years of slavery is worth 20 points'' said one of hundreds of placards
in the crowd outside the U.S Supreme Court, in Washington. "Save
had journeyed from as far away as California to support the University
of Michigan Law School's admissions policies, in what may be the last
line of legal defense of affirmative action in higher education and
other arenas of American society. ``If we're not careful, we could
find ourselves in a situation where there is a resegregation of schools,''
Mfume, chairman of the NAACP. "I remember what it was like
before affirmative action.''
lawyers for white plaintiffs argued that the law school's attempt
to maintain a "critical mass" of minority students amounts
to unconstitutional racial "quotas" - a view thought to
be shared by four of the nine Justices. Race is one of a range of
factors in the school's admissions process, worth 20 points to minority
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor buoyed affirmative action supporters with
her skeptical assessment of the anti-diversity lawyers' presentation.
"You're speaking in absolutes, and it isn't quite that,"
said. "I think we have given recognition to the use of race
in a variety of settings."
of the largest contingents of demonstrators had traveled by bus from
Michigan. Others hailed from as far away as California. "We must
fight this fight . . . using our marching feet," said Rev.
Jesse Jackson, joined at the podium by Martin Luther King III
and presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton. "The struggle is
not over," chanted the crowd. "They say Jim Crow, we say
march was called by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action &
Integration And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).
Organizers gathered their forces the previous day at historically
Black Howard University, where Washington lawyer Donald
Temple warned, "Tomorrow's case can take us back to Plessy
v. Ferguson," the 1896 Supreme Court decision that ushered in
more than half a century of segregation under the "separate but
an April fool...
Bar Association President Malcolm S. Robinson admonished fellow lawyers
to join the demonstrators. "Only an April 'Fool' will be silent
and pretend that your successes within our profession had nothing
to do with affirmative action programs that were enacted to remedy
proven acts of discrimination within the realm of the higher education
admissions process," wrote Robinson, in a letter to NBA
of the corporate, educational and even military establishment balked
at following Bush back to the days of Jim Crow. A record-breaking
number of friend-of-the-court briefs were filed on behalf of the plaintiffs,
and endorsements of the University of Michigan's policies have also
come from a number of mainstream Jewish organizations that had opposed
more rigorous affirmative action programs - an indication that important
sectors of the American establishment believe the assault on the general
concept of "diversity" constitutes a threat to social stability.
since the 1954 Supreme Court Brown desegregation decision has
an administration been so hostile to school integration efforts. Indeed,
the anti-affirmative action phalanx and George Bush's political network
are indistinguishable, as reported in the current issue of The
stake is the freedom of the University of Michigan and other universities
to use carefully tailored means to achieve a diverse student body.
Standing against them are the Bush Administration and a handful
of misleadingly named organizations with which the Administration
has close ties, such as the Center for Individual Rights (CIR),
Linda Chavez's Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), and Ward Connerly's
American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI). Key right-wing foundations
have bankrolled these groups for the past dozen years. The CIR,
which brought the Michigan cases, is also responsible for the notorious
Hopwood case, which overturned affirmative action throughout the
US Fifth Circuit. Bush's Solicitor General, Federalist Society veteran
Theodore Olson, argued Hopwood on behalf of CIR.
the fetid breath of Thomas Sowell wafted into the diversity discussion
via the loony pages of the Jewish
World. Sowell is the Godfather of subsidized Black conservative
"public intellectuals." Now in eclipse, Sowell rose to unearned
prominence through rightwing speaking and publishing networks in the
1970s, back when racist think tanks were just beginning to learn how
to work the strings of eager Black puppets. Sowell continues to peddle
pedagogical nonsense in brown paper packages:
all the gushing about the mystical benefits of "diversity"
in higher education, a recent study by respected academic scholars
found that "college diversity programs fail to raise standards"
and that "a majority of faculty members and administrators
recognize this when speaking anonymously."
study by Stanley Rothman, Seymour Martin Lipset, and Neil Nevitte
found that "of those who think that preferences have some impact
on academic standards those believing it negative exceed those believing
it positive by 15 to 1."
study Sowell cites - funded, like himself, by rightwing foundation
money - actually "proves" that many white students and faculty
resent affirmative action programs on "their" campuses,
a valid argument only to those who believe that whites have an inalienable
right to enjoy all of their preferences in life.
Bush men have assembled a long and sorry list of ideological lawyers
who are prepared to interpret the constitution along precisely those
lines. Two especially gruesome nominees await lifetime confirmation
by the full Senate. Democrats have been struggling to maintain a filibuster
against corporate lawyer Miguel Estrada, a Honduran-born clone
of Clarence Thomas and Bush's campaign wedge into the more opportunistic
elements of the Hispanic community. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary
Committee last week rammed through the nomination of Texas judge Priscilla
R. Owen, particularly noxious to abortion rights activists but also
hostile to civil rights in general. It remains to be seen if hangdog
Senate Democrats are capable of sustaining two filibusters, given
their ingrained habit of rolling over under pressure.
electoral error and fraud
of computer scientists have joined to confirm the worst fears of a
techno-phobic public: the new voting machines may be subject to tampering
and irretrievable loss of data. According to the March
28 Washington Post:
the scientists' campaign, which began in California's Silicon Valley
in January, has gathered signatures from more than 300 experts,
and the pressure has induced the industry to begin changing course.
Georgia debuted 22,000 Diebold touch screens last fall, some people
touched one candidate's name on the screen and saw another candidate's
name appear as their choice.
September in Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward counties had a different
kind of vote loss with ES&S touch-screen equipment: At the end
of the day, precincts that reported hundreds of voters also listed
virtually no votes counted. In that case, technicians were able
to retrieve the votes from the machines.
of the affected Miami voting precincts were heavily Black.
new voting technological has leaped ahead of legal precedents, raising
questions of when and how voting rights are violated by acts of computer
programming commission and omission - a new body of law that will
eventually be sorted out by the U.S. Supreme Court. We all remember
how the High Court voted when the last big Florida election dispute
landed in their docket, December 2000.
Hard Right is intent on plowing under the field of dreams sown in
the Sixties and early Seventies. Minority business set-aside programs,
championed by President Richard Nixon more than 30 years ago, are
under siege in virtually every state. Studies such as the one cited
by Thomas Sowell show that white majorities actually believe that
African Americans are getting more than their fair share of public
North Carolina, statewide Black Leadership Caucus chairman Larry D.
Hall was compelled to correct the factual record in a letter to Senate
President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight:
Americans have been the most loyal Democratic voters in the state.
African Americans provided much of the margin of victory for the
university and higher education bonds. However, reports at the initial
stages showed African American contractors had been awarded approximately
1.9% of the $750, 000,000 in bond contract awards....
primary cause of the construction delays is that most contractors
have too much work and not enough time. Yet, we continue to "lock
out" segments of the community who could timely and economically
deliver services to reduce this problem.
events of September 11appear to have somehow validated suppressed
white prejudices. A recent Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights report cites steady progress in the
struggle to convince the nation of the injustice of racial profiling,
September 11, this consensus evaporated. The 19 men who hijacked
airplanes to carry out the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon were Arabs from Muslim countries. The federal government
immediately focused massive investigative resources and law enforcement
attention on Arabs, Arab Americans, Muslims, and those perceived
to be Arab or Muslim, such as Sikhs and other South Asians. Many
of the practices employed in the name of fighting terrorism - from
the singling out of young Arab or Muslim men in the United States
for questioning and detention to the selective application of the
immigration laws to nationals of Arab or Muslim countries - amount
to racial profiling. But despite public hostility to street-level
racial profiling, anti-terror profiling has flourished.
the traditional profiling of native-born Blacks has become respectable
practice, once again.
Intelligence knocking at the door
dictates that the police state mechanisms enacted and proposed by
the Bush men (Patriot I and Patriot II) will disproportionately target
indigenous communities of color. Ideological Bush men roam the countryside,
warning that Islamist terrorists are aggressively recruiting among
Blacks and Latinos behind bars.
the serious reader, we recommend "Jihadis
in the Hood," an excellent examination of evolving political
and religious links between international Islam and urban America.
In exploring the realities of "Race, Urban Islam and the War
on Terror," Columbia University research fellow Hisham Aidi ridicules
rationales for targeting prisons as nurseries of terror.
Schwartz, who recently retired as religious services administrator
for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, strongly rejected the notion
that American prisons were a breeding ground for terrorists, and
stated that Islam was a positive force in the lives of inmates.
Scholar Robert Dannin adds: "Why would a sophisticated international
terrorist organization bother with inmates - who are fingerprinted
and whose data is in the US criminal justice system?"
terror lies in the machinery of the U.S. criminal system, home to
almost a million African Americans at any given time. Its appetite
for Blacks is insatiable. So adaptable is the institution, it has
turned the miracle of DNA to its own purposes.
in Houston, Texas have ordered retesting of 68 prisoners' DNA, including
17 men on death row, reports the March
31 Los Angeles Times.
botched simple tests. They misinterpreted data. They stored evidence
in a room where the ceiling leaked so badly that, one stormy night,
34 DNA samples were destroyed.
have never seen such a collective bunch of incompetents in my life,"
said Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, former head of the DNA lab at the medical
examiner's office in Harris County, which includes Houston. "They
don't understand how the testing should be done or how it should
be interpreted. None of them can think it through any better than
the others. They just don't get it."
Mayor Lee P. Brown urged a moratorium on those death penalty cases
in which evidence from the police crime lab was used.
is the right thing to do," the Black mayor wrote, displaying
a keen sense of understatement.
some, salvation comes in the person of Johnnie Cochran who, unfortunately,
can only rescue a few clients at a time. Steven Crawford was freed
from a Pennsylvania prison last year after serving 28 years for killing
a 13-year-old friend in a $32 robbery. Crawford was 14 at the time.
Crawford's story became newsworthy to the Associated
Press - by virtue of the glow emanating from his celebrity lawyer.
by a now-retired police chemist - found in a county detective's
briefcase after he died - contradicted police testimony about blood
particles on a hand print left by Crawford in the garage.
new evidence suggested that the print was old and Mitchell's blood
was splashed across it, not that Crawford made the print while the
blood was on his hand.
lawsuit names the state, Dauphin County and city of Harrisburg as
well as the chemist, a state police trooper and the county detective's
estate. All testified about the validity of the hand print evidence.
discovery of the notes prompted a judge last year to order a new
trial. Prosecutors instead decided to drop the case.
wants $35,000 as compensation for his 28-year ordeal.
Brazile shows her Lieberman colors
knew it all the time. Black Democratic National Committee member Donna
Brazile, who convinced former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun
to run for in primaries, is a supporter of the party's rightwing,
Bush-minded champion, Joseph Lieberman - the Connecticut Senator with
the corporate bucks.
came out of the conservative closet waving the war flag. "After
I heard Al Jazeera broadcasting that videotape showing what the Iraqis
did to the American POWs, I was livid," Brazile told the Washington
Times. "We have to send out the strongest possible message
of the Congressional Black Caucus oppose the Iraq war. "I don't
want to make any comment on the Black Caucus' position. They have
their reasons. For many people this is a moral issue," said Brazile,
revealing her own moral deficit. "We cannot afford to be talking
just to the anti-war people. That's easy. We have to talk to everybody,
is a raving Arab-killer, more rhetorically hawkish than the Bush men.
managed Al Gore's 2000 run for President, and recently started her
own political consulting outfit. Gore's roots are in the Democratic
Leadership Council (DLC), the Southern-born, corporate wing of the
party now led by Joe Lieberman. The DLC is the most lucrative grazing
ground for big consultant fees. In recent months she has been ostentatiously
huddling with Republican operatives, as well, advertising her... open-mindedness.
Brazile pretends that Congressman Richard Gephardt - who tore his
butt with anti-war Democrats by helping craft Bush's first War Powers
Resolution, last October - is her favorite guy. However, veteran Washington-watchers
(like the publishers of )
can read her like a commercial billboard. Again quoting the Washington
Times article: "Gephardt is a personal friend. I worked for him
on the Hill. Dick would put America first," she said, but then
she added: "I could also support Lieberman. Gephardt or Lieberman,"
she repeated. Nothing about Carol Moseley-Braun.
appears to be already giving the racist, sleep-talking Lieberman advice,
berman's shameless bid
few days after Brazile's coming-out article, Lieberman announced what
Angeles Times described as "a series of liberal social goals,
including affirmative action and an expansion of civil rights protections
for homosexuals." The event was less than advertised, consisting
of platitudes and outright lies. Lieberman claims to be a staunch
supporter of affirmative action, when in fact he has always added
the caveat, "but I oppose quotas" - a red herring since
no college affirmative action program has included quotas since the
Bakke decision of the Seventies. Lieberman pointedly refused to join
other Democratic Senators in endorsing the University of Michigan's
"diversity" program, back in January. Apparently, the stacks
of corporate amicus briefs favoring Michigan changed his mind.
is also the strongest Democratic supporter of faith-based bribery
in the Senate. White House Faith-based Initiatives operatives routinely
praise his efforts to fine-tune the legislation for smooth passage.
Singing the same tune, Donna Brazile urges Democrats to collaborate
with Bush's plan to buy the political allegiances of Black preachers:
"I'm urging them... to discuss where they can agree on domestic
issues, such as Bush's faith-based initiative."
strong as ever
contenders Sen. John Kerry and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
remain unquotable on the Iraq war, having not yet recovered from shock
and awe-induced bouts of the waffles. Rev. Al Sharpton continues to
preach the same perfect line, in minute accord with every major element
of the mainstream Black political agenda, a model for the progressive
Dennis Kucinich is the white candidate with heart, and a penchant
for poetry. The following can be found on his campaign
the war now. This war has been advanced on lie upon lie. Iraq was
not responsible for 9/11. Iraq was not responsible for any role
al-Qaeda may have had in 9/11. Iraq was not responsible for the
anthrax attacks on this country. Iraq did not tried to acquire nuclear
weapons technology from Niger. This war is built on falsehood.
this war now. Seventy-five billion dollars more for war. Three-quarters
of a trillion dollars for tax cuts, but no money for veterans '
benefits. Money for war. No money for health care in America, but
money for war. No money for social security, but money for war.
We have money to blow up bridges over the Tigris and the Euphrates,
but no money to build bridges in our own cities. We have money to
ruin the health of the Iraqi children, but no money to repair the
health of our own children and our educational programs.
Rev. Jesse Jackson searches for a company willing to insure a plane
to carry a religious delegation to Baghdad, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
George Bush's belief that "the market alone, not a democratic
government in cooperation with the private sector, can fix an economy."
reinforce this conservative philosophy, he appoints judges to federal
district and appeals courts - and wants to appoint Supreme Court
justices akin to Scalia and Thomas - who have a similar conservative
anti-government ideology, who will likely interpret the law and
the Constitution in a way that favors market forces (business and
finance) over human rights and civil liberties - courts that limit
the reach and effectiveness of government....
Iraq - by ignoring the UN, international law, collective security
and world opinion - the President is trying to impose a U.S.-led
outside-in and top-down "democracy" that matches his top-down
and trickle-down market economics. But our democracy, even in its
infancy, was brought about through a bottom-up American revolution
of values which led to a Declaration of Independence, a revolutionary
war, and ultimately a Constitution. It didn't come through gunpoint
Lincoln, President Bush is trying to build a more perfect world
before he builds a more perfect Union. But, like Lincoln, we should
be trying to complete "the great task remaining before us"
in our own democracy, even as we seek - alongside others - to build
a more perfect, humane and truly democratic world.
on the Web, Rally in Harlem
activists from around the globe gather on the web April 3 - 7 for
a National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. Check
in at Peace
Web to find your "gathering" of choice - for example,
the "Gathering of African/African American Peacemakers."
are expected to gather in Harlem to answer a "Call
to All African Americans & People of Color," April 5.
Among the participants is Black Telephone Workers for Justice, who
issued this statement:
Black Telephone Workers for Justice join with worldwide public opinion
against the racist, unjust and imperialist war being waged by the
Bush Administration against the people of Iraq. We are in full support
of the April 5th March Against War to be held in the Village of
Harlem. We hope that it will be a tremendous expression of opposition
by the Black community and other communities of color, to the illegal
occupation of Iraq.
there be no mistake. The war against the people of Iraq is n illegal
action, in violation of international law, in violation of the UN
Charter, and in opposition to the sentiment of the majority of the
world's people. When all is said and done, the Bush Administration
must be brought to trial for War Crimes.
raising of the U.S. and Marine flags on Iraq's territory, was an
act no less villainous than the raising of European flags in Africa
during its late 19th Century conquest and partition. This modern
day empire building must be resisted will all of our energy and
April 5, 2003 @ 11 am
Assemble at Marcus Garvey Park at 124th St. & 5th Ave.
March starts at 12:00 Noon
2 PM Rally at Harlem State Office Building
125th St. & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (7th Ave.)
Black Solidarity Against the War Coalition
Endorsing groups (partial listing):
District Council 1707:Raglan George/Executive
Director, Brenda Stokley/Local 215, Victoria Mitchell//Local 107,
Huff/Local 205, Norman Taylor/Local 215, Betty Powell/Local 95
Muslim American Society
The New England
Committee to Defend Palestine
Women in Islam; Council on American
Islamic relations (CCAIR-NY)
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Defend Palestine Committee
Vieques Support Campaign
Harlem Tenants Council
Harlem Fight Back
December 12th Movement
New York City Chapter of The National Conference of Black Lawyers
New York City Metro Area Chapter of N'COBRA
Patrice Lumumba Coalition
Black Telephone Workers for Justice
New Jersey State wide Coalition for Reparations
People's Organization for Progress
Black Workers Unity Movement
Blacks Against The War, Action for Community Empowerment
Community Justice Center
Cuba Solidarity New York
The Emergency Committee for Palestine
New Jersey Solidarity
Monica Santana/Immigrant Rights Activist
William Camacaro/Committee in Solidarity with Venezuela
Silvia Arana/Latino Collective of WBAI
La Fuerzan de la Revolucion
NY City MetroChapter of the Black Radical Congress
The Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition
Valentin Silverio Partido de los Trabajadores Dominicanos
Carlos Bernales (Peru)
Centro Cultural Abya-Yala
Wilson Spencer Bloque de la Izqierda Dominicana
Luis Barrios Iglesia San Romero NYC
Working Peoples Voice Collective
Women for Racial and Economic Equality (WREE)
Folk Singer & Activist Matt Jones
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