Obama Losing Black Appeal
The 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, set for later this month, is “going to be a form of apologizing for Obama, but I predict that not many people are going to come, because Black people’s trust in Obama and his apologists is at an all time low,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. President Obama “is probably less popular than Bill Clinton was at this point in his presidency among African Americans,” especially due to his handling of the Trayvon Martin killing. “His meditation on the Zimmerman verdict,” said Monteiro, “did very little, if anything, to calm the sense of disenchantment of the African American people with this presidency.”
First Fatality in California Hunger Strike
Prison authorities refuse to acknowledge that a hunger striker found dead in his solitary confinement cell is a fatality of the month-long protest, insisting the death was a suicide. “What the authorities are saying is that, as far as they are concerned, people can die and they will not back off of the torture they are inflicting on people,” said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. News from inside the prisons has been extremely difficult to obtain. “They took 14 of the leaders, who were already on long term solitary confinement, and put them under further restrictions to try to cut off the link to their outside supporters,” said Dix.
Prosecution Obstructs Lynne Stewart Compassionate Release
The judge that sentenced people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart to ten years in prison will rule this week on her request for compassionate release. Stewart is suffering from Stage Four breast cancer. Federal prison officials turned down her request, asserting that Stewart’s health is “improving,” but refused to turn her latest medical records over to the judge. “This is obstruction,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and lifelong comrade. “It’s not a Catch-22, it’s in your face: now we’re going to kill you.” A rally is scheduled August 8 to demand Stewart’s release, in Manhattan’s Foley Square.
Democracy Convention in Madison
Nine conferences on democracy will convene under one tent, August 7 to 11, in Madison, Wisconsin. With focuses on democracy in and economics, race, constitutional reform, media, education, the environment and more, the Democracy Convention is expected to draw hundreds of activists from around the country. “We’re fired-up people who believe that we can have a much better democracy than we have now, but we have to work for it,” said Leah Bolger, president of Veterans for Peace. “This is an opportunity for action and activism.”
Buju Banton Presses for New Trial
Lawyers for Jamaican reggae superstar Buju Banton say misconduct by a juror in his 2011 cocaine trafficking conviction should lead to a new trial. The juror was accused of doing trial “research” on her home computer, which is forbidden, and then switching computers when the judge ordered her to present the machine for inspection. “What has happened is representative of what this criminal just system does to millions of African Americans,” said Aula Sumbry, of the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee. Except that, in this case, “they have picked on someone who is an international cultural icon and has the wherewithal to fight back.”
“Imperialism is Losing,” Says Black Is Back Coalition Chairman
U.S. imperialism is losing its grip on global hegemony, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. “That’s why it was necessary for them to invent Barack Hussein Obama to seduce the people into submission.” The veteran activist spoke at a rally of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, in Harlem, New York. The Obama administration, by characterizing Assata Shakur as the nation’s number one terrorist, is attempting “to delegitimize the whole struggle of Black people, historically,” said Yeshitela. St. Mary’s Church is also the site of the Black Is Back Coalition national conference, August 17 and 18.