Saturday, November 18, 2017

the people say mugabe must go

Zimbabwe latest: Crowds outside Mugabe office to force him out

Sit-in outside State House
Protesters in Zimbabwe have headed towards the office of President Robert Mugabe to urge him to step down.
The march came on a day of widespread jubilation in the capital Harare and other cities following the army's takeover on Wednesday.
Soldiers at State House gently pushed protesters away in scenes resembling a party, says the BBC's Andrew Harding.
The army intervened after Mr Mugabe sacked his deputy, signalling that he favoured his wife Grace as a successor.
Mr Mugabe, 93, has led Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
The military has kept him confined to his residence and says it is "engaging" with him and will advise the public on the outcome of talks "as soon as possible".
Saturday's rally is supported by the army and members of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Veterans of Zimbabwe's war for independence - who until last year were loyal to the president, the best-known among them - are also saying Mr Mugabe should quit.
The leader of the organisation urged people to head towards Mr Mugabe's private residence, too.
Outside State House some people staged a sit-down protest in front of a line of troops, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai addressed the crowd, to cheers.
The BBC's Andrew Harding in Harare says this is a watershed moment and there can be no return to power for Mr Mugabe.
Our correspondent says the situation may appear to be getting out of Zanu-PF's control and there could be a broad push to introduce a transitional government that includes the opposition.
Image caption The army is keeping people away from State House
Mr Mugabe, 93, had been under house arrest since the army takeover, but on Friday he made his first public appearance. He spoke only to open the graduation at a university of which he is chancellor.
Grace Mugabe was not present. It had been thought she had left the country but it emerged on Thursday that she was at home with Mr Mugabe.
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The message for the Mugabes was clear
The military made its move after a power struggle over the successor for Mr Mugabe.
He sacked Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, apparently to pave the way for Grace Mugabe, who is four decades younger than him, to take over the presidency.
Mr Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, told Reuters news agency the couple were "ready to die for what is correct" and would not step down.

Fear has lifted

Analysis by the BBC's Andrew Harding in Harare
Euphoric crowds are surging through the centre of Harare, chanting "He must go!" and waving placards demanding President Mugabe's immediate resignation. People are sitting on their cars, horns blaring, and on top of buses, holding Zimbabwean flags.
"This is a revolution," said one man emerging from a supermarket to join the protesters. "It has been a long time coming."
For years such scenes have been unthinkable in Zimbabwe, but the army and governing Zanu-PF gave these rallies their blessing, and the fear that held back so many people appears to have lifted overnight.
"We just want change," said a woman in a long queue outside a bank in the centre of Harare. Others spoke of the country's deep economic problems and its soaring unemployment, and hoped that a change of leadership might improve people's lives.
The governing party - now ruthlessly purging itself - will be hoping to retain its iron grip on power in Zimbabwe, but the extraordinary street protests may have unlocked forces that will be hard to control.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The protest had the blessing of the military and the ruling party

Who is backing the protest in Harare?

  • The influential war veterans' association. Leader Christopher Mutsvangwa had called for a huge turnout, saying: "We want to restore our pride."
  • The ruling Zanu-PF. At least eight out of 10 regional branches voted on Friday for Mr Mugabe to resign as president and party secretary. Several regional leaders appeared on TV saying he should step down, Grace Mugabe should resign from the party and Mr Mnangagwa should be reinstated to the central committee.
  • The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said the rally was a "solidarity march". It said: "As long as the planned march remains orderly, peaceful... and without hate speech and incitement to cause violence, it fully supports the march."
  • Liberal groups opposed to the president. The leader of last year's #Thisflag protests, Evans Mwarire, urged people to turn up.

How did we get here?

Soldiers seized the headquarters of Zimbabwe's national broadcaster ZBC on Wednesday, and loud explosions and gunfire were heard.
Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo then read out a statement on national television, assuring the nation that President Mugabe and his family were safe.
Media captionZimbabweans react to the news that troops had taken control
The military was only targeting what he called "criminals" around the president, he said, denying that there had been a coup.
On Thursday, Mr Mugabe was pictured smiling as he took part in talks with an army general and South African government ministers at State House but sources suggested he might be resisting pressure to resign.

What has been the reaction around the world?

  • US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged a quick return to civilian rule, but also said the crisis was an opportunity for Zimbabwe to set itself on a new path
  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing was hoping for stability and a peaceful "appropriate" resolution
  • UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned against a transition from "one unelected tyrant" to another
  • Botswana's President Ian Khama said regional leaders did not support Mr Mugabe staying in power
  • Alpha Conde, the chairman of the African Union, a key regional bloc, said the takeover "seems like a coup" and demanded a return to constitutional order
  • South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said the region was committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe, and was optimistic the situation could be resolved amicably

Friday, November 17, 2017

military complicit in mugabe misrule

Military is complicit in Mugabe misrule

Statement of the Global Pan African Movement on the intervention in Zimbabwe
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The Global Pan African Movement condemns the military intervention in Zimbabwe in no uncertain terms. The generals of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have been part of the repressive government. The huge problems of Zimbabwe cannot be resolved by the same soldiers who have been partners with Mugabe in the past 37 years.
On November 14, the military of Zimbabwe seized the radio and television operations of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, ZBC. By the morning of November 15 the world woke up to the news that the top officers of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) had intervened to place Mr. Robert Mugabe in custody. In the typical fashion of a coup d’etat, a military officer read a statement in the middle of the night  that the intervention was not a coup d’ etat but meant to protect President Mugabe. The army spokesperson Major General Sibusiso Busi Moyo claimed that the military were “only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country.”
“To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government. What the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which, if not addressed, may result in violent conflict,” Maj-Gen Moyo said.
By the end of the day it was clear that some of the former ministers were arrested, Robert Mugabe was under arrest and his wife Grace Mugabe was supposed to have fled to Namibia. Grace Mugabe had become notorious for her profligate spending in the malls of global capital and she was appropriately called “Gucci Grace”.
The Global Pan African Movement condemns the military intervention in Zimbabwe in no uncertain terms. The generals of the ZDF have been part of the repressive government and the social problems of Zimbabwe cannot be resolved by the same soldiers who were partners with Mugabe in the past 37 years. This ‘realignment’ in the politics among the security and military intervention comes after 20 years of struggles by the working peoples to get a better quality of life. Organizing themselves in trade unions, neighborhood organizations, village assemblies, progressive teachers and other forms of self-defense, the working peoples have been battling for survival for years. These peoples had supported opposition formations, only to have the electoral process enveloped in violence, intimidation and the killing of opposition supporters. Vote rigging had been in the hands of the military and the intelligence organization called the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO).
The most blatant case of election theft was in 2008 when the opposition won the elections in the first round of the presidential elections. Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round but had to drop out of the second due to massive violence against his supporters. Tsvangirai escaped two car accidents. The leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had sanctioned electoral theft and brutality because they had succumbed to the rhetoric of Robert Mugabe that the opposition were stooges of Anglo-American imperialism. In 2013 the Mugabe government again won the elections after there had been manipulations by the SADC leaders to deceive the opposition that they should wait for reforms of the electoral system.
The language on anti-imperialism had been effective when Robert Mugabe and the party of liberation, ZANU-PF, were part of a genuine liberation process in the fight against the illegal minority white racist regime of Ian Smith. However, by 1997 when the military and security bureaucrats started to enrich itself at the expense of the people, the gap between rich and poor began to widen. There were strikes and demonstrations by the oppressed, especially war veterans. It was after these manifestations of opposition that the Mugabe government seized the land of the white commercial farmers. In the process of distributing the land, the generals and security officials were the principal beneficiaries. These recipients of the land had little or no experience in agriculture and exploited the poor farm workers in the same way as the former white commercial farmers. By every index of social and economic activity, the conditions of the majority of the people have deteriorated dramatically. There is over 95 per cent unemployment in Zimbabwe and over 5 million Zimbabweans have fled the country.
The government of Robert Mugabe acknowledged the severe economic conditions in the country but blamed the situation on western sanctions against Zimbabwe, despite exposing the truth of how his cronies siphoned over $15 billion from the mining of diamonds. Outside of Zimbabwe, the pro government intellectuals had mobilized support across Africa for Robert Mugabe on the grounds that British imperialism was planning military intervention in Zimbabwe. This support of pro-government intellectuals was meant to disarm those who opposed the exploitation that was intensifying in Zimbabwe by one of the most homophobic and sexist governments in Africa.
The government of Mugabe mounted a major international campaign to represent the ruling party ZANU-PF as being at the forefront of the progressive Pan African movement. Even within the progressive anti-imperialists there was the view that Mugabe’s government was being sanctioned because of the seizure of land. The discussions about imperialist sanctions could not explain why in the midst of the crisis, the government of Robert Mugabe chose the US currency as the currency of Zimbabwe. This was the highest form of subservience to US imperialism but those who were looting the country found it easier to use the currency of empire while the people were issued with useless bonds notes. The successes of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was another indication of the amount of wealth that was circulating among the generals and political operatives.
This situation of former freedom fighters becoming erstwhile capitalists and repressive is not unique to Zimbabwe. All across the continent of Africa, from Algeria to Mozambique and from Eritrea to South Africa, the leaders of liberation movements lost legitimacy as they gave up the search for the solutions to the problems of hunger, unemployment, poor health and grinding exploitation. The late Tajudeen Abdul Raheem noted that the longer the liberation leaders remained in power the more they became oppressors. This was the case with Mugabe. After being in power over 37 years the leaders believed that they could take other people’s life with impunity.
The working peoples had been repressed by the same military that is now claiming to come to the rescue of ordinary people. The top generals who orchestrated the intervention are the same enforcers who had looted the Democratic Republic of the Congo along with the family of Kabila. It was the same military brass who oversaw Operation Murambatsvina (Shona for Operation Drive Out Trash), also referred to as Operation Restore Order, began as a crackdown against illegal trading and illegal housing in May 2005. This operation left hundreds of thousands of urban dwellers homeless in the middle of the cold Zimbabwean winter. Later when diamonds were found in Eastern Zimbabwe, the same generals were the beneficiaries of the mining of diamonds.
In 2016 President Mugabe complained the country had lost $15 billion dollars that should have gone to the treasury. Opposition parties and student unions retorted that it was incredulous that President Robert Mugabe was unaware that the nation was losing billions of dollars worth of diamonds through looting. The opposition said that if $15 billion worth of diamonds was pillaged under Mugabe’s watch, then he should be impeached for failing to do his job.
Where there is fabulous plunder as was going on in Zimbabwe there was bound to be competition between branches of the Zimbabwean capitalist class. This competition took the form of a power struggle within the ruling ZANU-PF political party. One group around the wife of Robert Mugabe called the G40 had been gaining the upper hand against the faction of the repressors led by General Chiwenga and Emmerson Mnangagwa.  Since independence in 1980 one of the ways of dealing with rivals was through car accidents or other forms of political assassination. Generals of the Zimbabwe military from the time of Josiah Tongagara to General Mujuru understood the experiences of political assassination. Thus when the former Vice President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired in the week of November 4 2017 he quickly fled the country. He was very aware of the multiple unexplained deaths of prominent Zimbabweans.
Gen. Constantino Chiwenga
Former Vice President Mnangagwa had been associated with all phases of repression since Operation Gukurahundi soon after independence. This paramilitary operation that killed over 20,000 in Matabeleland.  There is still a need for the truth about this mass killing. In the past year Mnangagwa has been locked in a life and death struggle with those elements who had surrounded Grace Mugabe. Grace Mugabe had aligned herself with a group that was associated with Dr. Jonathan Moyo. Over twelve years ago, it was the same Jonathan Moyo who had termed ZANU-PF a shelf party. Moyo, who initiated many of the repressive laws in the period of the land invasions, 2000 to 2003, had this to say of the leader of the ‘shelf party’: “Mugabe has publicly demonstrated his leadership incapacity to make way for an able and dynamic successor by succumbing to manipulative tribal pressure from a clique in his party”
It was this same Moyo who was now aligned against his former sponsor Emerson Mnangagwa. When Mnangagwa was fired in early November, all he and his allies in the military could think of was the fire that consumed General Mujuru.
In order to save themselves from the legacy of political assassinations, the generals intervened and placed Robert Mugabe under house arrest.
The Global Pan African Movement is of the view that the SADC Organ on Peace and Security must demobilize the military in Zimbabwe and establish a transitional arrangement so that all the other political forces in Zimbabwe can participate in the political process without fear of intimidation. A group of nonpartisan Zimbabweans have proposed a National Transitional Authority to take over the running of the country until “fair” elections can be held.
The African Union has stated clearly that it does not condone military interventions. Though the military has claimed that this was not a coup, it is clearly a coup. The peoples of Zimbabwe need the space for reconstruction and for the stolen wealth to be returned to the country. When the military took over they resorted to playing the songs of revolution on the radio. These songs from an era of struggle are now being mobilized to justify militarism.
On Monday, November 13 when General Chiwenga made a statement to the nation he stated that “drastic action would be taken immediately to stop counter-revolutionaries from sliding Zimbabwe back into colonisation.” This is simply manipulation of the anti-colonial sentiments of progressive Pan Africanists everywhere and decent citizens must join in the call for a genuine process of political change in Zimbabwe. The African Union has the responsibility to ensure that generals do not continue the repression in Zimbabwe. Emmerson Mnangagwa must not be allowed to continue the looting and plunder of the society in collaboration with the generals. Progressive Pan Africanists need to study the lessons of the manipulation of the ideals of Pan Africanism in this moment when there is a major push for the emancipation of Africa.
* JILIA LYNNE WALKER is the Chairperson of the North American Branch of the Global Pan African Movement.

total confidence in Zimbabwe's future

Total confidence in Zimbabwe’s future

Obi Egbuna Jnr SimunyeDURING a sessional address to the people of Ghana exactly 23 days before the US-EU imperialist-led military coup that overthrew his revolutionary government, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah eloquently stated: “Let us remember in the final analysis the masses are always the final arbiter. They will always choose freedom and justice, as against oppression and corruption.”While the statement made by Zimbabwean Major-General S. B. Moyo concerning the recent political developments was short and concise, it perhaps was the first step in changing the political trajectory of Zimbabwe in particular and Mother Africa in general for decades to come. The decision to emphasise that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces was not engaging in a military take-over, could have very well in the long term ushered in the beginning of the end of military neo-colonialism on our beloved mother continent once and for all.
The reinforcement of that exact sentiment by General Constantino Chiwenga: “There is only one Commander-in-Chief His Excellency the President, Head of State and Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Comrade R.G. Mugabe” is the reason why the US-EU imperialist media apparatus has not resisted the temptation to express their pleasure surrounding the mere thought of President Mugabe no longer calling the shots in Zimbabwe. Of course, they are too racist and arrogant to acknowledge a people they consider inherently inferior have devised a political strategy beyond their comprehension.
What the Africans in the Diaspora must grapple with is understanding the immeasurable value of both patience and a level of political discipline, that keeps them settled and not indulging in opportunism and unnecessary overreaction, resulting in spreading utter confusion at breakneck speed just to give the impression they have the latest scoop on what is occurring on the ground in Zimbabwe.
At this juncture the only thing faster than the bullets in the live ammunition in the weapons of the ZDF are the trigger fingers possessed by opportunists using their laptops to spread lies, gossip and innuendo about Zimbabwe, this is being done primarily by certain elements who claim to support President Mugabe and Zanu-PF in word but practically speaking have very little anything concrete to show that demonstrates the essence of the solidarity that defines and epitomises African resistance.
This allows us to zero in on journalists in particular who are only writing about Zimbabwe primarily because it is the main African story, but for the last 18 years have stood idly by and allowed the US-EU imperialist apparatus make assassinating the character of President Mugabe their primary crusade on the African continent. What this illustrates is their obedience to the immoral values of US-EU capitalism and imperialism who are only into the business of selling newspapers as opposed to being pinpoint accurate about Zimbabwe’s current political status.
The main question on the table is who internally and externally still doubts the political sophistication of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF, whether you like it or not, there is no denying at every key phase of the Third Chimurenga US-EU imperialism has been reduced to the posture of a window shopper completely on the outside looking in. How convenient it is to forget US-EU imperialist media apparatus bottom feeders desperately running around South Africa attempting to find the exact location where President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and both factions of the MDC were negotiating the GPA/inclusive Government. During the harmonised 2013 presidential/parliamentary elections former US president Jimmy Carter was left with egg on his face when President Mugabe and Zanu-PF refused his overture to allow the liberal imperialist vehicle that carries his name the Carter Centre to given official observer status.
According to then president Obama’s former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Johnnie Carson if the Carter Centre was granted the access to Zimbabwe they wanted he would have personally nudged Obama’s shoulders and asked for the US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
When President Mugabe and Zanu-PF along with the ZDF sit down with the Sadc envoys from South Africa and Angola who, based on the rotational political cycle, are presiding over the regional body and the regional defence forces respectively, we can guarantee not only that the details will not be leaked to diplomats representing US-EU imperialism, but equally as important our former colonisers and enslavers will not have a seat at the table. For this reason the US-EU imperialist apparatus must depend on President Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s most hateful detractors for soundbites with no substance or foundation, we recently saw the media giant Newsweek reduced to getting a quote from Doug Coltart, whose father David Coltart is a founder of the US-EU regime change agent MDC. The young Coltart, a pro-regime change baby bull, stated the city is calm but that he was concerned by what could turn out to be an “unconstitutional transition of power”.
The Voice of America published a caption entitled “Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa?“ The answer is simple: Go and ask your Zimbabwe desk who you hired to paint a picture of him as the mask of terror behind President Mugabe, if you are not satisfied with their account your next destination should either be the US State Department or the headquarters of the CIA . Unfortunately, the Rhodesian Baby Bull and Newsweek forgot to share that General Chiwenga began his public statement by highlighting Section 212 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution that highlights the obligation of the ZDF as it pertains to Zimbabwe’s national security and territorial integrity.
What also angered US-EU imperialism was the fact that the ZDF did not call for a political makeover reversing Zimbabwe’s land reclamation programme, the Indegnisation and Empowerment Act or Zim-Asset, which illustrates their commitment to the continued execution of these ground-breaking programmes without any internal sabotage from this moment on. It must be noted that when General Chiwenga chose to chronicle counter- revolutionary dynamics President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have overcome in particular the formation of Frolizi, the attempted removal of Cde Herbert Chitepo from Zanu’s chairmanship, the Nhari-Badza rebellion, Ndabaningi Sithole rebellion among others, the bar was raised on a level many cannot begin to understand.
This put US-EU Imperialism on notice that this was not the extension of General Ignatius Acheampong, who played a key role in carrying out the coup that ousted the Osagyefo from power, or Mobutu Sese Seko, who the US-Belgian-French imperialist alliance used to remove Patrice Lumumba from power. The words and reassurances of both General Chiwenga and Major-General S. B. Moyo that President Mugabe was not the target of this exercise, calls into question those who used their platform to call this a bloodless coup, which was an illustration of political gamesmanship, putting it lightly.
Both General Chiwenga and Major-General Moyo understand the importance of not giving the impression their actions are not in concert with the agenda of the US-Africa Military Command (Africom), the biggest threat to Mother Africa’s territorial integrity.
Those who chose to propagate that notion publicly must not forget the mere mention of that word is a clarion call for US-EU Iiperialism to plan a military intervention, which cannot be dismissed especially since both the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu included that on their neo-colonialist wishlist. For Africans in the Diaspora who have stood by President Mugabe and Zanu-PF for the last five decades, this comes down to a question of political will and capacity. We must not let US-EU imperialism use the recent developments in Zimbabwe as an excuse to maintain their illegal racist sanctions. Those who have fought that battle, there is no reason to abandon what President Mugabe and Zanu-PF consider a cause for every loyal daughter and son of Africa to wage and fight until their last breath.
Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US correspondent to The Herald and External Relations Officer of Zicufa (Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association). His email is obiegbuna15@gmail.com

stop neo-african slave trade in libya promoted by EU



Nov 17 at 10:00 PM

Add your name

African migrants who try to reach Europe are being taken back to Africa by Libyan authorities -- this deadly deal with the EU has created a bigger problem: migrants are now being sold as slaves! But if we all sign now, we could be the loudspeaker for their cry for help, and push EU countries to revise this deal before more souls are put up for sale -- click to sign now:
ADD YOUR NAME
Dear friends,

Right now, African migrants who try to escape to Europe are finding a horrific fate instead: they're being sold as slaves! But we can save them.

The EU is behind a terrible deal that's giving money to Libya to chase down boats with migrants, arresting them, and taking them back to African soil. Once there, many end up in detention centres, and others are kidnapped and sold into forced labour for as little as $400. The EU can stop this -- but they're turning a blind eye, and it's up to us to push them into action to reverse this dreadful deal with Libya. Let's be a loudspeaker for these migrants' cry for help!

Add your name now to end Libya's migrant slave trade -- when enough of us sign, Avaaz will bring our call to the EU countries that backed this deal and make sure they take urgent action:

EU: Stop the Migrant Slave Trade in Libya

Italy is only a few miles away from the Libyan shore, a known gateway for people trying to reach the "European dream". While the EU is known as a human rights champion, the grim reality is they're paying authorities in a broken country to prevent these people from ever setting foot on European territory -- freeing them from any human rights obligation.

CNN has reported on nine locations in Libya alone selling slaves -- but this could be just the tip of the iceberg. If we use this moment to get the EU to review its immoral deal with Libya and find a more humane way to deal with the crisis, we could stop this slave trade for good!

Let's do this -- join the people-backed call to get EU leaders to act now on Libya's migrants slave trade:

EU: Stop the Migrant Slave Trade in Libya
Avaaz members from around the globe donated millions and took action to help solve the migration crisis in Europe in a humane and ethical way. Now, the EU's efforts to sweep the problem under the carpet has caused an even more unprecedented crisis, bringing back the slave trade. Let's make sure to stop it, together.

With hope and determination,

Diego, Flora, Luca, Nana, Patricia, Alice and the whole Avaaz team

More information

People for sale -- Where lives are auctioned for $400
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/14/africa/libya-migrant-auctions/index.html

Italy’s Dodgy Deal on Migrants
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/migrants-italy-europe.html?_r=0

EU plans to keep migrants in Libya would trap thousands in 'catastrophic conditions', Germany warns
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-migrants-libya-italy-europe-mediterranean-sea-eu-libya-deal-detention-camps-torture-a7718346.html

Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/libya-public-slave-auctions-un-migration 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

berkeley technology academy saved my child's life!

"BTECH saved my child's life!"


  • Nov 16 at 5:44 PM


    I have heard this statement more than once from parents in the 15 months since I became Principal.  This school has been saving lives for many years.  To call this a "school" is really an understatement.  This is a family.  This is a home.  This is a hope.

    Since 2011 the enrollment at Berkeley Technology Academy (BTECH) has been steadily declining.   When I became Principal last year it was at its lowest enrollment ever.  There were 57 students enrolled on the first day of school.  Did you know that we are staffed to serve 150 students?  

    That's right!  There could be 150 students taking advantage of this small learning environment.  150 kids could be getting the love, attention, and guidance that they need when they leave your homes in the morning.  150 students could be making up credits if they are behind.  150 students could be getting the personalized instruction they need to build confidence, enhance skill sets, and become better prepared for life after the diploma.

    Speaking of diplomas...did you know that Berkeley Unified School District touts itself for graduating more Latino and African-American students than the state average?  Although that may be true have you ever stopped to ask how many of those students were reading below grade level?  How many could not perform basic mathematical computations?  How many did not have a plan or a clue as to what to do next?  Could some of those students benefit from our learning environment that is loaded with teachers and staff of color administering cultural relevant pedagogy?

    BTECH helps students not only build confidence in themselves, recover credits, improve grade point averages, increase attendance, and create community but we also connect students with internships, jobs, and post-graduation plans.

    Some of the big questions looming right now are:
     
    WHAT IS STOPPING FAMILIES FROM ENROLLING THEIR CHILD AT BTECH?  

    WHY IS THE DISTRICT PROPOSING TO CUT STAFFING (3 teachers and 1 safety officer)?  

    WHY IS THE DISTRICT PROPOSING TO MERGE STAFFING WITH THE INDEPENDENT STUDIES PROGRAM (1 administrator for both sites, 1 counselor for both sites, 1 clerical for both sites)?  

    WHY IS THIS HAPPENING ALL OF A SUDDEN (the proposal was presented on November 1 with an ask for a decision on December 6th with no community vetting)?  

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY...

    HAS THE DISTRICT DONE EVERYTHING IN ITS POWER TO INCREASE ENROLLMENT AND SUSTAIN THIS SCHOOL BEFORE DECIDING TO CUT STAFFING?

    Are you interested in the answers to these questions?  Do you have more questions?  Are you ready to see Berkeley Technology Academy reduced to a school with 5 teachers, half a counselor, 1 safety officer, half a secretary, and a Principal that is also responsible for managing the Independent Studies program?  

    Do you think this school is important enough to FIGHT for?  

    This is the time of the year when the District is forced to make some very tough budgetary decisions as they are attempting to cut approximately 1.3 million for the 2018-19 school year.  BTECH is not the only target.  Many other positions and programs are also in the balance.  Those other positions and programs are not going down without a fight.  Neither will we.

    Will you spread the word through your networks that this is happening?  Will you come out on Thursday, November 30 at 5pmto ask questions about the current proposal to Assistant Superintendent Mr. Scuderi?  Will you attend the next School Board meeting on Wednesday, December 6th at 7pm for the public comment section?  Will you help the school by thinking about these questions I am providing and adding your own comments, stories, solutions?  Will you let me know you are ready to fight?

    Some things to consider as we mobilize our community:


    Truancy

    Many of you have told me that your child started coming to school a lot more since enrolling at BTECH.  Many of you say that at Berkeley High your child was not going to class and was truant.  Did you know that there is a truancy program called the Student Attendance and Review Team (SART) and Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) that refers students to the Alameda County District Attorney's Truancy Program without recommending to the family that the student give BTECH a try?  Why is that?  Did you know that the California Education Code allows for schools to involuntarily transfer (although I recommend counseling) truant students to schools like BTECH so that they have a better chance at graduating?  Why isn't this happening?

    Test Scores and Grade Point Averages

    The most recent Smarter Balanced Assessment Test Results (2016-2017) indicates that 46% of Black juniors that took the test were below proficiency in reading and 59% were below proficiency in writing while only 11% of White juniors were below proficiency in reading and 14% of White juniors were below in writing.  The achievement gap was even worse for math as test scores revealed that 73% of Black juniors had not met the math proficiency compared to only 17% of White juniors.  We want all students to be able to have at least an opportunity to enter a career pathway, college classroom, apprenticeship, or job with the requisite hard and soft skills to compete. 


    Marketing

    Does BUSD market its very own Alternative High School program?  If so, when and where?  Did you know that students at Berkeley High routinely claim that they are threatened to be sent here if they don't do well there?  Is this the marketing campaign?  Could BTECH be supported by the District in a way that it is marketed in a positive way?  Do you have any suggestions on how this could happen?


    LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Program)

    How are current LCAP dollars being used at BTECH?  Can the District leverage more LCAP resources for BTECH?  Are you familiar with the School Governance Council?  The School Site Plan?  Would you be interested in more information as to how you can be an active parent?

    What you can do before our meeting on November 30 is contact BUSD school board members and let them know how you feel about this proposal (see attached).  

    You can find School Board member information at this link:



    Resist.  Exist.  Persist.


    Ardarius McDonald, Principal
    Berkeley Technology Academy
    2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
    Berkeley, CA 94703
    Office: (510) 644-4595

mugabe fall and china


Zimbabwe: was Mugabe's fall a result of China flexing its muscle?

The 21st century’s new global superpower is not just Zimbabwe’s ‘all-weather friend’ and top trade partner, close ties go back to the 1970s liberation era
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping (left), holds the hand of Robert Mugabe upon his arrival in Harare in December 2015.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping (left), holds the hand of Robert Mugabe upon his arrival in Harare in December 2015. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
Friday 17 November 2017 00.00 ESTLast modified on Friday 17 November 2017 00.04 EST
A visit to Beijing last Friday by Zimbabwe’s military chief, General Constantino Chiwenga, has fuelled suspicions that China may have given the green light to this week’s army takeover in Harare.
If so, the world may just have witnessed the first example of a covert coup d’etat of the kind once favoured by the CIA and Britain’s MI6, but conceived and executed with the tacit support of the 21st century’s new global superpower.
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China, Africa’s biggest foreign investor, has more at stake in Zimbabwe, and more political influence, than any other state. This is largely due to its extensive investments in the mining, agriculture, energy and construction sectors. China was Zimbabwe’s top trade partner in 2015, buying 28% of its exports. But the Chinese connection is about more than money.
The pre-independence guerrilla force led to victory by Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old Zimbabwean president detained by the military on Tuesday night, was financed and armed by the Chinese in the 1970s. Close ties have continued to the present day.
When the US and EU imposed sanctions after Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections, China stepped in, investing in over 100 projects. Beijing also blocked UN security council moves to impose an arms embargo and restrictions on regime figures.
Xi Jinping, China’s president, visited Zimbabwe in December 2015 and has since promised a massive $5bn (£3.8bn) in additional direct aid and investment. He described China as Zimbabwe’s “all-weather friend”.
China’s president, Xi Jinping, shakes hands with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, in Harare in 2015.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, shakes hands with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, in Harare in 2015. Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images



Xi’s personal support extended to providing $46m towards building a new parliament in Harare. The Mugabe family is reported to have savings and property assets squirrelled away in Hong Kong, a favourite shopping destination for Mugabe’s wife, Grace.

Aware of criticism from Mugabe’s opponents that Beijing is propping up a despotic regime, China has used soft power tools to win over public opinion. This included a $100m medical loan facility in 2011 and the construction of a new hospital in rural Zimbabwe. In 2015, state-owned Power Construction Corporation of China signed a $1.2bn deal to expand Zimbabwe’s largest thermal power plant. Chinese investors have also bought into farms seized from their former white owners and given to Mugabe cronies who subsequently neglected them.

China’s big bet on Zimbabwe is not all staked on Mugabe and his faction in the ruling Zanu-PF party. Military-to-military cooperation has continued since independence in 1980. China financed and built Zimbabwe’s National Defence College and the People’s Liberation Army has helped train the Zimbabwean army.
Gen Chiwenga, the armed forces chief, has had regular contacts with Chinese counterparts, most recently with a military delegation that visited in December. China’s defence minister, Chang Wanquan, who met with Chiwenga in Beijing last Friday, visited Harare in 2015. Reports suggest Chiwenga’s backing was instrumental in this week’s military intervention.
The takeover came shortly after Mugabe backers accused him of acting treasonably in warning of negative consequences arising from Mugabe’s decision to sack the vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. China’s foreign ministry said Chiwenga’s meeting with Chang was a “normal military exchange”. But Beijing has not explicitly denied foreknowledge of the Harare coup. More significantly, perhaps, it has not condemned, or made any other comment, on Mugabe’s apparent removal from power.
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Mnangagwa, widely believed to be behind the plot to oust Mugabe and his most likely successor as president, is another long-time friend and collaborator with the Chinese. A former freedom-fighter, he received ideological and military training in Beijing and Nanjing in the 1960s.

According to Professor Wang Xinsong, a specialist in international development at Beijing Normal University school of social development and public policy, China has been monitoring infighting within the Mugabe regime and the country’s faltering economy for some time – and carefully weighing its options.
Beijing was particularly alarmed by an “indigenisation” law effectively seizing majority control of foreign-owned businesses and companies, many of them Chinese. “China’s political and economic stake in Zimbabwe is high enough to demand a close watch on developments,” Wang wrote in a prescient commentary in December last year.

Wang predicted Beijing would stick with Zanu-PF rather than switch support to opposition groups – but would not tolerate political and economic instability indefinitely. “Letting G40 [the faction around Grace Mugabe] and Mnangagwa fight each other in a post-Mugabe scenario would be too risky. Rather, through negotiation and economic leverage, China may try to ensure a peaceful power transition while the ageing president is still active enough to make such an important decision.”

Whether this is what is happening now, as talks about a transition continued in Harare on Thursday, remains unclear. Much depends on whether Mugabe accepts forced retirement and gives his blessing to his successor, or tries to resist instead. But one thing is certain. Whichever path Zimbabwe chooses next, it will be heavily influenced by its “all-weather” friends in Beijing.