Sign onto the letter at the bottom of this page

16681112616_f73431cb44_z_(1).jpgIt has come to our attention while observing the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States government that a group of 47 U.S. Senators are attempting, against the will of the majority of the American people, to sabotage any agreement due to their hope of creating additional conflict between our country and the people of Iran.

We would also like to bring to your attention that many people in the United States are aware that the United States government is in violation of a treaty approved by the Senate and signed into law. The treaty imposes an affirmative obligation on the United States and all other countries possessing nuclear weapons to act to diminish and eventually eliminate all of their existing nuclear weapons as a condition for relieving non-nuclear countries of the need to acquire such terrifying weapons. The official name of this treaty is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons or NPT.

We also wanted to bring to your attention that under the U.S. Constitution, (Article 6, Clause 2), any treaty approved by the Senate and signed into law “shall be the supreme law of the land” in the United States.

Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires the United States as a nuclear power to: “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. (our emphasis)

We wanted to make sure that you were aware that the U.S. Constitution, recognizing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the supreme law of the land in the United States, requires government officials to carry out two specific tasks:

First, to eliminate the U.S. nuclear arsenal under its Treaty pledge of “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control;”

And second, to “pursue negotiations in good faith” with other nations for the achievement of nuclear disarmament.

As things stand, the United States is in violation of this “supreme law of the land.”

The United States is not ridding itself of nuclear weapons. It possesses thousands of operational nuclear weapons that it is not destroying. In fact, it is in the process of improving their capability, deploying them on updated fighter aircraft, and other land-attack missiles, aircraft carriers and submarine platforms at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars in new government funding.

The United States also provides more than $4 billion in military and economic aid to the state of Israel although Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or allow outside inspectors, and does not deny that it possesses a considerable arsenal of nuclear weapons. We are not aware of any call by U.S. officials insisting that Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or begin liquidating its own nuclear arsenal.

We, the people of the United States, are also aware that Iran as a signatory to the same Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has the absolute legal right, as do all signatory countries, to develop a nuclear capability for civilian energy purposes.

Article IV of the Treaty states: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.”

As a side note, we are also aware that when your country was ruled by a monarch installed in power in 1953 as a consequence of a CIA led-coup against the then constitutional government in Iran, the policy of the U.S. government was to encourage the development of an Iranian nuclear program.

We hope that this letter enriches your understanding that the spirit and content of the Open Letter by 47 Republican Senators does not conform with the views and desires of a broad section of public opinion inside the United States.

Their real aim in scuttling and sabotaging the current negotiations between the United States and Iran, perhaps unprecedented in the form they have chosen, is to create more conflict including the danger of military action against Iran.

Be assured that the last thing the American people want is war with or against Iran.

Initial signers

Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General • Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman • Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition • Cindy Sheehan, peace activist • Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund • Heidi Boghosian, Esq., Constitutional Rights attorney • James Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles • Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait • Chuck Kauffman, National Co-Coordinator of Alliance for Global Justice • Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst • Eugene Puryear, Party for Socialism and Liberation • Medea Benjamin, co-founder, Code Pink • David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org • Juan Jose Gutierrez, Vamos Unidos, USA • Malachy Kilbride, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance • Imam Mahdi Bray, American Muslim Alliance • Phil Wilayto, author and editor, Virginia Defenders Newspaper • Don DeBar, Host, CPR News • Arturo Garcia, Alliance Philippines • Radhika Miller, Attorney, Washington, D.C. • Rev. Claudia de la Cruz, Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) • Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte • Benjamin N. Dictor, Attorney, New York, NY • John Beacham, ANSWER Chicago • Phil Portluck, Voices4Justice72.com • Preston Wood, ANSWER – LA • Mike Prysner, March Forward! • Jeff Bigelow, labor organizer • Gloria La Riva, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Sign onto the letter

Reblogged for International Women’s Day

Tichaona Chinyelu

Our women must not pull back in the face of the many different aspects of their struggle, which leads them to courageously and proudly take full charge of their own lives and discover the happiness of being themselves, not the domesticated female of the male. Today, many women still seek the protective cover of a man as the safest way out from all al that oppresses them. They marry without love or joy, just to serve some boor, some dreary male who is far removed from real life and cut off from the struggles of the people.

Often, women will simultaneously demand some haughty independence and at the same time protection, or even worse, to be put under the colonial protectorate of a male. They do not believe that they can live otherwise. No. We must say again to our sisters that marriage, if it brings society nothing positive and…

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Black Day of Silence

December 14, 2014

This just came to my attention. See you tomorrow.

The below quote is taken from the chapter, Framing the Panther – Assata Shakur and Black Female Agency by Joy James

 

[Assata Shakur’s] eulogy for Safiya Bukhari, given in Havana on August 29, 2003, is haunting. Bukhari collapsed hours after she buried her own mother-the grandmother who raised Safiya Bukhari’s young daughter the day her own daughter became a BLA fighter and fugitive, going underground only to surface for an eight-year prison term. Bukhari survived the maiming medical practices of prison doctors (although her uterus did not) only to succumb to the “typical” black women diseases of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and heart failure in 2002. The eulogy could be read as Assata Shakur’s – and that of all revolutionary black women who refused to circumscribe their rebellion, and paid the costs for that decision:

It is with much sadness that I say last goodbye to Safiya Bukhari. She was my sister, my comrade and my friend. We met nearly thirty-five years ago, when we were bothe members of the Black Panther Party in Harlem. Even then, I was impressed by her sincerity, her commitment, and her burning energy. She was a descendant of slaves and she inherited the legacy of neo-slavery. She believed that struggle was the only way that African people in America could rid themselves of oppression. As a black woman struggling to live in America she experienced the most vicious forms of racism, sexism, cruelty and indifference. As a political activist she was targeted, persecuted, hounded and harassed. Because of her political activities she became a political prisoner and spent many years in prison. But she continued to struggle. She gave the best that she had to give to our people. She devoted her life, her love and her best energies to fighting for the liberation of oppressed people. She struggled selflessly, she could be trusted, she was consistent, and she could always be counted on to do what needed to be done. She was a soldier, a warrior-woman who did everything she could to free her people and to free political prisoners.”

For Assata Shakur, the weight of isolation, alienation, and vilification are scars that are borne. Redemption does not occur on this plane or in this life. Betrayal by nonblacks and black, by men and wome, to part of the liberation narrative. There will be no gratitude, no appreciation, no recognition equal to the insults and assaults. So, Assata Shakur, in true revolutionary fashion, must conclude her testimonial embracing a community that radiates beyond our immediate boundaries and limitations:

“I have faith that the Ancestors will welcome her, cherish her, and treat her with more love and more kindness than she ever received here on this earth.”

Framing the Panther

Want to Start a Revolution? Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle

Related Links:

What Happens When a Book is Judged by its Cover

Assata Shakur: In her Own Words

Assata Shakur’s Autobiography (amazon)

Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons and Torture by Angela Davis.

Back blurb:

In a series of intereviews given in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, Angela Y. David explores how historical systems of oppression like slavery and lynching continue to influence and undermine democracy today. Davis builds on W.E.B DuBois’ view that when people were released from slavery in this country, they were denied the full privileges of other citizens. This denial of full rights and the creation of a U.S. prison system emerged as a way of maintaining dominance and control over entire populations. Davis explores the notion of Abolition Democracy as the democracy to come, as et of social relations free of oppression and injustice.

 

Excerpts:

The prison in the United States has become a kind of ghetto. And if I hear you correctly, you’re suggesting that in the United States there cannot be a non-racial prison system-that a nonracist prison system would be an oxymoron.

Yes, I suppose you may put it that way. As a matter of fact, there is an assumption that an institution of repression, if it does its work equitably–if it treats, say, white people in the same way it does black people–it is an indication of progress under the sign of equality and justice. I am very suspicious of such an abstract approach. James Byrd was lynched in Jasper, Texas a few years ago by a group of white supremacists… Do you remember that incident?

Yes, and he was dragged around as well.

Two of the white men who helped to carry out the lynching were sentenced to death. That moment was celebrated as a victory, as if the cause of racial justice is served by meting out same horrendous and barbaric treatment to white people that black people have historically suffered. That kind of equality does not make a great deal of sense to me.

Can you expand on that? In other words, there’s a continuum between the antebellum period, the reconstruction, the ghettos and the death penalty, which are equally racialized. Indeed, all of these institutions and spaces seem to have their roots in slavery. Are these links and continuities what you are alluding to?

What is interesting is that slavery as an institution, during the end of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century, for example, managed to become a receptacle for all those forms of punishment that were considered to be barbaric by the developing democracy. So rather than abolish the death penalty outright, it was offered refuge within slave law. This meant that white people eventually were released from the threat of death for most offenses, with murder remaining as the usual offense leading to a white execution. Black slaves, on the other hand, were subject to the death penalty in some states for as many as seventy different offenses. One might say that the institution of slavery served as a receptacle  for those forms of punishment considered to be too uncivilized to be inflicted on white citizens within a democratic society. With the abolition of slavery this clearly racialized form of punishment became de-racialized  and persists today under the guise of a color-blind justice. Capital punishment continues to be inflicted disproportionately on black people, but when the black person is sentenced to death, he/she comes under the authority of law as the abstract judicial subject, as a rights-bearing individual, not as a member of a racialized community that has been subjected to conditions that make him/her a prime candidate for legal repression. In this respect, he/she is “equal” to his/her white counterpart, who therefore is not entirely immune to the hidden racism of the law.

Our women must not pull back in the face of the many different aspects of their struggle, which leads them to courageously and proudly take full charge of their own lives and discover the happiness of being themselves, not the domesticated female of the male. Today, many women still seek the protective cover of a man as the safest way out from all al that oppresses them. They marry without love or joy, just to serve some boor, some dreary male who is far removed from real life and cut off from the struggles of the people.

Often, women will simultaneously demand some haughty independence and at the same time protection, or even worse, to be put under the colonial  protectorate of a male. They do not believe that they can live otherwise. No. We must say again to our sisters that marriage, if it brings society nothing positive and does not bring them happiness, is not indispensable and should be even avoided.

Let us show them our many examples of hardy and fearless pioneers, single women with our without children, who are radiant and blossoming, overflowing with richness and availability for others-even envied by unhappily married women, because of the warmth they generate and the happiness they draw from their freedom, dignity and willingness to help others.

Women have shown sufficient proof of their ability to manage the home and raise children – in short, to be responsible members of society – without the oppressive tutelage of a man. Our society is surely sufficiently advanced to put an end to this banishment of the single woman. Comrade revolutionaries, we should see to it that marriage is a choice that adds something positive, and not some kind of lottery where we know what the ticket costs us, but have no idea what we will end up winning. Human feelings are too noble to be subject to such games.

Excerpted from Thomas Sankara Speaks

sinew under skin stretches as i open my eyes, look at the clock and start counting. ninety minutes until the other human being who resides with me has to be at school. as i run through the ritual, i find myself missing those days when time was an entity to enjoy, not count.

i hate counting. i hate constantly eyeballing the clock but i what i hate most is what i’m teaching my six yr old as i tell him over and over he’s wasting time.

i heard myself tell him that this morning and even after the flag went up the first time, i heard myself repeating it several more times.

how can time be wasted? i mean, literally, when time is constantly being reborn. there’s always going to be another minute coming. if not for me, then for someone. and if not for them, then for someone or something else. can something that doesn’t stop be wasted? is time the one thing that has an endless flow? how to demonstrate the endless nature of time…and still get him to school on time?

i hate counting. i hate to be counted even more; which is why the census form is still in its envelope. is statistical data really a requirement for fixing neighborhoods across the country? i would’ve thought having the desire to fix neighborhoods across the country would be the main ingredient for success. plus, when i think of how the government’s little counting games can end up in gerrymandering, i’m even more reluctant. 

in addition to the other reasons are the fact that it brings to the mind the plantation when africans were counted as things…and sometimes not even fully things but 3/5ths of a thing.

and if that isn’t enough….

it also reminds me of when i used to visit my ex-husband in prison and if i went at shift change time, i’d have to wait almost ninety minutes while they counted every single inmate in the place. they did this several times a day – even w/o a single report of a prison break or any other possibly legitimate reason other than capitalism’s insane love of counting.

i hate counting. i hate being counted but certain people can count on me.