Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Anti-War Movement Defeated by Obama

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The arrival of the Obama administration has crippled the U.S. anti-war movement, which has neither the fortitude nor political depth to confront imperialism with a Black face. The Out of Iraq caucus on Capitol Hill might as well call itself the Out of Action caucus, since it can’t figure out a way to respond to President Obama’s expanding military budgets and wars. National anti-war organizations cling to the fiction that Obama is really seeking a military withdrawal from Iraq. “The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president, an imperialist with charm, a warmonger with a winning smile.

Anti-War Movement Defeated by Obama

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“Obama pretends he wants peace, and anti-war members of Congress pretend to believe him.”

In the streets, on the2009campuses and on Capitol Hill, the anti-war movement is no longer moving anywhere. It has been crippled by the Obama Effect, the deep and wide delusion that imperialism with a Black face is somehow – something else. When a movement disbands itself without coming even close to achieving its objective, that is a defeat. We can now definitively state that, for the time being, the U.S. anti-war movement has been defeated – not by Republicans, but by Barack Obama’s Democratic Party.

A recent article in The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress, relates a meeting among staffers for Out of Iraq caucus leaders Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey. They were supposed to come up with a response to President Obama’s announcement that he would immediately send 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, with lots more to come. Obama is determined to leave at least 50,000 troops in Iraq for an open-ended period of time under the guise of “training” the Iraqis, and is rapidly merging Afghanistan and Pakistan into one theater of war, called Af-Pak. Clearly, the Obama administration is expanding its war in Af-Pak, and has no intention of ending the U.S. military presence in Iraq – ever. The staffers for the Out of Iraq caucus leaders spent two hours trying to come up with a position. They failed.

For all intents and purposes, the Out of Iraq caucus has ceased to function. Black Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters have at times shown great courage in the face of stupendous odds. But they will not confront Barack Obama, even when he expands the arenas of war, claims that combat soldiers are merely trainers and advisers, and pushes through a war budget that is bigger than any of George Bush’s war budgets. Obama pretends he wants peace, and anti-war members of Congress pretend to believe him.

The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president.”

Another Capitol Hill publication, the Congressional Quarterly, recently ran an article on the low demonstration turn-out and money woes of the anti-war movement. A March 21st rally at the Pentagon drew pitiful numbers of demonstrators, only 3,000 according to police. Organizers claim they can’t raise money these days, and have been forced to cut staff. A spokesperson for ANSWER, the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, said the peace movement is seeing the impact of the “promises the Obama campaign made.” Outgoing United for Peace and Justice leader Leslie Cagan says her money people aren’t giving because “It’s enough for many of them that Obama has a plan to end the war and that things are moving in the right direction.”

But Obama has no plans or intention to end his wars except on imperialism’s own terms – which means never-ending war, just like under Bush – a basic truth that United for Peace and Justice refuses to recognize or admit. ANSWER organizers also fail to confront the Obama White House head-on. The Congressional Quarterly article concludes that the anti-war movement is suffering from the results of “its own success.” That’s absolute nonsense. The anti-war movement has hit rock-bottom because of its failure to challenge this particular president, an imperialist with charm, a warmonger with a winning smile. Obama has whipped them, but good. And they will stay whipped, until they stand up like men, like women, like leaders. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20090415_gf_antiwar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00pm EDT

Obama Edges Closer to Ending Failed US Embargo of Cuba

No matter how you measure it, the US embargo of Cuba has been a failure, and worse, a crime against both the US and the Cuban peoples. Instead of isolating Cuba, it isolates the US and its people from Cuban cultural contributions and US businesses from the profits of Cuban trade. Still, the First Black President moves slowly, much slower than his base toward the inevitable.

Obama Slowly Edges Closer to Ending the Cuba Embargo

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“President Obama will attend a summit meeting of the OAS, most of whose members now maintain good relations with Cuba and wish the U.S. would lift the trade embargo.”

For half a century, U.S. hatred of the Cuban revolution has driven Washington to commit the full spectrum of international crimes against its small island neighbor: invasion, biological warfare, a relentless campaign of assassination and terror, and the world’s longest trade embargo. Yet the Castro brothers and the socialist government still stand. Forty-seven years ago, when all of Latin America – except for Cuba – was under Washington’s thumb, the United States directed the Organization of American States – the OAS – to expel Cuba, which, of course, was promptly done. That was the same year, 1962, that the U.S. imposed its trade blockade on Cuba. Later this week, President Obama will attend a summit meeting of the OAS, most of whose members now maintain good relations with Cuba and wish the U.S. would lift the trade embargo. Some of them will surely tell Obama so, and in this day and age, the president of the United States has no choice but to listen. The Caribbean Community is also on record against the embargo, as is the General Assembly of the United Nations. Captains of U.S. industry, and their foreign counterparts, have for years lobbied for an end to the embargo, for the simple reason that it’s bad for business, putting American firms at a disadvantage in the global marketplace.

The embargo against Cuba, designed to isolate the revolution, today isolates the United States from the community of nations.

“Cuban leader Raul Castro offered to exchange the Cuban Five or any jailed Cuban dissidents the U.S. wants.”

Barack Obama got ready for his Friday meeting with the leaders of the rest of the Americas by dropping a range of restrictions on Cuba, mostly involving visits Cuban Americans will be allowed to make to the island and the money and gifts they can send.

The older generation of Miami Cubans last week finally bowed to the stability and longevity of the Cuban revolution. Acknowledging the handwriting that has long covered the walls, the far-rightwing Cuban American National Foundation called for a significant loosening of restrictions on Cuban American contact with the island. The old reactionaries stopped short of calling for an end to the embargo, but said the issue was only “symbolic” and no longer “important anymore.”

One of the Cuban American National Foundation’s heroes, the infamous terrorist Luis Posada, moved a little closer to his eventual encounter with justice, when a federal grand jury served up a new indictment against him in connection with bombings at Cuban tourism destinations, back in 1997. One Italian tourist was killed in the terror campaign. Posada has long been wanted by Havana in the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people.

But nowadays the Cuban government would be much happier for the return of the so-called Cuban Five, a group of intelligence agents sent by Cuba to infiltrate Miami’s exile groups, where younger versions of Luis Posada planned terrorist attacks on Cuban soil. Instead of being thanked by the FBI for doing the Bureau’s job, the Cuban Five were sentenced to long terms in prison on espionage charges. Cuban leader Raul Castro offered to exchange the Cuban Five or any jailed Cuban dissidents the U.S. wants. Sounds like a good deal. And then the U.S. can end the embargo, and look a little bit less evil in the eyes of the world.

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

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

Direct download: 20090415_gf_cuba.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51pm EDT

US Aircraft and Elite Special Forces Defeat Three Somalis in a Lifeboat

The mounting hue and cry in the US press over the menace to civilization posed by Somali pirates is yet another Big Lie, to justify the latest chapter in America's imperial quest for African oil and other resources. US missiles and drones in the air, and perhaps US boots on the ground are all but inevitable, ordered to kill black people, by America's First Black President.

US Aircraft and Elite Special Forces Defeat Three Somalis in a Lifeboat

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

An estimated $300 million worth of Somali sea life is pirated by foreigners every year.”

What a weekend for American foreign policy! The United States Navy, backed up by warships from 20 other nations, knocked off three Somali guys crouching with rifles in a lifeboat tied by a rope to a U.S. destroyer. To hear the U.S. corporate media tell it, the Americans had won a huge victory over the forces of evil. The sole surviving Somali was in custody – a 16-year-old who essentially gave himself up, earlier, after being hurt in a scuffle with the American cargo ship captain who is now celebrated as a hero of the seven seas and defender of United States national honor.

There is something obscene about a superpower whose media and population find great satisfaction, and some sick form of national catharsis, every time they manage to overcome a weak and desperate opponent.

Some dreaded seagoing Somalis began taking up piracy in 1991, when the Somali government disintegrated and there was no one to patrol the country’s coasts. About the same time, and not coincidentally, commercial fishing fleets from around the world took advantage of the lack of a Somali coast guard, to steal every fish they could find in Somali waters. That’s “robbery on the high seas,” the definition of piracy. An estimated $300 million worth of Somali sea life is pirated by foreigners every year. Other kinds of pirates nowadays often leave something behind – the piratical poisonous waste dumpers. They seem to be mafia-connected outfits that dump the radioactive waste from European hospitals into Somali waters, along with heavy metals and dangerous chemicals of all kinds. A survey by the Somali news agency Wardheer News shows that 70 percent of Somalis “strongly supported piracy as a form of national defense of the country's territorial waters."

Having seen their coastal waters pirated by foreigners since 1991, Somalis were then forced to endure the land and air piracy of the Ethiopians and the United States, who collaborated in late 2006 to invade the country and oust the only relatively effective government Somalia had had in 15 years. Occupied by Ethiopia with the backing of the American superpower, Somalis were stripped of the last thing they had on land or sea – their national sovereignty. The foreign super-pirates had taken everything.

70 percent of Somalis ‘strongly supported piracy as a form of national defense of the country's territorial waters.’"

But the Somalis kept fighting back, anyway, driving out the Ethiopians and making the Americans fume with rage. The Somalis refused to roll over and die, or beg. Black U.S. Congressman Donald Payne’s airplane was targeted by mortars when he visited Somalia’s ravaged capital, Mogadishu, over the weekend. Payne opposed the U.S.-Ethiopia invasion of Somalia, but some of the Islamist fighters battling for control of the country may not make distinctions among the foreigners who pass through or over their land – and who can blame them? Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations, a young Black woman named Susan Rice, is positively rapid when it comes to beating Somalia into submission. She was more gung-ho for the U.S.-Ethiopian invasion than George Bush. Susan Rice is no doubt searching for a military solution to Somali 20090415Piracygfpiracy – which would amount to more piracy by the same foreigners that have driven Somalis to such desperate measures. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20090415_gf_piracy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT