Racial Justice

International Solidarity: Honoring Nelson Mandela on His 95th Birthday

by Felicia Gustin

July 18th marks Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. It brings to mind another birthday of his when he was still imprisoned by the apartheid government of Pretoria. The year was 1986. Inside South Africa, waves of protests were sweeping the country. In June of that year, a second state of emergency had been declared and thousands were arrested.

Internationally, anti-apartheid efforts were intensifying as broad grassroots movements began to...

Catherine Tactaquin

Migrants’ Rights & International Solidarity

by Felicia Gustin

International Migrants Day: Interview with Catherine Tactaquin Part 1

December 18th is International Migrants Day, when in 1990 the U.N. General Assembly signed the Migrant Workers Convention, an agreement that establishes the rights of one of the most vulnerable global populations within a framework of human rights. The problem is the only countries that have actually ratified the convention are mostly countries in...

From the Ground to the Sky -- The Black Radical Tradition

by Lynn Koh

A Review of “Blacks In and Out of the Left”

For two decades, Michael C. Dawson has studied the relationship between politics and public opinion in the African American community.  His first book, Behind the Mule, established the concept of ‘linked fate’, the idea that policies or events which are beneficial to one’s racial group are also personally beneficial, and explored how class and other factors influenced an individual’s belief...

Another Day in the Belly of the Beast

by Felicia Gustin

What a day!  The Supreme Courts guts the Voting Rights Act. The Senate is considering the Corker-Hoeven amendment which will require an additional 20,000 border patrol agents, increased drone surveillance, and 700 miles of new border fencing at an estimated cost of $48 billion over 10 years. Texas is moving to eliminate reproductive rights for the women of that fine state while one lone Senator (Wendy Davis) filibusters until midnight to...

The Black Self-Protection Society: Rebellion and Resistance on September 11, 1851

by Felicia Gustin

The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington has brought civil rights struggles past and present into national discourse. And while the country marks the anniversary of September 11th there is another significant event on this date that merits attention as a turning point in the struggle for racial equality.

On September 11, 1851, William Parker (who had escaped from slavery in Maryland), his wife Eliza, and members of the Black...

Culture of Cruelty: How America's Elite Demonize the Poor

by Felicia Gustin

A conversation with anti-racist author Tim Wise 

Tim Wise is one of the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He is the author of six books including Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority and his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. His forthcoming...

In honor of Amiri Baraka

by Lynn Koh

I met Amiri Baraka only once, at a small gathering of activists in Oakland.  It was hard to believe that a world-renowned artist would take the time to meet with some community organizers and to listen to the campaigns we were working on.  He gave an interesting analysis of what Obama's election had meant and predicted correctly how terrible and reactionary the right-wing would be.  And in the end, he encouraged us to do what we do best --...

Johnny Depp’s Tonto: Hollywood Gets it Wrong But It Still Matters

by Felicia Gustin

Imagine for a moment what the reaction would be if Johnny Depp played the African American sidekick of a white cowboy. In Black face. Folks would pretty much go ballistic, right? What if Depp’s grandmother told him that he had an African American ancestor somewhere back there? Would that make it okay? What if Depp said he wanted to reverse all the negative images of African Americans in cinema? Would that make it okay? What if the producers...

Herman Wallace with artist Jackie Sumell.  Image courtesy of Hermanshousethefilm.com

Herman Wallace is Free

by Lynn Koh I wrote the following blog post before I received the wonderful news today that Herman Wallace has been released from prison on compassionate release.  -------------------- Herman Wallace is dying.  Dying of liver cancer. Herman Wallace was convicted in 1971 of armed robbery and sent to Angola prison in Louisiana to serve his term.  While at Angola, he organized a Black Panther chapter with two other prisoners, Albert Woodfox and Robert King. ...

Tim Wise on White Privilege and the Boston Marathon Bombing

by Felicia Gustin

When I heard about the bombing at the Boston marathon, I did not say to myself, "Oh please don't let the bomber be a white person or our community will suffer a backlash just like after the Oklahoma City bombing." Say what? If there was ever a glaring example of white privilege, this is it.

Because we well know, ever since 9/11, millions of Americans of Muslim or Arab descent (or those who might "look" like them) are de facto suspected...

Border Crisis, or Juárez City is Inside Our Closets

by Gary Hicks

by Pilar Rodríguez Aranda (Reposted from here.)

(To read this post in Spanish, scroll down.)

Everyday I read, listen to, and witness the decomposition of our “human” societies, and everyday I become more convinced there will never be a real change if we do not work on the very base of it all: our own self, our family, our neighborhood and our local community. It is there where we find such barbarities that I really don’t...

Thoughts on the Verdict (Trayvon Found Guilty)

by Felicia Gustin

I gain strength from the words of the song: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest, We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes…” But then I remember the words of Native brother John Trudell, that there is a lie in the middle of that word, believe: beLIEve

We know not to believe in the criminal justice system. But we harbored a little bit of hope. Hope gets us every time. Fools us. Lures us. Entices and...

Can Restorative Justice Save Us? A Look at an Alternative to Mass Incarceration

by Felicia Gustin

The statistics are shameful – some 2.3 million people are locked up in the United States, the highest incarceration rate in the world. Of these, a disproportionate number are Black and Brown. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three Black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

For young people of color, the data is especially alarming. According to The Sentencing Project, even though African American...

Oppression is Global, Sisterhood is Not

By Christina Nesheiwat

The sentiment that sisterhood is global, though seemingly well intentioned, continues to perpetuate cycles of oppression on a global scale. The current media storm surrounding the Ukrainian women’s group Femen and its Tunisian supporter Amina Tyler is only one example of racism and neo-colonialism under the guise of “sisterhood.” Femen has chapters all over Europe and North America, and claims...

What Kind of Ancestors Will We Be?

by Felicia Gustin

I think about the children in Gaza, the children coming across the Mexico - U.S. border, the children without water in Detroit, the children living with violence in Oakland.

I think about what kind of future our children face and what is our responsibility, as adults, to all children, to rid this planet of war and militarism, hatred and inequity. To save this planet.

I think about this poem by Guatemalan revolutionary Otto Rene...

Trayvon and the Unfinished Business of Civil Rights

by Nathan Paulsen

With the murder of Trayvon Martin, a wake-up call has sounded. A boy like other boys - with family and friends, hopes for the future and a sweet tooth – Trayvon had his one life stolen from him because of the color of his skin. His blackness led him to be suspected, and stalked, and run down trying to escape his pursuer, only to have a bullet tear through his beating heart, the life bled from him in a matter of minutes.

An innocent...

“Islamophobia is Part of a Long Colonial and Racist Process:” An Interview with Amer F. Ahmed

by Felicia Gustin

Islamophobia is bred from a culture of fear, misinformation and racism. Our society is rife with examples, especially since 9/11 - from stop and frisk policies directed at Muslims to government surveillance of whole communities; from increased hate crimes to media depictions that fuel the notion that Muslim equals terrorist.

To delve deeper into this topic, War Times spoke with Amer F. Ahmed, one of the country’s...

Assata Shakur

Washington’s Most Wanted Terrorist List: Why Assata? Why Now?

by Felicia Gustin

The FBI’s announcement that it was adding Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorist List and doubling the bounty for her to $2 million is cause for alarm for the peace and justice movement as a whole. Though Assata has been living in exile in Cuba since 1984, the ramifications of Washington’s recent move are far-reaching and dangerous. Here are some of my thoughts as to the whys in no particular order:

1. ...

Ebola virus particles

Resisting the Fear Machine

by Rebecca Gordon

Like many people around the world, four-star Marine General John Kelley is really worried about Ebola.

But he’s not worried about the more than 4,000 people who have died of the disease in western Africa. And he’s only tangentially worried about people dying in this country. What is the real threat Ebola presents to the United States, according to Kelly? Increased immigration.

On October 9, 2014, Time.com reported that for...