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

“When activists go the UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to document the barbarity and racism of the U.S. criminal justice system, Washington is compelled to respond.”

Advocates of reparations and Black community control of the police got a boost from a panel of the United Nations, last week. The UN’s “Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent” heard testimony in five cities on violations of Black Americans’ human rights. The experts will issue a full report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in September, but their preliminary statement paints a picture of endemic racial oppression in criminal justice, education, housing, employment, health care – virtually every aspect of life in the USA.

Of course, the United Nations is not going to force the U.S. to pay reparations to its Black citizens, or compel America to remove its blue-uniformed army of occupation from Black communities. Only Black Americans, themselves, can make that happen. However, the UN’s critique of U.S. racial policies and practices is important. Even a corporate-ruled, imperialist superpower, born in slavery and genocide, can be embarrassed when its crimes are revealed on the world stage. President Eisenhower was a segregationist, but he could not act like one when the world was watching the Black American struggle against Jim Crow segregation in the 1950s. In the Sixties, Malcolm X urged Black people to take their human rights grievances to the United Nations, where the seats in the General Assembly were filling up with delegates from the formerly colonized countries of the world. Under the gaze of global humanity, the United States pretended to welcome the end of official American apartheid.

“The African American reputation in the world has been in dire need of rehabilitation.”

Nowadays, President Obama attempts to convince the world that the U.S. would really like to get rid of mass Black incarceration – although he’d have to release 7 out of every 8 prisoners to bring U.S. incarceration rates down to 1970 levels. Still, when activists go the UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to document the barbarity and racism of the U.S. criminal justice system, Washington is compelled to respond.

Half a century ago, Black Americans earned the respect and admiration of struggling peoples all over the world, because we were perceived as waging a heroic fight for justice and human rights, here in the belly of the beast. And, although the Black Panther Party has been defunct in the U.S. for two generations, people in places like India and even New Zealand still proudly call themselves Black Panthers.

However, the Black American reputation has suffered over the years. The world has seen us represented by the likes of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and now the mad bomber in the White House and his genocidal national security advisor Susan Rice, the individual most closely identified with the slaughter of six million Congolese. With all of these Black American war criminals and fiends strutting around the world stage, the African American reputation has been in dire need of rehabilitation.

But then Ferguson intervened, and Black America seemed like it might have rediscovered its soul. Black folks are actually making demands of power – and the United Nations is paying attention. There is hope for us, yet.

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: 20160203_gf_UNReport.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:44pm EST

The Clintons:

The discrediting of the elections would also reflect very badly on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

The island nation of Haiti is on the verge of finally ejecting the criminal President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, the dance hall performer and gangster who was foisted on the Haitian people by the United States through the bullying of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, back in 2011. Martelly’s term is up, and he is constitutionally required to leave office by February 7. Martelly and his American, French and Canadian backers had hoped to use rigged elections and strong-arm tactics to install another puppet politician, Jovenel “The Banana Man” Moise, in the presidential palace. The “Banana Man” – who wants to turn Haiti into a real banana-exporting republic, to the further impoverishment of its small farmers – came in first in an October election that was so blatantly stolen, even the thoroughly corrupt Haitian elite could not endorse the outcome.

In fact, virtually no one in Haitian society except the “Banana Man” and “Sweet Mickey” and the tens thousands of Haitians who were paid to vote, repeatedly, at different polling places in October, considered the election to be valid. Jude Célestin, the candidate that came in second in the October electoral farce – and who was also cheated of victory by “Sweet Mickey” Martelly in the election five years ago – refused to go along with the travesty. Célestin said he would not take part in the bogus run-off election that was scheduled for this past Sunday – meaning, the “Banana Man” would have been the only candidate.

“Hillary and Bill were the Bonnie and Clyde of Haiti.”

But, even the prospect of a one-man contest could not stop the Americans from insisting on going ahead with the run-off. The U.S., which pays for the Haitian elections and, therefore, believes it has the right to decide who wins and who loses, growled that Haiti should go along with the fraudulent process. The Americans were upset that they might have no reliable replacement for their loyal puppet, “Sweet Mickey.” Plus, the discrediting of the elections would also reflect very badly on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who claims to have brought stability to Haiti when she was at the State Department but, in fact, is culpable for all of the Haitians who were murdered by the Martelly regime. The truth is that Hillary and Bill were the Bonnie and Clyde of Haiti, robbing the country for their own and other corporate criminals’ benefit. The teams of FBI agents that are now matching Hillary’s emails with contributions to the Clinton Foundation are tapping a Mother Lode of corruption that may yet bring her down before Election Day in the United States.

If that happens, the Haitian people will deserve some of the credit for saving the U.S. from another period of rule by the Crooked Clintons, in the process of saving Haiti’s sovereignty and self-respect. The Haitians’ furious grassroots resistance forced the cancellation of Sunday’s run-off election; “Sweet Mickey” is slated to leave office in less than two weeks; and negotiations are underway to form an interim government that would hold clean elections. The struggle now is for Haiti’s poor majority to make its voice heard above the growling of the U.S. imperialist occupiers and their hired Haitian flunkies – some of whom are real killers, whose names aren’t funny at all.

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: 20160127_gf_HaitiHillary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19pm EST

Ta Nehesi Coates' Bernie Sanders Brain Fart Isn't Even About Reparations

Ta Nehesi Coates Bernie Sanders Brain Fart Isn't Even About Reparations

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Ta Nehesi Coates is a black Baltimore born writer who enjoys prominence chiefly cause the good white folks at the Atlantic give him a column. For the moment, Coates lives in France, and earns his keep dispensing timely wisdom upon us all from across the water.

Coates' latest transatlantic brain fart blasts Bernie Sanders for not embracing reparations. Since changing his own mind or reparations in a long June 2014 Atlantic piece, Coates is presumably qualified to speak on the subject. But in nine hundred words Coates never mentions that his own presumed candidate Hillary Clinton also has no use for reparations, or that the Green Party's presidential candidate Jill Stein does endorse reparations.

So Coates's piece is really not so much about reparations, as it is about Sanders or even something else.

Sanders doesn't endorse reparations, Coates wants us to believe, because Sanders is a socialist, and socialists according to Coates downplay, ignore or deny the existence of racism and white supremacy. For the entire second half of the piece this is where Coates stays and doubles down, repeating nonsense claims that that socialists can't see white supremacy, so presumably black folks in motion ought to avoid it, and calling Bernie Sanders “an avowed socialist”.

That pretty much sums up Coates' weekly dose of disinformation, dispensed from across the water, courtesy of his sponsors.

  1. Number one, stay away from Bernie cause he ain't for reparations.

  2. Number two look out for those socialists too, cause they make a point of ignoring and denying the role of white supremacy..

  3. Number three, Bernie Sanders didn't return my call to explain himself

Even as conventional neoliberal wisdom goes, this is pretty lazy stuff, which Mr. Coates could really have done in three tweets instead of nine hundred words. Maybe his patrons at the Atlantic pay him by the word.

Nice work if you can get it.

In the real world, not the fantasies of Mr. Coates, Bernie Sanders is no kind of socialist. Socialists stand for the working class, the poor, the common man and woman regardless of nation and color. Bernie's socialism stops at the water's edge, as he endorses apartheid in Israel, the Pentagon budget and the global empire of hundreds US bases and vast military industries that eat half the nation's wealth annually. This makes Bernie no friend of the poor anyplace outside the US and not so much the friend of the poor inside it either, really no kind of socialist at all. Bernie know this, and has rarely if ever called himself one in recent years. But he allows, even encourages us to call him that this year because socialism is popular, even though Ta Nehesi Coates thinks it should not be.

As long as they keep paying Mr. Coates, we'll be treated to more of his very conventional wisdom. Get read for it.

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

Direct download: 20160122-tanehesi-coates-reparations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EST

Atlantic City Residents to Lose Their Water – and What’s Left of Their Right to Vote

After a state-appointed emergency financial manager poisoned the people of Flint, Michigan, with tainted water, you’d expect that other governors would think twice before tampering with the water supplies of poor cities. But, you’d be wrong. New Jersey Governor Chris Christy last year put Atlantic City under an emergency financial manager, and gave him a year to slash the ailing gambling town’s budget and prepare a full report. Kevin Lavin is a corporate turnaround expert with an international consulting firm. He was assisted in his dictatorial assignment by a fellow Black corporate type, also named Kevyn – Kevyn Orr, who had just finished stealing the last vestiges of democracy from the people of Detroit on behalf of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. In fact, every heavily Black city in Michigan was taken over by Governor Snyder, effectively disenfranchising fully half of the state’s Black citizens.

Apparently, Governor Christy thought that would be a good move for New Jersey, too, and he set his sights on Atlantic City, an overwhelmingly Black and Brown town that had just lost four of its casinos, and is now about to lose another one. One-third of Atlantic City’s 40,000 people live below the poverty line. With whites comprising only about 16 percent of the population, Christy must have reasoned that nobody important would stand in the way of whatever he wanted to do to Atlantic City. And, he was right. Emergency manager Kevin Lavin’s report calls for regionalizing the police department and privatizing the fire department. But even worse, the Democratic president of the state senate, Stephen Sweeney, has introduced a bill that would sell most of Atlantic City’s assets, including its water department.

But, it gets worse than that. Not only is the top Democrat in New Jersey more enthusiastic about corporate privatization than Republican Chris Christy, but the president of the local Unite-Here union has also endorsed the sell-off of city property and the further disenfranchisement of its citizens – many of them union members.

The Corporate Party Rules

Corporate Republicans, corporate Democrats, and corporate unions – all oppose the very concept of democracy, home rule and self-determination for poor Black and brown people. Indeed, New Jersey has a very long history of taking power away from local governments as soon as Blacks and Latinos become majorities. The takeovers are always cloaked as necessary to avoid financial disaster – but, since Black and brown cities are perpetually out of cash, what it really means is that poor people don’t deserve basic democratic rights.

Ron Rice, a state senator from majority Black Newark, sees the writing on the wall. “It’s Atlantic City today, it is Newark tomorrow,” he said at a rally against privatization. Senator Rice insists that “We have to mobilize people and shut down some things,” and “get back to doing what we did in the ‘60s.”

Which is true. But, this time around, we must understand that everyone who serves the corporate master is the enemy: including Black corporate hit-men, corporate Democrats, and corporate hacks in union clothing.

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: 20160120_gf_ACPrivatization.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 18, 2016

U.S. Demands Global Respect, But Disrespects Its Own Black Citizens

President Obama’s polices, “both foreign and domestic, are the same as any leader of the Empire,” said South Carolina activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray, editor of Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence. U.S. corporate media “cried” about Iran forcing U.S. sailors to put their hands up, but the sailors “were given a greater amount of deference and respect than Tamir Rice got from the police, and that Michael Brown got from the police,” said Gray. “It seemed that Iran respected America’s sailors’ rights more than America and American police departments respect the rights of Black people” in the U.S.

Obama Most Aggressive Imperial President

Over the last seven years, Barack Obama has “asserted imperialist power more than any other president,” said Black Agenda Report senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “Reagan tried to kill [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi, but then said, Oh, never mind; Obama actually did it,” said Kimberley. “Other presidents thought about trying to take out the Syrian president, but it was the Democrat, Obama, who tried to make that a reality.” Obama has “left no stone unturned in attacking the rest of the world.”

Obama Set Venezuela Up for Subversion

The “deceptive nature of President Obama” fooled lots of world leaders into thinking his tenure would be different, said Cynthia McKinney, the former six-term congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate. “During the campaign, candidate Obama was Abraham Lincoln, he was Franklin Roosevelt, he was John Kennedy, he was Martin Luther King Jr., he was all of those personalities we revere,” said McKinney, whose PhD dissertation was on the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. “I think the openness with which people received President Obama was abused, and allowed the nefarious polices” of U.S. subversion of Venezuela’s government.

Haitians Say No to Another Rigged Election

Another round of Haitian elections is scheduled for January 24, despite opposition from nearly everyone except the ruling party and its U.S. backers. Irregularities marred almost half the ballot sheets in the first round of elections. “It’s not just opposition politicians who are formally against this process, but also a wide range of human rights organizations, diaspora organizations, religious leaders, etc.,” said Jake Johnston, a researcher for the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.

U.S. Continues Legacy of Oppression in Congo

The United States is trying to influence upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, luring student activists with offers of money. Washington is always up to no good in the Congo, according to Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo. “The United States was the first country to recognize Congo as the personal property of [Belgian King] Leopold in the late 1800s,” said Musavuli. “The United States backed the killing of Patrice Lumumba, the first elected prime minister of the Congo. They supported a dictator who was imposed on the Congolese people for 32 years,” and “they supported an invasion of the Congo by Rwanda and Uganda that has taken the lives of millions of Congolese.”

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_Jan_18_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21pm EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 11, 2016

Philadelphia Conference Reasserts Black Radical Tradition

Hundreds of activists, academics and organizers from around the country descended on Temple University, in Philadelphia, January 8-10, for a conference titled “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition.” The multi-generational crowd heard presentations from Angela Davis, Cornel West, Anthony Monteiro and Charlene Carruthers, of Chicago’s Black Youth Project 100, and took part in panel discussions on the widest range of issues, from war and peace, to police and prisons, to gentrification, queer resistance, and emancipatory culture.

A Devastating Critique of Campaign Zero’s DeRay McKesson

At a panel on “Challenging White Supremacy,” Umi Saleh, the Dream Defenders activist formerly known as Phillip Agnew, said social media provides “an asylum for neoliberal values...at the expense of building real community power.” Saleh blasted Campaign Zero leader DeRay McKesson for “counter-revolutionary and anti-movement” agitation against building grassroots organizations. Too often in social media, “We aren’t fighting white supremacy,” he said, “we are vying for virtual validation.” Twitter-based social media activists like McKesson are “crowned” leaders, but have no notion social responsibility. “Social media cannot replace the work that organizers must do,” said Saleh.

Accountability, New Leadership and Socialism

Veteran organizer Jamala Rogers, author of the new book Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion, agreed that “you can’t have a principled debate in 140 characters” on Twitter. “We hold white supremacy accountable, but we don’t hold ourselves accountable,” she said. Activists must address critical questions, such as “Where are the working class leaders that we are developing as a movement?” and “Why aren’t we projecting our aversion to capitalism?” Bernie Sanders, a “gray haired, old white man,” openly espouses socialism, “but we’re scared,” said Rogers.

Fight White Supremacy, Defeat Capitalism

Longtime activist, UCLA history professor and author Robin D.G. Kelly pointed to the “democratic revolutionary vision” of the 1960s National Welfare Rights Organization, the Black Panther and Young Lords parties, and even the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which in 1964 called for a national minimum income, an end to the draft, withdrawal from Vietnam and a boycott of South Africa. Later, however, Black elected officials “helped manage the transfer of wealth to the rich” and promoted schemes for “multiculturalism and diversity” which, ultimately, “do not disrupt white supremacy.” Said Kelly: “You cannot wage an assault on white supremacy without fighting against capitalism.”

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: BAR_011116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm EST

Why the Feds Punk Out When Confronting White Rightwing Insurgents

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

When a criminal justice system born in Native American genocide and Black slave patrolling finds itself in conflict with conservative white Christian landowners, it short-circuits. “The Mass Black Incarceration State was designed to pre-empt any insurgency by Black people” – but is wholly unprepared to handle armed revolt from the white Right, from which it also draws much of its police manpower.

Why the Feds Punk Out When Confronting White Rightwing Insurgents

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“How is it that the Superpower of Policing and Prosecution seems to fear a confrontation with groups with names like the Oregon Bearded Bastards?”

The armed right-wing activists that seized control of a federal wildlife sanctuary compound in eastern Oregon have already committed – and conspired to commit – enough serious criminal violations of U.S. law to land each of them in federal prison for the rest of lives. Of course, as Wajahat Ali points out in The Guardian newspaper, if the gunmen were Muslim or Black, they’d already be dead.

This is not a great revelation. Every Black child knows that white lives carry a premium value in the United States, while Blacks are casually killable. In a society where Walking While Black, Driving While Black or simply Breathing While Black is so often treated as a capital crime, the racial double standard is the norm. That’s why it’s insane to think that this society can be made worthy of Black habitation through tinkering with the system, piecemeal reforms, and appeals to the federal government for protection and relief. This is the same federal government that framed poor Black men from Miami and Newburgh, New York, on terrorist conspiracy charges, and that condones conspiracy indictments carrying life in prison for 100 Black youngsters from New York City housing projects based on their postings in Facebook. But the white, rightwing land grabbers who are in armed occupation of federal property can’t seem to buy a confrontation with President Obama’s FBI or any other armed federal agency. How is it, the people of the world must be wondering, that a country that runs by far the world’s biggest prison system, with the most heavily armed cops on the planet, equipped with the most advanced evidence gathering devices known to man – how is it that the Superpower of Policing and Prosecution seems to fear a confrontation with groups with names like the Oregon Bearded Bastards?

“The white, rightwing land grabbers who are in armed occupation of federal property can’t seem to buy a confrontation with President Obama’s FBI.”

The reason is really quite simple: the U.S. criminal justice system was not created to control white militias or greedy ranchers or gun-toting racists and Bible-thumpers. For most of U.S. history, these were prime stakeholders in the American project to build a White Man’s Nation. The gunmen in Oregon have plenty of historical reasons to believe that land-grabbing is their birthright – and that a significant segment of white America empathizes with them. The federal government treads lightly, because white Christian lives do matter.

For almost 50 years, the primary mission of the U.S. criminal justice system has been to control, contain and incarcerate Black Americans. It has spent half a century refining the tools to terrorize Black people on the streets, in their homes and in their schools. It is so efficient at what it does, that one out of every eight prison inmates on the planet is an African American. The Mass Black Incarceration State was designed to pre-empt any insurgency by Black people – not to deal with the Bundy family and the Bearded Bastards of Oregon.

That’s why I think the Lords of Capital are much more afraid of Donald Trump than they are of Bernie Sanders. They think Trump might stir up more of those white bearded bastards, many of whom hate Wall Street almost as much as they do the federal government – which is a real problem for U.S. law enforcement.

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: 20160106_gf_FedsPunkOut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 28

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 28, 2015

Ideology and Practice for the New Movement

The Black Radical Tradition is alive and kicking in the 21st century, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an organizer and keynote speaker for a conference titled “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition in Our Time,” set for January 8 through 10 at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “We observed in the framework of the anti-police state Blacks Lives Matter Movement a need for, and a call for, a conference that would address ideological as well as practical issues,” said Monteiro. “The Black Radical Tradition is alive and on the verge of reasserting itself.” Other keynoters include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Charlene Carruthers and Vijay Prashad.

U.S. Imperialism No Longer Seen as Unbeatable

“You’ve got a whole generation who’ve seen North Korea, Iran, [Hugo] Chavez and other people around the world tell the U.S. to stuff it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “The appearance of absolute world dominance has been fractured,” he said. “The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back” in Black America came in August, 2014, with the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri.

Teacher’s Death Prompts Call for Community Control of Police in DC

The mother of Alonzo Smith, a 27 year-old Southeast Washington DC teacher who died at the hands of private Special Police, said she’s not interested in wasting time trying to get the U.S. Justice Department to intervene in the case. Netfa Freeman, an organizer for Pan African Community Action (PACA) said Beverly Smith supports their effort to bring her son’s case before the United Nations. “We feel that the only way to stop” police killings of Blacks “is community control of police, in line with the call from the Black Panther Party in the 1960s,” said Freeman.

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_20151228.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:12pm EST

2016's New Years Revolution…  Time To Lose Some Old Habits, Gain Some New Ones

2016's New Years Revolution… Time To Lose Some Old Habits, Gain Some New Ones

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The world view, class outlook and methods of nonprofit organizations have dominated the landscape of the US left for so long most of us are hardly aware of them. Movement elder Warren Mar, in this week's Black Agenda Report sheds some useful light on those matters in his indispensable article “Why Nonprofits Can't Lead the 99%” sketching some of the effects and outcomes of the of the nonprofit ground rules and mindset upon unions and community-based organizations.

Wherever the habits and world view of the nonprofit world came from, it wasn't the peoples movement.

Things were hard everywhere eighty years ago during the Great Depression. People were starving. Unions were often illegal, there was no minimum wage or social security, no anti-discrimination laws or unemployment insurance, and Jim Crow was the letter of the law. Still, people managed to organize, to fight the power and to win some important victories, pretty much without the kinds of single-issue organizations people nowadays regard as essential.

So where did that model come from? The single-issue organization seems to be a creature of the 1960s and 1970s, a kind of blocking response to a broad based movement on the part of elite funders. They know nobody's going to an anti-pollution meeting on Monday, a housing meeting on Tuesday, a school meeting on Wednesday, a police and prison meeting on Thursday and so on. And if all of them are in competition for the same funding dollars, so much the better.

Similarly, the nonprofit models of “movement” or advocacy organization led by self-selected, usually college educated executive directors, senior staff and self-perpetuating boards of directors with heavy representation from philanthropic funders are creations of funders, not of members or of a broad mass-based political movement.

If membership is defined in these sorts of organizations at all, it might consist of people who pay dues, or people who show up at meetings or just people on a mailing list. Rarely do members get access to anything like transparency on how funds are handled, or have the power to replace their shot calling directors and board members.

Truth is, the nonprofit model is anti-democratic, top-down and ideally suited to what Adolph Reed calls the broker type of leader, the unaccountable spokesperson purporting to be the mouthpiece of some united mass constituency with no real power over its alleged leader. Energetic and charismatic leaders of nonprofit organizations often sustain impressive mobilizations, at least over a short time, but they inevitably fall short on educating their members out of dependence on self-selected or funder-selected leaders (if they define members at all) and on expanding the base of their leadership. Nonprofit formations can make impressive use of Facebook and social media too, but these are mobilizing tools allowing you to communicate with other activists, those who already agree with you, not organizing tools one can use to identify potential leaders and win over audiences who don't already agree.

Dependence on the nonprofit model is all that Democratic party honchos desire from the left. They just need an election day mobilization. But if the vision of our movement extends to taking power, we have to train a broad base of people to wield power over their own organizations, and to contend for power over their lives, their economies, their communities with those who have that power now.

With only a week left in 2015, and a world still to win it's time for a new years revolution. It's time to drop the habits of the nonprofit world, time to raise up organizations accountable to well-defined memberships. It's time to focus on expanding our base not talking to other activists on Facebook, not on keeping the same few leaders out front of the same few hundred demonstrators. That's the difference between mobilizing and organizing.

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. Reach him via email at brtuce.dixon(at0blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20151223_bd_new-years-revolution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:13pm EST

Single Payer Health Care Still More Popular Than Obamacare

Single Payer Health Care Still More Popular Than Obamacare

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“With every year, more and more companies and jobs are tied directly to the cash flow of the privatized system Obama created.”

Boosters for the Obama administration claim that his Affordable Care Act is a legacy that qualifies Obama for permanent residence in the pantheon of progressive domestic policy presidents, like Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Black Agenda Report takes the opposite position: that, in 2009, newly-elected President Obama set the cause of universal health care back many years with his surprise endorsement of a Republican health insurance plan, hatched in the bowels of the Heritage Foundation in the 1980s and championed by GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole in 1996 and Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney shortly thereafter. Obama’s bill was written by the health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, and brutally imposed on the Left wing of the Democratic Party, whose members were threatened with loss of party campaign support if they resisted.

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the last holdout for the so-called Public Option, a scaled down alternative to Obama’s corporate-based scheme that finally disappeared altogether – as did Rep. Kucinich’s seat in Congress, which was redistricted out from under him.

The White House justified its abandonment of Single Payer health care, claiming compromise was necessary in order to get Republican votes. But the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, and Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote.

As a consolation for the loss of the Public Option, Obama offered to create non-profit health insurance co-ops in the various states. However, more than half of these co-ops have gone out of business in an environment dominated by cut-throat health care capitalists.

“Majorities of Americans still support Single Payer health care.”

Our biggest concern seven years ago was that Obama was setting in concrete the corporate role in health care, planting the insurance and drug companies right smack in the middle of a multi-trillion dollar river of federal money – and that it would take decades to pry their profiteering hands loose. We still feel that way. With every year, more and more companies and jobs are tied directly to the cash flow of the privatized system Obama created. As Bruce Dixon has warned, conservative judges are increasingly likely to rule that rolling back corporate pillaging of health care would constitute an illegal “taking” and seizure of reasonably expected profits. Under Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership trade rules treaty, the corporations would win.

Therefore, it is encouraging that majorities of Americans still support Single Payer health care, in the form of Medicare for All. A new Kaiser Poll shows 58 percent of the public are in favor of Medicare for All, including 81 percent of Democrats. That’s only slightly below the high mark of Single Payer support in the months before new President Barack Obama announced that he wasn’t really talking about Single Payer when he used the term “universal coverage” – he meant universal payment to private corporations, under penalty of law. His plan, Obamacare, remains less popular than Medicare for All. Obama’s legacy is that he has made it far more difficult to dislodge the corporations from their parasitic role in U.S. health care.

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: 20151223_gf_SinglePayerStillPopular.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EST