Recent Supreme Court Decisions is the Result of Conservative Stacking which will Haunt us for Years to Come

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling coupled with their recent decisions to pretty much put political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal on a fast track to death and to disallow cameras in the historic same-sex marriage hearings in San Francisco, underscore what I have long noted about electoral politics.

Say what you will about the Presidency and whether he’s living up to all his promises, whoever sits in that chair gets to appoint justices to the Supreme Court and a bunch of judges in the lower Federal Courts. Throughout our history, many of our victories in the areas of Civil Rights have come via court decisions or through the President signing into a law after being pressured by the people. Unless you have an army or some sort of paramilitary outfit thats equipped to go the long haul and stage some sort of coup, many of the things we say we want and need in today’s society is going to come via political decision. This means we have to bone up on our political awareness. Know the key players, vulnerable touch points and play to win.

Having long-winded conversations about conspiracies, and the so-called elite and how small victories were won once upon a time before many of us were born is just plain foolish, at least in 2010. The decision made by the Supreme Court to allow corporations unlimited free speech is part of the Bush Sr legacy of court appointments he did over 20 years ago. I recall many of my activist colleagues back then talking the same stuff as now. ‘Voting doesn’t matter’, ‘don’t support evil‘, ‘the lesser of two evils is still evil’..blah blah blah.. We’ve heard this talk forever..and now its come back to haunt us..

20+ years ago many sat out the election when George Bush Sr took on Michael Dukakis and one of the end results was Bush Sr winning and then appointing Clarence Thomas to fill the seat vacated by Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Courts first and then only African-American Supreme Court justice. Since then Thomas has been that crucial ultra conservative vote on an ideologically divided court where a variety of important Civil Rights and social justice issues have been defeated or overturned in 5-4 decisions. Thomas’s decisions for the most part have been direct smacks in the face of the Civil Rights legacy of Marshall.

Sadly Thomas is just one of several super conservatives sitting on the Supreme Court. Back in 1986, many talked a good game about how voting didn’t matter when Ronald Regan won a second term and promptly appointed Anthony Scalia who is considered the leader of the court’s conservative wing.

20 years later we are still haunted by the appointment of Clarence Thomas

Fast forward 10-15 years to the start of George W Bush-era. First, we saw first hand how those appointments from 20 years ago came back to haunt us when the Supreme Court handed “W’ the White House seat over Al Gore in that historic hotly contested 2000 election, where Florida, hanging chads and accusations of suppressed votes took center stage. That alone should’ve been an eye opener. But it then again maybe it wasn’t, because Bush won a second term and appointed Justice John G Roberts who led the charge and wrote the majority opinion that took away any sort of constraints or corporations to speak and advocate during an election. We have yet to see what sort of unthinkable damage that can potentially do…

We already have enough challenges than to have to worry about multinational corporations jumping in the fray with no restraints. As we still have these long drawn out discussions about whether or not we should or should not vote or Obama and anyone else, I suggest folks take along hard look at who is sitting on those courts and start stepping up our game to make sure new appointees are not as conservative as their predecessors. The lesser of two evils may be all the difference in the world on who sits on the bench. We’ve seen judges decide on everything from Sean Bell‘s police killers being get to go free to yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision. We know that the judge presiding over the Oscar Grant trial in California Robert Perry was appointed by conservative Governor Pete Wilson and of course we now know how Roberts showed lots of love and leniency to the corrupt officers involved in the Rampart scandal. You really can’t go take it to the streets and get meaningful change when it comes to judges.

It was a decision by San Antonio District Judge David Berchelmann that allowed fellow Judge Sharon ‘Killer’ Keller to get off for her horrific actions of closing her doors before a 5 o’clock deadline thus deny a death row appeal. This resulted in a man being put to death. But of course we have some who will say politics matters not.

We have to give voters in Houston/Harris county who obviously understood the importance of this and in 2008 swept out all but 4 judgeships. More of that needs to happen as a crucial step toward change

How does this new ruling impact Texas politics? Well according to The Dallas Morning News, it will change one part of the law but leave another in place.

Texas is one of 24 states that drew a line prohibiting corporations or unions from running ad campaigns that directly attacked or promoted a candidate.

In effect, a lot of businesses in Texas get around that by framing their ads and mailings as issue-focused. Though they might mention a candidate, they wouldn’t advocate his or her election or defeat. Under the Supreme Court’s ruling, corporations can be more direct in their appeals.

Unchanged, though, is Texas’ prohibition on corporations or unions donating money to individual candidates or coordinating their efforts with politicos.

The ruling probably doesn’t affect the state’s most famous pending campaign finance case, against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. He stands accused of money laundering by taking corporate money, siphoning it through the Republican National Committee in Washington and then distributing it to Texas candidates.

During the hey day of the Civil Rights struggle, the Federal courts were our friends..Today they are the institutions that are haunting us 10, 15 and 20 years down the line…What’s even more problematic is that nowadays those who have an ultra conservative agenda are moving in a direction where they are pushing to take their fight out of the legislative arenas and into the court system stacked with conservative judges…

I suggest people to take a look at Supreme Court rulings and than multiply them by 10 as you look at rulings made in lower courts and then you decide if you can afford to ignore politics..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_United_States_Supreme_Court_case

-Davey D-

Supreme Court’s ‘Radical and Destructive’ Decision Hands Over Democracy to the Corporations

By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. Posted January 21, 2010.

“The Supreme Court has just predicted the winners of the next November election,” Sen. Chuck Schumer announced this morning. “It won’t be Republicans. It won’t be Democrats. It will be Corporate America.”

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/145322/supreme_court%27s_%22radical_and_destructive%22_decision_hands_over_democracy_to_the_corporations/

Indeed, in a momentous 5 to 4 decision the New York Times calleda “doctrinal earthquake,” the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an unprecedented ruling today that gives new significance to the phrase “corporate personhood.” In it, the Roberts court overturned the federal ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns, ruling that forbidding corporations from spending money to support or undermine political candidates amounts to censorship. Corporations, the court ruled, should enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the Supreme Court rejects “the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not ‘natural persons.'”

In other words, as Stephen Colbert put it last year, “Corporations are people too.”

On a conference call with reporters following the decision, critics could not overemphasize the enormity of the ruling, whose implications will be visible as early as the upcoming midterm elections. Bob Edgar, head of the watchdog group Common Cause, called it “the Superbowl of really bad decisions.” Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign called it an “immoral decision” that will make an already untenable mix of money and politics even worse.

“This is the most radical and destructive campaign finance decision in the history of the Supreme Court,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21. “With a stroke of the pen, five justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy.”

Writing about the ruling, Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy described it as “a revolution in the law,” one that has been in the works for years thanks to conservative activism.

“Today’s decision is a huge gift to corporations from a Supreme Court that has been radicalized by right-wing ideology, whose political agenda was made obvious in the Bush v. Gore case and whose very political decision today only makes things worse.”

Of course, corporate cash has long had a corrupting influence on our politics, but never before has it been seen as some sort of fundamental freedom.

“This court has said it’s the constitutional right of a corporation to spend as much money as it wants to influence an election,” said Wertheimer.

The potential “fear factor” for politicians when it comes to the way they vote is huge. Members of Congress, who already spend a disproportionate amount of time fundraising to stay in office, now have reason to worry that their re-election chances will be derailed by corporations whose limitless funds can be aggressively used to protect their interests.

Writing for AlterNet last month, Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, argued that President Obama might never have been electedwith these new rules on the books:

Candidate Barack Obama was one sharp speaker, but he would not have been heard, and certainly would not have won, without the astonishing outpouring of donations from two million Americans. It was an unprecedented uprising-by-PayPal, overwhelming the old fat-cat sources of funding.

Well, kiss that small-donor revolution goodbye. If the Supreme Court votes as expected, progressive list serves won’t stand a chance against the resources of new ‘citizens’ such as CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Maybe UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), which faces U.S. criminal prosecution and a billion-dollar fine for fraud, might be tempted to invest in a few Senate seats.”

The case before the court, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, centered around a rabidly anti-Hillary Clinton documentary produced by the right-wing group Citizens United. In a statement, Citizens United called the ruling “a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”

Meanwhile, President Obama, whose critics on the left have accused him of being beholden to Wall Street, has called upon Congress to “develop a forceful response to this decision.”

“With its ruling today,” he said, “the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

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Obama’s First Year in Office: Rapper NY Oil Squares Off Against Conservative Carol M Swain

Today Live on the BBC’s program “World Have Your Say” Hip Hop Artist/ Activist/ and the I.B.W. Ambassador to Hip Hop NYOILfaced off against conservative Carol M. Swain (http://www.carolmswain.net/biointro.html) in a discussion on Barack Obama’s first year in Office.
On Carol M. Swain, She is widely recognized as an expert on race relations, immigration, black leadership, and evangelical politics and she was a contributor for CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight.
While NYOIL is regarded primarily as a Hip Hop artist, however further inspection reveals a history as a long standing community activist and motivational speaker.

An impromptu face off occurred during the live broadcast between the Conservative Mrs. Swain and Hip Hop Social Pundit NYOIL which resulted in some great TV.

Below is the Youtube Link to both parts of the video, do enjoy and remember Hip Hop means more than some raps and dances.. it is a way of life that encompasses all kinds. As we progress into this new decade let’s let the world know that we are more than they ever imagined we should be. Let them note Hip Hop’s response to the tragedy engulfing Haiti in the form of the HipHop 4 Haiti National relief efforts taking place this January 30th. Let them see that as a culture we permeate every facet of society and we have and will continue to influence great minds and sharp thinkers from amongst our own ranks, ready to lead our communities into a greater future.

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Wyclef’s Foundation Comes Underfire-He Responds & Puts Critics on Notice

Wyclef‘s press conference where he again addresses the issues at hand..Below is an excerpt of the press conference.. You can and should see full conference which includes Q&A.. at http://www.yele.org.

——————————————————————————————

I’m glad Wyclef spoke to this, because it was pretty disheartening to see people jump on the hate bandwagon when we let so much slide. Tax write-offs and filing are not the last or even the first word in corruption.. You want corruption.. ask your bank about the bailout money and the late fees they charge? Ask about Haliburton and Blackwater contracts paid for with your tax dollars? Ask about the way things DIDN’T run after Katrina.. Hell let’s be real ask why is George Bush and Bill Clinton on the case when you look at their shabby track records with Haiti..

-Davey D-

Below is a blog that someone wrote in defense of Wyclef.. Its pretty thorough

Word to Yele-I Write the Wrong

by LaKeisha

http://iwritethewrongs.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/word-to-yele/

I will never claim to be an expert in economics, my credit report alone would betray me. Nor can I profess to have gained any insight to the inner-workings of volunteer/humanitarian agencies.

Having been fortunate, I count my blessings that I have never had to lean on any such entity. My family in one way, shape or form has always provided whatever assistance any of us needed, be it shelter, food, clothing or simply bus fare. So again I must admit my lack of intimacy with such institutions.

However, I am not aware of any one who looks like me who does not remember the ravaging flood effects of Katrina and the flood of money that poured into one of the most popular volunteer relief organizations, the American Red Cross. Just about every high-profile philanthropist, bad boy thug-turned legit rapper, religious leader to media outlets and major companies, combined millions of dollars were donated to the relief efforts promised by the American Red Cross.

Let me note here, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) an agency of the U.S. government, and yes even under the executive orders of our beloved Barack Obama, directs charitable donations to the American Red Cross. The American Red also receives various grants from FEMA including http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=18473

Now on its own website FEMA acknowledges “The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) is fiscally responsible for approximately 17,000 open grants and is programmatically responsible for more than two-thirds of those grants.

The following preparedness grants are programmatically managed by the Grant Development & Administration Division of GPD.”

According to policies set forth in its directorates on the site, these grants can cover everything down to staffing expenses of a volunteer/relief organization. So, in my estimation, the American Red Cross can be qualified as a money-laundering service for our government. It pays itself to do the work. Well I know it isn’t that cut and dry, but where I come from in the hood that’s what it looks like. You are an agency charged with overseeing a particular task, you then identify a group to perform such task for you, utilizing your dollars, training, directive, etc. ultimately reporting to you any funds raised which you in turn manage and act as fiscal agent over.

So that is the base understanding I’ve come to in trying to figure out why in God’s name, as we sit helplessly here on American soil watching as the poorest neighboring country is completely devastated beyond human capacity, would various entities attempt to discredit a movement to bring relief to the people of Haiti.

Wyclef Jean, for those who have not been attuned to hip hop prior to Cash Money or Young Jeezy, is a grammy-winning, international hip- hop artist who single handedly put Haiti on the map. Through his artistry and advocacy, it brought to light history of Haiti for many who were just too young or simply never cared enough to realize Haiti’s rich history. It was the first country that freed itself from slavery and not only overthrew that heinous institution, but defeated the whole lot of French rule.

Wyclef in his music has always paid homage to his homeland, and shared the culture and pain of his countrymen unashamedly. He did this at a time when many Black Americans shunned any relationship to Haiti. At the height of his career as a member of the Fugees, (group first named ‘Refugee Camp’ for the conditions many Haitians find them selves when arriving on American soil) the group went back to Haiti and took several media outlets to document the plight there. Subsequently, that trip garnered Haiti prime shine in various magazine articles. During his solo career, Wyclef went back further still to his roots, releasing a full CD in creole titled, Welcome to Haiti Creole 101. And then in 2007, pledging a more substantive allegiance to his native land, Wyclef became a Haitian ambassador for the government.

Times photos: John Pendygraf
Wyclef Jean refused United Nations protection for a trip through Cite Soleil, Haiti’s most notorious, gang-infested slum, relying on his popularity to keep his group safe. “I am putting myself in the front line because I want that change to happen.” Jean said.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/13/Worldandnation/Haiti_s_hip_hop_helper.shtml

This to me, speaks volumes of his love and honor of his country. But greater than that it speaks of the mutual respect and pride the country has for him.

So why is it when a native son of Haiti yells out for relief from the devastation that has demolished his beloved land, why would there be questions of his intentions? What force would rally against his efforts and bring questionable allegations regarding his foundation http://yele.org

Smoking Gun posts IRS returns for the year 2009. Listing the foundation as being in operation for “12 years,” they say accounting has not been so transparent. Maybe it hasn’t. But check the records of many and you’d be hard-pressed to find squeaky clean accounting, even among the most financially prudent. But they continue to try and smear this guy by pointing out he “paid” himself for rent and performances.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0114102wyclef1.html

Check it… just on some real plain and simple hood logic: if you open a business/not-for-profit, foundation, carity, church, etc. you have to keep the lights on. Most times, that money is coming out of your very own pocket. You do what you must to hold yourself afloat until things start rolling. In the grand scheme of things, if you have an accountant savvy enough, you’l wind up writing a large amount off. Isn’t that what every tax paying American seeks out like a leprechaun searching for a pot of gold, that tax-incentive? I’d like every politician to disclose personal or affiliated returns for the public. Of course I know they have to go through the motions of making them public, but when is the last time your elected official directed you to his/her returns and they were in plain view? Uh, huh.

For me, I just can’t see what the deal is. For one, yes he may have performed at a charity event, yes yes I know his foundation gave it. But who said the band played for free? Did the production company who handled stage, lighting, hotel, travel, catering, security, attorney fees, and on and on the list could go. Did those entities get tossed in for free. Come on. In America? I doubt it. He probably had to pay them folks and somewhere down the line he figured he’d get his scratch back.

Hell, you wanna steer me away from giving to something? Show me an organization that has ties to assisting in wars, paid by war monies. Show me an organization that since its inception has had ties to government. Show me an organization that has claimed to be a relief and rescue agency for all victims of disaster, that existed pre-post slavery but has no record of providing relief to the families of the thousands of blacks who were lynched. Surely they knew of this hideous “devastation” since Ida B. Wells was traveling the same circles of the UN and such with her message of anti-lynching. Surely those families needed “relief.”

Well, I don’t have to look any further to see it. It is the Red Cross and I for one, if not for any other proof than the shenanigans of the Katrina debacle, won’t be giving my money anytime soon to its efforts.

But that’s just little ole me who does not have much insight when it comes to these matters.

BTW, if you’d like to know how much money RC has made in the last two days, check out the article below. Now where are their tax returns? Hhow are they accounting for all the donations?

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/kindness/post/2010/01/donations-to-aid-haiti-set-new-text-records/1

Yet, it took them longer to get on the ground than it took Yele.

I am signing off. And if you’re looking for me, I’ll be tweeting away, reminding you to text yele to 501501.

BTW, peep the video Wyclef did speaking about the work of his foundation long before the earthquake rocked Haiti.

http://www.forbes.com/thought-leaders/video/?video=/video/thought-leaders/tl_2009_1209

Peace

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Tina Bell Wright: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don’t cede OUR Power…

Tina Bell Wright: Wake Up Everybody! Seize, don’t cede OUR Power…

by Guest Blogger Professor Tina Bell White

Other than posting messages to support Haiti, I have been pretty silent the last few days on politics, but i have been reading a lot of posts..and i gotta say a couple things…lol.

From the despicable comments of Pat Roberston and Rush Limbaugh and their obvious disregard for [black] humanity, to Fox’s scant coverage of the Haiti earthquake to instead promote Sarah Palin and hate on President Obama, to “progressives” questioning motives of the U.S. government & NGOs, and already complaining about the corporate takeover of Haiti, to maligning the character of Haitian born Wyclef Jean and his efforts (while he himself digs out bodies from collapsed buildings), a few things are seriously bothering me about the politicalization of this issue when thousands of people are still under rocks.

…And the only way to really explain my concern is the lack of focus we (progressives and human rights advocates) seem to possess…this lack of focus I believe is because many let ideology blind them from certain realities…and when ideology alone determines our focus, we can easily be manipulated by those that are in the business of distraction and yanking chains.

We become conspiracy theorists although when we take a look at reality, our problem has less to do with any conspiracy and much more to do with our preoccupation with conspiracy over reality; debate over action.

I know I have said this a number of times but really believe to be true…this is the root of our miseducation. Masses were taught powerlessness. And hence, when we are easily distracted or yanked by the latest political hoopla, we prove our powerlessness by falling for the hype…Chuck D said it best: “don’t believe the hype”

The enemy of justice and sustainability for humanity is the concentration of power, and the only antidote to that concentration is for THE PEOPLE to seize power and stop ceding it (to conspiracies, corporations, govt’, big banks etc.) Folks that know and read Marx understand that the alienation of workers is what keep capitalism viable…when workers understand there is NO BUSINESS NO CAPITAL NO CONSUMER without THE PEOPLE and THEIR POWER, you will no longer see that exploitation.

Here is an example of the correct strategy we should be following:
Campaign = Move your Money
Link = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/stop-the-abuse-its-time-t_b_422068.html

EXCERPT:

It’s a pretty simple idea: If enough people who have money in one of the Big Six banks — that is, JP Morgan/Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs — move it into a local community bank or credit union, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward fixing our broken financial system.

It’s easy, and painless, and will send a powerful message to Wall Street and to our leaders in Washington.

Face it: Real change is not going to come from Congress. It’s not going to come from the White House. And it’s certainly not going to come from the lobbyists Wall Street hires to make sure their special interests keep beating out the public interest.

We’ve got to do it ourselves. And moving your money is a great way to start.
This is not a conservative idea or a liberal idea. It’s not left or right. It’s populism at it’s best —

This is what I want to see us all do…Seize our power…don’t cede it.

But often, instead of having faith in ourselves and our ability to prevent exploitation [stopping corporate exploitation of Haiti for example], we are often outsiders looking in and see the takeover as inevitable…we not only empower corporate fascists when we check ourselves out of the equation, we actually do their bidding for them, by teaching generations the LIE that it is THEM that controls things, and we all are just pawns…there is no deeper miseducation we can teach.

So, I say all this to say: if corporations with government complicity exploit us and this situation in Haiti, it is OUR fault not theirs…they do what they do to maintain their power…if we keep letting them maintain our powerlessness too, they win twice over.

Along with posts to support Haiti, I have been remembering Mr. Teddy Pendergrass and the gift of music he gave us…so to end this note, here is a message from Teddy Pendergrass to us all…

The World won’t get no better
if we just let it be
the world won’t get no better
we gotta change it
just you and me…

RIP Brother

Tribute to Haiti

Wake UP Everybody 2008 remix
“Wake Up Everybody” feat. Mary J Blige, Wyclef, Babyface, Brandy, Missy etc

Wake up everybody no more sleepin in bed
No more backward thinkin time for thinkin ahead
The world has changed so very much
From what it used to be so
there is so much hatred war an’ poverty
Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way
Maybe then they’ll listen to whatcha have to say
Cause they’re the ones who’s coming up and the world is in their hands
when you teach the children teach em the very best you can.

Chorus
The world won’t get no better if we just let it be
The world won’t get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me.

Wake up all the doctors make the ol’ people well
They’re the ones who suffer an’ who catch all the hell
But they don’t have so very long before the Judgement Day
So won’tcha make them happy before they pass away.
Wake up all the builders time to build a new land
I know we can do it if we all lend a hand
The only thing we have to do is put it in our mind
Surely things will work out they do it every time.

Repeat Chorus

It’s not enough, but it’s progress. Progress is possible. Don’t give up on voting. Don’t give up on advocacy. Don’t give up on activism. There are too many needs to be met, too much work to be done. Like Dr. King said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”
– President Barack Obama 1/17/2010

“Make a career of humanity – and you will make a greater person of
yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live
in.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Official Motto of Haiti: L’Union Fait La Force. Union Makes Strength.

Haitian Proverb: Sa ou fe, se li ou we. What you do is what you see.
..we reap what we sow.

WAKE UP EVERYBODY.

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Breakdown FM Podcast: The Wars Waged Against Haiti-Interview w/ Pierre LaBossiere of the Haiti Action Committee

Click HERE to Listen to Interview on Breakdown FM

Pierre LaBossiere is a community elder and long time Haitian born activist who has been letting many of us know about the challenges, triumphs and tribulations that have beset the Island nation.

He’s been doing this long before the devastating earthquake. He’s been doing this long before many of us knew about rap star Wyclef Jean who today has put this country on the map for a generation of people.

LaBossiere and his organization have been on the ground fighting the hindering and oppressive policies put forth by the Clinton and later Bush administrations. He’s been one of those people who has long reminded us about the shady stuff our government had a hand in which resulted in former Haitian President Aristide being removed (kidnapped) from office..

When we saw that President Obama had tapped former President’s Bill Clinton and George Bush to head up fund-raising efforts , the first person we reached out to was Pierre. As I noted he had long let us know that these figure heads were enemies to Haiti and one of the reasons why the island is in such turmoil.

In our interview LaBossiere goes into rich detail about the politics that have shaped this country and left it destitute. he talks about how Haiti after beating their French slave masters were made to pay reparations to France. They are still paying for that victory..

We talked about the immigration policies of Haiti.. Pierre reminded us that while our Brown brothers and sisters were dying in the deserts of the Southwest United States, Haitian refugees were dying in shark invested waters. He connects the dots and show how US policies have simultaneous crippled both countries..

During our interview we got crucial updates including the plight of Boots Riley (lead rapper for the Coup) father Walter Riley who was on the island when the earthquake hit and missing for a few days..

This is a must listen interview that will enlighten you and let you know that Haiti and her people are not some animalistic people who can’t do for self.. They are a people who have been engaged in a war since the days that President Thomas Jefferson considered them a threat to America.. We as a country have never let up..

Included in this interview are several incredible songs from Haitian rapper and historian Mecca aka Grimo… Enjoy and please pass around..

Here’s the URL

The Wars Waged Against Haiti from Thomas Jefferson to Now-Interview w/ Pierre LaBossier

Press the Logo to Listen to podcast

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In these Troubled Times We Need to Remember Martin Luther King, Now More Than Ever: Here are 2 Rare Speeches

Click HERE to listen to Speech

This weekend we celebrate what would’ve been Martin Luther King‘s 81st birthday. In doing this we take time out to reflect on his life and the words he delivered on the issues of peace and social justice.

This year I wanted to put forth one of my favorite speeches by Dr King called ‘Entrance into the Civil Rights Movement.. It’s an important speech in the sense that it highlights what was at the core of King’s essence-his relationship to God and his ability to call upon the Holy Spirit. It’s a very moving speech where he outlines the challenges he was facing as a leader and how he to look deep inside himself in order to move forward…

you can peep the speech here:

http://bit.ly/5t17Ns

As we celebrate, I am also including a YouTube video I put together called MLK vs the Radio.. This is contains portions of speech that King gave in August 1967 to a group of Black radio broadcasters. It’s an incredible piece where he talks about the responsibility and important role Black radio played in furthering the Civil Rights Movement. I wanted to reintroduce this speech because many of us are still reeling from the verbal assaults that have been occuring on radio shows like the one hosted by blowhards like Rush Limbaugh who recently made disparaging remarks about 50 thousand Haitans who dies in this weeks earthquake.. I want people to peep this video and ask yourself if media is doing right by you.. This piece also includes the voices of activist Rosa Clemente, Minister Farrakhan, H Rap Brown and Chuck D of Public Enemy…

-Davey D-

Below is a quick bio from Wikipedia…

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States, and he has become a human rights icon: King is recognized as a martyr by two Christian churches.[1] A Baptist minister,[2] King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.

Pimp of the Week Rush Limbaugh-The Big Fat Pig

There’s a nasty stereotype about Americans that unfortunately gets reinforced from time to time by people who personify the ugliest of traits. One understands the art of political posturing. One also understands that in trying to get a point of view across, less than flattering things will be said. The rule of thumb has always been when playing politics you can go hard on the issue but not the people. When tragedy strikes as was the case with 9-11, relief from suffering and grief is the order of the day. People are ideally supposed to band together and work for the greater good.

Sadly radio host Rush Limbaugh didn’t get that memo. It’s either that or he’s so desperate for attention.. that he refuses to play by the rules. In less than 60 seconds the beleaguered island lost more than an estimated 100 thousand people. Kids were in a moment orphaned. In a second parents became childless. In a moment a million or so people were homeless. Human decency suggests that when something of that magnitude occurs you put away the politics and you work to prop up a fellow human being.  Limbaugh in the mist of this took to the airwaves and spoke to his 30 million listeners and said that Obama was responding to the tragedy in an attempt to win favor with the light skin Black community.

The irony here is that it sounds like Limbaugh was pimping this tragedy for his own shallow political gains. Maybe he didn’t want to see people come together. Maybe he didn’t want to do the right thing and work alongside his political foes. maybe he was high on all the illegally gotten pills he’s been known to pop in the past. Maybe he’s just a plain ole Big Fat Pig who has no common sense. We think it’s the latter.

Here’s Limbaugh’s remarks

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/14708/

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Haiti’s Tragic History Is Entwined with the Story of America

Haiti’s Tragic History Is Entwined with the Story of America

By Robert Parry, Consortium News.

http://www.alternet.org/world/145142/haiti%27s_tragic_history_is_entwined_with_the_story_of_america?page=entire

In announcing the U.S. response to Haiti’s devastating earthquake, President Obama noted the two countries’ historic ties. But few Americans know that sad story.

Announcing emergency help for Haiti after a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, President Barack Obama noted America’s historic ties to the impoverished Caribbean nation, but few Americans understand how important Haiti’s contribution to U.S. history was.

In modern times, when Haiti does intrude on U.S. consciousness, it’s usually because of some natural disaster or a violent political upheaval, and the U.S. response is often paternalistic, if not tinged with a racist disdain for the country’s predominantly black population and its seemingly endless failure to escape cycles of crushing poverty.

However, more than two centuries ago, Haiti represented one of the most important neighbors of the new American Republic and played a central role in enabling the United States to expand westward. If not for Haiti, the course of U.S. history could have been very different, with the United States possibly never expanding much beyond the Appalachian Mountains.

In the 1700s, then-called St. Domingue and covering the western third of the island of Hispaniola, Haiti was a French colony that rivaled the American colonies as the most valuable European possession in the Western Hemisphere. Relying on a ruthless exploitation of African slaves, French plantations there produced nearly one-half the world’s coffee and sugar.

Many of the great cities of France owe their grandeur to the wealth that was extracted from Haiti and its slaves. But the human price was unspeakably high. The French had devised a fiendishly cruel slave system that imported enslaved Africans for work in the fields with accounting procedures for their amortization. They were literally worked to death.

The American colonists may have rebelled against Great Britain over issues such as representation in Parliament and arbitrary actions by King George III. But black Haitians confronted a brutal system of slavery. An infamous French method of executing a troublesome slave was to insert a gunpowder charge into his rectum and then detonate the explosive.

So, as the American colonies fought for their freedom in the 1770s and as that inspiration against tyranny spread to France in the 1780s, the repercussions would eventually reach Haiti, where the Jacobins’ cry of “liberty, equality and fraternity” resonated with special force. Slaves demanded that the concepts of freedom be applied universally.

When the brutal French plantation system continued, violent slave uprisings followed. Hundreds of white plantation owners were slain as the rebels overran the colony. A self-educated slave named Toussaint L’Ouverture emerged as the revolution’s leader, demonstrating skills on the battlefield and in the complexities of politics.

Despite the atrocities committed by both sides of the conflict, the rebels – known as the “Black Jacobins” – gained the sympathy of the American Federalist Party and particularly Alexander Hamilton, a native of the Caribbean himself. Hamilton, the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, helped L’Ouverture draft a constitution for the new nation.

Conspiracies

But events in Paris and Washington soon conspired to undo the promise of Haiti’s new freedom.

Despite Hamilton’s sympathies, some Founders, including Thomas Jefferson who owned 180 slaves and owed his political strength to agrarian interests, looked nervously at the slave rebellion in St. Domingue. “If something is not done, and soon done,” Jefferson wrote in 1797, “we shall be the murderers of our own children.”

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the chaos and excesses of the French Revolution led to the ascendance of Napoleon Bonaparte, a brilliant and vain military commander possessed of legendary ambition. As he expanded his power across Europe, Napoleon also dreamed of rebuilding a French empire in the Americas.

In 1801, Jefferson became the third President of the United States – and his interests at least temporarily aligned with those of Napoleon. The French dictator was determined to restore French control of St. Domingue and Jefferson was eager to see the slave rebellion crushed.

Through secret diplomatic channels, Napoleon asked Jefferson if the United States would help a French army traveling by sea to St. Domingue. Jefferson replied that “nothing will be easier than to furnish your army and fleet with everything and reduce Toussaint [L’Ouverture] to starvation.”

But Napoleon had a secret second phase of his plan that he didn’t share with Jefferson. Once the French army had subdued L’Ouverture and his rebel force, Napoleon intended to advance to the North American mainland, basing a new French empire in New Orleans and settling the vast territory west of the Mississippi River.

In May 1801, Jefferson picked up the first inklings of Napoleon’s other agenda. Alarmed at the prospect of a major European power controlling New Orleans and thus the mouth of the strategic Mississippi River, Jefferson backpedaled on his commitment to Napoleon, retreating to a posture of neutrality.

Still – terrified at the prospect of a successful republic organized by freed African slaves – Jefferson took no action to block Napoleon’s thrust into the New World.

In 1802, a French expeditionary force achieved initial success against the slave army, driving L’Ouverture’s forces back into the mountains. But, as they retreated, the ex-slaves torched the cities and the plantations, destroying the colony’s once-thriving economic infrastructure.

L’Ouverture, hoping to bring the war to an end, accepted Napoleon’s promise of a negotiated settlement that would ban future slavery in the country. As part of the agreement, L’Ouverture turned himself in.

Napoleon, however, broke his word. Jealous of L’Ouverture, who was regarded by some admirers as a general with skills rivaling Napoleon’s, the French dictator had L’Ouverture shipped in chains back to Europe where he was mistreated and died in prison.

Foiled Plans

Infuriated by the betrayal, L’Ouverture’s young generals resumed the war with a vengeance. In the months that followed, the French army – already decimated by disease – was overwhelmed by a fierce enemy fighting in familiar terrain and determined not to be put back into slavery.

Napoleon sent a second French army, but it too was destroyed. Though the famed general had conquered much of Europe, he lost 24,000 men, including some of his best troops, in St. Domingue before abandoning his campaign.

The death toll among the ex-slaves was much higher, but they had prevailed, albeit over a devastated land.

By 1803, a frustrated Napoleon – denied his foothold in the New World – agreed to sell New Orleans and the Louisiana territories to Jefferson. Ironically, the Louisiana Purchase, which opened the heart of the present United States to American settlement, had been made possible despite Jefferson’s misguided collaboration with Napoleon.

“By their long and bitter struggle for independence, St. Domingue’s blacks were instrumental in allowing the United States to more than double the size of its territory,” wrote Stanford University professor John Chester Miller in his book, The Wolf by the Ears: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery.

But, Miller observed, “the decisive contribution made by the black freedom fighters … went almost unnoticed by the Jeffersonian administration.”

The loss of L’Ouverture’s leadership dealt a severe blow to Haiti’s prospects, according to Jefferson scholar Paul Finkelman of Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

“Had Toussaint lived, it’s very likely that he would have remained in power long enough to put the nation on a firm footing, to establish an order of succession,” Finkelman told me in an interview. “The entire subsequent history of Haiti might have been different.”

Instead, the island nation continued a downward spiral.

In 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the radical slave leader who had replaced L’Ouverture, formally declared the nation’s independence and returned it to its original Indian name, Haiti. A year later, apparently fearing a return of the French and a counterrevolution, Dessalines ordered the massacre of the remaining French whites on the island.

Though the Haitian resistance had blunted Napoleon’s planned penetration of the North American mainland, Jefferson reacted to the shocking bloodshed in Haiti by imposing a stiff economic embargo on the island nation. In 1806, Dessalines himself was brutally assassinated, touching off a cycle of political violence that would haunt Haiti for the next two centuries.

Jefferson’s Blemish

For some scholars, Jefferson’s vengeful policy toward Haiti – like his personal ownership of slaves – represented an ugly blemish on his legacy as a historic advocate of freedom. Even in his final years, Jefferson remained obsessed with Haiti and its link to the issue of American slavery.

In the 1820s, the former President proposed a scheme for taking away the children born to black slaves in the United States and shipping them to Haiti. In that way, Jefferson posited that both slavery and America’s black population could be phased out. Eventually, in Jefferson’s view, Haiti would be all black and the United States white.

Jefferson’s deportation scheme never was taken very seriously and American slavery would continue for another four decades until it was ended by the Civil War. The official hostility of the United States toward Haiti extended almost as long, ending in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln finally granted diplomatic recognition.

By then, however, Haiti’s destructive patterns of political violence and economic chaos had been long established – continuing up to the present time. Personal and political connections between Haiti’s light-skinned elite and power centers of Washington also have lasted through today.

Recent Republican administrations have been particularly hostile to the popular will of the impoverished Haitian masses. When leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide was twice elected by overwhelming margins, he was ousted both times – first during the presidency of George H.W. Bush and again under President George W. Bush.

Washington’s conventional wisdom on Haiti holds that the country is a hopeless basket case that would best be governed by business-oriented technocrats who would take their marching orders from the United States.

However, the Haitian people have a different perspective. Unlike most Americans who have no idea about their historic debt to Haiti, many Haitians know this history quite well. The bitter memories of Jefferson and Napoleon still feed the distrust that Haitians of all classes feel toward the outside world.

“In Haiti, we became the first black independent country,” Aristide once told me in an interview. “We understand, as we still understand, it wasn’t easy for them – American, French and others – to accept our independence.”

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Harry Reid, Michael Steele, Negro Dialect & Political Grandstanding on the Backs of Blacks

Harry Reid, Michael Steele, Negro Dialect & Political Grandstanding

by Davey D

By now everyone has heard about the racial firestorm that has brewed because of some remarks attributed to Senate majority leader Harry Reid in a new book called Game Change. They were made in a private conversation during the 2008 campaign where Reid noted that then Senator Obama might be successful because he was light-skin and didn’t speak with a ‘Negro Dialect’. Obama in typical fashion avoided the mess that can come when discussing race by quickly accepting Reid’s apology, downplaying the remarks and announcing ‘the book is closed’ on the subject.

Of course Obama’s Republican counterparts seeing that Reid is in a tight re-election race have been trying their best to blow this issue up. The party of Ronald Reagan who supported South African Apartheid, the party of John McCain who said ‘No to a Martin Luther King holiday are suddenly getting all Jesse Jackson-like and riding hard for all those who have been on the receiving end of racial insults and oppression.. Thank you Republican Party-I guess…Not! LOL

Reid’s remarks have been the lead story on every news channel with news directors feverishly pouring through their rolodexes, seeking to get a Black pundit, seemingly any Black pundit to come to a studio where they would normally never see the light of day except during Black history month. Here they’re asked to wax poetic about Reid’s remarks. Some of these outlets have gone so far as to have two or three Black folks on at the same time thus violating the unwritten ‘one-Black-on-set-at-a-time’ rule.

It was good to Black scholars like Marc Lamont Hill weighin in on Harry Reid's remarks, but it would be good to see him and others weighin in on Sunday morning talk shows

To me I was more offended seeing a Professor Tricia Rose, Professor Marc Lamont Hill, BET’s Jeff Johnson and the dozen of other Black faces invited to discuss an old white man using the word ‘Negro’ versus seeing them invited on a regular basis to discuss a variety of other topics that have arguably more impact. I would’ve like to have seen some of those Black voices on the Sunday morning talk shows earlier this year dragging Harry Reid’s ass through the coals around the Healthcare debate when single payer and later public option got snatched off the table. To me the insult was seeing Black intelligence limited to just this topic whereas I might see a dimwit like Ann Coulter invited to weigh in on everything from the War in Afghanistan to what Chris Brown did to Rihanna.

I suppose I shouldn’t blame Harry Reid for that lack of Black visibility on these news outlets, but I will. As the Senate majority leader, I want him pushing for legislation that de-consolidates media and makes it more accessible to the wide array of voices and perspectives in the community. I want him to be leading the charge to undue the damage he helped create when he voted Yes for the infamous 1996 Telecommunications Bill.

Reframe the Debate and Hold Reid Accountable

In any case, while this Harry Reid saga runs its course, I think its important that folks push the envelop a bit and reframe the debate away from the narratives seemingly designed to fit the agendas of media outlets, disingenuous politicians or media darlings trying to blow up their names. I wish people who went on these shows were more aggressive in dismissing the Harry Reid vs Trent Lott angle which has resulted in wasteful discussions about who was more offensive and whether or not double standards are at play. That discussion is a trap.

Comparing Harry Reid to Trent Lott is a trap. It only serves the purpose of media outlets looking for conflict and GOP folks trying to stay in the news cycle

The thing we needed to be focused on was the rationale behind Harry Reid‘s remarks and his political relationship to an African-American community that votes to the tune of 96% for the Democrat political party that he leads in the Senate. Our discussion needed to be centered on us evaluating whether or not one of the most powerful lawmakers in the country was setting policy that met the needs and wants of our community.

What caught most people’s attention about Reid’s remarks was him using the phrase Negro Dialect. It was used in a private conversation and it raised eyebrows because as far as most of us know Senator Reid has never publicly called Obama a ‘Negro’ Senator or President. We haven’t heard him call his African American colleagues in Congress, Negroes.. So where did this phrase ‘Negro dialect’ come from? Why did he use such an out of date word? Was his use of the word just a bad habit or was it reflective of old-time thinking filled with whatever baggage and stereotypes that many whites had stuck in their heads back in the 50s and 60s when the use of that word was pervasive?

Sadly too many pundits were falling over themselves making ding dong excuses for Reid. Some were saying he’s elderly and thats how old folks talk. Others were jumping through hoops talking how we have the United Negro College Fund, the NAACP-National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and how the word is used in the 2010 Census therefore it was ok for Reid to go there.

All thats fine and dandy, but last I checked Senator Reid is not a historic 66 year old or 100 year Civil Rights old institution. Last time I interviewed NCAAP head Julian Bond, he didn’t call me Negro and neither had Ben Jealous. I’ve hosted events sponsored by UNCF and no one walked up to me and handed me a script that would would’ve had me addressing our people as ‘Negro’. If these folks stay up to date so can Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

When I first heard of Reid’s remarks the first thing that came to mind was ‘How often does he interact with Black folks on the Capitol Hill’? Cause I’m sure by now someone would’ve checked him. He would’ve had to run into a Maxine Waters, Keith Ellison or someone else who was outspoken who would’ve said; ‘Look Senator, I know your 71 years old, but its 2010 and if my 90 year grandmother from the backwoods of Mississsippi ain’t using the word ‘Negro’ therefore you too Senator Reid can stop using it ‘.

Now unless someone is covering for him, we haven’t heard that such conversation took place. Hence that makes me think, that Senator Reid knows all about speaking multiple dialects? I guess during the day when he’s in in the Senate chambers, he has a distinguished ‘US Senator-dialect’ by night when he’s kicking it in private he loosens up a bit and becomes more Archie Bunkerish with his language?

So again, just to make sure…since Senator Reid used Archie Bunker type language then our primary concern should be examining his voting record to make sure the Senator’s not pushing Archie Bunker type policies. His slip up gave us an extra excuse to hold him politically accountable.

We need to see if Harry Reid's outdated words are reflected in outdated policies

For example, earlier this year Senator Reid voted to prohibit funding for ACORN, an organization that played a key role in helping get President Obama elected. Was Reid’s vote a calculated political decision or did he come across one too many folks from that organization who he felt spoke with a ‘Negro dialect’ thus getting him to draw some far gone conclusions that ‘Negroes can’t be trusted to do things right’ so hence no funding?

2 or 3 years ago Reid voted to make English the official language for the country. What was going on in his head? Was there no room for Negro dialects? Did he want people to speak only ‘good ole American English’ thus inspiring to cast a vote to make sure?

Just like his political enemies we need to be looking at his voting record and making sure his private conversations of insensitive language was used is not matched by his votes and the agenda he sets for the Senate. You can peep his voting record here: http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=53320&category=13

Dealing with Republican Hypocrisy

Moving beyond Reid, one needs to look closely at the how the Republicans are handling this. I found it funny to see RNC chair Michael Steele express his supposed outrage for Reid’s remarks when he himself was chin checked by disgruntled members of his own party who felt like he was tarnishing the Republican brand by going on televison talk shows trying to be hip by using Hip Hop jargon which isn’t too far removed from what some might call Negro/Black dialect.

RNC Chair Michael Steele is gonna have a Jesse Jackson moment, he needs to tell Rush Limbaugh to stop playing the Barack the Magic Negro song

Steele said he was trying to make the party more attractive and more Hip Hop like. That whole thing got shut down with the quickness. If you recall, Steele got a verbal ass whupping from radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who was annoyed and later outraged by Steele’s behavior. It all reached a boiling point when Steele went on the now defunct DL Hugley show which aired on CNN. Sitting between Hughley and Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, Steele got jammed up about why he would hang with a political party that had leaders like Rush Limbaugh who at the time was underfire for saying he ‘wanted President Obama to fail’. Those remarks were coming at the heels of Limbaugh enraging African Americans by repeatdly playing a song during Obama’s campaign called Barack the Magic Negro.

Steele tried to laugh it off, talk a little hip hop slang and assure critics that Limbaugh was ‘just an entertainer’. When Limbaugh heard Steele tried to play him, he went off and smashed on Steele in the tirade of tirades. Limbaugh took to the airwaves and publicly reminded Steele he had 20-30 million listeners and that if he doesn’t start showing some loyalty to the party he might discover that conservative will not wanna talk to him when he came calling. Limbaugh told Steele that he needed to stop going on TV and start raising money for the RNC. It was a brutal tongue lashing, that resulted in Steele apologizing to Limbaugh and being a lap dog ever since..

We won’t even mention that Steele didn’t have the guts to tell Rush to retire when he was playing the Barack the Magic Negro song. He didn’t even tell him to stop. In fact not too many of the outspoken GOP members stepped up and expressed outrage for racial insensitivity expressed by someone who claimed to be advocating for them.

Just to show you how meeley mouth Steele and his people are let’s see the lack of reaction in April 2009, one month after he got the verbal beatdown by Rush Limbaugh. In the great state of Texas, during a televised session on voter protection fellow GOP party member state rep Betty Brown said Asian-Americans need to come up with more accessible names.

She said;“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?”

Brown went further when she told Chinese-American community organizer Ramey Ko, “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Here’s the video of that incident…

Perhaps Senator John Coryn should clean up his own backyard and ask Texas State Rep Betty Brown to resign before stepping to Harry Reid

Like I said Steele was nowhere to be seen. He wasn’t on TV calling for Brown’s retirement. And not to make this a partisan issue but facts are facts, the Democrats in the Texas House asked only for an apology. They did not ask for her to resign. To this day you don’t hear too many Republicans talk about this infamous incident. They try to downplay it. But I guess we’ll have to bring this up now that Texas senator John Cornyn went and opened his big mouth by demanding that Harry Reid resign.

This is the same Senator Coryn who resides in a state that is 30% Latino voted ‘No’ to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Sonia Satamayor. Coryn was all up in arms, being pompous and showing outrage at remarks Justice Sonia Satamayor made that he considered racially insensitive. I guess I can understand that if he was consistent. He said ‘No’ to Sotomayor, but not once did he ask representaive Betty Brown to step down… Coryn has no creditibility thus nothing more needs to be said. I guess Steele, Coryn and that whole cabal are only willing to do the Jesse Jackson thing to a point.

On a somewhat lighter note one has to wonder if Senator Reid expressed concern about the use of ‘Negro Dialect’ when Senator Hillary Clinton broke it out during her campaign. In the same vein did Michael Steele, Senator Coryn or any of their ilk ask Hillary to step down and resign for her ‘Negro speaking moments’? This of course raises the question to which the answer should be more than obvious, ‘Is what we seen expressed over this past week, righteous indignation, a genuine response to racial insensitivity or political opportunity’? As they say in the hood It’s all politics-It’s all politricks.

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Gentrification in East Austin-16 year Old Young Scholar Gabriel Padilla Does a 3 pt Documentary

A couple of months ago Detroit rap artist and activist Invincible touched down in Austin and San Antonio to share her musical talents and weigh in on an issue many in the community had been grappling with-Gentrification. Invincible noted that poor people being displaced from their neighborhood by a more affluent residents was huge deal in Detroit, so much show that she and her partner Finale did a song about it and accompanied it with a mini-documentary called Locust. The video garnered lots of critical acclaim and has been a powerful teaching tool that Invincible often uses when speaking with young people while touring the country.

Gabriel Padilla

Locust was a big hit when she swung through East Austin and talked with local youth over at PODER headquarters. The organization has long been dealing with gentrification, but Invincible being a popular Hip Hop artist with a video help crystalize the issue even more for the young people she met during her widely attended writing and political workshops. She encouraged people to hone in on their artistic skills and use them to bring attention to issues and concerns impacting their lives and the community.  The workshops were incredible as many of the people stepped up and spoke truth to power. One of the people who was inspired was 16 year old Gabriel Padilla who has a keen interest in politics and pretty handy with editing and working the camera. 

Padilla who has been a part of PODER’s Young Scholars for Justice Program  wanted to get this issue wider exposure so he got together with PODER co-director Erika Gonzalez and counselor Peter Mendoza to do an ambitious full length documentary on gentrification in East Austin. In the weeks that followed, Padilla would come by the PODER office, meet with Gonzalez and Mendoza, help draw out a storyline, get feedback and advice and basically grind away to craft what many are now seeing an important piece of work. His film which has been broken down into three parts was shown last month at Space 12. We are now showing it here on The Southern Shift.

We’ve gotten to know young Gabriel over the past few months as we would often see him and other young scholars speaking out at school board meetings and city council hearings.  Padilla reminds us all that the future generation is on point  and can move mountains if given the chance. We salute him for a job well done… Enjoy the documentary.

Gentrification in East Austin pt1

Gentrification in East Austin pt2

Gentrification in East Austin pt3

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