I am a freelance writer, having worked for newspapers, magazines and blogs for over twenty-five years, covering neighborhood and working people making their communities and their lives better. I believe in the power of the written word to bring about change, and I put that into practice. I believe that when we become aware of the effect our small actions in the community have in improving lives, we can truly make a difference.
I am also one of the leading poets in the Philadelphia area, and I also write fiction. I also act, performing on the public access channel PhillyCAM.
This is an anthology of the writings of the Black Panther Party, one of the most militant and confrontational movements in US history. The BPP was organized by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, two students at Merritt Junior College in Oakland, California. In October 1966, they studied Marxist writings; Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth; and the works of Malcom X, in order to deal with the problems working-class Black people faced in the cities of America, primarily police abuse of residents.
Newton and Seale drew up the party’s Ten Point Platform and Ten Point Program, outlining the issues that Black people confronted: employment, housing, education, community control over police, along with the exemption of Black men from the military draft, release of all Black men from incarceration, and an UN-supervised plebiscite, wherein “black colonial subjects” would express their will.
Dealing with the problem of police abuse in Black communities, Newton, with the title of Minister of Defense, and Seal, Chairman of the BPP, protested the deaths of Black men, and monitored police patrols in Black neighborhoods, with weapons and law books to ensure Black residents knew their rights; the Panthers compared police forces to an enemy occupying army, like US forces in Viet Nam. The BPP compared the condition of Black people in the United States to the non-white people around the world-in Latin America, Asia, and Africa-struggling against colonial occupation.
The BPP advocated armed self-defense; to protest a gun-control bill in the California legislature, in May 1967, Seale led a troop of Panthers, armed, into the Assembly chamber, issuing a statement against laws that would leave Black residents, “disarmed and powerless” against police abuse and terror.
Along with self-defense, the Panthers organized free breakfast programs for school kids, where the Panthers gave lessons in Black history; other programs included clothing distributions, free clinics, classes on Black history and politics, transportation for families of prison inmates, drug and alcohol rehab programs, and tests for sickle-cell anemia.
The law enforcement agencies of the nation, including the FBI, sought to bring down the BPP, through direct assaults and, through the FBI’s COINTEL program, undermining the organization, trying to instigate divisions with the party. IN police raids, several BPP figures were killed, such as Fred Hampton and Bobby Hutton.
The issues the Black Panther Party dealt with-police community relations, poverty, unemployment, health care, foreign adventurism, repression of dissidents-continue with us today. The Panthers raised issues of self-defense of marginalized communities who can’t trust the police and see them as part of the problem; with the rise of rightist militias raiding statehouses and treated leniently by police, it’s just like the Klan in the ‘Sixties being treated like patriotic Americans expressing their grievances. (There remains a bias, possibly cultural, to be mild with right-wing extremists, but come down hard on left-wing militants.) Today, as with the Panthers in the ‘sixties, there are organizations on the left training with firearms.
The Panthers, with their free breakfasts and health clinics, were an example of Mutual Aid programs instituted by local communities by neighborhood activists who saw a need for their communities and filled them-much like the mutual-aid work, like food distributions and checking on neighbors, that have been present during the COVID-19 crisis, with people looking out for each other since our own government has failed to do so. These are things for us to consider as we work to heal our nation.
I continue to carry out the old tradition of new year’s Resolutions, like i also do for Rosh haShona, Pesach, and my birthday, and as I’m always in the process of moving my life forward. Here are my resolutions for 2021:
I will continue to conduct myself with self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect, judging myself positively, and letting go of the past.
I will continue to be dedicated to Judaism and all things Jewish.
I will continue to cultivate the art and business of writing, entering contests; attending readings, classes, seminars, and conferences; and submitting my works and my proposals.
I will continue to try other forms of expression, such as podcasts, acting, photography, blogs, YouTube, etc.
I will continue my educations, with such venues as classwork, museums, galleries, seminars, etc.
I will continue my social and political activism. I will continue my spiritual practices-mediation, yoga, Torah study, affirmations, prayer, journaling, etc.
I will work on taking care of my health, with diet and moderate exercise.
This shows what and who he values-his self-interest and aggrandizement, his lack of compassion, his lost of sense of reality, and his racism. Let’s not allow his one burst of good sense blot out the memory of his crimes while occupying the Presidency.
Whitewashing Gloria Casarez mural is a violent act against Philly’s LGBTQ community | Opinion by David Acosta for the Philadelphia Inquirer On Wednesday, Midwood Properties, a New York-based real estate developer who bought the property which used to house the 12th Street Gym, whitewashed the Gloria Cazares mural before demolition was set to start to make way […]
Yesterday, trump said he would veto the COVID relief package, which Congress approved after months of political gameplaying, and months of people dying of the pandemic, losing their jobs and incomes, and facing food shortages and eviction from their homes. His reason is, he wants to raise the amount of the stimulus payments, from $600 to $2000. Nancy Pelosi said, to the effect of, “Great, let’s go for it!” I wouldn’t turn it down IF it was true; I would like some Socialism for working and low-income people, rather than Socialism for corporations, welfare for the wealthy.
Of course, you can’t trump trump in anything he says or does; he is the same sorry-ass excuse of a “president” who did and said nothing as Russia cyber-raided government agencies; who took money from cyber-security programs and support for military families to pay for his silly-ass wall against Mexico; who verbally encouraged the most violent and vicious elements of the neo-Nazi and racist right, calling them “very fine people” and telling the Proud Boys goons, “Stand back and stand by;” who used his political campaign as a personal source of income, during and after the election; who tried to bully the Ukrainian government, while they needed support for their fight against Russian aggression, demanding slanderous material about Joe Biden’s son; who referred to fallen military personnel as “suckers and “losers; and who denied the existence of the coronavirus, first calling it a “hoax”, then saying it would just go away in the spring, while millions became sick from it, and over 300,000 Americans-some’s loved ones-died from it-that’s just scratching the surface.
And, now, all of a sudden, he gets generous with our money. Of course, the original $600 was a paltry amount, and I could do with my own $2000, which would go to pay for goods from local businesses, which have been hammered by the pandemic; and it’s great to see Mitch McConnell, trying to remain the boss of the Senate, and deep in the pockets of Russian oligarchs like trump, squirm as he tries to adjust to this situation. But remember that trump remains the thieving, lying, immoral, bullying moron and thug he always has been, being bred for that by his similarly racist and avaricious father.
I say take the $2000, and use it to bring down trump, McConnell, and the rest of the Republican crime syndicate, and to raise up our communities.
Unfortunately, there have been snafus in the distribution of the vaccine, with some states getting fewer than they were told they would get. (https://www.alternet.org/2020/12/vaccine-2649560534/) I hope those errors will be cleared up SOON, so that people can get their vaccines and we can begin to end this nightmare the nation has gone through-due to the incompetence of out alleged “president,” and his crew of racists and thieves. Let us call out Congress-members and Senators to demand that the vaccines be distributed fairly and safely to all jurisdictions.
More great news-the Electoral College votes have officially been counted, confirming Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. (https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-270-electoral-college-vote-d429ef97af2bf574d16463384dc7cc1e) I do worry about what influences he will have, due to the long-standing pro-corporate and anti-worker tendency the Democratic party has taken under Bill Clinton, and which has continued (with all due respect) under Barrack Obama. Our work is not finished; we have to push Biden and all the other Democratic officials towards a pro-worker, pro-low-income policy, benefiting working Americans.
But alas, there are still those who refuse to accept the reality of t—p’s defeat, particularly the racist-fascist elements that has lingered on the edges of politics and the internet, now emboldened to terrorize those they hate.
Bill Pascrell, Congressman from New Jersey, is pushing a bill to prevent those 120 republican Congress-members from being sworn in the next session. This is based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution-the same Constitution those Congress-members and Paxton swore to uphold- passed after the Civil War, to prevent former Confederate officeholders, who were previously members of Congress, from entering the Congress again, after they tried to fight against the United States government and secede from the Union, to defend their precious system of chattel slavery. (https://www.rawstory.com/2020/12/democrat-wants-to-use-civil-war-law-about-traitors-to-ban-126-republicans-from-being-seated-in-congress/) The section reads:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” To Republicans and conservatives, patriotism is relative; they’re loyal to the country if it suits their purposes, and bolsters their power and privilege. IF the lower orders, the people they oppressed previously, attain some control of the country, they will abandon the government, since it no longer serves them.
Biden, with all due respect, shouldn’t bother to try to “meet half way” or “reach across the aisle” to these people. They will perpetuate the “stolen election” fable, pretending that he really isn’t President, as part of their habit of treating anyone other than a conservative or a Republican as aa pretender to the throne. After decades of racially-motivated rhetoric about “welfare queens” and “law and order”; after the Citizens United decision from the supreme Court, ending limits on campaign contributions from corporations, thereby corrupting both parties; after a media system, including Fox News and Rush Limbaugh passing off misinformation as news, with Newsmax and OANN joining the team; after big-money donors paying millions to deny the science behind fossil-fuel based pollution; after people, under the guise of religion, fight for the right to discriminate against racial and sexual minorities- how can we reason with tem?
The old liberal idea of “all classes and factions coming together for the good of the nation” has died; conservatives look at compromise and discussion as signs of weakness. We must go to the streets, to the grassroots, to our neighborhoods, to fight for the change we need in this country. That is what has created change for the better and not back-room dealing.
These lunatic elements are the people t—p is listening to, in his fear of losing the Presidency and the immunity from prosecution that’s supposed t go with it. (But is that “immunity” rooted in law, or is it just “custom?”) One of these is Mike Flynn, former Army general and former National Security Advisor, convicted of lying about his Russia connections, and pardoned by t—p, posted on Twitter a message from the We The People Coalition, a far-right group in Ohio, calling of t—p to declare “limited” martial law, and the military supervise a new election, one skewed towards older white voters, or else the group would “take matters into our own hands and defend our rights on our own.” (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/michael-flynn-martial-law-new-election_n_5fc7d3e6c5b6f3fe59724a45) This is a call for the overthrow of the government, also called sedition; but I’m afraid Flynn would get the kid gloves and light sentence that extremists on the right always get when they threaten violence, like the Proud Boys and the terrorists who have threatened to kill election officials for the “crime” of accurately counting the votes of the American people.
This is the fight on our hands; as I said, we must continue to hold ALL of our elected officials accountable, from President on down. We must be conscious of the forces arrayed against us that would take away our freedom to preserve their privilege, and of our power, and the history of protest in this country. We can do it, because we’ve been able to do it so far.
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Enjoy your holidays! America will be free!
So, at long last, the CONgress of the United states has finally agreed upon a relief package for dealing with the coronavirus crisis that has plagued our nation, and shown us the king of ignorant, feckless people we have running our government. They finally agreed upon continuation of an extra $300 in unemployment benefits, $600 in direct payments, and support for small businesses, small businesses, farmers, the Postal Service, schools and colleges, and broadband access, plus $70 billion for Coronavirus relief. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-stimulus-relief-bill_n_5fe0c8b4c5b6a7df6666a7ff)
It did NOT have to be like this. Our alleged “president” refused to take seriously the danger of the COVID-19, and talked about it like it was just the regular flu, but it has killed over 300,00 Americans; he has encouraged the most ridiculous stories around it, and has refused to aid states as they fought to control it, while ICUs filled to over capacity. He has bolstered the most crackpot elements lurking the internet as they featured phony treatments for the virus. And now, our nation has become a pathetic mess.
And the political gameplaying in Washington, with Mitch McConnell refusing to allow the bill to the Senate to vote on (like he OWNS the Senate!) because it doesn’t have liability protections for corporations from lawsuits if their employees catch the COVID, along with more tax breaks for his precious corporate paymasters.
Again, it didn’t have to go down like this. We deserve better, as citizens and as human beings. Fortunately, we got together and elected a new President, not at all perfect, for a decent human being who will take seriously the damage the virus has done to us, and will pay attention to the science around it. Let us hold all of our elected officials accountable in how they deal with the COVID an our other maladies. We deserve it.
I make it a point to do as much of my shopping as possible in small businesses-buying my hardware in the local hardware store instead of Home Depot, getting my computer fixed at my local computer guy, my coffee from the local diner instead of a fast-food chain, and of course getting a beer at my favorite neighborhood bar. The large chains are multi-billion dollar conglomerates, not connected to their communities, like the small shops are.
They’re definitely not attaining any of the federal funds that certain members of Congress, all too beholden to corporate interests hankering for more welfare for the wealthy. It’s a known fact that corporate lobbyists sit down with their pet congress-members to draft laws favoring billionaire interests; this is how billions of dollars are shifted to foreign bank accounts to avoid paying taxes, leaving workers a nd small entrepreneurs powerless.
Even in the midst of the COVID pandemic, with over 15 million Americans sick, 260,000-plus people dying, medical workers worked to exhaustion, workers unemployed since their worksites are COVID hotspots, and small businesses struggling and possibly closing permanently, members of the Senate are demanding that the tax breaks for corporations continue (like the 100% tax write-off for business meals) and that corporations not be liable for COVID-related illnesses at their worksites. (I’m pointing the finger at YOU, Mitch McConnell!)
No more of this! It’s literally a matter of life and death, for humans and small businesses, and their communities. Please call you federal elected representatives to let them know that people are suffering and need relief NOW, and let’s take our government back.