Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Obama, US Continue to Reap Trillions and Condemn Africa to Climate Catastrophe

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

With humanity at risk and Africa facing “incineration,” the United States opted for “disaster capitalism” at the global climate conference, last week. “President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Copenhagen to end any possibility of a global agreement on greenhouse gasses that the rich nations would be bound to respect.”

 

Obama, US Continue to Reap Trillions and Condemn Africa to Climate Catastrophe

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“The United States went to Copenhagen intent on imposing a ‘disaster capitalism’ regime on the poor nations of the planet.”

The United States, having reaped more benefits than any other nation from the industrial warming of planet Earth, now seeks to turn the resulting global disaster to its own advantage – or, more precisely, to the advantage of the U.S.-based, amoral, world-annihilating corporate class.

In Copenhagen last week, the Obama administration destroyed any chance of averting catastrophe in Africa and the developing nations of the global South. Temperatures will be allowed to rise 2 degrees Celsius on average, which translates to three and a half degrees in the hotter latitudes. As a consequence, said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Africa is the be condemned “to incineration and no modern development.”

What development does occur would be at the pleasure of the United States and Europe. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Copenhagen to end any possibility of a global agreement on greenhouse gasses that the rich nations would be bound to respect. Obama administered the coup de grace to the Kyoto accords, extinguishing all hope of an international agreement that respects the rights of all nations to develop their economies within a binding framework that protects everyone’s interests. Instead, the United States imposed its own take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum: accept the inevitability of catastrophe in Africa and across the global South. And also accept that the U.S. and its corporations will dictate how the developing world will be allowed to grow its economies. Refuse, and the uppity poor countries will be cut off from the rich man’s “aid.”

“While Africa burns, Washington gives up nothing in terms of binding commitments.”

This is “disaster capitalism” in its most hellish form. The term was coined by political writer Naomi Klein in 2005, to describe how the International Monetary Fund induced or exploited economic disasters in the Third World and then forced poor countries to surrender their national sovereignty in order to be eligible for loans and “aid” from the rich countries. The aim was to make it impossible for poor countries to control their own economic and political destinies.

The United States went to Copenhagen intent on imposing a “disaster capitalism” regime on the poor nations of the planet. While Africa burns, Washington gives up nothing in terms of binding commitments. Instead, the U.S. offers – but does not guarantee, or even promise – to create a special fund, possibly eventually amounting to $100 billion, from which “aid” will be doled out. The rich nations will determine who gets a piece of the global warming aid pie, and under what terms. The Americans insist that some of the money will come from private sources, rich corporations that are answerable to no one but their own greedy selves – which means western businessmen will determine how Africa and the global South will be allowed to develop under conditions of climate change. The U.S. reserves the right to make separate deals with favored nations, that is, countries whose leaders surrender their national destiny to the developmental wishes of the West.

Disaster capitalism holds the most vulnerable of the world’s people hostage to imperial blackmail at the hour of the planet’s greatest peril. It is a crime against humanity, and most grievously, a crime against Africa. How ironic that the chief perpetrator of the crime is himself a son of Africa.

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: 20091223_gf_ClimateCapitalism.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 5:41am EDT

What Part of “We Need Jobs” Does Obama Not Get?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It is as if Americans have lost the very language of social justice. The Congressional Black Caucus, finally in a mood to confront the White House on the jobs issue, find themselves having to explain that legislators have a “moral obligation” to fight for their constituents' interests. Meanwhile, “President Obama treats every appeal for attention to Black unemployment as if it is an unreasonable, or even illegal, demand.”

 

What Part of “We Need Jobs” Does Obama Not Get?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“The nation's first Black president bristles at every suggestion that gross racial inequalities call for executive and legislative action.”

There is no greater testimony to the vast amount of ground Black America has lost over the past three decades, than the Congressional Black Caucus’s recent press conference on the need for jobs and elementary fairness in the current economic crisis. Caucus chairperson Barbara Lee began with a brief outline of the long-standing – and, in some cases, worsening – economic disparities that afflict African Americans, facts that are well known to the White House and congressional leadership, to whom the Caucus’s appeal was directed. The Black lawmakers found it necessary to point out that they are “morally obligated to address these systemic inequalities” – obligations that President Obama has categorically rejected on numerous occasions, invoking the rich man’s slogan, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

A generation ago, such reactionary nonsense would have been met with wholesale denunciation in Black political circles. But as we begin the second decade of the 21st century, a Black Democrat in the White House can get away with speaking like Ronald Reagan, while Black members of Congress are compelled to present moral justification for seeking redress of economic injustices.

Forty years ago, a Republican president, Richard Nixon, would have felt quite comfortable agreeing with the Black Caucus' concerns about economic fairness. Yet today, the nation's first Black president bristles at every suggestion that gross racial inequalities call for executive and legislative action.

“As we begin the second decade of the 21st century, a Black Democrat in the White House can get away with speaking like Ronald Reagan.”

So great is the weight of decades of right wing assaults on the very idea of economic parity among the races, Black congresspeople feel the need to repeatedly emphasize that they are not proposing racial formulas for job creation, but programs based on need – on the principle that those who have been harmed the most, should be targeted for greater assistance.

“We’re not talking about race,” said chairperson Barbara Lee. “We’re talking about the hardest hit.” And in fact, the United States Congress has never funded a program to create “Black” jobs, but rather, they have created jobs in urban America and jobs for residents of areas with high levels of poverty.

President Obama treats every appeal for attention to Black unemployment as if it is an unreasonable, or even illegal, demand. To be blunt, he sounds just like those professional white racists that make their livings claiming Blacks seek new and special privileges, when nothing could be further from the truth. The Black Caucus proposes to bring back jobs programs from the Seventies. Detroit's Carolyn Kirkpatrick would like to see the rebirth of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act – CETA – and Representative John Conyers would reinvigorate the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, which has been on the books, but unfunded, for over 30 years. No one is talking about reinventing the wheel, in jobs creation. For two generations, during every election cycle, Blacks have demanded a Marshal Plan to combat unemployment in the cities, where it just so happens that most Black people live. Every election cycle, that is, until the last one, when Black politicians made no demands whatsoever on candidate Barack Obama. Black America is now paying the cost of giving Obama a free pass.

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: 20091223_gf_CBCJobs.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 5:18am EDT