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June 2020

“Hard Road Of Hope” Shows West Virginia Is A Mirror Of The United States

For years now Eleanor has been participating in climate justice camps and actions providing support to those on the front lines of the climate and environmental crises however it was needed from producing media to locking down. It was through this work that she became aware of the major shift from mountain top removal for coal to fracking for gas, both very exploitative and extractive industries, in West Virginia. As she went there to cover what was happening, it became clear that the story was too big for anything but a documentary. In "Hard Road of Hope," Eleanor teaches the untold history of how immigrants were brought to West Virginia to work in the coal mines and how they worked together against dangerous and oppressive working conditions. You will likely be surprised by this history. I was. As West Virginians tell the story of this struggle, Eleanor weaves in the roots of capitalism, colonization and cultural genocide that created and made it possible to maintain such oppression.

Chris Hedges: My Student Comes Home

Rahway, New Jersey - When Lawrence Bell, an orphan living in an abandoned house in Camden, New Jersey, went to prison, he was 14-years-old. Barely literate and weighing no more than 90 pounds, he had been pressured by three Camden police detectives into signing a confession for a murder and rape he insisted at his trial he did not commit, although admitted he was in the car of the man who dragged a young mother into the bushes where she was sexually assaulted and strangled to death. It made no difference. The confession condemned him, although there was no scientific evidence or any independent witnesses tying him to the crime. He would not be eligible to go before a parole board for 56 years. It was a de facto life sentence. 

Trump’s Second Thoughts On Juan Guaido Are Not Enough

After nearly a year and a half of all-out efforts at regime change in Venezuela which took a major toll on the Venezuelan people, Donald Trump now tells the world he was never big on the strategy in the first place. On Friday, the U.S. president appeared to shove the blame onto advisers, and added “I think that I wasn’t necessarily in favor” of the policy of recognizing Juan Guaidó as president, but “I was OK with it.” Trump’s statements made it seem as if Guaidó’s only sin was that he did not manage to seize power. This might-makes-right mindset belies what is happening on the ground in Venezuela which is much more complicated than just one leader’s approval rating. It also ignores the horrendous suffering of the Venezuelan people due to crippling sanctions imposed in August 2019, the result of a foreign policy decision that Trump now brushes off as a simple mistake.

Silence Is Not An Option: Black Women Make History

Mainstream media and politicians have paid almost exclusive attention to ideas and images of Black men — whether as victims of police violence or as protesters against it. Yet Black women, who are no less subject to structural racism and violence, have been at the forefront of the multi-racial Black Lives Matter Movement for years. ROAR associate editor Eleanor Finley had the opportunity to explore some of these subjects with Dr. Keisha N. Blain, an award-winning historian and Black feminist scholar at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Blain is also president of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) and author of Set the World on Fire, a history of Black nationalist women’s political activism. In the following interview, Dr. Blain describes her work and explains what history has to teach the present moment about structural racism and police violence, Black transnational activism, and the vital role of women’s leadership in Black political movements.

Whole Foods Is Quietly Telling Workers Not To Show Black Lives Matter Support

This week, a group of Whole Foods workers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, walked out after being told they couldn’t wear Black Lives Matter masks because they weren’t part of “the company dress code.” Prior to the incident, wearing masks with other symbols or logos, including ones that featured the New England Patriots, were reportedly acceptable. This is according to a report in the Boston Globe, which details how Whole Foods worker Savannah Kinzer and a few of her colleagues wore BLM-themed masks on Wednesday. A manager told them they either had to remove the masks or go home. Seven of them walked out. On Thursday, Kinzer showed up and passed out more masks, but they were met with the same fate. Dozens of workers were sent home again.

The 2020 Elections: The Struggle Is For Power Not Reform

The great African revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral, reminded us that without revolutionary theory there can be no revolution. His reminder was not a call for abstract theorizing, quite the contrary. What he meant was that one cannot advance in practice unless that practice is guided by the most advanced understanding of the material and ideological conditions that revolutionary forces face. Over the next two days, we will ground ourselves in our particular realities as they relate to our strategic and tactical engagement with the bourgeois electoral system in the United States. Let’s begin: The ongoing and current capitalist crisis has created the most serious crisis of legitimacy since the collapse of the capitalist economy during the years referred to as the Great Depression.

The Russia-Afghanistan Story Is Western Propaganda At Its Most Vile

All western mass media outlets are now shrieking about the story The New York Times first reported, citing zero evidence and naming zero sources, claiming intelligence says Russia paid out bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan for attacking the occupying forces of the US and its allies in Afghanistan. As of this writing, and probably forevermore, there have still been zero intelligence sources named and zero evidence provided for this claim. As we discussed yesterday, the only correct response to unsubstantiated claims by anonymous spooks in a post-Iraq invasion world is to assume that they are lying until you’ve been provided with a mountain of hard, independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The fact that The New York Times instead chose to uncritically parrot these evidence-free claims made by operatives within intelligence agencies with a known track record of lying about exactly these things is nothing short of journalistic malpractice.

Iranian Arrest Warrant For Trump Shows How Disreputable US Presidency Has Become

The arrest warrant issued by Iran for the murder of General Qassem Soleimani in January shows how disreputable the office of the US presidency has become. Trump has openly bragged about ordering the assassination of the widely revered Iranian commander. There was a time when American presidents would at least use discretion in liquidating foreign enemies. Not Trump. He reveled in the murder. For the more liberal apologists of America’s Murder Inc., Trump’s kind of bravado is embarrassing. The president is just not supposed to divulge the bloody reality of Washington’s lawlessness. Interpol, which serves as an international agency linking national police forces, told RIA Novosti if it receives a request to arrest Trump, its own rules will not allow it to act on it arguing that the Iranian move is illegitimate because it is “politically motivated”

Restrictive Immigration Boomerangs Against The United States

The European Union has prepared a preliminary draft of its new border regulations, outlining who can visit after July 1, and that this list depends on how the countries of origin of the prospective travelers are dealing with the new coronavirus.  People from the U.S., at this point, will be excluded.  “This viewpoint is a severe blow for U.S. prestige in the world and a rejection of the management of the virus in the U.S. on the part of President Trump,” the Times added.  Among the acceptable travelers for the European Union are those from Cuba, the country against which the U.S. began to build economic, financial, and military walls beginning in the 1960s, continuing with a new sanction each week since Trump entered the White House.  In other words, the United States has closed itself off, and the world is closed to it, while Cuba has been open to international collaboration against the challenge of the coronavirus, and is welcomed everywhere in the world in this effort.

A Century Of Complicity

The US was never an honest broker in negotiations but a behind-the-scenes lawyer for Israel, bound in part by a pledge dating from the Gerald Ford administration to never float a peace proposal without first seeking approval from Israeli negotiators. This theme of US complicity in Palestinian oppression carries over into The Hundred Years’ War and is deepened with an account of the US role in Lebanon when American officials promised to ensure the safety of Palestinian refugees following the departure of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Those same officials reneged on the pledge as Israel oversaw the Phalangist massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Khalidi concludes that US administrations have colluded with Israel ever since the 1967 War, which Washington green-lighted. The US continues to provide both the military aid and the diplomatic cover essential to preserving Israel as an apartheid, settler-colonial state.

Ahmed Erekat Was Executed With The Blessing Of Abbas And The Oslo People

Ahmed Erekat was not the first Palestinian to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in cold blood, nor will he be the last to be killed “because he tried to attack” them. The young man was shot dead as he helped his sister with her wedding preparations. Instead of the bride rejoicing, the Zionists turned her wedding into a funeral for the entire Erekat family, and all Palestinians. Heinous crimes like this are committed on a regular basis, and the Israelis and their supporters try to justify them on every occasion. They tell their pre-packaged “self-defense” claims to the world; defend their presence on occupied land and claim to be fighting against anti-Semitic terrorists who deny the Jewish people a homeland in Israel. They kill and displace the indigenous people and then justify their despicable criminal acts without batting an eyelid. Amazingly, the world not only believes them but also sympathizes with them, as if they are the victims instead of the people they are killing and displacing. It is a cowardly world that sees with only one eye; a world without a conscience that supports the criminals at the expense of the victims.

NYPD Officers Arrest And Pepper Spray Queer Liberation March Protesters

NYPD officers arrested and pepper-sprayed protesters at the Queer Liberation March Sunday afternoon while attempting to arrest two people for graffiti, according to witnesses. Numerous videos shared on social media show a crowd of officers shoving outraged protesters where arrests were being made near Washington Square Park. As two were being arrested for graffiti, protesters intervened in an attempt to free them, at which point police responded with pepper spray, multiple witnesses told Gothamist. A legal observer said at least four people were arrested and 10 others pepper-sprayed—including someone running a fruit stand nearby protesters.

Police Attack Occupy City Hall As Budget Vote Nears

New York City - Early this morning, New York Police officers swarmed the hundreds of people who have been peacefully occupying the park in front of City Hall for the past week and calling for a $1 billion cut to the NYPD budget. The city council is expected to vote on the budget today. Police pushed people onto the sidewalk, beat people with batons and made arrests. People report a person with a broken arm from being beaten with a baton and another with a broken ankle from being pushed between barricades. People are still in the park despite the attack by police as they wait for the city council to vote. They are calling for a "No" vote because it does not meet their demands.

Update On Assange: The Most Important Press Freedom Case Of This Era

This past week, just as public sentiment and corporate media attention were shifting in favor of Julian Assange, the United States issued another superseding indictment in his extradition case. The indictment doesn't add any charges, it merely uses public information to smear Assange's reputation and attempt to portray him as a hacker instead of the journalist and publisher that he is. This shows that the US government has a weak case against Assange. Joe Lauria, an investigative journalist and senior editor of Consortium News, explains the new indictment and provides an update on Julian Assange. The Assange case is the most important press freedom case of this era. It will determine our right to know what our government and corporations are doing.

‘Full Spectrum Resistance’: A Field Manual For Insurgencies

 Full Spectrum Resistance, Aric McBay’s massive, two-volume, handbook for political action, covers the fundamentals of social change, offering advice on organization, strategy, tactics, security, communication (internal and external), and so on — all illustrated with historical case studies. McBay does not tell us what we should do. Instead, he helps us learn to think about what we should do, and answer the question for ourselves in light of our actual objectives and circumstances. This is by far the stronger approach, especially because one thing that holds our movements back is the failure to think carefully and creatively about what we are doing, to reexamine our theories and alter course as needed. Instead, we tend to engage in the same sort of actions as we always have, as if they were rituals or reenactments. Peaceniks march against military interventions; workers picket job sites; antifascists “deplatform” right-wing speakers.
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