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Cornell West & Chris Hedges: How the Black Elite Betrayed the Civil Rights Tradition

How the Black Elite Betrayed the Civil Rights Tradition
By By Adam Johnson * Alternet * August 14, 2015

In the first episode of Chris Hedges's new teleSUR show Days of Revolt, the Pulitzer-Prize winner sat down with long-time friend - and recently arrested—Cornel West to discuss the current state of black America in the age of Ferguson. West's primary critique remains what he refers to as the "black elite class" who he says have betrayed the black poor.

"What took the place of collective fightback was individual outward upward mobility" West insisted, "so (instead of) what was once in place—much stronger moral conviction—we see ruthless ambition."

West has spoken up for years about what he considers to be other black intellectuals inability to discuss class and empire. A conversation that's become more heated of late as many in the Black Lives Matter movement have critiqued Sanders for only talking about class while some progressives have critiqued neoliberal "identity politics" for dismissing class altogether. West, for his part, insists on highlighting both.

"So you hit the issues of homophobia while you hit the issues of male supremacy. But in the end, if you're not hitting monopoly capitalism," Dr. West said, "if you're not hitting the imperial policies that flow therefrom, you're still not going to be at the root of what we need to come to terms with."

Watch the 25 minute interview here:


Hillary supporter: I hope she "bows out gracefully"

I’m a Hillary Clinton fan. But I hope she bows out with grace
by Mary Dejevsky * The Guardiqn * August 17, 2015

Hillary Clinton has a fundraising pot that is overflowing. She appears to be cruising to the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination: and then, if the stars align in her favour, on to a well-deserved place in history as the first female president of the United States.

Her supporters have wished it for so long, it seems almost impossible that it might not come to pass. And I would count myself among those supporters, ever since – as a Washington-based correspondent – I watched the lobbyists gang up to defeat her health plan, and observed how she toughed out the sordid revelations about her husband and “that woman, Miss Lewinsky”.

Clinton, as she showed then and has shown since, is not one to walk away. She embodies that all-American quip about the going getting tough and the tough getting going. But I just hope that there are those, somewhere in her entourage, who are even now begging her not to do it, and to bow out while there is still time to do so with grace.

Reality must be looked in the eye. Clinton is a hugely divisive figure, including within her own party – and not primarily because she is a woman. There is the clan question. What does it say about the meritocratic credentials of the United States that two of the most favoured candidates for 2016 are closely related to recent presidents? Neither is to blame but in my book, this alone would be a reason for both Clinton and Jeb Bush to leave the field. It is also a reason why they may not be electable.

Then there is the Bill question. A large section of the Republican party hates the Clinton name with the same venom that many Britons reserve for Margaret Thatcher, blaming Bill, as they see it, for defiling the presidency. This should not affect Hillary Clinton’s support – but it will limit her ability to appeal across parties. Nor do US voters need to be dragged all over again through the intricacies of the (loss-making) Whitewater land deal, the involvement of the Rose Law firm, or the suicide of a close aide, but they probably will. And if these Bill questions are not enough, there is another where she really does have some explaining to do: it concerns her involvement with his post-presidential charitable fundraising at a time when she held public office.

Clinton’s chief liability, though, is the baggage she carries of her own...


Ouch! WaPo: Hillary Backers fear old weaknesses stalk Clinton campaign

Backers fear old weaknesses stalk Clinton campaign

It was supposed to be different this time. After the wounds of 2008, many of them self-inflicted, Hillary Rodham Clinton rebooted for 2016 with a new message, new advisers and new energy.

But two dynamics have crystallized this month, suggesting the New Hillary is hobbled by old weaknesses. Once again, worried supporters see signs of a bunker mentality in response to bad news about her e-mail server and other controversies, and they see a candidate who can seem strangely blinkered to the threat posed by a lesser-known challenger.

“A lot of the people who were hired by the campaign were new to the Clintons,” said a prominent Democrat who counts both Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton as friends. “I kind of assumed it would be different. But it hasn’t changed.”

That Democrat and other supporters requested anonymity in order to discuss the shortcomings of a candidate whom they still overwhelmingly support and think can win the White House. Several supporters said that while no one is pulling the fire alarm, they see worrisome patterns emerging.

Among them: insularity, rigidity and a sense that the operation is tone-deaf to changes happening around it.


The Rise Of Bernie Sanders Has Turned The Democratic Party Upside Down

The Rise Of Bernie Sanders Has Turned The Democratic Party Upside Down
By Jason Easleymore from Jason Easley * August, 14th, 2015 * Politicus

It isn’t a coincidence that as Bernie Sanders is being forced to move to a bigger New Hampshire campaign headquarters due to increasing popularity, Democrats are actively searching for more serious candidates to enter the 2016 field.

The Sanders campaign is so popular in New Hampshire that they have to move to a bigger headquarters. Kurt Ehrenberg, the New Hampshire coordinator for the Sanders campaign, told The Washington Post, “We’re ramping up our campaign. We’re hiring new staff every day. We’re opening new offices. Things are going extremely well….Our volunteers don’t just want to come out and see the candidate. They actually want to work for Bernie because Bernie instills this terrific enthusiasm in them.”

While Sanders continues to grow both organizationally and attendance wise, other Democrats see Hillary Clinton as a vulnerable frontrunner and are worried about what the Sanders rise might mean for November 2016.

Some Democrats are clearly fishing for another established candidate to enter the Democratic race. There was a brief flirtation around Al Gore, but that was quickly squashed. Most of the serious chatter is coming from supporters of Vice President Biden.


Team Hillary has to use puppets


Because they obviously can't find a real photo of the real Bernie that fits their wish-dream.

Why the Nation's Nurses are Supporting Bernie Sanders for President

Bernie Sanders aligns perfectly with nurses on the most critical problems facing our nation, from income inequality to guaranteeing healthcare to all to holding Wall Street and corporations to account to opening the doors to college education for everyone to racial justice to the climate crisis.

Those are the same issues that animate nurses when we talk about voting for nurses' values -- caring, compassion and community to heal America.

But we also support the Sanders moment also because of the rare opportunity his campaign represents to not just speak truth to power, but to join movements together to change our country. To stand as a social movement against the obscene wealth that controls our lives, starves our communities, destroys our people and expand a populist movement that put human life before profit.

All the establishment pundits who are scrambling for ways to dismiss the outpouring of excitement for his campaign and to marginalize those who have filled the stadiums increasingly look like cranks trying to stop an approaching train.

The myths: (debunked in the linked article)
Bernie can't win
He's not drawing black and Latino voters.
He's an "avowed democratic socialist."

"You'll never have to wonder which side I am on," Bernie says. While other candidates are intrinsically tied to Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce, Bernie not only calls for repeal of Citizens United and public financing of campaigns he is the only candidate not taking money from big corporations and PACs.

Bernie wants to take money from Wall Street too -- by taxing them to fund a civil society with the health care, the jobs, the housing and the environmental protections people need.

Bernie Sanders knows that his campaign is not about him. It's about all of us. And it will take all of us to change the course of history. It's time to start now.

Brent Budowsky: Sanders rattles Trump, Clinton

Source: The Hill

For more evidence that American politics is engaged in the summer of Sanders and not the summer of Trump, witness the fun and fascinating events that unfolded on Wednesday.

Breakfast brought news of a stunning poll of New Hampshire voters from Franklin Pierce University and the Boston Herald showing that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has vaulted to a 44 percent to 37 percent lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This poll ... is consistent with trends showing a surge of support for Sanders, who is drawing overflow crowds that are stunning to serious practitioners of politics.

By lunchtime Wednesday, political aficionados were greeted by the news that Donald Trump had launched into a scathing denunciation of Sanders, who as a young man had attended Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech, for showing respect for Black Lives Matter supporters, giving them time to address his well-attended rallies. That will never happen at my rallies, bellowed Trump! Of course not. Donald Trump sharing his microphone with anyone is less likely than Napoleon Bonaparte sharing his brioche with the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo! ~snip~

Clinton has good reason to worry about Sanders ... My hope is that Clinton finds her bearings, seizes her moment and defines her vision in clear and compelling terms. But until she does, she will have more reasons to be rattled.

As for Trump, after his campaign ends he has a brilliant future in real estate, but not real politics. While he pursues his candidacy in the style of reality television, it is Bernie Sanders who has the really large crowds and the really big ideas and the really large heart of a man on a mission, unlike the rattled real estate mogul who keeps praising his own wealth and running a perpetual commercial advertising the wonders of himself.

MORE: http://thehill.com/opinion/brent-budowsky/250976-brent-budowsky-sanders-rattles-trump-clinton

Interesting take on Hillary/BLM meeting: Clinton Campaign Shuts Down Black Lives Matter Protest

Clinton Campaign Shuts Down Black Lives Matter Protest
After being given advanced warning of possible protest, a "respectful" closed-door meeting results instead
byJon Queally, staff writer * Common Dreams * August 12, 2015

When (BLM) arrived at today’s Clinton event, which focused on substance abuse and the heroin epidemic, after first sharing their talking points and questions exclusively with the New Republic, the activists found the entrances closed by U.S. Secret Service who said the venue was at capacity. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who was in contact with the five activists, later told the New Republic that the activists were eventually let into an “overflow room.” Following the event, Clinton met with the group for about 15 minutes in a private meeting that they claim turned contentious at times, and featured Clinton giving unsolicited advice for the direction of the movement.

The group's remarks and questions varied a bit from the script they prepared, which focused on criminal justice policies Clinton had supported while her husband was president, but not in tone. "I asked specifically about her and her family's involvement in the War on Drugs at home and abroad, and the implications that has had on communities of color and especially black people in terms of white supremacist violence," Yancey told me in an interview after the meeting. "And I wanted to know how she felt about her involvement in those processes.”

Asked whether Clinton actually proposed policies in the meeting, Jones said, "Not that I recall, no. In fact, I know that she didn’t because she was projecting that what the Black Lives Matter movement needs to do is X,Y, and Z—to which we pushed back that it is not her place to tell the Black Lives Matter movement or black people what to do, and that the real work doesn’t lie in the victim-blaming that that implies. And that was a rift in the conversation." Jones said that the meeting concluded without any aggression, and that the meeting was "respectful."

In a tweet, Black Lives Movement-Boston characterized their failed attempt to protest the event a success because they had "gotten the attention of staff" and "now they are working with us."


Bernie Sanders Nabs Endorsement From National Nurses' Union

Bernie Sanders Nabs Endorsement From National Nurses' Union
National Nurses United gets behind Clinton's top challenger. "He's about building a social movement for humanistic change," the union's director says.
by Dave Jamieson, Labor Reporter * HuffPo * 8/10/15

A national labor union of registered nurses provided another big boost to the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders on Monday, becoming the first major union to endorse the Vermont senator's White House bid.

National Nurses United, which represents 185,000 nurses, most of them women, hosted a brunch with Sanders on Monday in Oakland, California. The union's leadership announced there that they would formally back the senator and campaign on his behalf as he competes with front-runner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

The union's executive director, RoseAnn DeMoro, told The Huffington Post that Sanders had earned the support of NNU's board and had won by a wide margin in a poll of the membership.

"We were stunned by the results," DeMoro said. "It was so overwhelming for Bernie Sanders."

Bernie Sanders’ New Racial Justice Platform Wins Praise From Black Lives Matter Activists

Is this for reals?

Bernie Sanders’ New Racial Justice Platform Wins Praise From Black Lives Matter Activists
BY ALICE OLLSTEIN * AUG 10, 2015 11:12AM * Think Progress

After activists from the Black Lives Matter movement repeatedly disrupted speeches by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over the past few weeks, the popular and populist presidential candidate released a comprehensive racial justice platform and hired a young racial justice activist as his national press secretary.

The platform, which has won praise from several prominent voices in the Black Lives Matter movement, focuses on different forms of violence against people of color in the United States: physical violence from law enforcement and extremist vigilantes, the political violence of voter suppression, the legal violence of the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, and the economic violence of crushing poverty. Sanders lays out several proposals to address each form of violence, from passing “ban the box” laws to prevent hiring discrimination against people with criminal records, to outlawing for-profit prisons, to restoring the gutted protections in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Though Sanders has been involved in civil rights work since his college days, he has come under pressure from black activists since launching his bid for president. Having represented the overwhelmingly white state of Vermont for most of his life, Sanders has often struggled to specifically address racial justice issues with the urgency the movement is demanding — an urgency fueled by the fact that an unarmed black person has been killed by police, on average, every nine days this year.

The activists who interrupted Sanders’ speech in Seattle over the weekend said his “blatantly silencing response” at the Netroots Nations conference in July — when he reacted to an interruption from Black Lives Matter by threatening to leave instead of listening to their message — as their motivation. The Seattle leaders blasted both Sanders and his supporters for failing to show concern about the forces harming people of color in their own community, from the school-to-prison pipeline to police violence to gentrification.

Yet Sanders has not been the sole target of protesters. Activists also shouted down former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) at the Netroots Nation conference in July, demanding he and the audience acknowledge the recent death of Sandra Bland in police custody. Instead, he replied: “Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.” He also presented a history of his record as mayor of Baltimore that conveniently left out the zero tolerance policing that disproportionately targeted residents of color.

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