“While police tactics and accountability measures are being examined, many black people are also questioning their safety and place in society,” the San Francisco Chronicle wrote on July 31. “They worry about the next time they interact with police, and about the difficult conversations they must have with their children.” Black people make up 6% of San Francisco's population — and suffer 40% of the city's shootings by cops. The city's statistics on police stops of Blacks and violence mirror other cities, especially in the Midwest and South.
A Black Lives Matter protest in New York on July 9. Once again the deep racism and racial divide in the United States has burst upon the national scene, dominating newspapers, TV and social media. Since 2014, videos taken by witnesses of police murders of Black people spurred the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. In spite of the overwhelming visual proof of the guilt of the police murderers, they have almost all gotten away with it.
The attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 dead (including the shooter) and more than 50 injured was the largest single violent attack on LGBTI people in US history. It claimed more victims than the 1973 arson at another nightclub in New Orleans that killed 32 people. This massacre punctuated the daily instances of violence, including murder, against LGBTI people that occur frequently in the US.
Three young African-American women started a blog in 2013 entitled “Black Lives Matter” in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a racist vigilante backed by the police, for the murder of unarmed Black youth Trayvon Martin. The blog started a movement that took the same name, as young Blacks launched mass actions that broke through the wall of silence concerning police murders of Black people.
The three remaining presidential candidates — Republican candidate Donald Trump, and Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — have all come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in varying degrees. The TPP, a “free trade agreement” involving 16 Pacific Rim nations (including Australia), is an undisguised corporate power grab. However, all candidates in the US presidential election stress a reactionary argument against it.
The divisions in the Republican Party over Donald Trump's candidacy in Republican primaries have been the subject of much commentary — and it remains to be seen how this will play out. We may not know until the Republican convention. But the divisions in the Democratic Party due to the Bernie Sanders' candidacy in Democrat primaries are coming more and more to the fore — including in the capitalist press.
At the recent meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the three remaining Republican presidential candidates and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton vied to outdo each other as the most supportive of Israel and its right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. AIPAC is the powerful lobby in the US for the Israeli government and its policies. It exerts great pressure on all members of Congress.
Amid growing incidents of violence at rallies for Donald Trump and protests confronting the Republican presidential frontrunner, the Republican Party’s establishment has opened a campaign to try to deny Trump the party’s presidential nomination. In a broadside attack on Trump, the Republican candidate in 2012 Mitt Romney launched a drive under the slogan “anyone but Trump.” He said a Trump presidency would be a disaster for “America” — strongly implying that voters should not support Trump in the general election if he wins the nomination. Republican fears
Albert Woodfox was finally released on February 19 — his 69th birthday — from the notorious Angola state prison in Louisiana. He was jailed for 45 years, 43 of which were spent in solitary confinement in a two-by-three metre cell. Solitary confinement is becoming widely recognised as a form of torture. Woodfox's ordeal was the longest time any prisoner in the US has been held in solitary.
Beyoncé's backing dancers display a "Justice for Mario Woods" sign. In the San Francisco Bay Area in California, where tent cities are slowly re-forming under bridges after being swept away in a “cleansing” of the homeless ahead of the February 7 NFL Super Bowl, there is still a palpable buzz about Beyoncé's performance in the Super Bowl half-time show (sorry, Coldplay). In fact, it is a topic with far more currency than the actual dud of a game — and for good reason.