Building anti-imperialist solidarity in the United States: The need for internationalism

“…the U.S. state was born in violence and maintains its existence through brute force and coercion inside the country and abroad.”
Global Research, October 25, 2016

Address delivered to the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS) U.S. Chapter Conference

Abayomi Azikiwe Speaks at the International League of Peoples Struggle US Chapter National Conference, Chicago Oct. 22, 2016 (Photo by Danielle Boachie)

There is a fundamental weakness in the peoples’ movement in the United States and that is the necessity for anti-imperialist internationalism.

The struggles against racism, national oppression and class exploitation cannot be separated from the need to end Washington’s and Wall Street’s interference in the internal affairs of most states throughout the world.

In order to win recognition in these monumental struggles it is heavily dependent upon the degree to which we can create widespread awareness of the plight of the people of color communities and the working class in general. There are efforts underway to achieve these objectives although much more work has to be done.

Racist State Violence

International consciousness in regard to the character of the U.S. state is growing immensely. This is in part due to the mass demonstrations and urban rebellions which have sprung up by and large spontaneously in response to the vigilante death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and the not-guilty verdict handed down in the trial of George Zimmerman. When Zimmerman’s acquittal was announced it did more to turn public opinion domestically and internationally against institutions which devalue African American life and democratic rights. It was during this period that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter began to trend. Since then there have been efforts to build BLM chapters across the U.S., spreading internationally into the United Kingdom and Latin America.

Later on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer. Immediately demonstrations erupted in Ferguson both nonviolent and violent. These manifestations spread nationally bringing attention to the false notion that America had become a so-called “post-racial society” in the period following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

Obama, who was forced to address the problems of the “special oppression” of African Americans after the unrest in Ferguson, the situation of African Americans gained international attention prompting editorials in leading periodicals both in the U.S. and internationally questioning this false assertion of post-racialism.

The administration responded in its signature dubious fashion leaning in favor of maintaining the status-quo of national oppression. Obama, of course, gave his view of what “African Americans feel” and in the next instance denounces violence saying it will not accomplish anything. This is a blatant falsehood because the U.S. state was born in violence and maintains its existence through brute force and coercion inside the country and abroad.

What these developments further exposed was the failure of the Obama administration to not only have refused to address the special oppression of African Americans but to also advance a policy of public avoidance in the face of worsening social conditions.

It was the African American masses and other oppressed groups who suffered the brunt of the economic crisis beginning in 2007. Detroit was one of the hardest hit urban areas and when Obama came into office in 2009, there was considerable “false hope” that these difficulties would attract the attention of the White House and the-then majority Democratic House and Senate (2008-2010).

Subsequent rebellions and waves of mass demonstrations in the streets, campuses, and now athletic fields, have stripped the administration of any pretense of political legitimacy. Colin Kapernick and others within professional, college and high school sports settings illustrated that no matter how they are classified as “privileged”, the specter of racist violence remains within their purview. No matter how “privileged” these people are the threats from the armed agents of the state remains with them at all times. Racism is on the increase in the U.S. and the refusal of the ruling class and the capitalist state to advance any reforms in this regard speaks volumes about the current phases of imperialism and its public posture.

The Crisis of U.S. Capitalism and Its Global Implications

The degree to which the capitalist class can claim any semblance of a “recovery” is related to the expansion of low-wage labor and the mega-profits of transnational corporations. This is reinforced by the systematic defunding of public education, municipal services and environmental safeguards.

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Nixon’s advisor Ehrlichman said White House enemies were “antiwar left and black people”; WH created fake “war on drugs” to demonize and destroy

Several articles below

From Natural Blaze

Former Nixon Aide Admits War On Drugs Was A Big Lie; Was Never About Drugs

March 23,
By Brandon Turbeville

In an interview conducted by Harper’s Dan Baum nearly 22 years ago, former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman admitted what many have known ever since the beginning – that the Nixon administrations’ War On Drugs was a giant lie.

To clarify, it was not Nixon’s police state that was a lie. That was very real. It was the justification used for the war, the fearmongering, and the panic-inducing hype produced by the White House that was a monumental obfuscation.

Ehrlichman doesn’t mince words when he discusses the War On Drugs and it is not inference suggesting that the justification given for the War on Drugs was a lie. In fact, Ehrlichman even states that the policy was in order to attack political rivals and alleged “threats” to the Nixon administration like “blacks and hippies.”

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” Ehrlichman said.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

As Tom LoBianco writes for CNN, “It’s a stark departure from Nixon’s public explanation for his first piece of legislation in the war on drugs, delivered in message to Congress in July 1969, which framed it as a response to an increase in heroin addiction and the rising use of marijuana and hallucinogens by students.”

Of course, the War On Drugs and the ensuing police and incarceration states that followed had a much larger purpose than merely helping Nixon fight back against potential political threats. Indeed, most drugs were already illegal by Nixon’s election.

Hiding and preventing the knowledge of positive effects of some substances, shredding Constitutional and human rights, creating a culture of incarceration, and implementing a gradual but eventually total police state were most certainly part of the plan as well, which history has demonstrated. For instance, Reagan and especially Clinton were under no threat from the populations mentioned by Ehrlichman but they nevertheless sent the drug war and the natural results of it listed above into overdrive.

Nevertheless, after setting the United States further down the path of totalitarianism, we at least appreciate Ehrlichman’s honesty even if it is decades later. Perhaps now, we can begin dismantling the drug war.

Photo credit: gmcmullen via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA, modified by editor

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Here’s the article where Dan Baum reveals this information.

from Harpers

April 2016 issue

Legalize It All
How to win the war on drugs

In 1994, John Ehrlichman, the Watergate co-conspirator, unlocked for me one of the great mysteries of modern American history: How did the United States entangle itself in a policy of drug prohibition that has yielded so much misery and so few good results? Americans have been criminalizing psychoactive substances since San Francisco’s anti-opium law of 1875, but it was Ehrlichman’s boss, Richard Nixon, who declared the first “war on drugs” and set the country on the wildly punitive and counterproductive path it still pursues. I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away.

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

I must have looked shocked. Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door.

Nixon’s invention of the war on drugs as a political tool was cynical, but every president since — Democrat and Republican alike — has found it equally useful for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the growing cost of the drug war is now impossible to ignore: billions of dollars wasted, bloodshed in Latin America and on the streets of our own cities, and millions of lives destroyed by draconian punishment that doesn’t end at the prison gate; one of every eight black men has been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction…

For the rest of the article, http://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/

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The interviewer didn’t publish this information, information that shocked him at the time, for 22 years. Instead, he forgot, and only discovered this in his notes when he was writing the Harper article.

From CNN on how this went missing for 22 years — see highlighted text below.

Report: Aide says Nixon’s war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies

By Tom LoBianco, CNN
March 24, 2016

Washington (CNN)One of Richard Nixon’s top advisers and a key figure in the Watergate scandal said the war on drugs was created as a political tool to fight blacks and hippies, according to a 22-year-old interview recently published in Harper’s Magazine.

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Ehrlichman’s comment is the first time the war on drugs has been plainly characterized as a political assault designed to help Nixon win, and keep, the White House.

It’s a stark departure from Nixon’s public explanation for his first piece of legislation in the war on drugs, delivered in message to Congress in July 1969, which framed it as a response to an increase in heroin addiction and the rising use of marijuana and hallucinogens by students.

However, Nixon’s political focus on white voters, the “Silent Majority,” is well-known. And Nixon’s derision for minorities in private is well-known from his White House recordings.

The comments come as there has been a marked shift in attitudes toward handling drug use — ranging from the legalization of marijuana in various states to White House candidates focusing heavily on treatment as an answer to New Hampshire’s heroin epidemic while they were campaigning across the state.

Ehrlichman died in 1999, but his five children in questioned the veracity of the account.

“We never saw or heard anything from our dad, John Ehrlichman, that was derogatory about any person of color,” wrote Peter Ehrlichman, Tom Ehrlichman, Jan Ehrlichman, Michael Ehrlichman and Jody E. Pineda in a statement provided to CNN.

“The 1994 alleged ‘quote’ we saw repeated in social media for the first time today does not square with what we know of our father. And collectively, that spans over 185 years of time with him,” the Ehrlichman family wrote. “We do not subscribe to the alleged racist point of view that this writer now implies 22 years following the so-called interview of John and 16 years following our father’s death, when dad can no longer respond. None of us have raised our kids that way, and that’s because we were not raised that way.”

Ehrlichman’s comments did not surface until now after Baum remembered them while going back through old notes for the Harper’s story. Baum said he had no reason to believe Ehrlichman was being dishonest and viewed them as “atonement” from a man long after his tumultuous run in the White House ended.

“I think Ehrlichman was waiting for someone to come and ask him. I think he felt bad about it. I think he had a lot to feel bad about, same with Egil Krogh, who was another Watergate guy.” Baum told CNN.

Baum interviewed Ehrlichman and others for his 1996 book “Smoke and Mirrors,” but said he left out the Ehrlichman comment from the book because it did not fit the narrative style focused on putting the readers in the middle of the backroom discussions themselves, without input from the author.

Baum equated Ehrlichman’s admission with traumatic war stories that often take decades for veterans to talk about and said it clearly took time for Ehrlichman and other Nixon aides he interviewed to candidly explain the war on drugs.

“These guys, they knew they’d done bad things and they were glad finally when it was no longer going to cost them anything to be able to talk about it, to atone for it.” Baum said. “Nobody goes in to public service, I don’t think, on either side of the political aisle, to be repressive, to be evil. They go in because they care about the country.”

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[1] This article (Former Nixon Aide Admits War On Drugs Was A Big Lie; Was Never About Drugs) can be republished under a Creative Commons license with  attribution to Brandon Turbeville and Natural Blaze.com.

Brandon Turbevillearticle archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies,Five Sense SolutionsandDispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 600 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

http://www.naturalblaze.com/2016/03/former-nixon-aide-admits-war-on-drugs-was-a-big-lie-was-never-about-drugs.html

[2] http://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/

Dan Baum is the author of four books, most recently Gun Guys (2013). His most recent article for Harper’s Magazine, “How to Make Your Own AR-15,” appeared in the June 2013 issue.

[3] http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules.