Dallas Police Killing — Racism and Violence in USA

By Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York

LadiesLiveandLearndotcom

Photo courtesy: LadiesLiveandLearn.com

A black man has shot and killed five police officers in the city of Dallas. Seven people were wounded. 

Naturally, the incident has inflamed America.

Killing policemen? In America? That too, five policemen? That too, by a black man?

Those of us who live in America, and work with people on the streets – manslaughter, getting hurt, getting raped, thrown in jail, police brutality, gun violence, deportation, getting entangled in lengthy judicial processes, etc. are not new. These are commonplace incidents. People who do not live in America do not know the extent of violence in this country.

Ten million black Americans rotting in U.S. jails. Men and women. Even children — twelve or fourteen years of age. A large number of them are in prison without committing any serious crimes. Because they are poor, and so could not appoint a good lawyer. The lawyers government allotted to represent their cases failed the victims.

Here in USA there are more blacks in jails than in colleges – even today. Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition published this information a while ago. A scandalous fact for any nation.

Indians, however, do not want to know about these facts. We stay away from blacks, and in all practicality, choose to detest them. We are afraid of them. Many of us avoid places where blacks are a majority. We look down upon them. Many of our family friends are terrified to visit our home in Brooklyn. They refrain from saying anything but come up with excuses for not visiting. Those who find the courage to come, want to leave before night. Almost all of our neighbors are black. For so many years we have been with them. We never had any untoward incidents. When we travel to India, we leave our home keys with our next-door black neighbor. The look after our house when we are away.

Yet, the incident in Dallas will reiterate the fear and hatred amongst Indians, against black Americans.

I do not support this mindless killing. Like any American with social consciousness, I strongly condemn it. Like President Obama said, we are all aghast about this “planned, horrific act of violence.”

Across the U.S. — from New York to California, from Chicago to Dallas – people are condemning it. Candidates for the upcoming presidential election in November – Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, or Green Party’s Jill Stein — all have labelled it as a dark chapter in America’s recent history.

Of course, Trump has always been bizarre in his remarks. He said that this massacre happened because of the “black adulation” from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. He said Democrats do not find it to their taste to uphold the use of “justified police action” over blacks. He said Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary’s support to “Black Lives Matter” movement has been indirectly responsible for this attack. Otherwise, Trump said, no one would have dared to kill these policemen.

Right-wing ralk show host Rush Limbaugh branded BLM a terrorist organization. He supports Trump.

The twenty-five-year-old killer, Micah Johnson said he hated white people. He hated the police. He said that indiscriminate violence by the police on black people forced him to show his anger like this. Now he’s dead. Killed by a robot bomb set up by the police. What was astonishing was that before he was killed he said that he also hated “Black Lives Matter” movement. The reason? He said BLM was only about big talks and no real action to bring an end to this rampant police violence.

Innocent people are getting killed every day in this country, in the suburbs, in the cities — in police firing or gun violence. The violence in daily lives has increased manifold due to the presence and easy availability of guns. No country, unlike USA, has so many guns, pistols, rifles, automatic weapons available randomly. An added fuel is drugs and racism.

If you start thinking about this, you will lose your sleep. We who live in this country can get killed any time anywhere from gun violence. They say there are more gun stores than gas stations in America. You can buy a pistol and large number of bullets along with your bottle of Coke and bag of potato chips from the same store, come back and have a barbecue party on a Sunday afternoon. No background checks done or police verification taking place – in many states.

Some of the recent mass killers got to use their guns bought and kept by their family members. Micah Johnson also did the same. Police found a large amount of arms in his Dallas home.

We do not support violence, murder, bombing, gun violence or war, ever. At the same time we are also against the barbaric, violent racism that has continued for more than two hundred years in USA.

Is this a civilized country, where everyday somewhere or other a black person dies from police brutality? To find the lifeless body of a black youth on the steps of a housing project, or on the dark side of a road, or highway, left in an old car – how disturbing, how distressing! The killer police is never caught, or rarely, if caught, they are readily released, acquitted by the trial judge, making a farce of justice. Surprisingly the documentation of these ruthless, mindless killings do not stir the collective minds of the judge or jury.

Blacks are getting killed one after another. Just a few days ago, similar incidents happened in Baton Rouge of Louisiana, and one in Minnesota. Brutality is rampant in places like New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, Saint Louis, and Los Angeles, in almost all the black-majority areas. Even black women are being killed by the police.

For people like us who are associated with the struggle of common people, when we see the pictures of these atrocities, these brutalities, at times we also freeze. We see that everyday the barbarism photos online, sometimes the people take to the streets to fight for the rest of the body, the mind becomes numb. This is the celebrated concept of American equality? This is the much talked about American pride – the model of diversity?

I had spoken to Noam Chomsky on this. He said that this is the shameful history of the United States of America. It has encouraged the growth of a polarized society. This polarization is the weapon of the ruling class – to rule. His words reminded me of the eternal division between Hindus and Muslims in India. This division has been used for political gains. Or for that matter take the politics of caste in India. It’s the same.

Micah Johnson’s hatred against whites is much the same. His massacre is also similarly abhorrent. His killing of innocent police officers is also a horrible crime.

But who will speak up for the deaths taking place in the streets, in projects, in all corners of the country, simply because the colour of your skin is black? Or, rotting in jail forever without a reason? Who is there to redress these crimes?

Let there be justice for all the sufferers. Let there be punishment for all the criminals.

(Translated from Bengali.)

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Eid and Muslims — A Reflection

 

eid-mubarak-2016
Photo Courtesy: thereligionplanet.com (One-time, non-profit, educational use)


Today is Eid al-Fitr.

In Bengali, we pronounce it Eedulfitor. The monthlong fast of Ramadan just ended. Of course, we Bengalis call Ramadan Romjan. Ha ha: we and our flat-tongue elocution.

We also call Muslims Musalman, Jews Eehudi, and Christians Khrishtaan.

I love my Muslim friends. I really do. And I am a Hindu who grew up with RSS and BJP, Hindu fundamentalists in India. In fact, before I came out of their clutches, I was the West Bengal state secretary of ABVP, their student wing. My father is a lifelong, hardcore whole-timer of RSS, and has known their stalwarts personally — like former Indian prime minister Vajpayee.

That was then. This is now.

I have some Muslim friends that are like my sisters and brothers. They have been with me — in thick and thin, rain or shine, or here in America as they say, in snow and ice — for many years. They have stayed with me, supported me, indulged me, loved me, and even scolded and chastised me when they saw my incoherence and indiscretion.

A Muslim brother published my Bengali memoir online — week after week. The first couple of people who first thought my Facebook rambling about my life could actually merit a well-done book included a Muslim doctor-cum-journalist, whom I first met in California. A Muslim sister, who married a Hindu brother, published it as a book. We first met in Calcutta.

A Muslim brother from Dhaka published my collection of political essays on 9/11 and terror. Another Muslim brother from Pakistan, who suddenly passed away in October, 2015, first told me that I needed to know black America well, and since then, I’ve done it, and found his advice invaluable. I love my black brothers and sisters too.

A few Muslim sisters gave me the opportunity to teach Bengali at a weekend school here in New York. A few Muslim brothers and sisters first told me that I should record my Tagore songs, before I lost my singing voice completely. A Muslim brother helped me to buy our Brooklyn home from another Muslim brother, and also helped me to travel Bangladesh for the first time. A Muslim sister took me from Dhaka to her home in rural Kumilla, and showed me the famous Bengal rivers Padma and Meghna. She also showed me the place in Kumilla, where rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam wrote some of his famous songs.

I never knew Muslims until I taught at a rural, remote college in India, just a few years before I came to America. For over twenty years, my knowledge about Muslims was practically zero. I had two Musalman friends in the Scottish Church Collegiate School in Calcutta: I wrote about one of them in my memoir (and the hatred I had developed against him only because he was a Musalman). The other acquaintance was a privileged one: my tabla teacher Chitto Ray’s mentor was the celebrated artiste Ustad Keramat Ullah Khan, whom I met once at his Calcutta home. Of course, I never had anything other than goosebump-reverence for Muslim maestros such as Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, or Ustad Bismillah Khan. But I never considered them as Muslims in the first place.

The first time I got to know Muslims is, as I said, when I started teaching in a very rural, island college in West Bengal. I had the privilege to know those co-professors, students, and support staff. Some of them have become lifelong friends, ever since.

I have worked the best possible way to help Muslim brothers and sisters and children during the dark days after 9/11, when U.S. powers were yanking them out of their homes at gunpoint, and jailing and deporting them en mass, destroying their work, dreams, and civil liberties. I did my best to be on their side when hate crimes were destroying their lives. I did not do it alone: in fact, I consider myself a foot soldier in the fight that many of us fought together, and a fight that many of them are still fighting tirelessly.

I do not like Muslim women wearing borkha (or hijab) since they are in their childhood. I do not like the fact that a large section of otherwise nonviolent, innocent Muslims are becoming even more conservative than they ever have been, and falling prey to mullah and secretive mosques (clarification: not all mosques are secretive: in fact, very few of them are). I do not like the fact that many educated, liberal Muslims are not coming out strongly enough against the savage Islamic terrorists like Taliban, Qaeda or today’s IS, and against their barbarism, murders, rapes, and enslavement. I do not like the fact that many Indian Muslims would not abide by a secular, non-religious Indian constitution (but take advantage of all the secular benefits) — yes I know some of my BJP-RSS friends would jump up in joy. The brave widow Shah Bano’s watershed civic lawsuit for alimony and compensation was sabotaged by Muslim orthodoxy and a corrupt and scandalous, liberal Indian government.

Fake liberalism, rotten corruption, extreme greed, and scandalously inefficient governance — in India, USA, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and elsewhere — have made fanatics even more powerful than ever before. Without at all supporting their violence and savagery and oppression on women and other minority, I know what extreme frustration it can cause when you and your family and children have to go through generations of neglect, undermining, inequality, injustice, and ridicule — with no light seen at the end of the tunnel. That made even many otherwise ordinary and naive Muslims anti-government and anti-1%. With help from divisive domestic and international forces, it turned some of them violent, and some of the violent became terrorists.

I have written a lot about the above in my book In the Belly of the Beast: Hindu Supremacist RSS and BJP of India. This is my analysis, and I keep expanding it all the time, with new, earned knowledge and experience. The one percent and their economic savagery are responsible for creation of the religious savages.

On this beautiful, peaceful, happy day of Eid, I invite all my Muslim brothers and sisters to reflect on the current state of affairs, and send a message of solidarity across the globe that would forge peace and togetherness, and defeat both the global, economic savages, as well as global, religious savages.

Together, together, we can create and sustain a society that can find a peaceful, violence-free, terror-free, oppression-free, war-free, equal world.

Eid Mubarak to all.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Happy Father’s Day

Brother Key

One of our best friends and neighbors here in Brooklyn, New York is Mr. Key. We call him Brother Key. He has been a person we’ve put our faith and trust on, for many years.

He is over 70 now, and is losing health, but still works so hard that is mind boggling. He is by profession a construction man, and is a strong believer of equality, peace and justice.

Brother Key marched in Alabama where he grew up in the 50’s. His extended family still lives there, and he goes at least once a year to visit them. He has fond memories.

He was a Vietnam soldier, and has many war stories to share. He is also an artist. He paints beautiful paintings.

Brother Key is my personal tribute to Black America.

Happy Father’s Day to you.

Brotherly,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

Catalpa

Summer in America

Catalpa

In America, Summer has its own smell. I can’t quite describe it.

But it is there. You need to have a special moment to your own to find it. Unless you have a little peace, and calm your nerves, your senses are too numb to appreciate its delicacies.

Summer is too short here in America. And that makes it so much more precious. Flowers bloom in a lightening speed. And they are gone before you know it. Yesterday, or was it the day before, I saw a bunch of Catalpa flowers down on the sidewalk in our Brooklyn neighborhood. I looked up the tree. It’s a tree I pay close attention to every summer: I know the flowers will come and go in a flash. I looked up the tree. And the tree was empty again. In a matter of days, all the flowers were gone.

As if the tree was smiling a mischievous smile down at me. As if it says to me, “Gosh…I tricked ya, didn’t I?”

When I lived in Calcutta, I did not understand what sunlight meant to me. I took it for granted. I read Tagore’s rhymes, and loved the pictures he painted with his words. But I really did not understand how much they went into my heart, and stayed with me forever, only to come back much, much later.

Tagore wrote:

“Midday on a holiday
Far out there on rooftop
A little girl hangs a violet sari
in the summer sun…”

Calcutta roof

Here in America, nobody hangs their clothes on the rooftop to dry. Here, nobody goes on the rooftop. Here, we don’t have a rooftop to go to. Here in America, we don’t have much of a summer. Here in America, we don’t have a holiday when we don’t do anything, but look out…far out…

On my work this morning, I got off the bus, and walked to my usual little shop run by a Chinese woman named Lydia, to buy my usual croissant and coffee. And I immediately noticed it. I found the smell. I can’t quite describe it. But it’s there. I know it is.

A dry, sunlit pavement with urban, uncared-for cracks. An unknown bunch of weeds raises its head through the cracks. I go back down memories, all the way to my botany excursion days, and desperately want to remember the look-alike plants I knew in India. Or, at least want to remember the family of the plant. Is it the sunflower family? Is it the ipecac family? Is it the nightshade? I look at the dry, paperish, unattractive leaves, and the beautiful yellowish white flowers that spring up from those bracts of leaves. Oh, only if I knew the name of the plant…only if I could identify it…

But just the same way I desperately try to identify a raga when I hear it, but can’t, not knowing the plant and its flowers also leaves me with a deep sigh of incompetence. I did not get my education. In this life, I could not learn much. I know I am an incomplete, half-educated man. I did not know India before I left for America. And I did not appreciate the summer in Bengal when I was there.

Tilia

And now, after having lived in America for thirty years, I still don’t know what this country is like. I don’t know its plants. I don’t know its insects. I don’t know its men, women, and children. I don’t know its summer and fall. They go by too fast. I try hard to hold them back to me. But I fail.

I try to love them all. India’s memories. And America’s present. But just like that smell of summer that I want to describe but can’t, I don’t quite figure out how to own it.

I haven’t quite figured out how to identify a way to love: love what is precious.

Summer is here, however.

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Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York

Why I Won’t Vote Hillary Clinton

hillary-clinton-1Hillary is not a stolen election. It’s a lost democracy.

The one percent and their Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Exxon and GE and CNN and New York Times made sure we lose it.

The “wise and pragmatic” would say to me, “Look, it is what it is.”

But because I’m neither their kind of wise nor pragmatic, I’d say, “Enough is enough. Let’s build our people’s party.”

Today, at the “How Class Works” confernce here at Stony Brook University, I had an opportunity to talk to two African-American sisters. One came from Fredonia, New York, and the other came from far away Seattle, Washington State. We had breakfast together, and talked politics, among other things. The sister from Seattle told me that now that Bernie Sanders is probably not the presidential candidate, we should all support Hillary Clinton, to defeat Trump and consequences with social situations in the U.S. She particularly mentioned the situation with the Supreme Court.

So, I mentioned to them about Hillary’s support to and from four multinational corporations that I consider some of the evilest in the world. I told them about (1) Monsanto and how it is devastating farmers in India, and how literally millions of farmers committed suicide in the past ten or so years, because of Monsanto and its GMO. I told them about (2)  Goldman Sachs, financial giant that destroyed the economy in the U.S., followed by devastations across world — more recently, in Greece. I told them about (3) Wal-Mart, where Hillary has been an executive board member for many years; we all agreed how Wal-Mart has destroyed jobs, particularly union jobs in the U.S., and how it has helped destroy the American middle class. Finally, we briefly discussed about (4) Exxon, and its role in global climate change, pollution, and its presence in the American war industry.

We spoke about it before we heard a panel of three notable speakers, on the subject of class and climate change. One of the speakers, a leader at NAACP, in her remarks, mentioned Monsanto and India’s farmer suicide. She also mentioned Goldman Sachs. Naturally, the two sisters had a smiling glance at me, when they heard those remarks.

At the end of the panel, the woman from Seattle came to me said, she is now thinking differently about her support for Hillary in the general election. She said she agreed with me that even though none of wanted Trump — a racist, xenophobe and bigoted man — supporting Hillary is not truly a great idea. It’s definitely a better choice (now that Sanders is perhaps not the presidential candidate) when it comes to America’s future, but if we think about the future of the world, and how Hillary’s corporate sponsors are directly responsible for the global destruction of the poor and their lives and environment, we must think twice before coming out to support Hillary Clinton in November.

I was very happy that I was able to change at least one intelligent, educated mind.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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How BJP Comes to Power in West Bengal

RSS BJP

A step-by-step scenario.

An analysis by me, a former, longtime member (and leader) of RSS and ABVP.
______

-Part 1.-

BJP in power in West Bengal? Are you kidding me? You might say.

But no, I’m not kidding you. I’m serious about it.

It was unthinkable just a few years ago that BJP, Hindu fundamentalist party, will have so much influence in West Bengal, a state that has had a long history of progressive, secular movements. It was unthinkable that BJP will come to power in Assam, a state similar to Bengal with a Muslim population of 34 percent. If Assam can have a BJP government now (they just won the elections there), why can’t they do it in West Bengal — in five or ten years?

It is entirely possible, and I’m telling you how.

Bengalis have seen a bloody partition that divided the nation forever, gone through another traumatic war in 1971 that gave rise to the sovereign country of Bangladesh, and witnessed horrific Hindu-Muslim violence that has killed and displaced millions; yet they pledged to live in harmony, rejecting hate and religious extremism.

BJP RSS

Even when Bangladesh, the other side of partitioned Bengal, has seen mass exodus of Hindus since the 1947 partition, and West Bengal has seen a rapid rise of its Muslim population, both sides of the border have done their best to keep their societies united. Religion-based riots have practically not happened in West Bengal in the last half a century; even the 1992 Babri Mosque demolition that swept India with communal violence and massive bloodshed was not able to cause major violence in Calcutta and elsewhere in the state. Major credit goes to the left, progressive and secular movements and their administrations that have kept West Bengal and its Hindus, Muslims, Christians and atheists safe.

Although I never belonged to a communist party, I must give credit to the left parties, then in power, for sustaining this peace and calm.

Hinduism in West Bengal, unlike many others parts of India, has rejected fundamentalism and social chauvinism. Islam in Bangladesh has forcefully rejected the Mullah dictates from Saudi Arabia and moved polar opposites of violent and oppressive social doctrines. Although we never hear on mainstream media here in the U.S., Muslims in Bangladesh have created a gender-equal society, through progressive social movements and science-based education. People are religious in rural areas, and many atheists live in mostly urban areas, but none of them condone violence and extremism.

Unfortunately, the landscape is fast changing. Fanatics and fundamentalists have gained ground on both sides of Bengal: Islamic extremists such as Jamat and Hindu extremists such as RSS have gained political mileage in recent years. Jamat has their political operatives in major parties including the ruling Awami League to a lesser extent and opposition BNP and Jatiya Party to a greater extent. Likewise, RSS has their own political wing BJP that is now in national power in Delhi; their many social fronts have mushroomed across the state of West Bengal.

RSS march

RSS, unlike common knowledge, is the parent organization that was founded back in 1925 by a Hindu chauvinist doctor in the conservative state of Maharashtra. My father has been a lifelong, hardcore believer of the organization, and has worked closely with its stalwarts such as former prime minister of India A. B. Vajyapee, L. K. Advani, et al. My father Jitendra Nath Banerjee sacrificed his college education to work full time with RSS, and was jailed after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 (a member of RSS killed Gandhi, and the new Indian government banned the organization). He came to West Bengal in 1951 after being released; RSS leaders sent him to Calcutta as a party whole timer or “pracharak.”

I became involved with the organization when I was six years old. I left them when I was about twenty two, out of ideological disillusionment. When I left, I was the West Bengal state secretary of RSS’ student wing ABVP, or Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

I later wrote a book about the umbrella organization and their many fronts. My book “In the Belly of the Beast” was published from Delhi in 1998.

My father was devastated when the book came out. He became very silent, and we do not speak about politics, ever, since then.

He is 92 now, and lives in Calcutta.

(to be continued…)

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Jamat BD

Trump Now Could Be U.S. President

Trump shoot quote

Trump is now the Republican presidential candidate. He basically got the final nod from the Republican Party, after Cruz dropped out last night.

It means, Donald Trump could now be the president of America.

A quick analysis — in case anybody cares.

Question. — What is the ONE thing that made Trump a racist man Donald Trump a presidential candidate, and stopped Bernie Sanders to be known to America and the world?

Answer.– MEDIA. Big media. Corporate media. Media that does what Noam  Chomsky called Manufacturing Consent.

Manufacturing_Consent_movie_poster

Trump got the angry, anti-establishment Republican votes across the nation — votes of people who are against NAFTA, and for all the wrong reasons, against outsourcing jobs, and immigrants. They want to kill the government as we know it, create more violence globally in the name of fighting terror, and want to enhance the trickle-down economic system that is in place since Reagan. They want to bust labor unions. They want to do away with all the pro-people laws that the 99% won after centuries of struggle.

Trump does not believe climate change and global warming are real.

Trump climate change

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders is getting HUGE support from anti-establishment, anti-Wall Street Democrats (and millions of independents), and young people who are much more informed than the older generation about U.S.’s war policy, environmental policy, the incredible income equality, private prison, anti-union politics, and media’s lies — are supporting Bernie.

But Hillary Clinton is ahead of Sanders, MAINLY because while Republican media — such as Fox, New York Post, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and the countless radio talks shows — kept supporting Trump, Democratic media such as New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, NPR and such kept supporting Hillary — nakedly.

Even last night, when Bernie won Indiana against Hillary by a substantial margin, and that too, after the rigged voting in New York, that news is practically a footnote. Wolf Blitzer of CNN called it a “narrow” win.

Wolf Sanders

If you think I’m making it up, let’s have a debate.

If there was any way to take the media element out of the political equation, Bernie Sanders would have already become the presidential candidate. But from Day One, corporate media had decided that on the Democratic side, their chosen candidate was Hillary Clinton. CNN’s owner Ted Turner has been one of her biggest financial supporters.

If media were fair and balanced, the American people would have known that some of the most evil corporations on earth have been funding Hillary all along. They include Monsanto (GMO corporation that destroyed farmers globally), Wal-Mart (biggest union buster), Exxon (one of the largest polluters on earth), private prison industries (that profit on keeping a maximum number of people in jails), and especially Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest, global financial giants responsible for market crashes both in U.S. and around the world.

People, courtesy America’s media, got to know about Trump on the Republican side, and voted for him. People, courtesy America’s media, got to know about Hillary on the Democratic side, and voted for her.

This is Manufacturing Consent — live — as we speak.

Think, and act.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

Hillary GS

The Bernie Revolution IS Alive and Well

presidents

So, contrary to what NYTimes, CNN and big media wanted us to believe, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is alive and well: as of now (8.45 P.M.), out of the five states, Sanders is ahead in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Not the best possible news for Hillary and DNC. Not the way they wanted it tonight.

Huge, unprecedented amount of money and establishment DNC machinery have successfully stopped the phenomenal, young-generation-driven Bernie Sanders momentum by rigging the election in New York and creating a media-manufactured Hillary sentiment (which I have outlined in my previous blog post at humanitycollege.org).

I do not believe in the “lesser evil” theory (i.e., in case Bernie cannot be the Democratic nominee, we should vote for Hillary to stop Trump). I have come to a point in my life where I have decided that (1) pro-1% candidates are all more or less the same because they are all working for the extremely powerful forces that have destroyed America and the world; (2) especially when it is now proven beyond doubt that anti-people, evil corporations such as Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Exxon, GE, Verizon and private prison industries have contributed millions to the Hillary campaign, there is no way I could vote for their chosen candidate; and (3) While I know it very well that Trump, Cruz and their forces are very dangerous to mankind because they are fascists, racists and bigots supported by Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute, I do not believe that by promoting and perpetuating the “lesser-evil” vote-democracy, the ordinary men, women and families’ problems will be ever addressed or solved.

Band aids do not cure cancer. Period.

I worked very hard for an Obama victory in 2008, and then my hopes for a change were quickly dashed when I saw how he immediately put Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and GE executives as well as extremely corrupt politicians such as Rahm Emmanuel in key positions of his administration.

Income inequality has risen in America since 2008, no meaningful labor union or immigration reform was ever passed (people forgot about EFCA or CIR; union density has in fact gone down), police brutality against African-Americans has skyrocketed, and unemployment in the minority communities has reached an all-time high. These are ALL proofs as we speak today that perpetuating the status-quo just to stop the Republicans is failed politics.

I have come to believe that NYTimes, CNN, NBC, and Wall Street key forces who are supporting Hillary Clinton want us to overlook this important lesson from history that ONLY a pro-99% bridge building — nonviolently and democratically across the moderate left-right spectrum — can ultimately empower us.

Bernie Sanders’ massive victories in “rural and conservative” New York, Oklahoma, Kansas or Colorado show us that indeed, such a broad-based people’s coming together is possible, based on common issues, challenges, and experiences.

Bernie Sanders may or may not be the next president of USA, but this incredible upswell of the mass, led by the young generation, is happening right now, and America has changed deep inside once and for all. It’s only a matter of time before the dream of a nonviolent revolution becomes reality.

Our generation may not live to see that day, but our children will. It is not utopia. It is ground reality.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partha_Banerjee

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Second Circle by Partha Banerjee

A Nonviolent Revolution in America

CNN bias

“Bernie Sanders’ Worse-than-Expected Performance in New York.”

That’s what most people would say, given than Hillary Clinton won the state by 16% votes two days ago: Hillary 58% vs Bernie 42%. It is disappointing for us who keep supporting Bernie.

But was it as miserable as the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and other such “liberal” media want us to accept, and take it as an end for the Sanders candidacy? No, I’m not talking about the number of delegates each of them got out of NY primaries. I’m talking about a much more reassuring aspect of this election, both in NY, and across the U.S.

Perhaps across the world, because I see similar scenarios.

If you look at the NY results map, the entire state except for New York City and surrounding areas practically voted for Bernie Sanders. Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse — three cities with a relatively higher diverse population (African-Americans and Latinos in particular) gave Hillary a very small margin of win: in Buffalo, it was 0.6%. In other NY cities, including state capital of Albany (where we lived for years), Sanders won decisively.

It is very clear from the map, therefore, that primarily New York City handed Hillary Clinton the victory she needed so desperately, especially after losing seven out of eight primaries and caucuses before NY. And in my opinion, she won so big in NYC mainly because the African-American and Latino votes went in her favor. And some other factors too, which I tried to explain in my blog post yesterday at https://onefinalblog.wordpress.com/…/why-hillary-won-in-ne…/.

logo

Again, to put my African-American and Latino friends, students and colleagues at ease, I am not in the business of blaming you. I am not blaming anyone: whites, blacks, browns, LGBT, religious institutions, young or old voters, men or women. If there is anyone to blame, I blame the big DNC bosses and corporate America who played a very major role to make sure Hillary was elected in NY with a big margin. Their money, their media, and their mafia made it happen. Sure, I am disappointed. But I am not surprised with the outcome at all.

I do hope Bernie Sanders will press on, because as they say, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” My years of political activism tells me 2016 is going to bring in a lot of unprecedented drama — both on the Democratic and Republican sides. Even New York Times and CNN won’t be able to hide it.

So, what was so reassuring about Bernie’s NY defeat? Here’s some bullet points for those who are interested to look indepth.

Hillary fracking

1. Massive Bernie victories across the rural, traditionally conservative areas. — Unbelievable! Why did these rural and small-town Democrats voted for a media-declared “socialist with radical ideas?” Normally, one would think they would go with a big-name candidate (a state senator, a former Secretary of State, a board member at Wal-Mart, a high-paid speaker at Goldman Sachs and Verizon, and that too, with a very big husband — no pun intended), as opposed to an unknown outsider.

2. The reason they voted for Bernie was that they are much more informed and politically savvy than we the elite New Yorkers want to give them credit for. They know what’s going on both in the U.S. and around the world, in the name of a globalized economy. They do their own research well. They know what Glass-Stegall Act is, what Hillary’s role was in Iraq war, and how Sweden, Germany and Japan — three rich capitalist countries — practice their capitalism, and keep their inequality at a minimum. They know how women and labor unions play a major role in the society in Denmark and Finland.

3. Climate change and global warming are critical issues they considered before they voted. Just the same way they had voted for a totally unknownZephyr Teachout recently against a very powerful, union-busting, pro-1% governor Andrew Cuomo. In fact, Bernie got even more votes in many more areas than Zephyr got against Cuomo. But the pattern was similar.

4. The vast swath of NY state knows about the disastrous impacts of fracking, and Hillary’s close association with fracking industries. They know she has been a prime spokesperson for fracking, as well as Exxon, both in the U.S. and around the world. They know until recently, she was ambivalent about the Keystone XL pipeline, a project Obama stopped after national and international outrage, leading to the Paris Climate Summit in late 2015.

Bernie NY map

5. Upstate and rural NY showed a similar voting pattern that we’ve seen in favor of Bernie Sanders in some other states such as Kansas, Missouri (now a Bernie-win state), Oklahoma, Colorado…states that one would think were sure Hillary wins. Oklahoma, such a Deep South state with a huge number of rural, conservative voters? Kansas? Colorado? We the New York city snobs often discount rural, conservative America to be pro-establishment and uninformed. That shows how stupid and detached we are.

6. Again, in states where Clinton won, or even Sanders won so far, the African-American votes went strongly in favor of Clinton. Look at this map athttps://www.washingtonpost.com/…/bernie-sanderss-black-vot…/. Why? Again, without ever blaming the black voters, it is perhaps because of two important reasons: (a) the Clintons’ name recognition vis-a-vis Bernie’s relatively unknown face (thanks to media again); and (b) from my personal experience to work with black and immigrant communities, very few of them ever heard of Bill’s crime bill that put more blacks in jail and militarized America’s police force, or his immigration law that opened the floodgate of family-breaking deportation, a trend that goes on until today, through Bush and Obama administrations. And of course, on information that most ordinary people get through CNN, NBC or Fox, there is hardly ever any mention of Hillary’s close association with the private prison industry, Monsanto, Exxon, Verizon, or Wal-Mart.

People simply do not know.

OK Bernie7. So, the reassuring thing is that perhaps for the first time in modern, post-Reagan U.S. history, a pro-99% political force is building where both progressives (the so-called “left”) and conservatives (the so-called “right”) are coming together, and making decisions in the same direction — not for the status quo, but for a futuristic change. In my opinion, this trend will continue, and gain momentum. The young generation America is rising in lightening speed, and nobody can stop them. They have knowledge, and they are not afraid to speak up against media’s and establishment politicians’ lies.

I have often talked about this urgency and pragmatism of this moderate and nonviolent bridge building, and wrote a peer-reviewed paper that was published in an international journal. I am willing to revise and expand the thoughts, if and when I find a platform to do it.

I am firmly convinced, more so than ever before, that such a broad coalition of the ordinary, working men, women and families will make the 99% victorious in the coming days. Bernie Sanders may or may not be the president, but this nonviolent, democratic revolution will happen. In fact, it is happening right now.

I can hear its footsteps.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, NY
Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partha_Banerjee
Twitter @TeachActivist

Second Circle by Partha Banerjee

Why Hillary Won in New York

Hillary Sharpton

Why did Hillary win last night?

By Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
Twitter @TeachActivist

Of course, it’s not so simple to describe, but based on my years of experience working in elections both in India and USA, and also years of studied observations on how media and politics work, here is my two cents.

If you want to to add anything, please feel free to do so. Thank you so very much for reading and sharing.

1. Name Recognition. — Thanks to media’s blackout (which I now call “Journalism of Exclusion”), most people didn’t even know who Bernie Sanders was, until recently. Whether it’s U.S. media such as New York Times, CNN, NPR or NY Daily News, or foreign media such as Times of India or powerful, local media across the world, nobody heard about Sanders, or his lifelong work for the 99%. People have always associated the Clintons with liberal politics, and famous personalities praised them as saviors of the powerless and disenfranchised. There was no analysis as to what they have done all these years, both in the U.S. and overseas. Nobody knows — outside of a small, informed circle — Hillary’s Kissinger or Monsanto connection, or Bill’s role to overturn Glass-Stegall Act. Few people could actually connect the dots.

Hillary Clinton Foundation

2. The Jewish Vote. — Bernie Sanders’ strong criticism of Israeli government especially the tyrannical Netanyahu regime and its Gaza bloodshed was, in all likelihood, not received well among the conservative Jewish community that is a big percentage of NYC voters. Again, pro-Israeli-1% media such as NYTimes, CNN and Washington Post played a role to spin the news in Clinton’s favor.

3. Big Union’s Hillary Endorsement. — Unfortunately, many big unions endorsed Clinton. Hillary’s long and close association with Wal-Mart (anti-union) should have been enough reason for them not to endorse her. And her Goldman Sachs and Verizon speeches, $225,000 a speech, and the transcripts never disclosed. But they did. It was still great to see that CWA (on Verizon strike), TWU (union that understands how public transportation is breaking down), and a major nurses’ union endorsed Bernie. But much bigger unions such as 1199 or Randi Weingarten’s teacher’s union supported Hillary. They have money and power, and have strong NYC base.

4. African-American Vote (and Latino Vote). — People who are the most disenfranchised, and have been victims of racism, police brutality, poverty, Bill Clinton’s disastrous crime bill, welfare reform, or harsh immigration law, serious health crisis, and incredible illiteracy voted for Hillary in a big way especially in big cities. If you look at the NY state map I hand-drew last night, following NYTimes’ results map, primarily, NYC delivered Hillary the victory. The rest of entire NY state, except for small Hillary wins in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo, voted big for Bernie. Again, I would not blame black voters for their decision. They simply didn’t know Bernie Sanders well. And they put their faith on Hillary, just the same way they put their faith on Bill for many years.

Sample ballot

5. Huge Voter Suppression. — Hundreds of thousands of voters could not vote in NY yesterday. It was so disastrous that even the pro-Hillary mayor asked the board of elections to investigate the large-scale exclusion. Now, would these excluded voters vote for Hillary or Bernie? Not sure. But the entire, archaic and primitive election system in America got exposed once again. Powers — the 1% — always validated democracy through no-show primaries where 5-7% people usually vote, and this time, when such a large number of people turned out, the voting machinery crashed.

6. The Trump Factor. — Contrary to many polls where they showed that Bernie has a better chance of defeating Trump in November, many New Yorkers believe Hillary can do it better. A friend called from Albany last week, and said he was going to vote for Hillary for that reason, so that Trump can be stopped. Yet, fact is, if Hillary becomes the Democratic nominee with help from superdelegates, Trump’s chances drastically increase, and we could see a racist-sexist-fascist man to be the next American president. A scary thought, but it is now more possible than ever before.

7. A First Woman President. — Again, some friends tell me this is the one single reason they want to vote for Hillary. They have now seen a black president, and they now want to see a woman president in America (and they lament that unlike the rest of the world, America has not been able to elect a woman head of state yet). They say it will be historic. To me, it is purely a sentimental reason, and just by being woman, one does not become pro-woman, or gender neutral. In fact, in India, we have seen Indira Gandhi who was a dictator, and her politics destroyed my youth. The real question should be, is this candidate pro-1%, or pro-99%? If she refuses to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, is that going to help the poor woman workers and their families and children? If she works with Wal-Mart, is that going to help the poor woman workers who work for Wal-Mart with slave wages and no union rights? Why at Clinton Foundation, women make much less than their male colleagues?

8. Media’s Scandalous Bias. — Journalism was a joke. New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, Wall Street Journal, etc. etc. got exposed. Naked. I have studied media at a famous journalism school here in New York. I know how it works.

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