Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Hey Toni Morrison! If Clinton Was Our First Black President, Is Bill de Blasio NYC's Second Black Mayor?

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

Some still recall it was Toni Morrison who first picked up Bill Clinton for us in the racial draft, calling him America's first black president. Now Sista Toni offers such an eloquent tribute to NYC mayor Bill de Blasio and his so-called “progressive agenda” that we imagine she might want to make him that city's second black mayor. We wish she wouldn't.

We won't deal with de Blasio's blackness or the lack thereof, that's not what we do here at Black Agenda Report. But the hard fact is de Blasio's so-called progressive agenda, and his actual policies in office utterly fail to meet the needs of poorer New Yorkers, let alone live up to the lofty accolades Toni Morrison heaps upon them.

It's not that the so-called progressive agenda is a bad thing... it's actually good as far as it goes. But it says so little, for so much praise that its omissions speak louder than what's there

To name just a couple things, this “progressive agenda” doesn't mention privatization of water, schools, media, parking, elections and public assets that are a hallmark of neoliberal capitalism. How progressive do you have to be to oppose privatization in principle? It fails to mention gentrification either, the development of urban areas not for the people who live there now, but for wealthier residents attracted from someplace else.

De Blasio's policies on the ground, though they pay lip service to “affordable housing” according to activists in Brooklyn and the Bronx, include leaning harder on public housing residents to finance long-delayed repairs and maintenance instead of taxing the billionaires to get it done. De Blasio's practice of inundating poorer neighborhoods like South Bronx and East New York with expensive housing units make his “no displacement” promises inevitably self-breaking in the face of market pressures.

Moreover, leaving the war economy, privatizations, the prison state, the energy industry and climate change, out of the severely limited “progressive agenda” allows us to falsely imagine we can improve the lot of poor and working Americans without reversing the privatizations, and without shutting down the prison state. It lets us imagine we can create good jobs at living wages for Americans without euthanizing the fossil fuel industry that's greedily poisoning the climate, and without ending the war economy in which the US with 5% of the worlds people spends half the world's military budget on constant wars and over one thousand military bases around the planet.

In the real USA there is one prison and police state, and one policy of urban economic development – gentrification. On the real planet Earth there is only one capitalist economy, one global military superpower, and one climate.

When great artists like Toni heap effusive praise upon politicians for meager and misleading promises, and policies that fail even to live up to these, they're not speaking courageous truth to power. They're just sucking up to their influential friends.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

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)
Direct download: 20150520_bd_nyc-2nd-black-mayor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17 PM

Malcolm X Would Wage Righteous Struggle Against Black America’s “House Negro” Leaders

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Malcolm broke with the taboos against criticizing Black leadership within ear or eye range of white people.”

Malcolm X would have been 90 years old on Tuesday if he had not been assassinated at the age of 39, on February 21, 1965. His impact on Black America, the African Diaspora, and on human history, is inestimable, but I believe Brother Malcolm’s greatest contribution to the struggle for human dignity lay in his unrelenting critique of the political structures and behavior of Black America. Malcolm X made it legitimate and virtuous to engage in full-throated, soul searching, icon-searing debate about the past, present and future of those who were then called Negroes. Most importantly, he did not give a damn if white people heard all the Black-on-Black commotion, or not – because they were not his audience, even when his arguments were broadcast on white corporate media.

Malcolm broke with the taboos against criticizing Black leadership within ear or eye range of white people, which in the late Fifties and early Sixties was viewed as airing dirty linen in public. Malcolm’s position was that many of these Black leaders were actually creatures of the white power structure and its media. He questioned their loyalties and very legitimacy, and challenged Black folks to choose their own leaders, who would fight uncompromisingly for Black interests.

Malcolm took on the so-called “Big Six” – the NAACP, the National Urban League, CORE, SNCC, Dr. Martin Luther King’s SCLC, and the legendary A. Philip Randolph – who had gained the cooperation of the Kennedy administration to hold the 1963 March on Washington. Malcolm was not impressed. He called it the “Farce on Washington,” and derided the Big Six for diluting Black people’s power by putting “cream in the coffee.” This was not a cat-call for racial exclusion, but a demand for independent Black politics. Millions of Black people, especially the young, understood Malcolm’s meaning, and acted upon it.

He questioned their loyalties and very legitimacy.”

There is no doubt that Malcolm was a Race Man. But, when it came to his analysis of Black America, he was a “class” man, too. His elevation of the “Field Negro” over the fawning, obsequious “House Negro” was an admonition to resist cooptation into what even Dr. King later recognized was a “burning house.” Malcolm wielded his “House Negro” analogy like a sword, shaming and delegitimizing those Blacks who identify with and serve oppressive institutions, rather than the interests of the masses of the people. Malcolm’s harsh, but lucid, juxtapositons gave clarity of vision to a movement that would shake America to its foundations.

What would Malcolm say, if he were returned to us? His critique would begin with the present sorry state of the Black America, where the House Negro has held sway for the past two generations, with disastrous results. But he would also hear the voices of his great grandchildren stirring among the Field Negroes of Ferguson and Baltimore, and he would say, “Show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” And then he would immediately set about denouncing and organizing against those Black people that have sided with the bloodsuckers.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20150520_gf_MalcolmBday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33 PM

EU Plans War to Keep Europe White

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The thousands of deaths at sea are crimes of Europe and the United States.”

The United States has been the big, bad leader of the imperial world for so long, we may sometimes forget that most of the evils that beset our world have their origins in Europe, a small corner of the Earth that has for 500 years grown fat off the blood and resources of the rest of the planet. This Europe is a greedy little place, most of whose inhabitants believe they have somehow earned what they have stolen from the world’s darker peoples, and that they are entitled to continue stealing in perpetuity.

In 2011, in league with the United States, European members of NATO launched a totally unprovoked 7-month bombing campaign against Libya, resulting in the murder of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the empowerment of Islamist jihadists throughout the northern tier of the African continent. Col. Gaddafi had warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia, with vast numbers of people desperately fleeing across the Mediterranean Seato escape the turmoil. Gaddafi was right, of course. Not only has Libya been reduced to a state of sheer anarchy and terror, but thanks to Europe and the United States, Hell has descended on Syria, and conditions in Somalia have grown even worse. The Europeans and their American cousins are intent on wiping out every vestige of civilization in the Muslim world – all the while spouting the same twisted, racist logic that they have employed for half a millennium: that Muslims and Africans are unsuited to civilization, and must be guided by the white hands of Europe, for their own good.

Col. Gaddafi warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia.”

The refugee crisis, the thousands of deaths at sea, are crimes of Europe and the United States. The Euro-Americans are just as unquestionably guilty as the arsonist who sets the fire that causes apartment dwellers to jump to their deaths from high windows to escape the flames. Now, the nations of the European Union, all 28 of them, are backing plans to launch air and naval attacks against boats in the ports of Libya and on the high seas, to make sure that the refugees that Europe and America have created do not wind up on European shores. This new war against Libya will not be to destroy a secular regime, or to grab oil fields, but a war to keep Europe white. On this the Europeans can unite. They argue only about how to distribute among themselves the Muslim and African refugees that somehow do manage to make landfall. They must be scattered across the map. European civilization is a fragile thing. Although the British, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Belgians, Dutch, Danes and Germans have looted, raped and massacred every people they have encountered since the early 1400s, their own societies cannot tolerate more than a token exposure to former colonized cultures. In addition to the riches of the world, the Europeans demand racial exclusivity on their home turf.

So today, they prepare to beat back by military force the most desperate victims of previous Euro-American crimes. And they have the colossal gall to call it a “humanitarian” operation.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at



Direct download: 20150513_gf_EUBombBoats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:50 PM

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


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

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

Nobody celebrates themselves more tirelessly and uncritically than black America's wealthy and empowered political class of millionaire entertainers, business types, preachers and politicians. Unfortunately, black folks outside that charmed circle also tend to applaud the glittering wealth of black celebrities without bothering to look at where that wealth comes from.

Last year in Black Agenda Report, we talked about near-billionaire former NBA star Junior Bridgman, who owns more than a hundred Applebees and Wendys restaurants, and spends millions each year lobbying Congress and state legislatures to keep his workers' wages nice and low. There's Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who's a major partner in Sodexo, a firm that privatizes food service in prisons, public schools and charter schools, and janitorial service in schools as well, making tens of millions a year relentlessly cutting jobs, wages and quality of service. And in Atlanta, there's Tyler Perry.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is trying to rush through a deal with as little public scrutiny or input as possible that will give Tyler Perry more than a half square mile of public land – 331 prime acres of former military base less than four miles from downtown Atlanta, for a mere $30 million, to build new production studios and whatever else he might want to do. If Atlanta doesn't hurry up and and give Perry this land, Reed says, Perry might take the 8,000 new jobs he claims his studio might create somewhere else, like neighboring Douglass county where Perry reportedly owns more than 1,000 acres. Never mind the fact that Perry's existing Atlanta studios have been sketchily constructed and maintained, and had little or no positive economic impact on their surrounding neighborhood.

Atlanta mayors have a tradition of lying about how many jobs will be created when they give public resources and land to their friends. Previous Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin claimed her Atlanta Beltline boondoggle would create 40,000 temporary and 30,000 permanent new jobs if only Atlanta would divert $140 million away from the public schools every year for twenty-some years. Mayor Reed absurdly claims Tyler Perry's new studio will create 8,000 new jobs. In the real world a studio the size of Perry's will use a tenth, a twentieth or less of 331 acres, and most of the 800 or fewer– not 8,000 jobs there will be professional and managerial folks already working for Tyler Perry.

The fact is, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed wants to hurry up and give Tyler Perry the land without any guarantees whatsoever of how many permanent jobs will be created, no stipulation of how many units of affordable housing will be constructed, and most of all, without consulting the area's existing residents and business owners. Perry of course made substantial contributions to Georgia's Republican governor, and can be expected to generously support Mayor Reed in any state or other office he might seek.

There has never been the slightest pretense of any interest on the part of city hall in involving the public on how the 440 acre former military base will be integrated into the city of Atlanta. Instead of a chance to develop the city for the people who live here, Atlanta's greedy and myopic black political class sees only a chance to make a few of its already wealthy members a lot richer, at the expense of everybody else.

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

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 at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20150506_bd-tyler_perry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59 PM

More Dyson V West: Michael Eric Dyson Ain't No Muhammad Ali

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

What do you do when a lunatic or someone deeply unprincipled tries to pick a public fight with you? It can be a vexing problem, first because such people tend not to be honest about what their real beef is, and secondly because onlookers may easily decide that both parties to such a dispute are equally bankrupt and worth ignoring.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson has done something very much like this to the man he calls one of his former mentors, Cornel West. Dyson's ten thousand word screed in the New Republic focuses at great length on West's alleged academic and personal shortcomings. But the current context of time and place and alliances at this, the official start of the 2016 presidential campaign season, mark Dyson's piece as an unmistakably political attack.

It's a profoundly disappointing and dishonest critique as well, failing as it does to grapple with any of the dozens of specific policy matters upon which Cornel West has harshly criticized the entire lack political class of black mayors, black preachers, black legislators and officials and of course the first black president. Michael Eric Dyson on the other hand, is eagerly scrambling for his place in the pecking order of that black political class. Dyson knows that nobody's career, nobody's bottom line has ever negatively affected because they sucked up to a sitting president, or to the next sitting president.

As in his 2012 debate with Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford, (part one here, part two here) all Dr. Dyson can do is throw up his usual “wall of words.” But Dyson cannot defend drone warfare across Africa and Asia. Dyson can't justify the TTP and TTIP, or Obama's Race To The Top program to privatize public schools in black neighborhoods across the country, all of which West denounces. Dyson can't explain Obama's deportation of two million people after he promised them a road to citizenship, or Obama's preventive detention laws or his refusal to prosecute the banksters who crashed the economy. So he talks about West's inflated ego. Dyson cannot defend Obama's arms deals in Africa, his support for GMOs at home, apartheid in Israel or his broken promises to raise the minimum wage early in his first term, or much of anything else, so he hones in on West's love of the limelight and his questionable status as a prophet.

In subsequent snippets, Dyson has inexplicably likened himself in conflict with West to Muhammad Ali. Dyson however lives in upside-down land. Dyson's inability to make winning political arguments on behalf of his masters renders him, like Muhammad Ali's early opponents, unable to lay a glove on the man. Whoever he is, Michael Eric Dyson ain't no Muhammad Ali.

Dyson is closer to Joe Frazier, but without the great champion's generosity, his humility or his integrity, without Joe's hands or Joe's heart. In fact the only part of Joe Frazier Dyson successfully channels is Joe's sense of aggrieved malice, which led Frazier to boast shortly before his death, that when one sees the visible impairment in Ali's face and manner, as Joe says, “I did that.” But unlike Joe Frazier with Ali, Dyson hasn't laid a glove on his opponent.

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

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 at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20150430_bd_west-v-dyson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05 PM

Lawless President Obama Chides Baltimore “Criminals And Thugs,” Ignores Savagery Of Baltimore Police

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

According to the Baltimore Police Department's own story, all Freddie Gray ever did was make eye contact with a police lieutenant and take off running. In 21st century America, the relation of young black men to the police is such that when you run like a rabbit, cops will chase you like hounds. When the hounds caught 25 year old Freddy Gray they did what hounds do when they catch a rabbit. Baltimore cops snapped Freddy Gray's spine, and they may have inflicted additional torture upon him during a half hour in leg irons in back of a police van after which they finally got around to calling the paramedics.

This kind of simple, elemental savagery is the ordinary everyday state of policing not just in Baltimore but in a hundred other US cities. Black Baltimore knows, just like black Chicago, black Los Angeles and Philly and Birmingham and Jacksonville and Detroit --- they all know that the courts and ballot box provide no credible remedies to the scourge of police violence or the national policy of mass incarceration inflicted upon Americans of African descent.

Our black political class was quick to point to the absence of black faces in high places in Ferguson Missouri. But most Baltimore mayors have been black for a generation, as have many of its top cops. There are black faces in judges' chambers, a mostly black city council and Maryland has a large and active legislative black caucus. Curbing the cops though, is not part of what any of our black political class actually DO.

President Obama is big on poor people remaining peaceful and nonviolent and respecting the law. This is a notion that should either make us laugh out loud, or cry, it's hard to decide which. President Obama you see, also claims the law entitles him to drone-bomb hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians across Asia and Africa whose names he doesn't even know based upon their “profiles” or their proximity to supposed “terrorists,” also frequently unknown by name. The president, along with his outgoing and incoming attorneys general assure us this is all perfectly legal. We have to take their word for it, because they've made the precise legal language of the rule they says permits this classified – a secret.

Along with the president, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also drew the line at protesters interfering with the private property of others. This too is a joke. The Baltimore PD is one of hundreds of cop shops that routinely confiscate cash and assets with little or no justification from people for its own use, a runaway policy called asset forfeiture blessed by the incoming attorney general Loretta Lynch. So let's be clear – when presidents and mayors call for “nonviolence” and “obeying the law” and “respect for private property” they're appealing to rules they would not dream of following themselves.

These are the rules the police and prison state makes for its victims, the rules that hounds make for rabbits. If we no longer intend to be hunted by hounds, we have to start by ignoring their rules, as many of our finest young people are seizing the opportunity to do. The most important lesson of Freddy Gray's death may be that it's high time to stop running like rabbits.


For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

Direct download: 20150429-bd-hounds-n-rabbits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:40 PM

So the One Percent of One Percent Who Own US Politics Include Some Black Faces. Is This A Victory For Us All?


By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon


One percent of the one percent, about 30,000 individuals account for 42% of all the contributions to political candidates in the US. In most other countries these would be bribes, but in this, the freest country in the world, wealthy have baked their right to bribe into our election law. They've even purchased a Supreme Court ruling – Citizens United – which says their unfettered right to bribe is guaranteed in the Constitution.


While America's corporate elite is disproportionately white, nobody I know considers this a victory for white people. So why then, do many African descended Americans insist on celebrating black members of this one percent of one percent as persons worthy of respect and admiration on the part of the rest of us?


Former NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a case in point. With business interests all over the country, Magic dropped a quarter million dollar campaign donation on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and flew to Chicago to get his picture taken with the mayor on the eve of the elction. Magic's payback was an $80 million dollar contract managing privatized custodial services in Chicago's Public Schools, under which he pays those custodial employees, many of them African American far, far less than they once made as direct employees of the public school system.


This doesn't make Johnson unique. It makes him one of the gang, a very privileged gang indeed. A recent study by the Sunlight Foundation revealed that corporations get about $760 back from federal, state and local governments for every buck they donate to politicians of the two capitalist parties. The nation's top 200 campaign donors gave $5.8 billion to political campaigns, and got back $4.4 trillion – that's trillion with a T in return between 2007 and 2012. In perspective, during the same period 50 million Americans on social security got only $4.3 trillion. It's all perfectly legal, and in the eyes of some of our black pundit class, admirable, when the recipients are folks like Magic Johnson.


Junior Bridgman, another former NBA superstar owns hundreds of Wendys and Applebees franchises, and pays millions every year to lobby state and federal government to keep the wages of his workers nice and low, seven bucks and change for the fast food sector and two dollars and change for the restaurants. Is he an inspiration to young blacks or a scourge on black families?


How should we regard the black faces among the one percent of one percent? Are they smart and savvy business people, examples of real black power? Or are they well connected, despicable thieves stealing from the rest of us?


It's a question we should ask ourselves more often.


For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at


Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20150422-bd-one-percent-blacks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59 PM

We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

There are more Black men missing from their communities than the combined Black male populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington and Boston.”

A new analysis of population data confirms what has long been obvious to every minimally conscious Black person in the United States: a huge proportion of the Black male population is missing, physically absent from the daily life of the community. Many are prematurely dead, but the largest group has been consigned to the social death of incarceration. According to a study by the Upshot unit of the New York Times, when prison inmates of both sexes are taken out of the equation, there are now 1.5 million more Black women in the country, age 25 to 54, than there are Black men. In some locations – for example, Ferguson, Missouri – there are only six Black men physically present in the community for every ten Black women.

In white America, there is almost no imbalance in gender among the 25 to 54 age group. For every 100 white women, there are 99 white men.

There are more Black men missing from their communities than the combined Black male populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington and Boston. Six hundred thousand of them are in prison, and that’s not counting Black male prison inmates that are younger than 25 and older than 54. The analysts estimate that roughly half, and maybe as many as three-quarters, of the other 900,000 missing Black men have died before their time from diseases and accidents, and that 200,000 are no longer here due to homicide.

The war of attrition is a race war.”

Black life in America does not start out with these bizarre imbalances between the sexes. There is no gender gap among Blacks in childhood. Roughly the same number of boys and girls are born, and the ratio stays stable until the teenage years, when the war of attrition begins mercilessly grinding down the numbers of Black males. How else is this phenomenon to be described except as a war, in which 600,000 are held captive during their most productive years, 200,000 are killed by violence, and most of the rest go to early graves from accidents and diseases that cause far lower casualties among whites.

The data show that U.S. society has become much more toxic for Black men during the very period in which Blacks were supposedly making such fantastic “progress.” The numbers show that the missing-Black-men phenomenon “began growing in the middle decades of the 20th century.” The increasing ratio of Black women to men is primarily a product of the age of mass Black incarceration. The war of attrition is a race war deliberately and methodically initiated by the U.S. government, the effects of which have been devastating to Black society on the most fundamental level: stunting the formation of Black families and the Black American group as a whole by physically removing and eliminating the men.

The data support a totally plausible, factually grounded charge of genocide, based on international law. The U.S. government, through its mass Black incarceration policies of the last half century, has been guilty of a) “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” as well as b) “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.”

The facts bear witness to the indictment. So do 1.5 million missing Black men.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20150422_gf_MissingBlackMen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14 PM

The Ascent of Hillary, the $.2.5 Billion “People’s” Candidate

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It is the triumph of filthy rich campaign contributors.”

Hillary Clinton just announced that she’s running for president. However, this commentary is not really about her. It’s about a nation of more than 300 million people in which politics has become the sole property and domain of the rich. The rich decided some time ago that Hillary Clinton would be the virtually unchallenged presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. The 48 percent of Americans that express an affinity with the Democratic Party have not yet chosen Clinton. There has been no primary election in any state. But, that does not matter because the selection process that counts occurs in the boardrooms and mansions and private clubs and getaways of the rich. Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill, have spent virtually their entire adult lives on the millionaires’ campaign circuit, the rich man’s primary. In the process of pleasing the rich, they have become rich, themselves.

Hillary hopes to spend two and a half billion dollars of – mostly – rich people’s money in the 2016 campaign. Wealthy people will be just as generous with the Republican candidate. The outcome on Election Day is absolutely certain: the rich man’s candidate will definitely win, and the people will lose – because they have no candidate in the major parties.

The people are not even in the game; the contest is over before the Democratic Party’s formal selection process even begins. And, when primary season does arrive, it will only be a formality. The menu has already been printed, and Hillary will be the main course for Democrats next year.

Democratic voters can say “Yes” to Hillary, but they can’t say “No,” because the party machinery and the rich men who pay for that machinery will crucify and expel any Democrat who seriously challenges her from the Left.

The Party has always been a scam.”

The Democratic Party’s apologists like to call it a big tent with room for Blacks and browns and gays and labor and peace-loving people. But it’s actually a huge trap designed to contain and politically neutralize the folks who might otherwise turn against the rich. The Party has always been a scam, but at least in the old days it put on a populist show to fool the rank and file into believing that they could actually influence the party’s direction. However, Wall Street is determined that there will be no serious Democratic deviation from the corporate agenda set by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton would represent the third Clinton presidency – which, for Wall Street, is just as good as the two George Bush presidencies. Maybe better, because labor and Blacks and that fuzzy cohort called liberals will all think they won the election, when nothing could be farther from the truth. Rank and file Democrats will see the fait accompli of Hillary’s nomination as a sign of unity among Democrats, when in fact it is the triumph of filthy rich campaign contributors. The rich have shown great solidarity in uniting behind a Democratic presidential candidate. Later on, they will unite around a Republican candidate, too. After that, it won’t matter who wins.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20150415_gf_HillaryRuns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58 PM

The Vocabulary of Struggle

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Can the organizers reboot the momentum of protest.”

The Black Lives Matter mobilization against the brutal guardians of the State proved its militancy in a winter campaign of protests. Hundreds of thousands marched and staged righteous disruptions of the status quo in defiance of the collaborationist Black Misleadership Class and the Black president of the United States. Deep into the cold season, aroused and angry young people dared to confront their persecutors, incarcerators and executioners: the police. It was an organized, disciplined campaign that reached into every region of the United States. And, for the first time in two generations, it seemed possible that a real grassroots Black-led movement might have sprung forth from the pain and fury at Michael Brown’s murder, August 9, in Ferguson, Missouri.

The winter is over, the season has turned, and soon the mass mobilization that desperately needs to become a movement will face the test of sustainability. Can the organizers reboot the momentum of protest, and ultimately bring it to such a fever pitch of intensity – a state of crisis – that the powers-that-be are forced to make concessions they would reject as unthinkable under normal circumstances. Concessions that allow Black people to determine how, and by whom, their communities will be policed.

Relearning Movement Politics

Managing a deliberately escalating social crisis is a gargantuan undertaking. There are no experts; it has been too long since the last mass movement. Conditions of life, including the ways that people communicate with each other, have changed drastically in 40 years. But, if the movement is to succeed, there must be tens of thousands of students of mass mobilization who are eager to major in the study and practice of political confrontation and social transformation – students of all ages, but mainly the youth. They will have to take up the task of dismantling the Mass Black Incarceration State – the New Jim Crow – that was imposed after the last mass movement was shut down, four decades ago.

When there is no resistance, one loses the vocabulary of struggle. The incipient movement that currently calls itself Black Lives Matter has emerged from a political desert, where even many protesters don’t know the difference between “community policing” and “community control of police.” The vocabulary of struggle has been so under-used, that some young folks who put their lives on the line in confrontation with the police, would deny that they’re engaged in politics; they think politics is about voting once every couple of years. And, it has been so long since there was an actual movement to betray, we have not yet invented a word to replace the no longer useful term “Uncle Tom.”

But we will come up with something appropriately insulting, if this nascent movement continues. Some of the phrases that were in common usage in the Sixties might even come back. I’ve always had a soft spot for “the Long Hot Summer.”

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20150408_gf_VocabularyOfStruggle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:09 PM