Voices from Russia

Monday, 22 January 2018

Why We Must Protect the World from the USA


Fifty years ago, Dr Martin Luther King Jr stated the obvious… the USA was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. He also said the public allowing this violence would lead to a kind of national spiritual death that’d continue to make the USA a danger to the world. That spiritual death hasn’t quite happened completely. Yet, accepting the “inevitability” of violence and the necessity for waging war is now more deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness of individuals in the USA than it was 50 years ago when King warned of the deep malady of US society. For most of the 21st century, the USA has been at war. Culturally, mass shootings, the wars on drugs and terror, violence and war as entertainment, live-streamed videos of horrendous police-executed murders, as well as of a head of state sodomised with a knife, have resulted in what Henry Giroux refers to as a “culture of cruelty”.

However, the very fact that the authorities need to lie to the people with fairy tales of a “responsibility to protect” in order to give moral cover for the waging of war is an acknowledgement that they understand that there’s enough humanity left to the public that it’d reject US warmongering if it was only seen as advancing narrow national interests. It’s this remaining moral core… and the objective interests of the clear majority of the people to be in opposition to war… that provides the foundation for reviving the modern anti-war movement.

Baltimore was the site of a rebellion in response to Freddie Gray’s murder by the domestic military we call “the police”. There, a couple of hundred activists convened 12 January to kick off a new campaign to close all US foreign bases. This gathering is the result of a new coalition of forces… both old and new… to revive the US anti-war movement. This conference comes on the heels of another meeting that took place just a few months ago in Washington DC, where some of the same forces came together to kick-off a campaign to “divest from the war machine”. Strategically, these efforts are the first steps toward building the confidence, institutional strength, and programmatic focus of a new, reinvigorated, broad-based, anti-war, pro-peace, and anti-imperialist movement in the USA. We oppose the warmongering both corporate political parties have normalised.

The difficulties and challenges of this endeavour aren’t lost on the various organisations, networks, and coalitions that are part of these efforts. We all recognise that there are no shortcuts to the delicate reconstructing of our existing forces and the challenge of expanding those forces by bringing in new formations. The ideological and political differences that surfaced among left and progressive forces around issues of war and imperialism make it more challenging.

Nevertheless, the imperative of expressing solidarity with the victims of US warmongering must take precedence over our differences and should serve as a basis for building political unity. Solidarity, however, isn’t enough for those of us in the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP). We recognise its importance as a baseline principle for (re)-building a broad anti-war movement. Our common interests with other oppressed peoples, nations, and states that find themselves in the crosshairs of US imperialism demands we offer more than solidarity… we must stand as allies. Those of us building the Black Alliance for Peace understand we can’t afford the comforting myth of US benevolence that attempts to conceal the naked deployment of US state power in service of Western capitalist/colonialist interests. Therefore, we view with suspicion, if not treat with disdain, our comrades who support US interventions, even when they frame that support with “leftist” justifications. For oppressed nations and peoples of the world, the US white-supremacist colonial/capitalist patriarchy is and remains the principal contradiction. There mustn’t be any nationalist sentimentality or equivocation on that position.

We saw how the anti-war opposition that emerged during the Bush years in opposition to lawless state-sanctioned violence dissolved during the Obama administration. Liberals and major elements of the “left” objectively aligned themselves with the USA/EU/NATO axis of domination through their silence or outright support in the name of opposing authoritarian regimes. The consequence of that class collaboration is the spectrum of war has today become a permanent feature of policy discourse. The obscene 80 billion USD (4.54 trillion Roubles. 512.3 billion Renminbi. 5.12 trillion INR. 99.9 billion CAD. 100.1 billion AUD. 65.4 billion Euros. 57.7 billion UK Pounds) increase in military spending supported by both parties and the corporate media reflects that collaboration and the corrosive impact of almost two decades of militarism on the politics and consciousness of the public.

Hence, for BAP, the historic task is clear. We must separate the people from the capitalist oligarchy and we must expose the nature of the state. Our politics must be clear and our rhetoric devoid of liberal ambiguities. We must expose the underlying capitalist-class interests masked by appeals to national interests and patriotism. The anti-war movement must advance a clear understanding of the economic and class interests that are at the root of imperialist strategies and great power conflicts. We must assert without equivocation the position that we can’t get rid of the scourge of war without getting rid of racism and capitalism and that the people should reject all calls to protect the national interests promoted by the ruling elites. We must say, “If the rulers want war, let them fight it themselves!”

We must see the anti-war and anti-imperialist position as the highest expression of internationalism and global solidarity. Activists in the USA must reject all efforts to pink-wash militarism and recognise their moral obligation… as citizens of empire… to oppose all US military interventions. We must take the position that we’ll no longer allow chicken-hawk politicians to send our children off to other lands, where they become war criminals fighting other working-class and poor people who only want social justice, national sovereignty, and self-determination for themselves. We must meet the permanent war agenda of the capitalist dictatorship with permanent opposition from the working-class and all oppressed people. The people must understand the link between the racialised justifications for making war abroad with the intensification of the war waged against Black and Brown communities in the USA.

We say to progressives that you can’t pretend that you believe “Black Lives Matter” in the USA and not be opposed to the assault on the humanity of Palestinians, of Yemenis, of the millions lost in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, of the destruction of Libya, and of the coups in Honduras and destabilisation in Venezuela. Reject the racist 21st-century version of the white man’s burden with its absurd notion of “humanitarian war” and “the responsibility to protect” and understand that the real threat to world peace is the empire that we’re all a part of. Our task is clear… the anti-war position isn’t an add-on. It’s a fundamental moral and political obligation for the citizens of the empire. The world can no longer wait.

17 January 2018

Ajamu Baraka

Black Agenda Report



The Federal Jackboot in the Age of Trump… ICE Thugs Haul Away Doctor Here for 40 Years With Permanent Green Card



I’ll bet you that if you looked hard enough, the target of this ICE abuse was hated by some Repug or some Born-Again and they turned him in to make life hell for him and his family (it does smell like a Nativist Know-Nothing, doesn’t it?). That’s what we’ve come to in the Age of Trump. Mind you… Hillary would’ve been worse… just with a different set of targets and a more warmongering agenda in foreign parts. Both major parties are BROKEN… America has fallen and it can’t get up… shall we help it back up or shall we stomp on it by doing the Same Ol’ Thing? What Trump and Clinton both represent is sheer evil. Shall we see that? God willing, we shall…

Note well that the Repugs and Born-Agains are creaming their jeans over this supposed “crackdown”… it tells you what sort of vicious shit-eating brutes that they are… reflect on the fact that the Hillarybots are just as bad. We’re in a bad place… shall we choose to turn away from our evil and live or shall we embrace it and receive a (merited) bad end? That’s up to us…


Even as the issue of immigration has been central to the government shutdown in Washington, a respected doctor at Kalamazoo’s Bronson Methodist Hospital who’s lived in America for nearly 40 years finds himself in jail after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took him from his home in handcuffs. Lukasz Niec is an internal medicine doctor putting in long hours as a hospitalist for Bronson. His co-workers describe him as the model of what a physician should be. Now, he sits in a jail cell in Calhoun County with no idea of when… or if… he’ll be free to return to his patients and his family. On Saturday, Iwona Niec-Villaire said as she sat next to her sister-in-law:

In 1979, my parents, who were both doctors, left Poland and took two suitcases and two small children, my brother was five and I was six, and they came here for a better life for their kids. He doesn’t even speak Polish.

Now, the siblings are in their mid-40s, she’s an attorney, he’s a doctor… they’ve been in America for four decades on a permanent green card. On Tuesday, as Niec was enjoying a day off with his tween girls at his home on the lake in this exclusive neighbourhood near Kalamazoo, three ICE officers came to his home, told him he was being taken into custody and took him to jail. Niec-Villaire said:

The question I get asked all the time is, “Why do you think this happened?” I just really don’t know.

ICE won’t comment on the case and it hasn’t held a hearing yet. A bond hearing may not come until February, and according to immigration law experts, it’s unlikely he’d get it. Niec-Villaire said:

Until this is heard, which could be up to six months, he could be stuck in a prison cell and not helping and being with his family.

The only spot on Niec’s record is two misdemeanour convictions when he was 17, one for the destruction of property less than $100 and receiving and concealing stolen goods. He pleaded to these charges more than 25 years ago under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act that allows young first offenders to avoid a criminal record if they never offend again. However, ICE… a federal agency… doesn’t honour that state plea agreement; something Niec didn’t know when he took the plea, according to the family. Niec-Villaire said:

These misdemeanours were just an adolescent making mistakes and learning from them. We’re as American as anyone can be. He can’t go back to Poland, a country he doesn’t know, he has no family there, our parents passed away in the USA, he doesn’t know anyone, and he wouldn’t know where to go.

Now, Niec awaits his fate in jail. Niec-Villaire said:

We did go see him on Wednesday, he was shaking, in an orange T-shirt, just kind of shell-shocked.

Rachelle Burkart-Niec, the doctor’s wife of two years, said:

Our two daughters need their dad. He’s an excellent physician, he’s loving, he’s caring, he’s an honourable husband, and he’s always helping others.

Bronson’s administration wouldn’t comment on the case, but dozens of doctors and other employees are sending letters of support. Dr Hussein Akl, also a doctor in Bronson Internal Medicine, said:

He’s been just completely the model physician that you want a physician to be. The only danger I can see him on is when he’s swinging his golf swing.

Others who worked with Niece say they are dumbfounded and outraged. Dr Michael Raphelson, who specialises in palliative medicine, said:

He’s exactly the kind of person our immigration policies should be encouraging to prosper here, he’s been here for 40 years, this is a ridiculous situation.

More than 25 people gathered at the home Saturday including friends and family. Brent Richmond, Niec’s friend for 25 years, as he fought back tears, said:

He’s just a good guy, I mean, he just is.

Marc Asch, an immigration attorney in Kalamazoo, said:

In the last year, ICE broadened its scope, meaning that cases the agency wouldn’t have gone after previously are now fair game. These days there’s less discretion being exercised in who they go after, they’re being more aggressive, generally speaking. The government may not even have a solid case and it could likely end with Niec being able to stay in America… but that could be a process that takes months or even years. It’s also possible that ICE is targeting affluent immigrants of European descent to avoid the appearance of racial profiling.

However, those who love Niec aren’t interested in becoming examples. Niec-Villaire said:

He’s the person I call, whenever anything goes wrong or right and now I can’t do that and it’s breaking me up. This is a man that’s needed in the community, not detained in Calhoun County Jail.

20 January 2018

WOOD-8 TV Kalamazoo


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