The U.S. Black Political Class and War

The United States is determined to have hegemony, full spectrum dominance, over the entire world. This simple fact means that U.S. hands are never clean and Ukraine is no exception. There is no reason to expect a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The threat is as real as Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. If nothing else, memories must be long enough to recall the war propaganda used in the past. To sum up, Black people should know that the U.S. has instigated this entire affair and any statements made by Joe Biden, his spokespeople, or his foreign policy team must be disregarded.

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US Sanctions On Afghanistan Could Be Deadlier Than 20 Years Of War

Economic sanctions have, in recent years, become one of the most important tools of U.S. foreign policy. There are currently more than 20 countries subjected to various sanctions from the U.S. government.

But if more Americans knew how many innocent civilians actually die as a result of these sanctions, would the worst of them be permitted?

We may be about to find out in Afghanistan. Sanctions currently imposed on the country are on track to take the lives of more civilians in the coming year than have been killed by 20 years of warfare. There’s no hiding it any more.

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The U.S. Is Wrong On Yemen. Again.

For four years, U.S. officials in both Republican and Democratic administrations told me in my work as a human rights advocate that “Saudi Arabia is ready to end the war,” and that it’s just a matter of “finding a face-saving way to exit.” What they mean is, “Is there a way for Saudi Arabia to credibly claim it won the war?” Ignoring the obvious answer of no—Saudi Arabia started a war everyone knew was a mistake—the U.S. government has instead engaged in the business of helping to starve millions of people to assuage crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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AFRICOM Watch – February 2022

Troops trained by AFRICOM have been behind nine coups d’etat  on the African continent in the thirteen years of the military command’s existence. All but one of the G5 Sahel countries have experienced a coup in that period, and the military training that the U.S. and France provide to troops in these countries through the various AFRICOM exercises and the French Foreign Legion among other installations, present a serious concern.

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Make Noise about the Silent Crisis of Global Illiteracy

In October 2021, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) held a seminar on the pandemic and education systems. Strikingly, 99% of the students in the region spent an entire academic year with total or partial interruption of face-to-face classes, while more than 600,000 children struggled with the loss of their caregivers due to the pandemic. It is further estimated that the crisis could force 3.1 million children and youth to drop out of school and force over 300,000 to go to work. At the seminar, Alicia Bárcena, the executive secretary of ECLAC, said that the combination of the pandemic, economic turbulence in the region, and the setbacks in education have caused ‘a silent crisis’.

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The Hypocrisy Of The ‘Diplomatic Boycott’ Of The 2022 Beijing Olympics

The United States led the way in announcing a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Olympics on December 6, 2021, citing allegations of “genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.” It was followed by Britain, Canada, and Australia (i.e., all but one of its “Five Eyes” allies), as well as Japan and a smattering of small north European countries. The Five Eyes, which constitute a majority of “boycott” hangers-on, are united not just by the English language but by a common history of settler colonialism, Indigenous genocide, and violently enforced regional and global hegemony.

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US Olympic Boycott Not About Uyghurs

Using a sports boycott to make a point that Washington still has plenty of options has actually resulted in the opposite. Only three other countries have agreed to join the American diplomatic boycott, a negligible number if compared to the 20 African countries that refrained from participating in the 1976 Montreal Summer Games in protest of New Zealand’s participation. The latter was criticized for validating the South African apartheid regime when their rugby team had toured South Africa in that same year.

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Argentina To Russia: We Want To End Dependency On US

The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, today visited the Kremlin and told President Vladimir Putin that his country wants to end “dependency” on the US and strengthen economic ties with Russia instead.

Fernández told Putin “Argentina, in particular, is experiencing a very special situation as a result of its indebtedness and the economic situation that I had to inherit. From the 1990s onwards, Argentina has always looked towards the United States. Now, the Argentinian economy depends a lot on the debt it has with the United States, with the IMF, and the role that the US has within the IMF.”

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New Puerto Rico Debt Plan Is A False “Solution” Crafted To Benefit Capitalists

Since its announcement, the POA has been touted as putting an end to five years of brutal structural adjustment. For instance, Natalie Jaresko, executive director of the unelected Financial Oversight Board that has dictated Puerto Rico’s finances since 2016, celebrated the POA as a “new chapter in Puerto Rico’s history.” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi suggested that while the POA is “not perfect,” it ultimately protects Puerto Rico’s vulnerable public sector. In contrast, a multisectoral coalition of teachers, labor, pensioners, students and activists expressed immediate rejection of what they call the “plan del tumbe” (the shakedown plan). These groups have long been demanding a comprehensive debt audit, calling attention to the POA’s everyday implications, and resisting its confirmation by mobilizing online, in the streets, the legislature and the courts.

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How We Broke The Supply Chain

Breadlines, the Big Book of Capitalism assured us, could not happen in a market economy. Supply would always rise to meet demand, as long as there’s money to be made. Only deviating from free-market fundamentalism—giving everyone health care, for example—could lead to shortages. Otherwise, capitalism has your every desire covered.

Yet we have breadlines in America today, or at least just off our coasts. They consist of dozens of ships with billions of dollars of cargo, idling outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the docks through which 40 percent of all U.S. seaborne imports flow. “Ships” barely conveys the scale of these giants, which are more like floating Empire State Buildings, stacked high with multicolored containers filled to the brim with toys and clothes and electronics, produced mostly in Asia.

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Why I’m Done With Teaching

Friday was my last day as a high school teacher.

After 15 years of teaching, this was not an easy decision. I have loved and will miss the classroom — getting excited about literature, teaching writing, asking big questions about life, discussing the human experience and getting to know students as individuals with unique perspectives. My leaving is not about advancement or money. It’s not even really about COVID.

I’m tired of being tired.

Stress and burnout in education are real. Teaching isn’t healthy and life-giving right now. If it were, I would stay.

I have faith that COVID teaching will pass, but I’ve realized that some of my greatest stressors in teaching will not. As the education system stands now, there will always be massive amounts of overtime, and there will never be enough hours to do all the things we know are important to being excellent educators.

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America Is Reaping What It Sowed In Ukraine

So what are Americans to believe about the rising tensions over Ukraine? The United States and Russia both claim their escalations are defensive, responding to threats and escalations by the other side, but the resulting spiral of escalation can only make war more likely. Ukrainian President Zelensky is warning that “panic” by U.S. and Western leaders is already causing economic destabilization in Ukraine.     

U.S. allies do not all support the current U.S. policy. Germany is wisely refusing to funnel more weapons into Ukraine, in keeping with its long-standing policy of not sending weapons into conflict zones. Ralf Stegner, a senior Member of Parliament for Germany’s ruling Social Democrats, told the BBC on January 25th that the Minsk-Normandy process agreed to by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in 2015 is still the right framework for ending the civil war.

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Checkmate In Ukraine

Back in December, Russia sent the U.S. and NATO two draft treaty documents spelling out its demands for security guarantees related to NATO’s posture in Eastern Europe. These demands came in a climate of tension fueled by both a Russian military buildup bordering Ukraine, and U.S. and NATO hysteria over what they deemed an imminent Russian military incursion into Ukraine.

The written replies that arrived on Jan. 22 failed — as expected — to address any of Russia’s concerns, including the red line of continued NATO expansion. Rather, the U.S. and NATO listed alternative pathways to diplomatic engagement, including arms control and limits on military exercises, and they now couch the ongoing crisis as a choice between accepting the diplomatic offramp they dictated, or war.

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New York Times Twists Stats To Insist We Need More Policing

The New York Times handed over its popular The Morning daily newsletter on January 18 to new hire German Lopez, formerly of Vox. His debut edition of the data-driven newsletter (usually helmed by David Leonhardt) was headlined “Examining the Spike in Murders.”

As criminal justice activist and expert Alec Karakatsanis (Twitter, 1/18/22) pointed out, the analysis presented as indisputable the notion that a rise in homicides demands a police-based solution—a position that is, in fact, highly disputed, and worth debunking in detail, since it’s a popular one these days, both in the Times and in other prominent outlets (FAIR.org, 6/24/21, 7/20/21). Lopez describes an increase in the murder rate over 2020 and 2021 (which, it’s worth pointing out, is still lower than it was from 1970 through 1996) and explains that victims are disproportionately Black, framing his analysis in terms of racial justice

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Weapons Companies Boast Ukraine-Russia Tensions Are Boon For Business

As the United States weighs more involvement in the growing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, some of the largest weapons companies in the world — Raytheon and Lockheed Martin — are openly telling their investors that tensions between the countries are good for business. And General Dynamics, meanwhile, is boasting about the past returns the company has seen as a result of such disputes.

The statements come as the U.S. government escalates arms shipments to Ukraine, among them the Javelin missiles that are a joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. House Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to quickly push through a bill that would significantly increase U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, and impose new sanctions on Russia.

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