The Establishment is in denial

der Freitag

Mr Varoufakis, the current unemployment rate in the Eurozone is at 9,8%, the lowest since July 2009. One could get the impression things are getting better…

It is, I grant you, still perfectly possible for those who wish to remain in denial to read the data in a manner that allows them to remain in denial – to their own detriment and to the detriment of Europe. But for those who want the unembellished truth, the Eurozone’s state can only be characterised in two words: stagnation and disintegration.

Let us begin by looking at the Eurozone as a single economy. There are 6 million fewer people in full employment today than when the euro crisis began and around 3.5 million more people claiming unemployment benefit. Total income (GDP) is today at the level it was in 2007, to be shared amongst more citizens (thus pushing GDP per capita well below the 2007 level). Investment in the real economy is running 11.7% lower than it was at the beginning of the crisis.

Far worse is the picture that emerges when you look at the Eurozone’s constituent parts: A savage depression in countries like Greece and Portugal, an unsustainable Italy, a Spain that is boosted only by new private debt, a French national budget out of control, banking systems that are effectively insolvent, and capital flows that continue to create a desert in the periphery as they rush into the banks of surplus countries like Germany and the Netherlands.

Mario Draghi has lately extended the ECB’s quantitative easing and announced to slow it down a tiny bit. How do you read that?

Mr Draghi is in dire straits. His recent decision demonstrates that he is caught between a rock and a hard place. The reason is that his quantitative easing program has reached its limits, and is facing considerable opposition from Germany, well before it has achieved its aims. So, on the one hand, he began ‘tapering’ his quantitative easing program while, on the other hand, he is stretching it into the future. This is an act of desperation due to the competing demands upon him: Germany demands that its pension funds be protected through ending quantitative easing. And the rest of the Eurozone demands that quantitative easing is continued in order to keep Italy, Spain etc. in the Eurozone.

In more detail, three are Mr Draghi’s great problems: First, to buy more Italian, Spanish and Portuguese bonds (in order to fight deflation there and keep these countries in the euro) he is forced (by political and legal constraints) to buy a lot more German bunds, thus crushing German pension funds and Germany’s smaller banks. Secondly, he is not allowed to channel the money the ECB prints every month into sufficient quantities of bonds that feed directly into productive investments (e.g. that European Investment Bank bond issues to fund large scale green energy or infrastructural projects). Thirdly, he is facing rising interest rates from the United States, due to the Trump-effect, at a time when investment in Europe is at its lowest level when compared to the level of savings.

When it comes to the European governments actually being responsible for doing the job the ECB is somehow doing: Mr Schaeuble and some media in Germany consider the country’s temporary policy as shaped by growing public investment.

Europe’s political class has created a trap, the austerity trap, and fallen in it, subsequently blaming it on the ECB. The level of public investment, especially in Germany, is the lowest since 1950. For years now German infrastructure was abandoned by a government that could borrow at zero cost. The fact that a few more billions are now being spent is too little too late. This is a scandal that the German people have a duty to hold their government accountable for. Dr Schäuble should be censured for dereliction of his duty to Germany’s future.

How much of your time you spend in Greece these days?

Greece has been home to us ever since we moved from the United States to contest the January 2015 General Election. Danae and I do not plan to leave again. However, as our Democracy in Europe Movement, DiEM25, places great demands on all those who have committed to make it grow, I do spend a lot of time in airplanes.

What can you say about the current situation in Greece which is out of the European spotlight nowadays – compared to your time as Minister of Finance?

Tragically, Greece is today worse off than it was in early 2015. It could not be otherwise given what the 3rd ‘bailout’ agreement imposed: higher sales and corporate tax rates, new cuts in the lowest pensions, 50% non-performing loans in the banking sector (that are now sold to vulture funds) and next to no investment, as investors are deterred by the imposed primary surplus targets which mean one thing: even higher taxes and lower demand in the following years.

I am often asked why, given that things are now worse, Greece is not in the news today as it was in 2015. The answer is clear: In 2015 we staged a rebellion in the debtors’ prison called Greece. Prison rebellions, as you know, are newsworthy. But once the rebellion was crushed by the Eurogroup-troika coup d’ etat in June-July 2015, and the Greek people returned to quiet suffering, we lost our newsworthiness.

You’ve, e.g. in the interview with the New Statesman, described the setting at Eurozone meetings in detail. How have you perceived other members of the group describing the six-months-showdown when it was over?

They had participated in a violation of basic rules of economics and basic principles of European democracy, to their own detriment also as subsequent events show (e.g. Brexit, the Italian referendum). After that they indulged fully in ex-post rationalisation, which involved my demonisation. It was not without cause that, in my resignation letter, I stated that I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.

There is a quantitative study, done by researchers of the University of Wuerzburg, about German media coverage of the “Greek crisis”: For example, they looked at TV news clips with political valuations in the two main German news programs (Tagesschau/ARD and heute/ZDF – page 67). According to that, at least at Tagesschau you had less negative valuations then Mr Schaeuble (3,9% – 4,8% of all clips in 2015). Does that fit your memory of the experience with German media?

The question is whether it fits your memory of how the German media behaved toward their own audience during my ministry. Being harshly critical of what I was saying would be not only fine but also the German media’s duty. But distorting massively what I said, or not reporting my proposals while claiming I had none, was a sign of a degenerate media wounding German democracy.

How do you remember the “treatment” you experienced by Guenther Jauchas the moderator of the talk show you were party of as a guest?

At the time I agreed to participate in that program I was literally run off my feet and had initially turned the invitation down. But then Mr Jauch’s producer reached me on the telephone with a plea: Minister, because much animosity is being cultivated between the German and the Greek people, I beg you to come to the program. For we know that you are a friend of Germany and that you have been warning for years that the Greek bailout would turn the Greeks against the Germans and vice versa. Will you please come to the program? We want it to work as a friendship bridge between the two peoples.

It was on that basis that I accepted. Anyone who watches the recording of that program can see that I had been set up: The promise of a bridge building exercise was just a cynical ploy to cultivate more hatred between the Greeks and the Germans, while boosting ratings. It was utterly disgraceful.

Coming back to “within” the Eurogroup: You described the attitude towards you there as one of silence and ignorance. So, did wrong figures, false theses etc. not even play a role?

They could not have played a role because all my figures were entirely accurate, the macroeconomic analysis was correct and, most importantly, the other Eurogroup members never even read or considered any of my proposals, facts, figures or analyses. I challenge them, or anyone else, to present one figure or piece of analysis which I presented that the Eurogroup considered factually or analytically wrong. And this is what you and your readers should be very concerned about: Whether you agreed with my analysis, politics or policy proposals or not, you should be angered that, first, the proposals of the finance minister of a desperately bankrupt nation were never read and, secondly, that you were told naked lies (e.g. that I had presented false figures or poor analysis). Even more worrying should be the cause of their lack of interest: they were only interested in dismissing our proposals so as to demonstrate to the people of Spain, Portugal, Italy, France etc. that if they dare elect people that Berlin and Brussels do not want to see elected, they will get crushed. When Europe resorts to this type of postmodern gunboat diplomacy, it loses its integrity and begins to collapse.

Mr Schaeuble described you as a professor trying to teach the other ministers as if they were your students. Was it naive to think you could have macroeconomic debates in such a body?

I confess. Yes, I used the language of macroeconomics to address macroeconomic questions on whose correct answer my people’s lives hinged. It happened when Wolfgang asked me: “If you think that 4.5% primary surplus is too much, what number do you counter-propose?” Tow which I answered: “To come up with a credible primary surplus target, we need to, first, agree on the investment policy in export oriented firms since the primary budget balance by definition equals the sum of the country’s excess savings (savings minus investment) and excess exports (exports minus savings). So, I think I can deliver a higher surplus as long as we have a sound policy for investment in our exporters.”

At this point, allow me to ask you a question: Are you not worried that your economic circumstances are determined in a Eurogroup in which macroeconomic decisions are made by ministers who are considered rude if they use sound macroeconomic analysis? Might this not be the explanation of the Eurozone’s never ending crisis?

How do you see your own role within the development towards the media treatment of your person as a marketable character more than a content-related and political coverage? (Our edition with you on the cover for example was the best-sold of that year, whereby we also focused on the content and the politics very much…)

I dislike it and never had anything to do with it. Every time I became the centre of the ‘story’ I knew the result was that the issues that mattered to Europeans were shoved under the carpet.

When it comes to the Brexit vote or Trump, many blame the power of social networks and fake news for the outcomes. True? Overrated?

First the establishment practised denial. Then when its inept handling of the crisis bred monsters (e.g. Brexit, Trump, the AfD) it blamed technology. Anything to avoid taking a good look at the mirror. Of course this is not to deny that the social media amplify the toxicity of today’s nationalist revival. But to think of them as the cause would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

Why seem nationalist, racist, sexist outsiders to gain so much more ground these days compared to critics of the status quo coming from the left?

Go back to 1930. Now you have your answer!

Whenever a financial crisis leads to the fragmentation of capitalism’s monetary circuits and then the establishment forces the economic costs on the weakest of citizens, two things happen: xenophobia and the rise of authoritarianism. This translates into quasi-fascism, patriarchy and, ultimately, the celebration of misanthropy.

In Germany, a gap of ideas, the missing of a promising narrative were considered as constitutive for the “loss” of the fight over the interpretation of Euro crisis, debt, fiscal policy. True? How to fill it?

There was never a gap of ideas. What there was, just as in the 1930s, was a social democratic party too keen to ingratiate itself with the establishment and a deep division between good, decent people – between liberals, Marxists, feminists, greens etc. Whereas the bigots unite behind toxically simplistic stories, progressives tend to fight against one another and thus fall prey to the Nationalist International.

Can a movement like DiEM25 really fill it? How are you trying to fill it?

If it cannot Europe is finished. For what we are trying to do is both modest and essential: to reach out across national borders, political party division lines and even ideological boundaries to put together a coalition of democrats (of the left, the centre, liberals, greens, independent thinkers, progressive conservatives even) who agree on basic humanist principles and forge a common internationalist, progressive agenda for Europe. Our first major challenge is the compilation of our European Green New Deal Policy Paper, which DiEM25 will be presenting in Paris on 23rd, 24th and 25th February 2017. This is meant as a first step toward a comprehensive progressive agenda for Europe that acts as the magnet for Europeans fed up with the incompetent establishment but also determined to end the rise of the Nationalist International that is today undermining European civilisation and unity everywhere.

So far, I perceive DiEM25 as having some affinity and reception with places like Berlin – urban, progressive, international. But so far totally out of reach of the majority of places and people, on the country-side, in the periphery etc. Do I only have that impression because there’s going on so much, sorry, shit out there in the world now, so that I lack the time so far to focus on what I’d been planning for long as a journalist: taking a cole look at the movement you people are trying to create?

All progressive movements begin in cities. Politics was born in the… polis – the city. But, you are right, it is also true that unless DiEM25 can get its message out of the polis and into the countryside we shall not succeed. It is early days yet. We have much to do.

Sorry to ask with reference to your book Time for Change, but tell me: what does your daughter say today about Europe, politics, economics and the defeat-for-the-moment in July 2015?

My daughter is determined to deny me the pleasure of thinking that my writings are important enough for her to care! It is the price I must pay for having a daughter with a personality mightier than mine…

— source yanisvaroufakis.eu

Democrats Seem to Consider Snowden’s & Manning’s Leaks Evil & Leaks Under Trump Heroic

Glenn Greenwald talking:

on the question of the eavesdropping powers of the NSA as revealed by the intercepts of General Flynn’s communications, we don’t actually know for certain what the methodology was that was used to eavesdrop on him. Was the NSA legally, pursuant to a FISA warrant, targeting General Flynn as part of an investigation, either an intelligence investigation or a law enforcement investigation, conducted by the FBI? Were they, as they claim, only doing routine surveillance on officials of an adversary country—in this case, Russia—and just coincidentally and by accident happened to catch the conversation that General Flynn was having with those targets of the surveillance in Moscow? We don’t know.

But what this does illustrate is—let’s assume for the moment that the NSA and the CIA for once are actually telling the truth and that the way that they eavesdropped on General Flynn was not by targeting him, but by targeting the Russians with whom he was communicating. What this reveals is something very important, which is, when the Edward Snowden story first broke and the debate around the world was triggered, the U.S. government kept saying over and over, “If you’re an American citizen, we can’t listen in on your calls unless we first get a warrant from the court, and therefore there’s nothing you have to worry about.” Now, that was a very warped sort of thing to say, because that meant that for 95 percent of the world who are called non-Americans, what the government was saying: “Oh, for you, you have no protections. We can listen in on your calls at any time without getting a judge to approve,” which is actually true. And that’s one of the reasons why people all over the world outside of the United States were so horrified to learn of what the NSA was doing. But the broader and more important point is that what the U.S. government was saying was actually completely false. The U.S. government constantly eavesdrops on the telephone calls of American citizens without getting a warrant of any kind, despite what the Constitution requires. And that’s because the law that was enacted in 2008, called the FISA Amendments Act, with President Obama’s approval, with—he was a senator at the time, he voted for it—actually authorizes the U.S. government to listen in on Americans’ calls with no warrant, as long as they’re talking to someone outside of the United States who the government says they’re targeting. And that’s what this episode shows, is they were able to listen in on General Flynn’s calls, if you believe them, with no warrant, because they say that they were targeting someone with whom he was communicating.

As far as the reaction is concerned in terms of how Edward Snowden’s leaks were received versus this leak, it’s like night and day. I have not yet heard, literally, not one Democrat condemn the leakers inside the CIA or the intelligence community who leaked signals intelligence and, in the process, alerted these Russian officials to the fact that their communications have been compromised. That’s what these leaks did. They told these Russian officials with whom General Flynn was communicating, “We have successfully penetrated your communications systems.” And you can be sure that they are now, in response, fortifying the communications that they use and blocking out the NSA and CIA. There was probably harm done by whoever did this leak. I haven’t heard one Democrat condemn it on the grounds that it’s criminal. I haven’t heard one Democrat say that there should be an investigation to find these leakers and put them in prison for violating the law. And yet, all I heard from Democrats—not all I heard, because there were a lot of Democrats who supported Manning and Snowden and Drake—but certainly Democratic officials in D.C. were almost unanimous, under Obama, in saying that leaks—leakers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, that they’re traitors. Chelsea Manning just spent seven years in prison under harsh conditions for leaking information way less sensitive than what these leakers about General Flynn just leaked. And, yes, President Obama commuted her sentence, but only after his administration imprisoned her, under conditions that the U.N. said was basically torture, and kept her in prison for seven years, even though there was no harm demonstrated from anything she leaked. So what Democrats seem to think is, leaks under President Obama, even if they show that high-level officials are lying, as Edward Snowden showed James Clapper was, are evil, are criminal, and the whistleblowers should be thrown in jail; leaks under President Trump, by contrast, are heroic and noble, and we should celebrate the people who are doing it and oppose any effort to hunt them down and investigate them and find them and punish them, as President Trump is vowing to do. The reality is that whistleblowers are a very valuable part of our democracy. They should be cherished and heralded and protected, regardless of which party controls the White House.

ironically, the Republican response is actually consistent—consistently heinous, but at least it’s consistent. There were a few Republicans, usually former officeholders or some outliers in the Republican Party, like Rand Paul or Justin Amash, people from the libertarian wing, who were somewhat supportive of the Snowden leaks. But, overall, the Republican establishment was contemptuous of Edward Snowden. In fact, Mike Pompeo, the former Republican congressman who is now Donald Trump’s chief at the CIA, called for Edward Snowden’s execution. Donald Trump himself called for Edward Snowden’s execution. Lindsey Graham and John McCain and Marco Rubio all called Edward Snowden a traitor. So, in some sense, the Republicans are being consistent, because they’re now saying the same thing, which is that whoever leaked this information ought to be investigated, hunted down and punished to the fullest extent of the law, which is more or less the same thing they said about leakers and whistleblowers under President Obama. It’s the Democrats who have completely switched their position, as they so often do, the minute that the party controlling the White House changed.
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Glenn Greenwald
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept. His recent piece for The Intercept is headlined “The Leakers Who Exposed Gen. Flynn’s Lie Committed Serious—and Wholly Justified—Felonies.”

— source democracynow.org

The Leakers Who Exposed Gen. Flynn’s Lie Committed Serious — and Wholly Justified — Felonies

President Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, was forced to resign on Monday night as a result of getting caught lying about whether he discussed sanctions in a December telephone call with a Russian diplomat. The only reason the public learned about Flynn’s lie is because someone inside the U.S. government violated the criminal law by leaking the contents of Flynn’s intercepted communications.

In the spectrum of crimes involving the leaking of classified information, publicly revealing the contents of SIGINT — signals intelligence — is one of the most serious felonies. Journalists (and all other nongovernmental citizens) can be prosecuted under federal law for disclosing classified information only under the narrowest circumstances; reflecting how serious SIGINT is considered to be, one of those circumstances includes leaking the contents of intercepted communications, as defined this way by 18 § 798 of the U.S. Code:

Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates … or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes … any classified information … obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

That Flynn lied about what he said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was first revealed by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who has built his career on repeating what his CIA sources tell him. In his January 12 column, Ignatius wrote: “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.”

That “senior U.S. government official” committed a serious felony by leaking to Ignatius the communication activities of Flynn. Similar and even more extreme crimes were committed by what the Washington Post called “nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls,” who told the paper for its February 9 article that “Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials.” The New York Times, also citing anonymous U.S. officials, provided even more details about the contents of Flynn’s telephone calls.

That all of these officials committed major crimes can hardly be disputed. In January, CNN reported that Flynn’s calls with the Russians “were captured by routine U.S. eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats.” That means that the contents of those calls were “obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of [a] foreign government,” which in turn means that anyone who discloses them — or reports them to the public — is guilty of a felony under the statute.

Yet very few people are calling for a criminal investigation or the prosecution of these leakers, nor demanding the leakers step forward and “face the music” — for very good reason: The officials leaking this information acted justifiably, despite the fact that they violated the law. That’s because the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about a material matter — his conversations with Russian diplomats — and the public has the absolute right to know this.

This episode underscores a critical point: The mere fact that an act is illegal does not mean it is unjust or even deserving of punishment. Oftentimes, the most just acts are precisely the ones that the law prohibits.

That’s particularly true of whistleblowers — i.e., those who reveal information the law makes it a crime to reveal, when doing so is the only way to demonstrate to the public that powerful officials are acting wrongfully or deceitfully. In those cases, we should cheer those who do it even though they are undertaking exactly those actions that the criminal law prohibits.

This Flynn episode underscores another critical point: The motives of leakers are irrelevant. It’s very possible — indeed, likely — that the leakers here were not acting with benevolent motives. Nobody with a straight face can claim that lying to the public is regarded in official Washington as some sort of mortal sin; if anything, the contrary is true: It’s seen as a job requirement.

Moreover, Gen. Flynn has many enemies throughout the intelligence and defense community. The same is true, of course, of Donald Trump; recall that just a few weeks ago, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Trump that he was being “really dumb” to criticize the intelligence community because “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

It’s very possible — I’d say likely — that the motive here was vindictive rather than noble. Whatever else is true, this is a case where the intelligence community, through strategic (and illegal) leaks, destroyed one of its primary adversaries in the Trump White House.

But no matter. What matters is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak. Any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing — as this one did — should be praised, not scorned and punished.

It is, of course, bizarre to watch this principle now so widely celebrated. Over the last eight years, President Obama implemented the most vindictive and aggressive war on whistleblowers in all of U.S. history. As Leonard Downie, one of the editors at the Washington Post during the Watergate investigation, put it in a special report: “The [Obama] administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.”

It’s hard to put into words how strange it is to watch the very same people — from both parties, across the ideological spectrum — who called for the heads of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, and so many other Obama-era leakers today heap praise on those who leaked the highly sensitive, classified SIGINT information that brought down Gen. Flynn.

It’s even more surreal to watch Democrats act as though lying to the public is some grave firing offense when President Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, got caught red-handed not only lying to the public but also to Congress — about a domestic surveillance program that courts ruled was illegal. And despite the fact that lying to Congress is a felony, he kept his job until the very last day of the Obama presidency.

But this is how political power and the addled partisan brain in D.C. functions. Those in power always regard leaks as a heinous crime, while those out of power regard them as a noble act. They seamlessly shift sides as their position in D.C. changes.

Indeed, while Democrats have suddenly re-discovered the virtues of illegal leaking, Trump-supporting Republicans are insisting that the only thing that matters is rooting out the criminal leakers. Fox News host Steve Doocey and right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham today both demanded to know why the leakers weren’t being hunted, while congressional Republicans are vowing investigations to find the leakers. And Trump himself today — echoing Obama-era Democrats — said that “the real story” isn’t the lies told by his national security adviser but rather the fact that someone leaked information exposing them:

But this is just the tawdry, craven game of Washington. People with no actual beliefs shamelessly take diametrically opposite views on fundamental political questions based exclusively on whether it helps or hurts their leaders. Thus, the very same Democrats who just three months ago viewed illegal leaking as a grave sin today view it as an act of heroic #Resistance.

What matters far more than this lowly and empty game-playing is the principle that is so vividly apparent here. Given the extreme secrecy powers that have arisen under the war on terror, one of the very few ways that the public has left for learning about what its government officials do is illegal leaking. As Trevor Timm notes, numerous leaks have already achieved great good in the three short weeks that Trump has been president.

Leaks are illegal and hated by those in power (and their followers) precisely because political officials want to hide evidence of their own wrongdoing, and want to be able to lie to the public with impunity and without detection. That’s the same reason the rest of us should celebrate such illegal leaks and protect those who undertake them, often at great risk to their own interests, so that we can be informed about the real actions of those who wield the greatest power. That principle does not change based upon which political party controls the White House.

* * * * *

From the creation of The Intercept during the Obama presidency through to today under Trump, a central principle of The Intercept — a key reason it was created — was to enable whistleblowing and report on leaks in the public interest. As our pinned article on our front page says: “If You See Something, Leak Something,” with instructions on how to do that as safely as possible.

— source theintercept.com By Glenn Greenwald

Post Slavery Feminist Thought and the Pan-African Struggle (1892-1927): From Anna J. Cooper to Addie W. Hunton

By the 1880s the post-slavery institutionalization of national oppression and economic exploitation of people of African descent was well underway in the United States.

Although a series of presidential orders, constitutional amendments and legislative measures enacted during 1862-1875 sought to breakdown the legal basis for the enslavement of African people, these actions were restricted by the entrenched interests of both the militarily defeated Southern planters and the emerging Northern industrialists, the two factions of the American ruling class which fought bitterly between 1861-65 for dominance over the economic system which would determine the future of society for the remaining decades of the 19th century.

President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated at the conclusion of the Civil War in April 1865, had no definitive plan for a post-slavery reconstruction of republican democracy as it related to African people. The Emancipation Proclamation was essentially a war document designed to undermine the political and economic basis of the South and its secessionist aims designed to preserve slavery as a system of exploitation, oppression and social containment.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865 declared that involuntary servitude was prohibited unless carried out against people who are incarcerated. Nonetheless, state laws passed by the planter class in the readmitted Confederate states were designed to reinstitute slavery just the same through the mass criminalization and imprisonment of African labor power.

In 1868, the 14th Amendment was passed by Congress ostensibly to grant Africans the rights of citizenship through the application of due process, equal treatment under the legal system and access to public facilities. Later in 1870, the 15th Amendment was drafted and passed to enshrine the right to vote for African men as well as to hold public office.

In a general sense the process of the reversal of the gains of Federal Reconstruction began in the aftermath of the 1876 elections where a split within the electorate created the necessity for the Hayes-Tilden Compromise. The Republican Party candidate Rutherford B. Hayes was allowed to take the presidential office in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.

Consequently, a process of re-enslavement in fact continued throughout the 1880s to the beginning of the 20th century. Africans resisted the imposition of the black codes and other pseudo-legalistic forms of racial dominance. In response the whites established work camps through penal administration and extra-legal methods such as economic sanctions and lynching.

The Philosophical and Educational Contributions of African American Women

It has been reported that Anna Julia Haywood was born into slavery on August 10, 1858 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her mother, Hannah Stanley Haywood, was an African woman. The identity of her father was never clear due to the legacy of slavery and the exploitation of African women. Many white slave owners, male members of their families and employees routinely sexually assaulted and exploited African women. The paternity of these offspring was often denied by the perpetrators. These children of African women were subjected to the same degree of discrimination and repression as others who were not of mixed ancestry.

The mother of Anna J. Haywood was said to have been illiterate and therefore encouraged learning for her daughter. By the age of nine, Haywood was attending the St. Augustine’s College, an institution designed for former enslaved Africans. She studied in the fields of math, Greek and philosophy. Overcoming gender barriers, she persisted in excelling in the curriculum exclusively designed for males.

Haywood academic achievements landed her a position as a teacher at the school. She would later marry another instructor named George Cooper, a teacher of Greek and the second African American in North Carolina to be ordained as an Episcopal minister. Haywood took a leave of absence from the education profession for two years until her husband died suddenly.

Returning to her academic pursuits, she would study at Oberlin College in Ohio earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1884. Three years later in 1887, Cooper completed a master’s degree and returned to teaching math, Greek, Latin and science. She also became a renowned public speaker.

It was in 1892 that Cooper would produce her seminal work entitled “A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South.” The book is considered a milestone in African women’s social and political philosophy.

Undergirding the thesis laid out in the text is the belief that African American women are most capable of achieving higher levels of education. In addition, the education of women and their involvement in public life would make a monumental contribution to not only African American communities but U.S. society as a whole. The harnessing and unleashing of the enlightened power of women would transform historical processes leading to greater awareness of human potentialities.

A chapter in this book entitled “Higher Education of Women”, asserts

“Now I claim that it is the prevalence of the Higher Education among women, the making it a common everyday affair for women to reason and think and express their thought, the training and stimulus which enable and encourage women to administer to the world the bread it needs as well as the sugar it cries for; in short it is the transmitting the potential forces of her soul into dynamic factors that has given symmetry and completeness to the world’s agencies. So only could it be consummated that Mercy, the lesson she teaches, and Truth, the task man has set himself, should meet together: that righteousness, or rightness, man’s ideal,–and peace, its necessary ‘other half,’ should kiss each other.” (Cooper, p. 57)

Nonetheless, the woman question in the U.S. is linked with the problems of racism and national oppression. The African American woman faces discrimination on the basis of national origin as well as gender and social class.

Cooper surmises in “The Voice from the South” on the issue of racial oppression:

“We would not deprecate the fact, then, that America has a Race Problem. It is guaranty of the perpetuity and progress of her institutions, and insures the breadth of her culture and the symmetry of her development. More than all, let us not disparage the factor which the Negro is appointed to contribute to that problem. America needs the Negro for ballast if for nothing else. His tropical warmth and spontaneous emotionalism may form no unseemly counterpart to the cold and calculating Anglo-Saxon. And then his instinct for law and order, his inborn respect for authority, his inaptitude for rioting and anarchy, his gentleness and cheerfulness as a laborer, and his deep-rooted faith in God will prove indispensable and invaluable elements in a nation menaced as America is by anarchy, socialism, communism, and skepticism poured in with all the jail birds from the continents of Europe and Asia. I believe with our own Dr. Crummell that ‘the Almighty does not preserve, rescue, and build up a lowly people merely for ignoble ends.’ And the historian of American civilization will yet congratulate this country that she has had a Race Problem and that descendants of the black race furnished one of its largest factors.” (pp. 173-4)

Laying the groundwork for broader intervention in the international situation, Cooper later addressed the World Congress of Representative Women in May 1893. The event was held in conjunction with the World Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World Fair). There were 81 meetings held on the conditions of women spoken to by 500 women from 27 different countries.

This World’s Congress of Representative Women was organized, funded and publicized through the women’s branch of the World’s Congress Auxiliary. This section of the Chicago gathering was directed by the President of the Women’s Auxiliary Bertha Honoré Palmer, the wife of wealthy Chicago retailer Potter Palmer. The men’s section of the Auxiliary ran seventeen departments and convened over 100 panels including discussions related to political, social and technical affairs. The women’s division organized one phase of the event. Out of all the congresses activities held by men at the World’s Columbian Exposition, the World’s Congress of Representative Women attained the largest attendance.

A number of leading African American women presented papers at the Congress of Representative Women including Hallie Quinn Brown, who was born in Pittsburg in 1849 to free African parents. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Brown later went on to teach and administer at Allen University in South Carolina and Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She would become a professor at Wilberforce.

Brown was a leading force in the founding of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC). The organization grew out of a merger of other similar groups concerned with women’s suffrage, an end to lynching and the end of racial oppression.

Other African American women presenters were Fannie Barrier Williams, born in 1855 in New York State. Barrier Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Brockport College, a division of the State University. Despite her educational achievements for the period, she was subjected to severe racial discrimination.

Barrier Williams was an advocate for the social and political advancement of African American people through community activism, professional achievement and the acquisition of the vote for women. She would marry S. Laing Williams, an attorney, and they later settled in the city of Chicago.

At the World Congress of Representative Women in Chicago, Williams presented a paper entitled “The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Women of the United States Since the Emancipation Proclamation.” She also delivered a paper to the World Parliament of Religions entitled “What Can Religion Further Do to Advance the condition of the American Negro?”

In the address to the World Parliament of Religions, she decried the segregation of churches and spoke on the ability of sacred institutions to bring about change within American society.

She was a co-founder of the National League of Colored Women, which eventually became the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC).

Fanny Jackson Coppin also spoke at the gathering. She was born into slavery in 1837 in Washington, D.C. and later attended Oberlin College where she became an educator. Later she would be employed as a teacher in Philadelphia where she instructed in Greek, Latin and mathematics.

Another African American woman who spoke at the 1893 World Congress was Sarah Jane Woodson Early. She was born as a free African in 1825 in Ohio where her parents had settled after being liberated from slavery. She was educated at Oberlin College and later taught at Wilberforce, becoming the first African person to teach at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

Woodson Early’s paper delivered at the Chicago Congress was entitled “The Organized Efforts of the Colored Women of the South to Improve Their Condition.” In previous years Early held the position as national superintendent (1888–1892) of the African American section of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She delivered over 100 lectures in five states. The public speaker authored a biographical sketch of her husband’s life focusing on his liberation from enslavement making a contribution to a number of such narratives published after the conclusion of the Civil War.

Finally, in relationship to the World Congress of Representative Women, a paper presented by Frances E.W. Harper entitled “Woman’s Political Future”, was one of the most notable. Born in 1825 in Baltimore, Harper was a published poet even during the era of antebellum slavery. She was born a free African but pursued a career of advocacy for the abolition of involuntary servitude and women’s suffrage.

Her speech was indicative of some within the women’s movement including African Americans who also spoke in favor of the need for literacy as a prerequisite to access to the ballot. She was as well an official in the WCTU. The notion of literacy and voting rights would become controversial during the proceeding decades of the 20th century since this was one mechanism utilized to deny the vote to millions of African Americans in the South.
The Reason Why: Interventions by Ida B. Wells and the Role of Oppositional Politics

Although many of the references to educational achievement, economic self-reliance, sobriety, and religious adherence, suggests that the influence of western bourgeois values informed the thinking and organizational approaches to the leading African American women intellectuals and activists, however what must be taken into consideration is the contradiction of the overall social conditions created by the failure of Reconstruction during the previous decades.

A profit-driven system of institutional racism and national oppression required the super-exploitation of the African people. They were systematically denied access to education, adequate wages, quality housing and opportunities within the labor market. The criminalization of the rural and urban communities across the U.S. represented through law-enforcement key aspects of the repressive mechanism which served the capitalist system.

Knowing and acknowledging that there would be in all likelihood no assistance from the federal government and the corporations in regard to alleviating the social conditions of the masses of workers and farmers, African Americans out of necessity were compelled to create their own institutions to foster social reproduction and to ensure survival. Consequently, there was a strong emphasis on self-improvement through education, personal discipline and the adoption of what was perceived societal norms during this period in history.

Nonetheless, the anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells would expose the fallacy of the myths of the “criminally-driven over-sexed” Black man who was a threat to the “sanctity of white womanhood.” When Wells wrote in an editorial for her paper the Free Speech and Headlight that in many cases white women sought social relations with African American men she was subjected to threats and the destruction of her offices in Memphis in 1893.

Born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 as an enslaved African child, Wells parents instilled in her a sense of pride and yearning for education. Her parents died in the late 1870s during the yellow fever epidemic which hit northern Mississippi and Southwest Tennessee.

Wells went to Memphis to live with relatives and became a school teacher in the Shelby County school system. She would file a lawsuit against the Chesapeake, Ohio Railroad Company in 1884 for discrimination after being ejected from a train in Woodstock, Tennessee because she refused to move out of the lady’s coach. Prevailing in the lower courts and winning a judgement, the railroad line appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court which ruled in favor of Chesapeake, Ohio, overturning the settlement won earlier by Wells.

In later years Wells became well known as a public school teacher and newspaper editor. She was eventually relieved of her duties with the school system after criticizing the inferior education provided to African American students.

Wells had protested the lynching of three African American men in Memphis in 1892 whom were guilty of only defending themselves against a lawless white racist mob. A subsequent boycott of the street car services, white-owned businesses and a mass exodus of Black people from Memphis to Oklahoma, served to create the conditions as well for Wells to be driven out of the city.

Wells intervened in opposing the terms under which the Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago. African American organizations, churches and newspapers had called for a boycott of the World’s Fair in 1893. The community was demanding positions on the board of directors and planning committees designing the project. These legitimate requests were rejected by the ruling class interests involved in the project. Eventually some concessions were made although many remained dissatisfied and refused to attend.

Prior to the beginning of the Chicago World’s Fair, a document was edited and published by Wells with the majority contributions written by her along with other sections by Frederick Douglass, Ferdinand L. Barnett and I. Garland Penn. This attack on the World’s Fair was released as a pamphlet entitled “The Reason Why: The Colored American is not in the World’s Columbian Exposition, the Afro-American’s Contribution to Columbian Literature.”

In the preface to The Reason Why, Wells notes that: “Columbia has bidden the civilized world to join with her in celebrating the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America, and the invitation has been accepted. At Jackson Park are shown exhibits of her natural resources, and her progress in the arts and sciences, which would best illustrate her moral greatness has been ignored. The exhibit of the progress made by a race in 25 years of freedom as against 250 years of slavery, would have been the greatest tribute to the greatness and progressiveness of American institutions which could have been shown the world. The colored people of this great Republic number eight millions – more than one-tenth the whole population of the United States. They were among the earliest settlers of this continent, landing at Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 in a slave ship, before the Puritans, who landed at Plymouth in 1620.

They have contributed a large share to American prosperity and civilization. The labor of one-half of this country has always been, and is still being done through them. The first credit this country had in its trade with foreign nations was created by productions resulting from their labor. The wealth created by their industry has made it possible for them to make the most of their progress in education, art, science, industry and invention.”

Wells continues saying:

“Those visiting the World’s Columbian Exposition who know these facts, especially foreigners will naturally ask: Why are not the colored people, who constitute so large an element of the American population, and who have contributed so much to American greatness, more visibly Present and better represented in this World’s Exposition? Why are they not taking part in this glorious celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of their country? Are they so dull and stupid as to feel no interest in this great event? As far as possible, this exhibition has been published.”

Throughout the pages of this pamphlet, documented proof of the exclusion, exploitation and repression of the African American people are laid out for examination. Wells had returned from a speaking tour of England, Wales and Scotland in 1893 while the World’s Fair was already underway. It appears in the existing evidence that Wells did not address the participants of the Columbian Exposition. However, through the publication of the document her voice was heard loud and clear.

In highlighting the dangerous situation facing the African American people, Wells recounted many extra-judicial mob killings throughout the U.S. She writes on the March 1892 atrocities against the three men which were never punished by the courts.

Taken directly from chapter four entitled “Lynch Law”, Wells says: “A lynching equally as cold-blooded took place in Memphis, Tennessee, March, 1892. Three young colored men in an altercation at their place of business, fired on white men in self-defense. They were imprisoned for three days, then taken out by the mob and horribly shot to death. Thomas Moss, Will Stewart and Calvin McDowell, were energetic business men who had built up a flourishing grocery business. Their business had prospered and that of a rival white grocer named Barrett had declined. Barrett led the attack on their grocery which resulted in the wounding of three white men. For this cause were three innocent men barbarously lynched, and their families left without protectors. Memphis is one of the leading cities of Tennessee, a town of seventy-five thousand inhabitants! No effort whatever was made to punish the murderers of these three men.

It counted for nothing that the victims of this outrage were three of the best known young men of a population of thirty thousand colored people of Memphis. They were the officers of the company which conducted the grocery: Moss being the President, Stewart the Secretary of the Company and McDowell the Manager. Moss was in the Civil Service of the United States as a carrier, and all three were men of splendid reputation for honesty, integrity and sobriety. But their murderers, though well-known, have never been counted, were not even troubled with a preliminary examination.”

Douglass although submitting an article for The Reason Why, was in attendance and delivered an address. Within those aspects of the Exposition which focused on the affairs of African people some administrative control was relinquished. The formerly self-emancipated enslaved African turned abolitionist and propagandist in opposition to slavery as early as the 1840s, Douglass, was placed as the administrator over the Colored American Day.

Despite the concessions related to Douglass, an article on this opposition to the Columbian Exposition written by Christopher Robert Reed of Roosevelt University in 1999 emphasizes the role of Wells and others recounting: “Nonetheless, some prominent African Americans declined to appear, such as the renowned coloratura soprano, Sissieretta Jones, known as the Black Patti. Whether it was a matter of contractual misunderstanding or support for the boycott, she nonetheless canceled her appearance. Ida B. Wells stayed away from the celebration but retroactively reversed her assessment both of the propriety of staging the event and of its value to racial progress. Originally motivated by a whimsical impulse, it appeared she responded to favorable white newspaper accounts to the event, especially in the Inter Ocean, by later seeking out Douglass at the Haytian Pavilion. There, she apologized to the “grand old man” for placing her youthful exuberance before the qualities of racial leadership he had displayed in deciding to participate. African Methodist Episcopal Bishops Benjamin Arnett and Henry McNeal Turner absented themselves from the event while two of the organizing committee’s vice presidents also avoided the event. Former U. S. Representative John Mercer Langston skipped the event after having urged Chicago audiences previously that they should follow his lead.”
The Chicago Congress on Africa in 1893

During the course of the time in which the Columbia Exposition was being held, there was another historical gathering which took place known as the Chicago Congress on Africa. This gathering is referred to by some as the First Pan-African Conference or Congress in world history. The event took place in several areas of the city of Chicago including venues associated with the Exposition and others which were not.

It was during this period that the rise of colonialism in Africa was intensifying at a rapid rate. Just nine years before the Berlin Conference was held in Germany which divided the continent up as political spheres of economic influence by Europe and the U.S.

The impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade from the 15th through the second half of the 19th centuries had set the stage for the rise of colonialism in Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. However, there was a long time commitment among African Americans to either repatriate to the continent or to play some role in its reconstruction from slavery and colonialism.

This was reflected in the mass outpouring surrounding the Chicago Congress on Africa. Reed illustrates:

“From August 14, 1893, to August 21, 1893 probably the largest number of African American participants in a world’s fair event assembled as part of the Congress on Africa, or as it was sometimes referred to, the Congress on African Ethnology, or the Congress on the Negro. Its eight-day length included a citywide Sunday session that entered the sanctuaries and pulpits of scores of churches, so thousands of interested church congregants listened to information on the status of the global African population. Identified fully for what it was, the Congress on Africa combined the intellectual with the ideological, religious, philosophical and scientific to formulate an agenda facilitating, in effect, a dualistic American African public policy on the status of continental and Diaspora Africans.”

Well known political figures such as Edward Wilmot Blyden, a repatriated African born in the Caribbean and living in Liberia, along with Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, had been anticipated to attend and present papers, however neither appeared at the gathering. Nevertheless, there were papers delivered on “The African in America”; “Liberia as a Factor in the Progress of the Negro Race”; and a very challenging presentation entitled “What Do American Negroes Owe to Their Kin Beyond the Sea.”

Bishop Henry McNeal Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was joined with Bishop Alexander Walters of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) and Alexander Crummell of the Episcopal Church. Turner during the Chicago Congress advanced the notions of the African origins of humanity and civilization.

He also strongly advocated for the repatriation of Africans to the continent as a means of exercising self-determination and nation-building. Turner had stated several months prior to the Congress that France was enhancing its territorial ambitions towards Africa, particularly Liberia, being a major factor in the colonization of the continent.

This Congress provided the impetus for another Pan-African Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia two years later in 1895. This gathering was sponsored by the Steward Missionary Foundation for Africa of the Gammon Theological Seminary. This meeting was attended by John Henry Smyth, who was the minister resident and consul general to Liberia.

In his paper presented to the Atlanta conference, Smyth emphasized that:

“European contact has brought in its train not merely the sacrifice, amid unspeakable horrors, of the lives and liberties of twenty million Negroes for the American market alone, but political disintegration, social anarchy, moral and physical debasements.”

Two years after the Atlanta meeting, the African Association (AA) was formed in Britain on September 24, 1897 led by Barrister Henry Sylvester Williams, who was born in Trinidad. Minkah Makalani of Rutgers University wrote of the AA noting:

“[T]he Trinidadian barrister Henry Sylvester Williams began thinking about a political movement organized around a series of conferences that would draw representatives of the ‘African race from all the parts of the world.’ In September 1897, Williams established the African Association (AA) to ‘encourage a feeling of unity [and] facilitate friendly intercourse among Africans,’ and ‘promote and protect the interests of all subjects claiming African descent, wholly or in part, in British Colonies and other place, especially in Africa.’ Based in London, the AA published studies, news reports, and appeals to ‘Imperial and local governments.’ The AA’s leadership came from throughout the African diaspora: Rev. H. Mason Joseph of Antigua served as chairman; T. J. Thompson of Sierra Leone was deputy chairman, while the South African woman A. V. Kinloch was treasurer. As honorary secretary, Williams quickly directed the African Association into politics. In October of that year, he submitted a petition to Joseph Chamberlain, secretary of state for the colonies, to include a clause in the Rhodesian constitution to protect native Africans’ interests, respect their customs, create industrial schools, and teach “a simple and true Christianity.” News of the African Association’s lobbying British government and members of parliament on behalf of Africans spread throughout the continent and served as the basis for enthusiastic response from Africans toward the organization.”

Alice Kinloch and Addie B. Hutton: Pan-African Congresses From 1900-1927

Inns of Court law students Henry Sylvester Williams of Trinidad and Thomas John Thompson of Sierra Leone are often recognized as the principal organizers of the Pan-African Conference held in London during July 1900. This conference, which is also characterized as the First Pan-African Congress, was attended by Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, the Harvard graduate in history who wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard in 1896 on the Suppression of the African Slave Trade.

However, the formation of the African Association (AA) which organized the Pan-African Conference of July 1900, was encouraged by the work of a South African woman, Alice V. Kinloch, originally from Natal. It is possible that Kinloch traveled to Britain in 1895 with her mixed race husband Edmund, the offspring of a Scottish man and his Zulu wife. Edmund Kinloch had worked in the mining industry in South Africa.

In 1897, Kinloch met H.R. Fox Bourne, the Secretary of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS) and was invited to deliver a lecture on the conditions of African workers in the mining industry in South Africa. A series of lectures were given in early May 1897 and attended by a large audiences’ at the Central Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the Friends’ Meeting House in York, and in Manchester. (David Killingray, South African Historical Journal, Vol. 64, Issue 3, Aug. 2012)

The theme for these discussions was “The Ill treatment of the Natives throughout South Africa, but principally on the Compound System as Obtains throughout the Mining Districts.” Mrs. Kinloch addressed a meeting in Newcastle on May 3, in York on May 4, and the following day in Manchester.

At the Newcastle-upon-Tyne gathering a resolution was passed emphasizing: “that this meeting having heard the statements of the present position from Mrs. Kinloch and Mr. Fox Bourne, calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to take such action as shall effectually stop the cruel and violent measures by which the native races in South Africa and elsewhere are being deprived of their lands and liberty.” Later the same year, Kinloch was invited by Jane Cobden Onwin to address the Writer’s Club in London, where her address, “Are South African Diamonds Worth their Cost?,” was eventually published as a pamphlet by the Labour Press in Manchester under the authorship of A.V. Alexander, her maiden name.

Williams in his correspondence to Harriette Colenso, written in June 1899, he conveys that “The Association is the result of Mrs. Kinloch’s work in England and the feeling that as British subjects we ought to be heard in our own affairs.” After the convening of the Pan-African Conference in 1900, the following year, Williams returned to Trinidad and Emmanuel Lazare, who introduced Williams at a public meeting in Port of Spain, recounted Kinloch’s pivotal role in the founding of the AA.

In an article published in the Quaker weekly, Alice Kinloch acknowledged that

“with some men of my race in this country, I have formed a society for the benefit of our people in Africa … I think the time has come for us to bear some of our responsibilities, and in so doing we will help the Aborigines’ Protection Society. I am trying to educate people in this country in regard to the iniquitous laws made for blacks in South Africa.”

Alice and Edmund Kinloch returned to South Africa in February 1898 and therefore were not present for the Pan-African Conference of 1900. Coming out of the London gathering was a further consolidation of the AA, which changed its name to the Pan-African Association (PAA). The organization published a short-lived journal called The Pan-African.

Two women who did present papers at the 1900 Pan-African Conference were Anna Julia Cooper whose topic was “The Negro Problem in America.” Another woman, Anna H. Jones of Missouri, was a leader in the State chapter of the NACWC. She delivered a paper on “The Preservation of Racial Equality.”

Williams returned to Britain to complete his examinations and was qualified as a lawyer. He practiced in the Cape Colony of South Africa during 1903-1905, becoming the first person of African descent under the colonial system to be admitted to the bar. Having taken a position against the racist colonial system, Williams was eventually banned from practicing law in South Africa and went back to live in Britain where he became involved in electoral politics.

He died in1911 in Trinidad at the relatively young age of 42. Williams’ death would place a damper on the development of the Pan-African Movement. Nevertheless as result of the rise of industrialization and the mass migration it fostered, African people were dislocated and dispersed into many other areas of the world.

The advent of World War I would spark a renewed sense of national consciousness and internationalism. In 1919, following the conclusion of the War and the negotiations surrounding the Treaty of Versailles, DuBois and others reactivated the Pan-African struggle through the convening of the Pan-African Congress in Paris.

Addie Waites Hunton was a central figure in the development of the Pan-African Movement during this period. She was born in 1866 in Norfolk, Virginia to Jesse and Adeline Waites.

Waites earned a high school diploma at the Boston Latin School and in 1889 became the first African American woman to graduate from Spencerian College of Commerce in Philadelphia.

She would marry William Alpheus Hunton, Sr. in 1893. Hunton was a pioneer in the Young Men’s Christian Association’s (YMCA) work among Africans in the U.S.

The family moved to Atlanta, Georgia after their marriage, where Addie worked as a secretary at Clark College. Later in the aftermath of the 1906 race terror leveled against the African American community, the Huntons relocated to New York City. Between the years of 1906-1910, Addie Hunton worked as a staff organizer for the NACWC. In addition, she was a proponent of women’s suffrage advocating in the campaign for the ratification of the 19th amendment which granted the right to vote to white women. Hunton urged leaders in the white women’s movement to also support the abolition of disenfranchisement of African people as a whole in the U.S.

During the U.S. involvement in World War I, which came late towards the end of the imperialist conflagration, Hunt along with Kathryn Johnson, served on behalf of the YMCA in Paris, assisting the hundreds of thousands of African American troops deployed there. Hunton and Johnson published a book about their observations and experiences in France entitled “Two Colored Women With the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) released in 1920.

This book provides first-hand accounts of the horrendous conditions that the African American troops were subjected to during their terms of service in France. There was widespread discrimination by the U.S. armed forces where Black soldiers were routinely denied food, medical treatment and access to public accommodations.

Hunton attended the Pan-African Congress organized by W.E.B. Du Bois in Paris. The event has been labelled the Second Congress by historians. Du Bois requested the intervention of a Senegalese parliamentarian for the French assembly Blaise Diagne in order for the gathering to be held.

According to Du Bois:

“Diagne secured the consent of Clemenceau to our holding a Pan-African Congress, but we then encountered the opposition of most of the countries in the world to allowing delegates to attend. Few could come from Africa; passports were refused to American Negroes and English whites. The Congress therefore, which met in 1919, was confined to those representatives of African groups who happened to be stationed in Paris for various reasons. This Congress represented Africa partially. Of the fifty-seven delegates from fifteen countries, nine were from African countries with twelve delegates. Of the remaining delegates, sixteen were from the United States and twenty-one from the West Indies.” (Andrew G. Paschal, Editor, A W.E.B. Du Bois Reader, 1971, p. 242)

In addition to the participation of Addie W. Hunton, another African American woman, Ida Gibbs Hunt, the daughter of a U.S. diplomat who had been stationed in Madagascar, delivered a paper at the 1919 Congress. Ida Alexander Gibbs was born November 16, 1862 in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.

Gibbs later attended and earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1884. She became an instructor at the M Street High School in Washington, D.C. Gibbs retired from teaching after marrying career diplomat William Henry Hunt in 1904.

Although she traveled with her husband in his diplomatic assignments, she continued the activism in the areas of civil rights, women’s affairs and Pan-Africanism. An entry on the Black Past website notes: “In 1905, she joined a handful of black women in founding the first Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Washington, D.C. for African Americans. She participated in the Niagara Movement, the Femmes de France, the Bethel Literary Society, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Washington Welfare Association, the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom, and the Red Cross.” (http://www.blackpast.org/aah/hunt-ida-alexander-gibbs-1862-1957)

This same biography continues saying:

“While traveling abroad with her husband, Ida Gibbs Hunt published various articles and wrote reviews on literary and cultural themes. She also wrote and gave speeches in support of peace, women’s suffrage, and civil rights for African Americans. She was able to promote her ideals internationally, an influence no doubt from her husband and father who had been diplomats. Ida Hunt was the assistant secretary for the Second Pan-African Congress in Paris in 1919. She delivered a paper entitled “The Coloured Races and the League of Nations” at the Third Pan-African Congress in London in 1923 and co-chaired the Conference’s Executive Committee with W.E.B. DuBois. Ida Gibbs Hunt died in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 19, 1957.”

1919 was a tumultuous year in the U.S. as it relates to race relations. A series of race riots occurred with the largest and most deadly being in Chicago, Illinois. African American troops who had served in France were not about to suffer the same indignations as their ancestors. Out of the 1919 disturbances came a plethora of political, cultural and literary outpourings popularly known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born Pan-African propagandist and organizer, established his headquarters in New York City after coming to the U.S. in 1916. By 1920, his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) had gained the membership and support of millions throughout the U.S. the Caribbean and Central America.

In 1921, Du Bois sought to organize another Pan-African Congress, known as the second, through a succession of meetings in London, Brussels and Paris. The editor of the Crisis Magazine of the NAACP, worked to build a broader representation for the movement. He would invite people from various geo-political regions of the world to the meetings that did convene in England, Belgium and France during August and September of that year.

At the meeting there were 113 delegates who attended, forty-one of which originated from the African continent, thirty-five from the U.S., twenty-four living in Europe and seven more with Caribbean nationalities. Much emphasis was placed on condemning the atrocities committed by the Belgian colonial authorities in Congo where millions were slaughtered during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

By 1923, Addie W. Hunton had focused her attention on the world peace movement seeing a direct link between the ending of imperialist war and national liberation of the colonial territories as well as the African American people. A secretariat was established in Paris in the aftermath of the 1921 Congress which gained limited success. By 1923, the funding for the Pan-African Movement was largely carried out by the International Women’s Circle for Peace and Foreign Relations which made it possible for Du Bois to travel to London and Lisbon for the holding of the Third Pan-African Congress.

Du Bois sought to hold another Pan-African Congress, considered the fourth, in 1925. However, the venture gained insufficient support for it to be realized. The Circle for Peace and Foreign Relations took up the cause in 1925 pledging to raise the funds for the convening of the Fourth Congress in New York City in August 1927.

Du Bois was forced to admit in 1955 that: “In 1927, American Negro women revived the Congress idea and a fourth Pan-African Congress was held in New York. Thirteen countries were represented, but direct African participation lagged. There were two hundred eight delegates from twenty-two American states and ten foreign countries. Africa was sparsely represented by representatives from the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, Chief Amoah II of the Gold Coast, and Anthropologist like Herskovits, then at Columbia, and Mensching of Germany and John Vandercook were on the program.” (Du Bois taken from Pan-Africanism: A Mission in My Life, 1955)

In an article published by the New York Amsterdam News on August 23, it reported: “For the afternoon the Congress considered African Missions, with Coralie Franklin Cook in the chair. Helen Curtis gave the principal address, in which the missionary opportunities were stressed. She believes that the responsibility of Africa’s redemption rests with the Negro race in America. She pleaded that hard economic opportunities and climatic conditions as arresting agents of the native’s progress. She thought that the churches carrying on missionary labors ought to be diligent in sending supplies and money promptly and ought to pay the workers’ living wage.”

The Congress was convened on August 21, 1927 and lasted until the August 24. There was an impressive list of members, hosts and speakers for the event.

Proceedings were held in several churches throughout the city. Thousands were in attendance over the course of four days. Although there were 208 official delegates, mass participation at the venues were estimated at 5,000 people. This was the largest of such Pan-African gathering since the New York UNIA-ACL Convention of 1920 and the Chicago Congress on Africa held in 1893.

Delegates to the Fourth Pan-African Congress passed resolutions and made demands on the imperialist powers. The gathering reaffirmed the manifestos of the previously held Congresses.

The Congress once again upheld the rights of Africans to land, universal suffrage, and quality education. Delegates called for all Africans to be recognized “as civilized men despite differences of birth, race or color.” The participants rejected the U.S. occupation of Haiti as well as the continuing white minority rule in South Africa. They demanded genuine liberation and sovereignty for Egypt, emphasizing that imperialism was incompatible with democracy.

There was support given to the League Against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression which had held a conference in Belgium earlier that year in February. The resolution was motivated by Richard B. Moore, then a lead organizer in the Communist Party in the U.S. The League Against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression was aligned with the Communist International based in Moscow of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and was headed by German Communist Willi Muzenberg.
Conclusion

It would be another eighteen years before the Fifth Pan-African Congress was held in Manchester, England in October 1945. This event ushered in a new phase of anti-colonial militancy leading to the advances in the national independence movements of the late 1940s through the 1970s.

Nonetheless, interest in continental affairs among African Americans and Caribbean Africans would continue during the 1930s, particularly as a result of the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935. Both Communist and Nationalist organizations in the U.S. advocated against the role of Italy in Abyssinia leading to a rebellion in Harlem.

In Britain, C.L.R. James along with George Padmore and Amy Ashwood Garvey, would establish the International African Service Bureau (IASB) in the late 1930s. In the U.S., the Council on African Affairs (CAA) was formed by Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois and Max Yergan in 1937. Later, William Alpheus Hunton, Jr., the son of Addie W. Hunton, became the executive secretary of the CAA in 1943, working full time for African liberation until the mid-1950s when the CAA was dissolved due to government repression. Hunton would spend several months in prison for refusing to turn over documents to the government seeking to prove that the organization was a front for the Communist Party.

Hunton, who held a Ph.D from New York University, resigned from his academic career at Howard University to devote his complete attention to African solidarity work beginning in 1943. Prompted by the Rand Miners’ strike of 1946, thousands of people were mobilized for a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York in support of the African workers.

In 1957, he published his classic work, “Decision in Africa: Sources of the Current Conflict”, which prefigured the academic work of Walter Rodney of Guyana, whose “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”, published in 1972 in Tanzania, had a tremendous impact on the overall perspectives of African revolutionaries in relationship to imperialism.

Hunton left the U.S. in 1960 to settle in Guinea-Conakry under the leadership of President Ahmed Sekou Toure, the Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG). Later he would move to Ghana under the leadership of President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of the Convention People’s Party (CPP). He joined W.E.B. Du Bois, who had become a citizen of the country, in establishing the Encyclopedia Africana Project in 1962. Hunton left Ghana after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and U.S. State Department engineered coup against the CPP government in February 1966. He died in Zambia in 1970.

Women played an instrumental role in both the formation of the Pan-African Movement from the late 19th century through the national liberation struggles of the middle to late 20th century. In Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Guinea, Algeria, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other states, women were at the forefront of the independence efforts in the areas of mass mobilization, political education, armed struggle and national reconstruction.

In the U.S., it was the activities of women such as Mamie Till Mobley, Rosa L. Parks, Jo Ann Robinson, Ella Baker, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer, Septima Clark, Gloria Richardson, among many others, who provided the social impetus for the reemergence of the Civil Rights and Black Power struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. Since the 1960s and 1970s, consciousness related to the essential role of women in popular movements and intellectual culture has grown immensely.

This review of the philosophical and political contributions of women as it relates to the organizational origins of Pan-Africanism from the 1890s to the conclusion of the 1920s provides a glimpse of the significance of these issues. Much more work is needed by scholars, journalists and activists in uncovering and exposing this important history to wider audiences including emerging generations of revolutionaries within the western industrialized states and the broader world.

— source globalresearch.ca By Abayomi Azikiwe

Ajit Pai is Trump’s new FCC chairman

President Donald Trump’s newly appointed chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, who has begun to attack net neutrality rules and other consumer protections. In a series of actions earlier this month, Pai blocked nine companies from providing affordable high-speed internet to low-income families. He withdrew the FCC’s support from an effort to curb the exorbitant cost of phone calls from prison. And he also said he disagrees with the 2015 decision to regulate the internet like a public utility.

Jessica González talking:

Ajit Pai is Trump’s new FCC chairman, and it should come as a surprise to no one that he poses a significant threat, not only to net neutrality, but also to the digital divide. In his first weeks—his first week in office, he talked a good game about bridging the digital divide. But actions speak louder than words. And if you look at his actions, there’s a very, very troubling history of voting against reforms to both bring affordable access to poor Americans, to low-income Americans, to people of color, who disproportionately lack home internet access, but there’s also a troubling history of voting against net neutrality. He voted against the Lifeline order, to modernize Lifeline and bring affordable broadband to low-income families. He voted against the E-rate order, to help bring high-speed internet to schools and libraries in poor neighborhoods. And he voted against net neutrality, to keep the internet open so that people who don’t usually get a spot in mainstream media can tell their own stories, can organize for justice and can make a living. And so, we’re very concerned. We have a close eye on him. And we can’t trust what he says. And actions speak louder than words.

we’re in an administration that is trying to shut down speech. We have a president and his surrogates telling the media to shut up. They’re trying to silence dissent. And the internet is the one clear way where we know that people, movements can control the narrative and can organize. Four million Americans wrote to the FCC in 2015 and told them, “We want an open internet. We understand that the internet companies have monopoly-like status, that they are blocking—you know, that they have the power and the incentive to block access and to cut special deals behind our backs. And we don’t want that. We want to be able—once we pay the hefty prices we do to get on the internet, we want to be able to go where we want, see what we want, and access the content we want, without getting shoved over into a slow lane if you don’t have the money.” And so, it’s incredibly vital, now more than ever, that we protect an open internet and that this administration heed the millions and millions of regular people, that—you know, I think we cannot trust Ajit Pai. He’s a former Verizon lobbyist. He’s, you know, walking in the footsteps of Trump. And we need to be very, very, very careful.

there’s a few organizations that represent people of color that have come out on the wrong side of this issue. It’s troubling, but, frankly, if you look at the grassroots, the vast majority of people of color understand this. We understand that we do not like the way we have been represented in mainstream media. We’re portrayed as criminals. We’re portrayed as people who pose a danger to the society. We understand that the internet has played a democratizing force in making sure that our voices are heard, in making sure that we’ve been able to organize and in making sure that we can really, you know, tap into the networks that we need to tap into to change the narrative in this country for the better of lots of different issues—for the water protectors, for immigrant rights activists, for Black Lives Matter. And we see the way that movements have utilized the internet to change the way society perceives us. And so, these groups—there’s a few of them—they’re on the wrong side of the issue, and it’s very troubling. But, you know, they don’t represent most people of color on this.

in both 2013 and 2015, the FCC looked at the issue of exorbitant prison phone rates. Some families of inmates and detainees are paying up to $17 for a 15-minute call. It’s outrageous. The prisons are getting kickbacks from prison phone companies to charge these exorbitant rates. And it’s a real abuse of power. Ajit Pai actually acknowledged that this was unjust and that the interests of inmates’ families may not necessarily align with the prison phone companies’. Yet he went ahead and voted against two different orders to help regulate the rates and the fees that are charged by these companies. And so, he talks the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk. In fact, he filed a 20-page dissent in 2013 that mirrored some of the company talking points. And so, we have to really hold him accountable on this. He does not have the best interests of communities of color and poor people at heart. And we need to hold his feet to the fire.

FCC’s Open Internet Advisory Committee and Diversity Committee. It’s been a couple years since I’ve heard anything about those. They used to be active, few years back. We’d meet on a semiregular basis. I don’t think I’ve received an official word on whether or not they exist anymore, but I certainly haven’t been invited to any meetings in the past couple of years.
____

Jessica González
deputy director and senior counsel at Free Press. González was formerly on the FCC’s Open Internet Advisory Committee and Diversity Committee. She was formerly the executive vice president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

— source democracynow.org

Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

Glenn Greenwald talking:

The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.

And you go—this is not just about Russia. You go all the way back to the campaign, and what you saw was that leading members of the intelligence community, including Mike Morell, who was the acting CIA chief under President Obama, and Michael Hayden, who ran both the CIA and the NSA under George W. Bush, were very outspoken supporters of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Michael Morell went to The New York Times, and Michael Hayden went to The Washington Post, during the campaign to praise Hillary Clinton and to say that Donald Trump had become a recruit of Russia. The CIA and the intelligence community were vehemently in support of Clinton and vehemently opposed to Trump, from the beginning. And the reason was, was because they liked Hillary Clinton’s policies better than they liked Donald Trump’s. One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime. Hillary Clinton was not only for that, she was critical of Obama for not allowing it to go further, and wanted to impose a no-fly zone in Syria and confront the Russians. Donald Trump took exactly the opposite view. He said we shouldn’t care who rules Syria; we should allow the Russians, and even help the Russians, kill ISIS and al-Qaeda and other people in Syria. So, Trump’s agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted. Clinton’s was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they’ve been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him. There’s claims that they’re withholding information from him, on the grounds that they don’t think he should have it and can be trusted with it. They are empowering themselves to enact policy.

Now, I happen to think that the Trump presidency is extremely dangerous. You just listed off in your news—in your newscast that led the show, many reasons. They want to dismantle the environment. They want to eliminate the safety net. They want to empower billionaires. They want to enact bigoted policies against Muslims and immigrants and so many others. And it is important to resist them. And there are lots of really great ways to resist them, such as getting courts to restrain them, citizen activism and, most important of all, having the Democratic Party engage in self-critique to ask itself how it can be a more effective political force in the United States after it has collapsed on all levels. That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that.

there’s a media issue here, which is that if you look at The Wall Street Journal report, it’s pretty much exactly the same as every other significant report about Russia over the last six months, many of which have proven to be completely false. It’s based on anonymous officials making extremely vague claims. Even The Wall Street Journal says, “We don’t know who’s doing this, withholding information. We don’t know how much information is being withheld.”

Secondly, the idea that Donald Trump is some kind of an agent or a spy of Russia, or that he is being blackmailed by Russia and is going to pass secret information to the Kremlin and endanger American agents on purpose, is an incredibly crazy claim that has been nowhere proven to be true. It reminds me of the kind of things Glenn Beck used to say about Obama while he stood at his chalkboard and drew those—those unstable charts that he drew, these wild conspiracy theories that are without evidence.

We ought to have a serious, sober, structured investigation of the claims that Russia hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s emails and that there were improper ties between Donald Trump and the Russians, and that ought to be made public so that we can see the information. But this constant media obsession of leaking whatever someone whispers to them about Donald Trump and Russia, because they know it will get their reporters huge numbers of retweets on Twitter and tons of traffic by people who are being fed what they want to hear, is really feeding into the worst kind of hysteria and even fake news that the media says they’re trying to combat. These are really serious claims that merit serious investigation, and that’s exactly what we’re not getting.

there have been lots of claims made about the communications that General Flynn had with Russian diplomats and what these transcripts supposedly reflect, and yet nobody has seen the transcripts. We’ve seen little bits and pieces of them. We haven’t seen the whole transcript. We ought to see that whole transcript. And my colleague, Jon Schwarz, who wrote that piece, is absolutely right that it’s within President Trump’s power to order it instantly declassified. There’s no review of that decision, and then it could be made public.

On the other hand, it is really bizarre, just as a reporter who has been in the middle of a controversy for the last four years about the leaking of classified information, to hear people suggest that the president now ought to take the most sensitive intercepts that the government is capable of obtaining, which is how they eavesdrop on Russian officials inside the Kremlin, and just toss them to the public like there’s no problem at all with doing that. I think that what you’re seeing here is this really disturbing double standard, that all we’ve heard since the war on terror is that classified information is sacred and anybody who leaks it is treasonous and satanic and belongs in jail for a really long time, and now classified information seems to be something that’s just a plaything, like something that we just toss around for fun if it serves a certain agenda. And I think that that’s one of the issues that’s bothering me about the way this discourse is unfolding.
____

Glenn Greenwald
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept. His recent piece for The Intercept is headlined “The Leakers Who Exposed Gen. Flynn’s Lie Committed Serious—and Wholly Justified—Felonies.”

— source democracynow.org