Author Archives: richardbrenneman

Map of the day: Privatized prisons for aliens

Technically, they’re “detention centers,” and privatized prison contractors are reaping a bundle from housing those who cross this country’s increasingly militarized borders in search of sanctuary and opportunity. From UC Berkeley’s Michael Dear, who is documenting the growth and dangers of what he calls the border-industrial complex:

Location of private detention centers in the US, 2011. ICE detention facilities are geographically clustered along the US-Mexico border, but also extend along coastal zones where there are cities with a large migrant presence. © 2013 Michael Dear. Artwork by Dreamline Cartography.

Location of private detention centers in the US, 2011. ICE detention facilities are geographically clustered along the US-Mexico border, but also extend along coastal zones where there are cities with a large migrant presence.
© 2013 Michael Dear. Artwork by Dreamline Cartography.

Kathleen Cleaver and the Black Panther Party

For a generation of Americans, Kathleen Cleaver was one of the most recognizable African American women in the United States. As spouse of Eldridge Cleaver, one of the founders and early leaders of the Black Panther Party, she was the feminine face of a radical movement with its roots in Oakland, California.

The marriage didn’t last, and Eldridge Cleaver subsequently renounced his radical views and became a conservative Mormon Republican [really] with multiple crack cocaine possession arrests [including two here in Berkeley], Kathleen Cleaver remains true to her early ideals.

In these two video segments, Cleaver discusses both the evolution of her own political experience and the history of the party itself.

From The Real News Network:

Evolution of A Black Panther — 1

From the transcript:

Long story short, by 1966 I was a student in college in New York City. And I was attending Barnard. This was the summer of ’66, and when Stokely Carmichael proclaimed black power as the new slogan of the movement. Freedom now was set aside, and black power was the new call. In a march in Mississippi, I knew, I had met Stokely. I had close friends who were, had worked in SNCC. Long story short, I knocked on the door at the SNCC office for a job interview two weeks after black power. It was very exciting. The movement, I had no idea, was in a state of not only transition but collapse. Moving from an integrated financial base to a black power orientation.

I was gung-ho with black power. I loved the movement, I loved everybody I met. It was my–oh, I could talk to, you know, James Forman, who I’d admired since I could read about him. And I could see Stokely Carmichael come into the office. And I was–I was just with these people who were amazing, extraordinary. I was asked to come down to Atlanta and work directly with the campus program, which was what I had wanted to do. I wanted to be an organizer of college students. And I became involved with planning events and coordinating with the concepts of black power, the notions of black liberation, sort of the political education of students to further this movement.

It was the most exciting and challenging and dramatic thing, and I never, ever worked so hard in my life. I think the first–seemed like the first time I moved to Atlanta I was at a meeting that lasted, it seemed like three days, with no sleep. I was just constantly taking notes with people. I was in the most exciting position to me, and being with people who I admired and I looked up to and I’d read about. And now here I was in this movement, having no idea when I first got there, it was about to explode.

It directly led to my connection to the Black Panther party. Very quickly. I got to SNCC in New York in June. Moved to Atlanta in January of ’67. And we were planning a conference for black students that was going to be held in Nashville, and it was called Liberation Will Come From A Black Thing. So I would say this was one of the very earliest black student conferences around the theme of black liberation. And the student organizations that affiliated or worked with SNCC or were focused on these issues were all coming, and people from Atlanta.

Evolution of A Black Panther — 2

From the transcript:

I used to respond to that question about the legacy of the Black Panther Party as it was too soon, because legacy is something that’s left after you’re dead, and the Black Panther Party, all the members haven’t died out. So we’re still in the form. However, that’s no longer true. Most of the members if not deceased are no longer active in that form. So you can say as an organization there is no more Black Panther Party. So let’s look at the legacy.

I still say that it’s too soon to tell because what the true activities and behavior and beliefs, practices within the Black Panther Party were is not what people know. I’m very stunned to realize that they have no clue as to the type of things we talked about, the type of things that we did, the programs that we initiated, the ideas we proposed, because of the distortions. Because of the manipulation. So when they read our own newspapers or see our own files or talk to us–no. They’re treated to garbage and lies. So first let’s get the true history, story, the true thoughts about the Black Panthers out.

We had a premise, and that was we want the power for our community to determine our own destiny. That’s point one. We’re still working on that. Point seven is the one we became identified with. Point seven which said we want an immediate end to police brutality and violence against black people. We also had some issues with imprisonment and military service, bad education. Really the political disabilities and the social disabilities of being what they like to call second-class citizens. We didn’t call it that. We called it a colonized people.

We had been deprived of our ability to determine our own destiny. The whole concept of black power was, in our case, power to the people. The people of our community. And so our legacy is to fight for the power to determine the destiny of our own community. To stand up, be counted, defend yourself, call for an end to police brutality and all other forms of racist injustice and tyranny. Which I think is being perpetuated as I speak by the new crowds of young people horrified, horrified at the level of violence and hostility that the police forces in this country see authorized to dispense in black communities.

In an interesting twist, it was for fear of the Panthers that then Gov. Ronald Reagan and the Caslifornia legislature passed the state’s first major gun control act, preventing the carrying of leaded weapons in public. The Mulford Act was aimed at destroying the Black Panther Police Patrols, the armed contingents of Panthers patrolling black neighborhoods to protect them from police misconduct.

On 2 March 1967, a contingent of Panthers, clad in leather jackets and black berets, entered the California State Capitol to protest the imminent passage of the legislation, sending lawmakers fleeing or ducking under their desks. After reading out a communique, the Panthers left peacefully.

Needless to say, the legislation passed.

Via the Visibility Project, here’s the sight that prompted Gov. Reagan to opt for the most basic form of gun control:

BLOG Panthers

R. Cobb: As timely in 2015 as it was in 1968

From esnl‘s favorite cartoonist of the Sixties [previously], a depiction of U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968 applies with as much today to current lingering military endeavors:

BLOG RCobbJustVisiting

Quote of the day: When Jane Goodall goes ape

As the world’s leading expert on chimpanzee behavior in the wild, Jane Goodall took a unique approach to a high government official to urge him to bring her community-based environmental education and action Roots & Shoots program into his country. She described the occasion in an interview with Der Spiegel:

I remember once meeting the Chinese environment minister. I wanted to convince him to allow our Roots and Shoots program into Chinese schools. However, he spoke no English, and so now here we were, just sitting, a translator between us, and I had only 10 minutes time. So I gathered my courage and started off saying, “If I was a female chimp and I was greeting a very high-ranking male, I would be very stupid if I didn’t do the proper submissive greeting,” and I made this submissive sound: “Ö-hö-hö-hö-hö-hö.” The male, I continued, would now have to pet the female, and with that I took his hand. He stiffened and we sort of had a little tug of war, but I didn’t give up and put his hand on my head. At first, there was dead silence. But then he began to laugh. In the end, we talked for an hour and a half, and since that time we now have Roots & Shoots at Chinese schools.

DroughtWatch: Once again, no sign of change

The latest map from the From the United States Drought Monitor, and click on the image to enlarge:

BLOG Drought

Chart of the day III: Child abuse soars in Japan

From the Asahi Shimbun, dramatic evidence of the rise of reported child abuse in Japan:

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Naomi Klein: Capitalism, a threat to humanity

And not just to humans, but to all the other critters with whom we share this small, bright blue sphere.

In this interview with Amanda Lang of CBC News, Naomi Klein, whose writing helped paved the way to the Occupy movement and a growing revolt against economic inequality, says the threat is capitalism itself, an ideology which sees the acquisition of wealth as an end in itself.

Klein’s latest book, This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs the Climate, was hailed by the New York Times as “the most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.”

From CBC News:

Naomi Klein – The Exchange with Amanda Lang

Program note:

Amanda interviews author, activist and environmentalist Naomi Klein on her theory that capitalism is to blame for climate change.