The Sordid Legacy of Margret Thatcher.. What We Should Never Ever Forget

Margret thatcherThe funeral of former British prime minister Margret Thatcher took place in the UK today, one day after the Boston Marathon tragedy.. We talked to long time activist Lee Jasper former senior advisor to the mayor of London and co-chair of BARAC & National Black Members Officer for the Respect Political Party in UK about her legacy..

Lee noted that there’s been an all out attempt to lionize Thatcher and remake her similar to the way Ronald Reagan was remade and sanitized. They gave her full military honors which caused quite a bit of controversy.. They also expected to have the streets lined with millions. Thatcher’s funeral drew less than 100 thousand people. More folks came out in the streets of London for the funeral of former IRA (Irish Republican Army) leader and hunger striker Bobby Sands then they did Thatcher..

During our conversation Jasper broke down the alliance Thatcher forged with brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and later Ronald Reagan to enact neo-Liberal policies that continue to this day…. He talked about how Thatcher made it a priority to try and break the unions and severely economically cripple working class people. He also spoke about her outright hostility toward Black people..

Jasper talked about the policing policies Thatcher oversaw including one called SUS  (Stop and Search) where thousands of Black people were jailed simply on police suspecting they did a crime..They now have in place a policy that was the prototype for Stop and Frisk.. Lee explained Thatcher’s brutal policies along with her refusal to have investigated a racially motivated fire started by a white supremacist where 13 Black teens were killed led to a major riot in 1981 in the Brixton section of London. Police enhanced the SUS laws and more than a 1000 people were detained and hemmed up by police.

We also talked at length about Thatcher’s foreign policies and her support for white supremacist leader Ian Smith who presided over Rhodesia before it became Zimbabwe.. She talked about her seeing Nelson Mandela and the ANC in South Africa as terrorists. The woman was grand hater of Black liberation.

Lee Jasper Gives us the breakdown on Margret Thatcher

Lee Jasper Gives us the breakdown on Margret Thatcher

It’s with that in mind that Jasper expressed disappointment in the praise that President Obama showered on Thatcher considering the intense dislike many had for her and how divisive she was.. . Of course we should not be surprised considering that strong ties Thatcher had with Reagan and Obama’s repeated praise for the man we once called ‘The Gipper’.

Also during our interview we talked about the tragedy in Boston and how Londoners had to deal with constant bombings during the hey day of the IRA, … Lee expressed condolences to the folks in Boston and then talked about how it led to widespread fears resulting in intrusive and harsh laws..One of the laws that emerged was the precursor to what we now know as one that allows for indefinite detainment of what we call enemy combatants. He talked about the type of stigma and brutality heaped upon the Irish by police during that time and how many were deemed to be that..

Check out the Hard Knock Radio interview by clicking the link below..

Hard Knock Radio logo

The Fallout Over LL Cool J & Accidental Racist.. Are We Too Forgiving?

Davey-D-yellow-225-frameBeen thinking about this fall out and the anger everyone has expressed toward LL Cool J around his involvement in the Brad Paisley song ‘Accidental Racist‘. Yeah its a corny song and folks have been getting their clown on about that.. But it’s also brought about a lot of anger, much of directed at LL vs Paisley.

At the core of folks angst is him showing ‘forgiveness‘ and taking a conciliatory tone for wrong doings in the past.. He basically told Paisley its all good, rock that confederate flag as long as you let me rock my doo rag and sagging pants in peace… Many of us flipped out and rightfully asked; ‘LL Cool J how dare you? Where is your pride? Where’s your understanding of Black history? Where are your principles?’

Many said LL had no business compromising the way he did..and I get that..But let’s have an honest discussion..First how many of us have  ‘compromised’ on our principles? ‘ How many of us have tucked away our knowledge of Black history to have a Kumbaya moment?  How many of us have been willing to forgive and literally forget about egregious wrong doings of others who we feel we wanna break bread with? Sometimes we do this with family members, close friends and spouses. Sometimes we do this with our job, the things we consume or the politicians we elect. We compromise and have all sorts of justifications for it..Can we talk about drone strikes anyone? Can we talk about Africom?

Bottom line is at the end of the day many of us find ourselves not wanting to ‘hurt anyone’s feelings’, or wanting to rock the proverbial boat and make folks feel uncomfortable.  As a result we do one of two things.. we fail to take strong principled stances when needed most.. or we wind up self sabotaging ourselves or compromising a situation vs going all out and making hard demands even if we know its right and surely needed.  For many of us its easier to go along ‘get along’ then it is to take the reins in be in charge..We need to be honest…

Barackobama-yesWeCaveIn looking at the LL Cool J situation and the anger around it, what came across was a guy not wanting to make waves. Seemed like he was playing it safe.. Maybe he did it for his career after all Hollywood is fickle. Maybe he was afraid he might lose some friends or step on toes.. LL is no dummy.. He’s been around for minute..

I can’t help put think of the debates that ensued during President Obama‘s run for the White House. If you recall there were all sorts of heated discussions about Obama not showing anger or drawing firm lines in the sand in the face of egregious insults and mistreatment.. Whether it was his friend Skip Gates having an unfair confrontation with Harvard police, reporters, pundits  and fellow politicians taking vile racial remarks or Arizona governor Jan Brewer putting her finger in his face, we were told that Obama was doing the right thing by taking the high road and that he was setting a good example for all of us to follow by appealing to ones humanity vs ‘lowering himself’…Some of us said he was caving in too much.. The push back to such accusations was strong..We were told if we take the high road it will be reciprocated..Obama was setting a tone for us to appeal to our higher selves.. Was LL trying to take the high road and appeal to ones humanity in his own way?

Ronald Reagan Opposed Nelson Mandela. He saw him and the Adfrican national Congress as Terrorists

Was Nelson Mandela was too forgiving?

During the fall of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela pushed for the country to do Truth and Reconciliation…We were told that this was a way for folks to atone and it would help bring about true healing..  There were many who praised Mandela and said he was a shining example of humanity.. Many others including his former wife Winnie Mandela said he sold us out and shortchanged the revolution.. She and others called for justice with folks being severely punished for wrong doings and those who were smashed on being compensated and restitution given..Many said Nelson Mandela was too forgiving..

The push back on Willie were arguments centering on one can never be too forgiving.  Moving forward and healing and letting God or the Universe and higher powers take control were the orders of the day with lots of  leaders, Black, white and other say talk of ‘vengeance‘ was outrageous and shortsighted..

LL Cool J RedNow I’m in no way saying LL’s song Accidental Racist is anywhere on the level of the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa, but the anger and frustration I’ve seen expressed reminds me of the sentiments I saw expressed when folks first heard about the process..Our collective outlook on compromise and forgiveness has been complicated by what we been taught about ‘holding grudges’ and seeking revenge.. Some of us have been informed by our religious or spiritual beliefs… Some of us have been informed by societal dictates.. It gets confusing with no real blue print.. Many of us have been taught that seeking justice is the akin to seeking revenge and hence many have avoided it like the plague.

This LL Cool J situations suggests that its high time we have honest discussions on what it means to truly forgive someone and how to express it. We need to talk about ‘Whats the difference between seeing the humanity in someone and trying to ‘be humane’ by taking the high road vs appeasing someone and making unnecessary compromises?  Can you really say RIP general Robert E Lee??

Some food for thought

-Davey D-

We Remember the Father of Crack & a Key Supporter of Apartheid-Ronald Wilson Reagan

We Remember Ronald Reagan,  the Father of Crack and a Supporter of Apartheid
by Davey D

So yesterday Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger strolled into Simi Valley and with the stroke of a pen he made February 6th Ronald Reagan Day. He also vetoed a bill that would allow Farm Workers to be paid overtime. I found it interesting but not all that surprising that we would have that sort of coupling. After all, we’re honoring a man who was all about exploitation and sadly that trait was underscored with a veto. But let’s not digress..

Governor Schwarzenegger said we need to use Feb 6th as a day to teach school kids about the great accomplishments of Ronald Wilson Reagan. He said we need to teach the kids about this man’s legacy.I guess he feels kids should grow up to be like Reagan. I had to laugh because there’s so much to say and its hard to know where to begin.

Should we start by reminding the kids how Reagan ignored the AIDs epidemic that sprung up during his two terms? I contrast Reagan’s ignoring of HIV and AIDs when people suffering from the then unknown disease were begging for help with how we went all out for the Swine Flu.  Ronnie was out to lunch on that crises.

Maybe I should teach the kids about how he insisted that ketchup and relish were vegetables as he aggressively fought to push inner city school lunch programs to cut cooked and fresh vegetables from their menus.

I could always teach the kids about Reagan’s trickle down economic theory where he fought to allow rich corporations and businesses to cut taxes which would allow them to create new jobs thus benefitting the masses. I guess I should also teach the kids how many of those rich folks who got those tax breaks promptly took their American jobs overseas where they continued to enjoy tax breaks while our economy was turned upside down..

I’ll be sure to teach the kids how Reagan opposed the Equal Rights Amendment even though women at that time and even today still make less than men.

We could also talk about how he was vehemently opposed to the Black Panthers and pushed for the Mulford Act which was specifically designed to target and disarm them

The Father of Crack

I guess because so many kids are enamored with rap star Rick Ross, perhaps I could use his popularity as a teachable moment. I could start by letting kids know that Ross the rapper from Miami derived his name from Freeway Rick the drug dealer out of Los Angeles.

Freeway Rick who has been touring the country lecturing against the harmful impact of drugs is erroneously called the Father of Crack.  His South Central operations is legendary as he’s reported to have moved up to 3 million dollars worth of product a week,  but that’s only part of the story. Freeway Rick was not the Father but the proverbial God son.. The real Father of Crack was Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. The man we came to affectionately call the ‘Great Communicator‘.

You see Freeway Rick was allowed to flourish because our government at the time had some dirty war business they wanted to conduct and found it difficult to circumvent the law and limits set up by Congress. Freeway Rick was able to lavish the hood with tons of crack cocaine because of little scheme we came to know as the Iran Contra Scandal . It was the biggest scandal this country had ever known. Even bigger than Richard Nixon’s Watergate.

To sum it up what you had was in the early 80s, the US was beefing with Iran and the US was beefing with left leaning factions in Nicaragua called the Sandinistas. Reagan and his boys wanted to knock off the Sandinistas because they didn’t like their politics and the populus movement they represented. Latin America was on the rise and overthrowing dictators who were backed by the US. Reagan wanted to overthrow the Sandinistas by arming a bunch of CIA backed rebels called the Contras. Since we’re supposed to be Freedom Loving country we couldn’t do our bidding publicly, and as I noted Congress wasnt with the program, so Reagan’s senior advisors launched a secret war.

What they did was covertly sell arms to Iran and take the money and use it to fund Contra operations in Nicaragua. Additional money was netted for the Contras through the sale of crack cocaine which suddenly overnight gained huge popularity in hoods throughout the country. Freeway Rick and South Central, LA was ground zero.

LAs notorious gangs became the main traffickers who spread all out the country with Freeway Rick being the kingpen. Some of this is out lined in Ice Cube’s song ‘Summer Vacation‘.

Freeway Rick’s connection to all the cocaine was a notorious drug supplier named Oscar Danilo Blandón who worked with the CIA and was a key link to the Contras. This is where the whole CIA-Crack connection story emerged . They were outlined in the explosive 1996 San Jose Mercury expose and book called Dark Alliances written by the late Gary Webb.

Oliver North

When all was said and done damn near all of Reagan’s senior advisors were convicted, like National Security Council member Oliver North who played a central role and was later pardoned. Reagan the Great Communicator was protected with folks saying he had no idea all this was happening on his watch. The exact term used was Reagan was ‘disengaged’

Supporter of Apartheid

Thats an interesting term because it’s in opposition to what Ronald Reagan prided himself on. Here was a guy who supported South Africa’s Apartheid Regime. He aggressively opposed Nelson Mandela who was in jail as a political prisoner during Reagan’s presidency. Reagan called Mandela and his and the African National Congress a ‘terrorist organization‘.

During the early 80s, worldwide resistance to South Africa emerged including a call from the UN to have an embargo. Recording artists all over the world launched a boycott to Sun City which was a popular resort in South Africa where some of the Apartheid laws were relaxed.

Ronald Reagan Opposed Nelson Mandela. He saw him and the Adfrican national Congress as Terrorists

Ronald Reagan along with Israel and Great Britain opposed all of it. Reagan said he supported South Africa because they stood alongside us during all our wars.. He said the best way to get rid of Apartheid was not through embargos but through this term he coined called  ‘Constructive engagement‘. When he first used it left everyone stunned and asking WTF? There was nothing to engage. People were calling for an end to the brutal Apartheid regime and Reagan was opposing it. It was so bad that after he vetoed sanctions, Congress did a rare thing and over rode his veto.  This man who supposedly loved freedom was on the wrong side of history when it came to making sure it was a reality for Black South Africans. It’s no wonder Nelson Mandela didn’t attend his funeral in 2004.

We can go on and on when talking about Ronald Reagan. He was a hero for those who yearned for the days when many people in marginalized communities were behind the 8 ball not in front of it.  Yes when February 6th rolls around.. I will say Happy Ronald Reagan Day and commence to undo the revisionist history the power elite in this country have spent years constructing. I’ll leave with two musical heros who went in hard on Reagan back in the days. Gil Scott Heron with the song B-Movie and Melle-Mel with his song Jesse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ipWM3DWe4

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/54175/

Click HERE to peep song..

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