United States

Six US banks control 60% of GDP

“They are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo. They have assets equivalent to 60 percent of our gross national product.

“And to put this in perspective, in the mid-1990s, these six banks or their predecessors, since there have been a lot of mergers, had less than 20 percent. Their assets were less than 20 percent of the gross national product.”

On May 4, 1970, Ohio State National Guard military reservists murdered four students at Kent State University. The students were peacefully protesting against President Richard Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

The killings stunned American youth into a convulsive protest movement that shook Nixon’s government and contributed to forcing the US ruling class to reverse its South East Asia war plans.

The upsurge even found an expression on the pop music charts.

Beyond Black & White
By Manning Marable
Verso Press, 2009, 319 pages

Review by Malik Miah

Manning Marable’s latest book is an update of a valuable critique of Black and US politics first issued in 1995. He revised it last year, adding new chapters covering the period from 1995 to 2008, including an analysis of the meaning of the election of the first African American president of the US, Barack Obama, in November 2008.

Israeli queer activists organised a protest on April 29 in front of the Israeli foreign affairs ministry in Jerusalem to protest against an “Israeli LGBT Festival” being organised in San Francisco called “Out in Israel”. The US event is funded by the Israeli consulate and Jewish organisations' together with support from the Israeli foreign affairs ministry.

About 90,000 people marched in Yomitan, Okinawa on April 25 to call for the closure of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, an April 29 Counterfire.org article said. Protesters included the governor and all the mayors of Okinawa.

Participants issued a statement calling for immediate closing and relocation of Futenma US Base outside Okinawa or the country.

The rally recorded a record-high participation in Okinawa, expressing public opinion against the base. In 1995, 85,000 marched in protest at the rape of a schoolgirl by US servicemen.

Hip-hop artist Chuck D, best known as a rapper with progressive band Public Enemy, has released a new track in response to the extreme racist, anti-immigrant law passed on April 23 in Arizona entitled “Tear Down That Wall”. The song can be downloaded at SLAMjazz.com. Chuck D and his wife, Dr Gaye Theresa Johnson (director of Black and Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara), also released the following statement against the racist law.

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This will be the last column I write about the major league baseball team Arizona Diamondbacks in the foreseeable future. For me, they do not exist.

They will continue to not exist in my mind as long as the horribly named anti-immigrant “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act”, signed into law on April 23, remains on the books in Arizona.

This law has brought echoes of apartheid to the state.

The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics & Espionage Intrigues that Shaped the DEA
By Douglas Valentine
TrineDay, 2009

After 40 years, the "war on drugs" is about to become the longest continuous war in US history. In The Strength of the Pack, Douglas Valentine explains why dismantling the US$44 billion a year Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) juggernaut is unlikely to happen as long as the US attempts to maintain a world empire.

On May 15, HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 was introduced in the US House of Representatives, purportedly “To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy”.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a radical African American journalist on death row after being framed for the 1981 murder of a police officer in Philadelphia. For more information, and to find out how to get involved in the international campaign for Abu-Jamal’s freedom, visit Freemumia.org.

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