Four Eunuchs of War
will render its immutable judgment on U.S. Representatives Harold Ford,
Jr., William Jefferson, Albert Wynn and Sanford Bishop. These men are
like the Sultan's eunuchs, for whom submission is a trait of character;
the mere presence of Power dominates them, completely.
bowed to George Bush's declaration of permanent, unilateral war for
no remotely defensible reason. Their fear is self-generated,
Jefferson and Wynn represent safe, solid Black-majority districts, dependably
anti-war and anti-Bush. Only Bishop's district is less than majority-Black,
although it is also considered safely Democratic.
as percentage of district voting age population:
William Jefferson (LA) 61%
Harold Ford, Jr. (TN) 59%
Albert Wynn (MD) 58%
Sanford Bishop (GA) 45%
of the 36 voting members of the Congressional Black Caucus defended
Black America's political legacy, voting No. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) led
half of her CBC colleagues in support of her "alternative to war"
resolution, demonstrating once again that African Americans are the
core of the forces of peace and justice in the U.S.
for Ford, Wynn, Jefferson and Bishop. Three of the four are all but
invulnerable to direct coercion by the White House. They have stained
Black people's honor, voluntarily.
betrayal at this historic moment will be remembered as the true testament
to their characters.
most dangerous game
complain that Bush is trying to obscure the dark clouds that hang over
the U.S. economy. It's worse than that; the gloom is global. According
to The Observer, of London, "European markets have collapsed even
further, wiping out nearly half of the value of European corporations
in this year alone." Japan, it is clear, has no idea how to maintain
the structures built after World War Two, which lie in tatters, threatening
that nation's social order to its core.
European economists are making comparisons with the Thirties, when a
worldwide boom went bust. Such talk is considered near-treason in the
U.S., where corporate economists directly tied to the machinations of
the market are the only voices deemed worthy of media coverage. Their
mumbling and/or silence on the "slump" with no end in sight
is the gloomiest signal of all.
does not favor Chicken Little stories about falling
skies; economies are what people kill for, and no one should relish
the thought of global slaughter.
it does appear that the system may be running out of ways to export
its contradictions. The developing world can no longer be force-fed
International Monetary Fund arrangements that were intended to give
Western capital opportunities to reproduce itself in ever-multiplying
quantities. Yet the game cannot go on, except under these terms. Even
normally compliant native elites are regurgitating on the Old Order;
it is killing them - the immediate cause of the crisis that has
flattened Argentina and threatens every country in Latin America.
having never been allowed to rise, provides no serious markets suitable
to international finance's purposes. And the Japanese engine has sputtered
out of the East Asian economies.
who look beyond the minutia of current war-talk, to describe the international
crisis as a cutthroat brawl over mineral and oil resources, may not
be looking far enough. The truly yawning abyss appears to be a structural
dilemma. The house that capital built could pancake, surplus
oil oozing from crumbled schemes based on speculations that have simply
run out of space.
Old Orders unravel, it tends to happen quickly and without hope of repair.
It may be that American captains of capital, peering into the chasm
with no bottom, have become desperate enough to sweep the board clean
and start a new game - with guns to the heads of all the other players,
making up new rules along the way.
Blow, and Blowback
is another term for unintended consequences. No honest person doubts
that September 11 was "blowback" from the CIA's arming of
Muslim zealots in Afghanistan, beginning in the late Seventies under
Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter. Heroin's comeback on U.S. streets during
the same period was "blowback," as is the current heroin plague.
The ongoing cocaine epidemic is directly traceable to the CIA's Latin
American criminal enterprises.
mission to destabilize the late Michael Manley's government in Jamaica,
more than two decades ago, is blowing back in murderous fashion on the
streets and roads of the island. At the time of this writing, nearly
50 people had been murdered in the run-up to the October 16 elections.
Although the gunmen of the "garrison communities" of Kingston
and other cities do battle in Jamaica Labour Party green and People's
National Party orange, the warfare appears to more resemble Crips and
Bloods than Left vs. Right. Most observers view the current violence
as an extension of drug turf wars.
is widely believed to have introduced large-scale urban warfare into
Jamaican politics in 1980 in its zeal to unseat Michael Manley, thought
to be too friendly with Fidel Castro. 844 people were killed in the
last two weeks of the campaign. The JLP's Edward Seaga (spelled "CIA-ga"
in graffiti of the time) achieved a bloody victory, as did the IMF.
has been back in power for the last three governments and, with the
election expected to be close, Seaga's knock is going rat-tat-tat, again.
Only now, it is the drug trade, rather than the terms of relations between
nations, that is at issue. Politicized youth have become narco-gangsters.
all pretense, the U.S. has begun training a battalion of Colombian commandos
for war against leftist guerillas. Previously, U.S. Special Forces and
contract mercenaries operated under the fiction that they were helping
the Colombian army combat the drug trade - the last thing on the minds
of both the Americans and their clients in Bogota.
Berets have already trained a 2,000-member brigade for "anti-drug"
warfare, which is undoubtedly identical to anti-guerilla warfare. The
brigade's mission was to attack in areas
where the poppy fields are controlled by guerillas, who tax the peasants
who grow the poppies that are processed into cocaine by allies of the
government who then ship the stuff to the U.S.
relationships are apparently confusing to the narcotics police, 78 of
whom were busted for stealing millions of dollars in U.S anti-drug money.
The former head of the anti-drug unit was among those indicted, along
with 22 colonels and majors.
guerillas originally hired by rich ranchers (like the current president
of Colombia's family) to guard their cocaine operations from
leftist incursion have forgotten their mission, entirely. The mercenaries
started using and selling the crop, and have split into three factions,
each quite dangerous, one of which is charged with shipping 17 tons
of cocaine to the U.S.
people have placed the rightwing mercenary group on a list of terrorist
organizations. However, thousands of the group's former (or present?)
troops constitute the government's only hold on large parts of the countryside.
At least until recently, they guarded sections of U.S. oil company pipelines,
now being handed over to freshly equipped army units.
sends Colombia $2 billion in assorted aid each year. 500 tons of cocaine
and 10 tons of heroin flow in the other direction. Bigtime Blowback.
Bush's inability to articulate simple ideas may lead some observers
to believe that the failure is the President's, alone; that his collective
administration knows what its doing, even if the chief is fuzzy on most
things. Not true.
of germ warfare? The administration and its allies on Capitol Hill want
you to be, and promise to end the danger by ending Saddam Hussein's
life. Yet just last month, the same U.S. government pulled the plug
on years of negotiations to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention,
the international apparatus to eliminate germ warfare. Washington disagrees
with, among other things, inspections protocols - the U.S. wants
to limit them. (Sound familiar?) At U.S insistence, negotiations have
been put off until 2006.
the most deadly viruses is smallpox, which can be introduced in the
air or in liquid form. Bush health officials favor making smallpox vaccines
available to limited numbers of the public, but "only after some
10 million health workers were immunized and a vaccine was licensed
for general use, possibly in 2004," according to the Washington
chunk of those health workers belong to unions, but nobody in the administration
is talking to their leaders. It is unthinkable that health care workers
in New York City hospitals, for example, would even consider being inoculated
without the input of their union leadership. Does that mean that the
Bush administration is not serious about a mass inoculation plan? Maybe.
More likely, they simply don't know what they are doing. (See our interview
with Henry Nicholas, President of the National Union of Hospital and
Health Care Employees, in this issue.)
fraudulence of Bush's Homeland Security proposals is evident in the
debate over federal employee protections. Having resisted creation of
anything resembling a Homeland Security Department during the months
immediately after September 11 - the Bush men called such proposals
"bureaucratic" responses - the administration suddenly shifted
gears as corporate scandals and intelligence failures hit the headlines.
In a matter of weeks and to much diversionary fanfare, the White House
decided to pile 170,000 employees into the new department, while keeping
the FBI and the CIA outside of the umbrella!
effect was to threaten dislocation of a large portion of the federal
bureaucracy, leaving untouched the actual guarantors of security against
foreign attack. Then, the administration showed its real agenda: bust
of thousands of the Homeland Security Department's employees would lose
many of their Civil Service protections under the President's scheme.
Naturally, the unions resisted, allowing Bush to claim that Democrats
are soft on national security. As a result of Bush's aggressive stance,
the department's future was put in jeopardy. Actually, Bush never wanted
are the antics of the world's sole superpower in time of war.
down to the nitty gritty
McKinney forces went to court to overturn her August defeat in an open
Democratic primary. "The issue is that black Democratic voters
in the 4th District had their voting rights interfered with and violated,"
said attorney J.M. Raffauf, who is suing the Georgia Secretary of State
and elections officials of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. "Malicious
crossover voting occurs when one party invades another party's primary
to sabotage that party's choice of its own nominee for political office,"
the suit contends.
whites piled on the numbers and the Hard Right filled up the campaign
coffers of victorious Democratic Trojan Horse candidate Denise Majette;
there is no question of that. With Black "supermajority" congressional
districts soon to be a thing of the past, even substantial Black majorities
may be vulnerable to effective disenfranchisement in open primary states.
However, opponents of open primaries cannot count on the automatic support
of organized labor which, like most lobbying groups, values its ability
to deliver votes in both major party primaries. Some open primary systems
enhance labor's power to reward and punish Republicans and Democrats,
by concentrating the faithful during crucial contests.
are among the nuts and bolts of the U.S. electoral system, which sometimes
weds progressive forces to undemocratic mechanisms. Quick fixes, such
as transitory lower court decisions, seldom yield a lasting result when
entrenched interests are involved. We would pass along political scientist
Ron Walters' advice to Black politicians seeking to make their districts
safe for a progressive agenda: "They should have the sense to know
that they need good organizers and that cultivating their organization
is more important than many of the appearance-type responsibilities
they often adopt."
words, Organize, organize, organize. There is no magic wand, incantation,
statute, or court ruling.
sea change sweeping the nation will drown those Black politicians who
do not begin at once to make common cause with the ever-arriving Hispanics.
The manner of their political incorporation into the United States will
have fundamental impacts on the future of African Americans. If Hispanics
join us in substantial numbers, we become more powerful; if they turn
elsewhere, we will be more isolated than ever, a smaller proportion
of the nation, and far weaker.
America begins with an advantage that must not be squandered: the ability
to guide the newcomers through the twisting corridors that the non-privileged
must negotiate in their quest for power. Such assistance should be offered
as a friend and ally, and is no more of a gamble than the political
bets we routinely place with the descendants of slaveholders.
numbers are favorable. A poll released this month shows Hispanics are
most concerned about many of the same, core issues as African Americans.
The Washington Post reported:
to name the most important issues, 58 percent said education, 39 percent
said the economy, and 23 percent said health care and Medicare. Among
Hispanic immigrants, education was even more important, with 68 percent
citing education as their top issue, compared with 50 percent of native-born
to the poll, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family
Foundation, 55 percent of Hispanics are willing to pay more taxes for
better government services.
pollsters call these kinds of responders "Government Hispanics,"
as opposed to "Opportunity Hispanics": those who identify
with low tax, low service, GOP messages. The "Government Hispanics"
are in the strong majority, and tend to vote Democratic in congressional
elections, although they do not share Black antipathy to George Bush.
will learn. Black political leaders must be part of the process of Hispanic
political assimilation, especially in those jurisdictions in which the
two groups are thrown together. Narrow defense of the prerequisites
of Black power - no matter how hard-won - can lead to unnecessary rivalry
with Hispanics that will immediately be exploited by the well-financed,
"Opportunity" crowd. We could see the rise of more Latino
Trojan Horses, before we can corral our own.
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