As the United States celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders this month, the Civil Rights struggle carries on…
By Sam Sabzehzar
As DemocracyNow! reports “It was 50 years ago today, on May 4, 1961, when mixed groups of black and white students took two public buses from Washington, D.C., and intended to arrive in New Orleans two weeks later. They were risking their lives to challenge segregation, and called themselves the “Freedom Riders.” President Obama has issued a proclamation honoring May 2011 as the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, and called on Americans to celebrate their struggle for equal rights during the civil rights movement.”
Human rights in a civilized society are civil rights, regardless of what has been budgeted or voted on. A democracy cannot vote for everything. Legalizing lynch mobs will never be on a ballot, for obvious reasons.
Likewise, other human rights issues should not be left to voters. At some point, the federal government ended legal segregation, because after the protesting of the law, in the reaction to slavery and segregation by groups like the Freedom Riders and individuals like Martin and Malcom, it still required action by the federal agencies to make the necessary changes various groups asked for.
Criminal Justice: A Criminal Enterprise
After the successful efforts of the oppressed black community joining with the progressive white community forced the federal government to change policy as it related to the new Jim Crow laws, the efforts of COINTEL PRO took over.
The illegal program known as Counter-intellegence Program, or COINTEL PRO, was finally shut down in 1971, but only after the American experience had been forever compromised.
After successfully thwarting the efforts of oppressed Puerto Rican and Native American communities, the program turned their scope towards the sweeping efforts to end segregation laws in the South.
Suffocating the spirit of the American Dream, possibly forever, as the consequences of this slippery slope caused America to slid deeper into war efforts, imperialism, and political manipulations, and continue to threaten the rights of free individuals to this day.
Some of America’s greatest orators spoke of the atrocities back then, including Malcom X and Martin Luther King.
Listening to one of Dr. King’s last speeches, Beyond Vietnam, or to The Ballot or the Bullet, one of Malcom X’s greatest speeches, one can see how the promise of freedom and braver world would collide soon enough, as both men would find tragic and untimely deaths.
“You Can Jail a Revolutionary, But You Cannot Jail a Revolution”
Inspiring other groups like the Black Panther Party, and revolutionaries like Fred Hampton, who was also assassinated by the late 60’s by the FBI and the Chicago Police Department, COINTEL PRO had taken over as the paramilitary arm of the U.S. government.
Jim Crow laws still exist, only under a different name. Formally, it’s known as capitalism, but the purpose and extent of this particular ‘ism’ has only over-extended it’s agenda because of the political arm it controls: the U.S. Government.
Now, with prisons so overpopulated, mostly with non-violently drug offenders, America produces 25% of the world’s prison population and the U.S. Supreme Court has recently ruled California must release thousands of them.
Even with the release of a majority of non-violent drug offenders, many with small amounts of marijuana only, there will still be a large population of the american public that cannot vote, find difficulties seeking employment, and face further discriminations solely based on a prison record that will not be a ‘penalty’ soon enough, as drug use will not be viewed as a crime in no time.
Friends in High Places Smells like a Revolution: The Ballot or the Bong
There are far too many people affected by bad laws and too few saying or doing anything about it. Now that there is less oppressive reaction to most people participating in medical marijuana programs, other brothers and sisters on their battlefield are getting the victims of Drug-War-Crimes.
We have the numbers, and we have to mobilize and participate in order to win because they have shown us what they are capable of.
To paraphrase another non-violent revolutionary, if you want to see the change, you need to be the change.
That means putting down your bongs when the moment requires. The high from seeing real change for the betterment of humanity is unattainable through any intoxicating substance anyway.
Patient’s rights were paved through struggle, and just this month a Marine was shot 60 times during a botched SWAT raid.
Those who were involved in the unnecessary killing of a war veteran, father of two, and husband, even though they are on the SWAT team, are still capable of putting their weapons down.
Some of them just might need to see our side start the cease fire in order to convince more of them to do the same.
During that time, real changes in laws, education, and organization can achieved and shared with those who continue to struggle.
If we are to see this change take place today rather than tomorrow, revolutionaries today, like those in the anti-war movements, including the drug war, will have to find friends in high places to stop fighting their drug war by saying ‘Sir! No Sir!’ when asked to participate in a program that will also be overturned one day soon.
After all, the suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam is only unknown to today’s voter, not the Army.
Getting the warriors to end the war is the fastest way to end it, and that means law enforcement, District Attorneys, SWAT agents, and agent provocateurs cease and desist their operations, not because we protest, but because they do.
After the war is over, however, we’ll need to make sure we’re all educated enough to run and elect a segment of our fellow citizens to public office at local and global levels, and to keep them accountable to the education we’ve all gone through these last fifty years after assassinations and resignations left a wake of blood, and continues to leave the watermark of a slavery and segregation, even if it’s under a new name.
But high tide is near. I can smell it. And it smells like a revolution.