Tag Archives: Kevin Alexander Gray

Talking Joint Political Strategy @ 2010 US Social Forum

Green Party & Progressive Democrat Leaders, Community Organizers and Others Talk Joint Political Strategy @ US Social Forum – June 24th 

2010 US Social Forum

Five organizations have collaborated to organize a “progressive strategy dialogue” at the United States Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan. The dialogue will be one of 50 People’s Movement Assemblies during the USSF. It will take place on Thursday afternoon, June 24th, from 1 to 5:30 pm in Cobo Hall, room W2-67.

The dialogue was initiated by the Independent Progressive Politics Network, which has organized similar dialogues a number of times over the past decade. Co-sponsors are the Green Party of the United States, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Progressive Democrats of America and the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.

Three major issues will be addressed:

  • What can be done to stimulate independent, grassroots activism around key issues like unemployment, the housing crisis, racial justice, the climate crisis, corporate control of elections, immigrant rights, war and empire and universal health care;
  • An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as far as the building of a popular progressive movement; and,
  • How to develop a “united progressives” network that brings together Greens and other third party activists, progressive Democrats, and labor, community and issue-based organizers into an on-going, independent, progressive alternative to our corporate-dominated political system.

Among those participating in this dialogue:

  • Tim Carpenter, executive director, Progressive Democrats of America
  • David Cobb, leader of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, Green Party 2004 Presidential candidate
  • Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States
  • Ted Glick, co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition
  • Kevin Alexander Gray, South Carolina community organizer and author
  • Logan Martinez, leader of National Jobs for All
  • Brent McMillan, executive director, Green Party of the United States
  • Sandra Rivers, education activist, former Harlem, N.Y. school board member
  • Jerome Scott, leader of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America
  • Laura Wells, Green Party of California gubernatorial candidate

 All USSF attendees are welcome to take part in this dialogue.

For more information contact George Friday – ippn@igc.org    704-691-3627

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The Novocaine Effect | Obama and Black America | By Kevin Alexander Gray

“It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer – peacefully.”

Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Message to the Grassroots (1964).

There’s a picture of Barack Obama next to one of Jesus in the front window of the small, black art gallery that I drive past almost every­day. And I still see someone wearing an Obama t-shirt maybe once a week, but sometimes it’s the same guy. If you’re looking, you can a find a variety of shirts in just about every corner store where I live. They’re on the wall, next to the Bob Marley, Tupac, Biggie Smalls and Al Pacino “Scarface” t-shirts. You can get an Obama hat and a presidential calendar there too. There are still a few Obama yard signs in the neighborhood, usually in a window. A few people still have an Obama bumper sticker on their cars. Not as many as some might think. Certainly not as many as the number of Confederate flags on vehicles in this part of the country.

Racial solidarity is the mood that helped get Obama into the White House. The traditional source of power and sur­vival among blacks, it is also the novo­caine of the moment, a numbing agent as people suffer through what, despite the more hopeful official forecasts, feels like a full-blown depression where I live. The pride is real, but so is the pain, and it’s coming in sharp stabs despite the shot. The novocaine is still working, just not so well, and the result is a discomfiting confusion.

In late September I spoke at a ‘‘Black Male Summit” about 80 miles north­west of Columbia in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which is famous in civil rights’ lore as the first stop in the Deep South for the Freedom Riders testing the 1960 Supreme Court decision outlawing ra­cial segregation in all interstate public facilities. Rock Hill is where Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activist John Lewis and another man stepped off the bus and were beaten by a white mob. The town is mentioned in Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” – only the “poor boy” on the Greyhound is lucky as his bus “bypassed Rock Hill” in the song. Things are still tough in the town just south of Charlotte. Since February of 2008 the number of jobs here has fallen by 15 per cent, and the average salary for people lucky enough to be employed is about $28,000. In June of this year, Yvette Williams, a 15 year-old black girl, was shot and killed by two police officers after she robbed a grocery store. The two of­ficers fired on Williams five times after she pointed a gun at them and refused to drop it, according to Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory. He said he felt the police response was justified. A witness who lives across the street from where the shooting happened, told the local paper she was in bed when she heard shots and got up, looked out her window and saw the girl fall to the ground. She said she then saw an officer shoot again.

The theme I was asked to speak on in Rock Hill was “How do we restore dignity back to black communities?” My initial response was I didn’t know we’d lost it. But I knew the idea was a nod to Obama’s tough-love trick bag. “Post-racialism” is nonsense, but as an ideological concept it’s real, with real political consequences. On the right, it is license for white blow­hards to go on any racist tirade they like so long as they don’t actually broadcast the word “nigger.” In the black communi­ty it’s alive wherever blacks argue among themselves as to whether they are indi­vidually or collectively responsible for the conditions they face, or if they’re as criminal or immoral or lazy or violent or promiscuous or stupid as racists believe them to be. Sherman Porterfield, one of the organizers of the event, was quoted in the local paper, “Obama talked about it,” this claimed loss of dignity; “he has challenged us. The question now is, are we up to the challenge? Our young peo­ple are dropping out of school in record numbers, and it’s our fault. Nobody is shooting water hoses at us anymore. But we are allowing our young brothers to shoot each other. And that is not accept­able.” Continue reading

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Filed under 1ST LOOK | KAG 2009 Essays, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Black Politics, Civil Rights, Congressional Black Caucus, Economics, Human Rights, Obama Administration, Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies, Political Ideology, racism, The Bush Administration, The Obama Administration, Third Party Politics, white supremacy

A Candid Debate On Black Manhood, Homosexuality and Civil Rights | Cleo Manago, Tony Wafford & Kevin Alexander Gray

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Social architect/activist Cleo Manago participated in a candid debate on homosexuality in Black communities, civil rights and attitudes behind Black resistance to affirming homosexuals at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s 2009 Summer Conference held in Atlanta, GA. Manago was joined by author/activist Kevin Alexander Gray, and National Action Network’s Director of Health & Wellness, Tony Wafford.

According to Manago, “often when I have these discussions in the Black community, someone gets up talking about production, to produce or to not produce being the measure of who deserves the most rights or who deserves the most respect, which is not logical because most sex people have, including heterosexual sex, is not to reproduce.”

Manago further went on to discuss that while HIV is killing us [the Black community] it’s difficult getting heterosexual men involved in part based on myths, judgments and under-discussed issues around manhood in the Black community.

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