Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pierre Labossiere: Haiti's Heroic History

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV Show, August 14.

Guest, Pierre Labossiere, a Haitian national, co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee, has been a long-time social-justice activist and supporter of the Lavalas Party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently exiled in South Africa. Pierre has also been active in the campaigns to free political prisoners and to demand an investigation into the kidnapping and disappearance of Haitian Human Rights Advocate, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine in August, 2007.

Learn more at: and

Willie Sundiata Tate: Black August

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV Show, August 21, 2009

Guest, Willie Sundiata Tate (Sundi), was a member of All of Us or None, a group of ex-prisoners actively fighting discrimination against people who have done time in prison, and was a member of TIMERS, another group of former Black Panthers and activist ex-prisoners who organized an annual Black Family Reunion Day in West Oakland with food, speakers and a bicycle give-away for many years.

Sundi was formerly one of the six defendants put on trial for the assaults and murder of guards on that fateful day, August 21, 1971, when Soledad Brother George L. Jackson was assassinated. They became known as The San Quentin Six. Sundi was acquitted of all charges and has been out of prison for over 35 years, continuing to advocate for the release of political prisoners and equal justice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

VIDEO: The Value of Nothing, by Raj Patel

This is new video announces the release of Raj Patel's new book entitled The Value of Nothing. To learn more, go to Also be sure to watch Raj Patel on Freedom is a Constant Struggle here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Nadra Foster: Survivor of Police Abuse at KPFA

(UPDATE: Nadra Foster begins her trial on Feb.5 in Oakland and she needs our support. For more information read the new SF Bay View article here.)

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show Aug. 28, 2009

Guest: Nadra Foster, a/k/a, your brown sistah, Mama Nadra and emcee Saquoyah Sankofa, has been a committed programmer and producer, or love warrior, for over 15 years at Pacifica’s KPFA. In 1994, at 19 years old, she became the youngest person to be accepted to the two-year apprenticeship. Active in community and global advancement -- as a poet, political-prisoner activist and journalist, holistic Hip Hop emcee, visual artist and educator -- Nadra has worked to keep disenfranchised communities inspired and involved in using media to heal and uplift themselves.

On August 20, 2008, in the studios of KPFA, a terrifying incident took place when over a dozen Berkeley police attacked Nadra with such extreme aggression she is still recovering from serious injuries. She is also fighting misdemeaner charges. To support Nadra and learn more about her case, contact:

Jahahara Alkebulan: Blacks for Reparations

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show Sept. 4, 2009

Guest: Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma'at is a proud Baba (father), son, veteran justice, community, labor, international and environmental rights organizer, author, journalist and musician. He has helped lead successful campaigns on a variety of important issues while residing and working in Chicago, New York, Kansas City and the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area. He is the past elected National Co-Chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) and was editor/publisher of REPARATIONS NOW! for nearly a decade. Jahahara has also been very active in a number of campaigns to free our imprisoned and exiled political leaders; and to end the racist and classist death penalty.

Jahahara currently resides in Oakland and can be reached at or at the blog (under reconstruction)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Haitian Tragedy and Mainstream Media Response

The Haitian Tragedy and Mainstream Media Response

by Kiilu Nyasha

I cannot remain silent in the face of so much racism and disinformation streaming over the mainstream media regarding the ongoing Haitian tragedy.

This 7.0 major earthquake of January 12 and its aftershocks have left in its wake a state of emergency unlike any of us has witnessed in our lifetime -- just 700 miles from our East coast shores.

Upwards of 50 thousand people are already counted as deceased, and many more injured and dying for lack of basic medical care. Estimates are reaching a possible 100,000 deaths, not to mention the devastating destruction of homes and buildings, including the Presidential Palace.

Time is of the essence, yet the international response has been painfully, tragically slow. Would this pace of rescue -- where every minute counts in digging people out of the wreckage – been the case if the earthquake victims were European?

Blame the victims

Ignored by most commentators is the truth of Haiti’s historic and ongoing poverty – in classic “blame the victim” coverage. E.g., it’s not mentioned that Haitians fought their way out of slavery, expelling the colonial powers of Britain, Spain and France. In fact, Haitians won their war of independence against Napoleon’s crack troops in 1804, and were celebrating their bicentennial when the U.S. kidnapped and exiled (for the second time) their popular President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who won two landslide victories in internationally monitored elections. The majority of Haitians have demanded his return ever since.

Mainstream reporters describe this U.S.-backed coup as Aristide being ousted by rebels, implying his own people ran him out of the country. They talk about Haitians living on a dollar a day but fail to mention that part of the reason Aristide was attacked involved his attempt to double the minimum wage to about $2.50 a day; or that American factories exploit Haitian workers in underpaid, overworked sweatshops. An example of such American corporate greed is the case of Disney using Haitian labor to make their garments at 27 cents an hour. Haitians organized and demanded a raise to 50 cents. Disney threatened to move to China (where labor was even cheaper) – and they did.

On his re-election in 2000, Aristide built schools, hospitals and clinics, a medical school to train doctors with help from Cuba, and demanded restitution from France for the main reason Haiti is the poorest country in the West – France’s extortion of (in today’s currency) $21 billion, the total paid to the French between 1925 and 1946 as so-called reparations for the financial losses Frances suffered when slavery ended and their richest, sugar-producing colony was liberated. The guns of Britain, Canada and the U.S backed France’s robbery. This same quartet continues to occupy Haiti through its UN Peacekeepers, a misnomer if ever there were one. Their brutality is well known among Haitians.

Media give undue credit to Bill Clinton in both his former role as President and his current position as UN Special Envoy (a first-time post). While it’s true that Clinton helped pave the way for Aristide’s return in 1994 following massive international pressure, it was not without preconditions that tied Aristide’s hands in solving Haiti’s enormous problems. After all, it was the U.S. that backed the 1991 military coup in the first place. The regime change installed Gen. Raul Cedras who unleashed the death squads on Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party and conducted a reign of terror resulting in some 10,000 Haitians dead and countless others maimed. The U.S. arranged for the General’s asylum in Panama and his golden exile, with impunity for his massive crimes.

More recently, Clinton has been busy setting up investment opportunities for Wall Street corporations to further exploit Haitian labor.

Racism in coverage

The slow response and the level of aid all points to the kind of racist attitudes we saw during the Katrina tragedy – the devaluing of Black lives.

About this same time of massive death and destruction (the worst quake in 250 years), mainstream media is having a fit about racist comments recorded in a new book about the presidential campaign of 2008. Let s/he who is without racism cast the first stone.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement that a “light-skinned” Black who doesn’t speak a “negro dialect” could win the Presidency was simply the truth. Moreover, it helps if he’s male. History’s lessons testify to the preference of Black men over women of any hue. In fact, Sojourner Truth warned Frederick Douglas that if he didn’t stand up for universal suffrage instead of compromising to allow Black men to get the vote without women, it would be a long time before women would have equal voting rights. It took another 50 years,1870 until 1920! So it was predictable that Hillary couldn’t win over Barack. But I digress.

Just how many dark-skinned Black people do you see in the media? It’s kind of comical to watch light-skinned Blacks along with lighter-skinned whites attacking Reid since they’d be unlikely to have their jobs were they darker skinned. Skin color in color-struck America is nearly always the elephant in the room.

When I was a young woman entering the employment offices of NYC in the late 1950s, early ‘60s, I knew after being hired that I was often breaking the color barrier -- finding myself the only colored girl in the company (the spook who sat by the [elevator] door) or one of two or three light-skinned office workers. Those were the days when the generally lighter ethnic groups hadn’t yet replaced us as domestics. Now, as Blacks fill the prisons, we’re seeing a cradle to prison pipeline. And it was just reported this morning (Jan. 15) that African children in America have a 50% poverty rate.

So what has changed?

Not much. America and the world are still color struck and racist, refusing to recognize the latest genetic science proving that race is a fiction, a stupid construct. We are one human species that originated in sub-Saharan Africa; our differences are essentially cultural and often political.

If we were to recognize this, we would clearly see that Haitians are among the most vibrant, creatively artistic, socially conscious, courageous and resilient people on the planet earth.

Obama’s pledge of assistance

Pres. Obama has pledged $100 million in aide to Haiti days after its worst disaster ever with a climbing death toll of tens of thousands, severe and life-threatening injuries, incalculable suffering, no infrastructure, no food, water, electricity, shelters, or even tents with some three million homeless.

True to form, mainstream pundits are praising Obama’s contribution. I was not impressed, so I decided to find out what $100 million will buy, with the help of my assistant, Nedzada.

We discovered that Obama threw a party that cost $50 million more than he’s sending to Haiti. Yup! He spent $150 million on his Inaugural Ball. We also learned the following:

Top U.S. Firms are on pace to award $148.85 Billion in payouts for 2009, according to a Wall Street Journal Study. Billions with a B!

You can also buy a Beverly Hills mansion, a yacht, or a painting for more than the relatively meager sum Obama is donating. Obviously, we cannot rely on this government to do the right thing by Haitians in their hour of need. It never has.

So I would implore you to give all you possibly can, making sure you’re getting your contribution to the best possible agents for direct assistance to the Haitian people. I know and have confidence that your money would be well spent with Partners in Health (Paul Farmer’s organization) and Doctors Without Borders, as well as the Haiti Action Relief Fund here in the Bay Area.

Finally, if you’re planning to go to Haiti, I hope you’re planning to wear jeans and carry a shovel. Haitians need real help trying to dig out victims who may still be alive, not opportunistic posturing and photo ops.

May the Haitian people turn grief into strength and keep their faith in the people, not governments.

All power to the people.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Raj Patel: The Value of Nothing

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show, September 18, 2009

Our guest, Raj Patel is a writer, activist and academic. He has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against them. He’s currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First.

He was recently invited to share his views on the global food crisis in testimony to the US House Financial Services Committee and is an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. In addition to numerous scholarly publications, he regularly writes for The Guardian, and has contributed to the LA Times, NY, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Mail on Sunday, and The Observer. His first book is Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and he is the author of the forthcoming book “The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy”.

Michael Wong & Jeff Paterson: Courage To Resist

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show, September 25, 2009

Our guests are Michael Wong and Jeff Paterson, two war resisters. In every war, only one GI gets to be the first to refuse orders to that war. Jeff Paterson, a US Marine, was the first GI to refuse orders to his war - Gulf War 1. He has since become one of the founding members of the Courage to Resist collective of activists who specialize in helping GI resisters who want to resist publicly. (The GI Rights Hotline helps all resisters most of whom want to get out quietly: He was one of the key leaders who helped launch the 1st Lt. Ehren Watada campaign, and has since helped a long list of public GI resisters.

Mike Wong was born and raised in San Francisco, and became a soldier during the Vietnam War. He was very influenced by the anti-war movement. So when he received Viet Nam orders, he went AWOL, then turned himself in to the Presidio stockade with his lawyer, pleaded guilty to AWOL, and attempted to press a limited conscientious objector case. The Army turned him down, and put him back on Viet Nam orders. Mike escaped to Canada and lived in exile for five years. He returned after the war, pleaded guilty to Long Term AWOL, and received an Undesirable Discharge. He later earned a Masters degree in Social Work, and has been a social worker for 30 years, as well as war resistance activist.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kiilu Nyasha: Still Strong, Still True, and Still a Revolutionary

Kiilu Nyasha: Still Strong, Still True, and Still a Revolutionary

By Larry Pinkney, The Black Commentator, January 7, 2009

“Why Must Black People Look At Each Other Through Prison Bars? Where Is Our Freedom?”

THE BLACK PANTHER Newspaper, September 18, 1971, Vol. 7, #4

The revolutionary struggle for social, economic, and political justice on behalf of every day people in this nation and throughout the world is a long and protracted one, full of unending challenges and real obstacles. Serious political struggle is not a leisurely walk in the park. It requires dedication and sacrifice. It is all too rare that we are given examples of individuals who have waged, and continue to relentlessly wage this ongoing struggle. Nevertheless, they can be found.

Black Panther Party veteran, determined political activist, radio programmer, and published writer / journalist extraordinaire, Kiilu Nyasha (aka Pat Gallyot), is a sterling example of a woman who, since the late 1960s to the present, has served the people ‘body and soul.’

Kiilu Nyasha has, since the 1960s been a stalwart supporter of political prisoners incarcerated in this nation’s prison gulag system. She has written to and given encouragement to literally myriads of prisoners, including the late George Jackson (former Black Panther Party Field Marshal, Soledad Brother, and internationally acclaimed author) who was murdered in 1971, by this de facto fascist ‘American’ elite’s power structure. Kiilu has, and continues in the year 2010, to send funds, stamps, books, and letters of encouragement and comradeship, etc., to many political prisoners. Contrary to the well perpetuated myth that there are no political prisoners in this nation; there are in fact many. The list includes Sundiata Acoli, Eddie Conway, Mumia Abul-Jamal, Ruchell ‘Cinque’ Magee, Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell, Leonard Peltier, Russell Shoats, Chip Fitzerald, Herman Wallace & Albert Woodfox, Kamau Sadiki, Jamil al-Amin (aka H. Rap Brown), Jalil Muntaqim, Veronza Bowers, Jr., and Lynne Stewart to name but a few. Others of this nation’s political prisoners have died in those prison dungeons. Yet others, such as Assata Shakur, have been forced into exile. Kiilu Nyasha, with every ounce of her strength and revolutionary fervor, has long been a stalwart servant of every day people, and most especially political prisoners.

The blood, sweat, tears, and suffering of Black people are the foundation of the wealth and power of the United States of America.

- Huey P. Newton, THE BLACK PANTHER newspaper, February 17, 1969, Vol 2. #23

The Black Panther Party with its many programs, including free breakfast programs for children, free medical programs, free clothing programs, free escort programs for seniors, and free food programs in service to the people, incurred the wrath of the racist, avaricious corporate government of the United States of America, and was shamelessly, ultimately physically decimated by said government and its many agents. However, the legacy of the Black Panther Party still stands true and tall in the hearts and minds of conscious peoples in this nation and around the world.

Nonetheless, what is all too often missed is the invaluable role of women in the Black Panther Party. Indeed, had it not been for Black women there would have been no viable Black Panther Party, for as Kiilu Nyasha correctly states; “Women were the back bone of the (Black Panther) Party.” Kiilu should know, for she functioned as an integral part of that “back bone” of the Black Panther Party (BPP) while in New Haven, Connecticut, and elsewhere.

Kiilu Nyasha is a comrade’s comrade. She, like so many other sisters, gave of herself in every way. When in 1970, as a direct result of vicious and illegal U.S. Government COINTELPRO [Counter Intelligence Program] activities, Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins were on trial for their very lives in New Haven, Connecticut; Kiilu was there performing the urgent and necessary grunt work of coordinating legal and community efforts to rally support for our beleaguered Black Panther Party (BPP) comrades. She opened up her home to BPP activists and saw to it that their needs were met. In so doing, she did not hesitate to rise in the wee hours of the morning and work steadily throughout long and grueling days in service to the people and the Black Panther Party. She did not hesitate to give her all to the struggle.

In the year 2010, Kiilu Nyasha has not stopped. Her voice is still strong as she continues to deliver the clarion call for uncompromising revolutionary struggle and systemic change. She has written and continues to adroitly write for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper and The Black Commentator. In spite of physical pain and having to use a wheel chair for mobility, her mind is sharp and her powerful voice is that of a lioness for the people. As Kiilu so succinctly says it, she remains a firm adherent to “plain living and hard struggle” in her daily life. Her life has been, and is, in a word, exemplary.

To get an important glimpse of Kiilu Nyasha’s ongoing work, go to . It will be an inspiration and well worth your while.

While we must always remember the enormous service to the people by men such as Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Hutton, George Jackson, John Huggins & Alprentice ‘Bunchy’ Carter, Fred Hampton & Mark Clark, Billy X Jennings, and Emory Douglas, etc., let us not even for an instant, forget the day to day service to the people by Kiilu Nyasha and other women who were, and remain, unsung giants in service to Black people and humanity as a whole. Let them be unsung no longer!

In this period of deceit, exploitation, war, and mediocrity, Kiilu Nyasha is still strong, still true, and still a revolutionary. Thank you comrade sister Kiilu, thank you and all the brilliant and powerful women who have struggled and continue today, this struggle for the every day people!

All Power to the People!

Onward sisters and brothers. We can afford to do no less. Onward!

--This article was originally published at on January 7, 2009. Permission is granted to reprint as long as The Black Commentator is cited, so please help spread the word. Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ziad Abbas & Nadeen Elshorafa: The Gaza Siege

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show, July 24, 2009

Guest, Ziad Abbas is a journalist and co-director of the Ibdaa Cultural and Community Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Palestine. He is currently attending graduate school in the US and working at the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA)

Nadeen Elshorafa is a Palestinian activist with Youth Together in Oakland, Ca,

Francisco Torres: The San Francisco 8

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show, Oct. 2, 2009.

Guest, Francisco Torres (Cisco), 58, of New York City, was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. He is a Vietnam Veteran who fought for the grievances of Black and Latino soldiers upon his return to the states. A former Black Panther, he has been a community activist since his discharge from the military in 1969. Cisco continues to work with troubled youth in his Queens community. Cisco is the last member of the San Francisco Eight still facing charges.

For more information:

Antonio Gonzalez: Columbus Day v. Indigenous Peoples Day

Freedom is a Constant Struggle TV show, Oct. 9, 2009.

Guest, Antonio Gonzalez (Tony), AIM-WEST Director, has coordinated Community Outreach, Research & Documentation for 12 years. As U.N. Liaison Officer, Tony coordinates Treaty Council participation at the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva -- and works with the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations to complete the Universal Declaration on the Rights & Principles of Indigenous Peoples - a document that will establish a standard for countries to co-exist with Indigenous Peoples. He has also met with world leaders to discuss Indigenous sovereignty, environmental degradation, religious freedom, torture and political persecution

As a Vietnam combat veteran, Tony lived the horror of war and was inspired to work for human rights. He is committed to building unity among Indigenous peoples of all colors by emphasizing their shared history and common vision for the future.

For more information: or 415-577-1492