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The current issue is always free to everyone - The People’s Struggle Vs Reform: Time for Systemic Change - Keeping it Real

I noted with supreme interest, on the cover of volume one of Freemix Radio’s “I Mix What I Like” CD by Morgan State University’s assistant professor Jared Ball, a poignant quotation which reads: “In an Obamamanical era we ask and [Steve] Biko answers ‘a change in color of the occupier does not change the system.’” In other words, without systemic change and despite any cosmetic makeover, the U.S. Empire will remain the same blood-sucking, avaricious Empire both internally and externally.

This is reminiscent of the paraphrased words of Jamil Al-Amin [H. Rap Brown] when he correctly said, “I will fight just as hard against a black oppressor as I will against a white one.” We Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples must be mindful of the trickery and treachery being perpetrated and perpetuated by the corporate, military, prison apparatus of this despicably hypocritical and capitalist U.S. system.

With this in mind, it was a welcome breath of fresh air, when representing, I found myself among a core group of critically thinking Black folks attending a panel discussion at the June, 2008, National Conference On Media Reform. This particular panel consisted of a number of sisters and brothers. It was exhilarating to be present with various other persons from throughout the nation attending that panel, who are not collaborators with the Empire and who have not drunk from what I refer to as the 21st Century Jim Jones - Obama Kool Aid of unprincipled politics, denial, political opportunism, and Black American self-erasure / annihilation. It was uplifting to witness the outpouring of approval from the panel audience each time the current U.S. Presidential candidacy of the courageous former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s “Power To The People” campaign was mentioned. Clearly, the aforementioned panel and ensuing discussion was, in the opinion of this writer, the most relevant and important portion of a conference which otherwise, and for the most part, fundamentally ignored the pressing systemic issues and concerns of Black, Brown, and Red peoples regarding the media of disinformation and consolidation in this nation.

The very word re form goes contrary to needed systemic change - which is the only real antidote to the U.S. Empire’s corporate, military, and prison apparatus. We are engaged in a revolutionary people’s struggle for systemic / fundamental change; not a liberal so-called “progressive” reforming of the same filthy, unjust, hypocritical, unequal, corporately fascist system and empire under some other guise. That is nothing more than a sham - and a cynical one at that.

Cynthia McKinney, in her Statement as the “Power To The People” Candidate for U.S. President “on the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate in 2008,” was correct and quite clear that the specific “10-Point Draft Manifesto of the Reconstruction Movement” is something that Candidate Barack Obama needs to immediately “embrace” and act upon if he is serious about real change in this nation. Moreover, Cynthia McKinney is absolutely on point in her assertion that, “The people deserve an open and honest debate on these issues and more.” Indeed!

The following is Sister Cynthia McKinney’s entire official Statement issued to the presumptive Democratic Party Candidate Barack Obama. I urge readers of to read it. Every single word is important and it speaks clearly and unabashedly for itself:

Statement by Cynthia McKinney, Power to the People Candidate for U.S. President, on the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic Party's Presidential Candidate in 2008 - (statement issued June 9, 2008).

“On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Hillary Clinton announced that her 2008 presidential bid is over, making Barack Obama the first-ever Black presidential nominee of a major party in the history of the United States.

Congratulations to Senator Obama for achieving such a feat!

When I was growing up in the U.S. South in the racially turbulent 1960s, it would have been impossible for a Black politician to become a viable Presidential contender. Nothing a Black candidate could have done or said would have prevented him (or her) from being excluded on the basis of skin color alone. Many of us never thought we would see in our lifetime a Black person with a real possibility of becoming President of the United States.

The fact that this is now possible is a sign of some racial progress in this country, more than 40 years after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But it is also a sign of the deep discontent among the American people, and particularly among African Americans, with the corporate-dominated, business-as-usual politics that has prevailed in Washington for too many years.

Coming from Barack Obama, the word "change" did not appear as just another empty campaign slogan. It galvanized millions of people  - mostly young people - to register to vote and to get active in the political system. The U.S. political system needs the energy and vision of all is citizens participating in the political process. Citizen participation is always the answer.

Senator Obama called for healing the wounds inflicted on working people and the poor in our country after eight years of a corrupt and criminal Bush-Cheney Administration. Just as in November 2006, people full of an expectation for change, including those the system has purposefully left out and left behind, flocked to the polls to vote for Senator Obama. Across a broad swath of the people of this country, and from those who are impacted by U.S. foreign policy, there is a real expectation, a real desire, for change.

While congratulating Senator Obama for a feat well done, I would also like to bring home the very real need for change and a few of the issues that must be addressed for the change needed in this country to be real. First of all, a few of the more obvious facts:

United for a Fair Economy (UFE) produces studies each year on the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled, State of the Dream reports. UFE has found that on some indices the racial disparities that exist today are worse than at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For example, infant mortality, where the overall U.S. world ranking falls below Cuba, Israel, and Canada. They also have found that, without a public policy intervention, it would take over 5,000 years to close the home ownership gap between blacks and whites in this country, especially exacerbated because of the foreclosure crisis disproportionately facing Blacks and Latinos today. They have found that it would take 581 years, without a public policy intervention, to close the racial gap in income in this country. UFE has found unacceptable racial disparities extant on economic, justice, and security issues. After analyzing the impact of the Democratic Party's "First 100 Hours" agenda upon taking the Congressional majority, UFE concluded in its 2007 report that Blacks vote in the Blue (meaning, they support Democrats in the voting booth), but live in the Red (they do not get the public policy results that those votes merit). And UFE noted that Hurricane Katrina was not even mentioned at all in the Congressional Democratic majority's 2007 First 100 hours agenda.

United for a Fair Economy is not the only organization to find such dismal statistics, reflecting life for far too many in this country. In a study not too long ago, Dr. David Satcher found that over 83,000 blacks died unnecessarily, due to racial disparities in access to health care and because of the disparate treatment blacks receive after access. A Hull House study found that the racial disparity in the quality of life of black Chicagoans and white Chicagoans would take 200 years to be eliminated without a public policy intervention. The National Urban League in its annual "State of Black America" publication basically concludes that the United States has not done enough to close long-existing and unacceptable racial disparities. The United Nations Rapporteur for Special Forms of Racism, Mr. Doudou Diene of Senegal, just left this country in an unprecedented fact-finding mission to monitor human rights violations in the United States.

Dr. Jared Ball submitted to Diene on my behalf, my statement after the Sean Bell police verdict. The United Nations has already cited its concern for the treatment of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors and the extrajudicial killings taking place across our country, that especially target Black and Latino males, and especially at the hands of law enforcement authorities.

I hope it is clear that the desire for change is so deeply felt because it is deeply needed. Politics, through public policy, can address all these issues and more in the favor of the people. We do not have to accept or tolerate such glaring disparities in our society. We do not have to accept or tolerate bloated Pentagon spending, unfair tax cuts, attacks on our civil liberties, and on workers' rights to unionize. We don't have to accept or tolerate our children dropping out of high school, college education unreachable because tuition is so high, or our country steeped in debt.

The 21st Century statistics for our country reflect a country that can still be characterized as Dr. King did so many years ago: the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet.

It doesn't have to be that way. And the people know it.

I have accepted as the platform of the Power to the People Campaign, the 10-Point Draft Manifesto of the Reconstruction Movement, a grouping of Black activists who came together in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to advocate for public policy initiatives that address the plight of Blacks and other oppressed peoples in this country.

Among its many specific public policy planks, the Draft Manifesto calls for:

    • election integrity, if our vote is to mean anything at all, all political parties must defend the integrity of the votes cast by the American people, something neither of the major parties has done effectively in the past two Presidential elections;
    • funding a massive infrastructure improvement program that is also a jobs program that greens our economy and puts people to work, and especially in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Hurricane survivors, treated as internally displaced persons whose right to vote and right of return are protected, play a meaningful role in the rebuilding of their communities;
    • recognizing affordable housing as a fundamental human right, and putting a halt to the senseless destruction of public housing in New Orleans;
    • enacting Reparations for African Americans, so that the enduring racial disparities which reflect the U.S. government's failure to address the reality and the vestiges of slavery and unjust laws enacted can be ended and recognition of the plight of Black Farmers whose issues are still not being adequately addressed by USDA and court-appointed mediators despite a US government admission of guilt for systematic discrimination;
    • acknowledging COINTELPRO and other government spying and destabilization programs from the 1960s to today and disclosing the role of the US government in the harassment and false imprisonment of political activists in this country, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the San Francisco 8, Leonard Peltier, including restitution to victims of government abuse and their families for the suffering they have long endured;
    • ending prisons for profit and the "war on drugs," which fuels the criminalization of Black and Latino youth at home and provides cover for U.S. military intervention in foreign countries, particularly to our south, which is used to put down all social protest movements in countries like Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and elsewhere;
    • creating a universal access, single-payer, health care system and enacting a livable wage, equal pay for equal work, repealing the Bush tax cuts, and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share of taxes;
    • establishing public funding for higher education - no student should graduate from college or university tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt;
    • ensuring workers' rights by 1) repealing Taft-Hartley to stop the unjust firing of union organizers, ban scabbing, and enable workers to exercise their voices at work and 2) enacting laws for U.S. corporations that keep labor standards high at home and raise them abroad, which would require the repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA, the Caribbean FTA, and the U.S.-Peru FTA;
    • justice for immigrant workers, including real immigration reform that provides amnesty for all undocumented immigrants;
    • creating a Department of Peace that would put forward projects for peace all over the world, deploying our diplomats to help resolve conflicts through peaceful means and overseeing the orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from the more than 100 countries around the world where they are stationed, and an immediate end to all wars and occupations by U.S. forces, beginning in Iraq and Afghanistan, and slashing the budget for the Pentagon.
The Power to the People Campaign has visited 24 states and I believe there is already broad support across our country for these policy positions. The people deserve an open and honest debate on these issues and more. I encourage the Democratic Party and its new presumptive nominee, Senator Obama, to embrace these important suggestions for policy initiatives.”

The fact is that the people of the United States of America do have a real people’s candidate who does not drink from the corporate trough and who is striving for systemic change. She is not a Republicrat [i.e. a puppet of the Democratic or Republican Party]. That candidate is Cynthia McKinney, and the concomitant “Power To The People” Campaign, which is an important beginning in the ongoing process of building a genuine people’s movement in this nation for much-needed systemic change.

We can and must do this, folks. Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples - we can and must do this my sisters and brothers! Onward then…The time is upon us to make and keep it real. It’s not easy but then, despite the mythology of the empire, there really is no such thing as the tooth fairy. But there is such a thing as a genuine people’s movement powered by Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples determined to bring about systemic change! Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker , by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.

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June 12, 2008
Issue 281

is published every Thursday

Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield

Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
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