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Political News

Michael Long Talks About Civil Rights Architect, Bayard Rustin, and His Book: I Must Resist -- Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters


Published on the centennial of his birth, and in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, here is Bayard Rustin's life story told in his own words.

Bayard Rustin has been called the "lost prophet" of the civil rights movement. A master strategist and tireless activist, he is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the U.S. He brought Gandhi's protest techniques to the American civil rights movement and played a deeply influential role in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to mold him into an international symbol of nonviolence.

Despite these achievements, Rustin often remained in the background. He was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.

Here we have Rustin in his own words in a collection of over 150 of his letters; his correspondents include the major progressives of his day — for example, Eleanor Holmes Norton, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Ella Baker, and of course, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bayard Rustin's eloquent, impassioned voice, his ability to chart the path "from protest to politics," is both timely and deeply informative. As the Occupy movement ushers America into a pivotal election year, and as politicians and citizens re-assess their goals and strategies, these letters provide direct access to the strategic thinking and tactical planning that led to the successes of one of America's most transformative and historic social movements.

[A note from editor Michael Long: I thank Nancy D. Kates and Bennett Singer, co-producers/directors of Brother Outsider, for my use of material in their excellent documentary about Rustin. I am especially grateful to Question Why Films, co-owned by Kates and Singer, for my use of an interview that Kates conducted with Dr. Robert Ascher. -- ML]

With a foreword by Julian Bond. Read the rest of entry »

Palestine Today -- Israeli Peace Activist Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery is an Israeli peace activist, journalist and writer. He is famous for crossing the lines during the Battle of Beirut to meet Yassir Arafat on July, 3, 1982. This was the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery is also the founder of the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) peace movement.

Since 1993, Gush Shalom has often stood alone in its call for the creation of a Palestinian State in all the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the release of all Palestinian prisoners, the dismantling of all existing settlements, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and the new State of Palestine, as well as the recognition of Jerusalem as the joint capital of both states. Every week, a political ad sponsored by Gush Shalom is recognized as "setting the agenda for the peace forces at large."

Starting in April 1950 until 1990, Avnery served as the editor-in- chief for Haolam Hazeh a widely-circulated news magazine that has been compared with Time Magazine and Der Spiegel in terms of style. Under his leadership it provided a forum for strong opposition to established Israeli positions. In Haolam Hazeh, Avnery, according to his biographer, "offered opposition to the nationalistic, theocratic 'Jewish state' created by Ben-Gurion," and he advocated for "a modern, liberal state, belonging to all its citizens, irrespective of ethnic, national or religious roots." The magazine also launched Avnery into politics by creating a new political party and helped him win a seat in the Israeli Knesset. The Haolam Hazeh party won two seats in 1969. Avnery served in the Knesset for 8 years initially and served another two-year term starting in 1979.

Avnery is the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including 1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem (2008); Israel's Vicious Circle (2008); and My Friend, the Enemy (1986). Read the rest of entry »

USS Liberty Survivor, Phil Tourney, Talks about the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty and the Cover- Up

Friends of the USS Liberty,

At long last, the book “What I Saw That Day (wrttien by USS Liberty Survivor Phil Tourney)…Israel’s 1967 Holocaust of American Servicemen Aboard The USS Liberty And Its Aftermath” by USS Liberty Survivor Phil Tourney is finished and available to the public in electronic media format.

Excerpts from the book–

“How could we have known any better? It was, after all, only about twenty years since WWII was over, and growing up in America, we had all gotten a heavy dose of how badly these people had been treated. How could we not root for poor, seemingly defenseless Israel?…”

–Ch 1–The Trail of Tears

“General Quarters alarm was sounded. I made my way to my duty station, which was one deck above the mess decks. After going down the ladder, I slipped and fell and found myself under the trampling feet of sailors as they made their way to their stations. I rolled over to my right side to get out of their way, got on my feet and joined the stampede to get to my station as well. I got into battle-dress and got my gear ready. “

“On my way back to the deck, I saw the passageways were littered with wounded men. All were bloody and moaning. My shipmates would call out to me and ask me for help. Some of them would ask me, as if I were a doctor, “Hey, man, can you do something about this?” I got to the bridge and saw that Captain McGonagle was badly wounded in the leg but still in command. Rocket and cannon holes were everywhere. Burning napalm was dripping through the holes and into the bridge compartment. I tried hitting the napalm with the Co2 canisters I had, but the fire was so intense, that the Co2 was basically useless. I requested a fire team with water hoses. In hindsight, I realize this was just a waste of time, since the hoses had been shot up like a snake hit with birdshot from a shotgun.” Read the rest of entry »

Middle East Expert, Dr. Elaine Hagopian on Syria and Syrian Amer Wakka

Dr. Elaine Hagopian is Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College, Boston. She was awarded two Fulbright Hayes Faculty Research Grants to do research in the Middle East; held appointments with UNICEF in the United Arab Emirates and with UNESCO throughout the Levant and Gulf to do a Feasibility Study for a Palestine Open University. She has traveled to and lived in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan for periods of time from 1971 on. Her publications focus on issues in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria as well as the Civil Rights of Arabs and Muslims in America.

Amer Wakka is a Syrian who lives in Damascus. He is also a musician/rapper/hip hop artist. He talks about the 2 year civil war in Syrian, the hopes and dreams of Syrians and we listen to a bit of his music. Read the rest of entry »

Palestine Today -- Jeff Blankfort Talks about the Peace Talks Between Israel and Palestine

Middle East expert Jeff Blankfort joins us today to talk about the peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

Talat Gilani Hamdani Talks About the Muslim Community and Hesham Haggag Amin Talks About Egypt

Talat Gilani Hamdani talks about the Muslim Community in America. And Hesham Haggag Amin talks about Egypt and the ouster of President Morsi.

Palestine Today -- Palestinian Haitham Dahlan, Talks About the Nakba and the Diaspora

Haitham Dahlan, talks about the Nakba and about being a Palestinian living in Jordan. Also, we discuss the Convoy to Gaza.

Dr. Frances Cress Wesling Talks About Racism/White Supremacy

Dr. Frances Cress Wesling practices in Washington, D.C. and is noted for her "Cress Theory of Color Confrontation", which explores the practice of white supremacy. Dr. Wesling is the author of The Isis Papers; The Keys to the Colors. She is a lecturer and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows.
Read the rest of entry »

Palestine Today -- Dr. Khalud Bshara Talks about Preservations of Palestine's Historical Sites

Dr. Khaldun Bshara is co-director of Riwaq. Riwaq is an organization that harnesses the energy and skills of students, architects, archaeologists, and historians, to preserve historic buildings in Palestine.

In 1994, Riwaq took on the imposing work of the National Register of Historic Buildings: a 13-year project (1994-2007) resulting in the publication of 3 impressive volumes that include detailed information, maps and photos of some 420 villages in 16 districts of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

To learn more about Riwaq and there work, you can visit their website, here: http://www.riwaq.org/2010/about.php
Read the rest of entry »

President of Dillard University, Dr. Kimbrough, Talks About Dr. Dre's Gift to USC

On July 1, 2012, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough began his appointment as the seventh president of Dillard University.

Dr.Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college, including the creation of the Black Male Initiative at Philander Smith College that has been a model for similar programs. Kimbrough also has been noted for his active use of social media to engage students in articles by The Chronicle of Higher Education, CASE Currents, and Arkansas Life. He was cited in 2010 by Bachelorsdegree.com as one of 25 college presidents to follow on Twitter (@HipHopPrez).

Follow Dr. Kimbrough on his blog: http://hiphopprez.blogspot.com
Read the rest of entry »
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