Category Archives: Anti-Imperialism

America’s Right Wing: YES to Quran-burning, NO to Flag-Burning

Originally posted to Islamaphobia Today, May 14, 2011

 

 

When LSU graduate student Benjamin Haas planned to burn the U.S. flag to protest the clamping down of civil liberties and the right of due process for “students and suspected terrorists alike”, an angry mob of over 1,000 people came out to stop him.  Haas “sustained physical and verbal taunting”and in fact received numerous death threats.  Had the police not been there to protect him, Haas might have been seriously hurt.  (Haas backed down from burning the flag.)

 

Here’s a video of the despicable mob (hint: any time you see Americans wrapped in the flag chanting “USA! USA! USA!” more often than not they are war-mongers):

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, Education, Imperialism, Islam, Louisiana, Middle East, racism, Southern United States, Students, Uncategorized, United States

Rally for the Brave People of Egypt, New Orleans, Louisiana

By hastenawait

Signs from yesterday's rally

Hundreds took to the streets of New Orleans yesterday to march in solidarity with the revolutionary peoples of the Middle East and North Africa. A rally was held in front of the steps of the federal building before protesters began winding down the streets of downtown New Orleans.

 Protesters not only challenged dictatorships in other parts of the world and U.S. imperialism – many made the connection between the inspiring struggles going on elswhere and what is happening here in Louisiana, the South and the United States. The signs which read, “New Orleans, walk like an Egyptian,” and “Egypt -1; Tunisia – 1; New Orleans, ?” distilled this popular sentiment. Among others, chants of, “One solution: Revolution!” could be heard echoing through the streets of of the Crescent City.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, class struggle, Gulf States, Human Rights, Imperialism, Louisiana, Solidarity, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States

Uniting With Comrades: Our Decision to Become a Kasama Collective

 

[Originally posted to thefirecollective.org]

After careful study and consideration, our collective, the FIRE Collective, has decided to formally affiliate ourselves with the Kasama Project. Kasama is a communist network in the US dedicated to a revolutionary reconception of communism. Further, we have decided to announce ourselves as a Kasama Collective.

In September of 2009, a group of us in Houston, Texas formed an independent communist collective, The FIRE Collective (standing for Fight Imperialism, Rethink and Experiment).

In both the US and around the world, we saw there was a process of refounding the communist movement that was both deeply necessary and at a beginning. This included a process of reconceiving the communist project, and we wanted to make our own contributions to that process together with our comrades.

We have been engaged in study and struggle for over a year. We’ve grown in numbers, developed our understanding of revolutionary theory and history, and forged a higher degree of political unity.

Revolution is not only a local exercise. It requires the strategic thinking, study, and coordinated practice of comrades throughout the country (and ultimately the world). The work of reconceiving cannot be confined to a locality, but rather it needs forms that can give expression to its fearless journey to places still unexplored, and questions unsettled. We believe there needs to be a combination of our local contributions to theory and practice with that which is developing on the national plane.

For these reasons, we are excited to join with the work the Kasama network has been engaged in, and contributing to charting an uncharted course to a communist future. Other similar collectives have also started to form as part of Kasama’s network, and we look forward to sharing theory and practice, learning from one another as we move.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, class struggle, Communism, Gulf States, Houston, Revolution, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, Texas, Uncategorized, United States

Atlanta Georgia: Rally to Defend Dissent, Support Julian Assange & Celebrate WikiLeaks

Activists in Georgia stand up for the right to dissent, while challenging the stereotype that Southerners are politically passive and reactionary.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, Censorship, Georgia, Gulf States, Human Rights, Imperialism, Solidarity, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States, Wikileaks

George Galloway prevented from Entering U.S., addresses Louisianians via Skype

 
 
 

By hastenawait, December 14, 2010

 

The Muslim Legal Fund of America is a non-profit organization which has existed since 2001. It supports legal cases across the country which impact civil rights, freedoms, liberties and principles of justice in America, particularly where Muslims are concerned. The organization focuses on important cases which affect the Muslim community and public policy. Their decisions about which cases to take up, therefore, are strategic.

Last night the MLFA hosted a benefit dinner in Kenner, Louisiana . Kenner is a smaller city that borders New Orleans. The benefit was intended to raise funds for the organization’s work and to raise awareness about ongoing injustices facing Muslims in the United States. Around 100 people attended, with the majority being Louisiana Muslim community members. A handful of non-Muslims were there as well.

Speakers included Adulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian-born New Orleans businessman who has achieved a degree of fame because he rode out hurricane Katrina and then went around rescuing people in his canoe. For his good work he was arrested, labeled a terrorist and imprisoned for 23 days.

The daughter of Shukri Abu Baker also spoke. Baker was the president of the Holy Land Foundation, which was the largest Muslim charity in the United States. In the aftermath of September 11, the Bush regime charged the organization with supporting Hamas in Palestine. The organization was subsequently shut down and Baker is now serving a 65-year prison sentence, essentially for providing charitable aid to victims of the ongoing genocide in Palestine. All of the speakers gave powerful and moving presentations.

The keynote speaker was former U.K.-parliamentarian and long-time activist, George Galloway. Galloway is known for his activist work in support of Palestine. He is a founding member of a charitable organization called Viva Palestina, whose mission is to break the blockade of the Gaza strip by bringing badly-needed aid. For these activities, he was denied entry into Canada from March of 2009 until October 2010. He has not, however, been officially blocked from entering the United States.

You can imagine the surprise of the audience last night when it was announced that Galloway would not be speaking with them in person, as he had been denied entry into the United States over the weekend. He was supposed to be traveling the country for a multi-city speaking tour, but was told by airline officials that he would not be able to enter the U.S. because there were problems with his visa.

Undeterred, Galloway instead addressed the crowd in Kenner via the computer program Skype. A laptop was hooked up to a projector, and a live video could be seen on two large screens in a convention room of the Crown Plaza hotel, where the event was held. During his talk Galloway stated that it is not clear whether his being denied entry was the result of a technical or bureaucratic glitch, or whether it was a political measure carried out in secrecy. He explained that efforts were made to resolve the situation throughout the weekend, but that nothing came of it.

 
 
 

Galloway addressing audience in Kenner, Louisiana

 

The main body of his talk concerned human rights violations carried out by the U.S. government against Muslims worldwide, and particularly the grave humanitarian situation in Palestine, which has resulted from Israeli-U.S. imperialist settler policies.

Because his being denied entry to the U.S. may be an instance of political repression (and we know that this is not unlikely) he reiterated his resolve to not be silenced. He said boldly : “Nothing will stop me. Not the government of what they call Israel; not the government of Canada or the U.S.” He continued: “I cannot be silenced…I hope the U.S. government understands that. We live in the age of Skype, YouTube and Facebook. There will always be a way for me to speak.”

He went on to describe his speaking visit to New Orleans last year. He said that New Orleans is a city which he loves deeply, and that he has every intention of visiting it again, and speaking to New Orleanians again. He vowed that he would fight to get back into the United States and that this event would be rescheduled.

When speaking about the Muslims, solidarity activists and charitable workers who have been the target of political repression in the United States since 9/11, he argued: “Anyone of you as I look around this hall could be the next one to hear the knock on the door, to be unjustly accused…even because you’re doing charitable work for a country that has been wiped off the map.” He was referring to Palestine.

Galloway’s provocative statement that he “cannot be silenced” because “we live in the age of Skype, YouTube and Facebook” is particularly pertinent at this time. People have been talking about the political implications of the digital revolution since it began, just as people in other eras discussed the political implications of other media and technological shifts. But in the wake of the WikiLeaks revelations and other events this year (such as FBI raids on anti-war activists) the contradictions implicit in this social revolution are perhaps clearer than ever – and they are certainly heightened. These contradictions are increasingly characterizing the contemporary world, and, broadly speaking, they boil down to this: the new digital media open up the way for new democratic transformations and unprecedented levels of openness in public institutions on the one hand; on the other, they open up possibilities for frightening forms of surveillance, opacity and authoritarianism. A resume of U.S. government activities since the Bush administration should leave no doubt about the latter tendency.

At one level these contradictions are overdetermined by another prevailing social contradiction which is inherent to capitalism, and that is the contradiction between massively-socialized production and economic life generally, on the one hand, and private ownership on the other. (The struggles over intellectual property, file sharing etc. all take place within the trajectory of this contradiction.) At its base, this contradiction is about who has power in society and who does not.

It is increasingly clear that the new digital technologies make governments, corporations and other powerful entities newly powerful but at the same time newly vulnerable (just look at the attacks on the websites of Visa and MasterCard by “hacktivists” following the latest round of leaks by WikiLeaks). The same is true of the people who are resisting the powerful. For example, these technologies make it easier for governments to spy on activists, but they also provide the means of organization for those activists. It should be noted, in regard to the 2010 FBI raids on anti-war activists, that because of social networking sites like Facebook, an organized response was beginning the very day that the raids were taking place. Within hours there were videos on YouTube. Press conferences, demonstrations and the like were all in the works.

Galloway’s appearance via Skype last night highlights the liberatory dimension opened up by these technologies. Whether the U.S. government is in fact preventing him from entering the country, or whether there was a technical glitch does not change this. The fact is that his lack of physical presence did not prevent him from addressing Louisiana community members. He was not prevented from speaking.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, Censorship, Digital Media, Human Rights, Imperialism, Islam, Leftist media, Middle East, National Oppression, New Orleans, Palestine, Race, Solidarity, Southern United States, Technology, The Left, Theory, Uncategorized, United States, Wikileaks

Notice from the Atlanta International Action Center

Tues & Weds tune in to the Labor Forum program on WRFG, 89.3FM
 
 
Please tune in to the Labor Forum program on WRFG, 89.3FM, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:30-5pm, hosted for the next couple months by the Atlanta IAC coordinator, Dianne Mathiowetz .

The program addresses issues of concern to working-class people such as housing, education, health care, immigrants rights, the environment and U.S. foreign policy, and also up-to-date news of workers’ struggle in their fight for their voice to be heard in our city, nationally and internationally.

We encourage active participation in our discussion. Please call in during the show at (404) 523-3471 with your questions and comments.

Also if you have any suggestion for the program please email us at atlantaiac@aol.com.

The radio programs will be video recorded and will be put on the IAC’s YouTube channel.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Atlanta, class struggle, Environment, Georgia, healthcare, housing, immigration, Leftist media, other announcements, Southern United States, United States

The Mosque Controversy and Tolerance

By KurtFF8

I originally posted this on an Alternet Blog I created the other day:

There has been quite a bit of controversy over the proposed community center/mosque that is “right by ground zero” in the media lately, it’s gotten to the point where after Barack Obama decided to come out and defend the right to build a Mosque in the location, the White House had to come out and defend the fact that Obama is a Christian and prays daily.  The White House continues to be on the defensive against the far-right of America (their apparent favorite group to try to appease).  Although the far-right is gaining steam with more and more conspiracy theories introduced to the main stream by folks like Beck (a recent poll suggests that 46% of the GOP thinks that Obama is a Muslim)

So this controversy has made it “to the top” and has turned from a local issue for one city to a national debate.  However, the framework of this debate is a sad site to see.  Top Democrats (Howard Dean, Reid, etc.) have come out in opposition to this community center in an apparent attempt to continue the Democrats turn to the right.  Even those Democrats like Pelosi and Obama who have supported the right for it to be built, have also made it clear that they don’t want to comment “on whether they support it being built or not specifically” but just that they support “the right” for it to be built (this emphasis is theirs).

Those who have come out to support it, do so for reasons that are just as ideologically loaded as the bigots who want “no more mosques” in America.  The common line is that we should be preaching “tolerance” in the US.  We want to demonstrate that “we’re better” than intolerant nations like Saudi Arabia, goes the line of the tolerance promoters (which to me reeks of American Exceptionalism).  But is promoting tolerance problematic?

Absolutely.  The idea that we should just “tolerate” groups like Muslim-Americans or “Illegal Immigrants” contains in it the idea that there is something uneasy about these groups, yet we are going to “put up with” them to achieve a moral high ground.  Such idealism doesn’t come from a genuine attempt to help to change the status of the most marginalized of this society to become less marginalized, but instead is the notion that we should treat “the Other” well.  This doesn’t challenge their position in society in the least.  This “anti-tolerance” stance, of course, comes mainly from the Slovenian philosopher (and intellectual “rock star”) Slajov Zizek, who has written extensively on the problems of “liberal tolerance.”

Perhaps we should try to promote tolerance to those who are the most “intolerant” in society: the far-right.  Their intolerance is obviously quite problematic: based on xenophobia, bigotry, etc.  But does that mean that we want to promote the idea of “we should tolerate the ‘Other’ groups of society” in general?

This kind of logic leads to comments like Howard Dean’s on Muslim Americans:

There’s a growing number of American Muslims. I think most of those Muslims are moderate. I hope that they’ll have an influence on Islam throughout the world, because Islam is really back in the twelfth century in some of these countries, like Iran and Afghanistan, where they’re stoning people to death.

This is based on the idea that “we can promote an Islam that fits American culture throughout the world” which is just as imperialistic as the overt hawks who are trying to promote war in places like Iran.

Instead of preaching the idea that we should tolerate groups that are considered by some to not be “mainstream,” perhaps we should be building real solidarity with the most marginalized of society.  After all, those are the groups that need to be on board to build a real alternative to the insane system we currently live under.

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Filed under Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, Demonstration Announcements, Florida, Human Rights, Imperialism, Leftists in the U.S. South, Race, Solidarity, Uncategorized