Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

It’s three weeks till the midterm election. In Georgia where I live the big contest is between Brian Kemp, the secretary of state, in charge of administering his own election for governor, and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp is a longtime fixture in Georgia politics, an out and out racist who has purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the state’s rolls in the last several years, the latest a block of 53,000, about 70% of them African American voters. Abrams, who if she wins will be the state’s first black and first woman governor, has been the leader of Georgia Democrats in that state’s House of Representatives since 2011.

I’m personally and politically way over the notion that electing black faces to high places makes things better for ordinary African Americans. It’s good for the careers of those elected, for their investor-contributors and a narrow circle of people around them. But it just doesn’t elevate the situation of ordinary black people. It’s been tried again and again, and it just hasn’t panned out that way, so I can’t get excited about electing the first black governor. I ain’t mad at those who believe this lie, or even at those who tell it. I must have believed it once upon a time too, decades ago, my salary depended on it, and I certainly spent a good piece of the 80s and 90s helping sell this mistaken notion to others.

The Greens are not allowed on the ballot in Georgia, thanks to the politicians of both parties who don’t want the competition. So while the Republicans are busy disenfranchising people, and the Democrats are herding people onto buses for early voting, I’ll be in DC this weekend with Ajamu Baraka and Cindy Sheehan and others for the Womens March on the Pentagon. There are some things we’re allowed to vote for, when we’re allowed to vote at all, and some others we are not.

I live in Georgia’s 6th district, where the incumbent Republican congressional rep is the vile and corrupt Karen Handel, Brian Kiemp’s predecessor as GA Secretary of State.. The Democrat running against her is Lucy McBath, a black mother whose unarmed teenage son was gunned down in Florida in 2012. McBath is raising money at a terrific rate and has been polling within two points of Republican Handel for several weeks. Almost-a-congresswoman McBath has lots to say, unfortunately none of it very insightful, about gun safety. Beyond swearing fealty to the apartheid state of Israel, McBath has nothing to say about foreign policy, about the world beyond the shores of the United States. Not a hint. Not a word.

As I wrote last month, 22 out of 32 so-called progressive Democratic party candidates for Congress – those backed by Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress and Our Revolution – have nothing to say about foreign policy beyond support for Israel.

This is beyond troubling. It’s ominous. The US has more than 800 military bases around the planet, fleets in every ocean, and more nukes pointed at more places than anybody, and is bombing four countries that we know about. The US is flying drones over most of Africa, and has special forces operating on the ground in dozens of countries. The US of A spends more on the military than the next ten nations combined, and the military budget which most Democrats voted to approve, is likely to be paid for with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and social security, and all the forms of federal aid (except police and prisons) provided to local governments.

Apparently there are some things the two capitalist parties will allow us to vote on, and some other things which are completely and utterly off the table, now and forever. Like empire. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s official corporate pocket, has embraced an unprecedented number of candidates straight from the military and intelligence sectors. Progressive Democrats running for Congress have with few exceptions, chosen to dummy up. But really who are the dummies here? Democratic congressional candidates like McBain are all accomplished grownups. They know where they stand, they just don’t want us to know for sure till after they’re safely elected. It’s a piece of contemptible duplicity which Democrat voters train themselves to accept. It’s one more reason I can never be A Democrat again.

I’m under no illusion that there will be hundreds of thousands of people at the Pentagon this weekend. Those kind of numbers usually come from hundreds of hours on the part of paid organizers, and tens or hundreds of thousands spent on logistics, which usually comes from the nonprofit sector – corporate philanthropy. In their infinite wisdom, the masters of philanthropy do not fund that kind of thing.

There’s a critique of the weekend march on DC or Wall Street or your local center of power as well which asks what are we accomplishing when we don’t disrupt business as usual, a critique that wonders, when we show up and holler slogans and speechify into streets that are empty but for the crowds we bring, what are we accomplishing? I’m not sure.

But this year, nobody is allowed on the Georgia ballot except Republicans and Democrats, and with nearly all the Democrats pretending they don’t have a position on empire, a march on the Pentagon, the first in 50 years, seems a sensible step on the way to building a visible and powerful movement for peace. I’m sure those of us in DC this weekend will be considering what the steps after this look like.

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Please know that Google and other corporate social media do suppress the availability of Black Agenda Report’s content in search results and other displays. The only way to be certain you’re getting resh news, commentary and analysis from the black left is to visit us at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button so that our free weekly email with notices and links to all our content arrives in your email box every week.

Direct download: 20181017_bd_womens-march-pentagon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30pm EDT

For a politician’s biography, the Sam Pollard documentary currently available on Netflix, which recounts the life and career of Maynard Jackson, the first of Atlanta’s six consecutive black mayors, is remarkably free of politics. But when you think about it, this should not be a surprise.

After all, politics in any and every historical era is how we humans address our collective affairs. Politics is how we struggle to determine who produces what for whom, and under which conditions. Politics is how we decide which groups of people get to access the resources and the wealth that the planet provides and which its people produce, and which groups see their needs ignored. It makes perfect sense then, for elites to protect themselves by constructing fake histories which portray their own triumphs as virtuous and inevitable, histories which minimize or deny the very existence of struggles from below conducted by and for the masses of people who actually produce the wealth which elites mostly take for themselves, histories stripped clean of inconvenient politics.

The Pollard film walks us through Jackson’s illustrious family history, the grandson on his mother’s side, of John Wesley Dobbs, an influential college educated postal employee and Prince Hall Grand Master who prescribed “bucks, ballots and books” as the keys to black uplift. Dobbs was a key player in registering tens of thousands of black Atlanta voters in the 1940s, a time when many rural black Georgians were either illiterate or not allowed to vote. His efforts were widely credited with getting the city of Atlanta to finally put street lights on Auburn Avenue, where many black businesses were located, and to hire the first handful of black Atlanta cops, who of course were not permitted to arrest white people. It’s not in the movie, but Billy McKinney, decades later a Georgia state representative, and the father of former Atlanta congressperson Cynthia McKinney was one of those first black Atlanta cops.

Jackson’s dad was a prominent black Atlanta pastor and his mother was one of six Dobbs daughters all of whom graduated from Atlanta’s Spelman College, earning her PhD at the University of Toulouse in France. Upon her return to Atlanta she was the first black person granted a library card by the city’s public library. If there was such a thing as an African American elite, Maynard Jackson was born into it. An exceptionally smart young man, he was admitted to Morehouse at 14, graduated at 18, and bounced around a little before obtaining a law degree in North Carolina. According to the movie, it seems Maynard Jackson never much considered a career doing anything else other than running for and winning elected office.

In 1968 Maynard Jackson ran for US Senate against arch-segregationist senator Herman Talmadge, who’d inherited a political career from his daddy, three term governor Eugene Talmadge. Jackson lost, but thanks to the black vote he did carry the city of Atlanta. The following year he was elected Atlanta’s vice-mayor, and four years later at the age of 35 he became the first black mayor of Atlanta.

The movie dwells nostalgically upon the star studded celebration which attended his ascension to mayoral office, and contemptuously dismisses the aspirations of the black masses who voted for Jackson and his successors, saying they somehow expected the election of black mayors to solve all their problems. Pollard spends the biggest chunk of the movie following the ins and outs of Jackson’s struggles, in his three terms as mayor, with Atlanta’s white elite to put black faces on the boards of banks and planning bodies, and his adamant insistence that black companies be cut a fair share of city contracts and professional services. It’s quite clear that for the film makers, for Jackson’s contemporaries who they interviewed, and for Maynard Jackson himself, that the project of diversifying and opening up the capitalist elite was then and remains today the main objective of black politics, not the struggles of ordinary people for jobs, decent wages, housing, health care, education, justice and peace.

The movie goes so far as to portray the effort of Maynard Jackson and former mayor Andrew Young in which they shamelessly invoked the ghost of Dr. Martin Luther King to bring the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta as some kind of visionary achievement that really put the city on the map, whatever that term means. In real life, as lived by most residents of cities which “win” the right to host the Olympic Games, the prize consists of an orgy of predatory real estate speculation in which entire low to moderate income neighborhoods are demolished to make way for stadiums, luxury hotel and tourist destinations, for upscale shopping and residential development, all of it lavishly subsidized with tax dollars taken from property taxes and wages of the poor, not from the wealth of the rich. Atlanta was no exception to this rule. Neighborhoods surrounding the Olympic sacrifice zone experienced precipitous increases in real estate taxes and rents to levels which Atlanta residents who were there before the Olympics could not sustain. The lion’s share of the displaced Atlanta homeowners and renters were of course black. But their struggles, their politics have no place in the self-serving histories written by the black elite, so the movie just doesn’t see them.

This political biography ignores the political struggles of ordinary Atlanta residents for decent housing, wages and working conditions, when they could get a job at all. It never mentions the decades long fights for universally accessible health care which resulted for a time, in a well funded health care system in Atlanta’s Fulton and Dekalb counties – the Grady Hospital system, parts of which endure to this day. Tellingly, it omits Maynard Jackson’s decisive and shameful intervention in the 1977 strike of Atlanta’s heinously abused and underpaid black sanitation workers, in which the first black mayor hired scabs and mobilized SCLC, black pastors and civil rights leaders against self-organizing black workers standing up for their human rights.

The only person the film makers interviewed who wasn’t a family member, a successor, aide or associate of the late mayor or reverends named Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson was a relative of one of the victims of Atlanta’s child murders during Jackson’s final term as mayor. To hear them tell it, that and the insurrection following the Rodney King verdict, and Jackson’s failure, typical of every other deeply change the institution of policing beyond hiring and promoting more black officers, were the only real failures of Jackson’s career.

Sam Pollard’s kind of political history with most of the politics removed is the rancid foundational myth for the long running hoax of Atlanta as North America’s Black Mecca. Fact is, Black Mecca was never anything other than the self-promoting, self-serving and self-celebrating PR campaign of black elites. As I wrote back in 2005,

Today's elite black leadership does not measure cities by their incarceration rates, nor do they measure their own performance by the prevalence or absence of child poverty, affordable health care, equality of access to good education or any of the things that matter to ordinary black families.  What matters to these "black leaders" are big-ticket projects, bragging rights, relentless self-promotion, and the accumulation of contacts, contracts and personal wealth.  "Black Mecca" was always intended to be where their dreams came true, not ours.”

For a generation now, Atlanta has been among the top four or five US cities for black millionaires. But 2013 census data plainly reveal that among the 71 US cities with populations over a quarter million Atlanta ranked 14th in child poverty with 35%, more than a third of its children – you can bet they’re mostly black children – in households below the poverty line. That yardstick pegs Atlanta's performance as a bit better than Cleveland, Newark, St. Louis or Milwaukee, but worse than Chicago, Los Angeles, Philly or Houston. But child poverty, let alone black child poverty is just NOT the the sort of measure of the learned scholars and practitioners employ to evaluate the efficacy of what passes for black politics.

The accepted wisdom ignores these things, and the Sam Pollard documentary lazily slides right into that established groove. The film does get a couple of important things right. Jackson’s enduring political legacy was the cynical hoax of Atlanta as Black Mecca, and his career, which relied on the votes of black masses whose votes were mobilized behind the first black mayor who they imagined would deliver for their class instead of his own foretold the career arc of the first black president early in the 21st century.

I’d give the thing two and a half stars out of five.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Please note that Google has limited public access to Black Agenda Report, suppressing the appearance of our material in search results for almost 3 years now, after the Washington Post endorsed a specious claim that we were somehow under the influence of the Russians. We are the first and as far as we know the only black owned and operated outfit to enjoy this distinction. Facebook’s recent partnership with the Atlantic Council puts deep state intelligence and propaganda operatives in charge of what you can and cannot see on Facebook as well. So the only way you can be certain you’re getting fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left is to visit us at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the SUBSCRIBE button, so you’ll receive links to all our newly published print and audio content in your email inbox each and every week, free from the interference of the corporations which otherwise run the internet.

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Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He livesw and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20180926_bd_maynard-movie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39pm EDT

Ten years ago it was 2008. With the presidential election less than two months away the single minded focus of political conversation in black America was electing Barack Obama the first African American US president. I want to say it was a peculiar political moment, but it was way longer than a moment, it was a whole peculiar political season which began more than a year before his election and lasted for some during most of Obama’s entire eight years in office.

If you were black, and you had a demand or a criticism of the black presidential candidate it was your obligation, many of us told each other, to sit down and shut up and unite behind the man so he could get elected. As a prominent black Atlanta pastor fresh back from several campaign stops with Obama told me

We've got to unite and build a wall, a solid black wall around Brother Obama…If we can build that solid black wall, if we can unite black people behind Brother Obama, he will have the power to do anything he wants to do. Can't you see it? If we do that, nothing any of his opponents say or do will be able to touch him.”

The pastor pretty much got his wish, and that wall of black unity erected around President Obama proved among his most valuable assets.

But it didn’t protect him against the charter school sugar daddies intent upon privatizing public schools and throwing a hundred thousand qualified black teachers in the street. It didn’t protect President Obama from letting go the too-big-to-fail or jail banksters at a cost of trillions, while allowing 3 million families, an outsize chunk of them black families, to lose their homes. The black wall around President Obama didn’t protect him from bombing seven or eight countries, keeping troops in Iraq, escalating the war in Afghanistan, bombing Somalia, Yemen and letting torturers go without prosecution.

In the end, the wall of black unity around Barack Obama freed his hand to ignore black demands upon him, if we’d possessed coherent political sense to make any in the first place.

Ten years later, we’re doing the same thing with black candidates for governor in Florida and Georgia. If you’ve got any demands to make upon, any critical evaluations to make of Florida’s Andrew Gillum or Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, we’re told, it’s your duty to sit down and shuddup for the sake of Black Girl Magic or Black Unity or just beating the rabid racist pro-Trump Republicans they’re running against.

You’d think there would be a lesson we could draw from the Obama experience, or for that matter from the election of black mayors in scores of big and medium sized cities throughout the country in the last generation. The politics of black representation – that is, putting black faces in high places only benefits a narrow section, a small class of black people – elements of the professional and business classes and aspirants. Unity behind black mayors don’t prevent black neighborhoods from being gentrified out of existence, electing black prosecutors and police chiefs don’t prevent racist cops from gunning down black citizens with impunity. The black president didn’t prevent hundreds of thousands of black families from losing their homes. Choosing black sheriffs and prison officials doesn’t stop them from locking up black juveniles with adults, and it doesn’t bring educational programs or medical or mental health care into the prisons, which are disproportionately black and brown.

It’s pretty obvious that the politics of black representation are fraudulent. It’s a fraudulent politics because real life experiences within and without what we’re accustomed to calling the black community are determined by class, and the income and wealth differentials among black Americans are wider than those among whites.

In the next few weeks Black Agenda Report will take some closer looks at Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, both of whom, if the polls are to be believed, are within striking distance of becoming governors of their respective states.

The wall of black unity that was built around Barack Obama protected him from accountability to the precarious working class to which most of the black population actually belongs. It enabled Barack Obama to make promises – like raising the minimum wage, and making it possible for people to join unions – promises he immediately forgot once assuming office. Gillum and Abrams have made promises too, on raising the minimum wage to a living wage, on Medicare expansion and more. Abrams is even on record as using the words “housing” and “human right” in the same paragraph. That’s impressive.

But there are no organized forces in our community which really represent the class of black people whose job and housing situations are balanced on the knife edge of precarity, who are being bled white by payday lenders, who cannot afford medical care even if they have what passes for insurance under Obamacare, who need child care and would join or form a union if federal and state laws didn’t favor the bosses at every turn. There are simply no institutions in the black community which can hold a Stacey Abrams or an Andrew Gillum or any supposedly progressive politician’s feet to the fire.

We have the power to elect them, after wealthy donors have conducted what Paul Street calls “the money primary.” But we don’t have the power to make them DO anything, especially if we build that wall of black unity around them. A class-blind black politics, as elder Adolph Reed reminds us, is also the politics of a particular class. That’s what’s real.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Please remember that Black Agenda Report is being suppressed by Google, whose search algorithms deliberately suppress the appearance of our content in search results on the grounds that we may be under the influence of foreign powers. So the only way you can guarantee that you’re receiving fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left each week is to go to www.blackagendareport.com and hit that subscribe button to have our free weekly email newsletter with links to all our newly published content in your email inbox each and every week.

You can find our audio content, both our hour-long Black Agenda Radio and our Black Agenda Radio commentaries like this one, on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your audio podcasts. If you have an Android phone, you can receive automatic updates of our new content. And if you do iTunes you can leave a glowing 4 star review, which is how some others can find us.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be contacted via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20180918_bd_black-walls-around-abrams-gillum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:21pm EDT

There are serious obstacles to a Democratic sweep of the House in November. But what will we get in the event it does happen? Most of the progressives are entirely silent on foreign policy. What does that mean?

We’re told there’s a blue wave coming in November that may sweep a Democratic majority into the House of Representatives. How likely is that, and if it happens what will we be getting?

To achieve a Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives Democrats must overcome the result of two decades of relentless Republican gerrymandering in state legislatures. Traditionally the maps from which congressional representatives were elected were only drawn once a decade based on census results, but beginning in the 1990s Republicans asserted and won the right to re-draw legislative maps pretty much whenever they feel the need. Their technique is to concentrate Democratic voters into a relatively small number of districts where Democrats reliably win by enormous margins, while spreading out the Republican vote to a greater number of districts in which Republicans reliably win with much smaller margins. This is how Republicans are able to elect dozens more congressional representatives with a million or two fewer votes than Democrats.

Democrats could have fought this on the federal and the state level, in the courts, in the legislatures and the streets beginning when they still had the upper hand in the 1990s. But they did not. And so they, and we are where we are.

Unlike the right to possess a gun, the right to vote is not guaranteed in the US Constitution. So any state or county city official can block or obstruct or take away your right to vote, with a new law or with an administrative decision. The omission of this right from the Constitution, the absence of any mass movement demanding voting rights, and the laziness of Democratic party honchos has allowed a veritable briar patch of laws and regulations calculated to disenfranchise Democrat leaning voters, making it harder to register, more difficult to vote, and allowing their votes under some circumstances not to be counted.

Throughout the 70s, 80s and into the 90s, Democrats had many, many chances to introduce laws, to campaign, to generate street heat in support of voting rights, even to campaign to amend the Constitution and make local interference with voting rights impossible. They didn’t, and so again they, and we are where we are.

When Republican officials threw out tens of thousands of Detroit votes, more than the margin by which Trump won Michigan, Hillary Clinton refused to fight for her own vote, refused to raise a public objection. A similar thing happened in Wisconsin. It fell to Jill Stein, the Green Party’s presidential candidate to file lawsuits demanding recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to expose the fundamental level on which US elections are rigged and gamed. A Michigan judge eventually ruled that the public had no right to an audit of the vote.

Late in the Obama era and continuing into the reign of Trump, there were selective and malicious criminal prosecution of organizations and their members conducting voter registration, early voting, and absentee ballot drives. From Mississippi to Michigan activists have been victimized by police raids and had spurious criminal cases manufactured against them for voter registration and GOTV activities which were never criminal matters before. There have also been also deliberate purges in multiple states of voter rolls designed to throw hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters off the rolls. In Georgia where I live, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is a right wing extremist named Brian Kemp who’s also Georgia’s Secretary of State has been in court this year defending an attempt to purge some 50,000 voters from the state’s rolls.

So once again we are where we are, and Democrats have a far steeper uphill climb than they ought to thanks to two generations of their own laziness and misleadership.

So what will we get when and if a 2018 blue wave sweeps a Democratic majority into Congress?

Let’s take a look at some of the organized forces fielding and assisting Democratic candidates this year.

There are the CIA Democrats backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee...

The World Socialist Web Site, wsws.org, one of the web outlets which along with Black Agenda Report was deemed a tool of the Russians, and which like Black Agenda Report has been suppressed by Google ever since, published a 3 part article on March 8, 9 and 10 called The CIA Democrats. In it, Patrick Martin named more than 30 former CIA and State Department officials, military death squad and kidnapping – uhh maybe I mean “extraordinary rendition” operatives and their civilian bosses who were running in Democratic congressional primaries. The only good news in that article is that some of the spooks, military types and bloody handed civilian and military officials were running against each other. A little more than half of them lost. But 19 of those CIA Democrats named by Martin survived Democratic congressional primaries in their respective states to face Republicans in November, many of them in vulnerable districts.

They have the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official deep pocket of the party through which bribes – I mean campaign contributions are funneled from corporations, wealthy individuals and anonymous sources to deserving congressional candidates.

For the record, their names and districts are in the print version of this article. Some of them will certainly win, and every one that does will make the world, our world, a little worse.

CIA DEMOCRATS

 

Elissa Slotkin

MI-08

Gina Ortiz Jones

TX-23

Abigail Spanberger

VA-07

Jesse Colvin

MD-01

Dan McCready

NC-09

Dan Feehan

MN-01

Andy Kim

NJ-03

Maura Sullivan

NH-01

Jason Crow

CO-06

Tom Malinowski

NJ-07

Lauren Baer

FL-18

Nancy Soderberg

FL-06

Talley Sergent

WV-02

Jessica Morse

CA-04

Mary Jennings Hegar

TX-31

Elaine Luria

VA-02

Mikie Sherrill

NJ-11

Chrissy Houlahan

PA-06

Amy McGrath

KY-06

And there are the allegedly progressive Democrats

There are 3 national outfits providing techincal and fundraising assistance, expert personnel and endorsements to supposedly progressive Democrats. They are Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress, and Our Revolution. They had a big hand in the victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in New York, and dozens of congressional, state level and local Democratic primary campaigns.

31 congressional candidates endorsed by one or more of these progressive outfits survived the Democratic primary to face Republicans in November. Black Agenda Report took a quick look at the web sites of those 31 progressive candidates for congress. You can find the list with links to their web sites and issue positions at the end of the print version of this Black Agenda Radio commentary.

All but one or two say they support Medicare For All, though it’s not clear whether they mean the straight no chaser version or the watered down one full of exceptions now pushed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Just about all say they’re refusing corporate bribes – damn I mean contributions. More than half say reforming the criminal justice to provide education and job training for inmates system is among their top priorities, and have something to say about net neutrality. Nearly all embrace more pro-active and sensible measures to address climate change, to uphold the rights of women and LBGTQ people, and immigrants, and more. Most have something to say about gun violence, but it’s a safe bet that none of them are educating anybody about the fact that the 2nd amendment of the US was enacted to facilitate slave patrolling, land stealing and the genocide of indigenous people.

What stands out in the web sites of these progressive Democrats is that 21 out of 31 have absolutely NOTHING to say to voters about war or peace, about the military budget which consumes roughly a trillion dollars a year. And that’s not counting the two candidates whose sole mention of the world outside the United States was opining that we should fully fund the State Department in one case, or put more emphasis on diplomacy in another.

9 or 10 out of 31want to help the vets, respect the vets, listen to the vets and the active duty military, improve medical care and job opportunities and such, though one outlier, ER physician Matt Morgan in Michigan wants to privatize the VA into some kind of nonprofit. Only a couple of those candidates who list veterans affairs among their priorities have anything to say about the use to which veterans are put. Only one or two of the “respect the veterans” progressives come anywhere near mentioning what you can hear at the beginning of most NFL games, that there are hundreds of thousands of US troops in more than a hundred foreign countries, with aircraft, satellites, and warships over, on and beneath all the seven seas, and more than 800 military bases outside the US on every continent except Antarctica.

Sometimes what you leave unsaid is more eloquent and damning than what you say. For 21 out of 31 so-called progressive Democratic candidates, the world outside the US, the American global empire, and the globally integrated capitalist economy either do not exist at all, or just don’t make their top ten or top twelve list of priority issues. How do we explain that?

These are not young people trying to find their feet. They’re not running for library board or water commissioner, they’re running for Congress, the ONLY federal elected offices that exist apart from the president and vice president. Most have been in public life a good while, about a third have served as state legislators or other local elected officials. These are boys and girls who know how to ride, and this ain’t their first rodeo. They are relatively smart and savvy people with other smart and savvy people working with and for them, folks who carefully weigh and calculate and consider every word that appears on their web sites as well as everything they leave out.

There are only two possibilities. Either two thirds of our progressive Democrats running for Congress this year really are true believers in the US right to make up its own facts, to declare offshore law free zones like Guantanamo, to invade other countries at will, killing millions and wreaking incalculable havoc upon their infrastructure, societies and ecologies like in Southeast Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and just don’t want to say it out loud, or our progressive Democrats don’t believe it but imagine they need to remain silent and pretend to be true believers in the US empire to get elected. Either way, two thirds of the new blue wave of progressive Dem congressional candidates believe they can get away with silence on foreign affairs.

This would make the supposed progressive new wave of Democrats about as effective at opposing the empire as the old Democrats already in office. As we pointed out a month or two ago, a solid majority of House Democrats didn’t just vote for Trump’s record military budget. They raised it tens of billions above Trump’s initial proposal to show military contractors, who gave more to Hillary than they did to Trump that they, not Republicans were better friends than Trump’s party. Even a majority of the House Progressive Caucus voted for it. Ultimately the increase alone in the 2019 military budget is more the entire military budget of the Russian federation.

This is also why Democrats, not the other US government party revived the century old tradition of American hostility toward Russia, adopting the evidence-free fabrication of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, and deploying the same intelligence agencies which assured us that Iraq had poison gas and nukes to tell us the Russians gamed the election. Not one of the progressive Democrat candidate supported by Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats or Our Revolution has the principles or the courage to question the cynical RussiaGate hoax.

For what it’s worth, if you check out the foreign policy positions of Justice Democrats and Our Revolution they are pretty sketchy. Brand New Congress goes a bit further, actually mentioning the current intervention in Syria and the ridiculous military budget. When it comes to empire, all of three are on board or largely silent. So it’s no surprise that the candidates they bring us will have the same views. That’s what it is to be a progressive Democrat these days.

Like the CIA Democrats, some of them will certainly win. But whether they will make the Congress any more productive for raising wages, protecting peoples rights to education, health care, housing and the like, to ending wars and making the world better is an open question. And most are unwilling to talk to us about war and peace.


CANDIDATE

DIST

OUR

REVOLUTN

JUSTICE DEMS

BRAND

NEW

CONGRESS

VETS & THE MILITARY

EMPIRE (FOREIGN POLICY)

SITE ISSUES URL

Eastman, Kara

NE-02

 

YES

 

 

fully fund the State Dept

http://eastmanforcongress.com/issues/

Pressley, Ayanna

MA-07

 

YES

 

 

https://ayannapressley.com/issues/equity-agenda/

https://ayannapressley.com/issues/equity-agenda/

Omar, Ilhan

MN-05

YES

YES

 

 

https://www.ilhanomar.com/vision/

https://www.ilhanomar.com/vision/

Fagan, Linsey

TX-26

 

YES

YES

 

https://www.linseyfagan.com/platform.html

https://www.linseyfagan.com/platform.html

Ring, Lisa

GA-01

YES

YES

 

a military spouse

https://www.lisaringforcongress.com/international-policy

https://www.lisaringforcongress.com/platform/

Patel, Sanjay

FL-08

YES

 

 

 

https://www.votesanjaypatel.com/issues/

https://www.votesanjaypatel.com/issues/

Smith, Sarah

WA-09

 

YES

YES

 

https://www.votesarahsmith.com/issues/foreign-policy/

https://www.votesarahsmith.com/issues/

Raskin, Jamie

MD-08

YES

 

 

decency towards vets

keep nukes away from Iran

https://jamieraskin.com/issues

Adia, Vanessa

TX-12

 

YES

YES

Pay raise for active and reserve, fully fund the VA, help vets in general

no mention

https://www.vanessaadia.com/your-issues-are-my-issues

Balter, Dana

NY-24

YES

 

 

no mention

no mention

https://electdanabalter.com/issues/

Bell, Adrienne

TX-14

 

YES

YES

no mention

no mention

https://bell2018.com/

Bryce, Randy

WI-01

 

YES

 

no mention

no mention

https://www.randybryceforcongress.com/issues/

Burch, Lori

TX-03

 

YES

 

no mention

no mention

 

Cobb, Tedra

NY-21

YES

 

 

https://www.tedracobb.com/issues/our-military-veterans/

no mention

https://www.tedracobb.com/category/issues/

Davidson, Robert

MI-02

 

YES

 

https://www.robdavidsonforcongress.com/veteran-s-healthcare

no mention

https://www.robdavidsonforcongress.com/priorities

Denney, Audrey

CA-01

YES

YES

 

https://www.audreyforcongress.com/veterans

no mention

https://www.audreyforcongress.com/issues

Flaccavento, Anthony

VA-09

YES

 

 

 

no mention

https://www.flacc4congress.com

Geren, Mary Smith

SC -03

YES

 

 

 

no mention

https://marygeren.com/issues/

King, Jess

PA-11

 

YES

 

care for the vets

no mention

https://jesskingforcongress.com/featured-issues/

Lewis, Jennifer

VA-06

YES

 

 

respect the vets

no mention

https://jenniferlewisforcongress.com/fellowship/

Messmer, Mindi

NH-01

 

 

YES

 

no mention

https://www.mindiforcongress.com/news/

Mitchell, Dr. Danielle

TN-03

 

 

YES

justice for vets

no mention

https://www.mitchell4congress.com/policies-of-caring

Morgan, Matt

MI-01

 

YES

 

 

no mention

https://mattmorganformichigan.com/values/

Scholten, J.D.

IA - 04

YES

 

 

care for the vets

no mention

https://www.scholten4iowa.com/the-issues-2/

Spaulding, Stephanie Rose

CO-05

 

YES

 

care for the vets

no mention

https://www.stephanyroseforcongress.com/issues

Talib, Rashida

MI-13

YES

YES

 

 

no mention

 

Thompson, James

KA-04

YES

YES

YES

help the vets

no mention

https://www.votejamesthompson.com/issues

Walker, Paul

KY-01

YES

YES

 

respect the vets

no mention

http://www.votepaulwalker.com/issues/

Whitmire, Marc

TN-02

 

 

YES

no mention

no mention

https://whitmire2018.com/issues

Campa-Najjir, Ammar

CA-50

YES

YES

 

Language is actually pretty warlike, but it’s all on the “our military” page. No page on foreign policy.

see "vets and the military"

 

Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandra

NY-14

YES

 

YES

 

 

 

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com where you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter delivering to your inbox all the content we publish each week. Since the Washington Post has accused us of carrying the Russian line Google has suppressed the appearance of our content in search results, and some other corporate social media have done similar things. So the only way you can guarantee you’re getting fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left every week is via dark social media – which is what the marketing consultants call dark social media because they cannot trace it.

You can find our audio podcasts, Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher and wherever else you get your podcasts. If it’s iTunes don’t forget to leave us a glowing review, because that’s how other people find out about us.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party, which is legislated off the ballot in that state by the two government parties. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20180913_bd_blue-wave01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10pm EDT

The Manufactured McCain and the Real McCain

There’s a real John Sidney McCain III and there’s a fake one, manufactured for the public relations of US empire. Imperial PR needs to justify, even sanctify the ecocidal and genocidal rule of the rich by portraying its servants not as the venal and bloodthirsty thieves they are, but as the brightest, the best, the most noble and deserving among us. The Manufactured McCain whom the corporate media will spend another week on top of the previous one lifting up to the heavens bears only passing resemblance to the real John McCain. The real McCain was no hero. He was a lying, bribe taking, neo-nazi sympathizing politician and war criminal, who served the US empire and himself for all of his long life.

By 1904 the US had coveted Panama, the northernmost province of Colombia for some time. US global ambitions dictated the need for a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The French had already tried to build the canal and failed at a cost of billions in today’s money and 22,000 dead – black laborers recruited from around the Caribbean who mostly perished from disease. When the Colombian government refused to simply hand Panama over on US terms, President Teddy Roosevelt sent down a battleship or two and some Colombians in Washington DC were recruited to declare independence. The US immediately recognized the government of the new republic, which granted Washington the power do do pretty much whatever they liked. Like the French before them, the North Americans imported tens of thousands of black labors not their families, only the laborers – from around the Caribbean to build the canal, and they imposed a vicious southern US-style Jim Crow regime upon what they called the Canal Zone. Another 6,000 black laborers and a few hundred whites died building the Panama Canal, which opened in 1914.

The real John McCain was born in 1936 in US occupied Panama, which the empire’s law at the time considered an “unincorporated territory of the US.” That’s why McCain never took part in the Republican birther craze, which falsely claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and why the Manufactured McCain never talked much about his birthplace.

The real John McCain spent many childhood summers at Teoc, the 2,000 acre Carroll County Mississippi plantation which belonged to his great great grandfather Dr. William Alexander McCain. The antebellum McCains once owned at least 52 slaves who made their masters quite wealthy raising corn and cotton. There are still black McCains in Carroll County whose ancestors were owned by white McCains with whom they neither claim nor deny any blood kinship. The black McCains hold a family reunion every other year, and though they did invite Senator McCain he never attended. One of William Alexander McCain’s grandsons made brigadier general in the US Army, and another, Henry Pinkney McCain was a US Army major general. A third of Dr. McCain’s grandsons was Senator McCain’s grandfather, a 4 star US Navy Admiral. His son, Senator McCain's father was also a 4 star US Navy admiral. Their ancestors include officers in the American Revolutions related to the family of George Washington.

Despite the real McCain’s military-aristocratic lineage and those childhood summers on the plantation, the Manufactured McCain campaigning for president in 2000 ridiculously claimed he didn’t think his family had ever owned any slaves. Reporters had to produce documents with the names and descriptions of 52 McCain plantation slaves before the Manufactured McCain acknowledged his family had been slaveholders. “ It makes sense… I didn’t know that,” he reportedly said.

The manufactured war hero VS the real accident-prone pilot.

The Manufactured McCain sometimes called himself a “fighter pilot.” That’s not what the US Navy called the Real McCain. In navy language, fighter pilots are the elite of the elite, the ones who fight other planes in the air. The Real McCain flew ground attack aircraft, which in Vietnam meant bombing mostly undefended civilian ground targets.

The real McCain was a slipshod and reckless pilot who totaled 3 aircraft in incidents where navy investigators pinned the cause of the crash upon lapses in pilot’s judgment, in each and every case contradicting the Real McCain’s official reports of those accidents. A 2008 Los Angeles Times article titled “McCain’s Mishaps in the Cockpit by Ralph Vartabedian and Richard A. Serrano  examines the Real McCain’s 3 plane crashes in some detail. Aircraft are not cheap, and it’s hard to believe any military on earth allows pilots with three at-fault plane crashes to keep his wings. That is, unless you’re US Navy royalty, the son and the grandson of admirals. Decades later, as a politician writing one or another version of his autobiography the Manufactured McCain was more truthful, describing a 1961 incident in which he flew into power lines in southern Spain causing a local blackout, as “daredevil clowning.” He managed to bring the plane back to the carrier that time, trailing ten feet of power line, so that didn’t count among the Real McCain’s at-fault plane crashes.

McCain was assigned to Yankee station off the coast of North Vietnam where he took part in Operation Rolling Thunder, the US code name for 31 months of the bombing of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and killed tens of thousands of civilians at the very least. McCain flew 27 ground attack missions before being shot down in October 1967 trying to bomb a Hanoi power plant. Many have argued that bombing undefended civilian targets is a war crime. That’s certainly the way the Vietnamese viewed the matter, and they subjected the already seriously injured McCain and other downed US pilots to close confinement and torture. His own mistreatment during 5 years as a prisoner of war was the reason why Senator John McCain would later publicly disagree with 21st century US policy that publicly embraced the idea of torture.

When the Vietnamese discovered that McCain was US Navy royalty, they sensibly offered him early release ahead of pilots captured before him. Just as sensibly, he refused the offer, and the manufactured narrative of John McCain as the heroic prisoner of war began to be established, and since has been added to many times by his own writing and speeches and by others connected to actual events and not. Released after five and a half years imprisonment, he was already a kind of celebrity. McCain remained in the Navy several years after his release. His final Navy assignment was US Navy liaison to the Senate. During this time he divorced his first wife and married Cindy Hensley, daughter of one of the biggest beer distributors in the country. Hobnobbing with politicians and military contractors seemed to suit him, so he left the navy in 1981, as Jeff Gates put, cashing in his war hero chits to start a political career.

The Manufactured McCain: the straight talking war hero as venal bribe taking politician.

While still in the Navy McCain had campaigned for Ronald Reagan vigorously enough to earn warnings from his superiors, and to be a frequent guest of honor at Reagan dinners. He moved to Arizona to campaign for Congress. According to Jeff Gates’ book Guilt By Association: How Deception and Self Deceit Took America to War, his wife received a gift of $689,000 from her wealthy family just before or at the beginning of his congressional run, which probably enabled him to lend his own campaign $167,000. McCain’s prenuptial agreement allowed him to omit his wife’s multimillion dollar income and holdings from public financial disclosures.

Fresh from his insider stint as Reagan’s favorite dinner guest Navy liaison to the Senate he campaigned as the straight talking political outsider and war hero, winning election in 1982. and again 1984. As expected, Arizona senator Barry Goldwater, who’d been the 1968 Republican presidential candidate retired in 1986 and McCain won the seat. Among the early investors in McCain’s political career was a Phoenix millionaire Charles Keating who got in on the ground floor. According to Gates in the aforementioned book:

Keating family members and employees made 40 donations to his first congressional campaign, at least 32 to his second… no less than 45 when ran for the Senate in 1986…

The McCains made 9 vacation trips on a jet owned by Keating’s company including … trips to Keating’s posh resort in the Bahamas. Only after the S&L scandal years later did McCain reimburse Keating…

McCain’s wife and father in law invested $359,000 in a Keating shopping mall deal. Their profit remains unknown.”

In 1984 Keating bought a California savings and loan with 26 branches. Under Presidents Carter and Reagan restrictions on how and what savings and loan institutions could invest had been repeatedly loosened. Keating was one who pushed even these limits and purchased legislators by the pocketful to sometimes meet directly with federal regulators to argue his case. The so-called Keating Five were a handful of senators receiving $1.3 million in contributions, of which McCain got $112,000. They met with federal regulators on a number of occasions, and according to one regulator, argued Keating’s case like defense lawyers. Republican John McCain was one of these, along with Democrats John Glenn and Alan Cranston and two others.

A few years later, 1,038 Savings and Loan institutions went belly-up, causing the savings of hundreds of thousand to vanish overnight, and the fund which supposedly insured them unable to cover the losses. The $150 billion savings and loan scandal was the biggest financial crisis in recent history till the crash of 2007-2008 and bribes paid to the real McCain were directly instrumental to making it happen. McCain was to spend 32 years in the Senate, and became the go-to guy for a galaxy of military contractors, telecoms, Big Ag, Big Real Estate, Big Pharma, Big Energy and more, and the Manufactured McCain ran for president in 2000 and 2008.

From 1992 till weeks before his death John McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute, a US government funded organization that interferes in the political processes of scores of other countries, training rebel groups to overthrow inconvenient elected governments, like that of John Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and many others. McCain and the IRI were prominent backers of neo-nazi politicians and armed militia groups in Ukraine who are now part of that country’s army and civilian government. To be fair, the Obama administration and Democrat Hillary Clinton were big backers and enablers of the same forces. After all this is the US, where we do have two government parties to choose from, not just one as in some backward and benighted places. Democrats and many in the so-called resistance are throwing flowers at the grave of John McCain. It’s a bipartisan thing.

During his 32 years in the US Senate, the real John McCain was a consistent warmonger, advocating US military intervention in Africa, South America, Korea, and almost everywhere. He sang “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” before a veterans group, and called demonstrators against Henry Kissinger “despicable scum.” The record of his public calls for coups, invasions, blockades, bombings and assassinations to advance US military and economic domination of the planet is far too long to list.

All this explains why corporate media are lifting up their whitewashed and manufactured version of John McCain. He’s one of their own, a genuine war criminal and loyal servant of capital. Lifting him up, creating and embellishing his heroic story lifts up and legitimizes the rule of the rich. Now they’ll be looking for parks, schools and airports to name after him. Just as the elementary school in Aaron Magruder’s Boondocks was named after J. Edgar Hoover, we’ll soon see John McCain’s name staring back at us from what little public property is left. Get ready for it.

Don’t forget that since Black Agenda Report was accused 3 years ago of being under Russian influence, Google and other corporate social media have suppressed the appearance of our content in search results. So the only way you can be certain you’re getting fresh news commentary and analysis from the black left, as we’ve offered the last 13 years is dark social media – email. Go to www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button to receive our content each week by direct email, which Facebook and Google cannot block and be sure to share it with friends and others by email. Give Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio commentaries a good review and rating on iTunes while you’re at it, please. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon.

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

Direct download: 20180829_bd_mccain.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

Early this month, Cori Bush was defeated in the St. Louis MO congressional primary, by Congressman Lacy Clay. Clay has held the seat since inheriting it from his father in 2001, and his father had it for 32 years. That’s 50 years of a congressman named Clay. Missouri’s first district includes Ferguson, an inner suburb of St. Louis. When four summers ago we saw a handful of public officials in the streets trying to chill out Ferguson protestors, there was a black congressman among them. But that was Emanuel Cleaver, from Kansas City, not the black face who’s family by then had repped the district a good 45 years.

Challenger Cori Bush lost no opportunities to remind people that Clay was AWOL during the entire Ferguson episode, but it was not enough. Bush campaigned on free college, not accepting corporate money, raising the minimum wage, restraining killer cops, more money for public education and Medicare For All, but that wasn’t enough either. She had a great personal story too, a single mother who earned a nursing degree, and spent a while living out of her car. Bush won the backing of Justice Democrats, a national outfit that had quite a lot to do with the mechanics of the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez campaign in the Bronx a few weeks before. Unlike Ocasio-Cortez, Bush is not a member of Democratic Socialists of America, and has never identified herself as a socialist.

So how exactly did she lose? Nobody else seems willing to offer explanations, beyond shallow wisdom that “St. Louis MO ain’t da Bronx.” The folks who had a thousand good reasons Ocasio-Cortez was the front end of a blue wave have passed on explaining why this blue wave missed in Missouri.

The first thing to see is the obvious, that St. Louis really is NOT the Bronx. Ocasio-Cortez was a working class Puerto Rican woman in a largely Latino district, and her opponent was a 20 year incumbent white guy who was obviously ready to leave for a more lucrative career as a lobbyist. Lacy Clay on the other hand, really wanted to keep that St Louis congressional seat. In 2016 he faced another black woman who’d been tear gassed in the streets of Ferguson, state rep Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who got 24 thousand votes to Clay’s 56 thousand. So unlike Crowley in the Bronx, Clay didn’t sleep the 2018 race, he ran up 81 thousand votes to Bush’s 53 thousand.

Another dimension in which St. Louis is not New York is voter turnout. New York Republicans and Democrats have deliberately engineered primary elections for low turnout, requiring votes to register as Democrats many months prior to election day just to be eligible. But in Missouri you show up and ask for the Democrat ballot. So Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s 57% of the vote was just under 17 thousand. But Clay’s 57% share in Missouri was 81 thousand, again to Bush’s 53 thousand. Ocasio-Cortez said it took 120,000 phone calls to get that. I don’t know yet how many calls Bush needed to get her 53 thousand but I’ll be asking.

We have to look at the national organizations which backed Ocasio-Cortez, Bush and the rest of this blue wave which is supposed to swamp Congress and state legislatures in 2018. There are at least 3 organizations which help raise money, funnel experienced campaign help, do social media, recruit national phone and text banking assists and more. Those would be Our Revolution, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Brand New Congress claims to have “recruited” Ocasio-Cortez, who was previously one of those in charge of Bernie Sanders’ New York effort. A leader of Justice Democrats served as Cori Bush’s communications director, and both outfits named Bush, who’d run statewide in Missouri for US Senator in 2016, as one of their own. Unlike Ocasio-Cortez Cori Bush has never been a DSA member either, and has never called herself a socialist.

What Brand New Congress, Our Revolution, and Justice Democrats have in common are three things.

The first is a commomn commitment to taking over or rescuing the Democratic party.

The second is a real reluctance to make any but the sketchiest reference to anything that takes place outside the US – as if the US didn’t have troops in a hundred foreign countries, at least 800 bases in a hundred countries and a trillion dollar military budget supported by most of the Democrats in Congress. Justice Democrats has a statement at the end of their foreign policy that seems to put the military budget around $100 billion instead of the actual trillion, which ten times that size. Cori Bush’s page is typical of the blue wave, it doesn’t mention anything on foreign policy or empire at all.

The most optimistic way to see this collective blind spot is that maybe the blue wave of Congressional candidates don’t want to incur the wrath of the DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is running about 40 former CIA, Homeland Security, State Department, local police and military types for Congress this year, and has plenty money for last minute negative media offensives against would be peacenik congressional candidates in places where they don’t even have candidates.

The least optimistic view is that sketchy or absent references to US empire and foreign policy are how the blue wave candidates signal their willingness to adopt the imperial consensus if they are lucky enough to get elected. After all four fifths of the Congressional Black Caucus and just over half the House Progressive Caucus just voted for Ttump’s record military 2019 military budget.

The third thing they all have in common is that few or none have distanced themselves from the drumbeat of RussiaGate, the nonsense that holds Russia responsible for Trump’s victory in 2016, that posits a credible ongoing Russian plot to steal the US elections. To our knowledge none of the blue wave candidates nor the national outfits which back them have stood apart from themselves tendency to label anybody to their left stooges of Russia either.

Bringing it back to St. Louis, Cori Bush had to face something Ocasio-Cortez didn’t. It was something her blue wave backers hadn’t dealt with either. It was the peculiarities of black politics in the US. The 1st CD Missouri is 50% black and there are some unique and well established characteristics of the Democratic party in districts like that, whether they’re in Chicago or Philly or Dallas or Atlanta or wherever.

The first is the black church, which is ridden with local, and since the advent of Bush’s and Obama’s faith based initiative, federal patronage. Black churches are often tied hand and foot to local politicians for everything from real estate deals to charter school contracts, and their leaders are often fixtures in local Democratic party affairs, even public officials themselves. The second is the nonprofit industrial complex, a literal army of advocacy groups sometimes doing housing and homeless activism, sometimes feeding the hungry, sometimes doing worker centers, womens health, tenants rights, LBGTQ activism, environmental stuff. There’s another section of the nonprofit industrial complex which can’t even be called nonpartisan with a straight face, offshoots of the NAACP and the Movement 4 Black Lives. These forces are tied to the political preferences of their corporate philanthropic funders. Executive directors of nonprofit organizations who don’t find a way to support the right Democrats in primary season and all Democrats in general election put their careers, the livelihoods of all their employees, and the outfit’s good works in jeopardy. And there are the unions – heavily public sector and disproportionately people of color, again all tied to the most right wing established Democrats on the local, state and federal level.

Unlike the troops the blue wave outfits can raise once every two years, these things are permanent institutions in black communities. Remember when Atlanta civil rights icon John Lewis stood up in Ebenezer Baptist Church to tell young black folks that free college tuition and free medical care were un-American and the crowd was with him? That’s the complex of forces against which relatively leftist electoral candidates in black communities must run. In old school political language that’s called a Machine, a standing bunch of political institutions which can put significant money into broadcast ads and mailings, speakers and preachers into pulpits, hundreds of bodies in the street and hundreds more the phone banks. Clay had them, and Bush did not. All Bush had was what she could raise on the issues.

The big blue wave outfits probably hadn’t done much work in black communities and didn’t know this. Maybe they were listening to DSA theoreticians like Adam Hilton who imagine the Democratic Party in such places has no real organization. But it’s organized, and it’s very, very real. If you’re going to knock out the right wing Democrats who dominate the electoral politics of black communities you have to do more than hire the right black consultants, although Black Voters Matter and the Movement For Black Lives Electoral Justice Project will be glad to keep taking your money. Somebody has to build some other permanent organizations, some other centers of popular power in those communities. It hasn’t been done yet, and won’t be done before the 2018 midterm elections. That’s why Bernie didn’t crack the black vote in 2016, and that’s why the blue wave didn’t crash Missouri in 2018. It’ll be why the wave misses in other black constituencies.

For Black Agenda Report, I’m Bruce Dixon. Please know that Google and other corporate social media suppress the appearance of Black Agenda Report’s articles and commentary. The only way you can be certain you’re getting fresh news, commentary and analysis in audio and print from the black left each week is by going directly to our site at www.blackagendareport.com, and subscribing to our direct from us to you FREE email newsletter containing links to everything we air or print each week. That’s why they call email the dark social media, because it can’t be stopped or tracked – yet. So go to www.blackagendareport.com and subscribe, it’s free.

Direct download: why-missouri-broke-the-blue-wave.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:08pm EDT

We all learned in school that some countries have a single governing party. If you’re not in that party, you can’t be part of the government. The US has two government parties, Republicans and Democrats, both funded by the corporations and wealthy individuals who make up this country’s capitalist elite. If you’re not in either one of the government parties, you’re denied access to media and in many states, laws are passed specifically to keep you off the ballot.

While the two parties are funded by pretty much the same class of people, their social bases are different. Since the 1960s, Republicans have made it clear that they are the white man’s party, the party of war abroad and racist reaction at home. Democrats, for electoral purposes are obliged to stake a contrary claim. Since the election of Donald Trump Democrats have branded themselves “the resistance.”

This month the House and Senate passed the reconciled version of the 2019 Pentagon budget on to the White House. On TV and establishment media they call it a defense budget, but that’s branding too. The second world war which ended in 1945 killed 60 or 65 million people, after the first world war claimed 30 million only a generation earlier. This sort of gave war bad name. So in 1948 they changed the name of the US Department of War to the US Department of Defense. With the stroke of a pen, wealthy merchants of death as they were widely known, the war contractors, all became patriotic defense contractors. The US Secretary of War became the US Secretary of Defense, and the US war budget, by far the world’s largest, became the defense budget. And so it’s been for seven decades.

Early this month, the House and Senate passed the reconciled version of the US war budget to the president for signatgure. It’s the earliest in the budget cycle Congress has done a military budget since 1996 or 1997, when a Democrat in the White House and Democrats in Congress were anxious to assure Republicans that they were all on the same side.

They call this year’s atrocity the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act, worth a record $716 billion. This total doesn’t include the budget of the Afghan war, which lives somewhere else, or the budgets of several other known programs, and there are secret budgets for more or less secret programs as well. Nobody really doubts that actual US military spending has hovered around a trillion a year for several years now.

So how did the resistance perform? In the Senate the vote was 87 to 10, three not voting. Only 8 Democrats resisted. Among them Liz Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. Dick Durbin of Illinois also voted against the Pentagon bill. This is purest theater, because Durbin since 2005 has been Democratic Whip in the Senate, the man responsible for lining up the votes of his fellow senators. If this meant anything to him, why did only 7 other Democrats vote with their supposed leader?

In the House the vote was 351 to 66, with 139 Democrats voting yes, 49 voting no, and 5 not voting. So the resistance was really the assistance, voting almost 2 to 1 to continue spending as much on US wars around the world as the next nine or ten countries put together.

The Congressional Black Caucus was even more eager to assist the US posture of global war than Democrats as a whole, a pattern Glen Ford has called out repeatedly in recent years. CBC members voted 34 to 8 in favor of the permanent war budget, which includes Trump’s military parade, a new Space Force, and scores of drone bases in Africa that put almost the entire continent under US cameras and guns. Noted progresssive Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the only Muslim in Congress, abstained. The CBC members who found the spine to cast votes against the war budget were Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Barbara Lee, John Lewis (who does have a US Navy oiler named after him), Hakim Jeffires, Yvette Clarke, Karne Bass, Bobby Rush, and Hank Johnson.

The House Progressive Caucus did a little better, but still only 28, less than half its membership of 64 opposed the Pentagon budget. That’s what it means to be a progressive Democrat these days.

When most of the so-called progressives are pro-war we can legitimately say that the resistance is really the assistance.

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email notices of new content. Google and other social media continue to suppress our content in search results, so this is the only way you can be certain you receive fresh weekly news, commentary and analysis from the black left each week.

We invite you to join the discussion on this and other Black Agenda Report content on our Facebook page.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20180808_bd_resistance_is_the_assistance-2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25pm EDT

There’s fake news. And then there’s fake history. Fake news lies about the world as it is. But fake history is the context for fake news. Fake history sanctifies abominations past and present. Fake history erases the struggle over thousands of years between those many who produced the planet’s wealth and the greedy few who appropriate it for themselves.

Being born in the US the middle of the 20th century, I got the same massive doses of fake history as everybody else. They told me told the Greeks were the world’s only early adopters of democracy. I was taught the fairy tale of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving. I played cowboys and Indians. My history books spoke glowingly of the Manifest Destiny bestowed upon white America to devour the continent of North American, murdering and dispossessing its inhabitants. I learned a very little about slavery in school, very little, and much more, almost everything of any value, afterward.

And like everybody else, I was treated to an entirely fabricated history of the Second World War. Lying about the World War 2, what came before and afterward was and remains today a central facet in the US mythology which justifies and undergirds its settler state at home and its global empire aborad.

Briefly, we’re taught that Nazi Germany was just plain inexplicable evil, that this Hitler dude came to power with his Nazi party, they persecuted Jews, gypsies and dissidents, they conquered France and they menaced England but were stopped short when they lost the battle of Britain in the air. Eventually the US joined the war, invading North Africa, defeating the Nazis there, going on to fight the Germans in Italy, and eventually staging the D-Day invasion of France. They marched into Germany to finally defeat the Nazis and hanged a number of Nazi officials for war crimes and genocide at Nuremberg. The Russians, the Soviet Union at the time, we were taught, were sort of in the war too as allies but soon after the defeat of the Nazis they became enemies, and have been that ever since.

Nearly all of that is horseshit.

When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in 1917, the US used troops already in Europe to fight the Germans in World War 1 to joinewith Britain, Japan and more than a dozen countries and invade the new nation, taking part in the bloody and disastrous Russian Civil War. The Bolsheviks won that civil war and founded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first avowed socialist country. The US did not diplomatically recognize the USSR until 1933, and ruling elites in the US and Europe conspired constantly to undermine and subvert the USSR at every means and at every turn.

In February1933, a month after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany, a mysterious fire in the Reichstag, the German Parliament building was blamed on the Communists. It became the excuse to grant absolute power to Hitler and his Nazi party, which promptly opened up concentration camps for communists, socialists, union members, Jews, gypsies, dissidents of all kinds. Nazism became the official ideology of the German state, holding among other things that the main threat to civilization was Jewish-led communism. Hitler spells it all out in a book called Mein Kampf, how Germans were the center of a so-called aryan race destined to rule over the rest of lesser humanity, and obligated in the very short run to make war upon the subhuman populations to their east from Poland to the steppes of Russia and Siberia, also eliminating communism from the face of the earth.

Hitler very much admired the example of North America, which he regarded as an exemplary model of white supremacist conquest, murdering and thoroughly dispossessing a native population. He named his personal armored train Amerika.

Western elites including prominent US corporations like Texaco and bankers who included the Bush family, and IBM did business with Hitler and aided the rearming of Germany. In 1939 and 1940 Nazi Germany absorbed Austria, Czechoslovakia, invaded Poland and beat the French army down enough to force French leaders, many of whom sympathized with the Nazi ideology anyway to collaborate with Hitler. Germany bombed Britain but stopped short of invading the British isles to turn east toward the Soviet Union, and the ultimate Nazi goals of conquering and displacing entire populations of what it regarded as subhumans there and ending communism once and for all.

The Nazi invasion of the USSR was, all by itself the largest and bloodiest war in human history. Germany sent more than 3 million men in 149 divisions into Russia. They plundered and burned and razed entire rural districts, villages, slaughtered the populations of entire ancient cities, and made a point of rounding up Jews and communists. In many places they found significant numbers of like-minded collaborators. They killed millions of Soviet civililans and soldiers, and aimed to starve out the Russian population to make room for German settlers in the near future.

Multiple standalone battles, like Stalingrad in 1942-43 or the 900 day seige of Leningrad accounted for a million or more deaths each, dwarfing the US loss of some 400,000 during the entire war in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. The USSR lost 26 million lives in the war, about a third of them military the other two thirds civilians starved or murdered. The USSR spent a million lives liberating Poland, and another million plus liberating Hungary, Romania, parts of Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The battle of Berlin alone cost the lives of yet another million Soviet soldiers. The USSR is 25 years gone now, but Russians remember.

The USSR begged Britain and the US to open a second front in the west, and Franklin Roosevelt promised to do just that before the end of 1942. But he allowed the Brits, led by Winston Churchill to dissuade him. Britain thought it more important to preserve its own empire, first by securing the link to India and the Far East through Suez, so the Americans landed in North Africa instead of France. Some American politicians, like Harry Truman who would succeed Roosevelt as US president argued that the US should help the Nazis if the Soviets were winning and the Soviets if the Nazis were winning so as many as possible would die. When the North Africa campaign was wrapped up, the Americans and Brits invaded Italy instead of France, prompting US General George Marshall to accuse his superiors of “periphery pecking” instead of fighting the war. The US conducted bombing raids from bases in Britain, but delayed its land invasion of France till June 1944 when the defeat of Nazi Germany was already assured, and the outcome of the war no longer in doubt.

There’s a famous photo of US Marines raising a flag at the end of the horrific battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific. But there are no pics of Brits or Americans raising the Union Jack or the stars and stripes over the ruins of Berlin in 1945. That’s because the Brits and Americans never got to Berlin, they never intended to. American forces never faced more than an eighth of the German land forces at any time during World War 2. The Soviet Red Army raised the hammer and sickle over the Reichstag at war’s end. At the victory celebration in Moscow, the Red Army threw the hundreds of the banners of Hitler’s legions on the pavement before Lenin’s tomb. The Brits and Americans didn’t capture enough of these to make a good parade.

US president Roosevelt died 3 weeks before the Nazi surrender, and was succeeded by Harry Truman, who instantly adopted a profoundly hostile policy toward the USSR. American use of the first atomic bombs against Japan, which had been seeking to surrender was perceived as a threat to the USSR, rather than a military necessity to end the war. US intelligence agencies aided the escape of thousands of Nazi war criminals to the Western hemisphere. America placed other ex-Nazis in positions of responsibility in the German regime set up in their occupied zones, and prevented the early reunification of Germany, turning the boundary between Soviet and Western occupation zones into a fortified international border. Truman’s warlike stance against communism and the USSR was inherited and greatly expanded upon by his successors, former General Dwight D. Eisenhower and John Kennedy, both of whom menaced the USSR with nuclear weapons and placed nuclear missiles in Turkey next to the Soviet borders. Russians remember this too.

Sixty million people perished in World War 2, but the US emerged with relatively light losses, most of the planet’s intact manufacturing capacity and as the world’s leading creditor, owed money by friend and former foe alike. It was to be the dawn of an American Century, in which the US called the shots for the entire world. The fake history we were and still are taught purposefully erase the fact that it was the Russians, the Soviets at the time, who defeated Nazi Germany, not the Americans and Brits. Without the defeat of Nazi Germany, the last 70 years would be vastly different. To cite only a couple of possibilities, Brazil’s ruling classes were firmly pro-Nazi and Brazil has the largest black population of anyplace outside Africa. What would have happened there? How would decolonization in Africa have proceeded in a world dominated by Nazis?

Today in Eastern Europe, where the US has installed anti-communist and often pro-fascist regimes, the graves of fallen Soviet soldiers who liberated those places from the Nazis are being defaced. Polish governemnt officials just hosted a gathering of 60,000 pro-Nazi demnstrators from across Europe. School children in Austria and Lithuania are being taught today that the Russian communists started the war, and Obama’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (along with key Republicans – it’s a bipartisan thing) directly and conspicuously aided forces that included open neo-Nazis to stage a coup in Ukraine, on the western borders of Russia. Neo nazi units are now incorporated into the Ukrainian Army.

None of the US antics over the last 70 years are remotely justifiable without the fake history we were taught, and still allow to be taught about the Second World War. For more than 70 years now the politicians of both US capitalist parties – both US government parties, have built their politics on this fake history. US troops are still in Germany, still in Japan more than two generations after the war, and the US maintains an empire of a thousand military bases on six continents and fleets in every ocean.

Hostility toward whatever regime sits in Moscow has been the bipartisan bedrock and staple of US imperial policy for a century since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. This week Congress passed a record Pentagon spending bill, earlier in the legislative cycle than any time since the 1990s. Most of House Democrats, the so-called “resistance” to Trump supported it, in their continuing bid to be more warlike than Trump and the Republicans.

The rest of the world will do what it must, but only Americans can shut down the American empire. And we can only do that if we begin to shake ourselves free from our fake history, and face the real world around us.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email notifying you of all new audio and print content at Black Agenda Report, your source for news, commentary and analysis from the black left since 2006. You can find our audio commentaries and our weekly Black Agenda Radio program on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Please be aware that Google and other corporate marketing platforms have asserted the right, and in the case of Google are already suppressing Black Agenda Report articles, audio and video in search results. So the only guarantee that you’re getting access to to Black Agenda Report is to securely subscribe to our email updates. This is Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Report.

CORRECTION: Soviet losses at the battle of Berlin were in the range of 2 or 3 hundred thousand, not a million, still a horrific sacrifice in a military operation of about 2.5 million soldiers.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and may be contacted via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20180802-bd-fake-history-ww2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:12pm EDT

So many people call themselves "organizers" these days that the word is meaningless. The Alexandra Ocasio-Corte campaign supplies left electoral and other organizing efforts with a real world organizing benchmark -- the AOC unit -- 120,000 phone calls.

This is Bruce Dixon from Black Agenda Report with the latest in our series about organizing, what for reference sake we’ll call the 200 series. If you haven’t you really should check out the 100 series which we did two or three years ago. While of course you can always Google Black Agenda Report, organizing 101, you should be aware that Black Agenda Report is one of the news outlets – the only outlet owned by African Americans and aimed at a black audience, for which Google deliberately suppresses search results, on the basis that we are tools of the Russians or something. So the ony reliable way to find Black Agenda Report’s Organizing 100 series is to visit our site at BlackAgendaReport.com, and click the links there.

Everybody’s an “organizer” nowadays, to hear them tell it. Ever notice though, how almost none of these organizers actually tell us what that means, what this “organizing” stuff actually is? That should make you wonder a little bit right there. The fact is on the lips of many, it doesn’t mean anything at all. So let’s fix that.

In a recent interview broadcast on Daniel Denvir’s The Dig podcast, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez spelled out the technical essence of her successful campaign effort. She said it was shoe leather canvassing, a lot of door to door work in which the canvassers dropped written material on and actuallly talked with every registered voter who’d come to the door, and that’s easier in New York City than in many places, since the doors are relatively close to one another. They made sure to extract phone and email contact information from potential supporters. They distributed literature at public places, street corners, transit stops and gatherings of all kinds in the district, not just in the spirit of passing the paper, but with the specific aim of extracting email and phone contact information from people in these encounters as well. The AOC social media campaign focused on engaging the contacts gained by the door to door canvass and the street operation, so they were not just shouting into the void. And most importantly of all, Ocasio-Cortez says they made about 120,000 phone calls.

Social media is great. Literature is necessary Appearing in debates and public stuff is useful. But without those 120,000 phone calls, the people whose door you knock on in April will have long forgotten you by a June election. You have to make a LOT of intial contacts and a lot of following up by email, by text messages, and you gotta do thousands, tens of thousands of phone calls. The volunteers who make the calls were recruited from among the enthusiastic supporters encountered in the canvass, on the street, and through the social media aimed at supporters encountered those ways.

This is the essence of electoral organizing. You contact people win person with your message, and you stay in touch frequently enough and long enough to stampede them out to vote election day Since votes are actually counted, the way the organizer knows the job is going is to count the new contacts made each week, the number of first time and follow-up calls made that week.

Numbers measure the organizing process. If your electoral campaign or so-called organzing effort is not making hundreds or thousands of in person calls (not robocalls) every week to your new and old contacts, whatever you’re doing is NOT organizing. Organizers who don’t set numerical goals and strive accountably to meet them are faking the funk, it’s that simple. Numbers measure the organizing process, not signs and banners. Not “visibility” and not carrying a sign at somebody elses march or protest. In fact when your people DO attend the marches and protests put on by other outfits and fail to bring back new names for your people to contact in follow-up they too are helping you fake the funk.

Leafleting at street corners, transit stops, picnics, public events and places? Is your practice and your pitch tailored to bring back new names, phone numbers, email address? If not you’re scattering paper into the wind. Organizers get the digits and get them called back. Organizers make and sustain contact with the people they reach, and in electoral contests, that’s at least till election day. That’s exactly how Ocasio-Cortez said it was done, and it’s a formula decades old. It just has to be done.

They call 93 million miles, the distance from the earth to the sun an astronomical unit, an AU. So let’s give Ocasio-Cortez her unit, the AOC unit – 120,000 calls. Since most of us haven’t scaled up like that, we should probably call a mere 20,000 just a plain old generic unit. To keep from mixing apples with lawn furniture let’s stipulate that robocalls and text messaging do not count toward these units, that they are tallied separately. So the useful questions is how many people are on your email lists? How many new names did you add to your database this month, and how many will you add next month? How many phone calls is your organizing effort making this month? Half a unit, 10,000 calls? A full unit, 20,000 calls? If you’re not asking these questions, answering them and taking steps to get and sustain those numbers, whatever you’re doing ain’t organizing. Numbers tell the story. Get some numbers so we can tell some accurate stories.

This is North America. The almighty market uses the media to inundate us with a flood of 24/7 entertainment, making us the best entertained and the least informed people on earth. There’s plenty of public conversation, but what exists there serves the market, not those who want to make the world a better place. We don’t have much media access because the big media are owned and operated by billionaires. There is little place in their matrix for us. We have to grab people on the street or in their doorways or workplaces or public events and get them into OUR conversation. We have to supply and to engineer some of that conversation, we have to foster it, to host it and to sustain it if we intend to build a popular movement that will someday have the power to change this world for the better. 120,000 calls. Measure your organizing efforts against that. Ask how many calls is your organizing project making this month?

If you’re and your fellow “organizers” are not asking and answering these questions, whatever is going on is NOT organizing.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where we have 12 years of news and analysis and commentary from the black left, new articles every Wednesday of every week.

Direct download: 20180725_bd_organizing-201-120000-phone-calls.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:24pm EDT

Less than a month ago, the president instructed the Pentagon to draw up plans to house 120,000 immigrants in what it described as “austere tent cities” – in plain language deliberately cruel concentration camps, apparently on military bases. The projected expansion of the US gulag is equivalent to throwing up a brand new California (129,000 inmates) state prison system almost overnight. Nothing like this has been publicly contemplated in any of our lifetimes. This is a new and uniquely dangerous moment in US political history.

So where is the Green Party? When the news became public, every vaguely leftish nonprofit and political outfit with two laptops, a cell phone, a pulse and a mailing list was appealing for funds, many calling virtual and in-person public meetings and actions at airports, detention centers, and other locations. But not the Green Party. Determined to be and to remain irrelevant, the Green Party has barely acknowledged this pivotal juncture. Although the Green Party has a substantial national mailing list, it has not bothered to explain itself or educate the public on this political moment, to give or ask for any clear stand on the part of state parties and activists. If an opposition party won’t seize the chance to grow in influence and numbers at times when millions of people are looking for effective ways to stand up, it’s hard to see that party growing into any kind of relevant force in the nation’s political life.

The Green Party has an outreach committee but no outreach operation. The Green party has a media committee but no real press operation. The Green Party has a ballot access committee, and although the party is banned from the ballot in more than a dozen states, its cannot be bothered to devise any credible plan, any achievable campaign to put itself on the ballot in those states. I know this because I was part of the crew which researched and drew up the bare bones of such a plan in 2015, a full year and more before the election for the Jill Stein campaign. But by December of that year the party’s presidential campaign was moonwalking away from any attempt to a wage coordinated ballot access drive in those key states, which contain about one eighth the nation’s black voters.

In the weeks before and after the inauguration of Donald Trump, when hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets the Green Party made no attempt to call its own meetings or events. Party leaders utterly ignored the chances to raise a million or two party-building dollars, along with opportunities for priceless visibility and outreach by putting its 2016 and 2017 presidential and vice presidential candidates on the road for a month-long “victory tour.” As a national organization, the Green Party is really good as an idea, but a hot mess as far as implementing that idea. There is, as I outlined a few weeks ago in Why Our Green Parties Haven’t Taken Off, the Green Party lacks any coherent organizing methodology, has no political clarity, has no structures to promote internal democratic discussion. Many of its activists and leaders seem to imagine they can self-organize with methods similar to those of Republicans and Democrats, and that only electoral campaigns, which they often have little idea how to conduct, will build a party. And in the name of diversity and inclusion the Green party has empowered token caucuses which pretend to represent African Americans and others, but which are centers of opportunism.

In its defense, the party was organized by liberals two decades ago who correctly assessed the WHAT – the need for something outside the two government parties but didn’t have much a grip on HOW to make any of it happen. That part is for those of us on the scene today to figure out, and the mistakes of two decades are ours to recognize, to learn from, and to undo. Or not. I still think we can undo a lot of them.

This weekend the Greens hold their annual meeting in Salt Lake City. Like many others, I won’t be there because no votes are taken or decisions are made at the meeting. The most you can do at Green annual meetings is meet some people in person you otherwise only encounter online, and be one of hundreds of faces in an applauding crowd. That didn’t seem worth the whole weekend, or the trip.

But the Greens elect several members of their national leadership body, their steering committee this weekend. I believe it’s still possible to turn the thing around, and I’m one of the 150 people who get to vote in that election. I’ll be voting for Greens who make no bones about being avowed socialists, and who understand the nature and the urgency of the tasks before them. If the Green Party can be saved, and transformed into a useful vehicle in the struggle, a lot rides on the vote this weekend. The choices are pretty stark. But at least they ARE choices.

For Black Agenda Report I’m Bruce Dixon. Google and other corporate social media are suppressing our content in their search results, so the only way to ensure you get notified of new content each week at Black Agenda Report is to visit us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button to receive our weekly notices of new content via email. You can also find our one hour Black Agenda Radio show and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud, Libsyn, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member 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: 20180719_bd_greenparty.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

In 2005 and 2006 Democrats John Kerry and Barack Obama on the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to delay, filibuster or even closely question Bsuh's Supreme Court nominees Sam Alito and John Roberts.

We cannot and should not blame Trump and the Republicans alone for the Supreme Court. Leading Democrats had a big hand in it too.

The US Supreme Court has been around as long as the Constitution itself, more than two centuries now. Since the Warren court of the 1950s, Republicans have been quite open about their intent to pack it with judges who will repeal birth control, civil rights, labor rights, minimum wages, environmental regulation and most of the 20th century. Democrats, if they were ever a party of the people, as opposed to another party of the elite, have had sixty-some years to craft their own strategy to thwart Republicans. But no such strategy has ever emerged because Democratic elected officials have much more in common with their elite Republican counterparts than they do with the unwashed masses who vote Democratic, and who can always be rallied with the cynical cry that only electing more Democrats can save them from an evil Republican Supreme Court.

Back in 2005 the second President Bush nominated John Roberts as chief justice. The ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. The most celebrated, widely quoted, and closely watched Democrat on the judiciary committee was the acclaimed constitutional scholar and freshman from Illinois, Barack Obama. These were the guys on point for Democrats that season.

John Roberts had a long history of hostility to birth control, to voting rights, to organized labor, black and brown people, anti-discrimination laws and to anything else which might mitigate or restrain the rule of the rich in even the smallest degree. As a DC circuit court judge he “legalized” after the fact Bush’s illegitimate detention and torture at offshore black sites. As a private attorney he represented mining companies defending the horrifically destructive practice of mountaintop removal, and he was part of the Bush V. Gore legal team which succeeded in letting the Supreme Court overrule the ongoing tally of votes in Florida and declare Bush the winner. Roberts was also a board member of the rabidly right wing Federalist Society, which seeks to overturn virtually all civil rights and environmental law, and all regulation of so-called “free markets” whatsoever.

Republican leaning corporate media rejoiced, saying they were finally gonna get what they wanted. Environmental, voting rights and civil rights organizations sounded the alarm, but to little avail. Elected Democrats, their supposed champions, along with Democrat-leaning corporate media whined that there was insufficient evidence of Roberts’ rightward leanings to invest much effort in stopping his ascent to the court. Ranking Democrat John Kerry and Barack Obama were urged to filibuster the Roberts nomination. They pretended to entertain the idea a while, but did not. Both Kerry and Obama failed to oppose the Roberts nomination in committee, where they could have imposed substantial roadblocks and opened an ongoing debate about the sinister role of the corporate funded Federalist Society. They voted against the nomination on the Senate floor, where it made no difference, and John Roberts got on the Supreme Court with no serious opposition.

The next summer, in 2006 when Bush nominated Sam Alito to the Supreme Court the exercise was repeated. Samuel Alito had an even more balls-out reputation as an opponent of civil and human rights. Republicans exulted while lawyerly Democrats and their media mouthpieces claimed there were no smoking guns to tell whether Alito was actually the kind of judge Republicans claimed he was. Kerry and Obama, both lawyers of course were urged again to vigorously oppose the nomination in committee, and above all to make Alito’s membership in the Federalist Society a major point in opposing him and the entire wave of Republican judges it vets and spawns for local benches and the federal judiciary.

The Federalist Society was founded during the first term of Ronald Reagan in 1982, and immediately attracted lavish funding from a galaxy of right wing foundations, deep corporate pockets and wealthy individuals including the Walton Family Foundation, the Koch Brothers, the Scaife, Coors and Heritage Foundations. It swiftly established chapters in law schools across the country and became the go-to portal for young Republican lawyers on the make. The Federalist society also has working groups of law school professors and groups where practicing attorneys and prominent jurists meet and associate with law students, and in which legal arguments for new corporate rights are developed, rehearsed and fine tuned. For about a generation now, practically no Republican attorney has snagged a spot on state or federal judicial or prosecutorial benches, or appointed to federal agencies without the stamp of the Federalist Society on his or her resume.

As the two Democratic leaders of the Senate judiciary committee, Kerry and Obama were urged again and again by civil rights, environmental groups, by labor unions – by all the advocacy groups which supposedly represent the Democratic party’s base voters, to stall, to delay and to vigorously oppose the Alito nomination. By the summer of 2006 it was clear that Democrats would take back the house in November, and possibly the Senate as well. This time, Kerry and Obama said they were considering filibustering the nomination. But they didn’t, and even worse, they refused to question Sam Alito on his association with the Federalist Society, which might have made that organization’s stranglehold on Republican prosecutorial and judicial nominees an ongoing issue.

After perfunctory questioning, Kerry, Obama and their committee passed Alito out to the full Senate where he was confirmed with no significant opposition. To this day, the corporate funded Federalist Society is still choosing a huge share of judges and prosecutors.

Let’s be clear… the courts in the US were never intended to be a small d democratic institution. The founding fathers were quite open about their intention to insulate judges from the will of the electorate, even when only white men with substantial property were allowed to vote. From the nation’s beginning, its courts have always been an elite institution, staffed by and answerable to elites, not to the people. And the US elite is thoroughly bipartisan. Vigorous Democratic opposition to Federalist Society nominees a dozen years ago by leading Democrats, most notably by then senators Barack Obama and John Kerry might have made kept dozens or hundreds of right wing judges off the bench and made it impossible for Trump to nominate his latest corporate mouthpiece. It didn’t happen because elite Democrats have far more in common with elite Republicans than they do with mere Democratic voters.

So the answer to Democrat excuse makers who sagely assure us that elections DO make a difference is yeah, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. But fighting, resisting injustice, exploitation and oppression always makes a difference. Too bad that’s simply NOT what Democratic elected officials actually DO.

For Black Agenda Report I’m Bruce Dixon. Google and other corporate social media are suppressing our content in their search results, so the only way to ensure you get notified of new content each week at Black Agenda Report is to visit us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button to receive our weekly notices of new content via email. You can also find our one hour Black Agenda Radio show and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member 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: 20180711_bd_SCOTUS_and-the-Dems-v2.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

Being the only sober guy at a victory party is isn't fun. After writing earlier this week that we can sometimes elect progressives but we can’t hold them accountable, friends and comrades are all over Facebook accusing me of negativity, saying I got no analysis and I'm a magical thinker. I dunno, let’s see.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won the NY 14th district Democratic primary earlier this week with only 16 or 17 thousand votes, a strikingly low number that wouldn’t carry most such primaries. According to Democrat chairman Tom Perez, she has no Republican opponent in November, so she's in. That's a victory for sure. At least for a while, she'll be able to put out her message which includes abolishing ICE, free tuition and Medicare For All in places that till now have rarely given a professed socialist the mic. That’s a good thing.

But there are four points to look at here, which I touched on my previous piece and posts on Facebook. I’ll dive into them just a little deeper here.

1. THE OCASIO-CORTEZ NUMBERS AND WHAT THEY MEAN

Historically NY authorities have rigged primary elections for low turnout. You can only vote in a NY primary if you're pre-registered a party member months in advance, so only 271,000 voters were eligible in the first place. The low 13% turnout in that contest was actually higher than in some neighboring NYC districts. The engineering of low turnout primary elections allows Machine politicians to monopolize their party’s nominations by getting out their relatively small and dependable vote and not getting the masses too excited over much of anything till the November general election when their numbers are needed to defeat suburban and upstate Republicans. Except for New York’s partisan registration it's the same system used by the Daley Machine in Chicago until 1980, when we broke it open to elect Harold Washington in 83.

Still, 16 or 17 thousand votes in a congressional district of 750,000 is far from a socialist landslide. Winning a congressional seat with that small a vote is a rare feat made possible by some local features that seldom occur outside New York City. While the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez crew no doubt worked their asses off to get what they got, the same money and effort in most other places would not have done the trick in a congressional race. The 14 NY CD was a target well chosen by the folks at Brand New Congress , whom Ocasio-Cortez says asked her to run.

That’s running and interpreting the numbers through the lens of history, and applicability to other contests, not negativity or magical thinking.

2. JOE CROWLEY PRETTY MUCH GAVE UP THE SEAT

After 10 terms in Congress and with lots of corporate friends, Joe Crowley knows he can start at seven figures, at least six to twelve times his congressional salary plus bonuses as a lobbyist. That had to be a powerful motivation not to campaign too damn hard, and another circumstance unique to this particular contest.

The career path from legislator to well paid lobbyist is also not magical thinking, it's an American tradition. Ignoring this tradition and its likely effect on Crowley’s campaign might be magical thinking though.

3. DEMOGRAPHICS MATTER, MESSAGING MATTERS

Ocasio-Cortez correctly portrayed Crowley as an arrogant lazy white boy deep in the pockets of corporate contributors allegedly representing a majority Latino district. That was a necessary and highly potent message needed to raise turnout enough to make the difference in a contest with historically low voter participation. A former Bernie campaign staffer, she also ran to the left of most Democrats, campaigning on free college tuition, Medicare For All, unambiguously denouncing the Gaza massacres and jumping with both feet on the massively unpopular Trump policies of tearing families apart at the border. This too is classic US left electoral strategy aimed at raising turnout among the folks who ordinarily pay little attention to elections, a tactic the electoral left has to repeat everywhere.

The phenomenon of white politicians representing minority districts is not as common as it was a generation or two ago. Neoliberal black and Latino politicians have moved into most of those spaces, and are far less vulnerable to attack purely on representationalist grounds. So that part of the Ocasio-Cortez playbook is not something that leftists will often be able to duplicate.

Assessing the relative importance of demographic factors and the messaging they enable is not magical thinking. Gauging the applicability of the strategy that achieved victory in the NY 14th CD to other contests across the country isn't legerdemain or sophistry either, it's the kind of common sense we must employ if we intend to achieve leftist victories elsewhere.

4. US LAW AND CUSTOM MAKE CANDIDATES ENTREPRENUERS, NOT RESPONSIBE TO ANY LEFT CONSTITUENCIES OR INSTITUTIONS

I caught flack too for pointing out that under US law and custom candidates and office holders are free to do pretty much do what they like. This is true even in the Green Party, let alone the Democrats. Political campaigns are top-down affairs in which the candidate gets the final word on everything. Anybody who's actually worked a campaign knows this.

While there are no institutions under US law and custom that can hold leftist candidates and officeholders accountable to left constituencies or organizations, it's a fact that there are a galaxy of institutional levers and pressures operating inside the Democratic party aimed at flipping progressive elected officials rightward.

In my previous piece and Facebook posts I never touched on how socialist Ocasio-Cortez is or isn't nor on her foreign policy stands if she has any, which Berniecrats frequently don't, something that ought to make us a little uneasy. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist too, just with an imperialist foreign policy. I did say that progressive candidates and officeholders do sometimes flip, a little at a time or all at once, and when they do we have no institutions with which to punish them. "Feet to the fire" and "holding them accountable" are actually the phrases of magical thinkers because no means have yet been devised which enable the left to do those things.

I got in trouble for observing that while we can elect progressives from time to time we cannot compel them to remain that way. Until we figure out how to build institutions that can, we are at the mercy of their individual moral and political compasses. The need to develop left institutions to which progressive candidates can be held responsible is an acute one, which the Nation in its slavish devotion to the Democratic party predictably ignores. Noting this truth got me accused of being a petty, lazy purist and ultraleftist. Oh well. Sober analysis may not be what some people wanna hear at a victory party where everybody’s popping champagne corks, dancing the electric slide and toasting the universal lessons of the Ocasio-Cortez victory without the bother of real analysis.

Being the sober guy at a victory party kinda sucks that way. But real talk, we’re all gonna have to sober up eventually and figure out which parts of the Ocasio-Cortez playbook are peculiar to and which ones are applicable outside a majority Latino New York City district, and we have yet to devise any means of holding progressive politicians truly accountable. Those who think we don’t need critical analysis or institutions to enforce accountability are the magical thinkers.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee 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: black_agenda_radio_20180630.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EDT

Yesterday Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won a NYC Democratic congressional primary in a majority Latino district against the arrogant right wing,out of touch white head of the Queens Democratic party, who hadn’t even seen a primary challenger since 2004. The white guy was so deep in the pocket of corporate contributors that he was one of the few favored to succeed or oust Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. That’s how the two parties choose their leaders in every state legislature and both houses of Congress – they’re the ones who bring in the most donations from wealthy corporations and individuals.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on single payer health care and free college tuition. She denounced the latest massacre in Gaza. She says ICE ought to be abolished, and the day before the election she was at a South Texas immigrant detention center. She’s a young working class Puerto Rican woman who reportedly refused corporate cash and was working a real job, waiting tables at the beginning of her campaign. She’s a DSA member and professes to be a socialist. And now she’s the Democratic nominee in a New York City congressional district. What does it all mean?

For a lot of people on the left, it’s an occasion for celebration. I can understand that, I worked my behind off in campaigns against the Daley Machine in my native Chicago for a quarter century. We elected progressives to the city council, county offices, the state legislature, to Congress and 1983 and 87 the mayor’s chair. I helped register hundreds of thousands of people to vote. I and the folks I worked with imagined that we could build a movement that might transform the Democratic party from below. It didn’t work out so well.

It turns out that both elected officialdom and the Democratic party are institutions, and institutions change individuals way more often than the other way around. Some of our folks backed away from their commitments little by little, others frankly flipped, some were isolated and outlasted till they could be outspent. Despite the phrase being on everybody’s lips, we never figured out exactly how to hold anybody’s “feet to the fire,” to enforce any sort of accountability.

We were and still are at the literal whim and mercy of our candidates and officeholders. When Chuy Garcia ran for mayor of Chicago he refused to stand up in front of the Homan Square black site and denounce the thing. He even called for the hiring of a thousand more Chicago cops, and his movement supporters were utterly unable to talk him into the first position or out of the second. Even the Greens are not immune to this phenomenon. When Jill Stein chose to back away from a 2016 ballot access drive in Georgia and North Carolina there was nothing Greens in those states could do. Nothing. So exactly what does holding a candidate or office holder accountable look like? Do any means currently exist which enable us to do that? Maybe not. Maybe this is something we’ve yet to build.

Late last year, in a two day Movement School session in Jackson MS, Kali Akuno, the co-founder of Cooperation Jackson observed that in Jackson the movement forces proved they could elect a Chokwe Lumumba, the father and the son, mayor. But several years and multiple elections into the project, they still didn’t know what degree of support there is in Jackson for their agenda of radical economic transformation.

We figured out years ago how to win elections under the right circumstances. Ocasio-Cortez was a Puerto Rican woman running against a lazy white incumbent in a majority Latino NYC district, and she built a competent organization. It should have been surprising if she’d lost. Her expressed views on most issues are laudable. What we rarely bother to think through is what we actually GET when we win.

When we’re victorious in executive branch offices like mayoral elections, our candidates actually become responsible for administering the austerity and cuts. That’s what’s happening in Jackson MS and Newark NJ, to name just a couple places. We’ve been electing progressives here and there for a long time now. It’s time ask whether our ability to elect progressives has far outstripped our ability to exert real pressure upon them. Are we transforming the Democratic party, or are we merely legitimizing it, and launching yet another glittering career?

I don’t pretend to have the answers. But these are questions which ought to be asked. And we can't be too thirsty to ask them.

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

Find an updated analysis of the Ocasio-Cortez victory here

Direct download: 20180625_bd_progressive_electoral_victories.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:20am EDT

“The Democrats cynically see the impending disaster as an opportunity to position themselves for the 2018 and 2020 elections.”

At the end of last month, Donald Trump unveiled his military budget, obscenely inflated by $54 billion dollars -- a 10 percent increase that will be paid for with cuts to social programs. There was no organized denunciation from the Democrats, and a few days later, when former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear gave the Democratic Party response to Trump’s speech before the Congress, he had not a word of criticism for Trump’s military budget, but instead charged that the president was “ignoring serious threats to our national security from Russia.”

Russia, Russia, Russia. It is the great diversion, by which the Democrats pretend to lead a resistance to Trumpism, but present no serious opposition to Trump and his fellow Republicans’ gutting of poor and working people’s programs in the service of militarism.

The Democrats are putting up no real fight against Trump’s domestic austerity agenda. Like Barack Obama, they would welcome a Grand Bargain with the Republicans that freezes or shrinks the social side of the budget while continuing to fund multiple wars all over the planet. Indeed, their principal problem with Trump was that he wasn’t bellicose enough; they feared that he might not be eager to play nuclear chicken with the Russians. They are implacable in their battle with Trump, the man, but put up only the most pro forma resistance to Trump’s people-crushing budget proposals.

Do not expect the Democrats to wage an honest fight for the people’s health care interests, either. The Republican plan to replace Obamacare is, as expected, an unmitigated disaster. While Obamacare was festering in its own contradictions, the Republican replacement will likely result in 10 million more uninsured Americans and total chaos at every level of health care infrastructure, resulting in an almost instantaneous social and medical crisis -- and not just for poor people.

Cynical Jockeying for Position

The Democrats cynically see the impending disaster as an opportunity to position themselves for the 2018 and 2020 elections. Although Obamacare is dead, and cannot be resurrected, they will make a show of defending its various parts, one doomed element at a time, even as the private insurance markets that are available to lower income people disintegrate. The Democrats will be glad to let the crisis fester under Republican corruption and incompetence, and then, as the next election season opens, propose some reworked version of Obamacare, probably with weak provisions for a “public option.” What they will not do, as a party, is respond to the crisis with a push for single payer Medicare for All -- a solution the party’s corporate masters will not tolerate. Bernie Sanders, himself, has said he has no plans to submit his own Medicare for All bill to the Senate, this year -- part of his accommodation with the Obama-Clinton party bosses. But, that’s fine; the demand should come from masses of people in the streets, representing the super-majorities that have favored single payer for decades. This is a movement moment, and progressive activists must seize the time. The Democrats, however, anticipated that the Left might take the initiative at this critical point in history. Which is why they created the Great Russian Diversion, to distract silly minds.

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: 20170308_gf_ObamacareRussians.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:16am EDT

An Electoral School for Black Self-Determination

The Black political class has “become servants of the Democratic Party and other institutions outside of our communities,” and must be replaced, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The coalition will hold a two-day electoral school, April 8 and 9, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to begin a campaign “to unleash a new force of people, and inject them into the electoral process based on a struggle for self-determination.” The coalition last year released a 19-point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination with positions on the widest range of domestic and foreign policy issues. Candidates that support the Agenda should get Black support -- even if they’re Democrats, said Yeshitela.

Blacks Need an Anti-War Movement, Not Anti-Russia Hysteria

The Democrats seem to have an objective interest in having us focus on Donald Trump, the person, as opposed to this system, itself,” said Ajamu Baraka, the former Green Party vice presidential candidate, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. In this environment, anti-war views are regarded as suspect. “I’m involved in building a Black Alliance for Peace, to try to revive the Black anti-war movement -- the Black anti-war consciousness,” he said. “We think we have a perfect opportunity, now that people are waking up out of this eight-year stupor, to bring the Black community back to where we used to be, as the most consistent anti-war population in this country. But, it’s difficult to do this when our people are getting caught up in this anti-Russian hysteria, too,” said Baraka.

Beyond Black Lives Matter

Despite its success in “changing the conversation about police brutality in the United States,” the Black Lives Matter movement “shows the limitations of social movements that do not advance beyond highlighting injustice,” said Dr. Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, the author, activist and professor of African America Studies at Princeton University. In a speech at Detroit’s Wayne State University, Taylor said: “Knowledge, alone, of abuse, injustice and oppression” is not enough. “Indeed, mass movements of millions have to be mobilized to stare down the autocratic impulses of the regime in the White House.”

In Praise of Two Exemplary “Jailhouse Lawyers”

Mumia Abu Jamal spent many years on death row before his sentence was reduced to life in prison. The nation’s best known political prisoner has high praise for two other Pennsylvania prison inmates, Craig Williams and Shaun T. Walker, who were kept on death row for years, even after their death sentences were lifted. Williams, said Abu Jamal, is “one helluva jailhouse lawyer -- still making new law.”

Mumia and other inmates “have complained about hazardous brown water for several months, and prison officials have done nothing to fix the problem,” according to a public service announcement produced by the Move organization. “Enough is enough.” Activists are urging the public to call John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, at 717.728.4109, and “demand that inmates are given clean water for showers and personal use.” For more information, go to FreeMumia.com.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170306.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm EDT

Instead of worrying about where Kellyanne Conway's feet are, or blasting Betsy DeVos's ignorance on HBCUs we should insist that black college presidents start or join a movement for free tuition at HBCUs and public colleges and universities. Millions of college grads of all colors are carry unpayable debt and are frustrated by lack of opportunities. This demand earned Bernie Sanders millions of votes. It’s a mass movement in waiting.

Time For A Movement For Free Tuition at HBCUs and Public Colleges

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Black folks with nothing better to do were up in arms for a day about Kellyanne Conways feet buried in the Oval Office sofa messing with her phone while the presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities crowded around Donald Trump’s desk. Some others have written about Betsy DeVos’s note on HBCUs, which revealed her stunning and self-serving ignorance of their history and origin. But pointing out how disrespectful or stupid key members of the Trump administration is partisan BS that won’t not save a single college education, let alone remedy the desperate situation of our historically black colleges and universities.

Right now, the heads of HBCUs have an historic opportunity to save their institutions by stirring up a movement from below for free tuition for HBCUs and for all public colleges and universities, for loan forgiveness for students at public universities, interest reductions for all students and for getting the federal government out of the student loan business.

Free college tuition is not an impractical pie in the sky. Germany does it. France does it. Norway and a dozen other countries do it. State universities in California and Louisiana did it for decades in the 20th century. It was a cornerstone demand of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign that earned him millions of votes. Free college education is what modern human societies do when they recognize that education is a public good not a private privilege. A nominal tax on Wall Street and reallocation of federal funds that now go to student lenders would easily pay for free tuition.

HBCUs were founded with white philanthropy beginning in the 1860s because the newly freed black population urgently needed teachers and other professionals, and because white colleges rarely admitted black students. Black student access was still being litigated in the US nine decades later, and to this day HBCUs produce a far greater percentage of highly competent black college grads than other institutions.

But the leaders of our HBCUs have largely failed to envision ways to fund their institutions outside of white philanthropy and occasional special government funding directed exclusively at them. The United Negro College Fund has even accepted Koch Brothers money with many nasty strings attached. It’s time to stop digging that hole deepter.

There are historic currents in motion right now. Millions of college grads, not just black ones, are crushed by unpayable student debt and lack of opportunities and they have proven receptive to the idea of free college tuition. It’s a movement waiting to be galvanized. The Trump administration won’t much like it, any more than Hillary did. But free college tuition for HBCUs and public institutions is something that can be accomplished in a decade or so of agitation and struggle. If our HBCU college presidents are truly leaders and not followers, this is the current they can tap into.

Of course the common wisdom is that nobody is more conservative than a black college president. It’s a stereotype some of them will have to violate to save their institutions, and to save the very idea of education as a public good not a private privilege. If the first black president did not save HBCUs, nothing Donald Trump is willing to give out will do the trick either. It’s time to really bargain, to demand what is not being offered. And if our historically black college presidents lack the political vision and intestinal fortitude to do it, maybe we need to start this movement without them.

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

Direct download: 20170302_bd_free-tuition.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

No Justice to be Found in Louisiana

“Louisiana has the most broken public defender system of any state in the country,” said Kristen Clark, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which joined with the Southern Poverty Law Center to bring a class action suit charging Louisiana with depriving defendants of their constitutional rights. “They lock people up a alarmingly high rates, and then fail to provide lawyers to navigate their way through the criminal justice system,” said Clark. “Many of our clients have, literally, spent months in jail without any contact with an attorney.” Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.

“They Want to Exterminate Us”: MOVE to Hold Conference in Philly

The MOVE organization will hold a three-day conference, beginning May 5, in Philadelphia, to set the historical record straight on “what MOVE really believes in, who [founder] John Africa is, and why the government wants to exterminate us,” said the organization’s minister of communications, Ramona Africa. Ms. Africa is the sole survivor of the 1985 police bombing raid on the MOVE residence that left 11 members dead, including 5 children, and destroyed an entire city block. In 1978, 9 MOVE members were sentenced to life in prison in the death of a policeman, a confrontation that began with petty police harassment. “They said there were housing code violations,” Ms. Africa remembers. “But, since when has this government cared about Black people living in what they say is substandard housing?”

Good News: Trump Does Not Yet Have an Africa Policy

U.S. military intervention in Africa rose dramatically under President Barack Obama, who established an “Atrocity Prevention Board” at the U.S. State Department “to decide which country has the most important atrocities.” However, according to Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of the Congo, the Atrocity Prevention Board doesn’t consider the genocide in Congo to be much of an atrocity, since the main culprits are Washington’s allies, Rwanda and Uganda, which have been destabilizing the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. “Because of U.S. policy to support that invasion,” said Musavuli, “we have lost over six million Congolese.” In light of this history, Musavuli would prefer less, rather than more, attention to Africa from Washington. “What is unclear,” he said, “is whether Donald Trump will continue with the Atrocity Prevention Board, or what his Africa policy will be.”

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: black_agenda_radio_20170227.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

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: black_agenda_radio_for_20170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 6, 2017

Protests in Dixie Against Trump’s “White Supremacist Government”

Hundreds gathered in Columbia, South Carolina, to protest President Trump’s ban on refugees and visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries. “We’ve got to put pressure on Republican legislators who support Trump, and the business people that support this rightward movement that’s happening in this country,” said author and activist Kevin Alexander Gray. “The whole idea of having a white supremacist government -- which, in South Carolina, we now a lot about, because this is the ideological home of white supremacy in America.”

One Out of 9 U.S. Inmates Serving Life

Despite “modest” reductions of about 5 percent in the overall U.S. prison population since 2009, the number and proportion of inmates serving life sentences continues to increase. A new study by The Sentencing Project, titled “Delaying a Second Chance: The Declining Prospects for Parole on Life Sentences,” puts much of the blame on politicians and parole boards. “Legislatures have increased minimum sentence requirements that people have to serve before a parole board can even review someone for parole eligibility,” said study author Dr. Nazgol Ghandnoosh. Back in the 1980s, a person sentenced to life for murder could expect to get out in about 11 and a half years, but someone similarly sentenced in the 21st century would be likely to spend more than 23 years -- twice as long -- behind bars. “Parole boards are granting fewer paroles or refusing to increase them, even though they’re seeing people so much later in their sentence,” said Ghandnoosh. Longer actual terms for lifers results in longer sentences for everyone else, she said. More than 160,000 U.S. prison inmates are serving life sentences, 50,000 of them with no possibility of parole.

“Collective Punishment” of Prisoners

Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall is one of the thousands of lifers sentenced for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Marshall has already spent a quarter century behind bars. He edits a prison magazine and is a correspondent for Prison Radio, but could not reach his editors on the outside because of a lockdown following a fight among a few inmates at Rockview prison, in Pennsylvania. Such “collective punishment,” he told Prison Radio’s Noelle Hanrahan, cuts prisoners off from their support structures. “Without family bonds, it’s hard to return to society, and it’s hard for prisoners to maintain connection with their lawyers to present a proper defense for their legal appeals,” he said.

Mumia Interviews Eddie Africa, of Move

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, introduced his worldwide audience to fellow inmate Eddie Africa, sentenced, along with eight other members of the Move organization, to 30 to 100 years in the 1978 death of a Philadelphia police officer. Nearing 70, Eddie Africa urges young fathers in prison to maintain close contact with their children. “Use this time to talk to them, write to them, so they don’t go the path their parents went,” running with gangs.

A Plan for Community Control of NYC Police

The Campaign for Community Control Over the Police, a coalition of 26 anti-police terror organizations, will hold the first of several “Open House Conferences” on February 18, at Manhattan’s All Souls Unitarian Church. The coalition has developed a four-tier proposal to rein in the cops, beginning with mandatory residency in the precinct in which they work. “That way, they have a vested interest in the community, their children go to the same schools, they shop in the same stores, and they will actually care about the community, rather than act as an occupying army,” said Campaign outreach chairperson, Bro. Shep Olugbala, in an interview with Black Agenda Radio producer Kyle Fraser. Precinct commanders would be elected by the neighborhood, just as “you have sheriffs who are elected by the community” in smaller towns. An elected Community Police Control Board would have subpoena powers and the right to hire and fire police, and an elected special prosecutor, “totally independent of the district attorney’s office,” would “investigate and prosecute allegations of serious criminal conduct by police officers,” said Olugbala.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm EDT

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

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

Progressives” is the name Democrats call themselves when they need to draw attention away from the greedy and murderous one percenters who actually call the shots in their party.

Lazy, hypocritical progressive followers protest the unconstitutional machinations of Republican administrations like those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump while they ignore excuse the same crimes when committed by Democrats like the Clintons or Barack Obama. But Black Agenda Report does not bestow its coveted #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month award on mere followers. We pledge that each and every month our #ProgressiveHypocrite awardees will be leaders in their fields, major players whose recognized game inspires and enables the ordinary hypocrisy of countless partisan Democrats – or as they call themselves, progressives.

Thus we are proud to announce as Black Agenda Report’s very first #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month, for February 2017 is Madeleine K. Albright.

Madeleine Albright got her start as the protégé of notorious cold warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was her dissertation advisor at Columbia. As Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Z-big put Albright on as his special assistant. The next time a Democrat occupied the White House she was UN ambassador in Clinton’s first term and secretary of state in his second. Madeleine Albright famously asserted in a 1996 60 Minutes interview that although the US blockade of Iraq which she vigorously championed killed a half million Iraqi children that “...it was a hard choice but it was worth it...”

After the Clinton administration Albright founded a global consulting firm which became ASG, the Albright Stonebridge Group, representing and advising multinational corporations on six continents on how to enter and dominate local markets, how to privatize public land and public institutions like post offices and electric grids. The fixers at Albright Stonebridge help privatize water and sewer systems and chunks of the natural environment like the broadcast spectrum so outfits like Google and Facebook can own the internet in India and Africa. ASG claims credit for engineering the entry of WalMart into China and Thailand. Albright’s crew has global reach. They can make your corporation’s taxes in Mexico go away. They can rig the regs for Big Pharma in Brazil, they can prevent unfavorable laws affecting your profits in China or Japan and they can negotiate your bribe to the murderous Saudi royal family.

Albright mentored Susan Rice, the bare knuckled champion of vulture capital in Africa and of the US bomb and invade countries for their own protection. For her valued service to the one percent of the one percent, President Obama awarded Madeleine Albright the Medal of Freedom in 2012. She campaigned for Hillary alongside Cory Booker declaring there was “a special place in hell” for women who failed to support other women.

Now at the dawn of the Trump era, Madeleine Albright has been trotted out as the avatar of concern and compassion for Muslims who will be affected by the Islamaphobic policies of Donald Trump. She declared earlier this week that “...there are tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty...” and that she would “register as a Muslim” to protest Trump’s evil policies. We at Black Agenda Report recommend that Madeleine Albright register as an Iraqi toddler in the year 1995, when the blockade she championed killed half a million Iraqi children, mostly Muslims.

Thus for her inspirational hypocrisy in the service of Democratic – I mean progressive opposition to Donald Trump we name Madeleine K. Albright the #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month for February 2017.

This is Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Radio. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, Black Agenda Report on Facebook and @blkagendareport on Twitter.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a 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: 20170201_bd_progressive-hypocrite_feb2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:40am EDT

Democrats, Including Bernie Sanders, Won’t Fight for Medicare for All

“Because Obama had used the trick terminology ‘universal health care’ to describe his program, the public became confused and demoralized about the whole subject of government health care.”

Democrats will tell you that the Republicans are the reason the U.S. is the only industrial country in the world that does not have universal, government-provided health care. But, that’s not true. Despite their legislative majorities, the Republicans are not strong enough on their own to defeat a concerted campaign for a Medicare for All program, which is supported by overwhelming majorities of the public, including a very large percentage of Republicans. The U.S. does not have a single payer health care system because corporate Democratic leadership, most shamefully under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have confused the public about what is, and what is not, “universal” health care. They have offered counterfeit, private industry-based schemes – “Hillary-care” in 1993, Obamacare in 2009 -- and fraudulently called them universal health care, when in fact these were bait-and-switch schemes designed to prevent the successful passage of a genuine single payer health program.

The numbers tell the tale. When Bill Clinton first ran for president in 1992, two-thirds of the public – 66 percent – told pollsters they supported a “national health insurance plan financed by tax money.” The Clintons instead responded with a secretly-hatched “managed competition” plan that continued to rely on private insurers and took more than 1,300 pages to explain. “Hillary-care” died ignominiously in Congress.

“Corporate Democratic leadership have confused the public about what is, and what is not, ‘universal’ health care.”

By late 2006, an amazing 69 percent of Americans were telling pollsters they agreed with the statement that “it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have healthcare coverage.” Barack Obama was getting ready to make his run for the White House. He claimed to want something he called “universal health care.” Most people assumed he meant a single payer, Medicare for All-type program, but instead, Obama dusted off an old Republican private insurance-based plan devised by the far-right Heritage Foundation and later adopted by Republican Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Not only was Obamacare unpopular on its own merits, but because Obama had used the trick terminology “universal health care” to describe his program, the public became confused and demoralized about the whole subject of government health care. By 2016, only 44 percent of the people had a positive reaction to the term “single payer health coverage.” However, nearly two-thirds of those polled -- 64 percent -- liked the idea of Medicare-for-All, which is a form of single payer. Medicare for the elderly is probably the nation’s most popular social safety net program, and younger folks would like to be part of it, too, including lots of low-income Republicans. Even Donald Trump used to be for it.

Medicare-for-All is an idea whose time has come -- again! And, with Obamacare being dismantled and a health care emergency looming, one would think the Democrats would seize the time to push for a truly universal health care plan with such broad support. But, corporate Democratic leadership -- just like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- do not really want single payer health care, because their fat cat contributors oppose it. Therefore, they will urge the people to waste their energy on trying to salvage some aspects of Obamacare.

Bernie Sanders will help them do it, because he’s still sheep-dogging for corporate Democrats.

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: 20170201_gf_MedicareForAll.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 30, 2017

Obamacare is Doomed; It’s Time for Single Payer

Instead of attempting to salvage the doomed and fatally flawed Affordable Healthcare Act, progressives should seize the time and push for single payer health care, said pediatrician and political activist Dr. Margaret Flowers. “Eighty percent of Democratic voters want a single payer health care system, and now polls are showing that even Republicans, particularly those with lower incomes, are moving into majority support for National Improved Medicare for All.” The push, however, must come from the people, not the Democrats. “Even Sen. Sanders has backed down and is saying, Let’s protect the Affordable Care Act now and we’ll fight for single payer later,” said Flowers. The HOPE campaign -- “Health Over Profit for Everyone” -- begins February 1.

On Reparations, It’s Not a Question of “If,” but “How”

There’s been a substantive change in H.R. 40, the Reparations legislation Rep. John Conyers has introduced every year since 1989. Originally, the bill called for a study of whether Black Americans had been injured by slavery and Jim Crow. But now, according to Kamm Howard, chairman of the legislative committee of N’COBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, the bill “begins with the focus that reparations are due, and how does this government engage in reparative initiatives.” He said the 2001 United Nations World Conference on Racism, in Durban, South Africa, made clear the enslaving nations’ “obligation to make repairs” to descendants of the victims. Howard helped Rep. Conyers’ staff reframe the legislation.

Will Democrats Help Trump Renegotiate NAFTA?

“If President Trump wants to enact a renegotiated NAFTA, he’s going to have to work with the Democrats to figure out how to build a majority” on Capitol Hill, “which will be comprised of most of the Democrats and a handful of Republicans,” said Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch for Public Citizen. President Bill Clinton pushed the NAFTA corporate trade deal through Congress against the wishes of majorities of Democrats. “The reality is, you will never get a majority of the Republicans in Congress to change the old NAFTA,” said Wallach. NAFTA might not end in a renegotiation. “If President Trump continues to be so disrespectful to other world leaders,” Mexico or the U.S. might simply withdraw from NAFTA.

Courtrooms as Political Forums

Veteran Black activist Efia Nwangaza had been looking forward to a jury trial on charges of blocking a Greenville, South Carolina, intersection two years ago to protest a Missouri grand jury’s failure to indict the cop that killed Michael Brown, in Ferguson. However, Greenville authorities dropped the charges the day before her trial, depriving Nwangaza of the opportunity to put on a political defense. “The purpose of the demonstration was to call attention to police impunity and their slaughtering of us from one end of the country to the other,” said Nwangaza, director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination and a leader of the state’s Stop Mass Incarceration Network. With the courtroom venue no longer available, Nwangaza and her defense team will now bring the issues before a people’s tribunal and “strengthen the cause that has been advanced by the Uhuru Movement for Black community control of the police.”

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: black_agenda_radio_20170130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

Flint’s 1000-Plus Days Without Safe Drinking Water

“Residents have been fooled ‘too many times’ and will never trust the water again.”

Flint, Michigan, a city that used to be famous for producing cars but gained notoriety almost three years ago for its poisoned water supply, last week marked its 1000th day without clean drinking water. Nevertheless, the 100,000 mostly poor, predominantly Black residents of Flint have been informed that the current levels of lead in their water no longer exceed federal limits. That would be good news – if you could believe it, and if lead were the only problem with Flint’s water. Mona Hanna-Attisha doesn’t believe the water is safe for drinking. She’s the pediatrician who helped blow the whistle on skyrocketing rates of lead in the blood of Flint’s children, after state emergency financial managers forced the city to draw its water from the heavily polluted Flint River. Dr. Hanna-Attisha says the federal regulations are too weak to protect young brains and bodies from stunted development.

Gina Luster, a community organizer in Flint, warns that, even if lead levels are down, the there’s plenty of other harmful stuff in the water. Her advice is, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” Luster says she and other residents have been fooled “too many times” and will never trust the water again.”

Nine people have so far been criminally charged in the poisoning of Flint’s water, eight of them state employees. But no one at the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has broad powers over the whole country’s water supply, has been charged with a crime. The EPA, however, is on President Donald Trump’s hit list -- not for failing the people of Flint, but for sometimes getting on the wrong side of Trump’s friends in polluting industries. The Trump administration has frozen all EPA grants and contracts, which put in question $100 million that Congress allocated to help Flint replace and repair its water infrastructure. Michigan’s two Senators, both of them Democrats, got worried when they heard about the freeze from news reports. Neither the White House nor the EPA could say for sure whether Flint’s money had been tied up by the freeze. Plus, the money doesn’t exactly have Flint’s name on it. The $100 million is supposed to be awarded to “a municipality that is, or has been, the subject of an emergency declaration due to lead contamination. The bill doesn’t mention Flint by name. However, the funds should eventually find their way to Flint, since it’s the only city in the country that fits that description.

Multiply that by 3,000

But, when it comes to lead poisoning, Flint is anything but alone. An investigative report by the Reuters news agency, in December, showed that children in nearly 3,000 communities across the country show lead levels in their blood at least twice as high as kids in Flint. In more than 1,100 neighborhoods, kids tested four times higher than children in Flint. At the peak of the contamination of Flint’s water, 5 percent of children tested had high levels of lead. However, in some neighborhoods in South Bend, Indiana almost one-third of the kids had high lead levels. Pennsylvania is the state with the most census tracts with lead-contaminated water. Thirty-six percent of the kids in Warren, Pennsylvania tested high for lead.

So, if Flint needs $100 million to tackle a lead problem that is, supposedly, close to under control, how much money is needed to make the water safe in 3,000 other communities across the country?

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: 20170125_gf_FlintWater.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 23, 2017

Irrationality Reigns: After All the Lies, Some Folks Still Believe the CIA

Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice 2016 presidential candidate, said he is appalled at the spectacle of “progressives” and even self-styled radicals “parroting the Democratic line that the Russians are a threat” to U.S. democracy. This new McCarthyism is “a strange diversion” and “a demonstration of the irrationality of politics in the U.S,” said Baraka, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. It represents “the complete abandonment of critical thought, embracing the State and propping up the intelligence agencies as authoritative sources even after the years of deception, disinformation, and psychological operations that we know is the modus operandi of the CIA. It is absolutely bizarre.”

Blacks Should Stop ‘Hitch-Hiking’ with the Democrats

Black people made political alliances “with whoever came along -- like a hitchhiker,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “When you catch a ride as a hitchhiker, you’ve got to go wherever the driver is going. That’s what being with the Democratic Party was about, and we are determined that that mess is over.” The Black is Back Coalition makes alliances based on the principles of Black self-determination and opposition to imperialism – which is why it has held together since the first year of the Obama administration. “Trump is president because of the crisis in the imperialist system,” said Yeshitela.

Poor People’s Campaign Tackles MLK’s Unfinished Work

The scourge of poverty has increased since the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was interrupted by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said Willie Baptist, a veteran of the welfare and homeless movements, and now an organizer of the 21st century version of the campaign. “Poverty has gotten worse, with huge sections of the middle strata being rendered homeless and a good section of the poor rendered superfluous,” said Baptist, now based in New York City at the Union Theological Seminary’s Kairos Center. Changes in technology are “not just saving labor, it’s actually eliminating labor,” he said. “The world’s productive capacity totally outweighs its purchasing capacity. As a result, you have poverty in the midst of plenty.”

Afro-Colombian Leader Beheaded

Rightwing paramilitaries are suspected in the murder of Emilsen Manyoma, a leader of a network of Black and indigenous community organizations. “Her assassination was a response to the work she was doing, defending the rights of Black people,” said Charo Mina-Rojas, an Afro-Colombian political activist who reports that over 200 Black and indigenous leaders were killed last year, despite a peace agreement between the government and FARC guerillas. Blacks and natives in Ms. Manyoma’s region are under pressure from coca producers and illegal mine operators and their gunmen.

Where Did All the Black and Latino Teachers Go?

Back in 2002, 27.2 percent of the teachers hired by the New York City public schools were Black or Latino. By 2012, the proportion had shrunk to 11.6 percent. What happened? “When you look at what’s been going on for the past 15 years, you see a picture that requires people to point to the real causes of the disappearances, and to change those policies,” said Sean Ahern, a political activist who teaches juvenile prisoners at the giant Rikers Island jail. Ahern blames the drop in minority teachers on “mayoral control” of the schools, “high stakes testing, school closings, charter school push-ins” -- essentially, the whole program of so-called “reform” that was pushed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and championed by the Obama administration.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis’s Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?

Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis’s Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?

 

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

Sheroes and heroes are people who take risks, who make great personal sacrifices to perform difficult and important duties for others. By that standard John Lewis and the six hundred who walked that bridge in Selma Alabama 52 years ago are heroes whose actions helped pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Let’s agree on that.

But long should that hero pass last? How many years, how many decades do you get to to boast and roast and toast and coast before you need to do something else even mildly heroic to keep your status current?

It’s not like Lewis has lacked new chances to serve the people this last half century. He’s represented a metro Atlanta district in Congress the past 28 years. Ruled by black mayors and the black political class since 1973, Atlanta has billed itself as “Black Mecca” though for more than half of black Atlanta there’s been little to celebrate. Black mayors have relentlessly gentrified the city, starting with the Carter Presidential Library in the 80s, the Olympics in the 90s, and after that demolition of public housing, privatization of the land under it, and the BeltLine project which steals $150 million annually from Atlanta’s public schools to build yuppie housing and shopping destinations. Marquee “development” projects have driven a six figure number of poorer black residents from the city. John Lewis never says a mumbling word about any of this. John Lewis never publicly contradicts the black Atlanta mayors who crack down on the homeless, who line up for the privatization of public property, public transit and public schools. Perhaps being a Legendary Civil Rights Hero puts him above all that.

Supporting Hillary Clinton last year, Lewis spoke out against free health care and free college tuition which many countries grant their young people, explaining that “free stuff” was just not the American Way. Lewis was also an early member of the Democratic Leadership Council, which irretrievably locked that party into subservience to its one percenter donors.

Sometimes members of Congress can undo historic wrongs. Lewis blew one such chance when he doubled down upon the expulsion of the descendants of black freedmen from the Cherokee nation in which they had once enjoyed voting rights.

John Lewis calls himself a pacifist and never misses a chance to lecture on the supreme utility of nonviolence. But the US Navy is building a ship with his name on it, a “fleet replenishment oiler” to resupply warships on deployment. Isn’t this an “honor” a pacifist should reject? And shouldn’t our Apostle of Non-Violence vote against every arms giveaway, sale and Pentagon budget? John Lewis doesn’t. Like most other members of the Black Caucus Lewis votes to fund mass surveillance and re-arm the apartheid state of Israel with depressing regularity.

It’s time to ask whether Civil Rights Hero status from 52 years ago is really enough to cancel out or ignore all this, and what purpose John’s Hero status serves today. John Lewis is in the news now because he called Big Cheeto’s presidency “not legitimate.” But why?

Is it because Lewis fears Trump will pursue more than 6 bloody wars, that he will deport millions of innocents, expand mass surveillance and militarized policing? Is it because Lewis knows the Donald will help greedy banksters stay ut of jail and he’ll enable hedge fund parasites to gentrify, plunder and privatize public education, nature and the commons? Probably not, because these are all Obama policies which Trump is expected to double down on.

John Lewis’s problem with Trump is that the CIA and FBI, which helped assassinate King and cover it up says that Russia helped elect him, and Lewis believes it. Big Cheeto did a Twitter fight with Lewis the other day and some of his followers called Lewis the n-word.

So now the Obama/Hillary liberals are flogging John Lewis’s tattered sainthood as hard as they can, to have a #NotMyPresident message that draws attention away from the many matters on which Republicans and the Obama/Hillary liberals agree. The old Civil Rights Hero does not oppose Trump for any reason which might lead to questioning past, present or future Democrats. Lewis is warming up the crowd for Obama’s exit and the entrance of whoever the Democrats run next.

This is what happens when there is no time limit on those Legendary Civil Rights Hero credentials. Time to revoke them.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at Black Agenda Report dot com, or follow us on Twitter @blkagendareport. Thanks for listening.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com, or via Twitter at @brucedixon.

Direct download: 20170118_bd_civil-rights-hero.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:34pm EDT

An Ever-Smaller Circle of Billionaires Controls the Planet’s Wealth

“Billionaires must be made extinct, one way or the other.”

The world is being strangled, smothered and starved to death by billionaires – 1,826 of them, by Forbes magazine’s count. The ever-deepening concentration of wealth that is both the logic and the inevitable result of capitalism has reached such depraved proportions that eight of the richest people on the planet now own as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire human race. The very existence of such concentrated private wealth is a crime against humanity, and incompatible with any notion of civilization. Indeed, how can a society call itself civilized, when half the value of all of humanity’s labor -- which is what those fortunes actually represent -- is at the disposal of eight men?

Clearly, the world needs a revolution, to throw off the dead weight of these billionaires. Last year, the Oxfam organization calculated that it took 62 of the world’s richest people to equal the wealth held by the bottom half of humanity. This year, it only takes eight. According to Oxfam’s latest study, the way capitalism is going, in 25 years we could be talking about a few trillionaires controlling the wealth of planet Earth. However, I doubt that we will ever see an Age of Trillionaires if only because global society would shatter and explode from the sheer magnitude of the accumulated theft of human labor and natural resources.

The billionaires must be made extinct, one way or the other, so that the multitudes can restructure the world into a survivable place. The 500 richest people on the planet cannot be allowed, 20 years from now, to pass on $2.1 trillion in inheritance to their privileged children -- the equivalent of the entire yearly economy of India and its 1.3 billion people.

The Last of the Super-Rich

The United States has by far the highest concentration of billionaires – 536, followed by China, with 251. Russia is way down in sixth place, with only 77 billionaires, behind Britain, Germany and India. But, of course, billionaires live anywhere they want to -- which really means they live nowhere at all. Home is where their money is, and every billionaire is a fully globalized citizen, with no loyalties except to his class.

The existence of billionaires should be seen as a measure of the sickness of the capitalist system, now in its last stages. Of the eight richest billionaires in the United States, six made their fortunes from the telecommunications industry, whose political influence now rivals that of Wall Street. Not only are the Silicon Valley fat cats obscenely wealthy, but they control the information systems that he rest of us depend on to understand what’s going on in our world. That makes people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg very dangerous. The good news is, young people around the world understand the nature of the threat to human freedom posed by these information system tycoons, who got rich through monopoly and market manipulation, just like the other capitalists. They too, must face expropriation, so that the saga of human equality can begin.

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: 20170118_gf_Billionaires.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 16, 2017

The Democrats: Serving the One Percent, Blaming the Russians

The Democrats are using the Russians as a scapegoat to avoid confronting “the rightwing Wall Street-captive party that they’ve become,” said activist and educator Paul Street, author of several books on President Barack Obama. Essentially, Democrats are saying, “It’s not that we’re a rightwing, corporate, neoliberal party beholden to the nation’s unelected dictatorship of money and empire. It’s not that we abandoned the working class and the causes of social justice and peace decades ago.” Speaking at the Open University of the Left, in Chicago, Street said Donald Trump did not ride to victory on a “big rust belt rebellion of the white working class.” The real story “is that the Democrats lost those voters to non-voting.”

When Capitalism Gets Sick, the Democrats Get Mean

The Democratic Party’s sharp turn to the right is its response to the “existential crisis at the core of capitalism,” a global phenomenon that has left the ruling class and its servants with “hardly any space to reform the system,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Philadelphia-based Duboisian scholar and activist. With “no room to maneuver,” the capitalists resort increasingly to war and repression. “Monopoly capitalism must be undone, the banks broken up, a large part of them nationalized,” said Monteiro. “In other words,” there must be “a profound and fundamental end to the neoliberal order, globally; a retreat from empire and war; and a seizing of the military budget and turning it towards economic development, jobs and a green economy.”

Political Prisoners Under Pressure in Indiana

Khalfani Malik Khaldun, serving time at Wabash Valley prison, in Indiana, said officials have carried out “a series of raids on targeted political prisoners,” including himself. Khaldun was told by “top brass” that they consider him to be the facility’s “most influential” inmate and are pressuring him to use that influence to “stop the proliferation of meth, a synthetic drug spreading throughout the prison.” Otherwise, “they had orders to put me and ten of my comrades in solitary confinement,” where he is now housed. Khaldun said prison officials “are making me out to be running some form of drug ring, in an attempt to destroy my political credibility as an activist on the inside.”

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: black_agenda_radio_20170116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47pm EDT

Obama’s Last Presidential Lies

“Obama spent his first term sabotaging every effort to create mandatory limits on emissions.”

Barack Obama has spoken to the nation as president for the last time. Hallelujah! The man I dubbed the “more effective evil” now gets a chance to make millions for himself, after spending eight years defending the wealth of the bankers and the rest of the One Percent.

Obama is going out like he came in: telling lies, with great style and skill. So many lies. He said he favored giving unions “the power to organize for better wages.” He said the same thing when he was campaigning for his first term, promising to support the “card check” bill that would have allowed workers to rebuild their union membership. But he betrayed organized labor and did nothing to push the bill in Congress.

The outgoing president pointed out that “the effects of slavery and Jim Crow didn’t just vanish in the Sixties” – that these effects continue to plague Black people. But 100 days after first taking the oath of office, Obama told reporters that he would not consider programs targeted at Black communities -- that Blacks would have to depend on a rising tide to lift all boats, even though no such tide has ever risen for Black people in America.

Obama said the U.S. has “led the world...on the promise to save the planet.” That’s an outrageous lie. The U.S., China and a few other powerful countries have been the problem, not the solution to climate change. Obama spent his first term sabotaging every effort to create mandatory limits on emissions.

“On his watch, no federal charges were brought against any killer cops.”

The First Black President acknowledged that many Americans are “convinced that their government only serves the interests of the powerful.” But, he didn’t take any of the blame, even though it was under his administration that Wall Street bankers were deemed “too big to jail,” or even to indict. In the same dishonest fashion, Obama declared on Tuesday that “We need to uphold laws against discrimination...and in our criminal justice system” -- when, on his watch, no federal charges were brought against any killer cops, except one who had already been indicted by local authorities.

Obama got downright cocky in defense of Obamacare, the rightwing Republican health program that Obama adopted as his own. The president said: “If anybody can put together a plan that is demonstrably better, I will support it.” But don’t bet any money on the letter and spirit of Obama’s promises on health care. Back in 2003, when Bruce Dixon and I asked him if he favored a single payer health care system, Obama answered that he favored “universal health care for all Americans” and intended to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end.” He kept saying that for the next five years, until he was elected president, and then proceeded to isolate and crush supporters of single payer, to the delight of the insurance and drug industries, which no longer had to fear single payer. Obama is sneaky, that way.

Finally, Obama bragged that the U.S. has “taken out thousands of terrorists, including bin Laden.” What he didn’t say was that his administration presided over the jihadist takeovers of Libya and much of Syria and Iraq. The truth is that tens of thousands of jihadists have been trained, armed, financed and protected by the United States and its allies – not under Bush, but under Obama, making him fully responsible for the deaths of half a million people in those three countries, alone. Not to mention Obama’s other wars. But, I’ve run out of time. The good thing is, so has Obama.

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: 20170111_gf_ObamaByeBye.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 9, 2017

Rally in DC for Black Self-Determination

Self-determination is the “missing ingredient” in contemporary Black politics, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition will hold a rally on January 14 at Freedom Plaza, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, to advance “an independent Black agenda for our people, and not have us joined at the hip to the Democratic Party.” The time is ripe for a Black self-determinationist strategy, said Yeshitela, because “the Democrats, the Republicans, and the electoral process, itself, have fallen into disrepute.”

Reforming the Green Party

“We have to take our movement away from the non-profits, and the only way we can do that is if we can transform the Green Party into something more like the working class, socialist parties overseas,” said Georgia Green Party co-chair Bruce Dixon, speaking on a telephone call-in with party members across the country. “All of these parties are based on membership dues,” with their officers accountable to the membership -- something our current Green Party does not do,” said Dixon, who is also managing editor of Black Agenda Report. Some members warned that a dues structure might discourage involvement of low-income people, while others cautioned against “infiltration” of the Party by other groups. The Green Party garnered only about one percent of the vote in November.

Judge Orders Hep-C Cure for Mumia

A federal judge ruled that, within three weeks, Pennsylvania prison officials must begin administering a Hepatitis-C cure to the nation’s best known political prisoner. Atty. Bob Boyle, of Mumia Abu Jamal’s legal team, told BAR producer Kyle Fraser: “This judge ruled that the 8th Amendment guarantees people in prison adequate health care under the ‘cruel and inhuman treatment’ clause.” Boyle said “upwards of 40 percent of the prisoners in the Pennsylvania system have chronic Hepatitis-C,” and could benefit from the ruling.

Mumia Abu Jamal suffered a near-death crisis in mid-2015 due to complications from the disease. When told of the judge’s ruling, he urged activists to “spread the word, because this is not what the Commonwealth wants people to know about -- that they engage in unconstitutional medical practices designed, not to cure, and not even to treat,” a deadly illness. “Here we have a cure, and the government of Pennsylvania refused to give it to thousands of people for years, until they got to the brink of death.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney Appeals for Help

“I was convicted with absolutely no evidence, no witness, no confession, no crime scene, by an all-white jury,” said human rights activist Rev. Edward Pinkney, serving his second stint in prison for helping Black people in Benton Harbor, Michigan, effectively exercise their right to vote. “I was given the death penalty for a 68 year-old man: 30 months in the prison system, with absolutely no evidence.” Pinkney has already served 25 months of his current sentence. “I am an innocent man, threatened, tried Nazi-style and convicted in an effort to isolate and silence me against the power of the land-grabbing, job outsourcing, blood-sucking, criminal Whirlpool Corporation, that has its headquarters in Benton Harbor. I need the people’s help,” said Pinkney. He can be contacted at the Muskegon state prison, inmate #294671.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19am EDT

Obama’s Pardons Distract from the Horror of Mass Black Incarceration

“The system is deliberately racist, brutal, arbitrary and malevolent.”

President Obama, a master of public relations, now has bragging rights for having granted clemency to a record number of federal prisoners – 1,176 of them, at last count, more than those set free by the past 11 presidents, combined. Looking at the number from a different angle, Obama released only one out of every two thousand of the nation’s 2.3 million prison inmates, the largest incarcerated population in the world, both in raw numbers and in the proportion of U.S. society living behind bars. In other words, Obama’s clemencies, like all other presidents’, are statistically meaningless and morally and politically distractive. But, of course, that’s what Obama’s good at – distracting people.

The incompetent, lazy and white supremacist corporate media forget, or never reported, that for several years the Obama administration delayed the release from prison of five times as many inmates as he pardoned: about 6,000 federal prisoners convicted under the old crack cocaine laws. A federal appeals court wanted to let them out, ruling that they were covered by a prison reform bill, but President Obama successfully argued to keep these men and women in prison. Several years later, Obama staged a huge public relations extravaganza, releasing many of these same inmates, supposedly out of the goodness of his heart. It was two years too late. Some never got out.

The Brennan Center for Justice released a study last month that concluded the U.S. could set free 39 percent of its prison population with no threat to public safety. The Brennan researchers argue that you can’t make a dent in the mass incarceration system unless whole categories of prisoners are made eligible for immediate release. They say 25 percent of the prison population should, instead, have been sentenced to drug treatment, community service, probation or a fine. Another 14 percent of inmates have already served enough time in prison, and are no longer a risk. Together, that comes to almost 40 percent of the prison population -- one and a half million people, about half of them Black.

“Not Even a Half-Way Measure”

Prison reformers seem to think the system can be made more rational and fair. They don’t seem to understand that the system is deliberately racist, brutal, arbitrary and malevolent -- it is not meant to be fair, and it cannot be reformed. Former Black Panther Sundiata Acoli turns 80 this month. He has been in a New Jersey prison since 1973 and first became eligible for parole in 1992, but was turned down by the parole board, which set his next parole hearing for 15 years from now, when Sundiata Acoli will be 95 years old.

This system is pure meanness and race-hate. The Brennan Center’s proposal to release almost 40 percent of prison inmates is, itself, not even a half-way measure. As the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations points out in number five of its 19 point platform on Black self-determination, the United States would have to release 80 percent of its prison population -- four out of every five inmates -- just to bring the incarceration rate down to 1973 levels. And, remember: the U.S. was already the worst mass incarceration state in the world back in 1973. Even the release of four out every five inmates does not change the essential nature of American mass Black incarceration. There can be no compromise with such an evil.

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: 20170104_gf_ObamaPardons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 2, 2017

Obama, Trump, Clinton, Bush – They All Serve the Same Masters

When Donald Trump recently stated a willingness to escalate the arms race, it caused a great media stir. But President Obama set in motion a trillion dollar nuclear weapons upgrade with barely a peep from the corporate press. “It really shows that it’s the U.S. system, it’s the Pentagon as a military institution, and corporations that must expand or they suffocate,” that are the source of endless war policies, said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition. “Although the media always acts like there is a choice, that there are huge differences” between the candidates of the two major parties, “both carry out the interests of U.S. corporate power.”

Haitians Take to Streets to Defy U.S. – and Americans Should Do the Same

Jovenel Moise, the rightwing candidate that elections officials claim won 55 percent of the vote in a four-way presidential race, “is the individual that the United States understands will continue the plunder, the pillaging that they’ve been doing in Haiti,” said Daoud Andre, a Brooklyn-based Haitian community activist and radio host. Charging the November 20 vote was rigged, tens of thousands of Haitians have engaged in nearly daily protests. U.S. progressives should take note, and “not take on Donald Trump from a defensive position,” said Andre. “I think we have to go back to the militant movements of the Sixties, movements for people to take their destinies in their own hands. We cannot be afraid of a clown. These are paper tigers.”

Obama’s “Legacy”: A Boon for the Rich

“We are in a ‘post-hope’ era,” BreakingBrown.com publisher Yvette Carnell told Counterpunch Radio host Eric Draitser. “He saved the financial industry and neutralized working people’s politics, especially Black politics, and left us far worse off than we were before he came.” The outgoing president “was a creature of Wall Street and finance capital from the beginning,” said fellow guest Pascal Robert, a lawyer and frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report. “He had complete control of the Senate and the House” but “expended no political capital to push a jobs agenda at any time in his presidency.”

Milwaukee Cops Pressure Panther Feed-the-People Program

Activists and parents say Milwaukee police hit a 10 year-old girl in the face while targeting a community feeding program operated by the Revolutionary Black Panther Party, last week. “This is the first time since the 1960s that they have attacked a Black Panther food program,” said Dr. Alli Muhammad, Chief General Commander of the RBPP. The police seem angered that the Panther group held an armed march -- legal, under Wisconsin law -- and organized an African Holocaust Human Rights Tribunal, the week before. “It appears that they are trying to intimidate the people, to make them afraid to support us,” said Dr. Muhammad.

Mumia on the “Magic of Black Music”

The nation’s best known political prisoner noted the passing of Sharon Jones, lead singer for Dap-Kings, and British pop star George Michael. “It was in the magical realm of music that Black folks found their closest vision of freedom -- to be, to become, themselves,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a commentary for Prison Radio. Of George Michael, he said: “Black musical beats and rhythms liberated him, freed him to be his self, because in Black music one finds that yearning for freedom.”

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: black_agenda_radio_20170102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 26, 2016

Green Vs. Lesser-Evilism

The Green Party must learn how to “differentiate ourselves from the Democrats.” Otherwise, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, the party’s recent candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland, “If Trump runs again, it will be another ‘anybody-but Trump’ year, and whoever the Democrats throw up there, no matter how bad, will be considered better than Trump” -- and we’ll have the same old problem. “If we, ourselves embrace ‘lesser-evilism,’ then it only makes sense for other people to do that, as well.” Dr. Flowers said Green presidential candidate Jill Stein failed to think “strategically” before launching her voter recount effort, which was ultimately an expression of lesser-evilism.

Police Reformer Weighs Run for NYC Mayor, Cites Courts Full of “Crap” Cases

When Robert Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, sends observers into the New York City court system, they see mainly “crap cases” based on minor offenses rarely, “if ever, involving anyone who we could possibly characterize as being dangerous or predatory.” Gangi said the court dockets prove “the cops are engaged in blatantly racist practices that do little, if anything, to contribute to public safety, and that do harm to people.” He’s considering running for mayor as a “protest candidate” against Bill de Blasio, who has bought into an intrusive and aggressive “Broken Windows” policing policy.

Technology Makes Universal, Quality Employment Possible – But Not Under Capitalism

“The task right now, is how we rethink work, rethink distribution, and rethink ownership – fundamentally,” said Dr. J. Phillip Thompson, professor of Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Speaking on a podcast hosted by Dr. Michael Dawson, the nation’s premier Black social demographer and director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, Dr. Thompson said President Obama missed the chance in 2008 to “use the takeover of General Motors as an opportunity to change ownership or the way manufacturing happens in America.” Thompson said studies show it would cost $6-$700 billion a year “to gainfully employ every able-bodied person in the U.S.” at a good job paying about $50,000 annually – about one-twentieth of the cost of Obama’s bailout of the financial industry.

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: black_agenda_radio_20161226.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

Go to DC to Fight for Black Self-Determination – Not for Clinton and the CIA

“The Black servants of the Democratic Party have made a pact with that section of the U.S. ruling class that has rallied around Hillary Clinton.”

If the U.S. ruling class and the spies and national security goons that serve them wanted to divert attention from the crimes and crises of capitalism, they have temporarily succeeded. In this insane post-election season, all the corporate media talk about is the outrageous fiction that Russia is the greatest threat to American domestic peace and tranquility. Jim Crow stole the election, as usual, but the corporate media and Hillary Clinton’s minions blame it on the Russians. Tens of thousands of people will descend on Washington to denounce Donald Trump’s inauguration – which, given his horrific appointments and domestic policies, would be the righteous thing to do. If Clinton had won, she too should have been confronted with vast crowds of demonstrators determined to bring her “to heel” for crimes of mass Black incarceration and a whole list of other offenses against humanity. But it is already clear that the useless and self-serving Black Misleadership Class, who work for the Democratic Party rather than for their Black constituents, will be making common cause with the CIA and the war profiteers, shouting their worthless heads off about Vladimir Putin who -- to paraphrase Muhammad Ali -- never called anybody the N-word, that we know of, or kicked millions of poor women and children off welfare, or imposed a reign of terror in Black communities. That was the Clintons, remember?

“Black people are their own liberators.”

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will also be in Washington around the time of the inauguration -- on January 14, the day before Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. But, the coalition will not join hands with Hillary’s friends on Wall Street and the Pentagon. Instead, Black Is Back will declare to the world its intention to fight for Black self-determination in every aspect of life, “despite the rise of Donald Trump and his version of white nationalism.” The Black is Back Coalition is telling the incoming administration that Black people are their own liberators. And, that is a very different kind of message than you’ll be hearing from the Black servants of the Democratic Party, who have made a pact with that section of the U.S. ruling class that has rallied around Hillary Clinton, a raving, maniacal war criminal who is culpable in the death of millions.

The Black Misleadership Class can imagine no other way to function except to become junior partners with one powerful group of oppressors or the other. Independent Black politics is alien to them, because they see no money in it -- no profit in the liberation of other Black people. And so, they methodically sacrifice Black folks’ interests, and the hopes and dreams of all oppressed peoples, in return for some squatting room at the feet of the enemy.

The Black Misleaders have no shame, and no demands either, except that they get paid. The Black is Back Coalition, on the other hand, has put forward a 19 point agenda to guide the fight for Black self-determination, a human right of all peoples and the basis of solidarity among the oppressed -- points that will be thoroughly discussed on January 14th at Freedom Plaza, at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC.

The struggle is not about choosing between Trump and Clinton; it’s about Black self-determination and bringing down this evil system.

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: 20161221_gf_BiBinDCJan14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio Week of December 19, 2016

Cop Unions Try to Gut Newark Review Board

If police a union suit succeeds in denying subpoena power to Newark, New Jersey’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, the People’s Organization for Progress may have to relinquish its seat on the body, said POP chairman Larry Hamm. Although Mayor Ras Baraka, who Hamm calls “a friend,” wants to preserve even a weakened board, Hamm said a board without subpoena power “cannot be effective.” POP will stick with the board while the legal battle unfolds, said Hamm, but the best defense against police abuse is the ability to organize in the streets. “We do this because the police demonstrate again and again that they are an instrument of repression in our community.”

Haitians Protest Theft of Election -- Again

For more than a month Haitians have filled the streets to reject an election count that gave U.S.-backed presidential candidate Jovenal Moise 55 percent of the vote in a four-way race. The tally is “totally unacceptable,” said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee, which backed Maryse Narcisse, the candidate of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas --- which was credited with only 8 percent of the vote. The two other major parties also rejected the tally. Who fixed the vote? “The corrupt provisional council, with the help of the UN and the active support of the U.S., France and Canada -- the usual,” said Labossiere. Hillary Clinton’s intervention was key to installing the previous president, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly.

East Aleppo Liberated from U.S.-Back Jihadists

Fares Shehabi, an independent member of Syria’s parliament from Aleppo, who is also head of the country’s Chambers of Industry, said the liberation of East Aleppo ended “the largest hostage crisis in history,” dating to the capture of the city by jihadists backed by the West, four and a half years ago. “What we are seeing now is the largest commando hostage release in history,” said Shehabi. He said 1.5 million people from East Aleppo had escaped to safety since 2012, leaving only 100,000 living among the jihadist fighters when the current government offensive began.

Honoring Activists While They Still Live

Inside the Activists Studio, a project of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, strives to “build on the revolutionary journalistic tradition that Mumia represents,” said Robyn Spencer, speaking with BAR producer Kyle Fraser. “The goal is to gather information about one particular historic figure, and then interview that person, after doing intensive research, in a public forum, in a way that highlights their contribution to resistance traditions.”

The Studio did just that, recently, at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where Mumia Abu Jamal introduced the audience to Ramona Africa, Minister of Communications for the MOVE organization, whose comrades and family have been incarcerated and killed by Philadelphia police. “The case of Leonard Peltier really makes my blood boil, that the people running this country have the audacity to call Leonard a murderer, when they have slaughtered Leonard’s people into virtual extinction,” Ms. Africa told the crowd. “The audacity of these people, to get in our face and call us criminal. We would be criminal if we didn’t resist these sick-ass misfits.”

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: black_agenda_radio_show_20161219.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EDT

Gabbard’s Law: To End War on Terror, Stop Arming Terrorists

“The United States has spent billions of dollars to arm, train and protect whole armies of jihadist terrorists in Syria.”

Ever since the passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it has been a crime to provide “material support” to groups designated as terrorists by the U.S. State Department, including ISIS and al-Qaida and its Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front. As the law is interpreted, “material support” can mean providing almost any kind of service or assistance that a prosecutor believes might materially help the designated group -- even attending a peace conference or representing a group member in court. Americans have done hard time in prison for being found in violation of this law. But, at the same time, the United States has spent billions of dollars to arm, train and protect whole armies of jihadist terrorists in Syria – Islamist fighters that collaborate in every possible way with al-Qaida and its offspring in the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

In the words of Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii: “This madness must end... The Government must end this hypocrisy and abide by the same laws that apply to its citizens.” Gabbard has introduced a bill to force the U.S. government to abide by its own laws, as well as international law, by making it specifically illegal for U.S. to fund aid of any kind, not just to al-Qaida and ISIS, but to any other groups that collaborate with them. In Syria, that means virtually all of the so-called “moderate” rebels that the U.S. and its allies have lavished billions of dollars on. Just as importantly, Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Act makes it illegal for the United States to give aid to any nation that assists these terrorists. That means the U.S. would be compelled to cut off aid to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the biggest recipient of U.S. aid in the world, which openly brags about treating al-Qaida fighters in Israeli hospitals. The U.S. would also have to cut off all assistance to Britain, France and most of the rest of NATO, for their assistance to terrorists in Syria.

Rep. Keith Ellison: Useless to the Cause of Peace

Earlier this year, the Obama administration reneged on its agreement with Russia to draw up a list of the jihadist groups Washington supports, and to make sure they don’t fight alongside al-Qaida. Gabbard’s law would require that the Director of National Intelligence draw up a list of the jihadi groups that are cooperating with al-Qaida and ISIS, and update that list every six month, to make sure none of them get U.S. assistance.

Gabbard models her bill on 1980s Boland Amendment that halted U.S. aid to the U.S. Contra terrorists, in Nicaragua. She was joined by two Republican and two Democratic co-sponsors, including Black California congresswoman Barbara Lee. The bill is endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council. But don’t expect it to get effective support from the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. Congress. Minnesota Black congressman Keith Ellison is Caucus co-chair – and absolutely worthless to the cause of peace. He supported the war against Libya and the proxy war in Syria, which is why he stands a good chance of becoming head of the Democratic National Committee, where it’s all war, and anti-Russia, all the time.

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: 20161214_gf_GabbardsLaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 12, 2016

Baraka: Fear of Trump Defeated the Green Party

Voters “wanted a change, but were concerned that if they stood with the Green Party challenge, that would in effect be a vote for Donald Trump -- and we know that the propaganda was very effective in advancing that notion,” said the Greens’ vice presidential choice, Ajamu Baraka. The veteran activist, who is also a BAR editor and columnist, told a conference of Southern Human Rights Organizers, in Jackson, Mississippi, that there is a “pattern of repression” against Black people and the working class in cities across the country -- most of them “administered and managed by Democrats.”

Dixon Defends Stein Vote Recount

Jill Stein and the Green Party are “not jumping into bed with the Democrats” with their call for a recount of votes in three mid-western states narrowly lost by Hillary Clinton, said Bruce Dixon, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. “How are we going to ignore pervasive evidence of widespread, multi-state vote tampering, and then turn around in 2017 and tell people they should campaign for office” on the Green ticket? Dixon, who is also managing editor of BAR, said Bernie Sanders should have filed a recount complaint against Hillary Clinton for “stealing” the primary elections in states like Massachusetts and California. “It seems that Bernie and his people were too intent on staying in the [Democratic] club.”

The Democratic Party Can’t Be Fixed

“The powers in the Democratic Party preferred Trump to Bernie Sanders,” said veteran anti-war activist David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime. “They wanted Hillary or nothing, and that’s what they got.” Those same people, he said, resist naming Rep. Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee. “The Democratic Party, in my mind, needs to be abandoned. The idea of taking it over and reforming it and fixing it is old, and getting a little tiresome.”

No to Trump and Clinton – Yes to Black Self-Determination

One day before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and six days before the presidential inauguration, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will gather at Freedom Plaza, in Washington, DC. “The January 14 mobilization is part of the process of replacing, moving out of the way, those sell-out, opportunist leaders who have pretended to represent the interests of our people,” said coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. He said the rally will highlight “our 19-point program to put self-determination at the center of Black political struggle” on the widest range of issues.

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: black_agenda_radio_20161212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28pm EDT

Blacks Systematically Barred from Temporary Jobs in Chicago

“The Black applicants would wind up sitting in the office beginning at dawn, watching Hispanics get assigned to work all day long.”

A national temporary worker staffing agency and a number of its clients have been sued for discriminating against Black workers. It’s a class action suit, filed in federal court by the Workers Law Office, a small but dedicated team of people’s lawyers in Chicago. The offending agency, MVP Staffing, has 60 offices in 38 states and connects hundreds of businesses with tens of thousands of people seeking temporary employment. But, according to Workers Center lawyer Christopher Williams, 98 percent of the jobs in the Chicago area go to Hispanics, most of them undocumented. That’s what most of MVP Staffing’s clients want: undocumented Mexicans who are in no position to argue about working conditions or pay. Temporary work agencies and their business clients conspire to extract super-profits at the expense of both the undocumented workers, who are locked in a twilight zone of low pay and fearful silence, and Black applicants who line up for work every day, but are seldom hired.

The temporary work agencies and their clients play a cynical game, blaming each other for excluding Blacks from the workplace. The agencies say they are simply complying with their clients’ wishes. The clients say they’re not responsible, because the agencies do the hiring.

Some of MVP Staffings employees have told on their bosses. A former dispatcher said the company used a system of code words to deny Black people jobs. African Americans were sarcastically referred to as “guapos” – which means “the handsome ones” – while Hispanics were code-named “feos,” or “the ugly ones.” It’s a nasty way of saying that Blacks don’t want to get their hands dirty or work as hard as the Mexicans. Of course, Blacks showed up at the agency every morning, willing to get down and dirty on just about any job. But most often, the Black applicants would wind up sitting in the office beginning at dawn, watching Hispanics get assigned to work all day long, until nobody was left in the room but broke and bitter Black folks.

The Unwanted

It was said to be common for managers to ask MVP to only send them workers that listened to

107.9 FM, a Spanish language radio station in Chicago.

If Black applicants somehow got placed on jobs, their paperwork would often be marked “D.N.R.,” meaning “do not return” this person to that job again.

Of course, if Black people really didn’t want to work or get their hands dirty, companies like MVP wouldn’t have to deploy such elaborate -- and illegal – codes, lies and dirty tricks to keep them unemployed. And, if the Mexican workers were not in dread of deportation, they would be just as willing to stand up for decent pay and conditions as Black workers are. But, businessmen control the state, and the two political parties that take turns running the state. It’s in these businessmen’s interests for people to believe that Black unemployment in Illinois is three times that of white people and twice the rate of Hispanics because of some flaw in Black culture. The flaw is in the system of capitalism as it actually exists in a thoroughly racist United States.

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: 20161207_gf_JobBiasSuit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 5, 2016

Donald Trump’s Corporate Bait-and-Switch

A new report by Public Citizen shows 70 percent of Donald Trump’s presidential transition “landing team” members are affiliated with corporations. Trump’s rank-and-file supporters should be “furious that here we have corporate insider after corporate insider taking over the administration,” said Public Citizen research director Rick Claypool. Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs banker slated to become Secretary of the Treasury, “is the appointment we would expect a president to have picked, if he intends to forge a plutocratic alliance” with Wall Street, said Claypool, who warned: “We can expect a return to the kind of Wild West of anything goes risk-taking that led to the 2008 crisis.”

A Movement Sorely in Need of Science

“The importance of the discussion of analysis has grown since the election,” said Nandita Chaturvedi, one of the organizers of a conference on Revolutionary Science for Radical Times, December 9 and 10, at Philadelphia’s Church of the Advocate. “You see that there is so much confusion on the left, and you see activists that are aligning with the liberal media and aligning with the Clinton machinery.” Without a disciplined political analysis, social movements lose their moorings. “In order to see clearly what we are trying to oppose, and what is the system that we are dismantling, I think analysis is really needed,” said Chaturvedi.

RICO Prosecutions as a Tool of Gentrification

“They came to my house in the pre-dawn hours with all the elements of war,” said Paula, mother of one of 120 young men swept up in a police raid centered on two housing projects in The Bronx, last April, and charged with a wide range of crimes under RICO conspiracy laws. It was the biggest such sweep in New York City history – larger than a raid that netted 103 youths from two Harlem housing projects, in 2014. Paula has withheld her last name in fear of retaliation against her son, whose mental health has deteriorated under solitary confinement. “They are not mafia, as they are charged under RICO,” she said. “None of these youth had arsenals of firearms.” Most had no money for defense lawyers. Paula sees the raids as part of gentrification pressures to empty public housing. Many of the mothers, she said, “have their sons in jail and, at the same time, they’re going through an eviction process.

U.S. is Lying Aggressor in Syria...

The United States has no right to interfere in the affairs of other countries, period, said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley, speaking to a gathering of the Hands Off Syria Coalition, last week. The U.S. carries out regime change under the guise of “humanitarian” intervention to “protect” people from their own government, but “the claim is always a lie, a ruse to make real the Project for a New American Century,” said Kimberley, who is also active with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “The United States never has a humanitarian purpose in mind, in Syria or anyplace else -- any more so than it does here at home.”

...Just Like in Libya and Iraq

Michael Sampson, a co-founder of the Florida-based Dream Defenders who is now a labor organizer in the Washington, DC area, was among those that testified at a People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, December 1 and 2, at the University of DC Law School. “The same tanks, the same police equipment, the same tear gas canisters that the war profiteers are spending billions of dollars on, are being thrown on the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore and Milwaukee and Charlotte,” said Sampson. “The wars that occur everywhere are all connected to war at home – the war on working class people and Black and brown people. All these movements must connect. The people who colonized Iraq are the same people who colonized African Americans, here.” The Real News Network covered both days of testimony, live.

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: black_agenda_radio_20161205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17am EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

An African Stampede Out of the International Criminal Court?

“Of the six cases that are currently, or soon to be, on the docket of the ICC, all involve indictments against Africans.”

After 14 years, the neocolonial judicial farce of an International Criminal Court may be unraveling. South Africa has joined Burundi in serving notice that it is starting the process of withdrawing from the ICC. The decision by President Jacob Zuma’s government has caused panic in the West, which fears it might touch off a mass withdrawal of Africans from the ICC at the African Union Summit meeting, in January. There were similar fears of a mass African walk-out when the ICC indicted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity, in 2012. The International Criminal Court dropped those charges two years later.

From its very inception, in 2002, the ICC has been a court for Africans only, a tool of the United States and the former colonial powers. Of the six cases that are currently, or soon to be, on the docket of the ICC, all involve indictments against Africans. It is as if the only high-placed criminal politicians in the world live in Africa.

South Africa says it is saying goodbye to the ICC because the court interferes with its national sovereignty. For example, South Africa styles itself as a peace-maker on the continent, and reserves the right to host talks between feuding parties, even if one of them has been charged with crimes by the ICC. Such was the case when Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa, last year.

In Rwanda, the International Criminal Court has acted as a prosecutorial service Paul Kagame, the Tutsi dictator. Despite abundant evidence that Hutus were also massacred during the Rwandan civil war, and that Kagame’s forces deliberately provoked the bloodbath, the ICC prosecuted only Hutus and opponents of the Kagame regime.

“Washington is not even a member of the ICC -- and never will be, since the U.S. is unwilling to be judged by any global authority.”

This year, the ICC seemed to be getting ready to indict the current Hutu president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been targeted for regime change by Rwanda and its super-power protector, the United States. That’s when Nkurunziza decided to get out of the ICC.

The U.S. is the most hypocritical player of all, when it comes to the International Criminal Court. Washington is not even a member of the ICC -- and never will be, since the U.S. is unwilling to be judged by any global authority. The U.S. voted against creation of the court when the issue came up for a vote at the United Nations, in 1998. Yet, Washington uses the ICC as a threat against African leaders that resist U.S. domination – like Burundi’s President Nkurunziza.

South African President Jacob Zuma can count on his African National Congress legislative majority to support a withdrawal from the ICC. It’s a welcome move on Zuma’s part, but it doesn’t make up for South Africa’s vote, five years ago in the UN Security Council, for a “no-fly zone” over Libya. That shameful surrender to U.S. pressure resulted in the overthrow and death Muammar Gadaffi, a great friend and material supporter of the South African liberation movement. Let’s hope that Zuma is now signaling that he will pursue a foreign policy that is more independent of the United States.

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: 20161026_gf_ICCSouthAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 24, 2016

20 Years of Genocide in Congo

Friends of Congo marked the 20th anniversary of the invasion and genocide that has killed at least six million Congolese with an all-day event at Thoughtworks, in New York City. “We’re not just fighting against our own government,” said Nita Evele, of the Congo Global Action Coalition. “We’re fighting against our neighboring countries” in the Great Lakes region of the continent “who figured out that they can make tons of money by helping the big multinationals and the big powers, the United States, France and Canada,” who are allied with the invaders, Rwanda and Uganda.

The Black Panther Party at 50, Bobby Seale at 80

On the same weekend that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding, in Oakland, California, hundreds gathered to roast and toast former Party chairman Bobby Seale on his 80th birthday. Seale put forward a far less revolutionary version of the Party’s origins and history. “When we went out there to patrol the police, it was a tactic to capture the imagination of the people,” he told the crowd. However, it was Seale’s intent all along to “organize a political-electoral unit and to take over some of these damn cities. My objective was to get more Black politicians, and that’s what happened.” Seale also supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Better a Dog Than Clinton for President, Says Haiti Activist

“The only reason that Hillary Clinton is not in jail; the only reason that the Clinton Foundation is not shut down, is precisely because they are protected by the highest levels of government,” said Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist and radio host in New York City. Andre said the Clintons have stolen billions from the Haitian people. “It’s like Barack Obama gave Haiti to the Clintons as a gift,” he said. “With regard to this election, whatever is able to stop Hillary Clinton, we have to support that; if it’s a dog running against Hillary Clinton, you have to vote for that dog because of the harm that this family has caused to our people.”

Theater in the Service of the Struggle

The National Black Theater, in New York’s Harlem, hosted a radical political theatrical production titled “Survival Crimes,” produced by the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). The plot focuses on two current cases: Mumia Abu Jamal’s legal battle to force the state of Pennsylvania to provide medical treatment for the thousands of prison inmates suffering from Hepatitis C, including himself; and the arrest in The Bronx of 120 people on gang-related conspiracy charges -- the biggest such roundup in New York City history. Activist Kyle Fraser said the play points out the “theatrics of the state, swooping in with helicopters to this neighborhood, using Shock and Awe tactics,” and perverting the rule of law in the Pennsylvania prison system.

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_20161024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

Trump’s Disintegration Means It’s Not Just Safe to Vote Green, It’s Mandatory

Trump’s Disintegration Means It’s Not Just Safe to Vote Green, It’s Mandatory

A BAR radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

The election is more than two weeks away but the outcome isn’t the least bit in doubt. Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. It’s high time for leftists, so-called progressives and generally sensible people to reconcile themselves to this fact.

The Trump candidacy has shot itself in both feet again and again. Scores of high profile Republican officeholders have deserted their party’s nominee. Donald Trump has failed to rally the section of America’s ruling elite that traditionally backs Republicans seeking high office. Millions in donations one that percenters usually invest in a Republican presidential candidate are finding their way to Hillary, who has opened up a double digit lead in the polls. So many Republican voters are staying home or casting their ballots for Hillary that Democrats may carry some states like Georgia which are normally well out of their reach, and Democrats expect to gain control of the US Senate.

The Donald is certainly a racist demagogue, a thief, liar, a hyper-entitled sexual predator and a loathsome buffoon. But he’ll never be president. Since Trump will in fact never be president, speculations on what kind of neanderthals the imaginary President Trump might appoint to the EPA or the Supreme Court, nightmares about how many millions he’d deport, how high a wall the pretend president might build, or who the imaginary President Trump would jail, drone or nuke after a 3AM Twitter fit are not frightening possibilities we need to take urgent action to avoid. They are bogeyman stories, make-believe, bad science fiction without the science.

If there was ever a need to unite to prevent a President Trump that need is over because the make-believe President Trump has prevented himself. Trump’s definitive meltdown and the temporary or permanent near destruction of the Republican party locks down a runaway victory for Hillary Clinton. It’s a new day, an historic opportunity which opens the way for even the most cautious among us to vote our hopes, not our fears.

Now the Henry Giroux’s of the world who claim voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, the only peace, jobs and justice candidates will lead straight to President Trump and “concentration camps” can stop hyperventilating. The Angela Davis types can reconsider whether those who don’t share their fears of the imaginary President Trump are “narcissists,” and the Hillary shills who claim voting for third parties is “white privilege” can just go away.

Since Hillary Clinton has a double digit lead in the polls, she doesn’t need the votes of so-called left and progressive activists. But those activists have their own needs. They need to build their own political home, their own political party. Right now Stein and Baraka are running at four and five percent in nationwide polls, even though restrictive ballot access laws banned Green candidates from the ballot in four states, and forced them to run as “independents” with no party affiliation in seven or eight more.

If Stein and Baraka get five percent of the vote in November, ballot access for Greens will be a done deal in most states, and the possibility of additional federal campaign funds in presidential years opens as well. So the only ways for left and progressive activists to waste their votes is to stay home, or to give them to Hillary. The only place where your vote matters this year is with the Green Party.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a 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: 20161020-bd-new-day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24am EDT

Unspeakable America

“Having no real defense against the obvious, the Clinton campaign and most of the corporate media painted Wikileaks as an arm of Russian intelligence.”

Let’s get to the point of this commentary right up front: political discourse in the United States is devoid of substance because the people who own the country and its media can no longer justify their continued rule. Capitalism -- in deep and irreversible decline, dominated by a financial class that makes nothing but exotic forms of money -- has nothing to offer the vast bulk of the people, and no solutions for any of the multiplying crises it has created. Having no real program to offer the public, the rulers and their media have no choice but to shut down any semblance of substantive political debate.

In this presidential season most of the ruling class is gathered under Hillary Clinton’s Big Tent. Republican Donald Trump is on the outs, despite his billionaire status, because he has violated several sacred taboos of the One Percent. I’m not talking about his racism -- race is central to politics in the U.S. Trump’s heresy is that he has challenged rich people’s right to take their money and the nation’s jobs, overseas. And Trump has questioned U.S. policies of endless war, regime change, and demonization of Russia.

The truth is, most Americans oppose the deindustrialization of their country, and they know who is responsible: Wall Street. And most Americans do not want to live in a world that is constantly on the brink of war. Even Donald Trump’s white nationalists yearn for some global peace and quiet and an economy with good jobs for average (white) people.

“Trump has violated sacred taboos of the One Percent.”

Hillary Clinton is deservedly known as both a warmonger and a shameless supplicant of Wall Street, whereas Trump exhibits no loyalties to anyone but himself. Wikileaks has done periodic dumps of documents proving, in Clinton and her handlers’ own words, that she is a servant of the ruling class. Having no real defense against the obvious, the Clinton campaign and most of the corporate media painted Wikileaks as an arm of Russian intelligence. The purpose of this New McCarthyism was to inoculate the public against believing Clinton’s own words, as they were spoken to bankers, and at the same time discredit Trump’s position that the U.S. should seek better relations with Russia and stop helping jihadists in Syria. Having no intention to offer peace to the American people or stop supporting the jihadists, the ruling class shut down the conversation.

The New York Times stooped to new lows of Zionistic McCarthyism, last week, when it used the broad brush of anti-Semitism to slime Donald Trump’s critique of what he called a “global elite” that had “stripped” the U.S. of its wealth in order to line the pockets of corporate and political interests. He said Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.” Actually, this is provably true about Hillary Clinton and her past support for so-called free trade – and it’s how today’s capitalist system works, in general. Socialists, and even left liberals, make the same case all the time. But such talk is now verboten, prohibited because the New York Times tells us that anti-Semites like to say such things about “the Jews.”

So, even for mega-capitalists like Trump, critiques of capitalism are beyond the pale – unspeakable.

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: 20161019_gf_Unspeakable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 17, 2016

Glen Ford: If Trump is a Fascist, What is Clinton?

Speaking to a gathering of the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, in Atlanta, Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford challenged those who maintain that progressives are obligated to support Hillary Clinton for president to counter a “fascist” threat from Donald Trump. “I’d like to know how Donald Trump is supposed to build fascism when the ruling class is mostly with the Democrats this election season,” said Ford. “If you are worried about 21st century fascism, you need to check out the tent where the ruling class congregates -- and that’s Hillary’s tent. Most of all, if you’re looking for fascists, go to the sound of the war drums” -- which are also pounding in Hillary’s tent. For voters that are looking for a real anti-fascist and pro-peace presidential ticket, the only choice on the ballot in most states is Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, of the Green Party, said Ford.

In Some States, 20 to 25 Percent of Blacks Disenfranchised by Felonies

A new report by The Sentencing Project shows that six million Americans have been disenfranchised because of felony convictions, with huge consequences for Black America. In four states -- Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia -- one out of every four or five African Americans has lost the right to vote. “These are states with high rates of incarceration and, as is true in every state, the rate of incarceration of African Americans dwarfs that of whites, usually by about a five to one ratio,” said Project executive director Marc Mauer. “The combined effect of high rates of incarceration and the fact that many, if not most, of the people who have completed their sentences are still disenfranchised means that it is a lifetime ban.” Mauer said the U.S. stands alone among industrialized countries in its zeal to disenfranchise ex-felons. “Nothing we know of comes close to this.”

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_20161017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27pm EDT

Soft Porn Tape Trumps Wikileaks Truths: Hillary’s “Private” Lies Prevail

Even Santa Claus would get outsourced in Hillary’s vision of ‘free trade.’”

There was never any real doubt that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump. Indeed, from the Democrats’ standpoint, Trump was the ideal candidate. Wikileaks documents show that the Democratic National Committee wanted the Republicans to put forward as right-wing a candidate as possible, so that Clinton, who represents the right wing of the Democratic Party, would look good by comparison.

Clinton has long been the favorite of the corporate media, and her best TV friends are at NBC. The network had known for months about the 11-year-old tape in which its current employee, Billy Bush, a cousin and nephew of two presidents, joined with Trump in piggish banter degrading women. NBC chose to release the tape at precisely the right moment to suck the air out of a new batch of Wikileaks documents that could have been catastrophic for the Clinton campaign. As a result, everybody and their mother knows that Trump brags about grabbing women’s private parts, but far fewer folks learned what Clinton said to those bankers and other One Percenters that have paid her $26 million for private speeches. If the contents of her bankster speeches had been divulged at the height of her primary race against Bernie Sanders, Clinton would never have won the nomination, because they reveal her as a methodical, cynical liar who wants to cut Social Security and send millions more jobs overseas.

Clinton told the bankers at Morgan Stanley that she agreed with the co-chairs of President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission, who proposed cutting Social Security and making Americans wait longer to collect their benefits. She called that “the right framework” to “restrain spending” and “incentivize growth”

To earn her $200,000-plus check, Clinton confided to Brazilian bankers that her “dream” is "a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” -- that is, a kind of super-NAFTA agreement that stretches from the North Pole to the South Pole. Even Santa Claus would get outsourced in Hillary’s vision of “free trade.”

Inoculated Against Truth

Clinton told a bunch of real estate developers that rich folks like themselves shouldn’t take her public speeches to the Democratic masses too literally. Her years in politics have taught her, she said, that “you need both a public and a private position.” She is telling the rich and powerful not to worry, because she will protect their interests while lying to the people.

Had NBC not pushed the Wikileaks story to the side with their soft-porn Trump tape, Clinton’s candidacy would have been gravely wounded. But, the Democrats and their corporate media allies have convinced many Americans that everything from Wikileaks is a Russian trick, including documents that come straight from the desk of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and which Podesta does not deny are his. Much of the public has been inoculated against any bombshells of truth from Wikileaks. And if any truth threatens to break through, then the media will find some other way to change the subject, because Big Media are a part of the filthy rich that hope to benefit from Hillary’s “private” positions and public lies.

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: 20161012_ClintonWikied.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 3, 2016

Reparations a Necessity to Correct America’s Crimes

The United Nations panel of experts that blasted the U.S. for its “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality” had no choice but to call for reparations for people of African descent, said Kamm Howard, of NCOBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. “The international community recognizes that reparations is pretty much mandatory when a state has committed those types of crimes,” said Howard. “You have to repair the injury, you have to make the people whole, because these types of injuries are long term and, generally, self-perpetuating.”

Ajamu Baraka: Bush and Obama Backed Jihadist Forces

“This country and the world is more dangerous as a consequence of the rampage the U.S. has been involved in in the so-called Middle East,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka. Speaking on Democracy Now!’s “Expanded Debates,” Baraka said both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the rise of Islamic jihadism. “Under the Bush administration, there was a conscious decision to utilize jihadist forces to advance U.S. policies,” he said. “That policy was continued under the Obama administration. We see the blowback happening across the world.”

Crying Wolf on Fascism

“This notion that we’re going to have a white nationalist fascist takeover in this election, and that we all need to go running to this rightwing fanatic, this arch-corporatist, this lying neoliberal warmonger” -- Hillary Clinton – “is not sticking with a lot of people on the Left,” said historian and political analyst Paul Street. Part of the reason is that “Clinton has such a long and unambiguous track record of really vanguard neoliberalism,” said Street. The Clintons “led the way for the rightward drift of the Democratic Party.”

Nat Turner as Revolutionary Organizer

The slave revolt that swept through Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831, in which about 60 whites were killed and hundreds of Blacks were hanged or murdered in retaliation, was “far more than an impulsive lashing out against mistreatment,” said Dr. Melvin Peters, associate professor of African American Studies at the University of Eastern Michigan. Turner was a man of “unparalleled leadership,” said Peters. “When Turner called out to the recruits, his six men grew to at least 60, maybe 80 freedom fighters, including free Blacks.” Slave insurrections also broke out “all around the Dismal Swamp, even down to Wilmington, North Carolina, in the same time period --- so much so, that they appeared to be coordinated.”

Black Colombians Favored Peace Deal

“The majority of the ‘Yes’ vote came from Afro-descended territories and from those territories where war has hit most strongly at communities,” said Afro-Colombian human rights activist Charo Mina-Rojas. The agreement that would have ended the half-century-long war between FARC guerillas and the Colombian government was narrowly defeated in a referendum, last month. The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and left more than five million homeless, the majority of them Black. Mina-Rojas called the vote a victory for “the elite.” “We were not shocked,” she said.

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: 20161010_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 3, 2016

Clinton is Far More Anti-Crime Than Pro-Justice

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over stop-and-frisk at their first televised debate, Clinton only weakly addressed “the idea of racial justice,” but instead “went immediately to the idea of effectiveness” of stop-and-frisk as a crime-fighting tool. “If a program infringes on civil liberties and violates the Constitution, it doesn’t matter at all if it’s effective or ineffective,” said Chip Gibbons, policy and legislative counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. If, however, the purpose of a policy is “to terrorize people of color, then I supposed you can make an argument that stop-and-frisk is effective in doing that,” said Gibbons.

Trump Not the Only Neo-Fascist Running for President

Hillary Clinton’s “worldview and her policies are just as dangerous as Donald Trump’s,” said Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice presidential candidate. Lots of folks “talk about the coming of neo-fascism under Donald Trump, but don’t understand that the foundation for neo-fascism has already been created under the Obama administration -- and for some of us, in our communities, we have already been subjected to neo-fascist repression.” In Syria, both Clinton and Trump “are committed to the use of military force to advance the interests of the U.S,” said Baraka.

Candidates “Tone-Deaf” to Inner City Demands

“Our big concern was that the presidential candidates were tone-deaf to the avalanche of organizing and fightback against corporate education interventions that are targeting Black and brown neighborhoods all over the United States,” said Jitu Brown, of the Journey for Justice Alliance, representing 40,000 activists in community organizations in 24 cities. The Alliance demands “real, comprehensive equality in education” and a national moratorium on school charters. “We will not give folks the pass that President Obama got,” said Brown.

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: 20161003_Black_Agenda_Radio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 26, 2016

Prison Strike Against Slave Labor Continues

Despite a near-total lack of corporate media coverage, the national prison strike that began September 9 continues at facilities in 11 states, said Pastor Kenneth Glascow, chief outside spokesperson for the Free Alabama Movement, centered at the state prison in Holman. “Some are on hunger strike, some are doing the work stoppage” to protest involuntary servitude at slave wages, said Glascow. “In the near future, we will start boycotting some of those companies that use prison labor.” U.S. unemployment is “not just about ‘outsourcing’” jobs to foreign countries, he said. “It’s also ‘in-sourcing,’ using prison labor.”

Clinton Election Heightens Danger of World War

If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she will likely name Samantha Power, the current U.S. ambassador to the UN and an architect of the so-called “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine, as her secretary of state or national security advisor, said Duboisian scholar and veteran social activist Dr. Anthony Monteiro. “It is clear that the Clinton foreign policy would be guided by the Pentagon and her own predisposition to settle accounts in the Middle East and with the Assad government and with Russia, militarily,” said Monteiro. “We on the Left -- and, especially, the Black Left – have to begin to raise the question of war and peace as the central question in this election.”

Uhuru Conference: “Africans Need Our Own Theory”

The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (INPDUM) held its national conference in Ferguson, Missouri, this month. “We’ve been borrowing theory from everybody else,” said Movement president Kalambayi Andenet. “What is our interest? We need our own theory, and that’s African internationalism.” INPDUM is part of the African People’s Social Party, chaired by Omali Yeshitela. “We are a revolutionary organization,” he said. “If anybody is going to govern, to rule Black people, it’s got to be Black people, themselves.”

Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia

Hundreds of protestors have been killed in recent months in the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia, victims of the central government’s policy of “ethnic cleansing” of the nation’s two largest population groups, said Tsigereda Mulutega, vice president of the Ethiopian People’s Congress for Struggle (SHENGO). The Ethiopia regime is dominated by people from the Tigrayan ethnic group, which comprises only 6 percent of the population. Ethiopia is the biggest U.S. foreign aid recipient, next to Israel, said Mulutega. Therefore, “it is in the interest of U.S. taxpayers to say ‘no’ to crimes against humanity in Ethiopia.”

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: 20160926_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am EDT

The Obama Legacy: It’s No Crime For Corporations To Steal From the Public, or the Poor

The Obama Legacy: It’s No Crime For Corporations To Steal From the Public, or the Poor

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Today we’re going to look for the Obama legacy in how the federal government treats those who steal from the public or from the poor.

The current bankster scam in the news right now is Wells Fargo, whose bosses deliberately incentivized thousands of $12 an hour employees to buckle down and sell connected financial services to customers who did not need or want them in order to keep their jobs or be eligible for promotion. For the record, Wells Fargo is not the only bank to do this, it’s been a standard kind of corrupt bankster move all over the world for decades. Wells Fargo made billions doing it this time alone.

So how do scamming banksters get handled in the age of Obama, and is it any different from what came before?

The answer is that a thousand or two bank workers will be disciplined or fired. For a small fine, a mere fraction of what its executives stole, Wells Fargo got the Obama Justice Department to co-sign on their professed innocence of any crime and to guarantee their immunity to lawsuits filed by the people they robbed.

Obama’s first attorney general famously declared the banksters too big to prosecute or even investigate, and his second attorney general wrote the fine print on the similar “get out of jail free” and the “can’t be sued by the people I robbed” cards Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and of course Wells Fargo received in 2008-09. It wasn’t always this way. When savings and loan officials scammed the public out of billions during the first Bush administration, federal prosecutors put a couple thousand of them in prison. Obama could have done, and was expected by millions of his voters to do the same. He simply chose not to, which helped Democrats lose the Congress in 2010. In 8 years Democrat Barack Obama has gone further to protect criminal banksters and their investors than any Republican dared go before him.

Take a quick look at the Obama administration’s handling another kind of theft from the poor, wage theft.

Economist Richard Wolff estimates the yearly value of wages which employers refuse to pay, illegally withhold or otherwise steal from their workers in this country at several times the value of all the reported burglaries and armed robberies. Employers traditionally are not prosecuted, and in Los Angeles it’s reported that 83% of workers who WIN a case filed for stolen wages against an employer never recover a cent. Wage theft seems to be an area where little has changed. Previous administrations never bothered themselves about it, and neither did the Obama administration.

Finally not even the briefest of Barack Obama legacy on elite financial crime is incomplete without noting the president’s role in the massive expansion of the charter school racket. The Obama administration spent $4 billion in federal stimulus money outside any congressional or other oversight to incentivize the closing of thousands of so-called “underperforming public schools” mostly in black and poor communities. The near-complete absence of public accountability on the part of charter schools predictably ushered in a nationwide white collar crime wave, as charter school operators, their officers, contractors and their sugar daddy investors scrambled for shares of the cash that used to go to public education.

Thus the past 8 years reveal the definitive Obama legacy on elite financial crime. It’s not just too big to jail. It’s simply not punishable, or even investigatable as long as you steal from the poor or from the public.

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 the co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta Ga, and can be reached at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160921-bd-obama-legacy-elite-financial-crime.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41pm EDT

Murder by Occupation: Tulsa 2016, Baghdad 2007

“That looks like a bad dude.”

The narrators of the murder were high in the sky, circling the scene of the unfolding, racist crime in their police helicopter. Down below, a large Black man named Terence Crutcher was standing with his hands up next to his disabled car. Four Tulsa, Oklahoma cops had arrayed themselves like a firing squad; one of them, Officer Betty Shelby, was the wife of Dave Shelby, one of the cops in the helicopter. From his elevated vantage point, Officer Dave Shelby provided the voice-over to Terence Crutcher’s last moments of life. “He’s got his hands up there for her now,” said Shelby. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”

You’d think that was a good thing. But, the other cop chimes in immediately: “Time for a Taser, I think.” Officer Shelby says, “I got a feeling that’s about to happen.” His partner clearly wants some damage done to the Black man, below. “That looks like a bad dude, too,” he said. “Could be on something,” he adds -- already providing some kind of drug-crazed justification for the murder that his fellow cops are about to commit. Then, with heaven and her husband Dave watching, Officer Betty Shelby blows Terence Crutcher away. The two cops in the helicopter express no surprise, no shock, no emotion whatsoever. As Terence Crutcher lays dying, the first thing out of Officer Dave Shelby’s mouth was about re-routing traffic around the killing zone.

The helicopter police voice-over of Terence Crutcher’s execution was a ghastly reminder of the video released by Wikileaks of a 2007 mass murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. helicopter gun crews over Baghdad. The Americans were engaged in what I’m sure some of them called “hajji-hunting,” which is the same as what the good ole boys back home call “coon-hunting” -- searching for colored folks to kill. Circling unseen way above the city, the Americans opened fire at an innocent group of unarmed men on a street corner.

Mission Unjustifiable

“Keep shootin. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’,” hollered one of the killers. “Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards,” said his partner. “Nice. Good shootin’,” the other soldier complimented his accomplice in murder. But they weren’t through, yet. The gunship then attacked a van driven by a father with two of his children inside. The voice of American Soldier #1 is heard saying, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

These voices over Baghdad and Tulsa speak the same language: the language of Occupation. When spoken by Americans, this language is always racist, but it also has its own, particular quality of horror. Occupations are always justified as “peace-keeping” missions. Domestic occupiers are called “peace” officers. But their mission is war against a civilian population -- to inflict preemptive terror on an entire mass of people. Since the actual mission cannot be justified, the Occupiers lie to themselves and everybody else about the real nature of their mission. In the end, the Occupied peoples have no choice but to expel their tormentors, or become as insane and morally degraded as they are. This applies just as much in Tulsa as it does in Baghdad. We need Black community control of the police, and an end to the Occupation.

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: 20160921_gf_TulsaToBaghdad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

Murder by Occupation: Tulsa 2016, Baghdad 2007

“That looks like a bad dude.”

The narrators of the murder were high in the sky, circling the scene of the unfolding, racist crime in their police helicopter. Down below, a large Black man named Terence Crutcher was standing with his hands up next to his disabled car. Four Tulsa, Oklahoma cops had arrayed themselves like a firing squad; one of them, Officer Betty Shelby, was the wife of Dave Shelby, one of the cops in the helicopter. From his elevated vantage point, Officer Dave Shelby provided the voice-over to Terence Crutcher’s last moments of life. “He’s got his hands up there for her now,” said Shelby. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”

You’d think that was a good thing. But, the other cop chimes in immediately: “Time for a Taser, I think.” Officer Shelby says, “I got a feeling that’s about to happen.” His partner clearly wants some damage done to the Black man, below. “That looks like a bad dude, too,” he said. “Could be on something,” he adds -- already providing some kind of drug-crazed justification for the murder that his fellow cops are about to commit. Then, with heaven and her husband Dave watching, Officer Betty Shelby blows Terence Crutcher away. The two cops in the helicopter express no surprise, no shock, no emotion whatsoever. As Terence Crutcher lays dying, the first thing out of Officer Dave Shelby’s mouth was about re-routing traffic around the killing zone.

The helicopter police voice-over of Terence Crutcher’s execution was a ghastly reminder of the video released by Wikileaks of a 2007 mass murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. helicopter gun crews over Baghdad. The Americans were engaged in what I’m sure some of them called “hajji-hunting,” which is the same as what the good ole boys back home call “coon-hunting” -- searching for colored folks to kill. Circling unseen way above the city, the Americans opened fire at an innocent group of unarmed men on a street corner.

Mission Unjustifiable

“Keep shootin. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’,” hollered one of the killers. “Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards,” said his partner. “Nice. Good shootin’,” the other soldier complimented his accomplice in murder. But they weren’t through, yet. The gunship then attacked a van driven by a father with two of his children inside. The voice of American Soldier #1 is heard saying, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

These voices over Baghdad and Tulsa speak the same language: the language of Occupation. When spoken by Americans, this language is always racist, but it also has its own, particular quality of horror. Occupations are always justified as “peace-keeping” missions. Domestic occupiers are called “peace” officers. But their mission is war against a civilian population -- to inflict preemptive terror on an entire mass of people. Since the actual mission cannot be justified, the Occupiers lie to themselves and everybody else about the real nature of their mission. In the end, the Occupied peoples have no choice but to expel their tormentors, or become as insane and morally degraded as they are. This applies just as much in Tulsa as it does in Baghdad. We need Black community control of the police, and an end to the Occupation.

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: 20160921_gf_TulsaToBaghdad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 19, 2016

Kaepernick’s Example Spreads “Like Wildfire”

The same reality confronts the U.S. today as in 1776, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston: “If you treat a people atrociously, you should not expect them to stand by you.” The third stanza of the “Star-Spangled Banner” “explicitly denounces Black people, since they fled en mass to British lines in the War of 1812 and helped to torch the White House in August, 1814,” because the British promised freedom for those who would fight the slave-holding white settlers. Football star Colin Kaepernick’s defiance of the national anthem and flag “is spreading like wildfire,” said Dr. Horne, “and hopefully it will help people to begin to interrogate our past and our present.”

Black Youth Activists “Lobby” for Legislation on Capitol Hill

Black Youth Project 100 and the National Black Justice Coalition launched a lobbying campaign, last week, coinciding with the Congressional Black Caucus’ yearly extravaganza. BYP100 spokesperson Samantha Master said the group’s legislative priorities include the College for All Act, the Health Equity and Accountability Act, the Healthy Families Act, and the Equality Act, among others. “We are going beyond just simple criminal justice reform,” said Master. “We are taking the stance to abolish the system that continually marginalizes Black people.” The lobbying work is intended to be “simultaneous with and intertwined with our base-building work and our grassroots advocacy work,” she said. The overall goal is to build “public policy agendas that create a world where Black people can live in dignity.”

Despite Video, Feds Will Not Charge Cop in Killing Jerame Reid

The police car video clearly showed Jerame Reid’s hands raised in surrender when a Bridgeton, New Jersey cop shot him dead at point blank range, on December 30, 2014.Yet, the local U.S. attorney has refused to charge the officer with any crime. “We categorically reject that decision not to bring a civil rights investigation,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, which has been holding weekly demonstrations at the Federal Building in Newark demanding “justice for Jerame Reid.” Hamm said the Justice Department sets the “bar so high” to prove police culpability, “it’s like a rigged game.”

Mother of Drowned Girl Finds Comradeship in Uhuru Movement

Kunde Ngudi Mwamvita, whose 16 year-old daughter, Dominique, and her two 15 year-old best friends drowned to death when the car they were driving was forced into a pond by Pinellas County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies, was a featured speaker at the Independent People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s annual conference and 25th anniversary, this past weekend, in Ferguson, Missouri. Ms. Mwamvita is suing the county. “We have to be strong,” she said. “But, I can’t be strong by myself. I had to join a group of people who said, ‘Enough is enough -- not one more Black life!’”

Darren Seals is Sixth to Die Suspiciously in Ferguson

Upstairs from the Uhuru Movement conference at Ferguson’s Greater St. Marks Church, family, friends, and “movement” folks attended the funeral of Darren Seals, the 29 year-old activist, rapper and General Motors worker whose body was found in his car, shot and incinerated. Seals’ passing was noted on Kiilu Nyasha’s San Francisco Bay Area television show, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle,” by Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, whose January 1, 2009, killing by a transit cop set off demonstrations that many believe mark the beginning of the current mass movement against police terror. “Darren Seals is the sixth young man since Michael Brown to be assassinated in Ferguson,” said Mr. Johnson. “It appears to be an assassination that is directly related to the police.”

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_20160919.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

Georgia’s Governor Wants To Turn His Public Schools Into Post Katrina New Orlean

Georgia’s Governor Wants To Turn His Public Schools Into Post Katrina New Orleans

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

There’s a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Georgia this November. The word voters will see on their machines election day read thusly:

Amendment #1: Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.

"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?"

It’s Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's cynically misnamed "Opportunity School District" or OSD, the latest atrocity in the bipartisan right wing drive to privatize public education in the United States.

The so-called “Opportunity School District,” as its corporate funded multimillion dollar advertising campaign calls it, empowers the governor, through an agency he appoints, to decide what schools are “failing”, usually by low scores on standardized tests. It authorizes the closing of a hundred Georgia public schools, almost entirely in black Georgia.

The governor then gets to fire up a virtual school district stretching across the entire state, a district in which he alone appoints all the officials on whatever basis at what ever salary suits him. OSD lets the governor create up to a hundred new charter schools in his virtual district to eat the funds which used to go to those public schools. The new OSD charter schools will make fortunes for their investors and contractors, who have already and will continue to donate generously to the governor and his friends. OSD’s charter schools will only be responsible to their own boards and investors, and of course the governor.

There is no “flexibility” or “community involvement” whatsoever. It’s simple school privatization. OSD will strip locally elected school boards, along with parents, teachers and communities of any and all rights to control their schools and the educational destiny of their children.

The only opportunity in Governor Deal’s opportunity school district is a business opportunity for his friends, not an educational opportunity for our children.

The leading candidate to head this contraption is said to be Illinois Democrat Paul Vallas, who shredded the public schools of Chicago and Philly before being named the first head of the post-Katrina New Orleans Recovery School District, an all charter operation created when one-percenters closed all 127 New Orleans public schools. So it’s not metaphor when we say Governor Deal wants to turn Georgia’s schools into those of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Some Democrats DO oppose, though they only criticize Republican privatizers, not Democrats. Some Republicans oppose it too, because OSD will strip locally elected school boards of any semblance of control over the educational futures of children. But the most powerful politicians of both parties do want school privatization. They just don’t like to use p-word, it has “high negatives.” So their privatization amendment is on the ballot, nicely wrapped up to look like something else entirely.

Unlike Democrats and Republicans, many of whom are deep in the pockets of charter school sugar daddies, the Green Party is the only political party which unequivocally opposes school privatization in general and the OSD in particular. If the amendment passes, it will be the biggest set of school closures since Katrina, and Chicago a few years back when Rahm Emanuel shut down 50 schools at once. The eyes of the nation, for a little while will be on Georgia.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter.

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


Direct download: 20160914-bd-opportunity_school_dist01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT

Philippines President Has U.S. Target on His Back

“Duterte does not accept being lectured to by the United States, a country with so much Filipino blood on its hands.”

Don’t be surprised if Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte winds up being overthrown or murdered by his own military or national police, acting on behalf of the United States. All most Americans know about President Duterte is that he called President Obama a “son of a whore” – a term Duterte throws around a lot. Duterte later clarified his remarks, saying the object of his anger wasn’t Obama, personally, but “America,” in general. And, that’s quite understandable, because the United States killed as many as one million Filipinos when it colonized the country back in 1898, and still treats the island nation of about 100 million people like a colony. The U.S. holds great influence with the Filipino military, which operates in close collaboration with U.S. Special Forces troops stationed in the country.

Duterte started cursing when he was told that Obama was planning to lecture him at the G-20 Summit meeting in Laos, last week. Duterte does not accept being lectured to by the United States, a country with so much Filipino blood on its hands. Obama, who has ordered the death of tens of thousands in the bombing of six countries, was preparing to criticize Duterte’s policy of killing accused drug dealers on-the-spot, which has so far resulted in about 3,000 deaths. When the Philippines president found out that he was in for a scolding, he exploded:

“You must be kidding,” he said. “Who is he to confront me? America has one too many to answer for the misdeeds in this country … As a matter of fact, we inherited this problem” – meaning, the drug problem – “from the United States. Why? Because they invaded this country and made us their subjugated people … Can I explain the extrajudicial killing? Can they explain the 600,000 Moro massacred in this island?” Duterte was speaking of Mindanao, where he was born.

Americans = No Peace

The U.S. troop presence inflames tensions with the local Muslim population. “The special forces, they have to go,” he said. “They have to go in Mindanao, there are many whites there.”

But, the Black Americans have to go, too. “For as long as we stay with America,” said the Philippine president, “we will never have peace in that land.”

Duterte thinks Obama has some nerve waving his finger about “human rights.”

"Why are you Americans killing the black people there, shooting them down when they are already on the ground?" he asked.

Duterte is popular with his people largely because he is not a puppet of the United States. He calls himself a socialist, and has honored an extended cease fire in the nearly 50-year war with communist guerillas. Duterte says he may begin buying weapons from Russia and China, who offer “soft loans” and better terms. He said he will stop allowing joint patrols of Philippine and U.S. naval forces in the South China sea, and will “follow an independent foreign policy.” And, Duterte says his country doesn’t need American F-16 jets and other expensive weapons.

This is more than enough to get him killed, most likely by the Philippines military, But the hit will be commissioned by the United States, which is not about to allow a president of one of its former colonies to stand in the way of America’s “pivot” to Asia and looming confrontation with the China.

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: 20160914_gf_DuterteTargeted.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 12, 2016

Networks Need to “Do Their Jobs” and Hold 4-Way Debates

RootsAction.Org is circulating a petition urging the television networks and cable news operations to “do their job, to hold a presidential debate with all the candidates that should appropriately be in it,” said veteran antiwar activist David Swanson. The Democrat- and Republican-controlled debate commission “was created to keep other candidates out and to keep any serious questions out,” while the petition demands that the debates be “open to any candidate who is already on ballots in enough states to win and who is either at 5 percent in the polls or has a majority saying they should be in the debates,” said Swanson. “Just adding Jill Stein would create an entirely different conversation, that just won’t be there with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” he said.

Baraka: Clinton is “Lying” About Her Support for TPP

Speaking at a Green Party rally in Chicago, vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka urged voters to dismiss Hillary Clinton’s claim that she no longer supports the Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade deal. “If you understand her history, her ideological orientation, you know that she is lying. She is a neoliberal capitalist and she supports TPP,” said Baraka. “This campaign is about building a movement, it’s about building an alternative to the status quo. It is recognizing that we are in a protracted struggle for fundamental change,” he said.

Priority in Pittsburgh: Community Control of the Police

“We have a police union that is at the forefront of maintaining a violent and white supremacist type of police presence,” said Khalid Raheem, of the New Afrikan Independence Party, which recently held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In order for any serious change to come about,” he said, “we really have to have community control of the police, and that means we have to dismantle the current system and replace it with something that’s controlled and run by the people, themselves.” The New African Independence Party is part of the Black Is Back Coalition.

Blacks Suspect Police Involvement in Ferguson Activist’s Death

Darren Seals, who gained national attention as part of community resistance to massive police repression in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of Michael Brown, in 2014, was found shot to death and incinerated in his car last week. “The word on the streets is that somebody paid $10,000 for it to happen, it was police-motivated,” said Edwin Chanell, who collaborated on various projects with Seals. “He was an activist from the streets, trying to bring the community together.” Chanell’s New Generation Black Council works with gang members in Greater St. Louis.

Black Teacher Shunned the Flag Before Colin Kaepernick was Born

Back in 1985, Hardy Williams was fired from his coaching position at a Los Angeles high school for turning his back on the national anthem. Williams won a $25,000 settlement in a suit against his principal and the school district. Now turning 70, he said he’s been shunning the American flag and anthem since 1973. “I don’t honor it. In my opinion, American doesn’t honor us,” said Williams, who was “elated” to hear of Colin Kaepernick’s game-time actions. “I think, hopefully, that I’ll be able to meet him.”

Black Colombians Prepare for Peace Deal Signing

On September 26, FARC guerillas and the Colombian government will sign an historic accord to end a more than half-century of civil war, to be followed by a popular referendum on the agreement, October 2. Charo Mina-Rojas, a national coordinator of the Black Communities Process in Colombia, said Afro-Colombians worry that demobilized guerillas will be relocated close to Black and indigenous people’s territories, and that right-wing paramilitaries show signs of stepping up their activities. “We are concerned about how the implementation of these agreements is going to happen, and how we are a part of the process,” she said.

Mumia: Give Generously to Prison Radio

The nation’s best known political prisoner is asking his supporters to help Prison Radio “keep the wolf from the door.” Prison Radio distributes regular commentaries by Mumia Abu Jamal and reports from other activists in America’s Gulag. “Prison Radio has brought you the voices behind the walls -- the fastest growing public housing development in America,” said Abu Jamal.

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_sept12_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 12, 2016

Networks Need to “Do Their Jobs” and Hold 4-Way Debates

RootsAction.Org is circulating a petition urging the television networks and cable news operations to “do their job, to hold a presidential debate with all the candidates that should appropriately be in it,” said veteran antiwar activist David Swanson. The Democrat- and Republican-controlled debate commission “was created to keep other candidates out and to keep any serious questions out,” while the petition demands that the debates be “open to any candidate who is already on ballots in enough states to win and who is either at 5 percent in the polls or has a majority saying they should be in the debates,” said Swanson. “Just adding Jill Stein would create an entirely different conversation, that just won’t be there with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” he said.

Baraka: Clinton is “Lying” About Her Support for TPP

Speaking at a Green Party rally in Chicago, vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka urged voters to dismiss Hillary Clinton’s claim that she no longer supports the Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade deal. “If you understand her history, her ideological orientation, you know that she is lying. She is a neoliberal capitalist and she supports TPP,” said Baraka. “This campaign is about building a movement, it’s about building an alternative to the status quo. It is recognizing that we are in a protracted struggle for fundamental change,” he said.

Priority in Pittsburgh: Community Control of the Police

“We have a police union that is at the forefront of maintaining a violent and white supremacist type of police presence,” said Khalid Raheem, of the New Afrikan Independence Party, which recently held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In order for any serious change to come about,” he said, “we really have to have community control of the police, and that means we have to dismantle the current system and replace it with something that’s controlled and run by the people, themselves.” The New African Independence Party is part of the Black Is Back Coalition.

Blacks Suspect Police Involvement in Ferguson Activist’s Death

Darren Seals, who gained national attention as part of community resistance to massive police repression in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of Michael Brown, in 2014, was found shot to death and incinerated in his car last week. “The word on the streets is that somebody paid $10,000 for it to happen, it was police-motivated,” said Edwin Chanell, who collaborated on various projects with Seals. “He was an activist from the streets, trying to bring the community together.” Chanell’s New Generation Black Council works with gang members in Greater St. Louis.

Black Teacher Shunned the Flag Before Colin Kaepernick was Born

Back in 1985, Hardy Williams was fired from his coaching position at a Los Angeles high school for turning his back on the national anthem. Williams won a $25,000 settlement in a suit against his principal and the school district. Now turning 70, he said he’s been shunning the American flag and anthem since 1973. “I don’t honor it. In my opinion, American doesn’t honor us,” said Williams, who was “elated” to hear of Colin Kaepernick’s game-time actions. “I think, hopefully, that I’ll be able to meet him.”

Black Colombians Prepare for Peace Deal Signing

On September 26, FARC guerillas and the Colombian government will sign an historic accord to end a more than half-century of civil war, to be followed by a popular referendum on the agreement, October 2. Charo Mina-Rojas, a national coordinator of the Black Communities Process in Colombia, said Afro-Colombians worry that demobilized guerillas will be relocated close to Black and indigenous people’s territories, and that right-wing paramilitaries show signs of stepping up their activities. “We are concerned about how the implementation of these agreements is going to happen, and how we are a part of the process,” she said.

Mumia: Give Generously to Prison Radio

The nation’s best known political prisoner is asking his supporters to help Prison Radio “keep the wolf from the door.” Prison Radio distributes regular commentaries by Mumia Abu Jamal and reports from other activists in America’s Gulag. “Prison Radio has brought you the voices behind the walls -- the fastest growing public housing development in America,” said Abu Jamal.

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_sept12_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

Trump Might Call for Four-Way Debates – But Only If He Thinks He Can’t Win

“Trump might do the right thing, but only to protect his own fragile ego.”

On Tuesday night, just as I was preparing to do a commentary on whether Donald Trump might threaten to drop out of the televised debates if the candidates for the Green and Libertarian Parties weren’t allowed to participate, I ran across a story that claimed Trump had already done just that. A website called the Santa Monica Observer reported the Trump decision as fact, but without naming a source. Nobody else ran the story, and the Trump campaign said it wasn’t true, so it was probably a hoax. However, a Trump threat to boycott the debates remains a tantalizing prospect, given that, back in 2000, he said it was “disgraceful” that the Democrats and Republicans were able to shut the smaller parties out of the presidential debates. Green Party campaign senior advisor Kevin Zeese has all but dared Trump to live up to his principled stance of 16 years ago.

Principles aside, Trump has some self-centered reasons to want Jill Stein and Gary Johnson standing next to him and Hillary on September 26th. Very few Green Party supporters would vote for Trump under any circumstances, so a good showing by Stein doesn’t come at his expense. But, according to recent polls, voters that now plan to pull the lever for Gary Johnson’s Libertarian campaign would otherwise be split about evenly between Trump and Clinton. Therefore, Trump would appear to have a relative net advantage over Clinton if there were a vigorous, four-way presidential contest.

“Back in 2000, Trump said it was ‘disgraceful’ that the Democrats and Republicans were able to shut the smaller parties out of the presidential debates.”

I personally don’t think that such mathematical calculations are central to the way Donald Trump thinks. He really is a narcissist who always talks about winning and can’t stand to lose. And, unless that comb-over has affected his brain cells, he should know that Clinton is even better at lying on her feet than he is. She studies her lies, while Trump just makes things up as he goes along. If Trump becomes convinced that he is going to lose this election badly or be humiliated in the debates, he will seek to muddy the waters by introducing other actors into the contest, so that Clinton can’t say she beat him one-on-one. That is, he’ll do the right thing, and call for Stein and Johnson’s participation in the debates, but only in order to protect his own fragile ego. Right now, some polls are showing Trump even with Clinton, which is probably bad news for Stein and Johnson’s chances of getting in the first debate – but that could change quickly.

There is little hope that Stein and Johnson will average 15 percent in the polls – the arbitrary cut-off the Republicans and Democrats have imposed to keep third parties out. That’s because the media corporations that both commission the polls and monopolize the news dedicate only one half of one percent of their election coverage to the Green and Libertarian Parties. As a result, about one-third of the public has never even heard of Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. This is what elections have come to in an age when monopoly capital has a monopoly on information and defines what is and isn’t news and who is and isn’t worthy of public office. Both Trump and Clinton are products of this dictatorship of capital. It’s a crime that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson won’t be seen by the debate’s huge audience unless Donald Trump is convinced he can’t win.

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: 20160907_FourWayDebate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 7, 2016

20th Anniversary of Clinton’s War Against the Poor

It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress destroyed “welfare as we knew it” by replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the “workfare” regime called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The result, said Maureen Taylor, chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, is growing poverty in the United States. Taylor says TANF should be changed to DANF, standing for “Disappearing Aid for Needy Families.” Residents of Michigan are only eligible for cash assistance for five years in their lifetimes. It’s a shame, said Taylor, how the political class is “turning, not against poverty, but trying to turn the nation against poor folks.”

Judge Finds Way to Avoid Ordering Hep C Cure for Mumia

A federal judge agreed that it is unconstitutional for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to deny curative medical treatment to Mumia Abu Jamal and thousands of other prisoners suffering from Hepatitis C. However, the court then ruled that Abu Jamal’s suit was technically flawed. Noelle Hanrahan, a director of Prison Radio who works closely with Mumia, was outraged that the state has condemned thousands of prisoners to early and unnecessary deaths. “You can’t construct a situation that is more grossly inhumane,” she said.

Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, was more upbeat about the ruling. “It’s a good beginning that a federal judge recognizes that what the Commonwealth is doing, and has been doing for years, is not only unjust but unconstitutional, a violation of fundamental fairness and the human right to life,” he said.

Clinton and Trump Fear TV Debate with Stein and Johnson

“Our view is that if you have the potential for 270 Electoral College votes -- if you are on enough ballots to achieve that -- then you should be in the debate,” said Kevin Zeese, the veteran activist recently named as senior advisor to the Green Party’s Jill Stein-Ajamu Baraka presidential ticket. Zeese notes that polls show half the American public wants the televised debates open to Stein and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. However, the debates are a joint venture of the Democratic and Republican parties, who call the shots. “It’s a disgrace to democracy,” said Zeese, “that they can choose who they will debate.”

Obama Neutralized Blacks for Most of His Term

Barack Obama’s presidency has been “the highest expression” of the U.S. government’s long campaign to “neutralize the Black liberation movement,” said BAR regular contributor Danny Haiphong, who this week posted the ninth in his ten-part series on the Obama legacy. “It really wasn’t until 2014, when Obama was in his last years, that any semblance of a movement against issues like police brutality and racism began to come back to the fore,” said Haiphong. Black liberationist politics has been suppressed for two generations, said Haiphong, “with the help of a Black misleadership class that has diluted, sanitized and almost destroyed, up until recently, the Black Radical Tradition.”

U.S. Anti-War Movement Under Attack

A recent article by Terry Burke in the leftish magazine In These Times attacked a broad range of anti-war activists and groups for opposing the U.S. war against Syria. Burke claims U.S. activists aren’t listening to “the Syrian people.” In response, Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, said the U.S. insists on regime change in Syria, and “anyone who has any confusion as to where that leads has only to look at Libya and at Iraq and see the howling wasteland that has been created” by U.S. intervention.

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_20160905.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 7, 2016

20th Anniversary of Clinton’s War Against the Poor

It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress destroyed “welfare as we knew it” by replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the “workfare” regime called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The result, said Maureen Taylor, chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, is growing poverty in the United States. Taylor says TANF should be changed to DANF, standing for “Disappearing Aid for Needy Families.” Residents of Michigan are only eligible for cash assistance for five years in their lifetimes. It’s a shame, said Taylor, how the political class is “turning, not against poverty, but trying to turn the nation against poor folks.”

Judge Finds Way to Avoid Ordering Hep C Cure for Mumia

A federal judge agreed that it is unconstitutional for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to deny curative medical treatment to Mumia Abu Jamal and thousands of other prisoners suffering from Hepatitis C. However, the court then ruled that Abu Jamal’s suit was technically flawed. Noelle Hanrahan, a director of Prison Radio who works closely with Mumia, was outraged that the state has condemned thousands of prisoners to early and unnecessary deaths. “You can’t construct a situation that is more grossly inhumane,” she said.

Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, was more upbeat about the ruling. “It’s a good beginning that a federal judge recognizes that what the Commonwealth is doing, and has been doing for years, is not only unjust but unconstitutional, a violation of fundamental fairness and the human right to life,” he said.

Clinton and Trump Fear TV Debate with Stein and Johnson

“Our view is that if you have the potential for 270 Electoral College votes -- if you are on enough ballots to achieve that -- then you should be in the debate,” said Kevin Zeese, the veteran activist recently named as senior advisor to the Green Party’s Jill Stein-Ajamu Baraka presidential ticket. Zeese notes that polls show half the American public wants the televised debates open to Stein and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. However, the debates are a joint venture of the Democratic and Republican parties, who call the shots. “It’s a disgrace to democracy,” said Zeese, “that they can choose who they will debate.”

Obama Neutralized Blacks for Most of His Term

Barack Obama’s presidency has been “the highest expression” of the U.S. government’s long campaign to “neutralize the Black liberation movement,” said BAR regular contributor Danny Haiphong, who this week posted the ninth in his ten-part series on the Obama legacy. “It really wasn’t until 2014, when Obama was in his last years, that any semblance of a movement against issues like police brutality and racism began to come back to the fore,” said Haiphong. Black liberationist politics has been suppressed for two generations, said Haiphong, “with the help of a Black misleadership class that has diluted, sanitized and almost destroyed, up until recently, the Black Radical Tradition.”

U.S. Anti-War Movement Under Attack

A recent article by Terry Burke in the leftish magazine In These Times attacked a broad range of anti-war activists and groups for opposing the U.S. war against Syria. Burke claims U.S. activists aren’t listening to “the Syrian people.” In response, Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, said the U.S. insists on regime change in Syria, and “anyone who has any confusion as to where that leads has only to look at Libya and at Iraq and see the howling wasteland that has been created” by U.S. intervention.

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_20160905.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

The Imperial Consensus, Part 1: Hillary and Trump, Republicans and the Congressional Black Caucus Agree on Israeli Apartheid

The Imperial Consensus, Part 1: Hillary and Trump, Republicans and the Congressional Black Caucus Agree on Israeli Apartheid

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For the two capitalist parties this election year, nothing is more important than controlling the public convertsation. Republicans want you to know that Hillary is a liar and a crook. Democrats need to keep reminding you that Trump is an unrepentant racist and con man. What neither party or candidate, and none of the corporate media news outlets talk about are the places where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are on the same page, the issues on which the entire one-percenter US political establishment is of a single mind. So for the next couple weeks here at Black Agenda Report, we’ll talk about where Hillary and Donald Trump agree.

The first obvious point of agreement in the US political establishment, not just between Hillary and Trump, but between all the corporate media outlets and from the downticket hacks and flacks on the Republican side to the Congressional Black Caucus and the so-called Progressive Caucus there is nearly unanimous and unflinching support for the apartheid state of Israel.

From the moment of its founding in 1948, Israel has been a vicious colonial settler state, a savage ethnocracy bent upon the violent expulsion and dispossession of all the land’s non-Jewish inhabitants. To maintain its high-tech, well-armed, white military outpost in that sea of brown people next to a large fraction of the planet’s most easily accessible oil, the US has made itself Israel’s armorer, financier and diplomatic sugar daddy, an arrangement condoned by the leaders of both imperialist parties.

Both Trump and Hillary showed up at AIPAC’s annual meeting in March. Trump declared Israel “a strategic ally” and “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Hillary doubled down and denounced the nonviolent global movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the apartheid regime as “alarming,” equating it to antisemitism.

And it’s not just the one percenter presidential candidates. Republicans from John Kasich and John McCain and Democrats from Rahm Emanuel to the Congressional Black Caucus are solid, nearly unanimous backers of re-arming, re-financing and diplomatically reinforcing the apartheid state. New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, championed and signed into law a 2016 bill banning individuals and corporations identified as supporting the BDS movement from contracting with the state, and provided for a state-run blacklist of BDS supporters, much like the old Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which furnished information about local Freedom Movement activists of the 1950s and 60s to vigilantes who harassed and sometimes murdered them.

Outside the US, Israel’s pedigree as an apartheid state is almost universally recognized. But the only US presidential candidate to utter the words “Israel” and “apartheid” in the same sentence has been the Green Party’s Jill Stein, whom Democrats and Republicans alike desperately need to ban from televised debates, lest she expose not the difference between the two corporate parties, but the distance between them and the American people.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.


 

Direct download: 20160831-bd-imperial-consensus-part1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:31am EDT

Don’t Let the Russians Corrupt the U.S. Elections System! (Don’t Make Me Laugh)

There is no U.S. elections integrity for the Russians to destroy, even if they wanted to.”

Hillary Clinton is cold – not like ice, but like the Cold War. She will do anything to return to the White House, including risking thermonuclear war with Russia. Her “Big Tent” campaign apparatus is overflowing with an influx of the most warlike elements of both major parties, now united in a crusade to give Clinton a huge electoral mandate for global aggression. Clinton knows she can’t get such a mandate simply by beating the pants off the amateur white nationalist, Donald Trump. All that would prove is that voters dislike her less than they dislike him -- which isn’t saying much. To give her victory in November a truly triumphal character, she must be seen as saving the nation from an existential threat. Russia is easily made to fit the bill, as the nation that has been Uncle Sam’s boogeyman for nearly a century.

It’s not so much that Clinton has linked Trump to Russia – but that she has smeared Russia with Trump. It is obvious that Clinton has been planning for years to ride into the White House on a warhorse. No sooner than she left the State Department, she was comparing President Vladimir Putin to Hitler. Now she’s infected her entire Big Tent with rabies. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is frothing at the mouth about a Russian threat to tamper with the 2016 elections. The Nevada senator cites remarks by former CIA chief Michael Morell, who combined his endorsement of Hillary with a charge that Donald Trump was an “unwitting agent” of Putin, and that Russian tampering with U.S. elections represents “one of the gravest threats to our democracy since the Cold War.” Senator Reid fears the Russians might mess with elections in five or six states. He wants the FBI to open an investigation. FBI agents have told reporters that foreign hackers broke into voter files in two states: Arizona and Illinois.

U.S. Elections are Shams

Of course, Trump doesn’t work for anybody but himself, and the Russians are the last people that American voters have to fear. U.S. elections lack credibility because of endemic racism and corruption that is hardwired into the system, itself. Massive purges of Black voters in Florida and tampering with polling places in Black precincts in Ohio rendered invalid the results of the 2000 and 2004 elections. Yet, the Democrats did not protest the blatant tampering in 2000, and only one U.S. Senator, Barbara Boxer of California, challenged the results in 2004. The validity of U.S. elections has only gotten worse since then, with hundreds of Jim Crow-style voting restrictions introduced in virtually every state in the union. There is no U.S. elections integrity for the Russians to destroy, even if they wanted to.

The U.S., however, has interfered in Russia’s elections, quite blatantly in 2012. In the period after World War Two, the U.S. sabotaged elections in France and Italy, trying to keep out the communists. Hillary Clinton’s underling at the U.S. State Department, Victoria Nuland, bragged that the U.S. spent $5 billion interfering in Ukrainian politics, until finally engineering a coup that threw out the elected government.

The United States has opposed democracy everywhere in the world. The rulers of this country do not want free and fair elections, at home or abroad. Neither does Hillary Clinton. She prefers war. And that’s a cold fact.

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: 20160831_gf_RussiaUSElections.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:41am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 29, 2016

The district court in Sherwood, Arkansas, is in gross violation of a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against imprisoning people for debt, according to a class action suit filed by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Arkansas ACLU. Much like the pattern of abuse documented by a U.S. Justice Department in Ferguson, Missouri, Sherwood derives as much as 12 percent of its revenues from “imposing mounting fines or fees tied to very low level offenses,” said Lawyers Committee president Kristen Clarke. One of Clarke’s clients wound up spending 25 days in jail and owing nearly $3,000 to the courts because she bounced a $28.93 check. “Our hope is that we can bring national attention to this problem, and that we might inspire action by the Congress to breathe life back into this Supreme Court ruling,” said Clarke.

Reformers Hope Private Prison Phase-Out Will Spread

The Obama administration’s announcement that it will phase out contracting with private prisons in the federal system is “a real notable moment,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, in Washington. “It’s yet another indication that the growing critique and challenge to mass incarceration is really gaining ground,” said Mauer. The vast bulk of the nation’s 2.4 million inmates are held in local and state institutions, and most immigrants under detention are not affected by the executive order. However, Mauer is “hopeful” that there will be a “spillover effect.”

Mumia: Trump or Clinton – Choose Your Poison

The nation faces “incredibly grim” choices for president, according to America’s best known political prisoner. Mumia Abu Jamal said Donald Trump is “an overt racist” while Hillary Clinton is a neoliberal that “supported one of the most poisonous public policies in decades: the prison industrial complex.” Neoliberalism, he said, is the “politics of repression with a smile.”

A Green Foreign Policy Against Permanent War

“Permanent war is a central part of the elite agenda,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, in an interview on Pacifica radio station KPFA. Since the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S. has tried to impose “full spectrum dominance” over the entire planet, said the veteran human rights activist and editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “That policy was adopted and embraced by the Obama administration, and it is also embraced by Hillary Clinton.” Obama’s so-called “free trade” agreements are “the economic arm of full spectrum dominance,” said Baraka.

Confused Writer Claims Anti-War Movement is “Imperialist”

In an article in the leftish magazine In These Times, Terry Burke denounced activists that oppose the U.S. proxy war against Syria as being, themselves, “imperialist.” Burke lashed out at a long list of activists and organizations, including UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “That’s illogical,” said Margaret Kimberley, an editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report who serves on UNAC’s administrative committee. Burke and her ilk “are not opposed to U.S. intervention,” and are “pro any intervention run by a Democratic president,” said Kimberley, while UNAC “is steadfast in opposing American intervention abroad. That means we must oppose the 5-year-long war of terror waged against the country and the people of Syria.”

Philippines War May Be Nearing Resolution

The Philippine government and communist guerillas of the New People’s Army wrapped up the first phase of negotiations to end a 50-year-long war in the former U.S. colony. Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of Bayam USA, which represents the above ground and armed resistance forces, said the breakthrough occurred because President Rodrigo Duterte “was not elected as the usual U.S. hand-picked candidate of the Philippines.” The country’s army and police, however, have “historically been a proxy army for the U.S...to kill off the longest armed revolution in the region against the U.S. – the Philippine revolution,” said Ellorin. Phase Two of the talks begins in October. In the meantime, President Duterte has ordered his armed forces to respect the mutual ceasefire.

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_20160829.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02am EDT

Katrina and Other Catastrophes

The New Orleans model has gone national.”

Eleven years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, killing at least 1,200 people – although no one will ever know the actual death toll because most of the victims were Black and poor and, therefore, were never considered important enough to count.

What was important to the rulers of this country, in the aftermath of Katrina, was making sure that as many as possible of the displaced Black residents would not be allowed to return to the city. Before the waters had fully subsided, corporate planners were exulting in the opportunity to build a new New Orleans, a much whiter and richer metropolis. Katrina had ethnically cleansed the city -- permanently exiling 100,000 Blacks -- and the Lords of Capital could not contain their jubilation. What Blacks experienced as catastrophe was celebrated as a renaissance.

Katrina was a godsend for Disaster Capitalism, and provided a model for capitalists to create future disasters for Black people. President Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans" because it allowed school privatizers to fire all of the city’s teachers, 71 percent of them Black, and turn most of the schools into charters. Instead of firing Duncan for his outrageously callous and deeply racist remarks, President Obama joined in praising the so-called “recovery” of a city that had shed about a third of its Black population and was on the way to becoming the nation’s first all-charter school system. Over the next several years, Obama’s Race to the Top program would coerce states to create a “market” for charter schools or face the loss of federal education funds. Katrina paved the way to a catastrophe for public education, nationwide.

Black Caucus Muzzled, Easily

During the last weeks of the summer of 2005, when the magnitude of the disaster became apparent, it seemed that almost every Black community organization responded with some kind of Katrina support program. But, there was no political response from the Congressional Black Caucus, in Washington. The Democratic Party hoped to regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t want the Party to appear too pro-Black. She ordered her members to boycott the Republicans’ hearings on Katrina, and Democrats held no hearings of their own. In the face of what was then the greatest Black catastrophe of the 21st century, the Congressional Black Caucus allowed itself to be muzzled.

The Black political class’s abject failure to respond to Katrina guaranteed that there would be more catastrophes for Black folks. The Lords of Capital realized that, if they could get away with massive ethnic cleansing in New Orleans, while the whole world was watching, they could ratchet up the speed of gentrification and Black removal all across the country. Soon, half of the Black citizens of Michigan were disenfranchised by an emergency financial manager regime that took over all of the state’s heavily Black cities. The New Orleans model has gone national, because the rulers of this country know that they don’t need a storm to drive Black folks from the cities – and that there will be no resistance from a selfish, useless Black Misleadership Class.

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: 20160824_gf_KatrinaCatastrophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

Katrina and Other Catastrophes

The New Orleans model has gone national.”

Eleven years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, killing at least 1,200 people – although no one will ever know the actual death toll because most of the victims were Black and poor and, therefore, were never considered important enough to count.

What was important to the rulers of this country, in the aftermath of Katrina, was making sure that as many as possible of the displaced Black residents would not be allowed to return to the city. Before the waters had fully subsided, corporate planners were exulting in the opportunity to build a new New Orleans, a much whiter and richer metropolis. Katrina had ethnically cleansed the city -- permanently exiling 100,000 Blacks -- and the Lords of Capital could not contain their jubilation. What Blacks experienced as catastrophe was celebrated as a renaissance.

Katrina was a godsend for Disaster Capitalism, and provided a model for capitalists to create future disasters for Black people. President Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans" because it allowed school privatizers to fire all of the city’s teachers, 71 percent of them Black, and turn most of the schools into charters. Instead of firing Duncan for his outrageously callous and deeply racist remarks, President Obama joined in praising the so-called “recovery” of a city that had shed about a third of its Black population and was on the way to becoming the nation’s first all-charter school system. Over the next several years, Obama’s Race to the Top program would coerce states to create a “market” for charter schools or face the loss of federal education funds. Katrina paved the way to a catastrophe for public education, nationwide.

Black Caucus Muzzled, Easily

During the last weeks of the summer of 2005, when the magnitude of the disaster became apparent, it seemed that almost every Black community organization responded with some kind of Katrina support program. But, there was no political response from the Congressional Black Caucus, in Washington. The Democratic Party hoped to regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t want the Party to appear too pro-Black. She ordered her members to boycott the Republicans’ hearings on Katrina, and Democrats held no hearings of their own. In the face of what was then the greatest Black catastrophe of the 21st century, the Congressional Black Caucus allowed itself to be muzzled.

The Black political class’s abject failure to respond to Katrina guaranteed that there would be more catastrophes for Black folks. The Lords of Capital realized that, if they could get away with massive ethnic cleansing in New Orleans, while the whole world was watching, they could ratchet up the speed of gentrification and Black removal all across the country. Soon, half of the Black citizens of Michigan were disenfranchised by an emergency financial manager regime that took over all of the state’s heavily Black cities. The New Orleans model has gone national, because the rulers of this country know that they don’t need a storm to drive Black folks from the cities – and that there will be no resistance from a selfish, useless Black Misleadership Class.

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: 20160824_gf_KatrinaCatastrophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 24, 2016

Presidential Pollsters Ask the Wrong Question

“There’s no major poll that I know of that asks the American public who they want to be president,” said journalist and VotePact founder Sam Husseini. Instead, the five polling outfits that decide if candidates have enough support to appear in televised debates ask, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” Husseini believes “there are probably millions of people who would want to vote for third parties,” but plan to pull the lever for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as “a tactical maneuver.” Theoretically -- especially with Clinton and Trump rated unfavorably by majorities of Americans -- “we could have majority appeal for third party candidates right now, but we would never know it because nobody’s” asking the right question.

Clintonites Play Foul Against Greens

Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka said so-called “liberal” Clinton supporters “are trying to undermine the moral authority that we have as a campaign that stands up for the working class in this country to advance principles that transcend the limitations of liberalism; to talk about a new kind of democracy and an economic liberation that goes beyond the limitations of capitalism.” Baraka, a veteran human rights activist and editor at Black Agenda Report, said the Clintonites slime the Greens as part of the ‘loony left’ to “try to undermine this oppositional moment.”

Black Is Back Coalition Stresses Centrality of Self-Determination

For decades, the conversation around Black liberation in the United States has been missing the critical element of self-determination, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The movement that emerged in Ferguson in 2014 “wasn’t about body cameras, and it wasn’t about police-community review boards. We criticized those who could not even make a demand on the system,” Yeshitela told a gathering of the coalition, in Philadelphia. The coalition approved a list of 19 demands as the basis for a Black Agenda for Self Determination, to be submitted to the annual Black Is Back national conference in Washington, November 5 and 6.

Ralph Poynter, the veteran activist and husband of people’s lawyer and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart, assumed the chairmanship of the coalition’s Political Prisoners Working Group. “The modern death penalty -- 80 percent Black -- moved lynching indoors,” said Poynter. “The police, as the army of occupation, have taken lynching outside, again. The lynch mob is the racist system, including the courts and the media.”

Detroit Schools Activists Win Court Battle

A Michigan judge excoriated the state-run Detroit school district for attempting to bar Steve Conn and Nicole Conaway from advocating teacher strikes against the privatization and forced deterioration of the public schools. The district’s request for an injunction against Conn, a former president of the local teachers union, and Conaway, of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), was “offensive to free speech,” said the judge. “We’re certainly going to urge more protests to defeat the governor for destroying our schools,” said Conn.

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_20160822.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 24, 2016

Presidential Pollsters Ask the Wrong Question

“There’s no major poll that I know of that asks the American public who they want to be president,” said journalist and VotePact founder Sam Husseini. Instead, the five polling outfits that decide if candidates have enough support to appear in televised debates ask, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” Husseini believes “there are probably millions of people who would want to vote for third parties,” but plan to pull the lever for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as “a tactical maneuver.” Theoretically -- especially with Clinton and Trump rated unfavorably by majorities of Americans -- “we could have majority appeal for third party candidates right now, but we would never know it because nobody’s” asking the right question.

Clintonites Play Foul Against Greens

Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka said so-called “liberal” Clinton supporters “are trying to undermine the moral authority that we have as a campaign that stands up for the working class in this country to advance principles that transcend the limitations of liberalism; to talk about a new kind of democracy and an economic liberation that goes beyond the limitations of capitalism.” Baraka, a veteran human rights activist and editor at Black Agenda Report, said the Clintonites slime the Greens as part of the ‘loony left’ to “try to undermine this oppositional moment.”

Black Is Back Coalition Stresses Centrality of Self-Determination

For decades, the conversation around Black liberation in the United States has been missing the critical element of self-determination, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The movement that emerged in Ferguson in 2014 “wasn’t about body cameras, and it wasn’t about police-community review boards. We criticized those who could not even make a demand on the system,” Yeshitela told a gathering of the coalition, in Philadelphia. The coalition approved a list of 19 demands as the basis for a Black Agenda for Self Determination, to be submitted to the annual Black Is Back national conference in Washington, November 5 and 6.

Ralph Poynter, the veteran activist and husband of people’s lawyer and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart, assumed the chairmanship of the coalition’s Political Prisoners Working Group. “The modern death penalty -- 80 percent Black -- moved lynching indoors,” said Poynter. “The police, as the army of occupation, have taken lynching outside, again. The lynch mob is the racist system, including the courts and the media.”

Detroit Schools Activists Win Court Battle

A Michigan judge excoriated the state-run Detroit school district for attempting to bar Steve Conn and Nicole Conaway from advocating teacher strikes against the privatization and forced deterioration of the public schools. The district’s request for an injunction against Conn, a former president of the local teachers union, and Conaway, of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), was “offensive to free speech,” said the judge. “We’re certainly going to urge more protests to defeat the governor for destroying our schools,” said Conn.

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_20160822.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18pm EDT

Blacks to Arrive at Promised Land in Year 2244

“In the year 2043, white households will already be a cool $1 million richer than Black households.”

No wonder there has been such an obscene growth in the Black “prosperity” church ministry. Study after study has shown that it will take a miracle for Black people in the United States to ever close the gap with whites in household wealth – that is, under the system of capitalism. The latest report on just how impossible that dream is, is titled the Ever Growing Gap. It was conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Corporation for Enterprise Development, both located in Washington. Based on the steady erosion of Black and Latino household wealth compared to whites over the past 30 years, the authors project that it would take 228 years -- into the middle of the 23rd century -- for Black Americans to amass as much wealth as the median white household already possesses. Latinos are on a somewhat faster track; they would become as wealthy as present-day white families in the year 2097,.

Only 27 years from now, in the year 2043, when the U.S. Census Bureau projects that Blacks, Latinos and other people of color will outnumber white Anglos in the United States, white households will already be a cool $1 million richer than Black households, according to the new study.

Dedrick Asante Muhammed was one of the numbers crunchers. He was also instrumental in a 2004 “State of the Dream” report, that shocked and depressed Black folks with a prediction that Black parity in wealth with whites could not be achieved until the year 2099. This year’s study projects it will take almost a century and a half longer just for Black people to reach 2016 white wealth levels.

A 2010 study out of Brandeis University issued the most honest assessment of long term Black economic prospects in the USA, concluding that African Americans will NEVER gain wealth parity with Euro-Americans.

Parity = $1 Million Per Black Household

The numbers speak eloquently, and irrefutably. Unless this system is dismantled, root and branch, including a fundamental redistribution of wealth, Blacks will fall farther and farther behind whites -- and will be left in the dust by Latinos, as well. Dedrick Asante Muhammed and his colleagues have some suggestions for federal policy changes that might have some very marginal impact on the wealth gap – but not enough to make any real difference. The math is too formidable. To close the wealth gap between white and Black households within a reasonable amount of time – say, by the year 2043, when whites become a minority – the country would have to inject an extra one million dollars into each of the currently existing 16 million Black households, for a total cost of $16 trillion. That’s just a little bit less than the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States, which is about $18 trillion dollars. If the United States wanted to bridge the wealth gap in 27 installments between now and the year 2043, they’d have to pump $600 billion extra a year into Black families’ pockets – which happens to be roughly the price tag of the annual U.S. military budget. So, Uncle Sam would have to give up his guns to pay Black folks a fraction of what is owed us. Sounds like a good deal to me – but I don’t think Washington will go for it.

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: 20160817_gf_WealthGap.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:42am EDT

Greens are Alternative to “Democratic Plantation”

Ajamu Baraka, the veteran Black activist tapped as Jill Stein’s presidential running mate, said the Green Party can make a difference, this year, by “building an alternative to the Democratic plantation” and “transcending the politics of fear.” Baraka is a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “With the continued deterioration of the democratic processes, and of this economy, and the clear tendency on the part of the state to repress political opposition, our time is limited in terms of the extent we can take advantage of the limited democratic space that does exist,” said Baraka.

Neither Trump Nor Clinton Can Resolve Crisis

Although both major party candidates acknowledge that the economy is benefiting only the One Percent, the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lies in how they “identify the source of the problem,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist from Philadelphia. “Clinton says that the policies of financialization, of Wall Street privilege, of trade deals like NAFTA and TPP, are not fundamentally wrong – that we should tweet them, not change them,” said Dr. Monteiro. “Trump, in essence, argues that the problem of the American economy is grounded in the export of capital, and that this is the source of the impoverishment of the American working class.” Monteiro believes “Trump’s stating of the problem is far more accurate than Clinton’s,” but neither of them “provide a solution to the problem.”

Roots of Black Movement for Self-Defense

Black scholars and activists came together, in Detroit, to celebrate the life of Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina, who in the 1950s formed a Black Armed Guard to defend Black people from racist violence. Among the speakers was Dr. Akinyele Umoja, chair of the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University and author of the book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. “There were already people in the South practicing armed self-defense,” said Dr. Umoja. “The thing that distinguishes Williams is that he was an advocate. Most people were quite” members of informal protective networks, but Williams advocated self-defense in his newspaper, The Crusader, and “people began to look at the movement he and others were talking about.”

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_20160815.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am EDT

Greens are Alternative to “Democratic Plantation”

Ajamu Baraka, the veteran Black activist tapped as Jill Stein’s presidential running mate, said the Green Party can make a difference, this year, by “building an alternative to the Democratic plantation” and “transcending the politics of fear.” Baraka is a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “With the continued deterioration of the democratic processes, and of this economy, and the clear tendency on the part of the state to repress political opposition, our time is limited in terms of the extent we can take advantage of the limited democratic space that does exist,” said Baraka.

Neither Trump Nor Clinton Can Resolve Crisis

Although both major party candidates acknowledge that the economy is benefiting only the One Percent, the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lies in how they “identify the source of the problem,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist from Philadelphia. “Clinton says that the policies of financialization, of Wall Street privilege, of trade deals like NAFTA and TPP, are not fundamentally wrong – that we should tweet them, not change them,” said Dr. Monteiro. “Trump, in essence, argues that the problem of the American economy is grounded in the export of capital, and that this is the source of the impoverishment of the American working class.” Monteiro believes “Trump’s stating of the problem is far more accurate than Clinton’s,” but neither of them “provide a solution to the problem.”

Roots of Black Movement for Self-Defense

Black scholars and activists came together, in Detroit, to celebrate the life of Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina, who in the 1950s formed a Black Armed Guard to defend Black people from racist violence. Among the speakers was Dr. Akinyele Umoja, chair of the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University and author of the book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. “There were already people in the South practicing armed self-defense,” said Dr. Umoja. “The thing that distinguishes Williams is that he was an advocate. Most people were quite” members of informal protective networks, but Williams advocated self-defense in his newspaper, The Crusader, and “people began to look at the movement he and others were talking about.”

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_20160815.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am EDT

NAACP and Movement for Black Lives Call for Moratorium on Charter Schools

“School privatization ‘strips Black people of the right to self­determine the kind of education their children receive,’ said the coalition.”

As the Obama administration heads into the sunset, its devastating policy of public school privatization through charters has met fierce resistance from two distinct political currents in Black America. The NAACP, at its annual convention last month, adopted a resolution calling for a halt to the spread of privately-owned charter schools. The NAACP has long been critical of charters, but the language of this year’s resolution was the strongest, yet, charging that charters contribute to an increase in school segregation and are as destructive to poor communities as predatory lending practices by banks. The civil rights group demanded an end to tax breaks and other advantages for charters and reaffirmed its support for high quality, free public education for all children. The privately appointed boards of charter schools, said the NAACP, “do not represent the public yet make decisions about how public funds are spent.”

About a week later, the Movement for Black Lives, representing more than 50 organizations, unveiled its platform on a broad range of issues, including a demand for community control of schools and for a cut-off of federal aid to school districts that are not run by elected school boards. School privatization “strips Black people of the right to self­determine the kind of education their children receive,” said the coalition, charging “this systematic attack” is “bankrolled by billionaire philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, the Walton Family, and Eli and Edythe Broad, and aided by the departments of Education at the federal, state, and local level.”

Cops Out of Schools

The Movement for Black Lives called for and end to Teach for America, President Obama’s favorite tool for displacing veteran educators; a moratorium on all suspensions of students; a shutdown of all juvenile detention centers; and removal of police from the schools. The coalition vowed to “build an international movement of people of African descent to force nations to ratify and recognize education as a human right, and to end privatization.” The coalition specifically called for an end to President Obama’s signature program, Race to the Top, which coerces states to increase charter schools or lose billions in federal education funding.

The NAACP, which most often acts as a virtual annex of the Democratic Party, and the Movement for Black Lives, which has righteously refused to endorse any party or political candidate, are both on the same page when it comes to charter schools. Indeed, the NAACP resolution cites the work of the grassroots organization Journey for Justice, an alliance of community, youth, and parent-led organizations in 21 cities across the country, which also worked on the Movement for Black Lives platform on charter schools. The convergence on this issue between two very different Black political tendencies shows that there is a growing, principled consensus in Black America on the need for democracy in public education, through community control of schools. The struggle for Black self-determination is inseparable from defense of public education.

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: 20160810_gf_NAACP_BLM_Schools.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 8, 2016

Voters Have Choices Outside the Duopoly

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both “evil” people, but U.S. voters do have choices this election season, said South Carolina activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray. “It’s good that people are running on various third parties, to give Americans a little bit of education,” as opposed to watching them make one or the other bad choice,” said Gray, author of Waiting on Lighting to Strike. “One of the good things about Barack Obama leaving office, particularly for Black people, is that perhaps they’ll pick up their signs, pick up their feet, and follow behind the youth that are out here in the streets challenging the system.”

Low Wage Workers to Converge on Richmond

The U.S. labor movement made an historic error in the post-World War Two era in failing to commit sufficient resources to organizing in the heavily Black South. But activists in the current movement to unionize low-paid workers and raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour vow not to repeat that mistake. “We will highlight that low wages and racial inequality is not only hurting Black and brown people, it’s hurting the working poor white people, as well,” said Terrance Wise, a leader of Fight for 15, which will hold a national conference of low-wage workers in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, August 12 and 13. “Until we can build our movement and bring all workers together to demand economic justice and racial equality, we won’t gain any ground,” said Wise, a Burger King employee from Kansas City.

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz Wins Solitary Confinement Settlement

Pennsylvania prison officials have agreed to pay a monetary settlement to political prisoner Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, and to never again place the former Black Panther in solitary confinement, where he spent 22 of the past 44 years. His daughter, Theresa Shoatz, is “elated because it opens the door to other prisoners who are still in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania.” The legal action was spearheaded by the Pittsburg-based Abolitionist Law Center, with virtually no assistance from Black elected officials. “Our state representatives are useless,” said Ms. Shoatz.

Afro-Colombian Rights Recognized in Peace Talks

FARC guerillas and the government of Colombia have agreed in principle to “make sure the rights and interests of Afro-descended and indigenous peoples will be respected” in the resolution of the South American country’s two generations-long civil war, said Charo Mina-Rojas, of the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council. Representatives of the Colombian government and demobilizing guerillas agreed to include such assurances in the peace document being hammered out at negotiations in Havana, Cuba. However, Mina-Rojas said some elements of FARC have not agreed to lay down their arms and “do not fully recognize” Afro-Colombians’ collective land rights.

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_20160808.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:41pm EDT

Coalition Declares Black Self-Determination Back on the Agenda

The Coalition ‘does not believe that our future should be in the hands of any institution that does not have its origins within our own community and has not been forged through the struggles of our people.’”

There have always been two main political imperatives in Black America. One has sought “representation” at all levels within the surrounding, hostile, white supremacist society, and celebrates the elevation of individual Blacks to high social, political and economic status. As a practical matter, under this kind of politics, the condition of the Black masses is secondary -- yet, the great bulk of Black people are expected to follow the political direction of the upwardly mobile minority. This “representationalist” Black politics makes no transformative demands on the United States, and is quite satisfied if there is a steady growth in the number of Black faces in high places.

The other main political tendency in Black America seeks self-determination: independent political, economic and social power for Black people as a group. Those that seek self-determination contend that Black people have the right to determine their own destiny and are certainly not answerable to a white society that has enslaved, oppressed and reviled them.

Throughout Black people’s history in the U.S., these two political tendencies have maintained an uneasy coexistence, even simultaneously inhabiting the same individual Black brain. However, with the fall of legal U.S. apartheid in the mid-Sixties and the crushing of Black self-determinationist forces by the U.S. State a few years later, a Black Misleadership Class emerged that was concerned solely with its own narrow interests -- with putting their own selfish faces into high places. This grasping and venal political class collaborated with the U.S. State to impose a mass Black incarceration regime -- what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow -- and ushered in a two-generation-long era of Black social disintegration, economic retrogression and political confusion.

Today, however, the Black imperative to self-determination is in ascendance. Especially in the last several years, Black people have rediscovered and revived the Black Radical Tradition, with self-determination at the core. The emerging movement that goes under the heading of Black Lives Matter is largely animated by the drive for Black self-determination, albeit commingled with notions of representationalism. Both tendencies find expression in the Movement for Black Lives newly released demands.

19 Points

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, founded in 2009, has always put Black self-determination first, and has now codified this principle in a 19 point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, to be offered “for discussion and adoption” by Black people in a process that begins at a national conference in Philadelphia, August 13 and 14. The 19 points cover the broadest range of Black political concerns, from Black Community Control of Police, ending mass Black incarceration, freedom for political prisoners; to demands concerning Black women and families, gentrification, reparations, self-defense, nationalizing the banks, the right to housing, heath care, education, and universal enfranchisement; the necessity for socialist democracy, the defeat of U.S. imperialism and a payback of the Western debt to Africa, freedom for Palestine, and saving the Earth’s environment from the capitalist system that is destroying it.

Each and every of the 19 points is formulated through the prism of Black self-determination. As the Black Is Back Coalition states in its Declaration on the need for a National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, the Coalition “does not believe that our future should be in the hands of any institution that does not have its origins within our own community and has not been forged through the struggles of our people.”

The August 13th and 14th conference in Philadelphia will set the stage of discussions of the Agenda for Self Determination in cities across the country, culminating in a conference in Washington, DC, following the Black Is Back Coalition’s traditional rally and march on the White House, in November. Black is Back, and so is Black self-determination, because there can be no democracy without it.

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: 20160803_gf_BiBSelfDetermination.wav
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43pm EDT

This Movement Has Millions of Mothers, Most of Them NOT Campaigning For Hillary Clinton

This Movement Has Millions of Mothers, Most of Them NOT Campaigning For Hillary Clinton

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

I don’t know Geneva Reed-Veal, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath, Maria Hamilton, and Gwen Carr. What I know about them is that they’re the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton and Jordan Davis, four of whom were killed by police, the other by a homicidal right wing nutcase.

I know they’re all members of a club they didn’t volunteer for, one that nobody wants to belong to. , and they deserve our respect, our profound sympathy and our support. I know they’re letting themselves be called “the mothers of the movement” and they’re campaigning for Hillary Clinton. I know they were trotted in front of the Democratic convention Tuesday night, where one of them announced that Hillary was going to lead us into an era of restorative justice.

There’s plenty more I don’t know.

I don’t know if the mothers are aware that Hillary Clinton justified and campaigned for the end of welfare in the 1990s, throwing families into deeper poverty and turning millions of poor mothers out into the low wage workforce without child care. I don’t know they’re familiar with the Clinton crime bills of 94, 95 and 96 which financed and fueled the expansion of the mass incarceration state and took Pell grants for college education away from people in prison. I don’t know if they know that Hillary to whom they claim a mother to mother bond helped close the courthouse doors to lawsuits against prison conditions and the efforts of the convicted to prove their innocence. She helped incentivize states to lengthen already unjust and draconian prison sentences, and expand the federal death penalty from four to sixty offenses.

I have no way of knowing whether these ladies actually thought up that “mothers of the movement” title. It sounds like it came from the sharp tongue of some mouthpiece of the black political class, that gaggle of black politicians, preachers and business types which has tied itself hand and foot to the corporate right wing of the Democratic party. This black political class relentlessly celebrates and commemorates the Freedom Movement of 50 years ago to create their signature brand, which is the impression that they had something to do with it, and they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to appear relevant to the current movement.

Capturing and cynically using some of the mothers of those murdered by police is exactly the kind of move we’d expect from the operatives of our black political class. They’re old hands at the game of power politics, and these mothers are newbies. Geneva Reed-Veal, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath, Maria Hamilton, and Gwen Carr are certainly the mothers of martyrs. But let's not get it twisted.

This movement has thousands of martyrs, and tens of millions of mothers, from maroons and runaway slaves whose names we’ll never know to the Harriet Tubmans and Ida B. Wells, to organized nurses, teachers and home health care workers, to the many thousands of women in the streets today. And it’s safe to say that most of the movement’s mothers are NOT campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160727_bd_mothers_of-the-movment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

In Hillary’s Service, Ben Jealous Slimes Stein

“Jealous flaunted his utter subservience to the Democratic Party.”

Ben Jealous looked so happy to be on the prime time stage at the Democratic National Convention, Monday night – thrilled to be endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Jealous got to the convention as one of Bernie Sanders’ high profile Black supporters, a position he took to ensure that the Black Misleadership Class was represented everywhere within the Democratic Party – including its insurgent wing. The NAACP, which Jealous led for four years, is a virtual annex of the Democratic Party. But, since Jealous was no longer president of the organization, it was safe for him to temporarily join the Sanders camp, with confidence that Bernie would at some point capitulate, and they could all be welcomed back into the bosom of corporate power, personified by Hillary Clinton.

You could see the utter joy in Jealous’ face, like he was coming in from the cold. One of his next stops was the studios of Democracy Now! where he flaunted his utter subservience to the Democratic Party in a debate with the Green Party’s presumed presidential candidate, Jill Stein. Jealous sneered at the very idea of challenging the Democrats at the presidential level. “We cannot afford to end up with having an Iraq War because we narrowly lose the White House...as we did with Bush,” said Jealous, repeating the old canard that Ralph Nader threw the 2000 election to the Republicans, and ignoring the fact that Hillary Clinton supported Bush’s war in Iraq – and that Clinton and Barack Obama have since set the whole of the Middle East and much of Africa on fire. Jealous said his mission is to keep the “madman” and “neo-fascist” Donald Trump, out of the White House, to which Jill Stein replied: “Hillary Clinton’s finger on the button is as dangerous as Donald Trump. And it’s Barack Obama himself who initiated the new nuclear arms race, spending a trillion dollars.”

Jealous the Parrot

Ben Jealous could muster no substantive response to Stein on issues of war and peace, or on domestic issues, either. The Black Misleadership Class is not concerned with policy, but with their own position in the Democratic Party structure, which is their doorway to Wall Street and the ruling class. Jealous shamelessly parroted the insane line that Hillary Clinton is “a fierce advocate for women and for children” when, as Jill Stein reminded him, Bill and Hillary Clinton destroyed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program – welfare, as we knew it. Jealous said he was “rooted in a Black community that’s been devastated” by mass incarceration – as if Bill and Hillary were not the architects of the biggest surge in Black imprisonment in history.

Ben Jealous doesn’t know what a fascist is, and could care less; he only knows that his job is to keep Black people inside Hillary Clinton’s big corporate tent. He slanders leftists like Jill Stein as giving aid and comfort to Donald Trump, but makes a career of delivering Black people into the clutches of the worst mass murderers and mass incarcerators the Democratic Party has to offer. What is truly anathema to Ben Jealous and his ilk is a reemergence of a Black independent politics that would likely be more radical and more socialist than Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein – and would put Black Misleaders like him out of business.

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: 20160727_JealousVsStein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

Blowback: Does the US Military Incubate Brutal, Abusive Cops Along With Their Deranged, Disconnected Shooters?

Blowback: Does the US Military Incubate Brutal, Abusive Cops Along With Their Deranged, Disconnected Shooters?

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

Media spokespeople and politicians in both parties are working overtime to paint imaginary connections between the broad movement supported by millions of Americans to strip police of their traditional immunity and impunity for violent acts committed against civilians on the one hand, and the deranged, disconnected shooters of police in Texas and Louisiana.

The real links they studiously ignore are that the Dallas and Baton Rouge shooters were both veterans of the unjust and murderous US military occupations of Afghanistan and/or Iraq, as are many of the police who commit violent acts against their fellow Americans after they return home. While the percentage of cops with military backgrounds is unclear due to the existence of special laws protecting police personnel, disciplinary and other records from prosecutorial and public scrutiny, the percentage of military veterans among police around the country is probably higher than any other line of work excepting civilian employees of the Pentagon, intelligence services and their contractors.

The US military is widely known to aggressively discourage soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from admitting to or seeking help for psychological disorders and injuries. The world our military members live in is a brutal and twisted place where two out of five women are sexually assaulted. It’s a world where reporting, not committing such an assault is a career-ender, a world where seeking help for psychological problems can impair your security clearance and job prospects years later in civilian life because military medical and psychological records, unlike those of civilians are not confidential.

Indications are that the Baton Rouge and Dallas shooters both had problems which are likely results of their military experience. By the same token, it’s not implausible to imagine that many violent and abusive former military members were in need of psychological help even before they became law enforcement officers.

For too long Americans have hidden from the facts and the consequences of America’s brutal overseas wars, even while making motion picture heroes of white snipers like Chris Kyle who famously claimed to have been paid to shoot 30 so-called “looters” in New Orleans during the Katrina disaster. In Chicago, the famous police torturer John Burge first learned his trade in the Vietnam war’s Phoenix program. A generation later Burge’s successors in the Chicago Police Department were directly linked to the mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Rank and file US torturers at Abu Gharaib were Pennsylvania prison guards in civilian life.

While malicious authoritarians from Hillary Clinton and Wolf Blitzer to Bill O’Reilly and Rudi Guliani want to sell us their fantasies connecting Black Lives Matter movement and shootings of police, they ignore the all too real blowback on American streets from our nation’s permanent war footing.

It’s not fantasy but fact that US special ops troops are currently active in dozens of countries across Africa and Asia, and in Ukraine on the borders of Russia, doing bloody brutal and unspeakable things the American people don’t endorse and didn’t vote for. Their crimes go unacknowledged and unpunished and their psychological injuries untreated. Our military, stationed at the frontiers of US empire in more than a hundred countries around the world are incubating the next waves of brutal and abusive police, along with their disconnected and deranged shooters, all practicing what they never should have been taught, bringing home to us another cost of global empire.

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 a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

 

 

Direct download: 20160720-bd-blowback.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

Hillary and Bill Clinton: Specialists in Black Misery, Foreign and Domestic

“The Clinton’s goal was to transform Haiti into the sweatshop of the Caribbean.”

Hillary Clinton and her huckster husband, Slick Willie, seem to specialize in bringing harm to Black people. The public record, stretching back many decades, proves they are Class A racists who have destroyed countless Blacks lives in the service of corporate interests and their own private greed. The Clintons’ crimes against the people of Haiti are but one chapter in the blood-soaked saga of the most vile American couple ever to stride the global stage.

The U.S. State Department, still emitting the stink of Hillary Clinton’s stewardship in Barack Obama’s first term, last week announced it would withdraw financial support for new presidential elections planned for Haiti, this October. That’s just fine with most Haitians, who know that, when the U.S. finances Haitian elections, it gets what it pays for: a government of gangsters in service to multinational corporations and a local elite that fears and despises the poor majority.

A broad consensus of Haiti’s political spectrum agreed to re-start the election process from scratch, and to discard the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have kept the political faction headed by former President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly in power. Martelly, a profane nightclub singer and close associate of terrorists and drug lords, became president in 2011 through a rigged election engineered by U.S. Secretary of State Clinton. Martelly spent much of his term ruling by decree, ruthlessly suppressing the parties of Haiti’s poor majority, allowing gold mining companies and other foreign extraction industries to illegally take over vast stretches of countryside; and seizing coastal properties and islands for the benefit of multinational tourism corporations. American companies and NGOs got the lion’s share of the billions raised to rebuild the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake, with Martelly’s gangster class skimming off the crumbs.

Promoting the Advantages of Poverty

The Clinton’s goal was to transform Haiti into the sweatshop of the Caribbean by keeping Haitian labor dirt-cheap at places like the Clinton Foundation’s Caracol industrial park. Bill Clinton preached that Haiti’s poverty provided it with a competitive advantage; so, the Clintons tried their best to keep Haiti as poor as possible. Hillary Clinton bullied Haiti and rigged its elections through the State Department, and former president Bill Clinton lorded it over the country as special United Nations Envoy, while the Clinton Foundation spent $36 million doing who knows what, and the Clinton Global Initiative managed as much as $500 million in aid money designated for Haiti. Meanwhile, 7,000 Haitians died from a cholera epidemic brought into the country by a UN occupation force that reduced Haiti to an international “protectorate” – protected, that is, from the democratic aspirations of the Haitian people, themselves.

As Martelly’s term drew to close last year, his government stole two more elections with the approval of the United States, which paid for the crime and told Haiti to accept the outcomes. But the Haitians said, keep your money, and are going ahead with new elections in October. This should mark an end to the infinitely corrupt Clinton era in Haiti – except that the Clintons will likely be on their way back to the White House in November, positioning them to pollute the whole planet with their noxious, lethal sleaze and criminality.

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: 20160720_gf_TheRacistClintons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EDT

Bernie Sanders Endorses the World's Greatest (Presumptive) Evil

“Sanders’ job is to shepherd his flock into a little leftwing corner of Hillary’s Big Tent, right next to the latrine and alongside her loyal Black Democrats.”

Bernie Sanders this Tuesday consummated his sheepdog agreement with the Democratic Party, delivering a formal endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. The capitulation script that Sanders read in New Hampshire, with the cackling Banshee of War at his side, could have been written back in the spring of last year, when he formally threw his hat into the race. From the very start, Sanders was firm in his allegiance to the Democratic wing of the corporate duopoly, and any indications to the contrary were purely products of his supporters wishful imaginations.

Bernie Sanders did not lie to his followers; they deceived themselves, just as most of them – the ones that were old enough – had fooled themselves into believing that Barack Obama was a peace candidate and a political progressive back in 2008, although Obama’s actual record and policy pronouncements showed him clearly to be a corporate imperialist warmonger – a political twin of his principal primary election opponent, Hillary Clinton and her philandering, huckster husband.

Back then, phony leftists like Bill Fletcher and Tom Hayden swore on their mothers’ honor that Obama’s campaign was really a people’s movement, a prelude to revolution – as if the Democrats, a militarist corporate political party, could give birth to anti-corporate, anti-militarist people’s revolution.

Real Fascist vs. Trump Cartoon Version

Bernie Sanders threw around the word “revolution” quite a bit. He was still using it in his surrender speech on Tuesday, assuring his flock that the revolution would continue as he marched arm in arm with the most dangerous person in the world, today – far more dangerous than Donald Trump, who will be buried in a landslide of historical proportions in November by a multi-billion dollar mountain of campaign contributions from Hillary Clinton’s Democratic and Republican friends on Wall Street. Sanders’ job is to shepherd his flock into a little leftwing corner of Hillary’s Big Tent, right next to the latrine and alongside her loyal Black Democrats, who are so meek in the presence of power that they won’t even complain about the smell.

In his kow-tow to the Queen of Chaos, Sanders put words in Clinton’s mouth that she never really said, and that would be lies if she did say them. Hillary “feels” this, Hillary “believes” that – it was as if he could read Hillary’s mind. Hillary “knows,” said Sanders, “that something is very wrong when the very rich become richer while many others are working longer hours for lower wages.” Maybe she does know that, but she has no intention to do anything about it – just as she had no intention of allowing the Democratic Party platform to oppose TPP, although she claims she’s against it. As for those compromises Clinton did make on the platform: she was lying. The Clintons have an infinite capacity for lying, and now they’ve got Bernie Sanders lying for them, too.

If only 5 percent of Bernie Sanders’ 13 million voters formed or joined a party of the 99 percent – let’s say, the Green Party – that party would have nearly twice as many members as the British Labor Party. which would be one helluva start. Or, they can crawl along with Bernie into Hillary’s stinking Big Tent, where the real fascists live – the ones with actual experience in regime change, nuclear brinksmanship and mass Black incarceration.

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: 20160713_gf_SandersSurrenders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 11, 2016

Cops Kill Revolutionary Black Panther Leader

Friends and comrades of Angelo Brown, also known as General Houdari Juelani, charge he was “assassinated” by police in Belleville, Illinois, near East St. Louis, last month. Police claim the 35 year-old father of 15 children menaced them with a gun, however, his face and body showed signs of having been beaten. The cops “had been harassing him,” said Edwin Chanell, a lifelong friend and founder of the New Generation Black Council, which is dedicated to uniting gang members “against the real enemy.” He said Angelo Brown “was doing nothing but good stuff: feeding the homeless, giving out clothes,” and was popular in the community. “They are murdering us out here, and covering it up,” said Chanell.

Illinois State House Asks Obama to Study Reparations Issue

In a unanimous vote, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that “calls on President Obama to create a commission to study the harms inflicted by slavery and discrimination and to determine how that damage can be repaired,” said Kamm Howard, of the legislative commission of N’Cobra, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. The move is historic, said Howard, “in the sense that it is the first legislation by a state body since Reconstruction that is calling on the federal government to intercede on behalf of the injuries that people of African descent today face as a result of enslavement and Jim Crow.”

Mass Incarceration in the U.S. and Palestine

On July 15, New York City’s Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center will host a public meeting on mass incarceration of Blacks in the United States, and of Arabs under Israeli occupation in Palestine. “The only way they’ve been able to silence our resistance, here and there, has been through incarceration” and assassination, said Nancy Mansoor, one of the event’s organizers and a co-founder of Existence is Resistance. “In Palestine,” said Mansoor, “I don’t think there’s any youth that hasn’t been to jail.” Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, is among the scheduled speakers.

U.S. Targets Eritrean Economy

Frustrated that years of sanctions have failed to deter the small northeast African nation of Eritrea from its fiercely independent path to development, the United States is attempting to sabotage a giant potash project that “could end up bringing in as much as $30 billion to Eritrea,” said Thomas C. Mountain, an American journalist who lives in the country. The U.S. has targeted Eritrea because it “is a socialist country, like Cuba, and could stand out as a role model for Africa,” said Mountain. Eritrea is also one of only two countries on the continent that rejects any relationship with AFRICOM, the U.S. Military Command in Africa.

Obama is Greatest Education Privatizer in U.S. History

“Basically, what Barack Obama did was turn the Department of Education into a committee on school privatization,” said Danny Haiphong, a social worker and activist from Boston and a weekly contributor to BAR who authored a 3-part series on President Obama’s legacy. “It was Shock and Awe privatization. Charter schools increased by 62 percent under his first five years,” said Haiphong. “His whole plan was to hand the public schools over to hedge funds and capitalist interests that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into for-profit charter schools,” and to boost “high-stakes testing scams like Common Core.”

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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_july11_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:54pm EDT

Hillary Clinton’s Emails and the Crisis of Legitimacy

“There’s no way the FBI was going to keep the rulers of the United States from getting the president they want.”

Hillary Clinton has escaped indictment – as almost universally expected – for commingling her email communications as secretary of state with her personal business, including the global money laundering, bribery and extortion racket called the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons are capable of infinite corruption. That’s why they’re in politics: to protect the criminal enterprises of the truly rich people they serve, and to become rich, themselves. That is the nature of the system – and the system works; it provides impunity to the powerful.

FBI Director James Comey essentially admitted as much when he acknowledged that there was “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.” A reasonable person in Clinton’s position “should have known” that what she was doing was violating the law. But, he said, the FBI’s “judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The public knows perfectly well that what Comey really means is that there’s no way he was going to keep the rulers of the United States from getting the president they want.

So, Hillary gets off, as did the warlord General David Petraeus and other insiders who were not fully prosecuted for clearly breaking the law. Yet, President Obama has shattered all historical records in treating whistleblowers as spies. Obama pushed for and got the power to detain people indefinitely without trial or charge, but is so tolerant of systemic criminality among Wall Street bankers that his own attorney general had to briefly admit that the Lords of Capital are “too big to jail.” So, on the one hand, the fundamental right to due process under the law has ceased to exist – yet, for the rich impunity has become all but absolute.

“People are just plain repulsed by Hillary Clinton.”

The rulers are caught in a crisis of legitimacy. Obscenely concentrated wealth has turned U.S. society into a Constitution-free zone for the wealthy, who behave as if they are a separate species. They have exhausted the tolerance even of white Americans, descendants of Europeans who came here hoping to become rich, but now despair of keeping their heads above water and are growing to despise the 1%.

Black folks are waking up – angry! – after two generations of relative quietude, pushing back against a police state that is coddled by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court, and unchallenged by the executive branch. The system is leaking legitimacy like a sieve.

Donald Trump is seen as illegitimate by probably a majority of Americans, but so is Hillary Clinton. In some ways, Clinton is even more revolting. Most people that hate Trump can point to one or more of his specific policies or statements. However, people are just plain repulsed by Hillary Clinton. If pressed on why find her so distasteful, folks say she is dishonest, not to be trusted – but usually offer no particulars. What they really feel, is that she is corrupt to the bone; that she personifies the Lie that the top of society tells to the bottom.

The crisis of legitimacy becomes acute when enough people say, “Who are you to hold power over me?”

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: 20160706_gf_HillaryIllegitimate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 4, 2016

Philadelphia Anti-Police Terror Activists Gear Up to Shut Dems Down

The city fathers in Philadelphia have sanctioned Democrat-friendly demonstrations during the party’s national convention, later this month, but have yet to issue parade permits for activists of the People of Color DNC Resistance Against Police Terrorism and State Repression or Shut Down DNC. “We are organizing, not just in the Black community, but in the brown community, as well,” said Erica Mimes, of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. “We’re raising the Palestinian issue, the issues in Puerto Rico. We’re going to organize and speak directly to the issues that impact our communities the most, because that’s what’s being forgotten by this entire congregation of activists coming into the city.”

Trump’s Billions, and Sanders’ Small Contributors, Made Political History

Donald Trump’s personal fortune allowed him to spout “a solid dose of racism and sexism,” but also to “talk about a lot of things that nobody had in ages in the Republican Party,” such as “dumping on Wall Street” and pointing out that “you don’t need to cut Social Security or be at endless war with Russia,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston. Ferguson is author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Politics. “If he loses this general election,” said Ferguson, “Trumpism could disappear as fast as it descended on us. You’ve got to be a real billionaire to thumb your nose” at the GOP establishment. Ferguson noted, however, that Bernie Sanders did succeed in funding a historic Democratic primary campaign with small contributions.

Mass Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.

“The U.S. government is helping to fund the Israeli occupation of Palestine – that is, the apartheid wall and the apartheid court system, to the tune of about $3 billion a year,” said Nyle Forte, a young Newark, New Jersey, minister and PhD candidate who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Palestine. Forte and other activists, including political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, will address “The Politics of Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.,” July 15, at New York City’s Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center. Forte said Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians rivals U.S. levels of Black incarceration. Like Israel, “the U.S. is becoming, more and more, a national surveillance state,” he said.

4th of July Highlights Litany of U.S. Crimes

“The United States is the only country to use a nuclear weapon, now has a military presence in over 100 countries,” and “kills people at will,” said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “The Congress says nothing, the corporate media says nothing,” and “the two major parties collude” in silencing dissent against U.S. atrocities abroad, said Kimberley. “Everywhere, from Gaza to Somalia to Afghanistan – and I’m leaving many nations out – the U.S. is responsible for terrible crimes.”

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Direct download: 20160704_1_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 4, 2016

Philadelphia Anti-Police Terror Activists Gear Up to Shut Dems Down

The city fathers in Philadelphia have sanctioned Democrat-friendly demonstrations during the party’s national convention, later this month, but have yet to issue parade permits for activists of the People of Color DNC Resistance Against Police Terrorism and State Repression or Shut Down DNC. “We are organizing, not just in the Black community, but in the brown community, as well,” said Erica Mimes, of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. “We’re raising the Palestinian issue, the issues in Puerto Rico. We’re going to organize and speak directly to the issues that impact our communities the most, because that’s what’s being forgotten by this entire congregation of activists coming into the city.”

Trump’s Billions, and Sanders’ Small Contributors, Made Political History

Donald Trump’s personal fortune allowed him to spout “a solid dose of racism and sexism,” but also to “talk about a lot of things that nobody had in ages in the Republican Party,” such as “dumping on Wall Street” and pointing out that “you don’t need to cut Social Security or be at endless war with Russia,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston. Ferguson is author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Politics. “If he loses this general election,” said Ferguson, “Trumpism could disappear as fast as it descended on us. You’ve got to be a real billionaire to thumb your nose” at the GOP establishment. Ferguson noted, however, that Bernie Sanders did succeed in funding a historic Democratic primary campaign with small contributions.

Mass Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.

“The U.S. government is helping to fund the Israeli occupation of Palestine – that is, the apartheid wall and the apartheid court system, to the tune of about $3 billion a year,” said Nyle Forte, a young Newark, New Jersey, minister and PhD candidate who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Palestine. Forte and other activists, including political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, will address “The Politics of Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.,” July 15, at New York City’s Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center. Forte said Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians rivals U.S. levels of Black incarceration. Like Israel, “the U.S. is becoming, more and more, a national surveillance state,” he said.

4th of July Highlights Litany of U.S. Crimes

“The United States is the only country to use a nuclear weapon, now has a military presence in over 100 countries,” and “kills people at will,” said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “The Congress says nothing, the corporate media says nothing,” and “the two major parties collude” in silencing dissent against U.S. atrocities abroad, said Kimberley. “Everywhere, from Gaza to Somalia to Afghanistan – and I’m leaving many nations out – the U.S. is responsible for terrible crimes.”

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Category:general -- posted at: 1:49am EDT

House Negroes International Defend European Union

“They like the house that slavery and genocide built, and where global capitalism now rules.”

We can be sure that the British exit from the European Union represents a profound crisis for the global capitalist order. We know this because the Lords of Capital and their political minions and media all over the world are in panic over Brexit. The capitalist order is built on five centuries of European plunder, enslavement, and extermination of the rest of humanity. Blood oozes from every edifice of the European Union – and yet, the victims, and the descendants of the victims of this horrific and ongoing capitalist carnage, often behave as if they have some kind of stake in keeping the old order intact. Like Malcolm X’s house Negroes, their first instinct when they see the master’s house on fire, is to put the fire out. If the master gets sick, they start sneezing. And, when the referendum went against Britain staying in the European Union, house Negroes of all colors on both sides of the Atlantic acted like their own worlds were coming to end.

On Comedy Central’s Daily Show, this week, host Trevor Noah interviewed Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” Noah lampooned those Brits that voted to leave the EU as a bunch of Donald Trumps with Cockney accents. He said nothing about the EU’s pro-corporate, pro-banker austerity policies – maybe because there’s nothing funny about those policies, or maybe because he works for a rich corporation. Noah drew Ms. Erivo into the Brexit discussion. She was born in London to parents who emigrated from Nigeria. She explained her opposition to Brexit, saying, “If my mom didn’t get to the UK, I probably wouldn’t be here right now, on that stage on Broadway.”

“By colonizing Nigeria, the Brits saved her from being born an African.”

Cynthia Erivo is grateful that her West African parents were allowed into Britain, so that she could be born in London and pursue a successful career. Her parents were permitted to settle in Britain because Nigeria was a British colony, and later became part of the British Commonwealth. It actually had nothing to do with the European Union. By Cynthia Erivo’s logic, it was a good thing that Britain invaded, plundered, enslaved, and stole her parent’s homeland. By colonizing Nigeria, the Brits saved her from being born an African. The millions who died in the British conquest of Nigeria, and in the Middle Passage to the America’s, or on the plantations of Virginia or Jamaica, or in forced labor to the British in Nigeria, or who die today in the oil soaked wasteland of the Niger River Delta – all of this past and present suffering and human degradation is balanced out by the fact that a daughter of Nigeria gets to star in a Broadway show. This super-exploitation of Africa made Britain and France and Spain and Belgium and the Netherlands and other members of today’s European Union rich – but Cynthia Erivo and Trevor Noah, the South African, come to the defense of the European Union.

They like the house that slavery and genocide built, and where global capitalism now rules. They fear anything that might create disorder in the House of Europe, just as their counterparts in Black America fear anything that might disturb the tranquility of the U.S. ruling class and its institutions. The House Negroes are truly international, always ready to put out fires in their masters many houses around the globe.

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: 20160629_gf_HouseNegroesInternational.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organization Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

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Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_for_20160627.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 27, 2016

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organization Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

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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_20160627.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:02am EDT

Dems Congressional "Sit In" A Cynical, Hypocritical Election Year Stunt

Dems Congressional “Sit-In” A Cynical, Hypocritical Election Year Stunt

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

The so-called “sit-in” on the floor of Congress launched by House and Senate Democrats is a fraudulent and transparently cynical exercise in partisan branding and election year theater.

Brands neither mean what they say nor say what they mean. Brands are marketing devices, calculated to evoke a desired set of emotions, to call forth real or imagined memories in an audience, independent and apart from facts or logic. Atlanta congressman John Lewis and his colleagues are leveraging his rep and the “sit-in” brand for their resonance with the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 60s.

Keen observers on social media pierced the hypocrisy almost immediately.

Color me unimpressed,” wrote Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, author of from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter in a Facebook post that was shared thousands of times almost immediately.

Where was the sit-in when Congress was cutting $5 billion from food stamps? Where was the sit in where is the sit-in for affordable housing as Congress continues to cut HUD to shreds? Where is the sit-in against police brutality in our cities? Where is the sit-in against the Supreme Court ruling yesterday that guts the Fourth Amendment and revives 'stop and frisk' policing? Where is the sit in to demand equitable funding for our nation's public schools? Where is the sit-in to end racism and the criminal justice system? This smacks of election year tomfoolery...”

Worse still, the so-called “sit-in” piggybacks on the secret and arbitrary “no-fly” and “terror watch” lists, which some of those same Democrats denounced back in the Bush Cheney era. Back then they rightly pointed out the criteria for landing on those lists is secret, and once on the list there is no appeal and no way off, though the State Department does revoke your passport, also without appeal. Government places people on those lists it cannot charge with any crimes. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the government has placed Muslims on the no-fly and terror watch list when they refused to infiltrate and inform on their neighbors, or when their names were similar to someone else's. Democrats, like California Rep. Barbara Lee once opposed hysterical and secret government blacklists noting that any sort of activist out of favor with the government could land on these lists.

But now it's election year and they have very few issues to differentiate themselves from the other capitalist party. So they want to use the secret government blacklist and the civil rights brand to score meaningless points against Republicans.

Congressional Democrats are not stupid. They know perfectly well they could be sitting in to end these secret lists. They could be sitting in to explain how the second amendment was put in the Constitution to permit armed slave patrols, and land theft and genocide against Native Americans. They could be sitting in for a living wage and universal single payer health care, or cutting the Pentagon budget by two thirds. Instead Democrats deliberately chose to sit in for this, instead of forgiving student debt, instead of addressing climate change or black unemployment or mass incarceration.

Since John Lewis and his hypocritical crew are just as much the party of the one percent as Republicans, their disputes with Republicans are confined to carefully staged food fights between meaningless brands. This is the party that wants to control Congress instead of Republicans.

This is why it's time to chuck both the one-percenter capitalist parties, and do something completely new. 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@blackagendareport.com.



Direct download: 160623_0271.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

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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_20160620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

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_20160620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

4 out of 5 Prisoners Would Have to be Released to Reduce U.S. Incarceration to 1972 Levels

Mass Black incarceration knows no bounds in the United States of America.”

A new report shows that New Jersey has the nation’s highest racial disparity in incarceration rates, with Blacks in the state 12 times more likely to go to prison than whites. The report is titled, The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons, compiled by The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform group. Right behind New Jersey in racially disparate imprisonment are Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont – all states with relatively small Black populations, but where African Americans are 10 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Mass Black incarceration knows no bounds in the United States of America,the world champion of incarceration, with 2.3 million men and women behind bars.

Some states are worse than others, but all of them are much worse for Black people than for whites. Blacks don’t make up a majority of any state in the country, but they are the majority of the prison population in 12 states: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

In terms of the proportion of the Black male population that is incarcerated at any given time, the prize goes to Oklahoma, where 1 out of every 15 Black men, age 18 or older, is currently living behind bars. In 11 other states, 1 out of every 20 Black males has been snatched from his communities.

“Don’t expect any late term prisoner release surprises from Barack Obama.”

New Jersey stands out for high rates of racial disparity in incarceration and for having a Black majority in the prison system, but in recent years its one of three states that have substantially reduced their prison populations. New York and California have also scaled down their gulags. According to The Sentencing Project, the key to shrinking the prison population lies in the intake valves of a criminal justice system that arrests far too many people, especially Black people, and then locks them up for way too long. Project executive director Marc Mauer told Black Agenda Report that President Obama and his successors should consider clemency for whole categories of prisoners, similar to President Gerald Ford’s amnesty for draft resisters back in 1974. But, don’t expect any late term prisoner release surprises from Barack Obama, who went to court to keep about 5,000 federal crack cocaine prisoners behind bars, even after the racist legislation under which they were convicted was repealed and replaced.

Without fundamental changes at every stage of the criminal justice process, Black Americans will continue to make up something approaching 1 out of every 8 prison inmates in the world. Indeed, accounting for growth in U.S. population, by my calculations the nation’s jailers and prison wardens would have to set 4 out of every 5 of their prisoners free just to get incarceration rates down to the levels of 1972, when the effects of the national mass Black incarceration regime were just starting to be felt. Of the 2.3 million current prison inmates, fully 80 percent, totaling 1,850,000 men and women would have to be let go – and even then, the United States would still be a high incarceration nation. 1972 was one year after the Attica Rebellion – not a great time for Black people in the criminal justice system. If only we had known that, 44 years later, things would be far, far worse.

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: 20160615_gf_PrisonStats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantation for generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

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: 20160608_gf_RevPinkney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31am EDT

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantation for generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

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: 20160608_gf_RevPinkney.mp3
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