FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Memo to Walter Mosley

by JEFF BALLINGER

Novelist Walter Mosley recently lamented the void in black leadership in America, saying “millions dying in Africa while your leaders argued about the references and jokes in the movie Barbershop?”

It is much worse than that. Millions of the poor around the world that got jobs producing sneakers and apparel for America’s youth got nothing but scorn or betrayal from African-Americans, when they desperately sought assistance.

Anyone remember what Temple’s Coach John Chaney said to Philly Daily News about Michael?

[from Village Voice]: The great Jordan famously promised to investigate Nike’s factories when sweatshop conditions made headlines in 1996. He has not been heard from on the issue since, and Temple basketball coach John Chaney may have spoken for many in the sports world when he was asked about Jordan’s silence: “Why should he stick his neck out and risk his endorsement deals? You got a fucking problem with Michael making money? Michael should pick up every fucking dollar possible.”

What about Rev. Jesse Jackson? I was sitting in his church with a fired Indonesian Nike worker & the rev was IN INDONESIA, doing the “CNN photo-op prayer service” outside a locked (to keep him out) Nike factory; didn’t I think we were gonna drain the swamp! But JJ started collecting Nike contributions almost as soon as he touched down in the USA & talked about a boycott. A couple of years later, he gave the Rainbow Coalition’s “Leadership in Sports” award to Nike’s chief of public relations, Vada Manager.

Spike Lee? I caught him coming out of the opening of Niketown, NYC years ago (he saw the sizeable protest picketline that we had). All he’d say was “I’ll look at your flyer”, then, woosh. (or should I say Swoosh?)

John Thompson was a Nike board member when the issue was hot — he flew to Indonesia for the Nike guided tour (similar to what Andy Young got paid handsomely for) & JT addressed the Nike shareholders that year, saying everything was all right out there in Asia.

The only African-American on the Nike payroll that spoke up was the late, great Reggie White (just before he made that bizarre speech to the Wisc. legislature). Gene Upshaw of the NFL players UNION would not answer my importunings.

I hated to be in Salt Lake City on Dita Sari’s behalf and see no recognition whatsoever about the plight of sweatshop workers. Instead, headline: “Tutu delights Reebok crowd”. While Desmond Tutu danced a jig to “delight” Reebok’s overwhelmingly white crowd in Salt Lake City, he took no notice of the fact that a principled young Indonesian woman had just torn up Reebok’s $50,000 check and thrown it back into their piggish faces. (see: Take This Prize & Shove It)

Reebok just sold itself to adidas-Solomon, did you hear? $800 million for that Human Rights phoney Paul Firemen who wooed the bishop to SLC.

It would have been interesting if Malcolm X had been around to give them some grief, eh?

HE understood about linking poor peoples’ struggles — he even wrote about the Bandung Conf. in 1955.

Tell youth this story, Mr. Mosley, and some of them might actually respond.

Jeffrey Ballinger is director of Press for Change. He can be reached at: Jeffreyd@mindspring.com

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 30, 2017
Clancy Sigal
Even Grammar Bleeds
May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail