All posts tagged: Biography

They Did Not Kill Just Gaddafi…

They could not annihilate Africa. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not devastate a collective aspiration for freedom from imperialism. So they killed Gadhafi. They could not forever shatter the promises of internationalism, socialism, Arab nationalism, and third world liberation. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not resolve the capitalistic contradictions in their home states, the Wall Street occupiers and the occupiers in London and Madrid, and in Paris. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not address the sheer crisis of masculinity their elected presidents and prime ministers struggled with, while their democratically elected leaders raped their interns and approved inmates being assaulted in their prison systems. So they killed Gaddafi. They could not justify their political assassinations of numerous heads of states who defied their atrocities, from Patrice Lumumba to Dr. Mohammad Najibullah, or of their murdering former allies that disagreed with them later from Saddam Hussain and Osama bin Laden to Anwar al-Awlaki – among hundreds of thousands others, without any due course of justice or legal recourses. So they killed Gaddafi. They …

Free Market War on Gaddafi: Unjust, but Natural

By Saswat Pattanayak The war against Libya is a continued assault on part of the imperialist and rogue nations of the First World against the champions of anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and progressive socialism of the Third World. Contrary to corporate media spins, the war is neither about oil money, nor about installing democracy. It is neither about the rebel uprising in the Arab world, nor about merely ending a dictatorial regime. The war against Libya is an attack on every remnant of collective human aspiration for freedom, peace, justice and equality. The war against Libya is a war against every future possibility that can enable international solidarities among peoples who envision a better world that belongs not to oligarchs and media monopolists, but is shaped up by the ideas of the internationalists, the pan-Africanists. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s demand for the United States of Africa does not manifest in a Utopia. Quite the opposite: it is a scathing indictment of an unequal world whose mammoth immoralities are deep-rooted in an oppressed Africa. The only way the world’s …

Gil Scott-Heron :: Revolutionaries Live Forever

The brother who prophesied that the revolution won’t be televised is no more. Many of us did not believe in his cautionary words. Some of us caricatured the concept of revolution as manifesting in fast cars and expensive elections. Those in Egypt claiming themselves to be revolutionaries even held up signs to proclaim revolution was indeed being televised. Some Iranian protesters claimed revolution was being Twitted. Indeed, during his lifetime, Gil Scott-Heron was ridiculed, neglected and relegated to a hopeless corner. After his passage, he will probably be obliterated from prospective history narratives, as our liberalized society continues to glory itself in post-racial illusions. After all, Gil Scott-Heron was not a gem or an ornament in any literary tradition. In obituaries he will probably be called a Godfather of Rap, but he consciously distanced himself from such tags. Naturally enough, he was neither a millionaire nor a philanthropist. He was not a best-selling poet on New York Times lists either. And certainly he was not counted among Time Magazine’s most influential persons of the century. …

Lucy Parsons :: Revolutionary Feminist

By Saswat Pattanayak No legal case in American history has been more cited than The Scottsboro Trial. Nine young African American men, aged 13 and up, were jailed in Scottsboro, Alabama to await trial over an accusation that they had raped two white women on a train in the Spring of 1931. The nature of racism in this instance was not the novelty – indeed, American society was witness to countless false charges brought against the black people. However, The Scottsboro Trial became a landmark via the manner in which racism for the first time was fiercely and openly challenged in the United States. When the entire country was refusing to take side of Scottsboro Nine, it was the Communist Party which came to aid the young men. International Labor Defense – a coalition formed by the communists to defend Scottsboro Nine benefitted from the active involvement of a black woman on their national board – a pioneering champion of labor classes in America – Lucy Parsons (1853-1942). Class, Race and Gender Parsons’ commitments towards …

Remembering Howard Zinn (August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010)

(For publication in Radical Notes) By Saswat Pattanayak “To be neutral is to collaborate with whatever is going on, and I as a teacher do not want to be a collaborator with whatever is happening in the world today.” (Howard Zinn) In the grossly unequal world that we inhabit, it is always tempting to remain apolitical, especially if one is an academician materially benefiting from the status quo system of education. It is only logical to separate classroom instructions from political activisms, since teachers are desired by the system to enhance employability of students within the social framework, not to agitate their conscience to challenge the social order. In a world of established, codified and professional knowledge, it is required on part of historians to promulgate official narrations of national heroes and victorious wars; not overthrow ruling class histories to replace them with versions of the oppressed subjects. Howard Zinn’s aspirations to become a teacher were also founded with similar convictions. But unlike most people in his times, he was fundamentally a radical thinker. When …