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 affirmative action!"
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,'' said Kweisi
Mfume, chairman of the NAACP. "I remember what it was like before
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 applicants.
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."
One 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
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 hell no!''
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 equal" doctrine.
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
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.
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
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
Despite 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."
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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.
the affected Miami voting precincts were heavily Black.
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
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 contracts.
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....
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Press - by virtue of the glow emanating from his celebrity
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.
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.
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.
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
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 support."
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, especially independents."
is a raving Arab-killer, more rhetorically hawkish than the
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.
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
appears to be already giving the racist, sleep-talking Lieberman
advice, on spec.
A 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
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 agenda.
Dennis Kucinich is the white candidate with heart, and a penchant
for poetry. The following can be found on his campaign
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.
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.
Jesse Jackson searches for a company willing to insure a plane
to carry a religious delegation to Baghdad, Rep. Jesse Jackson,
Jr. (D-IL) deconstructed
George Bush's belief that "the market alone, not a
democratic government in cooperation with the private sector,
can fix an economy."
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....
- 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 democracy!
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
on the Web, Rally in Harlem
from around the globe gather on the web April 3 - 7 for a National
Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. Check in
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:
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
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.
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 resources.
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
Huff/Local 205, Norman Taylor/Local 215, Betty Powell/Local
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
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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