ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes





US press has begun to examine the claims against the unions . . . the imaginary millionaires of

the UAW are paid just a little more than the non-unionised workers in the American factories

of Toyota and Honda . . .  it isn’t the unions that are responsible for the state of the US auto industry





Investors in Limbo

By John Maxwell 


There is one fault-line in American life that not even Barack Obama can heal; it is the chasm between those who believe O. J. Simpson killed his wife and those who don’t. I must make it clear at once that I don’t believe OJ did it.

My reason is simple: I cannot imagine anyone, having just butchered two people, being able to make himself and his house presentable within an hour or so of the bloody killings, and then embarking on an aeroplane flight halfway across the United States, leaving his house open to be searched by any police force—even one as incompetent as the Keystone Kops of the Los Angeles Police.

In the days they had to examine Simpson’s house the LAPD could not find one single piece of incriminating evidence—nothing to connect Simpson to the crime. To rid his house of bloodstained clothing and any trace of incriminating DNA in an hour is beyond the capacities, I believe, of even highly trained decontamination experts and in my view, stratospherically out of reach to a booby like Simpson.

Only an innocent booby could have dared to write a book speculating how he could have committed the murders of his wife and her friend Ron Goldman. And only a booby would not have realised that there was something very odd about the expedition he was persuaded to lead to recover his property from a Las Vegas hotel room.

The Goldman and Brown families, who obviously hate Simpson from the word go, have never wavered in their belief that OJ was the killer. They know, and like all fundamentalists their knowledge is absolute, immanent and incontrovertible.

They have managed to trap Simpson twice, with two handpicked juries—getting a wrongful death civil verdict against Simpson and now, getting him jailed on the most obviously rigged evidence in proceedings which I would think, do not dignify even such a state as Nevada.

It all came out in the wash. The gang behind Simpson, including the lone gunman, have all got away more or less scot free. The goat, Simpson, will probably spend the rest of his life in jail if a real court cannot be found to end this travesty of justice.

If people are to be jailed because they are fools the world would clearly have more people in jail than outside. O.J Simpson will die for their sins.

OJ’s sin was that he ‘wanted to live like a white man’, according to Newsweek at the time, a capital offense on the same order as Saddam Hussein’s pretensions. The difference of course was that Saddam actually killed people, like some other leaders more powerful than he.

I really don’t believe that Simpson killed anyone. But to say this is extremely unfashionable.


John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson both believed that black people had been so historically disadvantaged that a century after the abolition of slavery, some reparation in kind would be only just. They were persuaded in this by the advocacy of the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and Affirmative Action was one result. Affirmative action was designed to help all of the oppressed, women, ethnic minorities and other politically handicapped classes to get to a position where they could compete on approximately level terms with those who had historically enjoyed privileges out of the reach of ordinary people.

In the 80s and 90s, after the Reagan revolution, it became an article of faith that welfare subsidies—standard in most civilised countries—were in the United States a means to give excessive privilege to women and blacks, especially to the poorest. Mr Bush’s so-called Justice Department actually entered appearance as a friend of the court in a celebrated case five years ago on the ground that using quotas to determine ethnic diversity in universities was unconstitutional and breached the right to equal protection under the law.

In capitalist society, of course, inequality is built into the system. Some are owners and others are workers. In the development of the market system in the US, however, some workers are clearly more equal than others. Over the past fifty years some white collar workers have captured the commanding heights of corporations, and the owners, the stockholders, have been relegated to being bit players in their own productions. With the departure of the first entrepreneurs, the second and third generations of owners have become spectators as professional “managers” have taken control of the corporations and have enriched themselves beyond the dreams of commonplace avarice. They pay themselves bonuses in the millions whether their companies are booming or failing

This week one of the Napoleons of the new capitalism demanded a bonus of $10 million after 11 months as Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch, perhaps the most famous financial services company in the world. [John] Thain’s basic compensation is about $15 million a year and in the time that he has been with Merrill,  the company became the most high profile casualty of the current financial disaster, having to be rescued in a takeover by the Bank of America  financed by the government of the United States.

Despite this disaster, or perhaps because of it, Thain seemed to believe he was  entitled to some super profit. The immediate howl from newspapers, bloggers and others appeared to have persuaded him to withdraw his claim. Thain and others like him are the people most vociferous in attacking the wicked trade unions, particularly the United Autoworkers whose members are derided as parasites battening on poor, helpless companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Suddenly the US press has begun to examine the claims against the unions and have discovered that the imaginary millionaires of the UAW are paid just a little more than the non-unionised workers in the American factories of Toyota and Honda, They have discovered that it isn’t the unions that are responsible for the state of the US auto industry, but the exorbitantly paid bosses, still building cars for the fifties while the Japanese and Europeans are building cars people actually want to buy.

The government’s rescue of the auto industry will bring some unlooked for changes in US motor vehicle manufacture. Congress and Barack Obama are thought to want more environmentally friendly cars. They also want the manufacturers to change their focus to include railway engines and other forms of public transportation. When the taxpayer owns GM, life for everybody will be very different.

Unlike wealthy countries like Messrs. Golding’s and Shaw’s Jamaica, the US will soon confront a future in which private transportation will be a luxury.

Another world

In Jamaica important facts surface briefly like drowning fish in Kingston Harbour, never to be heard from again. While Mr Golding was busy backing the Spanish hotel developers it was reported almost by the way:

“The project is receiving funding of US$100 million from Spanish investors and US$80 million from Jamaica’s National Commercial Bank and will provide employment for more than 1,000 Jamaicans at a time when other hotel projects, including Trelawny’s multibillion-dollar Harmony Cove and the 2,000-room Excellence Group rest in limbo” (Jamaica-Gleaner).

Resting in limbo, indeed. And this despite the enormous sums of Jamaican taxpayers’ money spent on the expensive physical infrastructure for these Arabian nights fantasies.

The problem is that all the super-fancy resort developments are in trouble or will be soon. They are facing the double whammy of worldwide tight credit and an evaporating high-end consumer market. I confidently expect to hear that the monstrous cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, is on hold, to be followed by immediate comfort statements from Jamaica telling us all not to worry: Falmouth will be destroyed anyway.

David Jessop asked last week what were we going to do now that the British and the Europeans are imposing new taxes on air travel to faraway places like the Caribbean, designed to slash the effect of aviation on global warming.

We are not planning any responses to these disasters, depending instead on rescue by Brazilian investors in ethanol—food for cars—when we need to get people to plant backyard food gardens and transform idle sugar land to growing food. I pointed out a few years ago that, on acreage equal to that of Monymusk, one of the smallest Jamaican sugar estates, farmers in Florida were producing US$60 million worth of citrus. We are clearly, too advanced for anything like that.

We will, of course, be able to eat bauxite.

Copyright 2008 John Maxwell

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”

*   *   *   *   *

The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *






posted 14 December 2008




Home  John Maxwell Table   The Economy, Workers, and Financial Markets Table

Related files: The People are the Change  The Wealth of the Poor