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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
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It is certainly possible that General Ward is a dedicated career military man who, with
great sincerity, welcomes the opportunity to cap his long career with service
to the continent of his ancestral origins. If so, that is precisely the problem.
Kip’s Folly A Black Commander for U.S. Forces in Africa
By Mark P. Fancher
Army General William E. “Kip” Ward stands tall as imperialism’s shining black prince. He has been anointed to head Africom, a rapidly unfolding plan to establish an expanded western military presence in Africa for the purpose of securing domination of the continent’s oil and other natural resources. (Okay, okay – so they claim Africom is designed to quell internal strife and fight terrorism. But none of us believe that.)
Although Africom has triggered a wave of grumbling across the breadth of the African continent and into many corners of the African Diaspora, it’s a pretty good bet that from the oil company executive suites, to the oval office, to the Pentagon, and on down to the fellas who hang out in the officer’s club at the local Army base, General Ward is the man of the hour. Even his nickname has been made to order. Can’t you hear the comments? “That Kip is a credit to his country, the armed forces and his race.” “Why can’t they all be more like Kip?”
With degrees from Morgan State University and Pennsylvania State University followed by 36 years of military service in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, Germany, Alaska and Hawaii, how can you beat this guy? He certainly must have been the kind of person retired generals had in mind when, during the last big affirmative action case to come before the Supreme Court the generals said: ”… the military cannot achieve an officer corps that is both highly qualified and racially diverse” without race-conscious remedies. And if the military can’t do that, whose black faces can be used to give credibility to U.S. military operations in Africa?
It is certainly possible that General Ward is a dedicated career military man who, with great sincerity, welcomes the opportunity to cap his long career with service to the continent of his ancestral origins. If so, that is precisely the problem. He and so many Africans born in America who have distinguished themselves professionally within corporate and government structures either naively miss, or deliberately ignore, their drift into roles that require them to work against the interests of their people.
In the case of Africom, this project is not divorced from a long history of efforts by Africa’s people to wrest control of unquantifiable natural wealth, first from western governments that colonized the continent and more recently from multi-national corporations that exploit Africa with the assistance of black neo-colonial heads of African states. It has been necessary for many of these people’s struggles to be carried out with arms in places like Angola, Guinea Bissau, Congo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Given the determination of exploiters to maintain their iron grip on valuable natural resources, even while Africa’s people suffer and starve, it is certainly likely that armed struggle by genuine revolutionaries will occur again in other parts of the continent. When that happens, we can safely bet that the Pentagon will label the African freedom fighters as terrorists and order good ole Kip to “suppress the restless natives.”
General Ward is not alone in his willingness to play the role of imperialist lackey. Barack Obama enthusiastically embraces the Africom concept. He uttered the following nonsense: “There will be situations that require the United States to work with its partners in Africa to fight terrorism with lethal force. Having a unified command operating in Africa will facilitate this action.” If Ward and Obama were to rationalize their compromises with the tired excuse that Africom can’t be stopped and “at least it will be under the control of a brother,” we would be compelled to respond that our people’s history shows that it doesn’t have to be that way.
At the dawn of the 20th Century, when Buffalo Soldiers were directed by racist white commanders to suppress a rebellion by brown-skinned Filipinos, conscience prevented a number of these Africans from following those orders. During the Vietnam War, some of the brothers in the U.S. military did the same thing. In fact, Muhammad Ali, while at the peak of his career, was moved by conscience to bravely refuse to fight in Vietnam. He lost almost everything as a consequence. We must remember the 43 brothers stationed at Fort Hood, Texas who were prosecuted for refusing to attack anti-war protesters at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
This tradition of refusing to participate in unconscionable U.S. military missions is alive even today. Consider that until the year 2000, U.S.-born Africans accounted for nearly 25 percent of Army personnel. By 2004, less than 16 percent of Army recruits were Africans. That percentage continues to decline. An Army study concluded that the attitudes of black youth were significantly shaped by their community, and the widespread opposition to the Iraq War in that community led to a rejection of military service. According to a Gallup Poll, 78 percent of whites supported the Iraq war, and 72 percent of blacks opposed it in 2003.
Is it fair to demand that Ward commit career suicide by opposing Africom, or at least refusing to lead it? The short answer is yes. Since our arrival on U.S. shores, Africans have never had the convenient option of declining heroism. Unlike the majority demographic in this country whose individual decisions often have implications only for the individuals who make them, whenever we Africans take the easy road paved by an oppressive system, large numbers of our people are injured or killed as a consequence.
Contemplate for only a moment the incredible number of lives of oppressed people and people of color that have been ruined or lost because of the opportunistic, self-centered careers of Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, and other lesser-known individuals of that ilk. General Ward stands poised to preside over an operation that possibly poses the most lethal threat to Africa and African people in the modern era. If on the question of whether to go forward as Africom’s commander, Ward is to be guided by morality and his people’s history, he has but one clear choice.
Mark P. Fancher is a human rights lawyer, essayist and activist. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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Africom: The new US military command for AfricaA series of consultations with the governments of a number of African countriesincluding Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Djibouti, Kenyafollowing the announcement of Africom found than none of them were willing to commit to hosting the new command. As a result, the Pentagon has been forced to reconsider its plans and in June 2007 Ryan Henry, the Principal Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy told reporters that the Bush administration now intended to establish what he called a distributed command that would be networked in several countries in different regions of the continent. Under questioning before the Senate Africa Subcommittee on 1 August 2007, Assistant Secretary Whelan said that Liberia, Botswana, Senegal, and Djibouti were among the countries that had expressed support for Africomalthough only Liberia has publicly expressed a willingness to play host to Africom personnelwhich clearly suggests that these countries are likely to accommodate elements of Africoms headquarters staff when they eventually establish a presence on the continent sometime after October 2008. Pambazuka
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Say No to AfricomWith little scrutiny from Democrats in Congress and nary a whimper of protest from the liberal establishment, the United States will soon establish permanent military bases in sub-Saharan Africa. An alarming step forward in the militarization of the African continent, the US Africa Command (Africom) will oversee all US military and security interests throughout the region, excluding Egypt. Africom is set to launch by September 2008 and the Senate recently confirmed Gen. William “Kip” Ward as its first commander. Danny Glover & Nicole Lee. The Nation /
posted 17 November 2007
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#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 Eroticanoir.com 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
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By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar’s changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America’s economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan’s bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt’s handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar’s dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.
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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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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 incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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By Eric Liu and Nick Hanaper
American democracy is informed by the 18th centurys most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. Weve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economicsthe cutting-edge ideas of todaygenerate these simple but revolutionary ideas: The economy is not an efficient machine.
Its an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest. Were all better off when were all better off. The model of citizenship depends on contagious behavior, hence positive behavior begets positive behavior.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 7 July 2012