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"One of the supposed characteristics of primitive peoples was that we could not use our minds or our intellects. We could not invent things, we could not create institutions or history, we could not imagine, we could not produce anything of value…we did not practice the ‘arts’ of civilization. By lacking such virtues we disqualified ourselves, not just from civilization but from humanity itself. In other words we were not ‘fully human’…Imperialism provided the means through which concepts of what counts as human could be applied systematically as forms of classification…In conjunction with imperial power and with ‘science’, these classification systems came to shape relations between imperial powers and indigenous societies.
The European powers had by the nineteenth century already established systems of rule and forms of social relations which governed interaction with the indigenous peoples being colonized. These relations were gendered, hierarchical and supported by rules, some explicit and others masked or hidden. The principle of ‘humanity’ was one way in which the implicit or hidden rules could be shaped. To consider indigenous peoples as not fully human, or not human at all, enabled distance to be maintained and justified various policies of either extermination or domestication.”
— Linda Tuhiwai Smith | Decolonizing Methodologies

Western media blame the Kremlin for the current battles in Ukraine, but the West holds more blame for them than it may seem; Seattle’s leading a “wage revolution” throughout the United States with its $15 minimum wage; meanwhile, a power plant in California is deemed “a Fukushima in waiting.” These discoveries and more below…


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Share prices for two of the largest private prison firms have spiked sharply since an influx of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border was reported this summer. And some investors in GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America are seizing on the opportunity for more profit from incarceration, according to recent comments to CNN Money.
“Investors see this as an opportunity. This is a potentially untapped market that will have very strong demand,” activist investor Alex Friedmann told CNN Money.
Both firms, which house prisoners through private sector contracts with the government, have arrangements with federal agencies to detain immigrants. Since July 30, CCA’s stock has increased 8.5 percent, and GEO’s has increased 7 percent. Analyst Brian Ruttenbur added that both companies are “extremely well positioned” to “help with the crisis.”


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Akala: My thoughts on the proposed recreation of the human zoo…. 

"The human zoo and the masturbation of white guilt"

So as you have probably heard. An ‘artist’ named Brett Bailey thinks it is creative and innovative to showcase black humans in a mock zoo for the entertainment of white ‘liberals’ at the Barbican centre. Some people, including the poet Lemn Sissay, have mustered all kinds of defenses for the forthcoming exhibition: free speech, artistic expression, promotion of dialogue about serious subjects, blah blah blah. Some of these reasonings may even appear sound at first glance, until we examine them in the context of the actual world we live in, not the fairy world of a certain kind of white liberal - and their black and brown servants - the same world inhabited by humanitarian imperialisms and post racial posturing.

For those who are unaware, black humans were indeed literally exhibited in zoos, yes zoos, next to chimpanzees and other primates in Europe and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This is partly the origin of the monkey chants and banana skins that are still all to often aimed at black sport figures today. These zoos formed part of the western propaganda that justified bringing civilization to Africa - that is, killing 10 million plus in the Congo, practically exterminating the Herero and Nama peoples and installing apartheid regimes in much of southern Africa, which is to say nothing of the countless millions shipped across the Atlantic, or the induced Irish and Indian famines. 

This 21st century recreation of the very real human zoos is disgusting, deplorable and aims to do none of the things its supporters claim it does. I’ll explain why.

This exhibition, is of course, aimed at the Barbicans primary audience: a certain kind of white people with disposable income. If its aim is to promote dialogue, with whom are these people going to be dialoging in the privileged space of the Barbican so rarely accessed by the wider community? More importantly, what is the psychological profile of the kind of person that would pay £20 a pop to see black humans exhibited in cages?

What is the make-up and behaviour of such individuals? If you are a person of color who is remotely aware of yourself, you have encountered them before and will know their kind well. The kind of ‘liberal’ that likes to tell us how we should feel about our history, like the woman who arrogantly messaged me on twitter - not to ask my reasons - but to let me know that she (the important person) was ‘disappointed’ that I was supporting the petition (below), the kind of person like my year 4 primary school teacher who informed me that William Wilberforce ‘stopped slavery all by himself’ (white men are that omnipotent you know). The kind of mind that will leave this exhibition (presuming it still goes ahead) congratulating themselves on ‘how far we’ve come’. The question is who is their ‘we’?

Do the proponents of this kind of ‘art’ have a history of making common cause with the very real struggles against racist Euro-American imperialism that the south is still fighting (not least of all in Baileys native South Africa) or would they prefer to engage in masturbating their guilt by seeing black bodies tied, bondaged, broken, powerless? It is that last word, Power that brings us squarely to crux of the matter. Many will actually get a sadistic kick from inert black bodies so pornographically disempowered. 

This is a common theme; I can’t help but be reminded of the Swedish minister of culture eating the clitoris of a coon cake made by another ‘artist’, this too was meant to provoke discussion, or so our liberal friends told us.

Mr. Bailey’s piece of racist propaganda is cut from that same shitty cloth. As for the minds of the black people allowing their bodies to be used in this way, we could write whole a book and many indeed have, try Fanon for starters.

Yes art is supposed to be about free expression, but in reality that free expression is always bounded by the political realities of the day. To offer an analogy, would a German artist ever be given a platform as large as the Barbican to make money from displaying real live Jewish bodies piled on one another in a mock gas chamber, would this be considered art? Those who think that comparison is an exaggerated one are either ignorant of historical facts or think African lives are worth less. If this is about promoting a discussion of colonial history why not include ‘strung out on opium’ Chinese people? Why? Because contemporary Chinese power would render any attempt to display Chinese people as lifeless victims quite laughable and thus would not offer the same cheap kicks.

Just to confirm his complete lack of understanding of the issues at hand Mr. Bailey offered the following liberal hodgepodge to explain his thinking

‘Exhibit B is not apiece about black histories made for white audiences. It is a piece about humanity; about a system of dehumanisation that affects everybody within society, regardless of skin colour, ethnic or cultural background, that scours the humanity from the ‘looker’ and the ‘looked at’ “

You see, it’s not about black/white relations at all its about the looker and the looked at. Please, ever so kindly, fuck off.

If ‘artists’ like Mr. Bailey really want to be provocative and create discussion around the subjects of European colonialism and genocidal white supremacy I can think of a million more interesting places they could choose to start. Perhaps the Barbican would consider an exhibition with live white people used as dummies to pose as the many thousands of slave masters and overseers our ancestors majestically hacked to death during the Haitian Revolution? Or perhaps they would consider revising the myth of Gandhi’s uncontested pre-eminence in the Indian independence struggle and instead erect monuments to Bhagat Singh, Queen Rani and others who used the coloniser’s favorite tool -violence of course - against him in their search for freedom? Or to bring the point back to Mr. Bailey - a white South African - directly, why not make art of the dead and mutilated white bodies that Africans killed in the anti-colonial struggles that gained the limited modicums of independence that former ‘settler colonial’ African states have today?

How liberating would it be (especially for white people) to be forced to so viscerally engage with the reality that the freedoms black and brown people enjoy today did not come as a result of Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, or World War 2 but rather from the blood that our own ancestors courageously shed, fighting Europeans with significantly greater military might, as well as their own domestic oppressors and collaborators. We did not, contrary to Hollywood, sit around waiting for white saviors.

Or perhaps, images that do not re-enforce white power do not float the boat of the aforementioned ‘liberal’ types. Perhaps they are not content with the still dominant, international image of Africa; as a disease-ridden, war torn wasteland inhabited by lifeless black skins? Perhaps they are not content with the mass incarceration that serves to privilege them or the black bodies being gunned down by police on a weekly basis in the US and elsewhere? They just need to take it one step further and have niggers back where they really belong, in cages and chains?

The bottom line is this.

The Barbican like almost all other major arts institutions in this country receives public money and thus has a remit to serve the ‘public good’. So if you agree that this proposed exhibition oversteps that remit of ‘public good’ and delves into the realm of orientalist white guilt/power masturbation that will have absolutely no useful outcomes and will certainly not empower the millions of descendants of victims of European colonization living here in London, then please sign this petition and let Mr. Bailey take his foolishness back to where he came from.


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IsraHELL’s attacks on Gaza, Ramadhan 2014. May they root in HELL.

these cartoons are perfect

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On this day in the year 1925, Patrice Émery Lumumba was born.

He was the first democratically elected prime minister of the Republic of Congo. He founded the “Mouvment national congolais” party and with that successfully helped his country gain independence from Belgium in 1960.

He was however executed a year later.  It is important to note that The United States (The CIA to be exact), Belgium and the United Kingdom were all involved in his death. 

Rest in Power.

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Heart Health

A study published in February 2009 journal of hypertension suggests that black tea consumption can conduce to a healthier heart. The research conducted on 19 healthy men revealed that drinking black tea over long periods helps increase blood vessel re-activity  while reducing arterial stiffness and blood pressure. This in turn enhances a healthy heart condition.

Soothes Stress

According to a new study conducted by University College London (UCL) researchers, it is stated that having a cup of black tea daily can help counter the everyday stress of life. In this research, people who drank black tea four times a day for six weeks were found to have lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in their bloodstream after a trying event. Thus, black tea is seen to have effect on the stress hormones in the body. However, researchers are yet to find out which are the ingredients in tea that cause the relaxing and de-stressing effect in black tea drinkers.

Black Tea and Antioxidants

Black tea contains ten times more antioxidants than found in fruits and vegetables. Black tea is rich in polyphenols, an important antioxidant which destroys the harmful free radicals formed as a result of metabolism. These free radicals are cell damagers, which can lead to blood clots, cancer and atherosclerosis. Thus, antioxidants from tea help protect our cells from damage.

Gastrointestinal Benefits

Black tea is also known to relieve diarrhea and maintain the health of the digestive tract because of the tannins it contains. The tannins in black tea decrease intestinal activity and release an antidiarrheal effect on the digestive tract, which helps alleviate the pain associated with diarrhea. Steeping black tea for a complete 15 minutes and then drinking it unsweetened is a popular diarrhea remedy.

Weight Loss Benefits

Is there any link between black tea benefits and weight loss? Well apparently there is a connection. Tea accelerates the weight loss process by boosting the body’s metabolism rate. Moreover, it also blocks the fattening effects of carbohydrates.


Tea contains a small amount of caffeine which is not good for the developing fetus as its underdeveloped metabolism cannot handle caffeine. However, most doctors say that having a cup of black tea everyday in moderation is not harmful. To be safe it’s better to consume only limited amounts of tea during pregnancy. Moreover, don’t forget to consult your gynecologist regarding this issue.

Hair Care

Rinsing your hair with black tea helps darken the hair and add shine to it. To add shine to the hair, people generally brew two cups of black tea and rinse dampened shampoo hair. The tea rinse also helps increase bulk of hair, slows down hair fall and enhances hair growth.

Skin Care

Black tea is a wonderful astringent. To tap this benefit all one has to do is prepare some black tea and splash the warm tea onto your face. It’s effect is fantastic! Moreover, tea is also beneficial if you are struggling with face or body acne. Black tea can be used on skin portions where you know a pimple is about to erupt. Just steep a black tea teabag in hot water and when it has cooled down, place it over the blemish for 10 minutes. Then, remove the teabag and do not rinse the tea off the blemish. The tea will work and heal the blemish.

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What has changed since Colonial times? The time when Britain and the US made hunting a fashionable trend among members of the white privileged classes. The only change is fb, Facebooking their ‘big game’. Imagine if this was an African woman in Texas, posing next to her ‘big game’ of cats and dogs…

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