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Strike Wave USA

January 13, 2022
The TESA Collective

In 2021 workers appear to have had enough.

Amid constant claims from some industries of labor shortages as the economy recovers from Covid-19 shutdowns, workers have been pushing employers and elected officials to raise wages, improve working conditions and benefits such as paid sick leave through walkouts, protests, rallies and strikes.

The last few months of 2021 saw workers quit at record or near record rates, while an uptick of strikes occurred around the US in October and November 2021.

“I’ve been traveling a lot to picket lines all over the country in the last couple of months, been in so many different states and across all industries. But the one thing that’s been really consistent is the sentiment of the working people who are out there taking the risks is that they are absolutely fed up,” said Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the main union federation in the US.

Thousands of workers went on strike in 2021 at Frito-LayNabiscoKellogg’sJohn DeereVolvoFrontier CommunicationsNew York University,Columbia UniversityHarvardcarpenters in the Pacific north-west, hospitals, airports and at coalmines in Alabama, while workers at several fast-food and retail chains including McDonald’sWalmartWendy’sBurger KingBojanglesJack in the Box and Family Dollar, held walkouts or short-term strikes.

Shuler believes that the hardships of the pandemic – when so much focus was put on the sacrifices of workers in often manual jobs that were deemed essential – has sparked a reawakening of labor politics in America, especially as some companies have tried to go back to business as usual.

Shuler added: “When I was walking the line with those Nabisco workers, and Kellogg’s workers, I kept thinking about all of them in the plant, making Oreos and the Ritz crackers, while the rest of us were inside consuming those. Those are the folks that really made the sacrifices and the whole time, they were told that they were essential. Then they go to the bargaining table, and they’re basically disposable because the companies continued to profit through the pandemic and then say, ‘Thanks, but we’re not going to compensate you, we’re not going to protect you, we’re not going to value and reward you for making those sacrifices.’”

One of the year’s most important strikes is playing out in the deep south where about 1,100 coalminers at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama have been on strike since 1 April, as workers fight for better wages after accepting concessions in their previous union contract.

“The past eight months have been some of the hardest times of our lives. I don’t think any of us imagined the strike would be going into its ninth month with no end in sight, but I’m proud of our resolve,” said James Traweek, a miner who has worked for four years at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama.

Other strikes have broken records.

At the Tenet Healthcare-owned St Vincent hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, about 700 nurses have been on strike since 8 March over understaffing and cuts at the hospital before and during the pandemic, the longest strike in Massachusetts’ history.

Tenet Healthcare has sought to permanently replace nurses on strike as the hospital faces fines from the state for closing down inpatient behavioral health beds due to the strike. An agreement fell through in August over Tenet Healthcare’s return to work agreement that would have prevented some nurses from returning to their previous positions.

“Saint Vincent hospital nurses’ fight has now become all of labor’s fight,” said Marlena. “It’s a big red flag for all of labor and all of humanity that if you stand up for what you believe in on principle and stand up for patients and you stand up for one another as workers, Tenet Healthcare’s strategy is that you can be replaced and will be punished for that. That’s very dangerous, this strategy trying to diminish our union rights instead of coming to a settlement, trying to intimidate nurses to cross a picket line.”

On 18 December, a tentative agreement was reached after the US secretary of labor, Marty Walsh, served as mediator in the final negotiating session, which will end the strike if approved by the nurses.

The Labor Action tracker at Cornell University Institute of Labor Relations documented 346 strike locations in 2021 as of 10 December. Johnnie Kallas, the project director , attributed an uptick in strikes in October and November to increased leverage of workers in a labor market where workers are in high demand and burnout of workers who have continued working through the pandemic.

“Labor market conditions can provide workers with more leverage, but strikes don’t just automatically happen. They often require deep organizing and always require incredible sacrifice,” said Kallas.

Unionization rates in the US have declined over the past few decades, but several union organizing efforts were launched in 2021 in response to pandemic working conditions, while labor leaders and unions continue pushing for labor law reforms to rein in anti-union employers and facilitate US workers’ ability to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining.

According to unionelections.org, 890 union elections in the private sector were held in the US in 2021 as of 11 December, with 573 resulting in a new union certification. Union election rates and union density in the US have been in a downward decline over the past several decades, though approval of labor unions in the US is at 68% according to a September Gallup poll.

“If we see any changes, it will be next year. Between the tight labor market and the high profile coverage of the strikes and recent elections, Starbucks for example, I’d expect to see some increase,” said Kevin Reuning, assistant professor of Political Science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, who manages the unionelections.org website.

Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, attempted to form the first union at the retail giant in the spring and though the union lost the election, the National Labor Relations Board has ordered a new election to be held due to Amazon’s anti-union misconduct. At the same time New York’s attorney general is pressuring Amazon to reinstate a fired employee and improve safety protections amid a union organizing drive led by the terminated employee, Chris Smalls, in Staten Island.

Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York, also won a historic union election on 9 December, forming the first union at a Starbucks corporate store in the US. A second branch is likely to have won their union election after challenged ballots are resolved and three more stores are set to hold union elections in Buffalo, New York, and another in Arizona. With the union victory spurring optimism, it could lead to more stores requesting to unionize.

“It was a major victory,” said Brian Murray, a Starbucks barista in the Buffalo area and one of the organizers with Starbucks Workers United. “I think our real fight will be now getting a first contract and hopefully having them recognize the right to organize, but with these wins I’m sure we’ll see more workers organizing nationwide in the near future.”

Barr Lake on a cold winter day… Today (January 9, 2022)

January 9, 2022

House sparrows, waiting for their turn at a birdfeeder. Barr Lake State Park, January 9, 2022

His name was Brian, tall, lean, walking with good posture, some gray in his hair but not much. His binoculars pretty much gave him away as “a birder” (ie, someone who enjoys watching birds). And that he was. At some point we stopped to talk. Immediately I knew that he knew what he was talking about and not just about birds. He could identify them by their sounds (which I cannot) and he had an eye for them. Mine isn’t bad actually, but his is better.

I had seen a hawk fly by over the lake (Barr Lake) but all I knew was that it wasn’t a red tail. He was pretty sure it was a “rough-legged” described in great detail. I was unfamiliar with that species. As we were talking a bevy of American goldfinches, a dozen or so, flew to a nearby bush and began pecking at the seeds. “It’s an invasive plant” Brian commented, “and the birds will spread its seeds far and wide. Then he showed me a goldfinch nest and spent a good ten minutes explaining to me how delicate, fragile it was, yet strong.

We continued to talk.

I had pointed out Long’s Peak to Nancy. The family farm in Lyons was located just below it. Looking up and seeing that mountain often when visiting “Stone Bridge Farm” as it was and is still called always nearly took my breath away and… it reminded me of our wedding reception which was held in a cow pasture with Long’s Peak towering above us.

Had I even climbed it, he asked. No, not me, I’m afraid of heights but I did poke around the base several times before it got too steep for me.

Brian had, but when he got to the summit there was a group of people with cell phones taking “selfies” and talking on the phone to friends far and wide. It ruined the atmosphere for him. Even on the top of Longs Peak people cannot get away from their cellphones, technology. Then he went on to tell me what the summits were like on a number of other Colorado “14-ers” (that is to say Rocky Mountains more than 14000 ft in altitude). I told him Nancy’s brother David had climbed Longs’ and if I remember correctly several other “14-ers”.

It turned out that Brian is a retired wildlife biologist, retired from 25 years with the Denver Zoo where he specialized in caring for the reptile collection, his specialty – the world and behavior of rattlesnakes. He asked how it was that I was interested in birds. I told him that after I retired I was looking for a hobby – or an interest perhaps is more accurate – where I might learn about something I knew nothing about and birds came to mind, how yes, I try to learn about their behavior, to identify them but I was not interested in becoming some kind of expert, only to enjoy them, connect to another group of living things with which I share the planet and that my interest in them was probably a result of having taught Evolution for 35  or more years, with birds being one of the prime examples of easily identifiable speciation, etc.

We didn’t share phone numbers or other contact information nor did I get his last name but as he walked off he said “Do you come here often? Maybe we’ll meet again.” “I hope so,” I answered… and I do.

I very much enjoy being around people like Brian, whose connection to Nature is literally part and parcel of their being, who know it like, frankly I never will, but who like to, in a selfless and generous fashion, share their understanding with a city boy like myself but do so without the arrogance and competitiveness I often run into. Others like Brian at Barr Lake ..

Because of a bum knee, I haven’t been out walking, hiking in the hills or on the plains of Colorado. It was cold today. The car thermometer read 28 degrees when we pulled into Barr Lake State Park and there was a good deal of ice and snow on the paths, making walking, even for those with no knee problem, problematic. The key to the weather though was that the wind was down and that made the cold more tolerable. After a while I hardly notice it.

A fine afternoon.

Guest Blogger, Bhadrakumar Melkulangara. US playing spoiler to China in Horn of Africa

January 7, 2022

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with Chinese President Xi Jinping, April, 2019. photo credit: CGTN

(Yes, while other factors are at play, from what I can tell/glean the main reason for what appears to be the 180 degree shift in US policy towards Ethiopia has to do with China and extending the BRI to Africa through, among other countries, Ethiopia. It, countering Chinese influence continent wide, is also I would guess, be the main reason for the establishment of AFRICOM just at the time when Chinese-African relations began to grow exponentially. His take on the TPLF also, is, quite accurate. Nothing more than a convenient tool for U.S. policy in the Horn so that Washington can claim “plausible deniability” for a political plan thought up and hatched in the USA capitol. RJP)

This article first appeared at Asia Times. 

If there is mayhem in Ethiopia, China’s Belt and Road in the Horn of Africa could be slowed or even derailed

MK Bhadrakumar

Chinese foreign ministers have traditionally marked the new year by visiting the African continent. Wang Yi’s 2022 African tour begins with Eritrea against the backdrop of the US strategy in the Horn of Africa to gain control of the strategically vital Red Sea that connects the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal.

Eritrea and China are close friends. China was a supporter of the Eritrean liberation movement since the 1970s. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, the veteran revolutionary who led the independence movement, received military training in China.

More recently, Eritrea was one of the 54 countries backing Beijing’s Hong Kong policy (against 39 voicing concern in a rival Western bloc) at the UN General Assembly in October 2020.

Last November, Eritrea signed a memorandum of understanding with China to join the Belt and Road Initiative. Neighboring Djibouti is already a major participant in the BRI. So is Sudan along the Red Sea coastline.

Central to regional cohesion in the Horn of Africa is the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has been a conflict-ridden, troubled relationship, but China, which also has close ties with Ethiopia, is well placed to mediate reconciliation.

One common view is that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pulled off a stunning victory in the conflict with the US-backed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) with the help of armed drones supplied by the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iran.

But civil wars are won on the ground. And the politico-military axis between Ethiopia and Eritrea to take on the TPLF proved to be the decisive factor. China encouraged the rapprochement between Addis Ababa and Asmara.

In effect, the two leaderships understood that they have a congruence of interests in thwarting the TPLF, which is an American proxy to destabilize their countries and trigger regime changes.

Washington is mighty displeased that China’s influence in Djibouti is on the rise and resents that the Marxist Eritrean regime of Isaias Afwerki keeps the US at arm’s length.

The Horn of Africa is of great strategic importance, and Ethiopia sits at its heart. Destabilize Ethiopia and impact the whole region; install a dictatorial expansionist ethnocentric regime (TPLF); sow division and poison the atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation that is being built within the region – this is the neocolonial agenda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, speaking at Abiy Ahmed’s inauguration as prime minister of Ethiopia, said: “Ethiopia is the Mother of African independence … for all of us on the continent, Ethiopia is our Mother … As we know, if the Mother is not at peace, the family cannot be at peace.”

The US is going for the jugular of the Mother of post-colonial Africa. An analogy would be destabilizing India to gain control of the South Asian region.

The widespread revulsion among Africans all over the continent is palpable over the US using its TPLF proxy to destabilize Ethiopia. Their collective cry is “No more” – no more colonialism, no more sanctions, no more disinformation, no more lies by CNN, BBC, etc. The cry resonates widely among the Ethiopians, Eritreans, Sudanese, Somalis, Kenyans and friends of Ethiopia.

The paradox is, Ethiopia now has a democratically elected government after decades of thuggery under the TPLF that ruled with an iron fist for more than 30 years with US backing. The Tigray people actually add up to only 5% of Ethiopia’s population, but such details were irrelevant to Washington so long as the government in Addis Ababa obeyed its diktat.

There is also a religious subtext. The Tigray people are Christians whereas the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia is the Oromo, native to the region of Ethiopia and Kenya. They are a Cushitic people who have inhabited East and Northeast Africa since at least the early 1st millennium.

The Oromo people have a glorious history of resistance to forced religious conversion, primarily by European explorers and Catholic missionaries.

Broadly, the resistance ideology is embedded in the Oromo collective memory. Abiy Ahmed is the first ethnic Oromo to become prime minister. Winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, Abiy is an extraordinary politician, farsighted and deeply committed to his country’s pluralist national identity.

In geopolitical terms, Washington would see many advantages in the destabilization of Ethiopia as it would trigger a multi-vector regional conflagration, as happens when multi-ethnic nations unravel – such as the former Yugoslavia or today’s India or Russia.

And neighboring countries would be inevitably sucked into ethnic wars such as Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya – and even Egypt and Persian Gulf states.

The fact that the UAE, Turkey and Iran – improbable allies – are supporting Abiy’s desperate effort to preserve Ethiopia’s sovereignty and national cohesion and helped boost his military campaign to ward off another attempt by the US-backed TPLF to capture power speaks volumes.

In this matrix, while the US aims to dominate the hugely strategic Horn of Africa, “Plan B” will be to be the spoiler by throwing the region into turmoil so that China is also a loser. The point is, the Western world has no answer to China’s BRI.

China and Ethiopia have a strong political affinity and deep economic bonds, and Ethiopia is one of China’s top five investment destinations on the African continent. Beyond investment, relations extend to trade, infrastructure finance and other areas. Economic engagement with China has provided Ethiopia with many opportunities.

Curiously, even prior to the advent of the BRI, China was already a major financier of Ethiopia’s infrastructure. Chinese investment in the manufacturing sector – incidentally, one of the Abiy government’s focus areas currently – has contributed to the country’s economic transformation and diversification and to job creation.

A recent report by well-known London-based global think-tank the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) titled “The Belt and Road and Chinese Enterprises in Ethiopia” estimates that China’s BRI “has the potential to open up new development pathways through infrastructure development, stimulating investment and job creation and promoting economic transformation … BRI can be an engine for growth and development. However, this is not a given …”

The ODI report, dated August 2021, concludes: “Chinese investors are concerned regarding economic and political uncertainty in Ethiopia. Political uncertainty has to do with domestic conflict and political instability, which may affect not only investors’ profitability, but also their personal safety and the safety of their assets.

“The economic challenges relate to high production and transport costs and the difficulties of accessing foreign exchange, which is a problem for virtually all Chinese businesses in the country. The challenges identified by Chinese investors could pose a threat to the sustained development of China-Ethiopia economic cooperation.”

Simply put, if there is mayhem in Ethiopia, the locomotive of China’s BRI in the vast regions of the Horn of Africa and East Africa can potentially be slowed down, if not derailed. That is the least the US can do, faced with the grim prospect that it has no alternative offer to make to the African nations to counter the BRI.

If the BRI locomotive chugs along unimpeded, the entire Western neocolonial project in Africa in the 21st century is threatened with extinction.

The existential angst shows in the Joe Biden administration’s announcement on New Year’s Eve terminating Ethiopia’s access to the US duty-free trade program under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) “amid the widening conflict in northern Ethiopia.”

President Biden had threatened in November already that Ethiopia would be cut off from the AGOA because of alleged human rights violations in the Tigray region. Biden spoke up in sheer despair in anticipation of Wang Yi’s working visit to Ethiopia on December 1.

This article was produced in partnership by Indian Punchline and Globetrotterwhich provided it to Asia Times.

M K Bhadrakumar is a former Indian diplomat.

How Will Unipolarists (US and NATO) Respond to Putin’s Red Line? An Expert Round Table Discussion

January 3, 2022

Khrushchev and Kennedy at the Vienna Summit in June 1961. On October 22,1963, exactly one month prior to being assassinated in Dallas, Kennedy suggested “a joint Russian and American space shot to the moon within a decade.” Source: wikipedia.org

Covert Action Magazine

How Will Unipolarists Respond to Putin’s Red Line? An Expert Round Table Discussion

By Matthew Ehret – January 1, 2022

____________________________________________________________

With tensions rising to fever pitches in Ukraine, and in the wake of Putin’s announced red lines regarding a mad frenzy for the absorption of Ukraine into NATO, Dr. Edward Lozansky, President of the American University in Moscow, arranged a roundtable discussion bringing together eight experts to provide their thoughts on the causes, trajectory and solutions to the current geopolitical disorder.

Participants included Martin Sieff (Senior Fellow American University in Moscow), Glenn Diesen (Professor at University of South-Eastern Norway), Peter Kuznick (Professor of American University), Matthew Ehret (Co-founder of the Rising Tide Foundation), Alex Krainer (economist thenakedhedgie.com), Jeremy Kuzmarov (editor of Covert Action Magazine), Mila Melnichuk (political strategist and Head of the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Citizens and the Constitution of Ukraine), Jim Jatras (analyst, retired U.S. diplomat and adviser to U.S. Senate Republican leadership), and Professor Herbert Reginbogin (The Catholic University of America) delivered written remarks.

What sort of responses could we expect to see should these red lines be crossed? Could the West be trusted to react rationally in the face of Putin’s explicit red lines? What are the risk levels of full-scale thermonuclear war? How does the Russia-China relationship play into this dynamic? What does the economic system’s ongoing plunge into chaos have to do with the geopolitical maneuvers on Russia and China’s perimeters? These questions and more were addressed by the speakers.

The video presentation of the full Roundtable can be watched here and the summary of the event follows below.

____________________________________________________________

Martin Sieff: “The Situation is Desperate But Not Serious”

Martin Sieff began by emphasizing the importance of Putin’s restraint and tone in which he spoke on December 17 laying out the terms of Russia’s red line regarding NATO’s ambitions to absorb Ukraine, the placement of missiles, or war games on Russia’s border. Martin invoked the warning of a Habsburg diplomat years prior to WWI warning that “the situation is desperate but not serious” indicating his belief that a nuclear war is not likely in the near term, although very high in the coming two to three years.

Sieff warned of the hypocrisy of Western geopoliticians who have no capacity to reciprocate Putin’s measured tone, let alone treat his red lines as something deadly serious, as they are far too accustomed to use “salami tactics” in advancing NATO and lecturing the world on how to behave. The lack of ability from Western players to take Putin’s warnings with seriousness are exasperating an already terrible situation and make the danger of miscalculations run high.

Glenn Diesen: Indivisible Security vs NATO Unipolar Hegemony

Professor Glenn Diesen contrasted the many negatives weighing down the situation with a few positives created by Putin’s new approach to foreign policy on Russia’s border. Chief among these positives is that a correct discussion is finally being forced onto the table which has been avoided for years. After years of NATO growth, and unilateral pushing of the entire world towards a “rules based international order” at the cost of broader security for all, Russia’s firm red lines have forced the principles of pan European security to be made front and center. Such principles stand in stark contrast to the “right of each country to join NATO” regardless of the context or instability which such decisions would create.

Professor Diesen made the point that this more rational view of security is in alignment with the Helsinki Accords, the 1990 Charter of Paris emphasizing “equal and indivisible security”, and the 1994 Budapest document which all enshrined the principle that “no state should advance a security doctrine at the expense of the security of other states.”

The hypocrisy of the United States’s track record of sabotaging such organizations as the Eurasian Economic Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), and pan European security agreements (to name a few) make the “narrative reframing” that constantly paints Russia as a villain attempting to impose its sphere of influence onto Ukraine as Western media and politicians repeat, more than a little unpalatable. Read more…

#No More: Ethiopian and Eritrean Rally at CAPITOL HILL. Denver Rally. December 21, 2021. Personal Message of Solidarity

December 21, 2021

Colorado’s contribution to national actions

Hello friends – Ethiopian and Eritrean!

Because of health issues – surgery yesterday – I cannot be with you physically, only in spirit.

As I write, there are several developments I want to mention – and would have done so in person if I could have – the first a cause for celebration, the second a note of warning, caution.

  • The first, a significant military victory, is the total defeat of the TPLF forces in Afar and Amara Provinces and their withdrawal to Tigray Province and this coming after the U.S. (and other) media yelled from the rooftops that the TPLF was about to march on Addis Ababa and seize the government, an announcement meant to create fear and chaos in Ethiopia.
  • The second is the announcement on November 29 that Washington is sending 1000 national guardsmen to the Horn, the second of such deployments in a couple of months. There is the danger that these troops will enter Ethiopia under the guise of humanitarian intervention supposedly “to protect U.S. citizens” – an old imperialist trick (think Grenada, 1983).

On a more local note, several months ago, four Ethiopian women from the Denver-Aurora area, entered into a dialogue with members of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, in Boulder, Colorado – an important local peace organization with a long and honorable history but who had been initially influenced by some TPLF types. Here is the statement that this organization issued last week:

“The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center strongly opposes any United States military intervention or economic sanctions upon Ethiopia or elsewhere in the Horn of Africa.  The disastrous consequences of United States military interventions in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, and other countries should convince any objective observer about the futility and immorality of such actions.

We are particularly incensed by information that the United States is giving propaganda and covert material support to the TPLF in the current civil war within Ethiopia.  The TPLF has a confirmed record of oppressive rule and terrorist initiatives in Ethiopia.  The grim history of Western colonialism in Africa and elsewhere provides further reason for opposing any U.S. military intervention or economic sanctions upon the Horn of Africa.”

– No more U.S. intervention
– Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy
– No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists

Cheers,

Rob Prince. Retired Senior Lecturer of International Studies. University of Denver, Korbel School of International Relations

Kazerooni and Prince on the prospects of the U.S. returning to the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal) – A discussion with the Northern Colorado Alliance for a Livable World. Friday, December 10, 2021

December 12, 2021

T

John Kerry and Jawad Zarif at the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015. Will the USA return to the agreement and respect all of tis clauses?

There is a short part towards the beginning where my voice is muted but then it is corrected after a few minutes…That said, I think this is worth listening to… if only to hear what Ibrahim Kazerooni has to say…

A few days ago, the Iranians tabled two proposals to keep the talks alive. U.S. has not yet responded. Let us recall that it is the U.S. that withdrew from the agreement, not the Iranians or the Europeans. But without U.S. support, the Europeans are not implementing the terms of the agreement.

Rejoining the JCPOA

Guest Blogger: Black Alliance for Peace: Black Alliance for Peace Condemns the U.S. National Guard deployment to Horn of Africa. December 10, 2021

December 11, 2021

“We unequivocally support and uplift mutual cooperation, solidarity, and peace among all parties and people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the broader Horn of Africa region. “

Black Alliance for Peace Condemns the U.S. National Guard deployment to Horn of Africa

On International Human Rights Day, BAP calls for the U.S. to end its military occupation of the African continent

December 10, 2021 — The US Africa Command, AFRICOM, has launched “Task Force Red Dragon,” which includes more than 2,000 Virginia National Guard (VNG) personnel (by January), the largest VNG deployment since WWII. Added to that will be National Guard Soldiers from Maryland and Kentucky which totals the most soldiers the division has mobilized since 1942. While Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia said, “The soldiers of Task Force Red Dragon are great examples of citizen-soldier service.” The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) rejects the idea that there is any useful service to be had in the continuing U.S. interference in the affairs of sovereign nations on the African continent or elsewhere. BAP demands not only the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Africa, but the closure of all U.S. bases throughout the world.

According to BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka, “U.S. president Joe Biden is exploiting International Human Rights Day with his farcical and exclusionary “Summit for Democracy” in an attempt to advance the obscene notion that the U.S. and by extension the colonial states of Western Europe are somehow the defenders of democracy and human rights. This is despite the increasing lawlessness of the U.S. state in the form of murderous sanctions, support for coups, illegal wars, military agreements and anti-democratic destabilization campaigns in nations across the planet. These actions represent a massive assault on democracy and the dignity and human rights of colonized and racialized peoples and nations across the planet.”

AFRICOM is responsible for all US Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security operations on the African continent, its island nations and surrounding waters. AFRICOM initially began in 2007 and became fully operational on October 1, 2008. AFRICOM maintains relations with 53 African countries. AFRICOM’s role is to support and work in tandem with US foreign policy in Africa to support its national interests.

 As Netfa Freeman, co-cordinator of BAP’s Africa Team, reminds us, “the real purpose of AFRICOM is to enable terrorism while at the same time prosecuting the “war on terror” in Africa. This contradictory action ensures that Africa is in a constant state of war and instability. In doing so AFRICOM nurtures and justifies its own reason for being while developing a dependence of African states on AFRICOM for their defense.“

BAP believes that this is done to comply with  US and its European allies ‘strategic interests and objectives to have unfettered access to Africa’s natural resources via their comprador neocolonial “partners”. The dependency on AFRICOM by partner African states also facilitates the training of most of Africa’s military by US or NATO forces thereby increasing  their allegiance to US imperialist interests. Research also shows that since the founding of AFRICOM there has been a marked increase in militant extremist groups operating in Africa.

While the Black Alliance for Peace is committed to peace, we understand there can be no peace without justice, and we will stand in solidarity with all peoples (and nations) who strive to liberate themselves from all forms of neocolonial oppression. BAP takes a resolute anti-colonial, anti-imperialist position that links the international role of the U.S. empire to the domestic war against poor people and working-class Black people within the United States. We unequivocally support and uplift mutual cooperation, solidarity, and peace among all parties and people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the broader Horn of Africa region.

The U.S.-EU-NATO axis of domination will ultimately find its deathbed in Africa at the hands of the Pan-African masses. We support African-led, localized conflict resolution that is not tied to advancing imperialism, neo-colonialism or any other nefarious Western agendas.

International human rights day is a perfect opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to authentic democracy and People(s)-Centered Human Rights.

The deployment of U.S. troops to Africa and the phony democracy summit are a reminder that we must remain vigilant against all efforts to confuse the real intent of the U.S./EU/NATO Axis of domination. All of our organizing and mobilizations must have one objective- to  forge transcontinental public cooperation that will save ourselves from the greatest threat to peace and stability on the planet, the U.S. government.

Contact Information:

Kyle Kidd

press@blackallianceforpeace.com

(202) 643-1136

Audio – Part Two – U.S. Middle East Politics – Tears in the Fabric. – KGNU – Middle East Dialogues. November 30, 2021

December 2, 2021

Saudi oil fields hit by Yemeni drone strike. Saudi losing its war against Yemen. Credit AP

In this program we look at the implication of the U.S. military downsizing in the Middle East, especially as it concerns Israel (the big loser) and Iran (the big winner). From now on, as the U.S. military – and U.S. foreign policy in general “shifts to Asia” – U.S. allies will take on a greater part of the strategic burden than in the past, with the likelihood of the U.S. military coming in to save them from their crises continually reduced. This has created a dilemma for all U.S. regional allies, but most especially Israel and Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, despite sanctions, Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran’s position in the region continues to strengthen and the Axis of Resistance continues to gain ground.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front – Ethiopia’s Version of the Nicaraguan Contras – Sunday, December 5, 1 PM Mountain Standard Time

December 2, 2021

Sunday at 1 pm Mountain States Time (3 pm EST)- In depth probe of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front – Ethiopia’s version of the Nicaraguan Contras…

Audio – U.S. Middle East Politics – Tears in the Fabric. – KGNU – Middle East Dialogues. November 23, 2021

November 24, 2021

Patriot Missiles pulled from Saudi Arabia in 2020. Getty Images

Tonight on Hemispheres the Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. This evening Ibrahim and Rob will discuss cracks in U.S. hegemony in the Middle East. Although it is not about to collapse, U.S. global hegemony is waning. The days when a U.S. president (or his representative) could get on the phone and dictate how to resolve a regional conflict appears to be ending. The uni-polar world post the collapse of the Soviet Union is cracking and U.S. control to dictate what happens in the Middle East is changing. A bipolar world is coming into being and it’s local allies in the Middle East – Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey are becoming somewhat more independent as a result. Despite the apparent strength, financial or military, of the United States, it finds its hands tied more and more. What’s the deal? What’s going on? Hear Kazerooni and Prince discuss how the global crisis is influencing Middle East developments in Yemen, Iraq and much more. That’s the Middle East Dialogues on Hemispheres; Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 6pm.

No more U.S. intervention; Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy: No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists. Aurora Colorado, November 21, 2021

November 21, 2021

 

 

Building the GERD – Ethiopian contribution to Horn of African regional development

Remarks of Rob Prince, Retired Senior Lecturer of International Studies. University of Denver, Korbel School of International Studies. 

Just an announcement for starters…

A week from now on Tuesday, November 30 from 6-7… I’ll be interviewing a member of Colorado’s Eritrean Community – KGNU – 1390 AM, 88.5 FM. It’s a part of an ongoing series – Colorado and the Horn of Africa at KGNU’s Hemispheres Program… Last interview was with Nebiyu Asfaw, one of the founders of Taste of Ethiopia…also well worth listening to.

You can ask the Ethiopian brothers and sisters, some of whom listening to whether it worth listening or not…

Since Brother Dawit invited me to make some remarks today I have been thinking about what to say and what not to say…What concerns me most – is the evolution of U.S. policy – not just towards the growing crisis in Ethiopia which Washington had not small hand in helping foment – and whose pressure will continue, but towards the evolution of the entire Horn of Africa…

I think that it is useful to spell out from the outset and briefly where I stand on U.S. African Policy – what it is, and how it needs to change…

– Africa has long been for Europe and North America little more than a source of labor, raw materials – be it food stuffs or mineral wealth and little more. And it is out of that role that Ethiopia and the rest of the Africa are trying to transform itself – using a number of E. Asian models – modified for African circumstances – S. Korea, Singapore, whatever – into a more modern role

– My personal views on the subject actually are, after working with Ethiopian friends here, rather clear.

a. I support the regional integrity of Ethiopia and oppose any attempts – either de facto or de jure – to partition Ethiopia or weaken it in its efforts at increasing socio-economic development which will, in all likelihood, have positive echoes throughout the Horn of Africa specifically and frankly throughout the African continent

b. I fully support the demands of this rally, a part of both national and international demonstrations taking place worldwide.

What are they?

– No more U.S. intervention
– Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy
– No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists

Succinct, to the point, humane and frankly all anti-Imperialist. I embrace them all and hope you do too.. I am not especially surprised who is sponsoring them…

I want to explore two points of the current situation…
a. the massive, coordinated misinformation campaign, with its daily lies, half truths and open attacks on the Ethiopian government of Abiy Ahmed…
b. a few reflections on what U.S. policy is all about – at least my understanding of it – in Ethiopia in specific and the Horn of Africa in general.

A.

Black Alliance for Peace, Answer – both of whom I want to give both credit and respect for “leading the way” – for seeing, as we say “the forest through the trees” – something many other peace groups at least to date, have not been capable of… as they have drank the “humanitarian interventionalist” cool aid… They have been suckered into believing the news – often little more than official propaganda – of the BBC, CNN, Economist, Democracy Now! or a number of human rights groups whose ties to big money and Washington are too close for comfort are spewing.

Let me focus on two of them for a moment, typical of all of them – the BBC…Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!”

The BBC is seen by many here in the USA as some kind of more objective alternative to U.S. mainstream news sources. Ah if let’s say CBS or the New York Times are painting a certain picture of reality in the Horn of Africa one can always check with the BBC or Amy Goodman to verify or challenge the mainstream media scenario…

Unfortunately that is something of a dead end. When it comes to U.S. foreign policy, the BBC has essentially echoed Washington’s call for war be it in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria or elsewhere.

As for Democracy Now! – while I wouldn’t throw out “the baby with the bathwater” – there is much of value in that program, it’s international reporting is disappointing where it concerns the Middle East and Africa
– It bought into the hysteria that softened public opinion to support the U.S. orchestrated NATO war on Libya,
– it’s reporting on Syria is nothing short of supporting al Nusra, and like terrorist organizations that it refers to as the “moderate opposition”
– and so far on the U.S. hybrid war against Ethiopia it’s reporting, frankly, reflects its continued support of U.S. military intervention (direct or through proxies) based on the false pretext of humanitarian intervention.

Neither the Black Alliance for Peace nor Answer have fallen into that trap… No small achievement.

All this is to say, that there is an unprecedented disinformation, media campaign directed against the Ethiopian government – one that will continue as Ajama Barack noted in recent remarks – for sometime into the future and that we must continue to deconstruct the lies and half truths on what is happening in Ethiopia – to undermine this false narrative and to replace it with a more objective and honest explanation of what is transpiring in the Horn and what the United States is up to there and why…

It is demonstrations like this one, – along with other efforts that have been made – that are beginning to challenge and undermine this false mainstream narrative – along with friends in the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali Communities here in the USA, and the participation of groups like our rally sponsors here – that will make the difference

B.

Concerning U.S. policy towards Ethiopia – the apparent shift of recent times from being an important “regional ally” to now a full blown adversary… just a few remarks for you to consider..
Mostly here I am responding to certain, ideas, misconceptions as I see it, concerning the policy

1. While no doubt it is the Biden Administration that has intensified its hybrid warfare against Ethiopia it is both naive and misguided as some have done, to blame the Democrats and let the Republicans off the hook.

When it comes to U.S. global geopolitics – America’s attempt to maintain its global empire – the policies are bipartisan. Both parties are involved – certainly at the leadership level – and what they argue over are frankly minor tactical considerations, no more.

Let us remember that before the Biden Administration engaged in its open full scale lovefest with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front that it was none other than Donald Trump in unsettled and racist statements spoke about “shit hole countries” and actually publicly encouraged Egypt bombing Ethiopia’s Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project to freeze it completion

That is one point..

The last point… what is driving U.S. policy today in Ethiopia and Africa as a whole… while there are a number of factors, the one that makes to most sense to me is U.S. competition with China over Africa’s raw materials and natural resources. And it is part and parcel of the current growing U.S. policy – enshrined in a number of key government documents – to deny China its rightful place as a major competitor to Washington on the world scene.

How does Washington – Democratic or Republican Administrations – complete with China in Africa and doesn’t it compete?

– It establishes AFRICOM, whose main mission, far from “fighting terrorism” in Africa is to control and assure U.S. access to the African continent’s rich natural wealth, an organization that should be dismantled as it sows instability and war rather than development and peace.
– Now, through its proxy the TPLF, it tries to stifle rather than enhance Ethiopia’s place as a regional forces for good, for regional prosperity, greater economic and social regional integration.
– U.S. policy towards Ethiopia bares an unfortunate but uncanny comparison to past misadventures – Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and beyond the region its choke hold on Cuba, Venezuela come to mind. The Libyan comparison has been made repeatedly recently, especially by Ajamu Baraka, the Black Alliance for Peace’s co-founder and spokesperson.

If the Biden Administration actually wanted to help Ethiopia – rather than destabilize it – it would help with the financing of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam rather than doing whatever to sabotage Ethiopia’s attempts to get loans from international lending outlets

If the Biden Administration actually wanted to help Ethiopia – rather than attacking China for its infrastructural projects in Ethiopia, it would help build the country’s road and public transportation network rather than covertly and overtly supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation attempts to wreck the country’s development efforts.

Let us prevent Ethiopia from becoming the world’s next Libya – with all the consequences that entails..

– No more U.S. intervention
– Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy
– No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists\

Thank you

Same demonstration in S. Africa

Walking with “Z” – leader of the Eritrean Community of Colorado

Demonstration in Aurora Colorado Tomorrow (Sunday, November 21, 2021) 14200, E. Alameda 1 pm

November 20, 2021

 

No more U.S. intervention

Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy

No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists

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This is a nationally sponsored event organized by the Black Alliance for Peace and the Answer Coalition…
I’ll be there, hope you will be too…
I anticipate a considerable turnout from Colorado’s Ethiopian Community. Here is a chance for you to see that Community in all its diversity and strength and see just how marginal and frankly irrelevant is the TPLF that some of you think well of because you read an article in the BBC, saw a report in Human Rights Watch (which has a penchant for encouraging US wars of intervention based on “humanitarian” intervention – an oxymoron if ever that was one) or spoke to one of their friends here in Colorado.
Remarks of Dr. Ajamu Baraka National Organizer and Spokesperson for the Black Alliance for Peace, it, one of the two national organizations sponsoring the national – actually international day of solidarity with Ethiopia.

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Norman Finkelstein on the Six-Day (June1967) Middle East War…

November 7, 2021

Yahya Sinwar – sitting amidst the ruins of his home in Gaza destroyed by a recent Israeli missile attack

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(In 1967) Israel had won a major public relations coup worldwide by learning the fine art of “playing the victim” while in fact it was little more than the aggressor, an image it has been able to cultivate and refine since, regardless of the facts on the ground. This was, I would argue, its greatest political victory.

My Introduction: (November 7, 2021)

This war, or at least the result of it, has fixed the narrative on Israeli relations with its Arab neighbors, and the nature of Israeli-Palestinian relations, ever since… That is a 54 year old narrative, the main outlines of which are somewhere between half truths and pure fiction.

Be that as it may, it’s a powerful narrative – the supposedly, small, weak Israel surrounded by its Arab neighbors ready to destroy it. After the 1956 abortive British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt, it was important for Israel to reshape itself as the victim rather than the aggressor in war, and thus ever since, if the Israelis excel at anything its playing the victim while strangling- or trying to – Palestinian resistance and trying to keep it’s Arab neighbors “in line.”.

There is another myth – common place on ‘points left” that is equally, if you pardon my language, a load of crap – often referred to Israel as “the tail wagging the dog” – that Israel controls and manipulates US foreign policy. No, the “dog” wags its own “tail.” Israel and its committed U.S. supporters DO have influence on U.S. Israeli policy, but when it comes to overall U.S. Middle East (or other) policy, it’s Washington that calls the shots and Israel that at least on the level of geo-political security, follows the orders.

Such thinking by the way, hides the role of the genuine policy makers of U.S. Middle East policy: the arms merchants, energy and construction companies, financial interests who are at the center of both short-term (who should be attacked, overthrown, sanctioned, etc) and long-term U.S. strategic thinking. It buys into the notion – frankly anti-Semitic at its core that the Zionists – and by this many people mean “the Jews” control and dominate U.S. Middle East policy, and not only that, but U.S. global politic… the old myth encapsuled by the Protocols of Zion, a pretext for the pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century…itself a pretext for greater tragedies.

Read more…

In a tight race, Ethiopians and Eritrean voters in Virginia could be the tie-breakers in choosing the state’s next governor

October 28, 2021

From left to right: Luel Bekele, Yerusalem Work, Tesfa Mekonnen, Ethiopian-American supporters of Terry McAuliffe’s bid to become Virginia’s governor on November 2.

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In 2017 White Supremacists who literally were calling for our community to be sent back to Africa marched in Charlottesville – Donald Trump said they were ‘good people on both sides’ Terry McAuliffe as Governor stood up against wide supremacist and for our community – Glenn Youngkin welcomes support from the very people who want to push us out of our own Country.

At our core we need to stand with those who welcome us – Now we do have other concerns that must be addressed.

With the gubernatorial race for governor of Virginia upon us, the 2021-2 electoral season is upon us. Both the NY Times and the Washington Post have given space to this election suggesting its national importance. According to a recent poll done by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership, the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe and his Republican challenger, businessman, Glenn Alan Youngkin, are in a dead heat, now a few days prior to the November 2 election.

The 2021 and 2022 regional elections are seen as litmus tests for the 2024 presidential contest.It should come as no surprise that major media outlets are watching the Virginia contest. In such circumstances where elections are close, swing voters could make a difference; such is the case with Virginia’s burgeoning Ethiopian and Eritrean Community (who tend to vote similarly). These two communities find themselves working in tandem both in the Horn of Africa and here in the USA. How they vote

The Ethiopian-Eritrean vote in these next few days could decide whether Glenn Youngkin, for all his attempts to appear moderate, nothing less than a Donald Trump surrogate, or Terry McAuliffe, a moderate Democrat with a record to prove it – becomes Virginia’s governor. No doubt, the results will resonate both in 2022 and beyond. Much depends on how these communities vote – historically they vote in large numbers – could determine not only the future of Virginia, but far beyond.

Until recently, as with many other immigrant voting blocks in the USA, Ethiopians and their Eritrean co Read more…

The “Chaotic U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan and the reposturing of the U.S. policy towards Iran – What’s the deal?” – KGNU, Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. October 26, 2021

October 27, 2021

John Kerry and Jawad Zarif at the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015. Will the USA return to the agreement and respect all of its clauses? Or is the agreement in a state of cryonic suspension, close to dead in the water, being held a float until the Biden Administration can safely discard it?

The following audio is a taped discussion on KGNU – Boulder Colorado – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues hosted by Jim Nelson, featuring Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince, a monthly program now in its eleventh year.

Was the August, 2021 U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan as unplanned and chaotic at it appears?… Or was there some other underlying plan that was hatched beforehand and implemented theee past months. Kazerooni and Prince try to deconstruct mainstream narratives and hypothesis was is actually going on. In the end, they conclude, that from the broader geo-political view point, U.S. strategy in Central Asia – increased subversion in Central Asia and China’s Xinjiang Province continue as do U.S. plans for regime change in Iran… only the details to work out these plans have changed. There are a number of suggestions that, as off the wall as it might sound, that Washington hopes to include the Taliban in these plans.