Behind Bars

Between ACORN and Blackwater

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Nothing says as much about the nature of the American media as its latest frenzy.

What seizes it is often the seemingly trivial, the symbolic and, yes, the silly; that most designed to not only tug at the heartstrings, but to cement our certainties, play to our prejudices and support the status quo.

For months, right wing shout-show hosts have been harping on ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). In their world, they were the 2009 version of the 1950’s Communist Party, and as such, they were painted as enemies of the state.

It took a while, but before long the corporate media jumped into the pit, and, assisted by the amateur film set-ups by a right wing couple posing as a pimp and his mini-skirted accomplice, ACORN became the big news.

The group, which has several hundred thousand members, was harmed by the actions of perhaps half a dozen, who, rather breezily, advised the supposed “couple” in ways to avoid taxes and still ply their trade.

Almost overnight state and federal governments cut contracts with the group, which has organized many grassroots communities around housing issues, foreclosures, labor issues and voting rights. Politicians couldn’t find a mike fast enough to distance themselves, and denounce the group.

Consider the difference between that response and the silence, which greeted news of the long record of carnage and mayhem committed at the trigger-happy hands of Blackwater. The private, corporate army has lucrative contracts with the State Department, and many government agencies.

In 2007 Blackwater hires launched a massacre in the heart of Baghdad, turning a crossroads of traffic into a bucket of blood.

The incident fueled anti-U.S. insurgency and splashed egg on the face of U.S. puppet and Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, who demanded that the company be expelled from Iraq. They’re still there.

Any lost contracts? Nope. Indeed, the Obama administration just announced new contracts with Blackwater (under its new corporate name, XE)

Employees of Blackwater kill and wound dozens of Iraqi with immunity (and impunity), no contracts lost.

Employees of ACORN get caught on tape trying to assist a fake pimp and prostitute. They get fired; ACORN loses a slew of government contracts.

Guess which group is tied to wealth and right wing groups around the world?

Guess which group supports efforts of the urban poor to navigate their lives amidst economic chaos?

Guess which group gets its contracts cut?, October 4, 2009