too often shapes national policy, but they do not want to be considered unpatriotic. Countless loyal Americans honestly feel that a world body such as the United Nations should include Red China, but they fear being called Communist sympathizers. A legion of thoughtful persons recognizes that traditional capitalism must continually undergo change if our great national wealth is to be more equitably distributed, but they are afraid their criticisms will make them seem un-American." His words are profound and prophetic because King WAS considered un-American and a communist sympathizer because of his views on civil rights and peace. Martin Luther King gave a speech at fundraiser for the Nation magazine on February 25, 1967: "We are engaged in a war that seeks to turn the clock of history back and perpetuate white colonialism. The bombs in Viet Nam explode at home and they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America ... We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement. We must demonstrate, teach and preach, until the very foundations of our nation are shaken." Finally, Martin Luther King Jr. joined Stokely Carmichael at a United Nations rally in 1967 fully protesting and dissenting the draft of Black men for the Vietnam War: "Hell no, we wont go!"

Black wartime dissent boiled over in 1967. Martin Luther King Jr. even commented on rising Republican political hawk and future Cold Warrior, Ronald Reagan in Domestic Impact of the War: "... a Hollywood performer, lacking distinction even as an actor..." The ever-loquacious Muhammad Ali declared, "I ain't got nothing against them Viet Congs. No, I'm not going ten thousand miles from here to help murder and kill and burn another poor people simply to help continue the domination of white slavemasters over the darker people the world over." Moreover, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong." (G. Marine, Nobody Knows My Name, Ramparts, 5:12, June, 1967). And finally, the famous exclamation, "No Viet Cong never called me nigger!" the quote that Ali borrowed from Stokely Carmichael. Ali was rewarded for his defiance with attacks by mainstream press, a jail term, the stripping of his heavyweight championship title, and a distancing of the Black mainstream that supported the U.S. foreign policy.

Martin Luther King Jr. continued to voice dissent of the Vietnam War with his speech, "Where Do We Go From Here?" delivered in New York, 1968, losing the support of many followers, gaining the support of others: "These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the earth are rising up as never before." King was assassinated later the same year.

Eldridge Cleaver, in a bid to reach moderate Blacks who absorbed war propaganda through choice or intimidation, warned, "Once the white man solves his problem in the East, he will turn his fury again on black people in America." (Soul on Ice, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968).

The bitterness and anger of the rapid succession of assassinations [Malcolm X, JFK, King, RFK], the blood in the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia, and the blood on the streets of urban America took its toll on American society as a whole. An unnamed Black Veteran speaks a widely felt sentiment of Black men in America, "The brothers thought that because they fought and saw their buddies die it would make a difference. But they came back to SOS-the same old stuff ... It's business as usual in America, and business as usual means black people are going to catch hell." (Thomas Johnson, "Negro Veteran is Confused and Bitter", New York Times, 29 July 1969).

As did entertainers Robeson, Baker, and Armstrong previously, artists used their unique gifts to express the pain and confusion of a world that no longer made sense. Marvin Gaye asked the million-dollar question: "What's goin' on?" and beautifully articulated the observations: "There's too many of you crying" and "There's far too many of you dying" and "We don't need to escalate" and "War is not the answer" and revealingly "Picket lines and picket signs, don't punish me with brutality." (What's Goin' On? 1971). In addition, Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Diana Ross, Jimi Hendrix denounced the war while keeping their audiences intact. By that time, dissent was no longer a unique experience among Black Americans. Charles B. Howell, a retired black veteran of 22 years of service stated that, "I think I'd shoot one of my kids before I let them fight for this country." (Richard Strayer and Lewis Ellenhorn, "Vietnam Veterans: A Case Study Exploring Adjustment Patterns and Attitudes", Journal of Social Issues, 31:4, 1975).

Fast-forward to the events of September 11, 2001. An unbelievable, unthinkable, unimaginable, horrible tragedy gripped the American psyche and held it hostage to visual imagery of towering, burning infernos sparked by terrorism. The calls for revenge, retaliation, and blinding eye-for-an-eye jingoism began immediately.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) rose before the House of Representatives to explain her lone vote against use-of-force resolution on September 14, 2001. "There must be some of us who say, lets step back for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today. Let us more fully understand their consequences. As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore."

With Liberty at Risk written on September 19, 2001, John Conyers (D-MI) who represents a large Arab population, warned: "Historically, it has been at times of inflamed passions and national anger that our civil liberties proved to be at greatest risk, and the unpopular group of the moment was subject to prejudice and deprivation of liberty. In 1798, Congress enacted the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts, making it a federal crime to criticize the government. In 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, citing the need to repress 'an insurrection against the laws of the United States.' Ulysses S. Grant sought to expel Jews from southern states. World War II brought about the shameful internment of Japanese Americans, which even the Supreme Court failed to overturn."

The voice of caution and concern rose again with Michael Eric Dyson's appearance on Politically Incorrect, September 24, 2001. From the transcript, his views require no additional context. "... in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an all-Black community was established historically established. They had their own banks, their own systems of delivery of goods and services: highly educated Black people. And because of the resentment, the collective resentment of the white folk, who were there against the Black folk, they went out and looted their stores, burned their homes, and killed these people in massive numbers. And I'm saying, what's interesting to me is that, now that I see America hurtling toward war, I ask, should Black people have responded against their white brothers and sisters in the same way that we now want to respond to our brothers and sisters throughout the world? I don't romanticize bin Laden, because he started in Africa [allegedly bombed the U.S. embassy in the Sudan]. Let's not get it twisted. He doesn't have solidarity with people of color. The reality however, is that African-American people in particular, but others as well, understand that low-grade terrorism is what we confront in this nation every day. You tell me about arbitrary violence. What happens if you think my son who lives in Atlanta, will he go out today and, reaching for his wallet some policeman mistake it for a gun and then murder him? I tell you, that's terroristic to me. Now, it's low-grade, it's not on the spectacular scale about which you've spoke, but it is an insidious every day factor that robs us of a sense of security in this nation. And that's what I think we all feel. That's why I say were all Black now. Everybody understands what it means to be Black right now in America."

Aaron McGruder, author of The Boondocks comic strip [] determined that there is more to the terrorist attacks than the American public is allowed to hear and on October 4, 2001, pens a cartoon that is pulled from major newspapers for mocking a former president and the investigation (or lack thereof) into the September 11 tragedy. "Huey calls the FBI's terrorism tip line ... I'm very serious. I know of several Americans who have helped train and finance Osama bin Laden ... The first one is Reagan. That's R-E-A-G ... Hello? Hello?"

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's "Official Statement" of October 16, 2001 provided a caveat to her vote of support in Congress: "... When I voted for the War Powers Resolution, I did not surrender my right to express my views and opinions or to continue to advocate for justice and human rights in America or around the world. I believe that American security will be enhanced by a foreign policy that positions the United States as an honest broker for justice in the Middle East."

Danny Glover's speech at an anti-death penalty forum at Princeton University on November 16, 2001 inflamed right-wing vituperation and calls for a boycott and blacklist chillingly reminiscent of Paul Robeson's treatment during the Cold War almost fifty years earlier. Glover stated, "This week, President Bush implemented a military tribunal which will make it easier for us to execute (people). This clearly is a slippery slope. We must stand vigilant against Bush in these times ... We shouldn't let the federal government destroy individual rights."

The sharp dissent continued with Boots Riley of the rap group, The Coup, whose album cover strangely foretold the events of September 11th before it was pulled prior to distribution. "There are mainstream artists I know who are against the war but think they'll be blacklisted if they come out officially against it. They don't want to get involved. The silence is huge. People are scared. They're so used to media making it seem like no one is dissenting in this war that they're afraid to voice their opinion ... I want to fight the McCarthyist state that's developing in this country so my kids won't live in a world where people are afraid to speak out. I've always done that, but I have to work even harder now." (The San Francisco Chronicle, November 18, 2001).

More of Generation X continued to make their views public when Kevin Powell shared dialogue on January 23, 2002 with Davey D's Hip Hop Corner on the Internet at "... I thought about Black people, a lot, Charlie. Black people are not new to tragedy, as you well know. As Langston Hughes once said eloquently in a poem, I've known rivers. Collectively, we've known rivers. So I saw this tragedy with a different set of eyes, so to speak. I saw it with the eyes of a people who had been ripped from their native land, Africa, stripped of themselves, their language, their spirits, their minds, made to hate themselves, and made into slaves. That, too, is a form of terrorism to me.

"I saw it with the eyes of a people who had been told they were free, after slavery, only to endure another 100 years of second-class citizenship, only to endure lynchings, cheap or underpaid labor, the stealing of whatever land some of them might have had (as had happened to my great-grandfather in South Carolina), denial of the right to vote, denial of the right to be a citizen and, really, denial of the right to be human beings.

I saw it with the eyes of a people who, in spite of the great Civil Rights Movement, still had to live in the ghettoes of America, the majority of us, anyhow, dealing with poor communities, poor schools, poor resources, just a vicious cycle of poverty and madness. And I saw it with the eyes of folks in our communities who have and do experience their own form of terrorism, what I think Michael Eric Dyson called slow terrorism because of what things like AIDS and crack and police brutality have done to us, and does to us everyday ... When I think about all the reactions that have come since September 11th, the detaining of Arab Americans in this country, the plans to deport thousands of Arab Americans who are suspected of criminal activity, the deep anti-Muslim sentiments, the zealousness with which many people in and outside of the government have called for war and revenge, the calls for United We Stand, the waving of American flags and the wearing of flag tee shirts, hats, pins, and other items, I can't help but wonder how wounded America was as a country before September 11th if we could be so instantly reactionary after the tragedy. In other words, given the magnitude of what happened, does it not make sense for us to assess everything? History, American foreign policy, this country's on-going problem of dealing with its own racism toward people of color, the propensity of this country to solve everything by violent means ..."

Frances M. Beal clarifies the history of Black dissent further with the article, "Black America and the Struggle for Peace" (October 2001). "Our distinct history as a specially oppressed people -- as property, as cannon fodder, as second-class citizens, as targets of state terror in the form of police violence -- is the taproot of identification with the oppressed throughout the world. No amount of patriotism can hide another ugly truth. The burden of war takes a tremendous -- and disproportionate -- toll on the Black community. According to official Department of Defense statistics regarding Vietnam, "Blacks were more likely to be (1) drafted (30% to 19%); (2) sent to Vietnam; (3) serve in high risk combat units; and consequently, (4) to be killed or wounded in battle." In fact, between 1961 and 1966 Black casualties topped 20% of total combat fatalities -- when Black youth aged 19-21 constituted only 11% of military personnel in Vietnam. Today, it is estimated that Blacks constitute 25% of the military, and in ground troop personnel, estimates range as high as 35-40%."

No wonder Black people choose to dissent when their very lives are at stake!

Rap group, Public Enemy, declared the same eleven years prior in the song, "Bring the Noise" from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988). "They'll never care for the brothers and sisters now across the country has us up for a war."

And my conclusion as it relates to the backlash against those Blacks who chose to speak out in wake of the terrorist attacks this past September is as follows: History has vindicated the Black radical, the subversive, the so-called "traitors" and "un-American evildoers," and all other "ungrateful" Black Americans who stood against the mainstream and chose to voice their dissent of policies they deemed as truly un-American and destructive to the lives of American citizens each and every single time. From Slavery and Jim Crow, to the Cold Wars in Korea and Vietnam, Black dissent and protest of America's over-expansion of power against poor people of color foreign and domestic has been vindicated by the passage of time as legitimate criticism protected by the First Amendment and historically, the moral and right choice.

The hated and the hunted, the surveilled and the jailed are revered as American icons today Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Fannie Lou Hamer, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, etc. What is unfortunate is that their vindication arrived decades after their deaths or during their slow decline to old age. The apologies and admissions of mistaken judgment allow those who actively sought to destroy their lives to ease the pain of a guilty conscience and mistakes in judgment.

Which leads me to wonder how long will it take for Congresswoman Barbara Lee, actor Danny Glover, and others who put their careers, their reputations and their very lives in danger by cautioning against rash military action in vengeful response to terrorist actions on September 11th? How long will it take before even moderate Black, White, Yellow, Red, and Brown Americans who currently support the U.S. governments hawkish foreign policy begin to understand how past declared and especially undeclared wars turned on the poor and ethnic groups in America as scapegoats? From the Cold War which red-baited and race-baited civil rights activists as communist sympathizers to the Drug War which baited people of color, particularly inner-city dwellers as criminal predators, soft-on-crime, and criminal sympathizers to this current War on Terrorism which brands any dissenter, any Arab, any Muslim, as a terrorist traitor and/or sympathizer, it is possible to see a repetition of social control through fear and scapegoating of ethnic groups via "wartime" propaganda.

Dissent is not only an American tradition since slavery for Black Americans, it is a patriotic, constitutional duty for all Americans to show love for ones nation by ensuring the principles upon which it was founded remain in place for the next generation as explained by The Coups Boots Riley. To stand silently by while the Constitution is violated via a presidential election concluded by voter disenfranchisement, while unofficial war is declared by a president who bypassed Congress, while citizens and foreign nationals who share characteristics with the alleged terrorists are rounded up on "secret" evidence, while anti-terror legislation is implemented that violates civil liberties, and government "of, by, and for the people" withdraws into secrecy in the face of alarming changes to long-standing tenets of democracy .. is unpatriotic, anti-democratic, and un-American. Repressive behavior such as this more resembles a police state and dictatorship rather than a democracy worthy of being called America. It is time to reflect and learn from America's violent past beginning with Native American genocide, the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico, the Salem Witch Hunts, Slavery, Jim Crow, Southern Lynching, McCarthyism and Red-baiting, COINTELPRO against civil rights groups, assassinations, and the Drug War all distinctly un-American, but, actually, so very American.

It may be that I, myself, will be asked to respond to the long-standing, famous question "If you hate America so much, why don't you go back to Africa?" My response would be similar in nature to that of Paul Robeson when the House Un-American Activities Committee questioned him in 1956. One of the congressional investigators asked why, if Robeson liked Russia so much, "... why did you not stay in Russia?" And Robeson responds, "Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?" Black Muslim and Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan echoes Robeson's powerful words with this statement of September 22, 2001, broadcast via satellite and Internet "... I'm critical of the government in aspects of their behavior toward Black people. It doesn't mean I hate America. I'm critical. And because I have the freedom, because of that great constitutional guarantee, to speak even if people do not like what I say, it is the freedom to speak that guarantees America a greater future. When you stifle voices that may disagree with you, you're only stifling something that could cause you to reason beyond your own bias, your prejudice, or your own views..." Criticism does not equal hate. Criticism equals a desire to see a better world and a full realization of potential.

I am an American. This is my country. It is my home. I refuse to sit idly and silently by while it is diminished by greed, fear, and hatred. History, as I've shown here, tells me and you that it is our patriotic, democratic, American duty to dissent against a government that has cut itself off from accountability and no longer exists "of, by, or for the people." To not dissent is unpatriotic and un-American.

Additional works cited:

Finkle, Lee. Forum for Protest: The Black Press During World War II. Madison: Associated University Presses, 1975.

Gilmore, Brian. "Stand By The Man: Black America and the Dilemma of Patriotism". The Black World Today, December 28, 2001.

Krenn, Michael L. (editor). Race and U.S. Foreign Policy from the Colonial Period to the Present: A Collection of Essays. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc, 1998.

Robeson, Paul. Here I Stand. Boston: Beacon Press, 1971.

Smith, Jessie Carney (editor). Notable Black American Men. Detroit: Gale, 1998.

Lee McQueen is Assistant Professor and Social Sciences Librarian at a major public university.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Right-Wing US Supreme Court Deals Blow to School Desegregation Efforts

June 29, 2007

Across U.S., a New Look at School Integration Efforts

New York Times

The Supreme Court ruling striking down voluntary programs to integrate schools in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., left hundreds of school districts struggling yesterday to assess whether they must change policies that use race as a factor in school assignments.

Many lawyers said the 5-to-4 ruling would not end a half century of litigation over school desegregation but rather reignite it, as school districts turn to alternative methods for achieving diversity.

“The decision leaves unanswered questions about when race may be considered, and unanswered questions lead to more litigation,” said Sally Scott, a Chicago lawyer whose firm, Franczek Sullivan, represents dozens of Illinois school districts, some of which use assignment plans that consider race.

But one thing that seems certain, education lawyers agree, is that the decision will lead more districts to consider income as a race-neutral means of achieving school diversity, as is already done in Wake County, N.C.; La Crosse, Wis.; Cambridge, Mass.; and elsewhere.

Louisville, whose plan was struck down by yesterday’s ruling, could move in that direction.

“We didn’t have a, quote, Plan B, ready in case we lost,” said Stephen Imhoff, one of seven members of the Jefferson County school board that oversees the Louisville schools at issue in ruling. “But I began bringing up socioeconomic diversity with the board five years ago, and I think it will be one of the viable options we will discuss. Our board believes that diversity is valuable, and we will work to maintain it.”

Sharon Browne, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group that supported the parents suing Seattle and Louisville, said at a news conference yesterday that in addition to the foundation’s current litigation against policies in Los Angeles and Berkeley, Calif., schools, her group has identified several other districts, including Lynn, Mass., and Rochester, whose policies now seem ripe for challenge.

There are no reliable statistics on how many districts try to achieve racial balance by using race in decisions about which students go to which schools; estimates range from a few hundred to nearly 1,000. Some states specifically call for such plans.

In Massachusetts, for example, Lynn is one of about 20 districts with a voluntary plan complying with the state Racial Imbalance Act, which provided financial incentives for diversifying schools.

Districts have turned to a variety of strategies to maintain diversity — setting numeric ranges for racial representation in schools, strategically locating schools to attract specific racial groups, setting aside some seats in magnet programs for students of a particular race or forbidding transfers that would tilt a school further into dominance by one race.

The Louisville and Seattle cases were brought by parents whose children were not allowed to go to the school of their choice because of plans that seek to keep racial balance within a particular range.

Deciding how school assignment plans will have to be changed to comply with the ruling will require school boards to show some creativity, said Francisco Negrón, general counsel for the National School Boards Association.

“The court doesn’t give guidelines, and it’s not going to be one size fits all,” Mr. Negrón said.

While the decision makes clear that race cannot be the factor deciding whether a student will be allowed to attend a particular school, he said, the court left some room for districts to take race into account. They can locate schools to promote integration or perhaps assign students based on diversity indexes that take into account their poverty or language proficiency.

In Seattle, where the practice of using race to assign some students to high schools was suspended for the last five years while the case was making its way through the courts, school officials cast the ruling as more victory than defeat, saying it would provide guidance for their efforts to promote racial diversity.

“A majority of the Supreme Court affirmed the principle of diversity in public education,” said Gary L. Ikeda, the general counsel for Seattle Public Schools.

Because it already suspended its race policy, Seattle will not be forced to scramble the way other school districts may have to in light of the ruling. When asked the practical impact of having the race policy struck down, Raj Manhas, the district superintendent, said, “In reality, none.”

Mr. Manhas said the district already was taking steps to encourage racial diversity through other means, including placing highly sought after International Baccalaureate and dual-language programs in locations where they are likely to draw a diverse student body.

In a nation where housing patterns are largely segregated, efforts to integrate schools have been a hot button in education for more than a half-century. There was the fight over segregation that led to Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the widespread busing battles in Boston in the 1970s and the long and intimate federal court oversight of desegregation in many of the nation’s cities.

Many of the nation’s largest urban districts now have so few white students that any large-scale effort at racial balance would be impractical.

New York City was largely unaffected by the decision, although officials in the Department of Education said they were considering using the ruling to seek legal action to overturn two court orders from the 1970s that placed racial quota systems at eight middle schools in Brooklyn and Queens.

Chancellor Joel I. Klein has said those quotas are antiquated and no longer reflect the makeup of the neighborhoods, which have seen white flight and the arrival of scores of new immigrants.

Since 1990, as judges ruled that the effects of past segregation had been remedied, court orders were lifted in many districts. But some of those same districts, along with others that were never under court order, voluntarily adopted desegregation plans.

Jefferson County, the Louisville-area district that yesterday’s ruling was concerned with, revised its plan repeatedly after coming out from its court order. It now has some of the most integrated schools in the nation, keeping black enrollment in most schools between 15 percent and 50 percent by encouraging, and occasionally obliging, white students to attend schools in black neighborhoods and black students to attend schools in white ones.

Fran Ellers, a white parent who sends her children to a school in a black neighborhood, said yesterday that she was disappointed with the ruling.

“I have been so proud of Louisville’s very diverse school system,” Ms. Ellers said. “My son has a group of buddies, from all over the county, and they’re black and white, and only one is from our neighborhood. Going back to neighborhood schools would be a big loss.”

Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, said about 40 districts consider family income in assigning students.

“If you switch to socioeconomic status,” Mr. Kahlenberg said, “not only do you get a fair amount of racial integration that’s legally bullet-proof, but the research shows that for individual students, it’s more closely aligned with achievement, with higher test scores, than racial integration.”

William Yardley contributed reporting from Seattle, and Jennifer Medina from New York.

South African Public Service Strike Is Over

PRETORIA 28 June 2007 Sapa


The majority of public service unions on Thursday agreed to sign government's final wage offer, ending the longest public service strike in South African history.

Although teachers' unions, whose members were at the forefront of the strike, did not accept the deal, majority approval meant it would be implemented across the whole public service.

"It's not quite a win-win for everybody. It's a win-win for
certain sectors and maybe not such a win-win for other sectors," said Dave Balt, president of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA. He said teachers' unions would take their grievances up with the government.

"There are a number of aspects of the actual proposal that are unacceptable to us. There will be a process where we will follow up," he said.

Apart from a 7.5 percent increase, the government's offer
includes an increase of the Consumer Price Index less mortgage costs (CPIX) plus one percent for next year. It also made provision for the implementation of revised salary structures for professionals in the public service. The offer also included an increased Government Employees Medical Scheme contribution as well as a R500 housing allowance.

The deal also contained a framework for setting up a minimum
service agreement with essential service workers. This would ensure that minimum services would be maintained during strikes.

"Definitely we would see a situation during a future strike that essential services would not be as severely affected. There would not be any loss of life," said Success Mataitsane of the National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers.

As part of the agreement a no-work-no-pay rule would apply.
Public servants who were on strike would have pay deducted over the next three months.

Balt commented: "Obviously we were hoping for something more

National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union president Noluthando Mayende Sibiya hailed the deal as a victory for workers. This was despite the fact that they didn't get the 12 percent increase unions initially aimed for.

"The strike is historic, a turning point in the lives of public sector workers. This combination of unity and militancy means that never again will the employer dare to treat us with the callous indifference they have displayed in the past and during this dispute. They were forced to compromise when confronted by the militancy and determination of the workforce," she said.

Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine
Fraser-Moleketi on Thursday only acknowledged that the strike had been called off. She expressed no opinion on the announcement that the majority of unions had accepted the government's final wage offer.

"Government, as the employer, acknowledges the calling-off of
the strike action by public service unions and awaits a majority signature," read her one-line statement.

JOHANNESBURG 28 June 2007 Sapa


Nurses fired for joining the public servants' strike would be
reinstated as part of efforts to normalise health care delivery, the department of health said on Thursday.

About 2,700 nurses were sacked for defying a court order which banned their participation, as essential services workers, in the three-week strike.

Department spokesman Sibani Mngadi said their dismissals would be withdrawn and be replaced with a final written warning when they returned to their posts.

He said nurses had begun returning to their posts even before
the strike was finally settled at a 7.5 percent increase, compared to the 12 percent the workers had originally been aiming for.

The department was reviewing the cumulative effect of the strike and how much it owed the private facilities that accepted patients when hospitals were closed either through fears of violence or through a depleted nursing corps.

The department thanked health workers helped people receive
health care during the strike, the SA Military Health Service which sent medics to help out at busy facilities like Johannesburg's Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, the private health sector and volunteers.

It would ensure the speedy finalisation of the
occupation-specific dispensation which will improve the
remuneration of health professionals. This will be negotiated in the sectoral bargaining chamber and implemented retrospectively from July 1, 2007.

It would also discuss and finalise a minimum service level
agreement for the public health sector.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Detroit's Black Star Community Bookstore Celebrates 7th Anniversary

For Immediate Release

Date: June 28, 2007
Contact: Ebony Roberts
Phone: (313) 300-4347

Black Star Community Bookstore 7th Anniversary Celebration

On Saturday, July 14, 2007, Black Star Community Bookstore will celebrate its seventh anniversary in the bookselling business with an outdoor festival for all ages. An all-day event, which will begin at noon, the celebration will feature activities for children and adults, including live performances by several local artists including jazz band

In the Tradition and the up and coming conscious hip hop collective Power Movement; storytelling by artist Sumarah Smith and Shrine of the Black Madonna’s Bishop Nkenge Abi; face painting; arts and crafts; a poetry set sponsored by Broadside Press; a sidewalk book sale; a fashion show by House of Bastet; book signings by children’s authors Sandra Epps and Betty Barton and a special book signing with Sam Greenlee, author of the Black classic “The Spook Who Sat by the Door”; and much, much more. Much of the festivities will take place in the public lot at the southeastern corner of Livernois and Outer Drive or inside the bookstore, which is located at 19410 Livernois.

Black Star Community Bookstore opened in July 2000 with the hope of contributing to the growing consciousness in Detroit’s Black community about our history, culture, condition and paths to liberation. Named in honor of the various institutions created by the Honorable Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Black Star Community Bookstore is not simply a business but a community institution. In addition to our primary activity of selling books, we are proud to have hosted book signings, poetry readings and lectures by many local and nationally known scholars, poets, writers and activists. This year is our fifth year doing an outdoor festival, and we look forward each year to celebrating our anniversary with the community.

On Friday, July 13 from 7pm-9pm, we will kick-off our anniversary weekend with a special lecture by Professor Griff, Minister of Information for Public Enemy, one of hip hop music’s first conscious rap groups. Some consider Professor Griff controversial. Others know him to be a revealer of truth, dropping knowledge of African history and culture wherever he travels. Admission is $10 for the lecture. All activities on Saturday are free.

Understanding the challenges of owning a business in such uncertain financial times and committed to making a positive literary contribution to the Black community, Black Star Community Bookstore is proud to celebrate such an important milestone. We invite the community to join us.

Black Star Community Bookstore is located at 19410 Livernois in Detroit. Call (313) 863-2665 for more information.

America's Big Cities Are Getting Smaller

America's Big Cities Are Getting Smaller

Posted: 2007-06-28 02:31:03
Filed Under: Nation

WASHINGTON (June 28) - Phoenix has overtaken Philadelphia as the nation's fifth largest city, underscoring decades of population losses in America's big industrial centers.

Dan Loh, AP Estimates released by the Census Bureau shows that some of the nation's largest cities have lost huge parts of their population in the past half-century. Philadelphia, for example, lost nearly a third of its residents.

The nation's population has nearly doubled since 1950 - adding about 150 million people. But of the 20 largest cities at mid-century, all but four have shrunk, some by a lot.

Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Buffalo, N.Y., have all lost more than half their population in the past half-century.

Philadelphia lost nearly a third of its residents, slipping to about 1.4 million people in 2006, according to estimates being released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

Like many big cities in the Northeast and Midwest, Philadelphia has suffered through a decline in the nation's manufacturing economy. City officials, however, have vowed to rebound.

"Philadelphia is not going to disappear," said Gary Jastrzab, deputy executive director of the city planning commission. "We have a good quality of life here. We have major universities, major health facilities and a very active pharmaceutical industry."

The Census Bureau is releasing 2006 population estimates for U.S. cities on Thursday. The Associated Press compared those estimates with population totals from the 1950 census.

Phoenix was barely in the top 100 cities in 1950 - it ranked 99th, with about 107,000 people. Last year, it had 1.5 million.

Phoenix added 43,000 people from 2005 to 2006, more than any other city, according to the Census Bureau estimates. It was followed by San Antonio; Fort Worth, Texas; Houston; and North Las Vegas, Nev.

New Orleans, which is still struggling to rebuild following Hurricane Katrina, lost the most people, about 228,000. The Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 223,400 in 2006, a little less than half its size before the storm.

Americans have been migrating south and west for decades in search of better job opportunities and warmer climates. They have also been moving to the suburbs and beyond, in search of bigger yards and houses, lower crime rates and better schools.

In 1950, nearly a fifth of the population lived in the nation's 20 largest cities. In 2006, it was about one in 10.

Many older cities are trying to reinvent themselves, relying on the universities, health centers and cultural attractions that have long been desirable, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

"It used to be that the city was the whole regional economy. Now, it is just the center," Frey said. "These cities certainly can be viable with smaller populations."

Mark S. Schweiker, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said regional economic conditions are a better measure of success than conditions in individual cities.

"We remain a significant economic force, and the census doesn't change that," Schweiker said. "The reality is we are situated nicely between the financial capital of the world in New York and the political capital in D.C."

Richard Vedder, an economics professor at Ohio University, sounded a note of optimism for the future of big cities, albeit a muted one.

"I think they've lost about all the manufacturing they can lose," Vedder said. "There's not a lot left."

Sino-Africa Relations Giving the West Sleepless Nights

Sino-Africa Relations Giving the West Sleepless Nights

New Vision (Kampala)
28 June 2007
By Ofwono Opondo

OUR former European colonial benefactors, oppressors and exploiters for centuries-Britain, Belgium and France have expressed fears that the recent surge in Sino-African interaction, especially China's economic interests, will consolidate bad governance in Africa.

According to this school of thought, China, hitherto too closed a society but disciplined is presented as totalitarian with the worst human rights record, and is coming to support, fund and protect African dictators who were just beginning to come under closer and genuine western watch to respect the supposedly international standards. Yet most former and current world dictators and corrupt elites were nurtured and continue to be supported by the western corrupt system!

Through their politicians, scholars and journalists, Belgium, whose King Leopold deceitfully, forcefully and brutally seized and owned the whole of the Congo as a personal estate recently published a rather superficial academic report 'warning' Africa not to be too optimistic about China's drive into this last virgin land of capitalism.

China is being portrayed as a new colonial power although it has not expressed interest in signing military pacts, forceful, and deceitful grabbing of land and other resources, or unfair trade sanctioned by government as Europeans did from the 15th century including slave trade, and continued to-date through proxy wars and imposing cultural norms.

Having realised that their imperial frontiers are ever receding, the Europeans are shedding crocodile tears in a futile hope that Africans, who for long were considered just recently landed from tree branches, are less intelligent.

Africa and Asia having buried formal colonialism, western countries now fear that their interests in political hegemony, economic exploitation through the control of our natural resources and lopsided trade are being dismantled are the ones crowing the "China threat" rhetoric.

The warning bells from Europe are false on many accounts firstly because China has no tradition for either colonialism or imperialism, and it is getting late for any power to wear a hat of political domination over others.

It is true that there are many opportunities in the world today which if African leaders remain steadfast, focused, vigilant, and innovative could seize to redeem this 'Garden of Eden' which has remained largely inhabitable for mankind as Prof. Ali Mazrui wrote long ago.

Last November, China hosted the first ever Sino-Africa summit in Beijing to try and strengthen traditional relations, and rediscover strategic opportunities for deepening investment, trade, economic, educational, technological, and scientific cooperation for hopefully mutual benefits.

The Europeans, trying to take advantage of old colonial prejudices and the general lack of information about current world affairs in Africa have gone full throttle in their mischievous schemes.

At the inauguration of the Sino-Africa summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced eight categories of cooperation over the next three years, which in my view, it is up to the African leaders to get prepared and seize it.

Hu announced doubling assistance to Africa from the 2006 level; provide $3b of preferential loans and $2b of preferential buyer's credits to Africa. He also promised to set up a China-Africa development fund worth $5b to encourage Chinese companies invest in Africa. An international conference centre for the African Union in Addis Ababa to help deepen Africa's integration which was promised at the time is already underway!

China undertook to cancel debt in all interest-free government loans that matured at the end of 2005 owed by heavily indebted countries with diplomatic relations with China, and Uganda is among them. It promised to further open its market from 190 to 440 export items receiving zero-tariff treatment from the least developed African countries having diplomatic relations with China.

It also promised to establish three to five trade and economic zones in Africa in an effort to create specialisation in skills and productivity to enhance competition in the global marketplace.

In addition, China undertook to train 15,000 African professionals, and send 100 agricultural experts in 30 specialised centres. Building 30 hospitals in Africa and giving 300 million Yuan for the production of the malaria drug, artemisinin.

Mao's communist state now operating under a "socialist-market economy" also promised to send 300 Chinese youth volunteers, build 100 rural schools, and increase its government scholarships to African students from 2000 to 4000 annually and most of them in science-based professions.

Many objective analysts believe these are the most comprehensive ever because they highlight the crucial areas of Africa's predicament but it is up to the Africans especially their political leaders to demonstrate seriousness and ability to absorb support.

Naturally, investors, whether European or Chinese seek profit, therefore Chinese enterprises while investing more in Africa enhances our capability to diversify, and process products for exports may dissolve us step by step and it is our obligation to stay vigilant because the destiny of the world belongs to the well-organised.

Although it is claimed that Africa is possibly the first home of man, it has remained inhabitable carrying the cross of economic, scientific, technological, political, military, and cultural humiliation occasioned on it by Europe, and think we should listen less to them as we strategically try new allies to deal with present hegemony, unilateralism, and unfair practices.

Zane's Literary Work Has a Passionate Following

Zane's Erotic Works Have Passionate Following


UPPER MARLBORO, Maryland -- Zane never intended to surround herself in mystery and intrigue.

The author, whose steamy sex novels set among black professionals have propelled her onto The New York Times list of best sellers, says if she could do it over, she'd have chosen a less provocative pseudonym.

About a decade ago, she was in an America Online chat room and needed to call herself something. She picked Zane because it was the first thing that popped into her head; she's always liked the name.

When she started writing erotic fiction in her spare time and e-mailing it to friends and online acquaintances, it made sense to keep calling herself Zane -- after all, she couldn't be sure who was reading her work. Then she developed a following and discovered she could sell a book, and Zane was destined to stay Zane.

"If I had known that this was going to actually end up being a writing pseudonym, I would have picked something with a first and last name," Zane says.

Plenty of authors don't use their real names, but there's only one successful writer of black erotica with a gender-neutral, one-syllable nom de plume. It makes people more curious about her -- the opposite of Zane's intent.

"It was a total accident. It is kind of cool. But it wasn't intentional," she says. Another drawback: "I'm on the bottom of all the bookshelves."

But don't weep for Zane. After all, as Sean Bentley, the buyer of black fiction for Borders and Waldenbooks, points out, Zane gets a couple of shelves to herself these days.

More than 2.7 million copies of her books are in print, she's a mainstay on the Essence magazine list of best sellers, and two titles, "Afterburn" and the anthology "Love Is Never Painless," were New York Times best sellers.

The next frontier for the author: movies and television. She has approved a script for "Addicted," an adaptation of her biggest-selling novel, about a woman who seeks counseling for sex addiction. She's negotiating a deal to turn a collection of stories, "The Sex Chronicles," into a cable-TV miniseries.

She's also a publisher who runs Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster with more than 50 authors, many of whom get a sales boost from their association with Zane.

Not bad for someone who never planned to be a writer. Zane, the daughter of a theologian and an elementary school teacher, graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in chemical engineering.

"Whenever I had creative writing assignments and stuff in school, the teachers would almost be shocked at what I turned in because it would be so far-fetched and so imaginative," Zane says. "Most of my teachers told me I should be a writer, but I just never took it seriously until I got bored enough to do it."

Boredom hit in 1997, when Zane was living in North Carolina, working as a sales representative. She began writing erotic stories to pass the time after her children went to bed. (She now has a 19-year-old son, a 12-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son.)

The stories developed a following on the Internet, and she self-published "The Sex Chronicles" before landing a deal with Simon & Schuster.

Zane tapped into a market that craves her honest, unvarnished perspective on sexuality. Her books send a "Sex and the City"-like message that it's OK to celebrate your libido.

"She's like the Dr. Ruth of our time," said Carol Mackey, the editor of Black Expressions, an online book club with more than 400,000 members that counts Zane among its most popular authors.

Zane's take on sex is hardly revolutionary: It should be safe and pleasurable, and communication is the key to stronger, more satisfying relationships. But her straightforward, conversational prose resonates in the black community, Mackey said.

"It's not openly discussed in most of our homes," Mackey said. "I had to learn from books or friends and big sisters. To have an author come out and broach this, even in fiction, is a breakthrough for us."

Zane's readers agree. Her work "goes right to the heart of modern sexuality," said Harold Fisher, a former Baltimore TV news anchor and one of a few men who joined dozens of women fans at a local book signing. "We all have sex. We just need to relax about it."

Zane's fans talk about her work with fervor; they remember what book they read first and how they burned through the rest. They love her brash, sexually liberated heroines, who are unafraid to use men for their own pleasure.

In person, the 40-year-old author is equally assertive -- but she's no vixen. Stylish but not outlandish, with a round, youthful face and a comfortably fleshy figure, Zane looks like the suburban working mom that she is.

She discusses her life and career in the cluttered, undecorated offices of Strebor Books. The location in an office park in suburban Washington suits her no-nonsense personality, and she lives just a short drive away.

Zane presents a mixture of accessibility and reserve. She sometimes answers the phone at Strebor. She reads her e-mail and responds to as many messages as she can -- dishing out sex advice to eager fans. (Highlights from that correspondence have been compiled into a nonfiction book, "Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love," to be published in July.)

But at the same time, she guards her privacy. She did not allow herself to be photographed or interviewed until 2004, at the onset of her first book tour. She said she "came out" then only because con artists were starting to host book signings claiming to be her.

She's more comfortable now with her public, partly because as a publisher, she has to help her authors sell their books. But she's not forthcoming with personal details. Now divorced, she speaks only vaguely about the man she's dating. And she was dismayed in the past at previous revelations of her real name, which she asks not be published.

"There's no point in it other than to affect my privacy and have people showing up at my house. And I have a 3-year-old child, so that's my concern," she says.

She also wants to spare her family, particularly her father, from undue criticism.

"Whereas most people don't have an issue with what I do, there are those who are self-righteous and do have an issue," Zane says. "So it's just not fair for other people who have absolutely nothing to do with it to be affected by that, because they didn't make this choice. I did."

Zane says she has a good relationship with her parents, but she didn't tell her mother about her writing career until she had three titles on the Essence best-seller list. It took her father a while to warm up to the idea of his daughter writing erotica, but when he read "Nervous" -- about a meek woman who channels her sexual aggressiveness into an alternate personality -- "he thought it was brilliant," she says.

Her father's endorsement speaks to another unusual characteristic of Zane's raunchy tales -- they usually come packaged with a moral. She often builds a story around an issue plaguing women -- such as drug addiction in "Love Is Never Painless" and domestic violence in "Breaking the Cycle."

In "Addicted," the heroine was sexually abused as a child and seeks psychiatric counseling, something Zane said many black women are afraid to do.

"I've had women out there, with 'Addicted,' who actually come up to me and fall into my arms crying at book signings, saying they're finally going to go get help," she says.

That connection with readers is the key to Zane's popularity, said Malaika Adero, her editor at Simon & Schuster.

"She has a unique voice," Adero said. "She writes erotica for today's female audience. This is not yesterday's kind of romance writing. She writes in the African-American vernacular. She writes in a language of everyday people doing what we do."

Lessons From Post-Katrina: How to Destroy an African American City in Thirty-Three Steps

How to Destroy an African-American City in Thrity-Three Steps:
Lessons From Katrina

Step One. Delay. If there is one word that sums up the way to destroy an African-American city after a disaster, that word is DELAY. If you are in doubt about any of the following steps – just remember to delay and you will probably be doing the right thing.

Step Two. When a disaster is coming, do not arrange a public evacuation. Rely only on individual resources. People with cars and money for hotels will leave. The elderly, the disabled and the poor will not be able to leave. Most of those without cars – 25% of households of New Orleans, overwhelmingly African-Americans – will not be able to leave. Most of the working poor, overwhelmingly African-American, will not be able to leave. Many will then permanently accuse the victims who were left behind of creating their own human disaster because of their own poor planning. It is critical to start by having people blame the victims for their own problems.

Step Three. When the disaster hits, make certain the national response is overseen by someone who has no experience at all handling anything on a large scale, particularly disasters. In fact, you can even inject some humor into the response – have the disaster coordinator be someone whose last job was the head of a dancing horse association.

Step Four. Make sure that the President and national leaders remain aloof and only slightly concerned. This sends an important message to the rest of the country.

Step Five. Make certain the local, state, and national governments do not respond in a coordinated, effective way. This will create more chaos on the ground.

Step Six. Do not bring in food or water or communications right away. This will make everyone left behind more frantic and create incredible scenes for the media.

Step Seven. Make certain that the media focus of the disaster is not on the heroic community work of thousands of women, men and young people helping the elderly, the sick and the trapped survive, but mainly on acts of people looting. Also spread and repeat the rumors that people trapped on rooftops are shooting guns, not to attract attention and get help, but AT the helicopters. This will reinforce the message that “those people” left behind are different from the rest of us and are beyond help.

Step Eight. Refuse help from other countries. If we accept help, it looks like we cannot or choose not to handle this problem ourselves. This cannot be the message. The message we want to put out over and over is that we have plenty of resources and there is plenty of help. Then if people are not receiving help, it is their own fault. This should be done quietly.

Step Nine. Once the evacuation of those left behind actually starts, make sure people do not know where they are going or have any way to know where the rest of their family has gone. In fact, make sure that African-Americans end up much farther away from home than others.

Step Ten. Make sure that when government assistance finally has to be given out, it is given out in a totally arbitrary way. People will have lost their homes, jobs, churches, doctors, schools, neighbors and friends. Give them a little bit of money, but not too much. Make people dependent. Then cut off the money. Then give it to some and not others. Refuse to assist more than one person in every household. This will create conflicts where more than one generation live together. Make it impossible for people to get consistent answers to their questions. Long lines and busy phones will discourage people from looking for help.

Step Eleven. Insist the President suspend federal laws requiring living wages and affirmative action for contractors working on the disaster. While local workers are still displaced, import white workers from outside the city for the high-paying jobs like crane and bulldozer operators. Import Latino workers from outside the city for the low-paying dangerous jobs. Make sure to have elected officials, black and white, blame job problems on the lowest wage immigrant workers. This will create divisions between black and brown workers that can be exploited by those at the top. Because many of the brown workers do not have legal papers, those at the top will not have to worry about paying decent wages, providing health insurance, following safety laws, unemployment compensation, workers compensation, or union organizing. These become, essentially, disposable workers – use them, then lose them.

Step Twelve. Whatever you do, keep people away from their city for as long as possible. This is the key to long-term success in destroying the African-American city. Do not permit people to come home. Keep people guessing about what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. Set numerous deadlines and then break them. This will discourage people and make it increasingly difficult for people to return.

Step Thirteen. When you finally have to reopen the city, make sure to reopen the African-American sections last. This will aggravate racial tensions in the city and create conflicts between those who are able to make it home and those who are not.

Step Fourteen. When the big money is given out, make sure it is all directed to homeowners and not to renters. This is particularly helpful in a town like New Orleans that was majority African-American and majority renter. Then, after you have excluded renters, mess up the program for the homeowners so that they must wait for years to get money to fix their homes.

Step Fifteen. Close down all the public schools for months. This will prevent families with children in the public school system, overwhelmingly African-Americans, from coming home.

Step Sixteen. Fire all the public school teachers, teacher aides, cafeteria workers and bus drivers and de-certify the teachers union – the largest in the state. This will primarily hurt middle class African Americans and make them look for jobs elsewhere.

Step Seventeen. Even better, take this opportunity to flip the public school system into a charter system and push foundations and the government for extra money to the new charter schools. Give the schools with the best test scores away first. Then give the least flooded schools away next. Turn 70% of schools into charters so that the kids with good test scores or solid parental involvement will go to the charters. That way, the kids with average scores, or learning disabilities, or single parent families, who are still displaced, are kept segregated away from the “good” kids. You will have to set up a few schools for those other kids, but make sure those schools do not get any extra money, do not have libraries, nor doors on the toilets, nor enough teachers. In fact, because of this, you better make certain there are more security guards than teachers.

Step Eighteen. Let the market do what it does best. When rent goes up 70%, say there is nothing we can do about it. This will have two great results: it will keep many former residents away from the city and it will make landlords happy. If wages go up, immediately import more outside workers and wages will settle down.

Step Nineteen. Make sure all the predominately white suburbs surrounding the African-American city make it very difficult for the people displaced from the city to return to the metro area. Have one suburb refuse to allow any new subsidized housing at all. Have the Sheriff of another threaten to stop and investigate anyone wearing dreadlocks. Throw in a little humor and have one nearly all-white suburb pass a law that makes it illegal for homeowners to rent to people other than their blood relatives! The courts may strike these down, but it will take time and the message will be clear – do not think about returning to the suburbs.

Step Twenty. Reduce public transportation by more than 80%. The people without cars will understand the message.

Step Twenty One. Keep affordable housing to a minimum. Instead, use the money to reopen the Superdome and create tourism campaigns. Refuse to boldly create massive homeownership opportunities for former renters. Delay re-opening apartment complexes in African American neighborhoods. As long as less than half the renters can return to affordable housing, they will not return.

Step Twenty Two. Keep all public housing closed. Since it is 100% African-American, this is a no-brainer. Make sure to have African-Americans be the people who deliver the message. This step will also help by putting more pressure on the rental market, as 5000 more families will then have to compete for rental housing with low-income workers. This will provide another opportunity for hundreds of millions of government funds to be funneled to corporations when these buildings are torn down and developers can build up other less-secure buildings in their place. Make sure to tell the 5000 families evicted from public housing that you are not letting them back for their own good. Tell them you are trying to save them from living in a segregated neighborhood. This will also send a good signal – if the government can refuse to allow people back, private concerns are free to do the same or worse.

Step Twenty Three. Shut down as much public health as possible. Sick and elderly people and moms with little kids need access to public healthcare. Keep the public hospital, which hosted about 350,000 visits a year before the disaster, closed. Keep the neighborhood clinics closed. Put all the pressure on the private healthcare facilities and provoke economic and racial tensions there between the insured and uninsured.

Step Twenty Four. Close as many public mental healthcare providers as possible. The trauma of the disaster will seriously increase stress on everyone. Left untreated, medical experts tell us this will dramatically increase domestic violence, self-medication and drug and alcohol abuse and, of course, crime.

Step Twenty Five. Keep the city environment unfriendly to women. Women were already widely discriminated against before the storm. Make sure that you do not reopen day care centers. This, combined with the lack of healthcare, lack of affordable housing, and lack of transportation, will keep moms with kids away. If you can keep women with kids away, the city will destroy itself.

Step Twenty Six. Create and maintain an environment where black on black crime will flourish. As long as you can keep parents out of town, keep the schools hostile to kids without parents, keep public healthcare closed, make only low-paying jobs available, not fund social workers or prosecutors or public defenders or police, and keep chaos the norm, young black men will certainly kill other young black men. To increase the visibility of the crime problem, bring in the National Guard in fatigues to patrol the streets in their camouflage hummers.

Step Twenty Seven. Strip the local elected, predominately African American government of its powers. Make certain the money that is coming in to fix up the region is not under their control. Privatize as much as you can as quickly as you can – housing, healthcare, and education for starters. When in doubt, privatize. Create an appointed commission of people who have no experience in government to make all the decisions. In fact, it is better to create several such commissions; that way, no one will really be sure who is in charge and there will be much more delay and conflict. Treat the local people like they are stupid; you know what is best for them much better than they do.

Step Twenty Eight. Create lots of planning processes but give them no authority. Overlap them where possible. Give people conflicting signals whether their neighborhood will be allowed to rebuild or be turned into green space. This will create confusion, conflict and aggravation. People will blame the officials closest to them – the local African-American officials, even though they do not have any authority to do anything about these plans, since they do not control the rebuilding money.

Step Twenty Nine. Hold an election but make it very difficult for displaced voters to participate. In fact, do not allow any voting in any place outside the state, even though we do it for Americans in other countries and even though hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced. This is very important because when people are not able to vote, those who have been able to return can say, “Well, they didn’t even vote, so I guess they are not interested in returning.”

Step Thirty. Get the elected officials out of the way and make room for corporations to make a profit. There are billions to be made in this process for well-connected national and international corporations. There is so much chaos that no one will be able to figure out, for a long time, exactly where the money went. There is no real attempt to make sure that local businesses, especially African-American businesses, get contracts – at best they get modest subcontracts from the corporations that got the big money. Make sure the authorities prosecute a couple of little people who ripped off $2,000 – that will temporarily satisfy people who know they are being ripped off and divert attention from the big money rip-offs. This will also provide another opportunity to blame the victims – as critics can say, “Well, we gave them lots of money, they must have wasted it, how much more can they expect from us?”

Step Thirty One. Keep people’s attention diverted from the African-American city. Pour money into Iraq instead of the Gulf Coast. Corporations have figured out how to make big bucks whether we are winning or losing the war. It is easier to convince the country to support war – support for cities is much, much tougher. When the war goes badly, you can change the focus of the message to supporting the troops. Everyone loves the troops. No one can say we all love African-Americans. Focus on terrorists – that always seems to work.

Step Thirty Two. Refuse to talk about or look seriously at race. Condemn anyone who dares to challenge the racism of what is going on – accuse them of “playing the race card” or say they are paranoid. Criticize people who challenge the exclusion of African-Americans as people who “just want to go back to the bad old days.” Repeat the message that you want something better for everyone. Use African American spokespersons where possible.

Step Thirty-Three. Repeat these steps.

Note to readers. Every fact in this list actually happened and continues to happen in New Orleans, after Katrina.

BC Columnist Bill Quigley is a law professor and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans. He has been an active public interest lawyer since 1977 and has served as counsel with a wide range of public interest organizations on issues including Katrina social justice issues, public housing, voting rights, death penalty, living wage, civil liberties, educational reform, constitutional rights and civil disobedience. He has litigated numerous cases with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Advancement Project, and with the ACLU of Louisiana, for which he served as General Counsel for over 15 years.