This week Women’s Studies Professor Donna Hughes was publicly condemned by the University of Rhode Island for writing an op-ed that criticized what she called the LGBTQ ideology. The op-ed actually criticized the far right as well for what Professor Hughes calls extreme “ideological fantasies” but the university only objects to her criticism of LGBTQ views from a feminist perspective. The university also warned that, while “faculty have the same rights, obligations, and responsibilities as other American citizens” under the First Amendment those rights are not “boundless.”
We previously wrote about academic freedom issues at University of Rhode Island due to its Director of Graduate Studies of History Erik Loomis, who has defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence. Loomis also declared that “Science, statistics, and technology are all inherently racist because they are developed by racists who live in a racist society, whether they identify as racists or not.”
Hughes actually begins and spends much of her op-ed criticizing the far right and its violent history and ideology. However, she then criticizes what she calls similar fantasies on the far left. In doing so, Professor Hughes was espousing a view shared by other feminists that aspects of LGBTQ writings undermine feminist values and goals. She argues that “The American political left is increasingly diving headfirst into their own world of lies and fantasy and, unlike in the imaginary world of QAnon, real children are becoming actual victims. The trans-sex fantasy, the belief that a person can change his or her sex, either from male to female or from female to male, is spreading largely unquestioned among the political left.” She added that “[w]omen and girls are expected to give up their places of privacy such as restrooms, locker rooms, and even prison cells.”
From a free speech and academic perspective, the issue is not the merits of this argument but the decision of the university to issue a public condemnation.
I don't agree with Donna Hughes' interpretation of what's taking place but she has every right to make that argument. I think she's on the wrong side of history but, eventually, aren't we all? Germaine Greer is a critic of the trans movement. I disagree with her but she has every right to make the argument she's making as well. I think I'm in the right because I believe in expanding rights. But they can argue that, as feminists, they are supporting women as they would be normally. I consider people who are transitioning into women or have already transitioned to be woman. That's a point Donna and Germaine would disagree with me on. That is their right. We need to have these conversations. In the feminist movement, we have been having them for some time. For example, Gloria Steinem slammed trans-women back in the early 70s. In the time since then, a number of us who have different opinions have spoken our piece. It has allowed all women to be at the point today where it is not just a few of us defending transwomen. We made our points for years and had every right to do so. Now Donna and Germaine are in the minority view and they have every right to argue their points.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Thursday, April 29, 2021. Today, we focus on the Kurds and the Turkish government.
AP reports, "Turkish warplanes were continuing on Wednesday to strike suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq, while commando troops were conducting a search and sweep operation, Turkey’s defense ministry said, as the military pressed ahead with its latest incursion into the neighboring region." AP gets the wording right: "suspected." Suspected. Also should include "populated" because that's what these areas under assault are -- populated. We deface humanity when we ignore that reality. There are many ways that we ignore reality with regards to the Turkish government's never-ending assault on the Kurdish people. "Five PKK terrorists were neutralized in drone strikes in northern Iraq, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said on Thursday." ANADOLU AGENCY is a good example of an outlet that regularly ignores reality and defaces humanity. In an AA report carried by HURRIYET DAILY NEWS, we are told that two Turkish soldiers were "killed in northern Iraq. In another AA report, we are told "Five PKK terrorists were neutralized in drone strikes in northern Iraq, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said on Thursday." The five people -- who had not been convicted of any crime nor stood before a judge and jury -- were killed. Not neutralized. Killed. Via a drone, they were killed. They were at or near their homes and they were killed.
Wording matters. How the story is told matters. The Turkish government is a bully. There was a brief period where Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared willing to try to find some peace for both sides in the conflict. That was in 2013, that' how long ago it was. He persecutes Kurds in Turkey and he tries to kill them in Iraq.
The PKK is not the problem anymore than the IRA was the problem in Ireland. The PKK, like the IRA before it, was a response, not an initiating action. We tell our children, "Actions have consequences" but then we want to ignore that truism when we're talking about adults.
But the ones talking certainly aren't adults. Omer Ozkizilcik offers a column at TRT entitled "Drones and checkpoints: Turkey's blueprint for success against PKK in Iraq." That's complete and utter nonsense on every level In fact, it's one outright lie after another.
For example, the KRG is part of Iraq so the notion that checkpoints in Iraq, carried out by uninvited Turkish troops could ever be a success is just outright stupidity.
And it's a lie to even speak of ''success.' This conflict has been going on for decades now. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
1984 it began, 2021 it's still ongoing. Who can honestly call any recent efforts at killing a "success."
This is not success, this is not peace.
What is it? A government that's allowed itself to stick to a hideous position and now has its back against the wall and is unable//unwilling to reset.
Turkey has long been an power of empire. The Kurds? They have no homeland, the largest ethnic minority in the world without a homeland. They have been attacked and targeted for decades and decades. The PKK is a response to the attacks. You can't win a conflict when you dehumanize the other side. The PKK isn't afraid to go down and no one wants to be the adult in the room to make that point.
Death is not a fear They believe that they are engaged in a struggle on behalf of the Kurdish people. They are willing to engage in and endure the cycle of violence because they believe that their efforts are the only thing that will end the ongoing persecution of the Kurds.
Look at the battle in northern Iraq. Drones, War Planes and armed troops are utilized by the Turkish government. All that military might. And it hasn't scared off the PKK -- a rag-tag roupd with no national resources or aid to back them up. But in the face of those odds, the PKK continues to engage in the conflit.
They are led by a sense of purpose.
More and more, the Turkish military has no purpose. It's killing Kurds (on the orders of the Turkish government) and the lies of the Turkish government have been used too many times to be easily swallowed now.
Reality is that Turkey -- and other neighboring countries -- have harmed the Kurdish people and victimized them for decades. They got away with it for a very long time. But now there is an awakening taking place in the same way that there was on the Palestinian issue. The roots of the conflict are not noble nor are its aims.
There's no real sense of purpose in it for the Turkish military at this point. The government lied repeatedly -- a "noble" lie to use Plato's terms -- but a noble lie can't be used indefinitely. It has an end date. And the point of questioning has arrived.
The PKK is a response to how the Kurds have been treated and are being treated. Lies don't last forever.
Five days ago, US President Joe Biden issued the following statement:
Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in
the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing
such an atrocity from ever again occurring. Beginning on April 24, 1915,
with the arrest of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in
Constantinople by Ottoman authorities, one and a half million Armenians
were deported, massacred, or marched to their deaths in a campaign of
extermination. We honor the victims of the Meds Yeghern so that the
horrors of what happened are never lost to history. And we remember so
that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in
all its forms.
Of those who survived, most were forced to find new homes and new lives around the world, including in the United States. With strength and resilience, the Armenian people survived and rebuilt their community. Over the decades Armenian immigrants have enriched the United States in countless ways, but they have never forgotten the tragic history that brought so many of their ancestors to our shores. We honor their story. We see that pain. We affirm the history. We do this not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.
Today, as we mourn what was lost, let us also turn our eyes to the future—toward the world that we wish to build for our children. A world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security. Let us renew our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world. And let us pursue healing and reconciliation for all the people of the world.
The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.
It was a genocide. And while liars like Cenk Uygur have repeatedly attempted to lie and distort reality, stronger and smarter voices like Heidi Boghosian have led on this issue for years now.
The genocide took place 104 years ago. Not only are liars like Cenk unable to admit reality, so is the Turkish government.
The U.S. is now among 30 countries, including France, Germany and Canada, that have formally recognized the Armenian genocide, according to the Armenian National Institute. Other U.S. allies, including the U.K. and Israel, have not. Turkey’s foreign ministry said that Biden’s statement “opened a wound” in Ankara-Washington relations and “deeply injured the Turkish people,” in a statement, according to the Financial Times.
But to Armenians, the statement was a long-awaited acknowledgement of an atrocity against their people they believe has been persistently understated. Over a century later, the events are “primary identity markers” of Armenians around the world, says Mary Kouyoumdjian, a 38-year old Armenian-American composer based in New York. “It means we are constantly looking to the past. I think my generation experiences survivor guilt,” she says.
[. . .]
Simon Maghakyan, a human rights activist and lecturer in international relations at the University of Colorado, Denver, says that Biden’s statement was an important step in “healing the Armenian community’s intergenerational trauma”. During the genocide, his great-grandfather, who served in the Ottoman army in World War I, fled to Syria, where he met his future wife, an Armenian refugee. They later settled in Soviet Armenia, where Maghakyan’s parents were born. In 2003, Maghakyan’s family moved to the U.S.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on President Joe Biden to immediately reverse his declaration that 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide, a move he said was upsetting and diminished bilateral ties.
Biden's historic declaration on Saturday has infuriated its NATO ally Turkey, which has said the announcement had opened a "deep wound" in relations that have already been strained over a host of issues.
In his first comments since Biden's statement, Erdogan said "the wrong step" would hinder ties and advised the United States to "look in the mirror," adding Turkey still sought to establish "good neighborly" ties with Armenia.
"The U.S. President has made baseless, unjust and untrue remarks about the sad events that took place in our geography over a century ago," Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting, and repeated a call for Turkish and Armenian historians to form a joint commission to investigate the events.
104 years later and instead of moving to maturity, Erdogan can only throw a tantrum in public.
You never should allow yourself to be painted in a corner. But that's what Erdogan does repeatedly and why there is still no solution to the conflict with the PKK.
In other news, we've been covering the case of Robert Pether this week -- the Australian citizen tossed into prison in Iraq. The Australian government has been a failure in protecting one of their own citizens. Christopher Knaus (GUARDIAN) reports:
The family of a businessman arrested in Iraq say the Australian embassy assured him he would be safe before he travelled to Baghdad to resolve a contractual dispute with the nation’s central bank.
Mechanical engineer Robert Pether, 46, was detained three weeks ago in Iraq after travelling from Dubai on behalf of his firm to revive a stalled project to build the Central Bank of Iraq’s headquarters.
He was held in solitary confinement and given no access to a phone or computer, his family alleges, and was not told what he was charged with or the reasons for his detention.
Pether’s wife, Desree, said her husband had had concerns about his safety before travelling to Iraq and called the Australian embassy to discuss the situation.
He had been invited back to Iraq by the bank and was assured it was ready to resolve the dispute.
Desree said her husband asked the embassy specifically if there was any risk that they would arrest him. The embassy told him no, according to Desree.
“Three days before he left Dubai he rang the Australian embassy in Baghdad and he explained the situation and he said: ‘My employer is having a dispute with the client. Is it safe for me to travel there for a meeting to resolve the issues? Am I at any risk of being arrested or anything like that?’
“The embassy in Baghdad said: ‘No, no, they can’t do that. You’re fine.’ ”
We'll wind down with this statement Black Alliance for Peace issued earlier this month:
The ruling class has long deployed propaganda meant to obscure the rule of capital and normalize capitalist interests as the general interest of society. But lately, the liberal Western intelligentsia has elevated that deployment to a science.
The concept of humanitarian intervention and its logical derivative, the Responsibility to Protect, have proven to be one of the most innovative ideological weapons ever produced. By combining normalized assumptions of white Western civilizational superiority and the liberal anti-authoritarianism encoded in the DNA of the liberal project, imperialism has been able to win broad support for everything from direct military interventions and drone warfare to punitive sanctions against whole societies. These actions are framed as defending human rights, and even as “democracy.”
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has consistently from its inception attempted to confront this ideological weapon. We named it for what it is: The 21st century version of the “white man’s burden.” We have sought to shed light on the white supremacist nature of the white man's burden's murderous consequences, in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Africa as a whole, and in Latin America, where NATO has expanded.
We have continued our work in solidarity with the peoples of Haiti, who are in a life-and-death struggle with a U.S.-supported regime and a U.S.-supported president, Jovenel Moïse. He ironically got the full support of the Biden-Harris administration and Democrats when he refused to leave office at the end of his term. We say "ironically" because just a few weeks earlier, Democrats were squealing about the possibility of Trump not leaving office.
On the issue of Afghanistan, BAP has been consistent and clear in demanding an end to that war and full compliance with the peace accord that required the United States to withdraw all forces from the country, including its mercenaries called private contractors, as well as NATO, its ally in white global supremacy.
And then we come to China. It is the new enemy, not because they are demonstrating by just existing as a nation the contrasting limitations and contradictions of the capitalist model to provide basic things, like protection against a pandemic. No, China has been deemed the enemy because they are so-called “human rights violators" with an “authoritarian” government that just released a report documenting old news: The United States has been the main threat to international peace since the end of the Second World War.
Who will save us? It will not be the Western saviors who align with their rulers. It will be us, the colonized and oppressed, the workers and peasants, the newly emerging “peoples” who recognize the primary contradiction in the world today is between the colonial-capitalist world order and collective humanity.
PRESS AND MEDIA
The April 6 episode of “Voices With Vision,” kicked off with BAP’s call for an “International Day of Action on Afghanistan” which was held on April 8. Netfa Freeman, who represents BAP member organization Pan-African Community Action (PACA) on BAP’s Coordinating Committee, and co-host Craig Hall, got a chance to speak with Comrade Brother Eugene Puryear of the Party for Socialism & Liberation, fresh from his trip to Haiti, where he was able to tell them first-hand what is happening on the ground as the uprising against Jovenel Moïse and U.S. imperialism grows stronger. In the second half, they chopped it up with BAP member Dr. Jared Ball on the issue of anti-Black multiracialism in commercial media. But as is customary, the show began with a commentary by political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal as he fights through poor health to talk about the environment of oppression that the wretched of the earth live under at the hands of the state.
The April 13 episode of “Voices With Vision” began with a deeper dive into BAP’s call for the United States to withdraw from Afghanistan as the original May 1 deadline to get out of the country—troops and all—gets closer. BAP member Jacqueline Luqman of “Luqman Nation” had some choice words on that, followed by BAP Solidarity Network Coordinator Julie Varughese. Then in the second half, a special segment on the crypto currency, Bitcoin and anti-imperialism. For that, Netfa and Craig speak with Liberation Psychologist and activist Nozomi Hayase. This episode included beats "Wild Wild West" by Kool Moe Dee, "The 4th Branch" by Immortal Technique, "Banksters Paradise (A Bitcoin Song)" by Mr Maphs, and "Behind These Prison Walls" by David Rovics.
BAP called for an International Day of Action on Afghanistan on April 8 before the Biden-Harris administration announced the September 11 troop withdrawal, which violates the agreement between the Taliban and the previous administration. Julie joined hosts Jacqueline and Sean Blackmon on Radio Sputnik’s “By Any Means Necessary” to discuss the day of action. Then Julie and BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka were on Black Power Media with Jared the morning of the International Day of Action on Afghanistan. BAP also published an article in Black Agenda Report titled, “Biden-Harris Look Ready to Keep U.S. in Afghanistan—Say No!”
Julie then joined Radio Sputnik’s “The Critical Hour” 31:09 minutes in to discuss Biden’s announcement that the United States will withdraw troops September 11, a possible tactic to provoke the Taliban to resume attacks, thereby requiring the United States to delay withdrawing U.S troops from Afghanistan.
Black Agenda Report Contributing Editor Danny Haiphong announced the International Day of Action on Afghanistan at the start of an April 4 webinar titled, "Yellow Peril and Red Scare: Forum on the Rise in Anti-Asian Racism."
Journalist Richard Medhurst did an episode of his YouTube series about the International Day of Action on Afghanistan. You can watch it on his Twitter page. Ajamu’s public-service announcement on the International Day of Action on Afghanistan was played 14:30 minutes into Popular Resistance’s “Clearing the Fog.”
Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network member Matt Almonte gave a presentation on April 7, 2021, to a group of students at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, New York. He explained Afghanistan's history leading up to the United States invading the country in 2001 for its "War on Terror." Matt also discussed the use of women's rights to justify the war and occupation.
Sobukwe Shukur of BAP member organization All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP) reflected on Bobi Wine's meeting with Juan Guaido in a Hood Communist piece titled, “Why Bobi Wine Met With Juan Guaido.”
Egypt and Sudan rejected an Ethiopian proposal to share data on the operations of the "Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam," its hydropower dam on the Blue Nile, after negotiations this week between the three countries in Kinshasa ended without progress. Netfa contextualized the issue.
Netfa joined Radio Sputnik's "The Critical Hour" to discuss Haiti 74:01 minutes into the show. NNV News also interviewed Netfa about Haiti 45 minutes in.
Workers World newspaper highlighted BAP's Haiti rallies in a recent article.
Ajamu was one of the featured speakers at a No Cold War international webinar titled, “For a Peaceful Pacific: opposing NATO's military aggression.” He discussed the U.S. military global command system alongside allies and members of Indigenous communities of the Indo-Pacific region.
Ajamu was interviewed on Black Agenda Radio with Margaret Kimberley and Glen Ford discussing the importance of de-centering Europe from discussions of fascism in a segment titled, “Black Alliance for Peace: Fascism Born in the Colonies, Not Europe.” A transcript also was published in Hood Communist.
BAP member Erica Caines spoke at an emergency press conference for Mumia Abu-Jamal on April 15 alongside Marc Lamont Hill, Angela Davis and others.
Margaret appeared on the Fred Hampton Leftists podcast to discuss the Black political agenda.
BAP member organization Ujima People’s Progress Party criticized the Black misleadership class in a Hood Communist article titled, “The Black Working Class Must Defend Itself, Not the Black Misleadership Class.” Hood Communist has remained permanently banned from Twitter without any explanation.
Danny Haiphong laid out why revolutionaries should critique the Democratic Party in a Black Agenda Report article titled, “Criticizing the Democratic Party is not “Privileged: It Is the Duty of a Revolutionary.”
April 11-22: Join California actions to bring home political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who recently has been hospitalized.
April 22: Join BAP's next webinar, "The Role of Culture in Resistance and Revolution." Register today.
April 22-25: Join the "Post-Capitalism Conference: Building a Solidarity Economy." Register here.
April 24 (1-4 p.m.) and April 25 (1-3 p.m.): PACA and Black Lives Matter-DC will rally outdoors in Washington, D.C., for Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 67th birthday. Speakers, food, drink and musical entertainment will be available. Please wear a mask.
April 28: The Claudia Jones School for Political Education, Black Women Radicals and the Paul Robeson House & Museum are hosting an evening with Professor Dayo Gore who will speak on her book, "Radicalism at the Crossroads: African American Women Activists in the Cold War." Register here.
April 29: Pencil in your calendar 7-8:30 p.m., EST, for the BAP Solidarity Network's webinar, "#MayDayAfghanistan: Building a People's Movement to End U.S. Imperialism in Afghanistan and Around the World." Check our events page for registration information in the coming days.
Sign BAP petitions calling for an end to the 1033 program and peace in Afghanistan.
Dedan Waciuri, who represents Black Workers for Justice on BAP’s Coordinating Committee, is being charged for inciting a riot and damaging government property. Sign this petition to demand charges be dropped.
Our brother, former political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim, faces the possibility of re-incarceration for filling out a voter registration form. Sign this petition to demand charges be dropped.
The Black Latina Girls and Women Fund was created by BAP member organization AfroResistance, a Black Latina women-led organization in the service of Black Latinx women in the Americas. This fund offers financial support by giving money directly to Black Latin womxn, girls and femmes who are experiencing severe financial need across the region, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether in Brazil, Colombia, United States or Panama, Black Latina girls, women, and femmes are organizing in their local communities in the fight against several forms of state violence. You can donate here and people are encouraged to use the hashtag #BlackLatinaGWFund.
Sign up to join BAP’s U.S. Out of Africa Network to receive the bi-weekly AFRICOM Watch Bulletin in your inbox.
Make sure you keep up with us throughout the week by subscribing to our YouTube channel, liking us on Facebook, and following us on Instagram and Twitter.
No Compromise, No Retreat!
Struggle to win,
Ajamu, Charisse, Dedan, Erica, Jaribu, Margaret, Netfa, Nnamdi, Paul, Rafiki
P.S. Freedom isn’t free. Consider giving today.
The following sites updated: