Political Roundup: Bankruptcy, Gun Violence, Freddie Gray, Brexit, Terrorism

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 30 – July 7 edition of the Hartford News…

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays on the Tuesdays that we’re not on live and every Wednesday, same time. Next show: July 5. Mary Sanders and I will talk about the Hartford bankruptcy and stadium issues. Guests: Native American activist Howaste will discuss the Dakota Access pipeline protest. Lisa Ganser of Poor Magazine will talk about the impact of the Orlando mass shooting on the LGBTQ community.  http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/
Bankruptcy and the Neoliberal Agenda 
Any person of color thinking about supporting a bankruptcy filing by the City of Hartford should take a long, hard look at Detroit…
Detroit Citizens Say No to Bankruptcy
by Abayomi Azikiwe
I suspect there is a small group of racist rich men and banks who have been pulling the puppet strings of Detroit for a very long time.”
“Contradicting what the corporate media editorial boards have promoted in chorus with the multi-millionaire Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, 110 people filed objections to the forced bankruptcy of the City of Detroit. The hearing took place on September 19 and was widely covered in the local, national and international press.
This extraordinary hearing had provided only a small window of time for legal action. Many of the people that testified were retirees, city workers, community organizers and professionals who met the deadline set by the Judge Steven Rhodes to submit their objections.
Outside the federal courthouse on Lafayette Blvd. downtown, members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition carried a banner which read ‘Cancel the Debt: Jobs, Pensions, City Services, the Banks Owe Us!’ Later a group of active firefighters gathered to demonstrate their displeasure with the state of affairs facing the people of this majority African American municipality.” You can read the rest of the 2013 Black Agenda Report commentary here. http://blackagendareport.com/content/detroit-citizens-say-no-bankruptcy
Democrats, Guns and Liberal Hypocrisy
Hey John Lewis, John Larson and Democrats, while you were sitting on the floor you should have talked about urban gun violence and its roots causes: poverty, Black/Latino unemployment and lack of economic opportunity. You should have talked about how this lack of economic power leaves Black/Latino/Indigenous people vulnerable to state sponsored violence (police brutality/murder), and how police in the United States kill more people than all industrialized nations combined. You should have talked about Black mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex. You should have talked about white terrorists like Dylann Roof. In other words, you should have talked about all the injustices that you NEVER talk about. You all will sit for gun control, but won’t take a stand for racial justice. Typical liberal hypocrisy. #‎DemsNeverSat‬ hashtag blew up on Twitter: folks listing all of the issues the Democrats in Congress have never protested. Folks were not impressed with the neoliberal slumber party.
Poverty = Crime
Every Summer in Hartford
1. Shootings spike.
2. Community becomes outraged.
3. Stop the violence marches are organized.
4. Mayor promises action.
5. State troopers are called in to supplement Hartford Police. (optional)
6. Root causes of urban gun violence (poverty, unemployment, racial wage/wealth disparity) are not addressed.
7. Repeat
Following a shooting in Hartford last week that left two people dead and one injured, the reaction on social media was harsh.  For those who want to blame people of color in the North End for their predicament, do your homework. The Center for Social Inclusion found that the unemployment rate for young Black males age 18 – 25 is as high as 50% in some areas of Connecticut. Hartford annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. A Princeton University study found that Black males with no criminal record have the same opportunity of being hired for a job as a white male with a felony conviction. So being born Black in this country is the equivalent of a felony. There are areas of Hartford with NO ECONOMY. This is where the underground economy, primarily the drug trade, thrives. Young Black males with no economic opportunity turn to the drug trade to get paid. Violence is an occupational hazard. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact that is supported by statistical evidence. I organized statewide job fairs. Most of the attendees were from the North End. I have canvassed the neighborhood and talked with brothers on the corners. People in North Hartford want to work. If they can’t find a job, they will find another way to survive. Black unemployment is at Depression era levels. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal federal jobs program employed over 8 million people at the height of the Depression. Current and past presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson all support a New Deal jobs program targeting low income communities of color. North End residents don’t want to hear another I Have a Dream speech. They don’t want to hear judgemental lectures. They want jobs. The neoliberal Democrats who YOU support oppose a New Deal jobs program for low income communities of color.
Freddie Gray Verdict
Body cameras are definitely not the whole answer, but they are a piece of the puzzle regarding police accountability. If Baltimore police officers had been wearing body cameras, Freddie Gray may be alive today. Studies have found that the number of citizen brutality complaints drop considerably for departments where officers wear cameras, which indicate that they do deter abusive behavior by cops. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/police-body-camera-study_us_561d2ea1e4b028dd7ea53a56
The Hartford Police aren’t complying with the state body cameras law that went into effect January 1; three HPD officers are currently being investigated for an alleged June 4 brutality incident. Attorney Corey Brinson is suing the HPD on behalf of Ricardo Perez and Emilio Diaz.
Attorney Alan Dershowitz told CNN’s Don Lemon that he predicted acquittals in the Gray case, because Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby overcharged the police officers in order to quell civil unrest. Dershowitz said that Mosby could have won convictions if she had charged that the officers involved were negligent. Folks ‘took it to the streets’ following the acquittal of police officer Caesar Goodson. The number of police killings in the United States have INCREASED since nationwide police violence protests began. The police and elected officials, including the First Black President, have made it clear that they don’t give a damn about protests that aren’t coupled with specific policy demands.
Brexit Vote
Lots of concern that the vote in Britain to leave the European Union is an indication that Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States in November. Although some on the left in the U.K. were in favor of Britain leaving the E.U., most of the support came from right-wingers who use the same white nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric as Trump.
The Facts About Terrorism
Like they did with the assassination of British lawmaker Jo Cox by a right-wing extremist, the corporate media is not reporting on the connection Donald Trump has to a clash between a Neo-Nazi group and counter protesters yesterday in Sacramento. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Traditionalist Youth Network as “an identitarian inspired umbrella group, that aims to indoctrinate high school and college students into white nationalism”. The Traditionalist Worker Party, the group that fought with counter protesters in Sacramento, is the political wing of TYN. Telesur reports that TYN organized the Sacramento rally in response to nationwide protests against Trump. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there are 892 hate groups  currently active in the United States. 
The report below is courtesy of Telesur English.  http://www.telesurtv.net/english/index.html
Europe Far-Right ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorists Kill Most: Report
Despite a mainstream media narrative that focuses on the threat of Islamic terrorism, right-wing “lone wolf” extremists are to blame for more killings and injuries in Europe than other lone extremists, including Islamic terrorists, according to a London-based think tank report formally launched Wednesday.
According to the research by the Royal United Services Institute analyzing 120 lone-actor cases across Europe from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2014, right-wing extremists were behind attacks that caused 260 injuries and 94 deaths.

In the same period, “religiously-inspired attacks” resulted in 65 people being injured and 16 killed. It was not clear from the report which religions were included in this category.

Right-wing lone-actor extremists killed over five times as many people as religiously-motivated lone wolf attackers in terror incidents across Europe, according to the report.

“These findings have clear implications for policy-makers and practitioners,” read the report. “Right-wing extremists represent a substantial aspect of the lone-actor threat and must not be overlooked.”
The cases analyzed included far-right Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik who killed 77 people and injured 242 more on July 22, 2011 when he set off a bomb in Oslo and shot up a summer camp.

The institute launched the Countering Lone-Actor Terrorism project to investigate the phenomenon across Europe and argue that the report’s findings have policy implications across the region.
“Lone-actor terrorists are perceived as presenting acute challenges for law enforcement practitioners in detection and disruption,” the report reads. “By definition, they act without direct command and control from a wider network, and it is assumed that without such communications they may evade the ‘tripwires’ that would usually bring them to the attention of the authorities.”

The official launch of the report in London on Wednesday comes less than a week after the murder of British Labour representative Jo Cox last Thursday at the hands of a far-right terrorist, who reportedly shouted “Britain First” in reference to the country’s far-right, anti-immigration party before he shot and stabbed the lawmaker to death.

It also comes on the eve of the “Brexit” referendum that has polarized political debate in the country with xenophobic and fear-mongering messaging from the far-right campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

According to the U.S. Southern Poverty Law Center, Cox’s murderer Thomas Mair was a supporter of a neo-Nazi group and followed white supremacist publications. When asked to state his name when he appeared in court, Mair replied “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain!”
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com  

 

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