Thursday, September 29, 2005


And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you not be troubled. For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not. For nation shall rise against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, all these are the beginnings of sorrows.

The city of Benton Harbor is moving closer and closer to great strife, unrest and bloodshed. Although the residents of Benton Harbor are supposed to be of one nation, the division between the haves and the haves nots is getting wider and wider and that breach is being filled with hatred. And, our political beliefs are dividing us, fueling that hatred even more. Right and left, liberals, conservatives and all of the many causes that people have are showing signs of potential bloodshed. The people of Berrien County do not seem willing to argue their point and let truth prevail. But the frustration is leading to resolution of conflict by means of the gun. The weapons of war are being sold legally and illegally throughout the city of Benton Harbor in unprecedented numbers. The proliferation of assault weapons is mounting in Benton Harbor.

Civil unrest in the future will not be able to be handled by the police. The police will be supported by federal troops. When this day arrives, and it will, the breakdown of law and order will be so great in Benton Harbor that it will be as the prophecy, and it does not appear that it will be avoided or averted, though it could be.

Our youth are dying in unprecedented numbers and for the first time, death by the gun is nearly out numbering death by disease. Gang conflict is civil strife, when we of the same racial and historical orgin are pitted aginst each other. It is not black against white. It is the haves aginst the have-nots.

Benton Harbor, a city headed for civil war, is controlled by four families. All of the crime, drugs, corruption and the city jobs are within four families and friends you are protected by the Benton Harbor police department, supported by Cornerstone Alliance and Whirlpool.

Welcome to Berrien County: the police, the prosecutors, the politicians, the judges and the machinery of government are inexorably grinding away at the individual liberties guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.

The government agencies in Berrien County arrest without warrants, spy without legal authority, imprison without charges, kill without cause. Benton Harbor is a city headed for civil war. Judicial misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, ethics violations, civil rights violations and legal misconduct is Berrien County. Judges do not follow the law in Berrien County, they make up their own laws.

Did you know that since 1970, individual judges and the appellate court panels cited prosecutorial misconduct as a factor when dismissing charges at trial, reversing convictions or reducing sentencing of 4,017?


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Excellent book about white privilege & racism

Robert Jensen has just published a book that is well worth reading. Here is a short description with info at the end:

An honest look at U.S. racism, and the liberal platitudes that attempt to conceal it.

In "The Souls of Black Folk", W.E.B. DuBois wrote that the real question whites wanted to ask him, but were afraid to, was: "How does it feel to be a problem?" In "The Heart of Whiteness", Robert Jensen writes that it is time for white America to self-consciously reverse the direction of that question at the heart of color. It's time for white people to fully acknowledge that in the racial arena, they are the problem.

While some whites would like to think that we have reached "the end of racism" in the U.S., and others would like to celebrate diversity but remain oblivious to the political, economic, and social consequences of a nation founded on a system of white supremacy, Jensen proposes a different approach. He sets his sights not only on the racism that can't be hidden, but also on the liberal platitudes that sometimes conceal the depths of that racism in American "polite society."

This book offers an honest and rigorous exploration of what Jensen refers to as the depraved nature of whiteness in the United States. Mixing personal experience with data and theory, Jensen faces down the difficult realities of race, racism, and white privilege. He argues that any system that denies non-white people their full humanity also keeps white people from fully accessing their own.

This book is both a cautionary tale for those white people who believe that they have transcended racism, and also an expression of the hope for genuine transcendence.

"Very few white writers have been able to point out the pathological nature of white privilege and supremacy with the eloquence of Robert Jensen. "In The Heart of Whiteness", Jensen demonstrates not only immense wisdom on the issue of race, but does so in the kind of direct and accessible fashion that separates him from virtually any other academic scholar, or journalist, writing on these subjects today.

"With radical honesty, hard facts, and an abundance of insight and compassion, Robert Jensen lays out strategies for recognizing and dismantling white privilege and helping others to do the same. This text is more than just important; it's useful. Jensen demonstrates again that he is a leading voice in the American quest for justice." -Adam Mansbach, author of Angry Black White Boy, or The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay

The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege
by Robert Jensen
Available September 2005, City Lights Books
ISBN 0-87286-449-9
Paperback, 124 pp

Friday, September 09, 2005


To say there need to be fewer poor people. The motive is political as well as economic. Although the wealthy whites, mostly untouched by Katrina and living comfortably uptown, cultivate and encourage the black mayor, Ray Nagin, and black business leaders, they now charge them with preventing large numbers of blacks from returning to the city in order to eliminate the African-American voting majority power which is overwhelmingly Democratic. New Orleans business representatives will be meeting with Mayor Nagin in Dallas to begin mapping out a future for the city, the Star Journal reports.

MR. ASHTON O'DWYER, WHITE NEW ORLEANS POWER PLAYER, ENJOYS HIGHBALLS WITH ICE. On a sultry morning earlier this week, Ashton stepped out of his home on the city`s grandest street and made a beeline to his neighbor`s pool. Wearing nothing but a pair of blue swim shorts and carrying two jugs, he drew enough water from the swimming pool to flush the toilet at home.

The mostly African-American neighborhoods of New Orleans are underwater, and the people who lived there have scattered across the country. But in many of the predominatly white and more affluent areas the streets are dry and passable. Gracious homes are mostly intact and powered by generators. Yesterday officials reiterated that all residents must leave New Orleans, but it`s still unclear how far they will go to enforce this order. The green expanse of Audubon Park in the city's uptown area has doubled in recent days as a heliport for the city`s rich--and a terminus for the small armies of private security guards who have been dispatched to keep the homes there safe and habitable.

Mr O`DWYER has cellphone service, and ice cubes to cool off his highballs in the evening. By yesterday the city service sprang to life, making the daily trips to his neighbor`s pool unnecessary. A pair of oil-company engineers, dispathed by his son-in law, delivered four cases of water, a box of delicacies including mustard sauce and 15 gallons of generator gasoline. Despite the disaster that has overwhelmed New Orleans, the city white elite is hanging on and maneuvering to play a key role in the recovery when the flood waters of Katrina are gone. New Orleans is ready to be rebuilt. Let`s start right here says Mr O`DWYER standing in his expensive kitchen next to a counter covered with a jumble of weapons and electric wires.

More than a few people in uptown, the fashionable district surrurounding St. Charles Ave., have ancestors who arrived here in the 1700s. High society is dominated by these old-line families, represented today by prominent figures such as former New Orleans board of trade President Thomas Westfeldt, Richard Freeman, cion of the family that long owned the city`s Coca-Cola bottling plant, and William Boatner Reily, owner of a Louisiana coffee company. Their social pecking order is dictated by the mysterious hierarchy of krewes, groups with hereditary membership that participate in the annual carnival leading up to the Mardi Gras. In the recent years, the city's most powerful business circles have expanded to include some newcomers and non-whites, such as the Mayor Ray Nagin, the former Cox Communiciations executive, who was elected Mayor in 2002.

The power elite of New Orleans has moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla. They promise that the remade city will not be restored to the old order where African-Americans had power and leadership positions.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Support Rev. Pinkney Tuesday, Sep. 6

As one middle aged woman said at the last Benton Harbor Community Forum, "We can't allow them to lay their hands on Rev. Pinkney. He's the only person in my lifetime who has stood up for the people of Benton Harbor against racial profiling and police brutality."


Let's show that Michigan activists care about civil rights in Benton Harbor. If you can, bring a clip board with the name of your organization in large print on the back, and take notes during the hearing. This is Rev. Pinkney's last chance for a fair trial - a hearing to disqualify all Berrien County prosecutors.

9am, Sept. 6
Berrien County Courthouse
811 Port St.
St. Joseph, MI
I-94, exit 33

(At this time Pinkney is in the New Orleans area. He drove 3 others from Benton Harbor down to aid the rescue effort. Of course he'll return for the hearing on Tuesday.)

Definitions of violence: from New Orleans to Benton Harbor

The following is from an email written by activist Wendy Murphy. I think it applies to Benton Harbor as much as to Louisiana. So many in our society are blind to structural violence and cultural violence, then wonder where direct violence comes from. Seen in historical context, "riots" and "looting" take on a meaning very different from the media spin. Also see the very relevant article linked below.

Subject: More on "Looting"--and some definitions of violence

In conflict studies there are three types of violence. The first is the obvious, direct violence. The second is called structural violence, when systems exist or are put into place that case harm to people in the short run and/or the long run--such as turning off water to make hurricane victims who have absolutely now way to escape, leave. Robbing the poor to give the rich tax breaks is another type of structural violence, for the levee might break on hundreds of thousands of poor, old, disabled, and black people. This type of violence is quite hidden for most people have difficulty putting words to it or don't see the connections however, indeed, it often leads to direct violence--such as the anarchy we've witnessed these past few days with starving people acting out of desperation. Then there is the third type of violence, cultural violence. This is when other people ignore or accept when bad things happen to victims of direct or structural violence, because the victims are not perceived as valuable people, or are even hated. It's just a personal feeling, but these are the worst perpetrators of violence out there.

What happened to, and was done to, Louisiana, and the following article, is a classic example of the workings of the three types of violence. With this, I hope you will see how even the "looters", each and every one of them, are victims, and were set up to be before the hurricane even hit.


The Perfect Storm: The Death of the Common Good in the Non-Abstract
by Chris Floyd
September 1, 2005
First Published in: Empire Burlesque

But as culpable, criminal and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed. For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good, seeking to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units" whose political energies -- kept deliberately under-informed by the ubiquitous corporate media -- can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line.

Read more: