Jamaica Upheavals and Broader Context

Jamaica Upheavals and Broader Context


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



The violence will erupt again and again because the historical grievances

of Jamaican workers have never found expression in any well formulated

economic and political program or platform.



Book by  Lloyd D. McCarthy


In-Dependence from Bondage: Claude McKay and Michael Manley

Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations


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Jamaica Upheavals and Broader Context for Analysis

By Lloyd D. McCarthy


Prime Minister Bruce Golden’s deployment of the Jamaica Defense Force in the poor, working class community of Western Kingston to pacify vigorous opposition—by his own Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) political stronghold—against Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke’s extradition to the US is just another one of his reactionary policies. Golden’s action and the community’s resistance to Coke’s extradition must be seen within the context of the intensification of social and economic injustice against the most alienated segment of Jamaican Urban Workers. No one should be fooled or deluded by the misguided ERUPTION of violence in West Kingston to protect Dudus. If his community views Dudus as a “Don” or their Robin Hood who must be defended against their own political party or the Jamaican State, that’s because they feel betrayed or alienated by the economic and political system.The Critical Issue in Context The critical issue highlighted in the most recent outburst of violence in Kingston is fundamentally the matter of the long historic social tensions, economic and political wrongs against the dispossessed classes of Jamaican people in general. That issue remains unsettled. Now here are the wider issues (and I can only provide a few examples here) in which the” Dudus Uprising” must be considered—details, social pattern and context:First, Jamaican workers are severely distressed by Jamaica’s failed domestic and international economic policies. As the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “Fact Book” on Jamaica points out, “the economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 130%. Jamaica’s onerous debt burden—the fourth highest per capita— . . . The Government of Jamaica signed a $1.27 billion, 27-month Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund for balance of payment support in February 2010…. The GOLDING administration faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments, while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth.” In 1992, the incoming People’s National Party (PNP) government of Prime Minister Percival James Patterson continued the economic policies of the previous administration by eliminating price controls and privatizing state owned industries in accordance with multinational and bilateral agreements. The policy intensified hardships on both urban workers and the rural poor.Second, Jamaican workers are distraught by their working conditions. In the first quarter of 2006 Jamaican workers in the sugar industry went on strike “at the Frome, Monymusk and Dukenfield sugar plantations.” Their simple demands were for better wages and working conditions. They returned to work only after Cabinet Minister Roger Clarke made a deal with them. January 2008 also saw actions by workers in the telecommunications sector when Telecom workers went on strike for similar reasons. Third, since the early 1980s lumpen elements of the Jamaican business class have engaged in their own nefarious multinational business agreements with Latin American, North American and European cocaine producers, exporters and distributors. As one analyst put it, “Jamaica does not produce cocaine, but is a major conduit for its distribution worldwide. Much of the narcotic imported into Jamaica is destined for the European market, especially Britain where a kilogram of cocaine can sell for many times its wholesale value. On top of this, the tightening of security procedures in the US following September 11 has diverted more drugs traffic to Britain and Europe. The Observer newspaper reports that prior to the attacks on New York and Washington, 50 percent of all drugs intercepted from airline traffic in the US came from Jamaica.” At the lowermost rung of such criminal deals emerged poor Jamaican “Drug Mules,” simple people trying to find a way to survive “The New World Order,” globalization.Finally, on top of the above economic wrongs pressuring Jamaican workers is the new global superpowers rivalry acting out in the South and Central Americas. China in search of much needed natural resources and new trade outlets is strengthening its relations in the region to the dismay of the North’s economic and political interests. LIFE-IN-DEBT JAMAICA is forced to reach out to China for loans and aid as their traditional American and European business partners struggle in major economic problems of their own making. The growing Chinese influence in the region is not welcomed by the North. While I have not looked at the particular argument given for Dudus’ extradition, only its essence—the pressure placed on the Jamaican Government and its obvious political implications for Golden’s administration, I can only surmise that there may be more to the Extradition of Dudus than his small scale wrong doings. So, empathetic observers should not be fooled. I was in Kingston in the 1990s when one single old woman, protesting the City’s Public Transportation Disservice ignited a major uprising. The timbers to be lit by such a simple spark in Jamaica are present in all the nooks and crannies of the workers existence in the Country.Hence, no prayer meetings or “Sankey Singing” will resolve Jamaica’s problems. Piecemeal economic handouts or empty political promises will be to no avail. Violence will break out in Jamaica again until the essence of the country’s problem is addressed. The violence will erupt again and again because the historical grievances of Jamaican workers have never found expression in any well formulated economic and political program or platform. And such a structure is not in place. It awaits the coming together of aware Jamaican workers, conscious professionals, and enlightened elements of its progressive business class formulating and implementing such a program.

27 May 2010

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In Coke’s Old Jamaica Digs, Unease and Anger Prevail 

 Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke of Jamaica may seek political asylum overseas

Can Dudus’ assets be frozen?

Reputed Jamaican druglord Christopher (Dudus) Coke to surrender in New York, feds say

Jamaican Prime Minister Is ‘Known Criminal Affiliate’ Of Hunted Drug Lord

How Dudus stayed ahead of police

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Who is Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, Jamaica’s Murderous Drug Lord?

Twenty years ago, American authorities had Jamaica’s most feared drug lord in their hands. In 1988, the aptly named Christopher Coke, aka “Dudus,” was convicted of possession of stolen property in North Carolina. But instead of being sent to an American prison, he was deported to Jamaica. Since his return to the island, Dudus has cultivated an almost messianic following among his supporters in the West Kingston neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens. So when Jamaican authorities announced last week that they would extradite Dudus to the U.S., people took to the streets in protest, brandishing signs that read “Jesus died for us, we will die for Dudus.”

Die, they have. Over 70 people have been killed in Jamaica since the capital erupted in violence early this week—Dudus supporters had reportedly been stockpiling weapons since the extradition request was revealed last August, and now they’re putting them to use. Christopher “Dudus” Coke is the heir to a powerful crime family with a history of trouble in the United States. He is the alleged head of a criminal gang known as the Shower Posse, and is sought by the U.S. government on charges of drug and gun smuggling.

Dudus’s popularity stems from his generosity toward the people of Tivoli Gardens. . . .TheDailyBeast

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Bob Marley Running Away & Crazy Baldhead  / Behind Jamaica’s Garrisons

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There are features of Jamaica’s urban Garrison politics (e.g., Tivoli Garden’s Dudus’ community) in a few Caribbean Islands, but I am not aware of any as extreme as Tivoli (~Right Wing, JLP) or “Jungle” (~left wing, PNP). Tivoli was created by Edward Seaga former prime minister, and “first Don” and who is called “One Don” in Jamaica. Maureen Webber a longtime friend of mine who recently visited Tivoli, note on her Facebook page then when people were asked in Tivoli who are their leaders, they looked puzzled. While mainstream communities acknowledged civil leaders, church leaders, etc residents in Tivoli could not think of any. They recognize only their “Don.” The article at the link below provides a good background on Jamaican garrison politics: Jamaica-Gleaner. Blessings, LM

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A Response to “Behind Jamaica’s Garrisons”


 Yao, I read all 18 pages of “Behind Jamaica’s Garrisons.” I understand a bit of what has happened. The State and its government apparatus have been unable to come to grips with the Jamaican political reality of corruption and political incompetence. For that situation has created a deepening and broadening problem of poverty and illiteracy in a great portion of the Jamaican population. When such political incompetence occurs there is an increasing urbanization or ghetto sprawl around places of wealth and tourism.

Because of the inability of the State and its governmental apparatus, corruption has extended downward, and the poor and the illiterate have accommodated themselves to this corruption and incompetence. They have no confidence in the State. There are local intermediaries in which they have more confidence, namely, “dons.” In other words there is a spoils system within these ghettos areas in which the vote is sold for crumbs that might fall from the tables of elected politicians. The poor just manages to survive.

The dons themselves cannot maintain their rule and control on these “spoils” either. But their  political contacts and political bribes provide seed money to control the informal economy of drug trafficking and other so-called criminal activity. It indeed sounds like the ward  politics that existed here in East Baltimore and in sections of Chicago. The “Committee” recognition that politicians, poverty, and ignorance combine to create these “tribal communities” is ignored in their recommendations.

Ultimately, they go against their own view of how these “tribal” “garrisoned communities” can be eliminated. That is, by clamping down on corrupt politicians, and the creation of jobs and the maintenance of educational programs  in and beyond grade schools. So work, a good education, and placing political criminals at the top in prison are ignored for “political education,” “ethical education,” and other ameliorative programs that have little or no influence in ridding Jamaica of poverty and ignorance.—Rudy

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Crazy Baldhead

                By Bob Marley

Them crazy, them crazy We gonna chase those crazy Baldheads out of town Chase those crazy baldheads Out of town I and I build the cabin I and I plant the corn Didnt my people before me Slave for this country Now you look me with a scorn Then you eat up all my corn We gonna chase those crazy baldheads Chase them crazy Chase those crazy baldheads out of town Build your penitentiary, we build your schools Brainwash education to make us the fools Hate is your reward for our love Telling us of your God above We gonna chase those crazy Chase those crazy baldheads Chase those crazy baldheads out of town Here comes the conman Coming with his con plan We wont take no bribe, we got to stay alive We gonna chase those crazy Chase those crazy baldheads Chase those crazy baldheads out of town

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The CIA and Christopher “Dudus” Coke

By Casey Gane-McCalla

With the recent violence in Jamaica and the controversy over alleged drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, many people are talking about the infamous Jamaican Shower Posse and the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, where they have their base. What is being is being ignored largely by the media, is the role that the American government and the CIA had in training, arming and giving power to the Shower Posse. It is interesting that the USA is indicting Christopher “Dudus” Coke, the current leader of the Shower Posse for drug and gun trafficking, given that the CIA was accused of smuggling guns into Jamaica and facilitating the cocaine trade from Jamaica to America in the 70s and 80s. In many ways Dudus was only carrying on a tradition of political corruption, drug running, guns and violence that was started with the help of the CIA. Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s father was was Lester Coke, also known as Jim Brown, one of the founders of the Shower Posse and a fellow champion and protector of the impoverished Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in Kingston. Coke was a political enforcer and bodyguard to Edward Seaga, the leader of the Jamaican Labour Party. Seaga’s opponent Michael Manley had begun to adopt “socialist” stances and began openly criticizing American foreign policies and meeting with U.S. enemy, Fidel Castro, in the 1970s. Given the cold war the US was having with Russia, the CIA did not want Jamaica to be friendly with communists. According to Gary Webb’s book, The Dark Alliance, Norman Descoteaux, the CIA station chief in Jamaica began a destabilization program of the Manley government in late 70s. Part of that plan was assassinations, money for the Jamaican Labour Party, labor unrest, bribery and shipping weapons to Manley’s opponents, like Lester “Jim Brown” Coke. Author, Daurius Figueira writes in his book, Cocaine And Heroin Trafficking In The Caribbean,“In fact, it meant that illicit drug runners linked to the JLP were integrated into a CIA linked illicit drugs guns and criminal trafficking pipeline.” Former CIA agent Philip Agee said “the CIA was using the JLP as its instrument in the campaign against the Michael Manley government, I’d say most of the violence was coming from the JLP, and behind them was the CIA in terms of getting weapons in and getting money in.” One of Lester Coke’s associates, Cecil Connor, would claim that he was trained by the CIA to fight political wars for the JLP through killing and spying. Connor would stuff ballot boxes and intimidate voters to help the JLP win elections. Connor would go on from being a political thug to being part of the international Jamaican based cocaine ring known as the Shower Posse. He wound up testifying against Lester Coke and his cohort Vivian Blake, only to return to his native St. Kitts to become a drug kingpin who almost held the country hostage. Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s father, Lester Coke has also been accused of working with the CIA. Timothy White speculates, in his biography of Bob Marley, Catch A Fire, that Jim Brown was part of a team of armed gunman that attempted to assassinate Bob Marley led by JLP enforcer Carl “Byah” Mitchell. Authors Laurie Gunst and Vivien Goldman also make the same assertions in their books, Born Fi Dead and The Book Of Exodus. Marley’s manager Don Taylor claims that one of Marley’s attackers was captured and admitted that the CIA had agreed to pay him in cocaine and guns to kill Marley. Lester Coke would later be burned to death in a Jamaican jail cell, while awaiting extradition to the United States. Many people have claimed that he was killed so he wouldn’t reveal his secrets dealing with the CIA, JLP, and criminal activity. In its efforts to destabilize the Jamaican government in the 1970s, the CIA created a group of drug dealing, gun-running, political criminals. Through the cocaine trade, these criminals would eventually become more powerful than the politicians they were connected to. The CIA destabilization program did not only destabilize Jamaica in the 70s, but it destabilized Jamaica for the next 40 years. Given the secrecy of both CIA and Jamaican society, it is unclear exactly what was the CIA’s role in creating the Shower Posse. Did they give them guns? Were they given cocaine? Were they trained how to smuggle drugs? Did the CIA use the Shower Posse to try and kill Bob Marley? These are all questions that the CIA should answer. If what is alleged about the CIA is true, then they are partially responsible for the cycle of gun trafficking, gun smuggling and violence that plagues Jamaica today. If the US can extradite the son of one of the CIA’s political enforcers for trafficking guns and cocaine, shouldn’t the CIA be investigated for training Jamaicans on how to conduct political warfare, arming them, giving them cocaine and helping them traffic it? Given the revelation that the CIA allowed Nicaraguan drug dealers to sell cocaine in the US to fund their revolution against their communist government, it is not that far fetched to believe that they would arm Jamaicans to with guns and give them cocaine to fight communists in Jamaica.

3 June 2010

Source: BlackBirdPressNews


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Labour Day Massacre in Tivoli Gardens  

Curfew Burnin` & Lootin`

                           By Bob Marley

This morning I woke up in a curfew; O God, I was a prisoner, too – yeah! Could not recognize the faces standing over me; They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality. Eh! How many rivers do we have to cross, Before we can talk to the boss? Eh! All that we got, it seems we have lost; We must have really paid the cost.


Bob Marley knew too well what it was like to find himself in a curfew surrounded by the Jamaican security forces dressed in uniform of brutality. He experienced it first hand and sang about it. So too did Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. They shared the common experience of having their rights as Jamaican citizens trampled upon at one time or another simply because they happened to reside in a West Kingston slum. Bob Marley knew what it was like to have his human rights and civil rights abused by the state just because of his address, his very zip code could have determined his life. Many are not so lucky to have survived as the recent events in Tivoli have proven (May 23, 2010); any community where poor people reside is subject to curfew. The headlines would read “Massive Police Operation in Sections of the Corporate Area.” These areas are surrounded and cordoned off by hundreds of police and soldiers armed as if they are going to battle with another nation. This failed and destructive policy has been repeated hundreds of times across Kingston’s poorest neighborhoods. To show how ineffective this has become, one just has to look at the crime statistics and the international headlines to see the results, Jamaica “MURDER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD” If this policy were an effective method of crime-fighting Jamaica would be a much safer place by now. Yes, it is obvious the Jamaica has a serious crime problem. Jamaicans of all walks of life are affected; rightfully so they are very concerned. However, actions like the one in Tivoli Gardens cannot be the solution. Of the hundreds of men, women and even children detained and brutalized for days without charges after the Tivoli operations, almost all were released. Few if any have been charged with any crimes related to the events in Tivoli. As poverty increases in the country and the expansion of ghettos spreads across the capital so too have the expansion of these military/police operations. They follow the poor like a plague spreading mistrust and dislike for the security forces. These poor communities are viewed by the state, the military and the police as places where the citizens are the potential enemy of the Jamaican state and are treated as such. This failed oppressive practice which Bob Marley alluded to in his song “Curfew Burning & Looting” has been in practice since the 1960s. This type of collective punishment (mass dentation without reasonable cause) is reminiscent of practices that were used to round up people in the ghettoes of Nazi Germany have only led to a growing mistrust of the military and especially the police who seem to be the main players in the atrocities. How can the police expect the cooperation from anyone who live in these areas? Like Bob Marley, I too know what it is like to be caught up in a curfew. As a child growing up in Jones Town, I was fearful and traumatized to see heavily armed soldiers and police with faces absent of compassion barging into our yard. Luckily, I was too young to be dragged away, brutalized and detained without charges. After the raids the news would carry the headlines “Guns and Criminal Elements Netted in Massive Police Operation.” Yet crime and violence continue to sky rocket off the charts. By now one would have thought the government and the security hierarchy would have realized that these massive police operations (Curfew) or state of emergencies are a dismal failure. What they have continued to do is to alienate communities like Tivoli Gardens which are now labeled “Garrisons.” From May 24, and the days following, we have witnessed atrocities in Tivoli Gardens which have resulted in more then 70 people killed. Residents claimed that many were executed. It is a direct result of a government that has very little respect for the rights of its citizens, especially the poorest. A former Jamaican prime minister Hugh Shearer during a similar operation in the 1960 made the now infamous pronouncement that the security forces should “shoot first and ask questions later.” This is also borne out of 40 years of militarization of the Jamaican security forces in their dealing with the Jamaican public in the inner-cities. As ridiculous as this may sound to many people of sound mind, these citizens who live in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town have become victims of zip codes, considering the upper classes have never experienced a curfew where they live. The government and some in the society mostly the upper class have justified this alienation and brutalization of their fellow citizens in order to provide themselves the grotesque illusion of short term security. However, this will not bring security to Jamaica or resolve the causes of crime and violence. The supporters of brutality and murder should ask themselves what would they say if they lived in Tivoli and their sons and daughters were rounded up and brutalized, traumatized or worst executed. What would they say? That this is necessary for the safety of the nation. Their indifference to the suffering of the innocent or their deafening silence is adding fuel to an underlying combustible social structure which will one day erupt into a greater inferno that they can never contain. The other verses in Bob Marley’s song seems to understand that perfectly.

(That’s why we gonna be) Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight; (Say we gonna burn and loot) Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight; (One more thing) Burnin’ all collusion tonight; (Oh, yeah, yeah) Burnin’ all illusion tonight. Oh, stop them! Give me the food and let me grow; Let the Roots Man take a blow. All them drugs gonna make you slow now; It’s not the music of the ghetto. Eh!

Weepin’ and a-wailin’ tonight; (Ooh, can’t stop the tears!) Weepin’ and a-wailin’ tonight; (We’ve been suffering these long, long-a years) Weepin’ and a-wailin’ tonight (Will you say cheer?) Weepin’ and a-wailin’ tonight ( but where )

Source: Flickr

*   *   *   *   * Coronation Market: A Vendor’s Perspective  /  Tivoli: Identifying the dead  /  Curfew Burnin` & Lootin`

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Curfew Burnin` & Lootin`

                             By Bob Marley

This morning I woke up in a curfew Oh god, I was a prisoner too – yeah Could not recognise the faces standing over me They were all dressed in uniforms of brutality How many rivers do we have to cross Before we can talk to the boss All that we got seems lost We must have really paid the cost (That’s why we gonna be) Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight (Say we gonna burn and loot) Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight (One more thing) Burnin all pollution tonight (Oh yeah, yeah) Burning all illusions tonight Oh stop them Give me the food and let me grow Let the roots man take a blow All them drugs gonna make you slow now It’s not the music of the ghetto Weeping and a-wailing tonight (Ooh can’t stop the tears) Weepin’ and a-wailin’ tonight (We’ve been suffering all these long, long years) Weeping and a-wailing tonight Give me the food and let me grow Let the roots man take a blow All them drugs gonna make you slow now It’s not the music of the ghetto We gonna be burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight (To survive, yeah) Burnin’ and a-lootin’ tonight (Save your babies lives) Burning all pollution tonight Burning all illusions tonight Burnin and lootin tonight Burnin and lootin tonight

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Christopher Dudus Coke is no revolutionary—Christopher Dudus Coke is a creation of the alliance between U.S. imperialism and the African petty bourgeoisie. He is a creation of the decadent, backward working class elements and the political ruling class elite of the JLP and the PNP, who work to stifle democratic space in Jamaica. They have used violence to dominate their opponents and mobilize votes for their respective sponsors. As a result of this intervention, the contradictions amongst our people in the poor neighborhoods were antagonized, leaving the men in arms the main power brokers in the community.

Secondly, the introduction of the drug economy armed and enriched certain dons who are beyond the control of politicians that initially supported them. These dons later became the politicians’ source of financing. Dudus Coke is not involved in political education of the people. He is not calling for power in the hands of workers. He is not calling for the overthrow of the African petty bourgeoisie. There are even reports that are saying that Coke is willing to hand himself in to the U.S. embassy.

His lawyers call him a legitimate businessman, the major shareholder in two successful Jamaican companies, Incomparable Enterprise and Presidential Click. To such followers, he is the man who sent their children to school, mediated in disputes, clothed and fed them, gave them employment and stopped crime. At his command, no children were allowed on street corners after 8:00 p.m., all men had to work and petty thieving was outlawed. It is claimed there was no stealing or rape in Tivoli Gardens.

African workers need our own power, the power of the worker that depends first on our ability to build the African Socialist International (ASI) that unites and mobilizes all Africans in the Caribbean region for power against the Jamaican State violence and for a democratic State under our own workers’ leadership. Our struggle for power is also a struggle to eradicate the drug economy that is of no use to the workers. Our power is a State mass power, of one billion Africans worldwide moving in the same direction releasing black steam to burn all imperialist and neocolonialist bourgeois obstacles in our wake.

Jamaica needs the ASI now to develop a Revolutionary National Democratic Program (RNDP), under the leadership of the African workers in alliance with poor peasants and progressive intellectuals. Dudus and his followers would have to state their position and unity with the RNDP like every single member of the oppressed community.

Dudus comes from a family tied to the JLP, a neocolonialist party in Jamaica. His father and his brother were accredited with being the leaders of the Shower Posse when they met their violent deaths. His father, who was also the bodyguard of Edward Seaga, a former JLP leader and prime minister of Jamaica, was killed in jail while waiting to be extradited to the U.S.

Dudus’ wealth is colonial wealth too, just like the wealth of the members of the government of Jamaica. It comes from a relationship between oppressed nations and oppressor nations, between the African petty bourgeoisie and the African working class. According to an article in the Daily Mail, “Another of his companies, which handles lucrative government tenders for road contracts, has been ferrying construction materials into Tivoli Gardens, used to erect defensive barricades…Coke’s wealth has enabled him to move out of Tivoli Gardens. He now lives in an opulent former plantation home in Red Hills, a cool, peaceful retreat favoured by entrepreneurs and politicians. A string of senior politicians, including Golding, have been reportedly electronically intercepted talking to Coke at his strongholds.“

His job was to mobilize votes for the neocolonial ruling class organized inside the JLP, of which he is a supporter. The contradiction is that he has achieved a level of power and influence in the community and inside the JLP. Is it this reality that makes the U.S. insecure to the point of demanding Bruce Golding, the prime minister, extradite Dudus to the U.S? We know that the U.S. cannot tolerate an independent power amongst the African colonized people. UhuruNews

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Lessons from the saga of Dudus in Jamaica—Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, alleged drug lord and leader of Jamaican gang, the Shower Posse, was arrested on 22 June. Coke’s arrest, writes Horace Campbell, opens up the possibility to ‘reveal the full extent of the corruption of the politics of Jamaica and the Caribbean by their rulers in collaboration with the intelligence, commercial and banking infrastructures of the United States’. Noting that ‘political retrogression, gangsterism and violence have now reached the proportions that were similar to the period of enslavement’, Campbell says the ‘struggle against the cocaine business in the Caribbean is a struggle for a new form of society.’

The arrest of Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in a road block in Jamaica on Tuesday 22 June 2010 opens the possibility once and for all to reveal the full extent of the corruption of the politics of Jamaica and the Caribbean by the rulers in collaboration with the intelligence, commercial and banking infrastructures of the United States From the streets of West Kingston to the hills of Port of Spain, Trinidad to Guyana and down to Brazil, gunmen (called warlords) allied and integrated into the international banking system had taken over communities and acted as do-gooders when the neo-liberal forces downgraded local government services. From the garrison community of Tivoli gardens, Christopher Coke was hailed as a force more powerful than politicians. Such was power of Coke (called the ‘Pres’ by his supporters and the media) that the prime minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, tried to block his extradition to the United States. For a short period from August 2009 to May 2010, the Jamaican government protected Coke and hired a US law firm to lobby against his extradition. The US government intensified pressures against the Jamaican middle classes, threatening them with the withdrawal of their visas. This pressure and public opinion forced the government of Jamaica to issue a warrant for the arrest of Coke on 17 May 2010. Pambazuka

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Cuba An African Odyssey is the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions.

Cuba: An African Odyssey is the story of the Cold War told through the prism of its least known arena: Africa. It is the untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions.  It is the story of men like Patrice Lumumba, Amilcar Cabral, Agosthino Neto and of course Che Guevara who have become icons, mythical figures whose names are now synonymous with the word revolution. This is the story of how these men, caught between capitalism and communism, strove to create a third bloc that would assert the simple principle of national independence.  It is the story of a whole dimension of world politics during the last half of the 20th century, which has been hidden behind the facade of a simplistic understanding of superpower conflict.

Cuba: An African Odyssey will tell the inside story of only three of these Cuban escapades. We will start with the Congo where Che Guevara personally spent seven months fighting with the Pro-Lumumbist rebellion in the jungle of Eastern Congo. Then to Guinea Bissau where Amilcar Cabral used the technical support of Cuban advisors to bleed the Portuguese colonial war machine thus toppling the regime in Europe. Finally, Angola where in total 380,000 Cuban soldiers fought during the 27 years of civil war. The Cuban withdrawal from Angola was finally bartered against Namibia’s independence. With Namibia’s independence came the fall of Apartheid… the last vestige of colonialism on the African continent.

Cuba: An African Odyssey unravels episodes of the Cold War long believed to be nothing but proxy wars. From the tragicomic epic of Che Guevara in Congo to the triumph at the battle of Cuito Carnavale in Angola, this film attempts to understand the world today through the saga of these internationalists who won every battle but finally lost the war.

Credits: Written, directed and narrated by Jihan El-Tahri / Edited by Gilles Bovon / Photography by Frank-Peter Lehmann

Sound Recordists: James Baker, Graciela Barrault / Produced by Tancrède Ramonet, Benoît Juster, Jihan El-Tahri

Source: Snagfilms

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The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

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


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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

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

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 posted 4 June 2010 




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