Tuesday, August 14, 2007

“Mother, mother, there's too many of you cryingBrother, brother, brother, there's far too many of you dyingYou know we've got to find a way, to bring some lovin' here todayHey, what's going on?”— Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On?”
I last spoke to Chauncey Bailey just a couple of days before he was assassinated on the streets of downtown Oakland on the morning of August 2nd. He was murdered in broad daylight on his way to his office by a thug in a ski mask who pumped three rounds from a shotgun directly into his chest before jumping into a waiting getaway van.
I wish that I could say that Chauncey and I had shared some deeply meaningful exchange during that last chat, but it merely addressed a mundane concern of mine in my capacity as a syndicated contributor to the Oakland Post. In fact, since he took the job as the paper’s editor-in-chief this past June, all of our conversations had been brief and of a professional nature.
Still, I was very impressed with his work ethic and publishing acumen, and was quite confident that the Post would be in good hands during his tenure. Now, upon his passing, I have come to have my suspicions about the man confirmed by all the glowing tributes and testimonials about him by those who knew him well, both as a dedicated journalist and as a loving father.
The police already have a suspect in custody, Devaughndre Broussard, a 19 year-old ex-con who has reportedly confessed that he committed the crime in response to Bailey’s having written an unfavorable review of the Black Muslim Bakery where he was employed as a handyman. Quite frankly, this tragedy wouldn’t have registered more than a blip on the radar, if it weren’t for the victim’s esteemed status in the African-American community.
For seven more black folks were shot dead in the City of Oakland in the 48 hours immediately following the slaying of Bailey. Among those being treated like statistics was Byron Mitchell, 29, who was fatally wounded while being robbed. Jacqueline Venable, 40, was gunned down while eating cake at a friend’s house. Khatari Gant, 25, perished after his car was peppered with bullets from an assault rifle. His brother and an acquaintance were also shot, but survived. Kevin Sharp, 20, was home watching TV when he answered a knock at the door only to have his head blown off. And three others.
Meanwhile, here in New Jersey, the hip-hop Holocaust exacted an equally-shocking toll in Newark last Saturday night, when three Delaware State University college students, Terrance Aerial, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20, none of whom had any police records, were lined up against a wall, forced to their knees, robbed and executed by bullets to the brain by a gang of gangstas. A fourth student, Natasha Aerial, 19, miraculously survived somehow, and is in stable condition in the hospital.
This skyrocketing black-on-black homicide rate is a shame which suggests that African-Americans’ sense of self-worth has plunged to an all-time low. And now that it has hit home, it makes me wanna holler “What’s going on?”

Lloyd Kam Williams is an attorney and a member of the bar in NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.
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The assassination of Chauncey Bailey
The transformation of warfare and reparations
By Jean Damu
Is Black on Black crime, which lately saw a prominent Oakland journalist assassinated, not form of low-intensity warfare?
The brutal and shocking murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, that police believe was allegedly committed by a member of a small East Bay Muslim faction, while rightfully inspiring outrage and disgust on the part of most citizens, should be seen as something disturbingly symptomatic of what is wrong with not only the American social fabric but large parts of the rest of the world as well.
And because the assassination of journalists is such a rare occurrence in the US, maybe we should examine the phenomena of Black on Black violence from a new perspective.
Furthermore, how is it not possible to consider the various alleged crimes of the youthful members of the surely now defunct “Your Black Muslim Bakery” and not be reminded of the bodies that turned up in the desert and the disappearance of the noted bookkeeper that marked the disintegration of the Black Panther Party 30 years ago?
Both organizations, the cadre of “Your Black Muslim Bakery” and the Black Panthers started out as organizations with a vision to improve the conditions of Black folk in America.
At the height of the Black Panther Party’s influence FBI officials in what was intended as an insult but was seen by many as a compliment, denounced the Panthers as the nation’s greatest threat to security and labeled them “internal Viet Cong,” the guerrillas of the National Liberation Front that the US then faced in Viet Nam.
In retrospect maybe this is a good a place to begin a re-examination of what is taking place in many of the urban centers of America today—to consider that the Panthers were an internal form of the Viet Cong.
In his widely read but rarely discussed work, The Transformation of Warfare, Martin Van Crevald, who is often credited with being the most forward thinking military historian of our time, argues that since the end of World War II warfare has transformed itself radically since the days Von Clausewitz
Carl Philipp Gotlieb von Clausewitz, was a Prussian military officer (1782-1831) whose writings on warfare influenced and have been accepted by virtually all succeeding Western military theorists and strategists.
Essentially Clausewitz argued that all warfare was “trinitarian warfare.” That is warfare and its participants were divided into three distinct groupings. 1. Nations or governments of nations were the only bodies who had authority to declare war. 2. Departments of Defense and national armies and navies were the only components given license to conduct warfare. 3. Civilians were, as much as possible, to be exempt from warfare.
Van Crevald says that mainly since the end of World War II none of this has been true. Of the 60 odd wars conducted globally since 1947, only a handful have subscribed to Clausewitz’s definition. The vast majority have taken on the character of wars of national liberation, where people’s organizations have conducted warfare against formal states, where often it has been impossible to tell the difference between the people and the combatants, or as was often the case in Viet Nam, the combatants were the people.
Other more recent examples include Hezbollah’s successful struggle against Israel just last year and the current struggle against US occupation on the part of Islamic militias in Iraq. Often these military struggles, usually but not always conducted by insurgent organizations against formal governments are referred to as low-intensity warfare.
To date Western defense departments that are ideologically and economically tied to huge corporations that build dollar intensive technological war machinery that has been proven to be almost useless in fighting popular insurgency wars, are hopelessly mired in unwinnable situations. One need to look no further than the Soviet Union’s sad experience in Afghanistan or the US today in Iraq to see how universal is this trend.
What has all this to do with the assassination of Chauncey Bailey? Within days of the former Oakland journalists’ death the statistics bureau of the US Dept of Justice announced that as of the latest recording date African American homicides now numbered half the US total; this despite Blacks make up just 13 percent of the total population.
Should we not consider the Black on Black crime, which includes much of the Black homicide rate, a form of warfare?
If one accepts that conclusion then the local police departments that attempt to quell the violence in the streets are in just as an unwinnable situation in inner city America as the US Army now finds itself in Iraq.
There are lots of holes in the Iraq-Inner City America analogy but if the US can seriously undertake to rebuild Iraq, as flawed as that effort has been then why can’t it seriously attempt to rebuild those portions of Black America that obviously need reparations?
Jean Damu has been active within the reparations movement and a long time supporter of the movements for African liberation.
posted 13 August 2007

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