Ukraine, Russia, NATO and United States Conflict Analysis; and Assata Taught Me: State Violence, Racial Capitalism, and the Movement for Black Lives

Ukraine, Russia, NATO and United States Conflict Analysis

As attacks escalate in Ukraine, the push for a no-fly zone over the country grows stronger. However last week there were indicators that top Ukrainian negotiators are moving toward a cease-fire deal. This comes as we’ve reported last week that the United States has baited the Russian bear repeatedly, starting in 1990 with the breakup of the Soviet Union. At that time, US Secretary of State James Baker promised the Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev that the US-led NATO organization would not move one inch east towards Russia. This promise was broken.

The Russians were betrayed. Since then, NATO has recruited 11 former Soviet bloc and Warsaw Pact countries into its military organization. Led by the United States, NATO is an organization has played an aggressive role, having carried out the bombings of Serbia, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Libya.

NATO has placed missiles in Poland within 100 miles of the Russian border. Missiles on the long border between Ukraine and Russia could hit Moscow in 10 minutes making it impossible for Russia to defend itself. Russias attempts to make United States understand that they have crossed a red line has been consistently rejected.

This is not to defend Russias actions but to place them in historical context. The world now has come to the edge of an abyss. A nuclear war could easily be started, annihilating all of humanity. The rule of law must be restored.

Russia must honor a cease-fire and withdraw. The United States must forswear arming Ukraine and recruiting the Ukraine into NATO. Ukraine must go forward as a neutral country like Austria or Finland.

Guest ” Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign correspondent, 15 of them with The New York Times, covering conflicts in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the former Yugoslavia. He learned overseas that the evils of empire are the external expression of white supremacy, just as mass incarceration, which he describes as the civil rights issue of our age, is the most brutal internal expression of white supremacy. Prisons , he writes, are the modern iteration of slave plantations. Hedges is the author of 14 books, The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for journalism, a graduate of Harvard Divinity school, and an ordained Presbyterian minister.


Assata Taught Me: State Violence, Racial Capitalism, and the Movement for Black Lives

Assata Shakur is an inspiration to many young Black and brown activists today. She was a Black Panther Party member in New York in 1968 when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said that the Panthers were the single greatest threat to the internal security of the country. Hoover launched the Cointelpro program to eliminate the Black Panthers.

When the Panthers broke up, Assata became a member of the Black Liberation Army. She was seriously wounded and apprehended in 1973 by state troopers in a shoot-out on a New Jersey highway. She was tried and convicted of murdering a state trooper even though the medical evidence showed that she was badly injured and could not have fired a gun.

Assata escaped from prison in 1979 and five years later, she was given political asylum in revolutionary Cuba where she lives today. The FBI has put a $2 million bounty on her head. She has a target on her back inasmuch as she is wanted dead or alive.

Guest – Donna Murch, associate professor of history at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Professor Murch, who specializes in African-American and US History, Black Radicalism, and History of Mass Incarceration, is known as the historian of the Black Panther Party. She has recently written the book Assata Taught Me: State Violence, Racial Capitalism, and the Movement for Black Lives published by Haymarket Books. In it, she analyzes the forces giving rise to Black Power and Black radicalism, mass incarceration, the militarization of the police who target people of color, and the genesis of Black Lives Matter.

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