Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from an African American point of view.

Who’s Your Daddy, ISIS?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“ISIS has many, many fathers, all of whom now deny patrimony.”

Let us be clear, if that is possible, about President Obama’s plan to deal with ISIS, the boogeyman of America’s own making. The president last week swore that he would “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State, after having spent three years providing weapons and money to jihadists fighters, including ISIS, in hopes that they would “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Syrian state of president Bashar Assad. So, the Americans set out to destroy one state, in Syria, whose government had never presented any danger to the U.S., and wind up creating another state, a caliphate astride the borders of Syria and Iraq, that openly declares its intention to do battle with the U.S.

Obama assures us that he is assembling a new coalition of the willing to join him in smashing ISIS. It turns out that every prospective member of the coalition was a co-conspirator with the United States in giving birth to ISIS – Britain and France and other Europeans, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates...ISIS has many, many fathers, all of whom now deny patrimony.

Obama appears to be leaving the natural gas-rich nation of Qatar out of his coalition, which doesn’t seem fair, since Qatar was a loyal ally of the United States and NATO just three years ago, when Obama was busy trying to degrade and destroy another state, Libya, which also posed no threat to the U.S. The emir of Qatar worked his gaseous little butt off for Obama, sending money and guns and mercenaries to help the Libyan jihadists that the U.S. wanted to install as the new government.

Once regime change had been accomplished in Libya, Qatar helped the Americans send hundreds of Libyan jihadists to Syria, to put that regime out of business. But, Libya never did get a new state, to replace the one that was destroyed in 2011. Instead, the country is wracked by civil war, that is also a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its friends and Qatar.

Wars Within Wars Within Regime Changes

It seems that Qatar backed the wrong side – the Muslim Brotherhood – after the regime change in Egypt in 2011. The Saudi Arabian royal family hates the Muslim Brotherhood, because the Brotherhood advocate elections, and kings don’t do elections. So, the Saudis bankrolled another regime change in Egypt, putting the military back in charge, and are now fighting a proxy war with Qatar in Libya. Which is why the Saudis blackballed Qatar from participating in Obama’s coalition of the willing against ISIS. (You do understand all this, right?)

Turkey, which is part of NATO, has been a wonderful father to ISIS, allowing the caliphate’s fighters free use of its long border with Syria and Iraq. In return, Turkey gets to buy the cheap oil from the fields that ISIS seized from Syria and Iraq, which makes the Turks somewhat reluctant to try to kill little baby ISIS.

It’s starting to look like Obama might have to take out the caliphate on his own, which is why the president’s top military advisor is talking about putting serious U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq, and maybe in Syria. Meanwhile, Obama is putting together a new army of rebels to continue the job of degrading and destroying the Syrian state – unless, of course, these new fighters just take the money and guns and join ISIS, too.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com., and while you’re there, sign up to get email notifications of new issues of the magazine, each Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20140917_gf_ISIS_Obama.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:36 PM

Low Voter Turnout Didn't Kill Michael Brown

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

It doesn't matter that low voter turnout did not kill Ferguson Missouri's Michael Brown, any more than it killed Trayvon Martin or Troy Davis or even James Byrd back in 1998 Jasper Texas.

What really matters to our black political class is not what we need but what they need. They need their perks, they need their careers, they need to constantly reaffirm and to re-legitimize their privileged status as the imaginary representatives of all the rest of us. Their answers to every question reflect what they need, and not what we need.

South Carolina representative James Clyburn was on CSPAN TV Labor Day sitting alongside establishment historian Peniel Joseph, sagely instructing audiences that while 56% of Ferguson residents turned out to vote in the 2012 presidential elections, less than 10% came out when the local mayor's job was up for grabs. This was Clyburn's and is our black political class's standard explanation for the killing and the circus of official misconduct that followed.

Congressman Clyburn is not stupid, just self-involved and self-interested like the rest of the black political class. He knows that that cities with lots of high ranking black cops and often black mayors, from New Orleans and Atlanta to Philly and Columbia SC, also savagely mistreat African Americans. Clyburn is a man with priorities, and his first priority is his status, not ours. So his answer to everything is simply “vote,” and today's glittering black political class, where he rides near the top, is the end of history, the inevitable fruit of our people's long struggle for justice.

The black establishment figures would all have us believe that low voter turnout killed Michael Brown, rather than the sharp end of a vicious police and prison state that black politicians, black Democrats have partnered with their white colleagues of both parties to build and operate.

Any problems in the lives of African Americans yet unsolved, in their opinion, are because black folks haven't voted long enough, wisely enough or in great enough numbers. For almost a generation, the only cards left in the short deck of our black political class have been appeals to racial solidarity in even numbered years, and the big vote.

Those old enough to recall the 1998 murder of James Byrd by white supremacists in Jasper Texas, who dragged him more than a mile behind a pickup truck will also recall the “nonpartisan” mailing that went out to millions of black households nationwide on the eve of the 1998 election. It was the last two years of the Clinton era, just the last two of the Obama epoch are upon us, and black disappointment had never been heavier. Clinton rode into office with a Democratic majority, promising a peace dividend, some rollback of the drug war and prison state, money for mass transit, housing, and reforms that would allow unions to organize again. Instead he delivered NAFTA, so-called welfare reform, a wave of privatizations, and vast expansions in the numbers of police, prison beds and death penalty offenses.

How did the black political class get out the vote that year? Not with new answers or even new discussions or new demands. Just with pictures. Their nationwide mailer was punctuated with the silhouette of pickup truck dragging a chain.

It's nothing new because our black political class doesn't need anything new. For them, the old stuff is working perfectly well, as long as their own careers keep rolling along.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly emails at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

 

 

Direct download: 20140919_bd_blackpolitical_class.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02 PM

Obama and His Head-Chopping Friends

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Saudi royals are feeling the nearness of cold steel to their own necks.”

President Obama has declared war on ISIS, the renegade jihadists that have turned on their former masters in NATO and the royal courts of Arabia. Nearly four decades ago, the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan spent billions to create, from scratch, an international jihadist network to torment a leftwing government in Afghanistan. The rag tag feudal Islamist raiders that once delighted in beheading young Afghan leftists who were sent to the countryside to carry out land reform and teach village girls to read, now yearn to detach the skulls of Saudi kings and princes from their obscenely rich bodies, and to methodically drive the western infidels from all Muslim territories. This is, indeed, some deep poetry.

Until the advent of ISIS, Saudi Arabia led the world in executions by beheading, often leaving the decapitated bodies on display in public squares. The Saudis have hired American public relations outfits to plant articles in the U.S. corporate press, disavowing any connection between the royal family and its wayward children in ISIS and other al Qaida off-shoots – while, at the same time, stepping up the pace of their own beheadings. In the New York Times, no less, two front men for the Saudi royal family wrote that the King’s regime is best suited to drive ISIS into oblivion – which is yet more proof that the Saudi royals are feeling the nearness of cold steel to their own necks. The logic of jihad inevitably calls for a caliphate and, for the believer, a caliphate trumps a fat king and his 5,000 corrupt little princes, any day. Emirs in the United Arab Emirates also shake in their well-crafted boots, fearing the wrath of the faithful.

Proxy Wars Within Proxy Wars

The royal Arabian fat cats who, along with the U.S., have funded the proxy war against Syria for the last three years, are now embroiled in a proxy war against each other in both Syria and Libya. The Saudis and Egypt’s military dictator Abdel al-Sisi are arrayed against the Emir of Qatar and aristocrats in Kuwait, who continue to fund the renegade jihadists. The United States has sided with their long term partners, the Saudis – who have more oil – and are pressuring Qatar and Kuwait to stop funding ISIS and its friends.

When the oil-rich monarchies are in disarray and at each other’s throats, Washington also panics. That’s why Obama has seemed so indecisive. His options become fewer and fewer. The U.S. wants to get on with regime change in Syria, but ISIS has even bigger plans for regime change in the Arab world, including lopping off the heads of America’s friends. But, Washington will not give up its dirty war against Syria. Instead, Obama is attempting to merge that war with the fight against ISIS, by somehow making stupid Americans believe that Syrian President Assad is secretly allied with the same jihadists that have been beheading Syrian soldiers and civilians since 2011. It’s a very, very big lie, but Americans are incredibly willing to believe anything, no matter how ridiculous, about Arabs and Black people. And, who best to tell such lies, than the First Black President? Just give Obama George Bush’s script and, somehow, it all sounds...different.

Which is so damn sick, it makes you want to – laugh your head off.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct download: 20140910_gf_ISIS_WAR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37 AM

Round Two: Fast Food Strike for $15 An Hour

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“The worst-paying job in America is fast food cook.”

Thousands of fast food workers say they’ll go on strike on Thursday, September 4, demanding a $15 an hour wage. The current national minimum wage is $7.25. Organizers say burger and chicken franchises in more than 100 cities will affected by Thursday’s action, which will include sit-downs and other non-violent civil disobedience tactics.

The fast food workers staged a one-day walkout back in May in 150 localities, with varying levels of success. A national conference brought 1,300 worker-activists to Chicago, in July, to gear up for a second round of walkouts. The organizing drive is paid for by the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union – the nation’s second largest and intensely loyal to President Obama.

The fast food workers must be doing something right. They got a kind-of, sort-of endorsement from Barack Obama on Labor Day, when the corporatist president mentioned the fast food workers movement at a speech in Milwaukee. Obama didn’t endorse $15 an hour – he’s called for a $10.10 minimum – but Obama said that if he worked in the food service industry and “wanted an honest day’s pay for an honest days work,” he’d join a union.

Obama ran for the White House the first time around promising he would endorse organized labor’s “card check” bill, which would have made it much easier for workers to join unions. But, once elected, Obama barely gave lip service to the legislation – which died of neglect – and packed his administration with corporate operatives for the next six years.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, nine out of ten of the worst paying jobs are in the food services industry, which is disproportionately Black and brown. The worst-paying job in America is fast food cook, averaging $9.07 an hour.

In most states, women make up more than half the workers stuck at minimum wage. Studies show that federal taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year essentially subsidizing the profits of low wage industries through food stamps and other assistance to millions of workers who can’t maintain their families on poverty paychecks and uncertain working hours.

McD’s Can’t Hide Behind Franchisees

McDonald’s, the global granddaddy of low wage burger joints, goes into this second wave of walkouts in a very different legal situation than back in May. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that McDonald’s can’t hide behind its franchise agreements to claim that the local franchise holders are responsible for wages at its 14,000 restaurants in the United States. The decision makes McDonald’s a much better target for nationwide unionization, presumably by the SEIU.

The fast food industry claims that $15 an hour is unreasonable, but a report by the National Employment Law Project shows that “most large, low-wage employers have already recovered” from the Great Recession.” Their employees, of course, have not.

The SEIU is asking workers in its affiliated home health care unions to protest alongside the fast food workers in six cities, including Seattle, where a grassroots movement led by the Socialist Alternative party won a gradual $15 an hour minimum wage, this year.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of new issues, each Wednesday.
Direct download: 20140903_gf_FastFoodStrike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:11 PM

Justice Dept Refuses For 20 Years To Comply With Federal Law Requiring It To Gather National Police Brutality Stats

A BA Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

We're all supposed to be impressed with the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder parachuted into Ferguson MO the other day to wrap his arms around the local top black cop and get briefed on the pending federal investigation into the police killing of Michael Brown. But we shouldn't be.

For the last 20 years, since 1994, Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act obligates the Department of Justice to collect statistics on the extent of brutality and excessive force used by police officers, and to make those findings available to the public. 20 years down the road no such stats exist, because the Justice Departments of the Clinton, the Bush and the Obama administrations have all simply ignored the law and refuse even to try to gather the information. Let me say this again: the Clinton Justice Department defied the law and refused to gather national stats on police misconduct. The Bush Justice Department thumbed its nose at the law and also refused to gather national stats on police misconduct, and now the first black attorney general, who sometimes even utters the phrase “mass incarceration”, which he recently discovered, selected by the first black president who says if he had a son, his son could be Trayvon Martin – Eric Holder and Barack Obama have likewise shown no interest whatsoever in fulfilling their legal duty when it comes to assembling a national database of police misconduct.

 

This should not surprise the president's apologists, who will surely counsel us that he has to be president of all the people, including the police. Everybody knows black and brown people are the disproportionate targets of police violence, so enforcing laws which particularly benefit black and brown communities are something we must not expect. Perhaps after the president leaves office, they'll tell us, he'll speak out more forcefully on this. Maybe the “My Brothers Keeper” initiative can get some charitable dollars to organizations like , or PUSH or the Urban League to help more of our young boys to pull their pants up so they won't get beat down.

Let's get real. The Republicans haven't stopped Obama and Holder from doing this, they stopped themselves. Like every cop on the beat, the Obama administration chooses which laws to enforce, which ones to bend and in what direction, and which ones to ignore. Obama's DOJ has resurrected the century old Espionage Act, not to prosecute spies, but to threaten and to imprison whistleblowers who tell the truth to reporters, and to journalists themselves if they do not reveal their sources with decades in prison, like Chelsea Manning, and on so-called “secret evidence.” So when you think about it, it's entirely logical that a president and attorney general who place such a high priority on protecting their torturers, their bankster friends, and the official wrongdoers of past and future administrations should want to protect the police from scrutiny as well.

It's time to shed some illusions, not just about this president but about the whole political class that claims he or any president can be “held accountable.” Barack Obama and his Justice Department are no more interested in justice than the administrations of ten presidents before him, and uncritical black and brown support has made this president less accountable to black and brown people than any in living memory.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and remember --- Facebook and Twitter don't necessarily show you everything we or similar sources publish. The only way to keep up on the latest Black Agenda Report is to subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20140827_bd_DOJ_scofflaws.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52 PM

Organizing 101: Don't Do Another Ferguson March or Rally Without Getting The Digits

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

At a meeting I attended last weekend, a lady told me an inspiring story, but not as inspiring as it should have been.

In a social media exchange, somebody asked her if an event on the Ferguson murder was happening nearby. Probably not, she replied, and suggested the questioner put one together. She did just that, starting a Facebook page, and hawking it on Twitter and other social media platforms. With only a few days lead time, a couple hundred people showed up. They sang, they chanted, they felt the strength that only comes from connecting with others in a just cause. And they dispersed.

Did anybody pass out a sign in sheet, I asked? Did you get the digits of the folks that showed up? I asked this because getting those digits is the first lesson in organizing 101, it's what we did before anybody ever heard of social media. Back in the day if we got 4 people, or 40, or 400, we got those digits.

I also asked because Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, causes.com, change.org and other social media platforms DO NOT give the organizers of petitions or events ANY of the contact information on the people you're supposedly “organizing” because the corporate social media business model ain't never been about helping YOU do good, it's about mapping the people you touch, the people you influence and who influence you so they can sell that to marketers.

All the social media platforms can and do manipulate their algorithms and hashtags for commercial purposes, and their systems are private property. If they wanted to squelch your political activism tomorrow, or just show you more cat videos, or if the people who turned out last time simply were not on Facebook or Twitter for a day or two, they might never know about the next meeting or demonstration or even the murder that prompted it.

The answer to my “did you get the digits” question was “no”. Nobody passed a petition, a sign-in sheet or volunteer cards. Nobody got anybody's email, phone numbers or the best times to call.

In fairness it's an easy mistake to make, but a costly one. Remember the Million Man March? Organizers remembered to pass the hat but didn't pass a sign-in sheet, so there was no Million Man Mailing List or phone tree. Talk about missed opportunities. Most Occupy encampments didn't take names or contact info either.

When you have an event, publicized by social media or the radio, like so many of the Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and Ferguson and other happenings, and you don't get those digits you are completely at the mercy of Twitter, Facebook or the radio station to recontact those people. Radio is a great way to get a crowd, but you rarely have access. Also you may have noticed that whenever radio stations take the lead, they put the Al Sharptons or their local equivalents at the head of the crowd. If you don't want to listen to those guys, you gotta get your own list, so you can get your own crowd. Most people are not already affiliated with any existing organization. That's a piece of Organizing 101 as well.

I'm not saying don't use corporate social media or radio when you can get it. But take it from an old school organizer: if you're depending on Twitter, on Facebook, on corporate social media and the radio to get your crowd and you don't pass a petition, a sign in sheet to enable you to keep in direct touch, or have the most enthusiastic among them sign volunteer cards you ain't got no movement, because YOU cannot MOVE it, only they can, and only when, where and for as long as THEY want to.

You want a movement – every crowd, every meeting, every flashmob – you get those digits.

Next week we'll talk a little about Organizing 102... what to do with them.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and remember --- Facebook and Twitter don't necessarily show you everything we or similar sources publish. The only way to keep up on the latest Black Agenda Report is to subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20140827_bd_get_those_digits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34 PM

Obama Schemes to Attack Syria, Under the Guise of Fighting ISIS

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Nobody wants ISIS defeated more than Syria and its soldiers.”

President Obama is preparing to do something horrifically dangerous in Syria and Iraq. The rise of ISIS has crippled the empire’s decade’s old strategy of deploying Islamic fundamentalist fighters to do its dirty work in the Arab and Muslim world. ISIS, the Frankenstein birthed in the cauldron of America’s quest for regime change in Syria, has turned on its U.S., Saudi, Qatari and Turkish masters to establish its own caliphate, to which thousands of other Islamist fighters are flocking. Even U.S. corporate media now acknowledge that the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels that Obama wants to shovel $500 million at, are virtually non-existent. They were always a mirage, creatures of western propaganda. The Islamists were the only force that could challenge the Syrian army on the battlefield, and now that they are rallying to ISIS, or running away, Obama does not know which way to turn.

Certainly, the U.S. can bomb ISIS positions in Syria, and is already making preparations to do so, but that is not the war Obama wanted to fight. Three years ago, when Obama launched his dirty war against Syria, the plan was for Muslim jihadists to shed their blood to overthrow President Assad. Once the filthy deed was done, the jihadists were expected to allow NATO and the corrupt kings of the Arabian peninsula to pick the next rulers of Syria. The CIA was playing Lawrence of Arabia, using the jihadists as cannon fodder, to be cast aside when it came time to split up the spoils.

Such was also the plan in Libya, where NATO and the same gang of royal Arabian thieves funded and armed the overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan jihadists have also failed to cooperate with the empire’s scheme.

The global jihadist network that the Americans and Saudis created in the 1980s has declared its independence, and Washington has nothing to replace them. American boots on the ground are unacceptable to both the people of the region and the U.S. public. Obama and his minions say the U.S. and its allies will crush ISIS – but that will be like smothering one’s own child in its crib, and would remove all hope of the U.S. achieving its strategic goal of regime change in Syria.

Watch for the Big Switch

If Obama was serious about wanting to crush ISIS, the best and most logical ally would be Syrian President Assad, whose army has so far prevailed against every flavor of jihadist the U.S. has been able to throw at it, including ISIS in its previous incarnations. Nobody wants ISIS defeated more than Syria and its soldiers, more of whom have died in this U.S.-engineered war than any other group, civilian or rebels. If making the region safe from ISIS were the goal, Obama would coordinate his moves with the Syrian military. But he’s lying – just as the Bush administration lied to make the American people believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. The U.S. goal was not to avenge 9/11, but to invade Iraq. In the same way, Obama is compelled to respond to the defection of ISIS from western control, but his goal remains to overthrow President Assad. And, he will tell any lie, or combinations of lies, to somehow turn U.S. bombs on the Syrian government, under the guise of fighting ISIS. You can bet that the CIA is burning the midnight oil, seeking a pretext to turn this strategic U.S. defeat into an excuse to directly attack Syria. And that’s what makes this moment so dangerous.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20140827_gf_ObamaISIS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49 AM

US Conf of Mayors Ferguson Press Release Shows Complicity, Irrelevance of Black Mayors, the Black Political Class

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

"What's wrong with this press release is that the mayors are elected officials who usually give orders to police departments..."

I got an email Friday from from former NBA star, husband of the detestable Michelle Rhee, and current mayor of Sacramento CA and chair of the US Conference of Mayors Kevin Johnson. It was a 5 sentence press release from Mayor Johnson on the situation in Ferguson MO.

The first sentence expressed "heartfelt condolence" to the family upon the death of Michael Brown. The second sentence urged a full investigation and "applauded" the president's announcement of a federal investigation. The third sentence said that the mayors have "a long track record" of commitment to community policing, and claimed that the mayors try to "identify & implement police department policies which will help prevent such incidents from occurring in the future." The fourth sentence said that they were working with President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, and the fifth sentence said that they were the national reps of mayors of cities with over 30,000 people, and gave their Facebook and Twitter info.

What's wrong with this press release is that the mayors are elected officials who usually give orders to police departments. Mayors, hundreds of them black are elected by the people and responsible for what our disrespectful, brutal and occasionally murderous police do. Mayors don't have to wring their hands and offer condolences. Mayors, including black mayors can tell their police departments to refuse federal funding tied to the number of low level drug arrests they make, and actually get the black attorney general Eric Holder on the phone to explain why they need it. But they don't.

Mayors including the black ones don't have to mumble about community policing. They can actually can get Jeh Johnson, the Morehouse man & black head of Homeland Security, or somebody from the Pentagon on the phone and tell them to stop sending mine resistant armored vehicles, machine guns, sonic disruptor weapons, drones and storm trooper gear to their police departments when what they need is more money for jobs, schools and housing. But they won't.

"They don't have answers to poverty or gentrification or mass incarceration or the prison state,..."

Kevin Johnson and the US Conference of Mayors know very well that "My Brothers Keeper" isn't even a government program, that it's almost entirely the private charitable contributions of big corporations, some of the same big corporations that won't pay taxes to support schools and health care and infrastructure for everybody, some of the same corporations that got rich milking Detroit and other big cities before abandoning them. Whatever good it does do can dry up whenever the funders lose interest. They can count too, so they know that My Brothers Keeper's entire budget is onlh a fraction of the yearly INCREASE of the Fedeal Bureau of Prisons budget during every year of the Obama presidency.

The self-referential, self-satisfied, self-justifying press release of the US Conference of Mayors on the occasion of Ferguson is all too typical of our black black political class. They don't have answers to poverty or gentrification or mass incarceration or the prison state, even though its intake mechanism is the police departments under their control. They're not even looking for those answers. They're only looking to get contracts, to get elected, to get congratulated and to get paid.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com. And since corporate social media don't show you everything you need to know , and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe, that's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works near Marietta GA and is a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20140820_bd_us_conf_mayors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30 PM

Ferguson Unmasks the War on Black America

 

Ferguson Unmasks the War on Black America A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford “The military character and mission of the police is more clear today than when the Black Panther Party and others sounded the alarm in the Sixties.” The brave and besieged people of Ferguson, Missouri, have already caused serious complications for the U.S. National Security State. By virtue of simply standing their ground in their own small city, the demonstrators have forced the local, county and state police to show their true, thoroughly militarized colors. Ferguson’s righteous agitators and rebellious Black youth have succeeded in pinning down in one small space the armed forces of racist repression in full view of the corporate and the people’s media, so that the whole world can bear witness to the truth of what another generation proclaimed nearly half a century ago: that, in the Black community, the police are an army of occupation. The military character and mission of the police is more clear today than when the Black Panther Party and others sounded the alarm in the Sixties. Back then, the first SWAT teams were staking out sniper positions on city streets and the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration had only just begun to funnel millions of dollars in surveillance technology, guns, body armor and all manner of lethal equipment to local and state police departments across the country. The term “mass Black incarceration” had not yet been coined, but it was only a matter of time before a permanent, militarized police offensive against rebellion-prone ghettos would cause unprecedented numbers of Black prisoners to flow into the greatest gulag in the history of the world. A Force to Crush a People White America perceived that it was at war with Black people, who no longer knew their place – and so, places of confinement were made for them; fortified dungeons to house millions. Since America tells itself and the rest of the world that it does not make war on its own citizens, and that there is a sharp and Constitutionally defined separation between the military and civilian functions of the State, the war against Black people had to be called something else – a War on Drugs, or simply a War on Crime. Therefore, it was not long before the words “crime” and “drugs” and “Black” came to mean the same thing since, really, there was only one war going on. And, it continues, still. The young people of Ferguson, and greater St. Louis, and all of urban, suburban and rural Black America understand perfectly well that war is being waged against them. The powers-that-be every day of the year make it is crystal clear to Black people, especially Black men, that an overwhelming and lethal force is prepared to crush them – for any reason, or for no reason at all. This is the definition of a war of terror. It requires the aggressor to engage in constant and ever escalating displays of disciplined force – which is what militaries do. By refusing to disperse, the Black people of Ferguson have compelled the police to flaunt their military nature and mission before the eyes of the world. The American National Security State is embarrassed. But it will take a social transformation – that is, a revolution – to disarm the beast. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday. BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

own small city, the demonstrators have forced the local, county and state police to show their true, thoroughly militarized colors. Ferguson’s righteous agitators and rebellious Black youth have succeeded in pinning down in one small space the armed forces of racist repression in full view of the corporate and the people’s media, so that the whole world can bear witness to the truth of what another generation proclaimed nearly half a century ago: that, in the Black community, the police are an army of occupation. The military character and mission of the police is more clear today than when the Black Panther Party and others sounded the alarm in the Sixties. Back then, the first SWAT teams were staking out sniper positions on city streets and the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration had only just begun to funnel millions of dollars in surveillance technology, guns, body armor and all manner of lethal equipment to local and state police departments across the country. The term “mass Black incarceration” had not yet been coined, but it was only a matter of time before a permanent, militarized police offensive against rebellion-prone ghettos would cause unprecedented numbers of Black prisoners to flow into the greatest gulag in the history of the world. A Force to Crush a People White America perceived that it was at war with Black people, who no longer knew their place – and so, places of confinement were made for them; fortified dungeons to house millions. Since America tells itself and the rest of the world that it does not make war on its own citizens, and that there is a sharp and Constitutionally defined separation between the military and civilian functions of the State, the war against Black people had to be called something else – a War on Drugs, or simply a War on Crime. Therefore, it was not long before the words “crime” and “drugs” and “Black” came to mean the same thing since, really, there was only one war going on. And, it continues, still. The young people of Ferguson, and greater St. Louis, and all of urban, suburban and rural Black America understand perfectly well that war is being waged against them. The powers-that-be every day of the year make it is crystal clear to Black people, especially Black men, that an overwhelming and lethal force is prepared to crush them – for any reason, or for no reason at all. This is the definition of a war of terror. It requires the aggressor to engage in constant and ever escalating displays of disciplined force – which is what militaries do. By refusing to disperse, the Black people of Ferguson have compelled the police to flaunt their military nature and mission before the eyes of the world. The American National Security State is embarrassed. But it will take a social transformation – that is, a revolution – to disarm the beast. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday. BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20140820_gf_MilitaryCops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54 PM

Is Democrats For Public Education Just a Toothless, Cynical Sound Byte?

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Last month at a teachers union meeting the Democratic National Committee's Donna Brazile announced the formation of Democrats For Public Education. Supposedly DFPE will fight against the policies of elite Democrats and Republicans who want to privatize public education. As the daughter of a longshoreman from a family of teachers and a product of public schools Brazile declared herself unafraid to call out those of her own party who are demonizing teachers and privatizing public education, though as a top Democrat she did not use the p-word.

But Donna Brazile didn't call out anybody, not then and not in the month since. Because if she did name names, number one would have to be her president, Barack Obama, and number two would be his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Cabinet appointments are not accidents. Presidents pick appointees with proven commitment and track records of accomplishing the very policies a president wants imposed, and President Obama was deeply in the pocket of the charter school sugar daddies.

As Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan ravaged, savaged and privatized. He fired thousands of mostly black teachers with little or no due process, and handed big chunks of public resources over to the operators of private charter schools. This record and his personal friendship with the president got Duncan appointed Secretary of Education.

Over the last six years, President Obama, Secretary Duncan and their Department of Education have let representatives of the private charter schools, testing companies, and consultants from the Walton Family, Eli Broad, Bill & Melinda Gates and other foundations ideologically committed to running schools like businesses and education like a market write the federal guidelines school districts must follow to receive federal funds – something they call the Race To The Top program. The same consultants have also been allowed to deeply embed themselves embed themselves in the supposedly impartial private institutions officially recognized by the Department of Education which evaluate schools, school districts.

By now the processes of privatization have an institutional momentum backed up by billions of public and private dollars. You can't fight that juggernaut if you cannot name its name and the names of the politicians it buys and rents. But Democrats don't publicly criticize each other much, black Democrats even less, and a prominent black Democrat contradicting the black president is unthinkable, it's just not in their DNA.

So why does DFPE exist? It can raise money, but nothing compared to the vast sums its opponents can. Apart from possible interference in next year's Chicago mayoral contest, its only conceivable purpose is an utterly cynical one. DFPE will house surrogates for Hillary Clinton's 2018 campaign who will give the credulous faithful an excuse to believe that Hillary, unlike Barack, is not on the side of the privatizers and charter school sugar daddies, the same way Obama had unofficial spokespeople everywhere assuring us that he was pro net neutrality, against the Patriot Act, the Iraq war, torture, wanted to renegotiate NAFTA, and whatever else some of us wanted to hear. Democrats For Public Education is just that, the cynical sound byte that some self-deceiving Democrats need to hear.

Teachers unions after all, don't just provide big checks to Democratic presidential candidates, its rank and file activists are the foot soldiers, the door to door and phone canvassers, the flesh and blood of a nationwide street operation which a successful Democratic presidential candidate needs to mobilize the Democratic base. You want to make that happen you've got to tell those foot soldiers what they want to hear, whether your candidate means it or not. That's called a campaign field operation.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and while you're there be sure to subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon used to do campaign field operations, and is now 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 this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 20140813_bd_dfpe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46 PM