Malcolm X: Speech to SNCC Civil Rights Workers (January 1, 1965)

“One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn how to do is see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself. But if you form the habit of going by what you hear others say about someone, or going by what others think about someone, instead of going and searching that thing out for yourself and seeing for yourself, you’ll be walking west when you think you’re going east, and you’ll be walking east when you think you’re going west. So this generation, especially of our people, have a burden upon themselves, more so than at any other time in history. The most important thing we can learn how to do today is think for ourselves.

It’s good to keep wide-open ears and listen to what everybody else has to say, but when you come to make a decision, you have to weigh all of what you’ve heard on its own, and place it where it belongs, and then come to a decision for yourself. You’ll never regret it. But if you form the habit of taking what someone else says about a thing without checking it out for yourself, you’ll find that other people will have you hating your own friends and loving your enemies. This is one of the things that our people are beginning to learn today—that it is very important to think out a situation for yourself. If you don’t do it, then you’ll always be maneuvered into actually—You’ll never fight your enemies, but you will find yourself fighting your own self.

I think our people in this country are the best examples of that. Because many of us want to be nonviolent. We talk very loudly, you know, about being nonviolent. Here in Harlem, where there are probably more black people concentrated than any place else in the world, some talk that nonviolent talk too. And when they stop talking about how nonviolent they are, we find that they aren’t nonviolent with each other. At Harlem Hospital, you can go out here on Friday night and find black people who claim they’re nonviolent. But you see them going in there all cut up and shot up and busted up where they got violent with each other.

So my experience has been that in many instances where you find Negroes always talking about being nonviolent, they’re not nonviolent with each other, and they’re not loving with each other, or patient with each other, or forgiving with each other. Usually, when they say they’re nonviolent, they mean they’re nonviolent with somebody else. I think you understand what I mean. They are nonviolent with the enemy. A person can come to your home, and if he’s white and he wants to heap some kind of brutality upon you, you’re nonviolent. Or he can come put a rope around your neck, you’re nonviolent. Or he can come to take your father out and put a rope around his neck, you’re nonviolent. But now if another Negro just stomps his foot, you’ll rumble with him in a minute. Which shows you there’s an inconsistency there.

So I myself would go for nonviolence if it was consistent, if it was intelligent, if everybody was going to be nonviolent, and if we were going to be nonviolent all the time. I’d say, okay, let’s get with it, we’ll all be nonviolent. But I don’t go along—and I’m just telling you how I think—I don’t go along with any kind of nonviolence unless everybody’s going to be nonviolent. If they make the Ku Klux Klan nonviolent, I’ll be nonviolent. If they make the White Citizens’ Council nonviolent, I’ll be nonviolent. But as long as you’ve got somebody else not being nonviolent, I don’t want anybody coming to me talking any kind of nonviolent talk. I don’t think it is fair to tell our people to be nonviolent unless someone is out there making the Klan and the Citizens’ Council and these other groups also be nonviolent.

Now I’m not criticizing those here who are nonviolent. I think everybody should do it the way they feel is best, and I congratulate anybody who can be nonviolent in the face of all that kind of action that I read about in that part of the world. But I don’t think that in 1965 you will find the upcoming generation of our people, especially those who have been doing some thinking, who will go along with any form of nonviolence unless nonviolence is going to be practiced all the way around.”

‘A level of racist violence I have never seen’: UCLA professor Robin D. G. Kelley on Palestine and the BDS movement

AK: And so that brings us to the second question: talk about the trip you recently took to Palestine, why you went and what you saw.

RK: In 2009, I was invited to join the board of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.[…]We went to Ramallah, met the president of Birzeit University, we met with other faculty, the founders of PACBI. We went to East Jerusalem to visit Sheikh Jarrah and some of the families that have been dispossessed from their own homes. We went to Hebron, and visited and talked to Palestinian merchants, and witnessed a level of racist violence that I hadn’t even seen growing up as a black person here in the States (laughs), I have to say, and I’ve been beat by the cops. The level of racist violence from the settlers is kind of astounding. We visited Aida refugee camp just north of Bethlehem, and we went to Bethlehem as well. On my own, I went to Nablus and visited the Balata refugee camp. We also went to Haifa, and we met with a group of Palestinian-Israeli scholars and intellectuals to talk about the boycott.

So to me what was important wasn’t just passing through checkpoints, it wasn’t just witnessing the day to day oppression, acts of dispossession, the expansion of these settler communities in the hills overlooking and intimidating Palestinian villages. It wasn’t just that. That was a very, very important part of the trip because what it did in some ways made tangible the kind of oppression, the nature of dispossession, that we read about and knew about. We were prepared. What was important equally was our conversations with active members of Palestinian civil society, our conversations with activists who are organizing against the wall, our conversations with scholars at Haifa, at Birzeit and independent intellectuals. Because what it produced for us wasn’t just a fact-finding mission, you know, as these things often are. It wasn’t just, you know, “occu-tourism,” visiting and seeing for yourself. That wasn’t, to me, the key thing. The key thing was the kind of engagement that helped us better understand why the boycott is central, the complications in pushing for boycott, and how can we sharpen our political critique. Because what we came away with is recognizing that this is a kind of joint, collective venture–that we are not advocating on behalf of Palestinians, but partners with Palestinians for the right to self-determination. And the leadership comes from the Palestinian people. So we’re supporting that movement, and recognizing that what’s happening there is not exceptional, but rather part of a larger global process of late colonialism and neoliberalism, and that what happens in Palestine is going to have an impact on the rest of the world.

This is a short excerpt from an interview with UCLA professor Robin D. G. Kelley on Palestine solidarity, Israeli apartheid and military occupation, and BDS. You can read the full interview here.

UCLA Professor Robin D.G. Kelley
UCLA Professor Robin D.G. Kelley

Gimme Green: The American Obsession with Lawns (2007)

Gimme Green is a humorous look at the American obsession with the residential lawn and the effects it has on our environment, our wallets and our outlook on life. From the limitless subdivisions of Florida to sod farms in the arid southwest, Gimme Green peers behind the curtain of the $40-billion industry that fuels our nation’s largest irrigated crop-the lawn.”

Some facts from the video:

* Every day more than 5,000 acres of land are converted into lawns in America.
* Lawns cover more than 41 million acres, the most irrigated crop in the U.S.
* Americans apply over 30,000 tons of pesticides to their yards every year.
* Of the 30 most used lawn pesticides, 17 are routinely detected in groundwater.
* The National Cancer Institute finds that children in households using lawn pesticides have a 6.5 times greater risk of developing leukemia.
* American lawns require 200 gallons of fresh water per person per day.
(via Films for Action)

Compton Police Testing New Aerial Mass Surveillance System

live google earth crime comptonIn Compton last year, police began quietly testing a system that allowed them to do something incredible: Watch every car and person in real time as they ebbed and flowed around the city. Every assault, every purse snatched, every car speeding away was on record—all thanks to an Ohio company that monitors cities from the air.

The Center for Investigative Reporting takes a look at a number of emerging surveillance technologies in a new video, but one in particular stands out: A wide-area surveillance system invented by Ross McNutt, a retired Air Force veteran who owns a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems.

McNutt describes his product as “a live version of Google Earth, only with TiVo capabilities,” which is intriguing but vague (and also sounds a lot like the plot of this terrible Denzel movie). More specifically, PSS outfits planes with an array of super high-resolution cameras that allow a pilot to record a 25-square-mile patch of Earth constantly—for up to six hours.

It’s sort of similar to what your average satellite can do—except, in this case, you can rewind the video, zoom in, and follow specific people and cars as they move around the grid. It’s not specific enough to ID people by face, but, when used in unison with stoplight cameras and other on-the-ground video sources, it can identify suspects as they leave the scene of a crime. […]
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Read full article at: http://gizmodo.com/police-are-testing-a-live-google-earth-to-watch-crime-1563010340

 

Ocean Drifters

“Embarking on a tour below the sea, Attenborough explores marine life from crab larvae to plankton to barnacles, the cyclical processes of photosynthesis, evolutionary diversity as discovered by Charles Darwin, and how what we know about our oceans shapes our view of the natural world, our changing climate, ocean salinity, and how plankton are serving as our “canaries of the ocean”, alerting us to the affects we continue to have on our world.”

Ocean Drifters from Plymouth University on Vimeo.

How Wolves Change Rivers

George Monbiot explains how reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park after a 70-year absence set off a “trophic cascade” that altered the movement of deer, sent trees soaring to new heights, attracted scores of new animals to the area (think: beavers, rabbits, bears, bald eagles and more), and stabilized the banks of rivers making them less susceptible to erosion.

Seeing the Secret State: mapping SOCOM activities across the globe

“Secrecy is not efficient and gives rise to contradictions. So methodologically what I’m trying to do is find those contradictions. Where does that secret world intersect with something that I can see? The idea that when you’re doing all this secret stuff it fits imperfectly into the world. You have to have infrastructures that go into these covert operations. Infrastructure generates paperwork and a material footprint on the earth’s surface. […] So the question then is: ‘If secrecy is a way of organizing institutions and human activity in such a way as to render them silent, to render them invisible, how do we go about trying to see them?’ […]”

— Trevor Paglen “Seeing the Secret State”, 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] (28 December 2013)

Recently, journalist Nick Turse put this theory into action, mapping out the “secret” infrastructure created by United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Check out this excerpt from his latest article, via Le Monde Diplomatique:

‘[…] I started with a blank map that quickly turned into a global pincushion. It didn’t take long before every continent but Antarctica was bristling with markers indicating special operations forces’ missions, deployments, and interactions with foreign military forces in 2012-2013. With that, the true size and scope of the U.S. military’s secret military began to come into focus. It was, to say the least, vast.

SOCOM (U.S. Special Operations) Forces Around The World (2012-2013)
U.S. Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013
Red markers: U.S. Special Operations Forces deployment in 2013. Blue markers: U.S. Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the U.S. or a third country during 2013. Purple markers: U.S. Special Operations Forces deployment in 2012. Yellow markers: U.S. Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the U.S. or a third country during 2012.

A review of open source information reveals that in 2012 and 2013, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) were likely deployed to — or training, advising, or operating with the personnel of — more than 100 foreign countries. And that’s probably an undercount. In 2011, then-SOCOM spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that Special Operations personnel were annually sent to 120 countries around the world. They were in, that is, about 60% of the nations on the planet. […]

As Special Operations Command chief Admiral William McRaven put it in SOCOM 2020, his blueprint for the future, it has ambitious aspirations to create “a Global SOF network of like-minded interagency allies and partners.” In other words, in that future now only six years off, it wants to be everywhere. […]

U.S. Special Operations Command was established in 1987. Made up of units from all the service branches, SOCOM is tasked with carrying out Washington’s most specialized and secret missions, including assassinations, counterterrorist raids, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, psychological operations, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.

In the post-9/11 era, the command has grown steadily. With about 33,000 personnel in 2001, it is reportedly on track to reach 72,000 in 2014. (About half this number are called, in the jargon of the trade, “badged operators” — SEALs, Rangers, Special Operations Aviators, Green Berets — while the rest are support personnel.) Funding for the command has also jumped exponentially as SOCOM’s baseline budget tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.9 billion between 2001 and 2013. If you add in supplemental funding, it had actually more than quadrupled to $10.4 billion.

Not surprisingly, personnel deployments abroad skyrocketed from 4,900 “man-years” — as the command puts it — in 2001 to 11,500 in 2013. About 11,000 special operators are now working abroad at any one time and on any given day they are in 70 to 80 countries, though the New York Times reported that, according to statistics provided to them by SOCOM, during one week in March 2013 that number reached 92. […]’

Read the full article at: http://mondediplo.com/openpage/america-s-black-ops-blackout