- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Frances M. Beal
Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2001 at 6:10 PM
The Geneva preparatory meeting for the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) has come and gone and the brackets are still there. Brackets around language in the draft document indicate that the various governments have not agreed to the specified phrase or wording.
WCAR Agenda Still in Dispute
By Frances M. Beal
The Geneva preparatory meeting for the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) has come and gone and the brackets are still there. Brackets around language in the draft document indicate that the various governments have not agreed to the specified phrase or wording. As expected, many states capitulated to the heavy pressure exerted by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to withdraw their support for defining Zionism as a form of racism. Unexpectedly, however, on the question of reparations, the African and Caribbean states are standing firm on including wording describing slavery as a crime against humanity meriting reparations. Despite this diplomatic defeat, it is unlikely that the U.S. will boycott the conference as threatened. It is more likely that the U.S. will downgrade its participation by sending in a second string delegation.
Some observers are speculating, however, that more than their opposition to reparations has been displeasing to the Bush Administration regarding the upcoming United Nations gathering. Point 8 of the Draft Programme of Action is a case in point. It reads as follows:
"Urges States to pay specific attention to the negative impact of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on the administration of justice and fair trial and to conduct nationwide campaigns, amongst other measures, to raise awareness among State organs and public officials concerning their obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and other relevant instruments."
This language was adopted by the working group responsible for the Programme of Action, and on its face, could hardly be opposed by the U.S. delegation. However, it poses a big problem to U.S. assertions that racism is no longer institutionalized and any manifestations are vestiges from a past era. The source of their chagrin is the existence of a broad range of NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) from the U.S. who plan to make the racist criminal justice system the centerpiece of their participation in the parallel NGO conference and in influencing the final U.N. government document.
Deborah Small, Public Policy Director at the Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation, is an example of what the U.S. will be facing in Durban. "The drug war is one of the most serious obstacles to achieving racial justice both in the U.S. and internationally," she says. In an effort to put pressure on U.S. policymakers, she is part of a Campaign to End Race Discrimination in the "War on Drugs", an ad-hoc coalition of drug policy reform advocates that call for "an end to the apartheid-like American criminal justice system" which is "fueled" by the war on drugs. During the Durban gathering, the Campaign will be presenting to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan a sign-on letter calling on leaders in the African Diaspora and the international community at large to voice their opposition to the racist pursuit of the U.S.-led war on drugs. That letter carefully delineates the disparate impact on Blacks and Latinos of this racialized battle. It concludes by calling upon Annan and all the member governments of the United Nations to place this issue on the its agenda for "open and free discussion."
Along with hundreds of other groups, the Black Radical Congress has pulled together a national delegation and will be working with organizations like Critical Resistance to present workshops, roundtables and seminars on their national campaign "Education Not Incarceration, Fight the Police State" and the burgeoning prison industrial complex. Their purpose is to place before the worldwide racial justice movement not only the facts pointing to a racist criminal justice system, but how this social policy of criminalizing social ills reflects the U.S. face of neoliberalism in the context of globalization: Repression and Racism.
Another issue that displeases the U.S. but which may provide a venue for a loosening of the Bush Administration's rigidity is its total isolation on the question of the death penalty. The racial composition of death row inmates can hardly be ignored in this international gathering. There is surely a lesson (and possibly a benefit) in the international pressure that has recently been placed on the U.S. These include the isolation of the U.S. and its retrenching on global warming, small arms, biological warfare, the Ant-Ballistic Missile treaty. Some activists are speculating that in this context, it is possible to make significant advances in Durban on the question of racism. How? The struggle around the death penalty suggests that those who fail to take into account global factors when plotting domestic strategy are making a profound blunder: 'globalization' is not merely an economic phenomenon, it is also political. It is evident that the international movement has been essential in preventing Bush and the U.S. ruling elite from moving as far to the right as they would like. Hence, Durban could provide an opportunity to take advantage of this global momentum for domestic gain.
Black activists are beginning to pack their bags in order to seize this moment to expose the ongoing failure of the U.S. to comply with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which it ratified in 1994. They insist that the world must know that the U.S. is one of the leading sites of human rights abuses as indicated by a vast network of prisons filled disproportionately with Blacks and Latinos, and which creates a climate that not only sanctions but encourages rape and various sadistic abuses of male and female prisoners' rights.
It is perhaps cynical to suggest that the U.S. never wanted to participate in the World Conference Against Racism and used the issue of reparations to make an organized retreat from the battlefield. But then again, maybe not so cynical after all.
Frances M. Beal is a political columnist for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper and National Secretary of the Black Radical Congress. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Article published to Indymedia with permission of the author.
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée
The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety
Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man
Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes
Paraphysique de l'autorité
Two Podcasts on fbi corruption
Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS
EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens
More Breaking News...