Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Free Troy Davis! The Whole Damn System is Guilty

What does it say that a man for whom there is no physical evidence of his guilt is about to be executed?

What does it say that despite 7 out of 9 witnesses recanting, the system is pushing ahead with his execution?

What does it say that it has come out that police pressured witnesses to identify Troy Davis in the first place?

What does it say that over a million people have signed a petition worldwide to get him a stay of execution and this is being ignored?

What does it say that so many of the Black people pouring out among the protesters are so familiar with being wrongly criminalized that they are taking up the slogan, "I am Troy Davis"?

What does it say that the Supreme Court of the land is letting this go down?

What does it say that the "first Black President" is totally fucking silent and COMPLICIT!?




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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 6:42 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Troy Davis -- An Illegitimate Execution Planned by an Illegitimate State

I don't have a lot of time this morning to write about this and there is a lot of information available on the web, but let me say simply:


7 out of 9 witnesses against him recanted.

Tremendous evidence points to his innocence and makes clear he did not receive anything approximating a fair trial or justice.

This is the fate of all too many Black people in this country -- treated as suspects before being treated as human, stopped and frisked without any probably cause, daily harassed and brutalized by the police, warehoused by the millions in the most massive prison torture complex not only in the world but in history! Now, they are set to execute Troy Davis based on total bullshit, police-intimidated witness testimony (which has since been recanted!), and in the face of massive protest and opposition over years and nation-wide. THIS IS HORRIFIC, ILLEGITIMATE, AND MUST NOT PROCEED!

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 11:27 AM | 0 comments

Monday, September 19, 2011

Carl Dix on "Stop & Frisk" -- Challenges Ray Kelly to a Debate

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 10:53 AM | 0 comments

Pornography and the Military -- from a talk I gave at NYU

The following is a question and answer from a talk I gave at NYU a couple years ago titled, "From the Burkha to the Thong; Everything Must, and Can, Change -- WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!"

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 9:19 AM | 0 comments

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remember George Tiller

I recently did some writing on how abortion has become stigmatized and how we reverse this trend.  I will let you know when this is published (it will be in about a week).  In the course of it I had to review a lot of the history of how the right to abortion was won -- and then how the momentum in society has been reversed over the course of decades so that we ended up in a situation where almost an entire generation has grown up without ever hearing anyone speak positively about abortion.  It is also a situation where the doctors who risk everything to provide abortions are isolated, terrorized, stigmatized and targeted.

I am reposting this youtube clip I recorded down in Wichita outside of what once was Dr. George Tiller's clinic exactly one week after Dr. Tiller was assassinated while serving as an usher in his church on a Sunday morning.

Never forgive and never forget the murder of this hero -- or the other heroic doctors and staff who have given their lives and sustained severe injuries for women's right to abortion.  Take a look -- and heed the basic message I conveyed then, over two years ago.  Since then, the situation has only gotten worse; there's been the most legal restrictions on abortion this year ever.  Dr. Leroy Carhart, Dr. Tiller's colleague and close friend, has been targeted by the same forces who were largely responsible for Dr. Tiller's assassination.

Stay tuned for news of my upcoming essay on abortion stigma... and further posts about how to take action to reverse this!

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 6:53 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives!"

Bob Avakian

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 6:53 PM | 0 comments

Friday, September 09, 2011

"Liberals have an Oedipal complex..."

“Liberals have an Oedipal complex: It’s not that they want to sleep with their mothers—it’s that they willfully blind themselves.”

— Bob Avakian

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 1:53 PM | 0 comments

The Nation Institute Reflects On September 11th, A Tutorial in Liberal National Chauvinism

Last night I attended a panel discussion at the New School in NYC featuring a a core of the heavy-weights at the Nation Magazine and frequent guests/hosts on MSNBC: Katrina vanden Heuvel, Melissa Harris-Perry, Eric Foner (okay, he's a professor/historian – not a personage of The Nation), Christopher Hayes, and John Nichols.

The event was a reflection on how the U.S. has changed in the ten years since the September 11th attacks. There were important insights brought out about how the mood of varied sections of the population was affected by the attacks ten years ago and how that mood and vulnerability was manipulated by those in power. There was also the occasional acknowledgment of the fact that the U.S. has been torturing people and waging wars that are immensely destructive.

However, most remarkable was the way the panelists and moderator managed to go the entire night and never once discuss – or even mention – the lives of people around the planet that have been destroyed due to the U.S.'s juggernaut of empire!

The wars were mentioned in the context of the overreach of executive power and the need for strengthened checks and balances within the U.S. power structure.

What was NOT mentioned is that over 600,000 Iraqis who have been killed, the millions who have been displaced, or the nightmare of Islamic destructive fundamentalism which has been stoked and unleashed in that country through the U.S.'s immoral and unjust assaults with all of the particularly horrific consequences for women.

What was NOT mentioned were the lives of more than 2,000 people who have been killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan – assaults which have escalated since Obama has been commander in chief. Or the lives of people in Afghanistan – which have been immeasurably worsened due to the U.S.'s wars.

What was NOT said was that the U.S. has committed and institutionalized war crimes and crimes against humanity – and this must be stopped.

Here, a very simple, yet all too often ignored and denied reality is captured powerfully in a quote from Bob Avakian:


Katrina vanden Heuvel argued “against” the wars by saying they should have been an “intelligence and police operation” – not an all-out invasion. She argued that this would have been better at ensuring the “safety of the people” in the U.S.

This is wrong. The wars declared by both the Bush Regime and the Democrats who approved them, and which have been continued and escalated under Obama, had NOTHING to do with the safety of the people of the U.S. They were about pursuing an unchallenged and unchallengeable empire. Further, they didn't make the world safer – for anyone! First of all, they didn't make the world safer for people throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya and other countries (to his credit, Eric Foner at least mentioned all of these war zones as places the U.S. was now militarily involved in). Further, they didn't make it safer for the thousands of immigrants who got rounded up, the ones who were attacked and brutalized by their “neighbors”, the activists who have been spied on and set up, the public figures who've been told to “watch what they say.”

All of this – and more – is analyzed in Revolution this week.

John Nichols, who has taken many important stands over the years against the U.S.'s wars, repression, and torture, disappointed by keeping the whole discussion confined to the structures and functioning of the U.S. nation. He was the moderator. He ended by asking the panel what they would say to those who are losing hope that all of the changes and repressive measures that have been instituted can be challenged or changed.

Eric Foner challenged people not to lose hope, insisting that many of the biggest changes in history have come as a surprise – but he really didn't challenge people to act or offer any direction beyond that. Both Melissa Harris-Perry and Christopher Hayes suggested that it would be fine more or less to sit back and let things play out.

Harris-Perry argued in favor of allowing people to give up some of their freedoms for the larger safety of society. She raised her concerns about it, but mainly to assuage them publicly, even insisting that, “I'm a small person,” so she doesn't want society to retreat to a state of nature. She invoked the Leviathan and insisted that it was important that the communities retained the power – and that they were able to give up some power when they were scared and would have the chance to push back against that as well.

Hayes united with Harris-Perry, explicitly invoking the “self-correcting” nature of U.S. society. He said that ten years ago, it would've been impossible to imagine that Al Qaeda would seem like a footnote, but today they do. In ten years, maybe we'll look back at all the problems of today (implying the economic crisis and the failure of U.S. institutions) and feel that what seemed like an all-consuming crisis turned out not to be one. Take home message: don't worry, sit back, things will take care of themselves.

Katrina vanden Heuvel ended with a pregnant observation that we seem to be in a “pre-revolutionary moment.” She spoke to the deep mood of discontentment and stirrings around the world.

This last point is highly significant. We DO need a revolution. Not the kind vanden Heuvel was speaking of, but her insights on the moment need to be heard.

Ten years after September 11th, the world has become even more unlivable for millions of people all because of the criminal system of imperialism that is ravaging the planet, most especially the top dog imperialist the U.S. It is on us to take responsibility to lift this burden off the back of the planet. Get down with the movement for revolution. Check out Revolution Newspaper this week – and every week.

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 9:04 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Every 15 Seconds a Woman Is Beaten... Tyler Shields Makes Postcards of the Lynchings

Throughout the ugly history of the U.S. there has been a long tradition of public lynchings of Black people.  The widespread terror that every Black man and boy confronted every day; he knew that at any time of night or day he could be lynched for any reason or no reason at all by a mob of white men.  It might not happen, but it always could happen and everyone knew that almost never was a white man punished.

But that is not all!  As Bob Avakian emphasizes in the opening of his historic talk, Revolution: Why Its Necessary, Why Its Possible, What Its All About, white people would gather and snap pictures of the mangled and mutilated bodies of Black people.  Out of these photos -- often with white people and children posing along side the carnage -- they would make postcards.  They would send postcards of the lynchings.  They would brag about having been there!

Bob Avakian, several years later, drew an incredibly apt analogy.  He said that today the images that surround us of women -- the pornography and violence, the degradation and humiliation, the ritualized submission and dehumanized objectification -- are similar today of such "Postcards of the Lynchings.

In these photos, taken by Tyler Sheilds, Heather Morris (of Glee) poses in 1950's style housewife attire, is bonded by an iron, swallows the excretions of the iron, and is made up to look bruised and battered.  

Okay -- what part of the 1950s symbolism is supposed to be endearing?  The fact that marital rape was still legal?  The open discrimination against women in education and the workplace?  The fact that women were dying of back-alley abortions and often couldn't even get birth control?

Oh -- I get it!  Its the fact that women were beaten and forced to do the ironing and no one even acted as if this was fucked up.

The truth is -- all this shit still goes on, but it takes slightly different forms today.  What hasn't changed is the violence. Every fifteen seconds a woman is beaten.  Every day 3 to 4 women are killed by their partners.  One out of every four women will be raped or sexually assaulted during her college years.

What has changed is that this pervasive has been dragged out into the light of day, fought against, but then declared to be over.  We are told we are in a "post-feminist" time -- we are sold the idea that the image of the battered woman that keeps reappearing in fashion and art as something fun or daring or cute or sexy.

We are even sold this idea by women who have earned a lot of respect for their tradition-challenging roles in a boundary-bending show like Glee.  This only adds to the sting and disorienting power of such "cute" images of domestic abuse.

Just as the "Postcards of the Lynchings" were a very deep part of white culture in the history of this country, so is this view of women such a pervasive part of American culture these days that it is not even recognized as horrific by many.  Just as there was -- and remains -- a need for revolution to liberate Black people, so too is the need for the kind of revolution that can liberate women more pressing than ever! 

Here is the clip from Bob Avakian on Postcards of the Hangings:

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 10:37 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, September 03, 2011

"Let’s imagine if we had a whole different art and culture."

BAsics 2:8

Let’s imagine if we had a whole different art and culture. Come on, enough of this “bitches and ho’s” and SWAT teams kicking down doors. Enough of this “get low” bullshit. And how come it’s always the women that have to get low? We already have a situation where the masses of women and the masses of people are pushed down and held down low enough already. It’s time for us to get up and get on up.

Imagine if we had a society where there was culture—yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world. Imagine if it laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems. Imagine if art and culture too—movies, songs, television, everything—challenged people to think critically, to look at things differently, to see thiNgs in a different light, but all pointing toward how can we make a better world. 

Imagine if the people who created art and culture were not just a handful of people but all of the masses of people, with all their creative energy unleashed, and the time were made for them to do that, and for them to join with people who are more full-time workers and creators in the realm of art and culture to bring forward something new that would challenge people, that would make them think in different ways, that would make them be able to see things critically and from a different angle, and would help them to be uplifted and help them to see their unity with each other and with people throughout the world in putting an end to all the horrors that we’re taught are just the natural order of things. Imagine all that. 

 Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible,
What It’s All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian,
excerpt transcribed in Revolution #176, September 13, 2009

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 1:50 PM | 1 comments

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