Black political self-financing
Senator Ed Brooke mislaid
Hip Hop and heroin
Anglo-Saxons beware

Dear Reader,

It has become evident that the Bush Administration's version of globalism amounts to transforming the entire planet into his own private shooting gallery. The rich love nothing better than going on safari.

Casual killing has long been a pastime of U.S. corporate executives in Guatemala. Since 1954, when the U.S. ordered the native military to begin flushing subversives out of the mountains, villages and shantytowns, more than 100,000 people have been slaughtered. The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola corporation operates a particularly bloody franchise in the Land of the Maya, reportedly employing death squads to cull unionists from its local work force. The gruesome reality behind the super slick TV commercials interrupted a quiet day in the life of John Furnish.

I was drinking a can of Coca-Cola while I was reading your editorial about Uncle Sam's misadventures with the drug trade on Sept. 19. Once I read the portion about the Coca-Cola corporation having people killed in order to maintain its control over working conditions, I felt like a labor traitor. I've drunk my last Coke.

Bosses are all the same, and they'll never change. I wish things like this would somehow get exploded in the media despite the U.S. Government's practice of manipulating the press. Fewer people would chew me out over my often-stated belief that we need to get rid of capitalism.

I love Black Commentator, by the way.

Assassination goes better with Coke in Colombia, where the beverage maker's management style blends in perfectly with the political surroundings. To avoid death squads, union organizer Adolfo de Jesus Munera found it necessary to absent himself from work at a Coca-Cola plant. Armed men caught up with him at his mother's house, and delivered his final termination notice. Four thousand union men and women have been similarly murdered in Colombia in the past 15 years.

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs considers Coca-Cola among the "most notorious" corporations in Colombia, which is saying a great deal. The country accounts for three out of every five unionists murdered on the planet.

Diana Davies wants American consumers to think about that.

Thanks for getting this subject/case back in the news.

The right-wing death squads, hirelings of foreign corporations and domestic ranchers and cocaine barons, are closely allied with the Colombian Government. The regime receives $2 billion in annual U.S. aid, surpassed only by Egypt and Israel - a fitting subsidy for a frontline state in Bush's War on Terror.

The U.S. is on good terms with all of the players in the Colombian cocaine trade, having enlisted the traffickers in Reagan's mid-Eighties war against the government of Nicaragua. Crack cocaine gained a foothold on U.S. streets through a network stitched together by the CIA, which needed the money to create an army that would spread terror in the Nicaraguan countryside.

San Jose Mercury reporter Gary Webb exposed the CIA-Crack Cocaine Connection in 1996, complimenting the series with a state-of-the-art website. The cowardly corporate media eventually put out the firestorm, inventing excuses for the CIA's dealings that even the agency was not clever enough to concoct, but Webb and his site are back, as we reported in our last issue.

Thanks much for mentioning the resurrected Dark Alliance website in your news release, but I really wanted to write and thank you for bringing your excellent website to my attention. It's quite impressive; the articles are a pleasure to read.

Terrific work, gentlemen!


Gary Webb

Mail continues to roll in on our treatment of Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney's defeat, including Bruce Dixon's report on her failure to mount an effective get-out-the-vote mechanism. ("How Sister McKinney Lost," September 19.) Chris Lowe writes from Portland, Oregon:

Your piece in the Black Commentator on Cynthia McKinney's defeat is a
model of incisive, constructively critical clarity. I hope it gets
circulated in places where it could make a difference. Thanks for
writing it.

In his article, Dixon points to the elections of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and Illinois Senator Carole Moseley-Braun as examples of grassroots progressive victories in the face of numerical and financial odds. However, Chris Lowe mildly chastises Dixon for describing Moseley-Braun as the only Black U.S. Senator of the twentieth century, reminding Dixon - and - of Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke's tenure, from 1966 to 1979.

Our only excuse is that the intervening years of Reagan, Bush, and more Bush have caused some of us to forget the days when now all-but extinct creatures roamed the land: moderate Republicans like Senator Brooke, who is still very much alive.

The price of independence

Audra Robinson was glad to see Alabama Rep. Earl Hilliard go down to defeat at the hands of Arthur Davis, whom we have labeled a tool of the Hard Right. Robinson raises questions of keen interest to this publication.

I read your website with interest as often as I can. While I do not always agree with what you say, sometimes you hit the nail on the head.... We [black folks] cannot continue to allow any one group, whether it is the Democratic Leadership Council, Republicans, or even the Congressional Black Caucus, to continue to take our people for granted. We should strive to make our candidates more politically independent, and the only way to do this by financing our own candidates. Surely, we see that money is the key to every election by now. Why is it that millions of us will gladly go out and purchase $100-200 gym shoes for our children, but we will not give a single dollar to support the campaigns of our own black political candidates....

Having gotten that out of the way, I do take issue with your characterization of the race in Alabama's 7th Congressional District. In a previous letter, I shared with you the numerous reasons why the majority of people in Mr. Hilliard's district voted against him. I think that you are being too kind to the sorry legacy of a man who served in Congress for 5 terms, from a district with massive economic and health problems. (Incidentally, the problems were identified to Mr. Hilliard before assuming the Congressional Office ten years ago).

Audra Robinson is a doctor in Birmingham. He has touched directly on a huge problem, one that will plague progressives so long as Trojan Horse candidates are thrust upon the Black electorate. It is inevitable that, in calling attention to the Hard Right's New Black Strategy, we will seem to be singing the praises of the individual politicians who are targeted. We will be charged with mounting a knee-jerk defense of incumbents and, when the Right decides to field relatively young surrogates, as it did in Alabama and Newark, New Jersey, we will be indicted for attempting to strangle the aspirations of youth.

We did not choose the congressional districts and cities in which the enemy has mounted his attacks; but we must resist them. Is it Dr. Robinson's position that the only way that Arthur Davis could defeat Congressman Hilliard was to collude with Black people's enemies? Davis makes no excuses for taking the devil's dollars, and the good doctor should not provide him with any.

If electoral necessity justifies treason, then every potential challenger of every incumbent Black politician can make the same argument, as they line up at the Hard Right's door, hands outstretched.

is, of course, in principled agreement with the creation of independent Black campaign finance mechanisms. However, the Right's pockets are virtually bottomless; we can never match them dollar for dollar. In the end, only an organized and aware people can stand up to the power of money.

Caesar Howell writes about "slow-footed Black Congressional Representatives."

I have always enjoyed the work that your site has done since the beginning and I always anticipate every edition that comes out. My question concerning the problems of our Black leadership is how some of them have been co-opted into not speaking out and acquiescing to the Emperor Bush and all of the Neo-conservatives on all issues concerning all peoples of color.

Most of our leaders have been caught up with "blending in." Rep. Hilliard and Rep. McKinney bucked the trend and got am-"Bushed" for asking questions that we should have asked from the start. It is bad enough that the token Blacks we have (Powell and Rice) conned us into believing that we are included. What are we thinking when we sit back and slowly watch our rights, culture, and manhood disappear? Why do we not have a real coalition with the rest of our brothers and sisters of color?

Many McKinney supporters regard the congresswoman as a national resource. Cheryl Seal is one of them.

I just want to suggest that a write in campaign for McKinney be organized. If I were a Georgia voter, I'd sure as hell resent having to choose between the GOP candidate and the "Trojan Horse" I think [Denise] Majette represents.

Of course, to avoid the "fun and games" the rightwing will inevitably try to instigate, it will be necessary to make sure of the legality of a write in candidate and specifically how to enter them on the ballot (I can just imagine thousands of write ins being tossed out for some trumped up technicality, such as "Sorry, your y's dipped too far below the line!"

America cannot afford to lose this woman!!!!!

I say the second best thing is to enter her as a Green candidate. But for God's sake, let's not give up.

A write-in might serve the purpose of encouraging bitter McKinney supporters to go to the polls, rather than stay home, thus avoiding punishment of other Democrats.

However, other considerations loom, in light of McKinney's clear failure to put together an effective district campaign organization, as documented by Bruce Dixon. A weak McKinney write in - this time, without union and party support - would be very, very bad theater. Blacks and progressives don't need another battering in Dekalb County, Georgia.

Hip Hop begets heroin?

At first glance, George Staples seemed to have a beef with our cartoonist, Khalil Bendib, but it turns out that the writer harbors a longer list of grievances.

Up to now I've enjoyed your publication, which has been informative and thought provoking, even if I haven't agreed with you one hundred percent of the time. However, the cartoon in the [September 19] issue - The Good Heroin Man - is way over the top. In fact it's sickening, and reveals on the part of the artist (and your editor?) a deep-seated hatred of our government. Drug use, as we know, is a serious problem throughout America not only in our major cities but even in isolated rural areas. But the cartoon's message that it's the government's fault (a conspiracy) just perpetuates the defeatist notion that it's all the fault of someone else, rather than fixing responsibility where it belongs - the lack of leadership by family and community leaders who have the primary responsibility for the behavior of our children and young adults.

P.S. The music in the cartoon that's coming out of the delivery truck - could it possibly be rap music? Think that might have something to do with luring young people to buy drugs????!!

In many areas of the country, heroin has reclaimed its market position alongside crack cocaine, a clear consequence of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Rap music has nothing to do with it. Family values didn't suddenly deteriorate, this year. Bush's war unleashed the poppies, once again, in full view of U.S. forces and to the profit of America's allies in that country and the region.

Mr. Staples' hatred of Hip Hop seems to have spun his moral and political compass. 's position on the roots of the drug epidemics of the past three and one-half decades is laid out in our April 5 issue, "Make the Amendment: How To Get the U.S. Government Out of the International Drug Trade".

Zimbabwe article disputed

Michigan State University professors Bill Derman and John Metzler co-authored a September 19 Guest Commentary on Zimbabwe, in which they concluded that Robert Mugabe's government "has destroyed in the past two and a half years virtually all of its achievements since 1980."

Derman and Metzler, both on the faculty of MSU's African Studies Center and frequent travelers to southern Africa, wrote, "To portray Zimbabwe as a continuous victim of colonialism has the political purpose of deflecting attention away from ZANU-PF policies and to pretend that there is no connection between the economic, social, health and political crises of contemporary Zimbabwe and the policies and practices of its ruling party. To assert... that contemporary commercial farmers are no different from those who conquered Zimbabwe and that they are robbers and murderers is wrong."

Two readers promptly responded. First, Roger Chapman:

The authors, Derman and Metzler, need to explain which African countries are not affected by European colonialism and American imperialism over the last 100+ years. Mugabe's use of land reallocation as a political issue is what democracy is all about...majority rules. We Americans should know how our politicians use issues to divide and win elections and sometimes appeal to the lowest denominator in this country to win elections. The key point is at the end when the authors admit that the "vast majority now sinking into deeper poverty." If the white farmers are so beneficial, why are the vast majority of their workers poor? I predict that if and when Mugabe is successful in the land reallocation, Zimbabwe blacks will be in a better financial situation that their brethren in South Africa. It should also be noted that Namibia is also attempting to address the land issue.

Clifford E. Bell had a different take on the matter:

Professors Metzler and Derman are knowingly or unknowingly supporting the psychological warfare, which is anti any/all African programs for SELF Sufficiency. The two "scholars" are of a western, institutionalized orientation. They are promoting the idea that Anglo Saxons have the right to be on the land [as well as own land] in Africa. The two "scholars", knowingly or unknowingly, are pro-western, criminal propagandists.

We end this column with greetings from a new reader of The Black Commentator, one with whom we are in total agreement.

I'm not sure who signed me up, but a hearty thanks! Can't tell you how happy I am to receive a publication so provocative and intelligent. Keep up the great work, and keep these emails coming.



We promise, Jake. Every other Thursday.

Keep writing.

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Other commentaries in this issue:

Lantern of Liberty:
Harriet Tubman Mural Replaced by a Parking Lot

BET's Black Billionaire Trojan Horse:
"Democrat" Bob Johnson Fronts For GOP

Black Children Still Victimized by "Savage Inequalities":
Public education amid racism and isolation
by Elena Rutherford, Guest Commentator

A letter to our readers:
Black America and Bush's New World Order

Commentaries in Issue 12 September 19 , 2002:

The Trojan Horse Watch:
Identify, expose and defeat Black stealth candidates

How Sister McKinney Lost
and what we can learn from it by Bruce A. Dixon, Guest Commentator

Misreading the Zimbabwe Crisis: by Bill Derman and John Metzler, Guest Commentators

e-MailBox: Watergate, South?... Move over, Oprah... Return to sender

A letter to our readers: CIA-Crack website is back... Coca-Cola kills... Smallpox: none of the nurses' business... Victory in St. Louis, Setback in New Orleans

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety on the Past Issues page.