African 20th century liberation movements, film review

This video says about itself:

Concerning Violence – Official Trailer

A film by Goran Hugo Olsson, 2014, Sweden/U.S.A./Denmark/Finland.

By John Green in Britain:

Friday 28th November 2014

Gordon Hugo Olsson’s film on the anti-imperialist liberation movements globally in the ’60s and ’70s fails to connect with contemporary concerns, says JOHN GREEN

Concerning Violence (15)

Directed by Goran Hugo Olsson


DURING the cold war, radical Swedish filmmakers set out to capture footage from the anti-imperialist liberation movements in Africa first hand.

With their 16mm footage he discovered in the Swedish Television archives, Goran Hugo Olsson draws on his experience in Concerning Violence to create a visual narrative of the continent.

He bases his documentary on the ideas of Frantz Fanon and his explosive book about colonialism The Wretched of the Earth, written over 50 years ago.

While Fanon’s ideas at the time were iconoclastic and became immensely influential among liberation movements worldwide, this film — despite the best of intentions — hardly does them justice.

It begins ominously with a long and monotonously spoken introduction by academic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak from Columbia University, who reads from a script.

If you haven’t already nodded off, a series of clips follows using unique archival footage from the archives. They include a night-time raid with the MPLA in Angola, interviews with Frelimo guerilla fighters in Mozambique, as well as with Thomas Sankara, Amilcar Cabral and other African revolutionaries.

These are contrasted with self-revealing interviews with dyed–in-the-wool colonialists including General Spinola, former Portuguese colonial warrior and later short-term president of Portugal.

While we well know that colonial attitudes and the horrific exploitation of Africa still continue today and that imperial countries are still waging brutal wars against struggling nations, the assembled footage feels ancient and no longer really relevant to the present.

Between clips of those anti-colonial struggles we are presented with large text bullet points or slogans taken from Fanon’s book, also read out like a Power Point presentation for dummies.

The filmmakers argue that Fanon’s work is still a major tool for understanding and illuminating the neo-colonialism happening now as well as the violence and reactions against it, but that claim is very open to question.

While it is salutary to be reminded of those anti-colonial struggles during the late 1960s and ’70s — and the sacrifices involved that gave the world so much hope and inspiration — it is also sobering to realise what became of them, demonstrating that a struggle is never finished. That’s something I’m sure Fanon would have agreed with.

Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin killed in the USA

This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

The Death of Trayvon Martin

A compilation and interpretation of concrete video and audio evidence from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL. Security camera footage from The Retreat at Twin Lakes clubhouse is synched to George Zimmerman’s 311 call, and to selections of the 911 calls reporting the shooting. After an introductory set-up, the video proceeds in real time. Animated maps are provided to illustrate the movement of George Zimmerman’s truck and the arrival of the police, as revealed by the “light events” in the security footage, and the comments of the 911 callers.

This evidence combines to establish that George Zimmerman was untruthful in a variety of his statements to the police regarding the shooting.

There is a long stretch of the video where not much happens. I have left it unedited to preserve real time both a) for evidenciary purposes – it establishes that traffic inside RATL was minimal that evening other than Zimmerman’s driving around, and I didn’t want to be accused of editing anything out :-), and b) I want to provide viewers the opportunity to feel just how long Trayvon Martin was standing under the mailbox awning before Zimmerman showed up, to understand just far fetched some of Zimmerman’s claims are in terms of the passage of time.

The research and analysis presented in this video is a collective project of contributors to

Note: The little box on the right mis-identifies the music used on the soundtrack. It links to the correct artist and album — ‘Half Mute’ by Tuxedomoon — but the track in the video is “KM/Seeding the Clouds” not “Midnite Stroll.”

From the Jamaica Observer in Jamaica:

Trayvon Martin déjà vu in Ferguson

Thursday, November 27, 2014

ON Monday, a United States grand jury decided that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted on any charge for the fatal August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson was never arrested, charged or subjected to any disciplinary action.

The grand jury announcement further jangled nerves already frayed by police killing of a 12-year-old black boy holding a toy gun in a playground in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday, and the unpunished killing, earlier, of Trayvon Martin who was armed only with candy and a soft drink. The widely expected verdict in this sordid affair reignites the unresolved debate about racism in policing in America.

The announcement came after the St Louis County Grand Jury met in secrecy 25 times and heard from 60 witnesses before deciding. In a CNN poll, 32 per cent of Americans thought Mr Wilson should be charged with murder and another 25 per cent that he should be charged with some kind of crime. It comes as no surprise that in the latest round of HuffPost/YouGov polling, 64 per cent of black Americans said Mr Wilson was at fault, compared with just 22 per cent of whites.

The whole process has been handled badly, starting with the mayor and the governor whose primary concern was to maintain law and order. Immediately after the Martin and Brown killings, the respective police departments started to supply the media with information suggesting that both youngsters were gang members and were so stupid that they attacked armed officers. Yet no weapons of any kind have been found.

Irrelevant and insensitive comments were made by people, including former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani who said that the shooting was an exception, because 95 per cent of African-Americans are killed by other blacks.

Some 74 per cent of black Americans saw the Brown shooting as part of a larger pattern and not as a freak accident. The number is probably higher in Ferguson, Missouri. The Attorney General’s Office, in a report on racial profiling, found that 86 per cent of traffic stops in Ferguson targeted African-Americans in 2013. The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with 707 per 100,000 and African-Americans make up 40 per cent of the almost 2.1 million male inmates in prison, although they account for 12 per cent of the American population.

Wilson has expressed no regret, claiming that his life was in danger and that he acted in accordance with his training. Some eyewitnesses have stated that Brown had his hands up at the time of the fatal shot. If the “no remorse, I have done nothing wrong, I was defending myself” justification seems familiar, it is because neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman used it to exculpate himself in the killing of Martin.

Racial profiling is not only in the former confederate states. In Oakland, California, it is reported that 37 out of 45 officer-involved shootings between 2004 and 2008 were of blacks. None was white. One-third of the shootings resulted in fatalities. Although weapons were not found in 40 per cent of cases no officers were charged. One report claims that there is an extrajudicial killing of African-Americans by police and security guards every 28 hours in the US.

Something has to be done about the killing of unarmed young African-Americans by white cops, and it must start by holding them accountable.

Ferguson Thanksgiving: A Former Slave Proposed the Holiday 55 Years Before Lincoln. Why His Version Matters Today: here.

More than 300 arrested in Los Angeles during Ferguson protests: here.

Cleveland police released a video Wednesday of the shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy killed by a police officer this past weekend. The video clearly shows that a police officer shot Rice within two seconds of pulling up to a park gazebo where he was sitting: here.

London Michael Brown solidarity report

This video from England is called Black Lives Matter. Clashes as THOUSANDS of LONDONERS protest racism.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Michael Brown solidarity march shuts down Oxford Street

Thursday 27th November 2014

TRAFFIC in central London came to a standstill on Wednesday night when a protest over the shooting of black US teen Michael Brown sparked a spontaneous march through the streets.

Hundreds of anti-racist activists attending the London to Ferguson solidarity vigil outside the US embassy swarmed between buses on cars on some of the city’s busiest roads.

Demonstrators held placards reading: “Black lives matter” and “Who protects black people from the police?” as they weaved their way down Oxford Street and past Parliament before finishing at Scotland Yard.

Many had been assembling in front of the US embassy since 7pm but the march grew in size as they marched through the city.

One of the marchers, Booey, told the Star she hadn’t come to fight but that as a black person she had to come and show her anger at “racist police.”

She said: “We’ve done being peaceful, we’ve done sitting back and letting things happen, so we thought we should make some noise.”

The march had set off spontaneously when the London to Ferguson rally in Grosvenor Square came to an end.

Tension was palpable, with hundreds chanting: “No justice, no peace” as speakers criticised the cops.

The slogan was also daubed on the walls of a construction site as the march moved through London.

London Campaign Against Police and State Violence speaker Steffney O’Connor shouted: “Ferguson is England — everywhere you look we see Ferguson around us.

“We do not live in a democracy,” she went on to the sound of others screaming “never again.”

Defend the Right to Protest spokeswoman Hannah Dee called for unity in the fight against racism saying: “This is a struggle that knows no borders.”

She added: “This isn’t a moment, this is a movement!”

As the march set off, police officers and vehicles attempted to tail the group, but they were clearly unprepared for the sudden burst of anger.

There were cries of “fuck the police,” but the demonstration remained peaceful.

It all ended a few hours later with a protest at Scotland Yard HQ.

Ferguson: mass arrests at protest in California despite relative calm in Missouri. In Los Angeles and Oakland, demonstrators took to the streets for a third night to show solidarity with the family of Michael Brown: here.

Michael Brown’s killing in August continues to send shockwaves through Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond: here.

St. Louis County prosecutors may have misled the grand jury investigating the police shooting of Michael Brown into believing that Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Brown merely because the unarmed black 18-year-old fled from the officer, according to a review of the grand jury documents by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: here.

The five leaders who failed Ferguson. The crisis in Ferguson has been made worse by serious failures in public administration by police chiefs, regional leaders and even the state’s governor: here.

The grand jury decision has shocked some, dismayed others, and confirmed what many believe — justice for young African American men is applied haphazardly at best. But the more concerning questions for me loom around the lack of transparency and due process. While many in Ferguson, MO and around the world believe nothing short of a guilty verdict would be acceptable, the fact that the accused doesn’t even have to go trial is most concerning: here.

While US retailers are flooding social media with plugs for the latest Black Friday deals, activists angry about the failure to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager earlier this year are using that same space to urge a boycott of the big shopping day.Using the hashtags #BlackOutBlackFriday, #HandsUpDontSpend, #NotOneDime and #BrownFriday, Twitter users across the country are showing solidarity with the cause: here.

St. Louis attorney Pamela Meanes is president of the National Bar Association, the oldest and largest national association of African-American attorneys and judges in the U.S. She has concerns with how St. Louis County D.A. Robert McCulloch handled the Ferguson grand jury process, and joins Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins to explain why: here.

Alaska Michael Brown solidarity demonstration

Anchorage Michael Brown solidarity demonstrators

From Alaska Public Media:

Anchorage Residents Demonstrate in Solidarity with Ferguson, MO

By Anne Hillman, KSKA – Anchorage

November 26, 2014

About 25 people stood on the corner of C and 7th in downtown Anchorage on Wednesday evening holding signs reading “Black lives matter” and “His name was Michael Brown.” They gathered to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri. The white police officer who shot an unarmed black teenager in August was acquitted earlier this week. The ruling set off renewed protests and riots in Missouri and around the country.

Michael Patterson put out the call for the gathering on Facebook. He says the shooting of the teen, Michael Brown, impacts him personally and highlights racism against all people of color.

“I’m African-American and I live in a country where property is valued over my life and over my people,” he says. “And I think particularly in Alaska there’s a historical precedence of taking people’s land and then developing it and disenfranchising them from the democratic process.”

Patterson says the reaction of protestors and rioters around the country is understandable. Michael Brown’s shooting was a tipping point. He says the rioters are following a historical precedent.

“Everyone talks about the Boston Tea Party like it’s a great thing. It’s literally the same thing that’s happening” right now in response to the ruling in Ferguson, he says. “People are revolting against the system by destroying property because property is valued more than human life in this country.”

Community member Arenza Thigpen Jr. attended the event. He says the police and justice systems need to change or protests and riots will continue. He suggests starting Community Review Boards to examine police actions, even here in Alaska.

“Allow the community to be involved in a way that has not really been touched off yet. Because after all, police are protecting that community and those residents need to be involved in the process of determining if action was sufficient.”

Thigpen says he thinks race relations between African-Americans and the police are better in Anchorage than in other areas, but he still thinks there needs to be more cultural training within the force.

Many participants said they were at the event because they thought Alaska Natives were sometimes treated unfairly by law enforcement agents in Anchorage. They said all inequalities in the state needed to be addressed.

5 Key Inconsistencies in What Happened During the Michael Brown Shooting. Where the accounts of Darren Wilson and witnesses don’t add up: here.