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(en) Canada, Collectif Emma Goldman - Cornel West: "Black Lives Matter and the fight against American imperialism are one and the same fight" (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 1 Jul 2020 09:48:44 +0300

The American philosopher and activist believes that discussions on police violence are inseparable from those on Washington's imperialist policies. ---- You can't talk about devaluing the lives of black people without talking about militarism and the long tentacles of the American Empire, says American philosopher Cornel West to Middle East Eye . ---- In a river interview about the current protests in the United States and the spread of the Black Lives Matter movement to the rest of the world, this major contributor to African-American studies believes that discussions about the murder of George Floyd and the police violence are inseparable from those on Washington's imperialist policies.
Cornel West is not tender towards former President Barack Obama. The Black Lives Matter movement emerged during its second term, when the United States' Minister of Justice and Secretary of Homeland Security were black.

George Floyd, an African American, was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 by a white policeman who pressed his knee to his neck for almost nine minutes.

The police had been called by the employees of a grocery store following the purchase by the forties of a pack of cigarettes with a 20 dollar bill suspected of being false.

"I can't breathe," we hear Floyd repeat in the video of his arrest, which has since revolted the whole world.

For African-Americans, this incident shows a rudeness and a humiliation that they are simply no longer ready to tolerate. "Is this what the life of a black man is worth?" 20 dollars? Asked George Floyd's brother Philonise in his testimony to Congress Thursday to June 11, the day after his brother was buried.

"What we need to do is recognize that[...]we are attending a funeral[similar to that of George Floyd]in the West Bank because of the policy[and]of American bombs through the Israeli army" , Cornel West told MEE .

"We are witnessing such a funeral in Yemen ... we are witnessing such a funeral in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We are witnessing such funerals in Mali. There is such a funeral around the world, a funeral in which the United States plays a disproportionate role in making it easier, if not playing a direct role in it.

"Thus, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr, we must show moral coherence in our criticism of racism, militarism, poverty and American materialism," says the philosopher.

"The value of a black man"

As the United States entered a deep economic depression due to COVID-19, with unprecedented unemployment and a deeply divisive political climate under President Donald Trump, the murder of Floyd sparked some of the most significant protests that the country has known since the civil rights movement.

Protest marches are held in all 50 states, in cities of all sizes. Several gatherings and vigils are held daily in New York, Washington DC, Chicago and other major cities.

The demonstrators also demand that the police no longer be funded or even abolished, arguing that police practices are institutionally racist and that new systems must be created. It is generally accepted that African-Americans are killed disproportionately by the police, terrifying and making whole communities uncomfortable.

"I think the fundamental impetus behind this anger is the questioning of the elites, who have no accountability. So it has to do with police power and police murder in the black community, "said Cornel West.

"It has to do with the power of Wall Street and its crimes with regard to the legal pillage that has been going on for a long time on Wall Street, the enormous inequalities of wealth that result from it.

"It has to do with the power of the Pentagon, not just the drones dropped on innocent people around the world, in Yemen and Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere." "

"Obama, war criminal"

Cornel West reserved his harshest criticism for former President Barack Obama, who recently expressed support for the Black Lives Matter protests .

"It is incredible to see our brother Barack Obama acting as if he were in the forefront and fighting against police power as the Black Lives Matter emerged under his administration, under his Minister of Justice and his[secretary of]Black Homeland Security, "said the intellectual.

"While he helped militarize these police services. He helped generate these levels of poverty when he bailed out Wall Street criminals. And we haven't talked about foreign policy yet, when it comes to dropping bombs on our innocent brothers and sisters in various parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. We haven't even even talked about the murder of innocent Palestinian brothers and sisters by the US-backed Israeli army, "he added.

The United States has granted Israel $ 142.3 billion, making it the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign aid since the Second World War, mostly military aid. Since the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the US "war on terror" has resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people.

Cornel West, formerly supporter of Obama, has turned into a fierce detractor of the former American president because of his management of the financial crisis, promoting policies that have bailed out the banks and guaranteed that their leaders are not worried for their role in the crisis. Under Obama, economic inequality in the United States has exploded.

He has since called Obama "the black face of the American empire," which he says "committed war crimes with his drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya."

The Obama administration oversaw regime change in Libya and helped normalize the coup led by Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Egypt in 2013, suppressing the democratic aspirations of civilians in Cairo, which had repercussions in the whole region.

Obama also authorized 542 drone strikes that left an estimated 3,797 dead, including 324 civilians, during his presidential term.

"Let's be honest"

Although police violence in the United States is part of a long and eventful history linked to the protection of the property of whites, the joint training exercises between Israel and the American police, according to commentators, have fundamentally transformed the nature of the police in the United States.

"Since IDF soldiers are routinely ordered to shoot to kill, always assuming that they neutralize a dangerous enemy, their training for the United States police has resulted in the killings in bursts that we have seen there in recent years, "writes Palestinian writer Nada Elia for Middle East Eye .

Cornel West believes that talking about the links between Black Lives Matter and American militarism should not be considered "a luxury".

In recent weeks, companies, themselves having questionable work practices in the United States or abroad, have also felt the need to make statements in favor of the anti-racism movement. Ben & Jerry's , the Vermont-based ice cream brand, was praised for his stern message about the need to dismantle white supremacism, a praise that was short-lived when activists pointed out that the brand was still profiting from its operations in the Israeli settlements.

Palestinians demonstrate against police violence and in support of American protesters after the death of George Floyd in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on June 8. Photo credit: AFP.
"From my experience on the ground, when people now see neoliberal politicians and spokespersons come out and act like they are really militant, like they are really radical, they say, hey, we are born at night, but not last night, "reports West.

"In the end, if you really want black people to be free, and I'm one of them, that will never be the case in a predatory capitalist system. We will never be free in a system of imperialist tentacles,[we]will never be free as long as the Pentagon elite remain uncontrollable with its militaristic policies and continue to kill people in Latin America and the Caribbean, and so on.

"So it's not a luxury, theoretical or academic,[we can't afford]to say" Oh, we don't have time for interconnection and interdependence,[because]we have to deal with this special question ". This particular issue is still already interconnected. "

"It is like asking our Palestinian brothers and sisters to speak simply of the plight and plight of the Palestinians without speaking of American imperialist politics. You can't do it if you really like the Palestinians. "

"It's the same thing with my Jewish brothers and sisters. They take it to the head in France, they take it to the head in Russia. They are taking it in their heads in various regions. Anti-Jewish sentiment goes hand in hand with other systems. So, I am rather pumped up when people want to[dissociate these questions to such an extent]that they minimize the systematic nature of the oppression.

"No, we have to be honest about the essence of freedom. We have to be honest about what we object to. "

You can read the interview with Cornel West in full here .

Article written by Azad Essa in New York in the United States. Link to the original, here .

by Collectif Emma Goldman

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