Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Agenda Radio for Week of Nov 28, 2016

GOP Plans Stealth Attack on Medicare

Republicans in Congress have “never really liked Social Security or Medicare” because the programs “work and they completely go against the ideology that the private sector is always better,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works. The GOP will act “in the dead of night, so the people don’t know what’s happening,” and sneak a privatization bill into a “reconciliation” measure that “the Democrats can’t filibuster,” Altman predicted. “They want to give seniors and people with disabilities a check and say, ‘Good luck, go out and get private insurance.’”

What Do You Mean by Identity Politics?

Lots of people talk about how “identity politics affected the election, but the term is never specifically defined,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. “As you tease out the rhetoric, it appears to suggest that organizations like Black Lives Matter is identity politics, and people protesting against being shot down in the streets by officers of the state is identity politics.” The only good news to come out of the election, said Horne, “is that Donald J. Trump will probably prove to be the Gorbachev of the United States of America” by accelerating the decline of U.S. imperialism and white supremacy.

2016 was Bound to be a Bad Year

The “panic and hysteria” of some Hillary Clinton supporters “is really very childish,” said Diana Johnstone, author of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. “The fact is, there wasn’t going to be a good outcome to that election, anyway; you had two terrible candidates, so you should have been prepared for that.” The Democrats crazily search for Russians behind every web site. “The idea that Russia interfered with the election is absolutely absurd,” said Johnstone, speaking from her home in Paris. “It sound to me like they’ve decided they’re going to make war against Russia -- and they’re all into that,” including the media.

President Obama’s Hollow Legacy

Barack Obama was “beloved” by large numbers of Black people, but it was a one-way affair. “Politicians score points with white people by assuring them they’re not going to do anything for Black people, and Obama was no exception,” said Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “In order to win, Black people have to be thrown under the bus.” The Obama “gave white people a message that he would not in any way upset the status quo,” said Kimberley, speaking on the Taylor Report on CUIT radio, in Toronto, Canada. “His is a hollow legacy.” Hillary Clinton lost because “you can’t transfer one person’s popularity to another.”

Peltier on Standing Rock Protests

One thousand people took part in the 47th annual Native American National Day of Mourning, last Thursday, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Placards declared “We Are Not Vanishing” and “We Are Not Conquered,” as an Elder read a message from political prisoner Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement activist who has been locked up for the past 41 years. The Standing Rock protests “are the greatest gathering of our people in history, and has made us more connected than every before,” said Peltier. “Water is life, and we cannot leave this issue to our children and grandchildren.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20161128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39pm EST

Keith Ellison as DNC Chair: Another High Place, Another Empty Black Face

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Democratic party honchos are scrambling to reassure their funders and to shore up the careers of Democratic elected officials who serve those funders. They must justify and retain whatever hold they still have on the millions of nominal Democratic voters who actually have no voice whatsoever in what their party stands for.

At bottom, the two capitalist parties are owned by the same class of elite one percenter funders but with different voting bases At least one US party is always the self-declared White Man’s Party. Since the late sixties Republicans have reserved that slot for themselves, leaving Democrats to claim the allegiance of racial minorities and some other groups. The different voting bases of the two parties mean they have different campaign styles, but when the campaigns are over they’re both as Barack Obama affirmed, on the same team. Both parties deliver the mandate of their constituencies to their common funders, Big Ag, Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Real Estate, the military contractors and Wall Street.

After the departures of Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and Donna Brazile, both deeply implicated in the sabotaging of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s loss, Democrats need a new face at the head of the Democratic National Committee, the national party’s executive body. Ideally it should be someone who reassures the funders and can help rally the base voters. The leading contender is Keith Ellison, just elected to his sixth term in Congress from Minneapolis.

Keith Ellison seems a good fit. He was the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and current co-chair of the large and virtually impotent House Progressive Caucus. He was an early endorser of Bernie Sanders who did his duty trying to lead leftward strays back into Hillary’s big tent. In a decade on the House Financial Services Committee, Ellison managed not to deeply offend the banksters who flooded the market with predatory housing and student loans, or the payday lenders and credit card racketeers, and he didn’t embarrass or insult the colleagues who openly shill for them. In that target rich environment Ellison managed not just to keep from hitting anything, but not even to take aim.

By contrast, Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2014 made headlines when she grilled Ellison's former Congressional Black Caucus colleague Mel Watt, on why the agency he heads, despite a clear mandate from Congress to reduce the principals on potentially millions of unpayable predatory home loans, refused to reduce the principal on a single one. Three years later the news is that the agency may reduce principal on a mere 3,100 home loans at most. We’re still waiting to hear from Ellison and the other eight black Democrats on the committee on this failure.

But Ellison is black. He’s the first Muslim elected to Congress, he’s smart enough and telegenic. He votes infallibly to support the apartheid regime in Israel, and he says if it were up to him there’d have been a no-fly zone (and possible shooting war with the Russians) a long time ago.

Hillary’s indispensable firewall was supposed to be the black vote, for which she needed to do little else than mumble about “black lives mattering” and pose occasionally with the mothers of some of those murdered by police. Democratic shot callers seem to still believe that all they need is another empty black face in a high place. They won’t get another First Black President. It was Hillary’s turn and that didn’t work out. Now it’s Keith Ellison’s another empty black face in a very high place.

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 2061123-bd-keith-ellison-dnc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of Nov 21, 2016

Green Party: Part of the Solution

“I fully expected that we were going to get at least five percent of the vote,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka. “I suspect that when push came to shove, particularly in those swing states, people held their nose and voted for the lesser evil.” Nevertheless, it is essential that the Greens continue to put forward “transitional demands that are meant to galvanize people and win concessions from the state, but also that you keep people focused on the fact the real objective is to transform this system, to take power from the capitalist state.”

No World War, But Plenty of Domestic Oppression

“I think the threat of World War Three has receded significantly,” said author, activist and historian Paul Street. However, “I don’t know if I’ll think that of Trump in two years,” he added. “The more immediate dangers seem to be: police statist assaults on undocumented Latino immigrants, a registry of Muslims, and a potential designation of Black Lives Matter and civil rights activists as quasi-terrorists. The other great, existential threat is runaway climate change because Trump has pledged to thoroughly deregulate energy.”

Saving Mumia and Others from a Curable Disease

Activists in the Free Mumia movement plan a rally on December 9, in Philadelphia, to pressure prison officials to treat the political prisoner and thousands of other inmates suffering from hepatitis C. “Healthwise, Mumia is not doing good at all,” said Pam Africa, of Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. “He has the appearance of good health, but he’s itching all over” and “his health is declining.” A judge ruled that Pennsylvania prison officials are obligated to treat Abu Jamal, but he used a technicality to avoid ordering that the cure actually be administered. Pam Africa said next month’s rally will also highlight unsafe, blackish water in prisons. At one facility, she said, “young people coming into the prison are losing their hair.”

U.S. Election Ran on “Fear” and “Betrayal”

“It is accurate to say that economic discontent played a part” in Hillary Clinton’s defeat at the polls, said Mumia Abu Jamal. But he thinks other factors were at least as important. “The Trump campaign represented, not just fear, but profound paranoia, and also white revenge for the darkening of America.” However, “if Trumpism represented vengeance, then Clintonism represented betrayal,” because the Democrats failed to stand up on issues vital to their base constituencies.

Torture, Anyone?

Former Kansas Republican congressman Mike Pompeo is likely to be named CIA director in the Trump administration. “He’s a big fan of torture,” said Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who now spends most of his time trying to rein in the national security state. McGovern told Paul Jay, of The Real News Network, that Pompeo “visited Guantanamo, he said it was great, and then said, “As far as I can see, those prisoners are gaining weight.’” President Obama must share the blame. “If Obama had the strength of his convictions, he would have gotten rid of the torturers in the CIA,” said McGovern. “He let them stay, and now they’re having a celebration.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20161121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EST

Time For the Real Left To Double Down on Single Payer Medicare For All

Time For the Real Left To Double Down on Single Payer Medicare For All

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

The Affordable Care Act, which President elect Trump promises to repeal and replace with nobody knows what, was never all it was cracked up to be.

The promise to deliver affordable health care was a key campaign issue in 2007 and 2008. But while most Americans demanded a single payer system to replace the private insurance companies, and guarantee health care for everyone, the 44th president his corporate funded Democrats instead delivered Obamacare –- billions in tax dollars to insurance companies for policies with skimpy coverage and such high co-pays and deductibles that many families cannot afford to use their new health insurance. Worse still, Obamacare only provided these sketchy policies to about half the uninsured leaving the rest to the tender mercies of state governments which control Medicaid.

Ever since 2009 corporate Democrats have justified their treachery with claims that single payer Medicare For All was impossible to get through even the majority Democratic Congress of 2009 and 2010. Hillary Clinton also declared single payer dead on arrival should she be elected. But Hillary was not elected, and even though this is the fourth consecutive Republican dominated Congress, and Republican politicians hate Medicare For All just as much as their Democratic rivals, the popular mandate for single payer health care is very much alive.

A May 2016 Gallup Poll confirms that “...58% of U.S. adults favor the idea of replacing the law (Obamacare) with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans.” The question for the left, however you read that term is what do we do about this? The answer has to be that we fight for what we know people want and need with all the means at our disposal. In the present era, the willingness to organize, to agitate, to educate, to demonstrate and to demand health care –- not health insurance, but health care for everybody as a human right is one of the markers by which we can tell actual flesh and blood leftists and their organizations from those who merely fake the funk until the next Democrat takes office. It’s worth noting that the Green Party’ candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were the only ones in this election calling for single payer health care.

A 2009 study by the National Nurses Union reveals that adoption of Medicare For All would create 2.6 million new jobs, from doctors and nurses to a host of health care professionals and technicians. That’s as many jobs as were lost in the 2007-2009 recession. It would inject #75 billion per year into the US economy, including $100 billion in wages alone. President Trump won in part because he told people he’d “bring back the jobs.” But steel mill jobs are imaginary, fictitious. Health care jobs are real.

The tens or hundreds of thousands in streets each night justifiably protesting the ascension of a crotch grabbing racist con man to the White House would be well advised to not repeat the mistake of Occupy a few years ago. They and others who want to be relevant in this new era urgently need to put forth some concrete demands which if struggled for will make them opinion leaders, and if won will improve the lives of millions. Quality single payer health care NOW is one of those demands.

Trump’s threat to dismantle Obamacare is an invitation for us to reopen the struggle for health care as a human right. And this time we know we’re struggling against Republicans AND Democrats.

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20161116-bd-single-payer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm EST

War Less Imminent in Wake of Trump Election

“Trump says he wants to cooperate with the Syrians and the Russians to defeat ISIS.”

With so many people who call themselves liberals and leftists tearing their hair out in dread of a President Donald Trump, it is necessary to point out that the prospects of avoiding nuclear war are much better than they were the day before the election. Hillary Clinton was committed to imposing a “no fly zone” over Syria that would have meant instant war with Russia, likely resulting in the annihilation of the human species. You’d think that would have made Clinton anathema to decent people. But Americans, including those who call themselves liberals, are not decent people – not really. Based on their political behavior, they just pretend to be decent, but support U.S. governments that have slaughtered millions since the end of World War Two. If you voted for Obama and Clinton, you gave your assent to continuing George Bush’s wars, allowing Obama to start two major wars of his own, in Libya and Syria, and to Hillary Clinton’s plans to roll the nuclear dice on the fate of humanity. The whole world knows that Americans are dangerous, to themselves and to others. But, decent? Since when, and to whom?

Donald Trump looks and talks like the ugly, racist, bullying American -- and he is exactly that, but he hasn’t killed anybody yet, and his public statements have been of a far more peaceful nature than the woman he beat at the polls. Trump says he wants to cooperate with the Syrians and the Russians to defeat ISIS. Trump also does not make distinctions between the various Islamic jihadist groups in Syria, unlike the Obama administration, which has directly and indirectly armed and funded all of the jihadist groups, and has spent much of the last several months trying to protect the al Nusra Front, the al Qaida affiliate in eastern Aleppo, from Russian bombing.

“The jihadists are in despair, and the prospects for driving them out of Aleppo look promising.”

No sooner had the votes been counted, than President Obama ordered U.S. Special Forces to go all-out to kill the leadership of al-Nusra.

This war has been entirely based on lies, so Obama will probably limit his Kill List to al Qaida leaders, while sparing the rank and file jihadist fighters for future use by the United States. But it is safe to say that, had Hillary Clinton been elected, the most warlike factions in the U.S. military, the CIA, the State Department, and the foreign policy establishment at-large would be setting the stage for full-scale confrontation with Russia and all of Syria’s allies under President Clinton. Instead, the jihadists are in despair, and the prospects for driving them out of Aleppo look promising. Hopefully, the Syrian government and its friends will be on the road to victory before Donald Trump’s presidency is decisively captured by the bipartisan War Party that runs the empire.

Syrian President Bashar Assad says it’s fine with him if Trump wants to fight the terrorists. But, Assad isn’t sure that Trump can deliver on his campaign pledge. “What about the countervailing forces within the administration, the mainstream media that were against him?” Assad asks. Assad thinks the notion of Trump bucking the War Party is “dubious.” He’s right. Half a million Syrians are dead because most Americans don’t much care who their government kills, as long as they’re not white. But, getting rid of Clinton has slowed the War Party down a bit, and maybe prevented a nuclear war. If you are a decent person, you should be pleased about that.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20161116_gf_TrumpSyria.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of No 14, 2016

Cornel West: Class Becoming “Much More Central”

“We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era,” said Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s most prominent Black public intellectual, assessing the import of last week’s election. West backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, then endorsed the Green Party’s presidential ticket. The election “did not go left-populist, following Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein,” he said. Instead, “it went rightwing-fascist. But the neoliberal era is coming to a close and the neoliberal establishment is being exposed. The issues of class now are becoming much more central.”

Trump Supporters Mounted an “Insurrection”

Duboisian scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro was among the few observers on the Left that thought Donald Trump would win at the polls. But, even he was startled at the scope of Trump’s sweep. “I felt that the insurgency would grow and deepen, but I never thought that it would become an insurrection,” said Monteiro. “In a certain sense, white working and poor people in these small, rust belt towns have a sense of achievement in having brought the Clintons down that Black people had in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected with a huge Black turnout,” he said. Monteiro is one of the organizers of a Conference on Political Science for Radical Times, set for December 9-10, in Philadelphia.

TPP “On Its Death Bed”

With Donald Trump’s victory, President Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership corporate rights trade deal is “looking like it’s on its death bed,” said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. “We’ve worked for five years to make TPP stand for Toxic Political Poison, and that seems to have happened,” said Zeese. Trump won in “the rust belt that was destroyed by NAFTA” -- Bill Clinton’s jobs-exporting bill of a generation ago -- “and was going to be threatened again by TPP.” Zeese said Obama may make a last bid to pass TPP in the lame duck session of Congress that begins this week.

Finally, a Practical Guide to Black Self-Determination

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations adopted a 19-point Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, at a conference in Washington. The document applies the principle of self-determination to the broadest range of issues, from Black Community Control of the Police, to Mass Black Incarceration, to Nationalization of the Banks. “Everybody wants self-determination,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela, “but what does it mean, practically?” The 19 points give direction to the struggle. “This isn’t something you work on every four years,” said Yeshitela. “This is something you work on every day. This is our program.”

Margaret Kimberley, an editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report, told the conference: “When we meet together, today, we are showing the world what self-determination looks like.” Voting for “your enemies” is not self-determination, and “thinking that electoral politics is the only road to liberation is not self-determination,” said Kimberley.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20161114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:31pm EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of No 7, 2016

Hi-Tech Production in the Service of Humanity in Mississippi

Renaissance Jackson, the organization that briefly won the mayor’s office in predominantly Black Jackson, Mississippi, has launched a campaign to purchase a coding and programming capacity and a 3-D fabrication facility. They call it “Fab Lab.” This technology, “if it is democratically controlled, could actually serve humanity,” said Cooperation Jackson spokesman Kali Akuno. These kinds of projects are, “first and foremost, to satisfy some of the basic needs of our community, and -- on a deeper level -- to really put this means of production directly in our community’s hands.” High tech is “one of these areas of the so-called ‘digital divide’ that Black people have been sorely and strategically absent from,” said Akuno. “So, we are doing it for ourselves.”

Obamacare “Imploding and Beyond Repair”

The current wave of insurance rate hikes and medical service cutbacks is the predictable result of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) that “was pretty much a gift to the health insurance industry” when Congress passed it, in 2010, said Dr. John Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle. ACA “was never designed for affordability -- it’s a misnomer in the name of the bill,” he said. Obamacare is “imploding and beyond repair,” and unsustainable. “Tweeks cannot work in the long term. The main fight should be for what will save money and give universal coverage to everyone: namely, single payer national health insurance.” Dr. Geyman said single payer healthcare could save $500 billion a year -- about the same as the entire U.S. “defense” budget.

The Fight for Education for Liberation in Detroit

At a “Community Conversation on the Crisis in the Schools,” Detroit activists, educators and parents gathered to address the question: “Who Created the School Crisis, and How are We Responding to it?” Among those wrestling with the issue was Dr. Thomas Pedroni, professor of Curriculum Studies at Wayne State University. He said the decline began with the state takeover of schools in the 1990s, and worsened dramatically after the imposition of state-appointed “emergency managers.” “School could be one of the most meaningful places for our communities, but instead, it’s deadened,” Dr. Pedroni told the crowd at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “But, we’re going to fight to get back to the place where we have culturally relevant curriculum, not just producing a test score but to develop people who are self-empowered and who know how to fight for their community.”

Venezuela Weathering Financial Storm, Despite Disinformation Campaign

“I challenge you to find one item of news that is positive to Venezuela in these last 16 or 17 years,” said Maria Paez Victor, a Venezuelan-born sociologist living in Toronto, Canada, and author of an article titled “Hating Venezuela.” Ms. Victor said the United States and its rightwing allies in Venezuela have kept up a non-stop disinformation campaign ever since the late Hugo Chavez and his Socialist Party were democratically elected in 1998. A crisis triggered by the collapse of world oil prices allowed the opposition to capture the legislature, last year, but Victor says the government is coping. “Venezuela has managed to weather a terrible financial situation, but this is bad news for corporate capitalism and for the United States, because they want Venezuela to be controlled by their lackies.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20161107.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47pm EST

The Lords of Capital Sic Crazy Hillary on the World

“The Lords of Capital are creatures of U.S. imperial dominance; they go out of business when the empire does.”

By virtually every measurement, the United States is in deep crisis, as both a society and as the headquarters of global capitalism. We can roughly measure the severity of some aspects of the crisis with the tools of economic analysis. Such an analysis is quite useful in explaining why Washington is so eager to risk war with Russia and China, whether in Syria or the South China Sea or along the ever expanding borders of NATO. To put it simply, the U.S. and western Europe become smaller, in terms of their economic influence, with every passing day, and cannot possibly maintain their political dominance in the world except by military force, coercion and terror. Those are the only cards the imperialists have left to play. The ruling circles in the U.S. are aware that time is not on their side, and it makes them crazy -- or crazier than usual.

The ruling class’s own analysts tell them that the center of the world economy is moving inexorably to the East and the South; that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future; and that the U.S. is already number two by some economic measures -- and dropping. The Lords of Capital know there is no future for them in a world where the dollar is not supreme and where Wall Street’s stocks, bonds and derivatives are not backed by full weight of unchallenged empire. Put another way, U.S. imperialism is at an inflection point, with all the indicators pointing downward and no hope of reversing the trend by peaceful means.

Now, that’s actually not such a bad prognosis for the United States, as a country. The U.S. is a big country, with an abundance of human and natural resources, and would do just fine in a world among equals. But, the fate of the Lords of Capital is tied to the ongoing existence of empire. They create nothing, but seek to monetize and turn a profit on everything. They cannot succeed in trade unless it is rigged, and have placed bets in their casinos that are nominally seven times more valuable than the total economic activity of planet Earth. In short, the Lords of Capital are creatures of U.S. imperial dominance; they go out of business when the empire does.

Beat the Clock

The rulers are looking class death in the face -- and it terrifies them. And when the Lords of Capital become frightened, they order their servants in politics and the war industries and the vast national security networks to take care of the problem, by any means necessary. That means militarily encircling Russia and China; arming and mobilizing tens of thousands of jihadist terrorists in Syria, in an attempt to repeat the regime change in Libya; waging a war of economic sanctions and low-level armed aggression against Iran; occupying most of the African continent through subversion of African militaries; escalating subversion in Latin America; and spying on everyone on earth with a digital connection. All this, to stop the clock that is ticking on U.S. and European world economic dominance.

Left political analysts that I greatly respect argue that Hillary Clinton and the mob she will come in with in January will pull back from apocalyptic confrontation with Russia in Syria -- that they’re not really that crazy. But, I’m not at all convinced. The ruling class isn’t just imagining that their days are numbered; it’s really true. And rulers do get crazy when their class is standing at death’s door.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20161102_gf_HillaryWars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EST

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 31, 2016

The Missing Black Movement Ingredient: Self-Determination

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will hold a National Black Political Convention on Self-Determination, November 5 and 6, in Washington, DC. “If you go through history, the fundamental thing that we’ve confronted is the loss of our self-determination as a people,” said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. The Coalition has put forward a 19-point position on the need to put self-determination at the center of Black struggles. The 19 points “give us the beginning of some kind of a plan,” said Yeshitela. “It says, specifically, here is our view on self-determination and the subject of reparations, Black women, the question of police invasion and brutality in our community,” and many other issues.

The “Moment of Truth” for the Empire

“We are entering a new moment in American history,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist. “It is a moment of truth for the ruling class, for the ruling elite. What do they do when they are trumped at home -- forgive the pun -- and trumped internationally?” he asked. “Do they back off of empire, do they readjust, do they become peaceful, or do they up the stakes and attempt to resolve all problems with war abroad and oppression at home?” Dr. Monteiro is one of the planners of a Revolutionary Science for Radical Times conference, in Philadelphia, December 9 and 10.

Hard Times in Venezuela

Despite what the corporate media are telling you, Venezuelans are not starving and the Socialist Party government will not be toppled any time soon. However, the rightwing opposition “is smelling blood” due to an economic crisis that “has made it very difficult for people to get access to imported goods, and many goods are very expensive,” said political science professor George Caccariello-Maher, of Drexel University, author of We Created Chavez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution. Corruption, smuggling and money speculation are serious problems, said Caccariello-Maher. However, the strength of the Left lies in the nation’s grassroots organizations and communes. “It would be very difficult for an opposition government to come in and attempt to throw them off their land” or return property to the private sector, he said.

Happy Birthday, Rev. Pinkney!

Benton Harbor, Michigan, human rights leader Rev. Edward Pinkney, currently serving a 2 ½ to 10 year sentence on election tampering charges, turned 68 years old this month. Marcina Cole, a courtroom observer at Pinkney’s trial, teamed up with David Sole, of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, to throw a birthday party for Pinkney, in absentia, in Detroit. “He’s definitely in support of other inmates, doing ministry work, and looking forward to being out very soon,” said Cole. She reported that Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka visited the political prisoner on October 19. “This was historical,” said Cole. “They know how powerful Rev. Pinkney is” -- and that he has allies on the outside.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20161031.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EST

Malcolm X on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Malcolm X on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

When astute political commentary from a half century ago eloquently describes the current political conundrum it means we’ve been stuck in a bad place for a long time. Do we really want Malcolm’s observation to apply four or eight or twenty years further into the future?

Malcolm X on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

It’s that time again, it’s presidential election season, and as we hear every four years, THIS is the most important presidential election of our lives. The fact that you’ve heard that before should tell us something. It should us that in presidential years, many old things becomes new again, often because so much of what we’re told IS new is really pretty old.

Malcolm X has been dead now a half century, dead for more years than he was ever alive. But since at least one of the tricks and traps deployed to fool, frustrate and neutralize our grandparents’ right to vote hasn’t changed much we might want to listen carefully to what Malcolm’s words in the aftermath of the 1964 presidential election.

If Johnson had been running all by himself, he would not have been acceptable to anyone. The only thing that made him acceptable to the world was that the shrewd capitalists, the shrewd imperialists, knew that the only way people would run toward the fox would be if you showed them a wolf. So they created a ghastly alternative. And it had the whole world — including people who call themselves Marxists — hoping that Johnson would beat Goldwater.”

Like today’s Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was a truly reprehensible and frightening figure, who had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned racial discrimination in public accommodations, and who favored the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the Vietnamese countryside. Also like Donald Trump, Goldwater never really stood a chance of winning the election. Goldwater the wolf was buried beneath a Johnson landslide, carrying only 6 out of the 50 states. Republican officeholders are running away from Donald Trump not because he’s a racist bufoon but because he’s expected to lose states Republicans are accustomed to winning.

The fox, Lyndon Baines Johnson went on to start a war in Indochina that killed three million Vietnamese alone. LBJ defoliated the Vietnamese countryside with millions of tons of Agent Orange instead of nukes, causing hundreds of thousands of hideous and gruesome birth defects that continue to this day.

The wolf and the fox this year are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump is a real estate con man, a racist and a hyper-entitled sexual predator who talks about building walls and banning Muslims. Fortunately for us all, Trump has never been in government. Hillary has scarcely ever been out of government. She’s fronted for Wal-Mart, executed bloody regime change in Libya, brought US troops to Ukraine on the Russian border, and publicly itches for a showdown in Syria. Thanks to Wikileaks there is copious evidence that Hillary’s public stands on a wide range of issues from charter schools to so-called trade agreements, to fracking and social security stand in stark contrast to the promises she makes to the powerful.

Just as it worked 52 years ago, the overwhelming defeat of her wolvish opponent will give Hillary the appearance of a mandate. But the margin of Hillary’s victory provides those of us on the left an unprecedented opportunity. It means there is no need for those who imagine themselves on the of jobs, justice, peace and the planet to ride to Hilllary’s rescue and ensure the defeat of Donald Trump. Trump has already beaten himself.

This election is our best chance to break out of the decades-old two party trap and build a new political force, a new political party. The Green Party is the only peace party, the only party that stands for people and planet over profit, and our only opportunity to vote our hopes, not our fears. It’s time to choose.

We vote Green and build Green, we can consign the political conundrum Malcolm X eloquently described a half century ago to the garbage can of history. Or we can vote for Hillary, and Malcolm’s words will be as applicable four or eight years or twenty years from now as they have been for the last fifty. For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon.

Direct download: 20161026-bd-wolves-and-foxes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:03pm EST