Immortal Technique: (Reflections on the Haitian Revolution & Present Condition)

(Reflections on the Haitian Revolution & Present Condition)
By Immortal Technique

http://www.everydropchi.com/

Since the recent tragedy that has befallen the proud and persevering nation of Haiti, there has been an outpouring of support followed by a few disturbing falsities being spread about the history of the island and its people. I wrote the following to shed some light on events during and around the Haitian Revolution. Please remember memorizing and reiterating should never pass for learning. Deciphering the significance of individuals and events is what truly teaches us not just about history, but also about ourselves.

There is a wide spectrum of beliefs behind what has caused Haiti to suffer ceaselessly over the years. Some see the problem as being mostly political, bad governance, modern day colonialism, and the perceived necessity to make an example to the world of what a successful slave revolution will get you. There are even those on the fringe who cling to an ancient superstition that the island was freed by a mythological pact with Satan (video) In order to shed light on the issue I am forced to go back in time. Obviously not to the beginning of occupational history, but far enough to give others a realistic perspective on Haiti and it’s struggle.

We join a story centuries in the making. It is the year 1794 and the scent of musket powder blows over all of Europe. The French Revolution may have changed the face of the world, but its unintended consequences that influenced its colonies would come to overshadow France’s own glory. It was during this year, on the 4th of February, that France’s First Republic Convention (under pressure from massive slave revolts) decided it had to transcend the stumbling efforts of the ‘enlightened monarchs’ of Europe and abolish slavery. Yet in the customary fashion of our own Declaration of Independence’s “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal,” the gesture, much like these words, became a glaring example of self-righteous insincerity. Equality, the fraternal twin brother of Independence, was aborted at the fetal stage of development and the Revolution came to betray itself.

Francois-Dominique Toussaint

Known then as “Saint Domingue” (French for Santo Domingo,) the colony that we now call Haiti, yielded great fortune to those who possessed her. It was rich with sugar, cotton, tobacco, cocoa and other valued resources. So much so that the European Superpowers of that day fought bitterly against each other to control the island and her inhabitants. After all, the African slaves living on Saint Domingue were the proverbial engines that ran the machine. From among them appeared a man who was born a slave but who would become free and lead all his countrymen toward that same destiny. He was a glitch in the matrix, an act of nature, and a mistake to be corrected in the eyes of the islands autocratic semi-feudal society. His name was Francois-Dominique Toussaint soon to be heralded, “L’Overture.”

As a former servant and carriage driver, he had abstained from participating directly in previous uprisings stemming from the refusal of slave masters to honor “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.” He had waited patiently and then allied himself with other rebel leaders who had risen to the task of overthrowing colonial rule. His ideas were innovative and his guerrilla tactics highly disciplined. No wonder then that he rose through the ranks of the rebellious forces so quickly.

Before fighting alongside the French against other colonial powers, Toussaint had been in league with the Spanish, who along with Great Britain were at war with France. The Spanish were used as a support system for his designs when white colonials refused to endorse the full rights of citizenship to free blacks given by the French edict of 1792. In other words, for Toussaint they were there to serve his vision rather than him serving theirs. Having so many different nations vying for a piece of the pie proved a difficult task to navigate. To his credit, Toussaint had managed to out-maneuver them all, cleverly using their own tactics of pitting one against another. But when Spain and England did not follow through with their promises to free slaves, he discarded his allegiance to them.

After grueling and hard-fought campaigns against the Spanish and British, he took control of the French Colony. Toussaint promoted reconciliation among the races, which wasn’t any easier then than it would be now. He also engaged and renegotiated better terms of trade with Britain and the new American Republic alike. Catholicism was adopted as the national religion and slavery was abolished. The news traveled around the world like lightning- the African Slaves were undergoing the course of reversing 300 years of domination.

As news of the Independence of Haiti was circulating, the reaction was mixed. Toussaint’s actions openly received the approval of Alexander Hamilton, who saw Europe’s weakening in the West as an opening for America’s bid for commercial supremacy. He even aided in the drafting of the precursor to the island’s first constitution in 1801. However, when Thomas Jefferson came to power, American support was reined in. Jefferson openly own slaves and had even fathered children with the now famous girl he owned, Sally Hemmings. But much more than his personal stake in legitimized servitude, it was the perceived international threat that most likely shaped his opinion. The surrounding colonies and his new Republic being destabilized by the idea of a successful slave revolt obviously frightened him. His assertion being that their freedom would suddenly cripple the economy built around them. He is quoted as saying that it was necessary at all costs to “confine the plague to the island.” I guess “My emancipation / don’t fit your equation.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

By 1801, Toussaint was in full control of Saint Domingue. In a moment of perhaps self-preserving foresight and/or genuine altruism, he advanced onto the Spanish side of the island. His army defeated the remaining white colonial powers and freed all the slaves, showing the people of color the first glimpses of freedom they’d known practically since the time of Columbus. He rejected the ancient custom that dated back to the Middle Ages, of sending his children as hostages to his ‘Suzerain’ as a symbol of fidelity. He further declared his intentions in a famous letter addressing Napoleon himself. It was titled: “From the First of Blacks to the First of the Whites.” In it he pledged his loyalty to France. He stated firmly that slavery would be utterly annihilated; that he (Toussaint) would remain governor indefinitely (a suggestion from Hamilton and then Sec. of State Pickering). Furthermore Saint Domingue would be a free and independent state. The correspondence must have come as a shock to then Consul Napoleon. It was probably the sheer audacity of a former slave proposing terms of independence, albeit in the most polite and articulate manner, that struck him. This man was obviously more dangerous than he could have ever imagined. Toussaint and his people represented something that had to be proved false no matter the cost.

See the very existence of their independence showed the entire human race a side of history that we are only now truly rediscovering. European society had relied mainly on creating divisions and the spread of epidemics, not simply superior military prowess to overcome the indigenous populations of Africa and the Americas. The Haitian Revolution exposed the façade of European invincibility, and it tore away at their justification for invasion on the grounds of Christianization. The mythology of racial superiority began to take the shape of an ancient death mask from classical antiquity.

Napoleon would hear no more and dispatched his brother in law Gen. Charles LeClerc to the island with a huge force of infantry troops and warships. His stated intention was to secure the new state. At first confrontation ensued, but they arrived at a truce once Toussaint promised that the French would not attempt to reinstate slavery. However, the moment he let his guard down he was almost immediately betrayed. Toussaint and his entire family were arrested. Restoring the island to France’s control, LeClerc had Toussaint sent to prison in France. But this was just the beginning. He quietly moved to begin the process of re-enslavement. “Since terror is the sole resource left me, I employ it…destroy all the mountain negroes, men and women, sparing only children under twelve years of age,” read his report to Napoleon.

The Mulatto

The French now shifted their focus on using the former so called “Mulatto” people who Toussaint had defeated in previous military campaigns to maintain control of the island. They, the “Mulatto’s” had been at odds with elements of the Revolution earlier although they had suffered almost equally from the torments of slavery. The very concept of the “Mulatto”, that still to this day plagues the African, Latin American, Caribbean, and so Called West Indian world, merits an explanation all to itself.

The Latin ‘mulus,’ became the Old Spanish or Old Castillian ‘mula,’ finally evolving into the Spanish and Portuguese “Mulatto,” that symbolized the reverse anthropomorphic semblance of a human being. A mule is the physical combination of a horse and a donkey. This part is simple enough. But the symbolic nature of this has a racial connotations that tear apart our society even today. The horse symbolizes the White European, elegant, regal and highly valued. And the donkey embodies what they thought the purpose of an African/Indigenous slave should be; a beast of burden to be worked until the day that ‘it’ dies.

The combination of a horse and a donkey create a species that rarely if ever is capable of reproducing. The male is always born sterile, and the female is exceptionally similar in this way. Hence the idea that nothing good can come from them. This concept then became permeated in the portrayal of the “tragic mulatto” in 19th century American literature, leading into classic Hollywood cinema. It is a theme symbolized by the downfall of a “Mulatto” or “Quadroon/Octoroon” attempting to pass for white. It also focused on the conflict of those trapped between two races. Those who despised and pitied their darker half and their own skin color, while needing the approval of whites to validate themselves. In most of the stories peace is only found for the said main character in death. The very definition of its existence solidified the role of White and Black in the American caste system, whose remnants we all still presently reside in. It also laid out the role of Blacks to themselves, without many of them even to this day understanding the loaded straw man argument about race posed within the terminology.

It was the Haitian Revolution that challenged the very idea of slavery and the existence of a lesser man. It put the “enlightenment” of Europeans on trial, and forced America to confront what she was becoming as opposed to what she was supposed to be. The usage of concepts like the “Mulatto” were necessary for late 18th century white society to put institutionalized racism on life support for another 150 years, and create a violent split in the psychology of Mother Earth’s first children.

They had used a traditional stratagem inherited from the Romans/Byzantines of understanding an empire’s limited capacity for multi-dimensional warfare on a global scale, and employed the service of a smaller state to outflank its opponents in conflict. Only this time it was not using the Visigoths to fight the Huns (Battle of Chalon, 451 A.D.) or the Cumans to fight the Pechenegs (Levonium, 1091 A.D.). Napoleon and those that served his court were innovators of the worst kind. They perfected what other colonial powers beforehand had only begun. They created virtual new age “foederati” for their designs by ripping a subsection out of the very people they sought to subjugate. In return for cooperation, the French promised the desperate “Mulattos” more rights and more privileges in what they painted as a new Saint Domingue. Effectively this action created a safe haven for racism that is even now nestled like a neonate Viper storing the poison of generation after generation. The idea built itself within the conscious and subconscious mind of an enslaved people, to keep them in bondage psychologically even if they found themselves physically free. This is evident not only in the continued degeneration of Black and “Mulatto” relations well into the mid 1800’s under Jean Pierre Boyer, but in present Black & Latino society’s obsession with skin color.

In other words, the French colonization efforts efficiently solidified adding dimensions to racism and the notion of racial superiority by creating a different “race” in our own minds. It was wicked and brilliant in its service to the cause of reducing man to property as it was to being duplicitous to the so-called ‘Mulatto’ himself. For in the end he was closer to his Master in his eyes only. To the French he was still little more than an animal, subject to an active and de-facto ‘Code Noir’.

(The cruel logic of the seemingly schizophrenic reflections in King Louis XIV’s Code Noir of 1641, is regarded as a predecessor to the U.S.’s Black Codes, which shaped the legal standing of former African slaves in the post civil war Era. It covers everything from the immediate persecution and expulsion of Jews, to laws concerning a slave’s position, methods of torture and capital punishment that could be implemented.)

Click to read the Code Noir http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/335/

Jean Jaques Dessalines and Black (Slave) Rage

Tricknowledge, is a late 20th century Harlem terminology for an old cosmopolitan strategy. It is used to describe an imperial power not having the physical force to conquer a people, and therefore resorting to the art of deception to achieve victory. Calculating lies are used to manipulate the target into compromising positions before it is attacked. Yet even with all of her elegantly worded deception, sweet-accented mandates, and counter-mandates, France would only hold the beautiful island prisoner for a few more fleeting moments of history. Once the Revolution was set into motion there was no opposing inertia capable of stopping it. Toussaint may have been taken under arms to France where he lived incarcerated, in a frozen fortress near Bensancon (eventually succumbing to pneumonia although some suspected poison), but the Revolution rolled on. In fact, right before Toussaint’s death, a perhaps karmic parting gift of yellow fever swept Saint Domingue weakening the French garrison and even claiming the life of Charles LeClerc.

Jean Jaques Dessalines

Napoleon’s Saint Domingue police state barely lasted a year, until it became blatantly evident that slavery was to be reinstated just as it had been on Guadeloupe. In the end, after watching the brutal conflict and horrific mistreatment of his own people, it was one of Toussaint’s young General’s, Jean Jaques Dessalines (who had ironically allied himself with LeClerc when Toussaint was captured), who decided to emerge as the leader that would avenge his people. Truthfully though, and perhaps more important to his own soulful vanity, he really sought to avenge himself. To hear him described by the contemporary European authors of his time, he sounds like the very manifestation of chaotic violence. But every scar has a story, and Dessalines had many scars. In fact a large percentage of his body was covered in painful grooves, partially healed lacerations and whip marks that made some of his skin look like it had melted over itself. He had received some of these in very visible places, and even the most sensitive areas of a man, for his perceived ‘insolence’ as a slave.

It is said General Dessalines would look upon his scars in the mirror and cry out in rage before battles. Then crashing into his enemies he fought with the valiant nature of a man seeking freedom, and persistent fury of a heart that would only be quenched by vengeance. His aim became to ensure the small Revolution’s continued success at any military cost. He was determined to maintain it by implementing the same campaigns of terror that the slave owners had recently utilized on him and his people. And this is what terrified white Europeans to the core of their being. Provoking most landowners and slave masters to flee. Some of them though, daring to look, must have surely seen a piece of themselves in him and been rattled. This is thought to be what initially led to the invention of stories about his pact with the devil and deals with voodoo spirits, as these then served the impertinent need to differentiate his actions from theirs.

To better understand how the slaves were treated and what exactly he sought to repay to his former masters for, I chose this famous quote from Henri Christophe‘s personal secretary. He, who was once a slave, describes in sick details the daily torture inflicted on the enslaved Africans of Saint-Domingue by the French.

“Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars? Have they not forced them to eat shit? And, having flayed them with the lash, have they not cast them alive to be devoured by worms, or onto anthills, or lashed them to stakes in the swamp to be devoured by mosquitoes? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down mountainsides into the abyss? Have they not consigned these miserable blacks to man eating-dogs until the latter, sated by human flesh, left the mangled victims to be finished off with bayonet and poniard?”

His preferred mechanism for punishing European colonials, many of whom were former slave masters, was indeed ruthless. He implemented “Black Rage” as both his foreign and domestic policy, which meant the absolute destruction of the white colonists, soldiers, and civilians. Before him others had angrily suggested this sort of retribution but none had the gall to carry it out. After all, ideologues may design a Revolution and dismantle an empire verbally, but ideas are powerless without the hand that wields them mercilessly. In the end a combination of this, and allowing remaining whites to live without owning any property and having little say in government, was the result.

I make no attempt here to justify the actions of Jean-Jaques Dessalines, but a person cannot be made a slave unless they are terrorized and de-humanized. Unless they are mentally, spiritually and in many cases physically castrated, unless their women are raped before them and children are sold and tore from the womb in front of their eyes. He did in essence what he was taught to do by those that shaped his world.

His collective punishment & scorched earth policy frightened the remaining white colonials to such a degree that most migrated en masse to the other side of the island or to the mainland. General Dessalines fought many battles and eventually claimed the independence of Haiti on January 1st, 1804. During this time period he had ravaged the Eastern side of the island and having swept away all opposition, made himself Emperor in 1804. His absolute rule inspired anger and resentment, and only 2 years after his coronation he was assassinated. The country divided itself between North and South until power was consolidated again. The legend of Dessalines came to life upon his death. Stories grew out of the resentment of the white exiles that had once owned his people and now happily welcomed his demise. Even the “Mulatto” section of Haiti that never received his trusting and felt shunned by him. His immediate demonization followed in these circles, without a thought or a backtracking moment in history to consider what were the circumstances caused him to be. No context that showed the nature of the slow functional genocide of his people.

Just silence. And that silence without context continues even today while people suffer one of the worst natural catastrophes that has ever be known to mankind.

Extortion of Haiti

Not a word from proud France who defied the American War machine over Iraq, but has kept silent over these two centuries when concerning the 150 million gold francs it extorted from Haiti in 1838. The number was later lowered to 90 million gold francs but the factual story behind the extortion goes as such. Under the guise of a cessation of hostilities (a promise to curb re-invasion), repaying indemnities and for the loss of “property” (slaves) during the Revolution, France demanded payment. And of course since Haiti had no such sum in their treasury at the time, French bankers eagerly paid the first 30 million gold francs at exorbitant almost mafia-inspired interest rates. So high that it was not until 1947 that Haiti was actually able to repay THAT particular “loan”. By the mid to late twentieth century the IMF’s policy of changing it’s agricultural focus and conditional foreign aid had since indebted the island nation beyond ruin. In the wake of this current tragedy, I believe France should immediately repay the blood money it stole years ago no matter its legal apprehensions of reparations. This isn’t about reparations for slavery it’s about the over 20 billion dollars in the modern equivalent paid to a reinstated tyrannical king. It is not the pinnacle of restoring Haiti, but the beginning of repair.

Jean Betrand Aristide

I would be remiss to not pause here and point out that this was written as a moderately detailed historical account of events in and around the Haitian Revolution. It is not the entire history of the island and does not go in depth into the modern self-defeating racial and political schism between Haiti and the Dominican Republican during the mid 20th century. I purposely steered clear of recent events concerning Jean Bertrand Aristide because it deserves an article on it’s own. I also cannot and will not lay the blame solely on Europeans for the condition of Haiti. The French themselves cannot be demonized anymore than the Spanish, English, Portuguese or Belgians, etc. for their role in colonization. Although to rule out foreign intervention for Haiti’s condition would be ignoring a huge amount of independent variables that affect the equation. While military backed World Bank policy has always kept the island as an economic vassal, the mismanagement of resources and corrupt leaders also bled the nation dry.

At some point we have to accept the personal responsibility for repairing the framework of society ourselves, and not relying on the people that ruined our indigenous civilizations to fix them all the time. Brutally repressive dictators, such as Duvalier, who were allowed to exist by the U.S. because of their stance against Communism, must be put into their proper context as well. They are not simply a Western invention, but rather the natural order of bequeathing absolute power to an agent of “stability,” an experiment that could easily be repeated in our own Republic. And so we as a nation cannot claim ignorance in our understanding of this political formula anymore, whether at home or abroad. The sad truth is that we as a public entity or a people may understand this relationship and dissect it now, but our own government has recognized it since the founding of the nation.

We may sometimes point to these historical figures and attribute superstitious characteristics to them in order to either justify or vilify their position. My main problem is when it starts becoming obvious that our own government uses complete and utter falsities to promote a military objective. The following is an account written by a Soldier who participated in the ousting of then President Aristide, it sheds light on the deliberate dissemination of such information:

http://www.ibiblio.org/prism/May96/haiti.html

If he (Dessalines) really made a pact to deliver his nation to absolute evil then why only the leader of the one successful slave revolt on the hemisphere? Why just him and not every other military commander throughout history that faced insurmountable odds? And when is that sort of such vindictive and violent force ever justified? See, that my friends- is at the very core of what Haiti and it’s historic Revolution truly represent. That undiluted tactic of delivering oneself from slavery and oppression through physical force. The French Revolution beheaded their King they did not pay his family restitution. The American Revolution gave Britain no reparations and in fact collected the land of it’s Indigenous allies after England ceded it without so much as a word to the Native American’s still living there. Yet only in modern history have enslaved people of color been trained to think suffering through the worst of what an oppressor can punish them with is the only way to gain legitimacy or victory.

Are we tragically “Mulatto?”

Are we as Black and Indigenous people only noble and righteous in an emasculated form of confrontations against such a fate? Are we only correct in our undertaking of a non-violent approach to confronting Imperialism or Fascism? More of white America praises Martin Luther King Jr. as peacefully resistant and the preferable alternative to Malcolm X’s truth without modesty. More would rather hear the scholarly Fredrick Douglas than experiencing the fear-invoking Dessalines. I do not seek to discredit the legacy of either Douglas or King. We are all indebted to the vital parts of the struggle for freedom that they played historically. But why are Europe and American spared the same constant criticism by present day historians. Would we turn the other cheek to Hitler? What would a non-violent march and a hunger strike against the Confederate South have accomplished? Without colonial militias, Native American Warriors, and the French & Spanish Armadas, wouldn’t the (U.S.) Constitution have ended up as British toilet paper? As a matter of fact, if Ghandi’s tactics had been used in the American Revolution, wouldn’t he have been lying in a ditch in Virginia some 234 years ago? Without the purchased attention of a global media outlet is shaming the world even possible? And even if we managed to procure one, how could a profit margin be replaced by a soul, when that’s the one thing that a multi-national news corporation will never have?

I believe a balance is always necessary, and that might never makes right. It just makes right now. Having the power to take land, force payment or enslave others doesn’t make your cause justified. In fact I would argue that an oppressor who lies to his slaves about their ten thousand year old history, and presents them as a fraction of a human being to all, is in truth more savage than that which he has reduced his fellow man to. Strength and power are the tools that can reinforce a document, a government, a people and a nation. Without them there is only the word, and unfortunately we are not as evolved as we would like to believe because we do not respect words, not even the words of God when we write them in our own image. We are taught to only respect fear and violence.

I am not arrogant enough to claim to have all the answers, but I come rather humbly myself to pose these questions so that you may discover the answer. May we repay the slave master by acting like the slave master? Or have we already gone this route before? Perhaps in our forgotten history we have already employed these strategies amongst ourselves. Can it be that we treated each other this way when Rome was yet to be conceived and Greek civilization was still an adolescent student of Egypt? Why is violent Revolution coupled with diplomatic conflict settlement only the recourse of the Super powers alone? Why is it presented to us as fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden? Perhaps it was our oppressor’s pact with the devil that made it so. These are question that are easy to answer only if a personal bias already exists within us, they are harder to answer when they speak to all of humanity, and what it reflects about the future of our species.

The earthquake itself did not discriminate by skin color when deciding who would die in the collapsing buildings. It cared nothing for their religion, family connections, or politics. Corrupt diplomats have perished within the same epicenter as innocent hardworking families and dedicated public servants. The old and the young perish together subtracted from both sides of the equation. Our evolution is the rediscovery of the past not an invention of a mythical future. Will we always be a petty small people as a complete and single human race that we do not look beyond what is obvious in our faces as opposed to what is obvious in the actions that our hearts strive us towards?

As I look at the proud, resilient and suffering nation of Haiti. I have heard every sort of theory for this tragedy, an act of God, HAARP, and even superstition backed by the hands of social senility wielding faith. In the end I am left to ponder what role did the world’s super powers play in burying Haiti before the Earthquake, and what sort of role will we now play in digging her and our own collective human soul out of the rubble?

Beyond this though I think we should begin to seriously change the way that we look at each other around the world. We are a global community, a single race of people who might one day all become Haitians.

To all my brothers & sisters, those that have lost family and are suffering.

My Condolences along with Revolutionary Love & Respect,

Immortal Technique

Felipe Coronel

Check out the website...Every Drop Counts is a grassroots organization assembled in response to the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti….A group of young artists and activists in Chicago came together with the goal to raise funds in order to send filtration equipment that will provide sustainable, clean bathing and drinking water (Thus, the name Every Drop Counts.)

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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.

Obama References King During Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech-Discounts Non-Violence as a Method for Heads of State

 

Posting up excerpts of acceptance speeches for the Nobel Peace Prize by both President Obama and Martin Luther King. The natural thing is to make comparisons and perhaps demand that Obama be more King-like especially as he is sending 30 thousand more troops to Afghanistan…

I think its good to see both speeches to see how each man reflects upon what they perceive as their constituents. King talks about the 22 million Black folks who are under seige in this country. Obama talks about a country ‘under seige’ by terrorism.

What stood out for me was hearing how Obama while referencing King, did not reference the people King stood for… He also seemed to make the case that Kings approach toward non-violence is impractical. He cited Hitler’s march to war as an example.

That too me is a direct challenge for us as activists to change the dynamics and make any President or other recipient see us as constituents. As it stands now, President Obama came to Oslo, picked up his award, made a brief speech and skipped all the traditional festivities. Why? Because he was concerned about taking a victory lap while his numbers are down and critics are on his heels making demands…

Here’s the the speech in its entirety

http://www.c-span.org/pdf/intl121009_obama.pdf

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President Obama Wins Noble Peace Prize-Was it to Show Rejection to George Bush?

With Obama winning the Noble Peace Prize perhaps he can patch things up with Rev Wright

With Obama winning the Noble Peace Prize perhaps he can patch things up with Rev Wright

Congratulations President Barack Obama just won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said..It came as ahuge suprise to the people in the room as well as President Obama and his White House staff.  The main reason for the shock was because up to now President Obama hasn’t done much in terms of foreign policy. We are still engaged in two wars with the President currently contemplating to ramp things up in Afghanistan. Thats not very peace-like in alot of people’s minds.

There is alot of speculation that Obama was given this presitigous award as a way to rebuke George Bush and his 8 years of foreign policy that was intensly disliked by many overseas. Obama has been credited with changing that negative perspective the US has given off.

The other reason that his being speculated as for Obama being granted the Noble Prize is for the decisions he can and will soon after make. With him winning the prize, perhaps  he will pull our troops out of Afghanistan or help Free Palestine. Perhaps he will end the blockade with Cuba and put an end to AFROCOM…Such moves will give this prize richer meaning… It’ll move him in the direction of Martin Luther King who won this award 45 years ago. I have my reservations and disappointments with Obama and him waffling on key issues, many have said it was due to politics and the pressure put on him by organized powerful forces, while many of us on the left have kind of left it up to him to do right by us. Perhaps this Noble Prize will give him the political cover to do the right thing and buffer him from war hawk critics.

It’s either that or Obama who is now the ‘Peace president’ will have to look us in the eye and tell us that ‘War is the answer’ which will then underscore the devaluing of this award which the right is already spinning… In anycase the President winning the Noble Prize will put the fact that ‘he didn’t win’ the Olympics for Chicago..It will also ironically give him political cover when he doesn’t respond angrily or aggressively to right wing nuts who seem to be all up in his grill all the the time..

I will say this, if Obama winning the Noble Peace Prize, makes Tea baggers, Hitler Lovers, War Mongerers  and the Glenn Becks of the world go nuts then I say Go Obama!

-Davey D-

Well deserved: President Obama won Nobel Peace Prize

http://carlosqc.blogspot.com/2009/10/well-deserved-president-obama-is-2009.html

by Carlos in DC

President Barack Obama deserves well the Nobel Peace Prize.

This award is not about what he has accomplished –or not- within the U.S. during his first eight months in office, but what his election as the first Black president of the United States has meant for this country and the entire world.

As the first African descendant leader of the most powerful and richest nation in human history, a country built for centuries with the work of African and Native American slaves, Barack Obama has broken many barriers with his election and directly promoted equality, respect for diversity, social justice, and change all around the planet.

This is a well deserved prize, and it represents also the hope of hundreds of millions of oppressed people in the world struggling against racism, including the over 180 million Afro descendants in the Americas, with leaders like Piedad Cordova, the Afro Colombian Senator who was also a favorite and front runner for this award.

This prize is also well timed as president Obama is close to decide on the fate of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the current conflicts are getting more complicated and a military solution seems less probable in both cases.

The U.S. has over 1,000 military bases in the world, and president Obama needs the most support to make the right decisions to spread more peace, and less wars. His current efforts to strength the U.S. presence in the United Nations is a sign that he will be focusing in peaceful diplomacy in the near future.
President Obama will receive the Nobel Prize 45 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded in 1964:

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/10/200910984730747202.html

The Nobel Committee on Friday said that Obama had made “extraordinary efforts in international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples.”

Barack Obama, the US president, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009, less than a year after taking office.

The announcement was made in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, recognising Obama’s attempts to foster international peace and create a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama, 48, wins the award while still being the commander-in-chief of US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the committee, said.

“His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics.

“Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”

‘Midst of engagement’

The prize is worth $1.4m, which will be handed over on December 10.

The only US presidents to have won the award while in office were Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919.

Kristian Berg Harpviken, from the International Peace Research Institute, told Al Jazeera: “I was very surprised … On the other hand what I did expect this year was a daring prize.

“I mean by daring is a prize that went to somebody who is not only rewarded for past achievements but who actually stands in the midst of a historical engagement.

“In other words, I was expecting the committee to want to use the political weight of the prize to make a difference in the world. To award it to somebody who could take that political capital and run with it.

Harpviken said that Obama is yet to achieve any of his major objectives on the global stage but added “what Obama has done is to give a breath of fresh air to international diplomacy and to multilateral collaboration.”

“He has done that but he has yet to prove that he can deliver. And on many of the concrete issues where he has made tall commitments and has high ambitions it is clear that the wind is not blowing his way and that it is going to be very difficult.”

Governments and world players began reacting to the announcement of the award on Friday.

The Taliban condemned the decision saying that Obama has “not taken a single step towards peace in Afghanistan”.

However, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, congratulated Obama, calling the announcement “appropriate”.

An aide to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said that the award should prompt Obama to begin to end injustice in the world.

“We hope that this gives him the incentive to walk in the path of bringing justice to the world order,” Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Ahmadinejad’s media aide, said.

“We are not upset and we hope that by receiving this prize he will start taking practical steps to remove injustice in the world.”

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Texas Secession: Should Black and Brown Folks Jump on Board?

southernshifthat-225I always find this concept of  Texas secession interesting. I especially find it interesting when I see and hear the way its being framed. Words like ‘Freedom‘  ‘Independence‘ and ‘Oppression‘ are used suggesting that its noble endeavor and not something sinister.  Some find the conversation compelling when it focuses on our main two parties Republicans and Democrats being a thorn in our collective sides that needs to be done away with. There’s lots of tough talk about  from secessionist about dissatisfaction with the Federal  government which is very relatable when one looks at high unemployment rates, Wall Street Bankers getting bailed out, mismanaged wars out and no Universal healthcare. All of this makes a secession argument intriguing.

Today secessionists claim that their motivation is not racism. They emphatically claim an increasingly Browner and Blacker Texas is not their main reason to secede. They want freedom from Oppression. Ok I’ll buy that-we all want that type of relief.  Now my question is will a Republic of Texas change the flawed political dynamics of the other 49 states and strive to be a true Democracy?  Will a Republic of Texas have a government that is a true representation that is reflective of the population?  For example, will there be proportional representation ensuring all Texans to have voice and a seat at the table or will it be winner take all? In short will the Republic of Texas be for the people by the people?  After all, the reason to secede centers around a Federal government that is unresponsive. The ROT should ideally change this right?  We will no longer have to worry about a federal government that spends our money in all the wrong places. We will no longer have to worry about a federal government that doesn’t listen to the peoples true wants and needs. I can completely understand the frustrations one has with the Feds. I can assure you, those sentiments are not exclusive to the ‘good’ folks behind the ‘Texas Nationalist Movement’. Lots of folks feel that way. Lots of Black folks, lots of Brown folks.

I recall during the height of the Black Power movements, in the 60s and 70s groups like the Nation of Islam  than known as the Black Muslims along with others called for a nation within a nation. It was a type of secession of sorts. Leaders felt like the Democrats and Republicans were morally corrupt. They felt the Federal government was a sham and ideally things would get better if the nation’s Black population could take over the states they tilled the land for as slaves and call it a day.  Freedom from oppression was the guiding force. Black folks were looking to get their 40 Acres and mule as promised by the Feds.  Perhaps this will happen under the Republic of Texas. Broken promises shall be honored  right?

 As we now know all that nation within a nation talk was met with swift and ultimately destructive response from our federal government. FBI director, J Edgar Hoover under the leadership of Lyndon Baines Johnson a Texan , did ‘name checks’ on opponents and ran a vicious Cointel-pro campaigns to dismantle the Black Panthers,  derail  the Civil Rights Movement led by  Martin Luther King and make any talk of  a nation within a nation sound utterly ridiculous.

There are many Chicano’s here in Texas who can recall the heights of the Chicano Movement where issues like Land Grants was front and center and people were seeking ways to get back ancenstral lands that were stolen. I believe there’s quite a bit of ‘property’ in Texas that folks may be looking to get back.  Will that at least be discussed in the Republic of Texas? After all  Chicanos and many indegenous folks have major beef with the Federal government who they feel behaved in extreme undemocratic  fashion. They can tell you story after story of broken promises, broken treaties, and unscrupulous land grabs. One should be able to safely assume that within a strong independent Texas such atrocities will not take place.  The goal of having honesty within our government is one of the reasons to secede. 

The Republic of Texas… Is this an opportunity for ALL the people in Texas (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Young, old ) to have the wrongs of the past corrected? Is the Republic of Texas intending to be a true Democracy or is all this talk of  a Free and Independent Texas just a sham  conducted by some disgruntled people with its core goal to grab land and resources?

Something to Ponder

-Davey D-

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An exclusive interview with Daniel Miller, President of The Texas Nationalist Movement

Source: Cypress Times Article

TexasSecession-225Over the past few weeks The Cypress Times has carried several opinion pieces in our Op/Ed Section from supporters of the Texas Nationalist Movement.  The Texas Nationalist Movement supports Texas secession, and the establishment of a free and independent Texas. 

These op/ed pieces have garnered an amazing amount of attention and have resulted in some very, let’s call it lively, commentary.  One of the themes repeated often in the negative commentary is that the Texas Nationalist Movement is motivated by racism and a hate specifically for Barack Obama.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the TNM is not an Obama thing.  It’s not a Democrat thing.  It’s not a GOP thing.  It’s a freedom thing.

The TNM was formed way before anyone outside of Chicago, and a few domestic terrorists, had ever heard the name, Barack Obama.  Most people in the U.S. back then thought ACORN was just a nut long cherished by squirrels and that Socialism was something that happened in ridiculous places like France. 

The truth is that George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas when TNM launched its initiative to say “Adios” to the United States of America. So, it’s really not an Obama thing, okay.

“We’re non-partisan with people from all walks of life,” Texas Nationalist Movement, President Daniel Miller told me in a recent interview.  Truth be told, the TNM hasn’t much use for those now running the DNC, nor the GOP.

“Our organization rejects these dividing lines which are artificial.  Both major parties fundamentally engage in the same activity,” Miller says.  He also adds, “We (TNM) railed against Bush and the Patriot Act, too.”

So, if the Texas Nationalist Movement isn’t about party politics, what is it about?  Party politics after all are what makes our Government go round.  It’s about the two party system, right? Wrong.

IT’S A FREEDOM THING –

“It’s about people who agree with individual freedom and liberty not putting trust in government,’ Miller says. “How long can people be disenfranchised from government before they say let’s do our own thing.  You saw it in the American Revolution and in Texas history.”

Miller goes on to describe the U.S. Government as “overbearing, oppressive, unwielding and unresponsive.” 

I think that pretty well covers it.  

THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS –

I have to admit as a fifth generation Texan the notion of Texas pulling up stakes and saying, “See Ya” to the U.S. has always fascinated me.  I’ve always thought of Texas secession as a romantic expression of the individualism and ruggedness of the people of Texas.  I see us Texans tipping our collective Stetsons and riding off into the sunset of independence never again to be bothered by those foreigners on the other side of the river.  You know, the Red River.  However, I never really considered it.  Should we really consider it now?   

How’s that hope and change working out for you?  That phrase is getting a lot of action these days.  For that matter how was it working out for you before the change, when George Bush pushed for the first stimulus package and ignored the security of our borders?  Have you really seen a change, or is it more of the same? 

When the Dems are in office the GOP is complaining, when the GOP is in office the Dems are complaining.  Are they really all alike?  I make no judgment call here, I’m just asking.

The questions really become:

Are we (the people) okay with how things are?  Can we change those things given the current system?  If the answer is no, what next?

“People eventually say I don’t want to be a part of this anymore,” says Miller.  “Secession, independence or autonomy come into play.  It has played out across the globe for thousands of years.”

What would a Republic of Texas look like?  Is that bunch in Austin any more trustworthy than the bunch in DC?  The thing to look at, according to Miller, is the Texas Constitution.  Specifically, Article 1, Section 2 which reads as follows:

“INHERENT POLITICAL POWER; REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT. All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”

The Texas Constitution leaves little wiggle room on this matter.  It is less open for broad interpretation than the U.S. Constitution.  Isn’t that where we began to get in trouble in the first place?  All of that broad interpretation.

CAN IT BE DONE?  

Can Texas secede, and become a free Republic once more?  Miller says “Yes” and perhaps sooner than anyone thinks.  Miller believes that the secession movement has the support of between 2.2 million and 6 million Texans.  That’s a broad range and Miller understands that.  The range is due to how the numbers were extrapolated from several sources and polls.  Either way it’s a big number.  It is a number that makes the TNM a formidable force in Texas politics.

Miller believes the issue of Secession will be addressed in “a rapid fashion” during the next legislative session (2011) or perhaps sooner, once the Governor’s race has ended.

Miller also says, in the context of the current political climate in America, “I think by the time we get to a vote, Texas independence wins by a landslide.”  

WHY NOW?  WHY WOULD THE PEOPLE BE READY FOR SUCH A DRASTIC MOVE? –

Miller explains that the U.S. Government has moved America in the wrong direction for over 20 years.

“Incrementalism is where it’s all going.  They’ve incrementally moved us so far that now they’re emboldened to take bigger steps because they have less distance to go.”  Miller adds, “For 20 years we’ve been asleep and now the noose is around the neck.”

Miller realizes that secession is not the first thought your average citizen has in terms of fighting back.  He sees what is happening with Townhall Meetings, and TEA Party gatherings, but still believes Secession is the right move for Texas and Texans.

“People will exhaust all the usual opposition first.  But they’ve (the Federal Govt.) taken the position that they know what’s best for us,” says Miller.  Then he reminds me of the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 2.  It’s about the people!

HOW WOULD IT WORK?

Secession is not spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, it is an inferred right, according to Miller who also says that the Declaration of Independence makes it plain as to how it all works. 

When the colonies declared independence, each “state” seceded from England to form a new union.  It would occur much the same now.  If the issue is put in front of the people of Texas and they vote to secede, then Texas will declare independence from the U.S.  The Governor and the Legislature will hold a convention to call for articles of secession and to negotiate a settlement with the U.S.

If the U.S. Government were to ignore those articles of secession, then Texas could declare unilateral independence. 

I asked Mr. Miller what a new Texas would look like geographically. Since it is well known that Texas gave up a good deal of real estate when it joined the U.S., his answer surprised me.  Daniel Miller says the better question might be, what would the United States look like?

“Without Texas, the U.S. ought to think about its viability,” says Miller.

Mr. Miller believes strongly that when Texas secedes, others will follow.  There are other secession movements underway in the U.S. today in states like Vermont and Wisconsin as an example.

CAN TEXAS SURVIVE?

The Secession “nay-sayers” are quick to point out that Texas would lose a ton of Federal money if it were no longer a part of the United States. 

Mr. Miller says, “For years now every dollar we (Texas) send to DC is declining in terms of what we get back.  In the past 30 years Texas has never gotten back what it sends to the Federal government.”

I shared with Mr. Miller that some of the nastier (and therefore not published) commentary we’ve received at The Cypress Times regarding Secession calls the members of the TNM racists, again asserting that it’s an Obama thing.  Can a nation of racists flourish?

“We take exception to that,” Miller says.  “Our members are Hispanic, Asian, Black.  All power is inherent in the people.  Tyranny doesn’t discriminate and freedom shouldn’t either.”

WHAT NEXT?  

Miller says that the Texas Nationalist Movement needs,  “All Texans who believe in independent rights and principles to stand with us in order to see Texas independent and to reserve those freedoms.”

The Texas Nationalist Movement needs to grow.  In order to grow they need people.  “It takes money to reach people,” says Miller. 

“We are engaged at a very personal grass roots level.”   The plan is to organize and mobilize.

The Texas Nationalist Movement is hard at work holding meetings in various regions and is planning a 3-Day Conference in March.

The Texas Independence Conference will be the first of its kind.  The TNM will have special speakers and guests from Texas and from the outside. 

To learn more about The Texas Nationalist Movement, or to join their cause visit their website at http://www.texasnationalist.com/

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