Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black is Back Coalition Conference in Florida

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Ten months into the Obama presidency, a newly-formed coalition of Black activists and organizations gathered in Washington to confront the administration's policies. On January 23, the Black is Back Coalition meets to map out a plan of action for the new year. “Black is Back means demanding the resources that are ours by right, to shape our own destinies in solidarity with the rest of humankind in a world that says Yes to justice and peace.”

 

Black is Back Coalition Conference in Florida

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“It’s time to build on the success of the Washington mobilization and make 2010 the year when millions of Black people set their minds and bodies in motion.”

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is marching into the New Year fired up and determined to build a people’s movement. Last November 7 the newly formed coalition proved that Black really is back and on the move with a march on the White House, serving notice that the Black struggle will not be terminated simply by putting a Wall Street-bought Black man in the Oval Office. Now it’s time to build on the success of the Washington mobilization and make 2010 the year when millions of Black people set their minds and bodies in motion for justice, peace and the fruits of our ancestors’ labor.

The Black is Back Coalition holds its next history-shaping conference on January 23rd in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the weather is warm and the planning will be intense. Speakers include New York City Councilman Charles Barron and Larry Hamm, of the People’s Organization for Progress. Participants are coming from throughout the United States and the Caribbean, to map out plans of action for our people’s liberation through a Black-led freedom movement.

This month marks a year since the inauguration of the first Black president of the United States – twelve months of steadily escalating assaults on Black people in the United States and in Africa. In the Horn of Africa, a food crisis of horrific proportions threatens millions as a direct result of U.S. aggression against the people of Somalia, a nation targeted by President Obama’s so-called war on terror. The United States Africa Command, AFRICOM, relentlessly expands its militarization of the continent. The U.S. arms and funds the armies of Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda to wage war against other Africans, in the interests of rich men in America and Europe. After more than five million deaths, Congo still bleeds from western-supplied bullets so that imperialists can gouge out her resources.

“Blacks are the designated prey of Barack Obama’s Wall Street friends.”

In the United States, Blacks are the designated prey of Barack Obama’s Wall Street friends who have decimated Black neighborhoods and crushed the possibility of employment. Mass Black incarceration is the law of the land.

In September of last year, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations was only an idea. But in just eight weeks, the Coalition organized itself to speak Truth to Power in Washington. Black is Back means rejection of rule by Wall Street, rejection of endless imperial wars, rejection of mass Black imprisonment. Black is Back means demanding the resources that are ours by right, to shape our own destinies in solidarity with the rest of humankind in a world that says Yes to justice and peace.

The Black is Back Coalition is inviting your participation at the January 23 conference, in St. Petersburg, Florida.  For information, go to the Black is Back Coalition website at www.blackisbackcoalition.org. That's www.blackisbackcoalition.org.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

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

The Black is Back Coalition can also be contacted at the Black is Back Coalition National Office: Address: P.O.Box 55601 Washington, DC 20040 Tel: 202.320.5542 email: info@blackisbackcoalition.org

Direct download: 20100106_gf_BiBJan23.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 7:47am EDT

Do Wells Fargo and Other Banksters Owe Black People

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Millions of Americans are outraged that bank officers get fat bonuses for making bad loans. But what is truly grotesque is how few people demand that these bankers go to jail for the crime of “reverse redlining.” “It is unthinkable that bank lending officers up and down the corporate chain of command might face criminal prosecution for ruining the lives of millions!”

 

What Do Wells Fargo and Other Banksters Owe Black People?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“Wells Fargo’s practice of 'reverse redlining' has decimated African American neighborhoods while sparing whites of similar economic status.”

Wells Fargo, the biggest home mortgage lender in American banking, just paid back the federal government $25 billion in bailout money. That means Wells Fargo considers itself relieved of further obligations to the taxpayers that rescued the bank from the consequences of its own business practices. But what of the people whose lives Wells Fargo ruined – a hugely disproportionate number of whom are Black?

While Wells Fargo’s executives are cueing up for their bonuses, the list of lawsuits grows, charging the bank with massive racial discrimination. The latest plaintiffs are the city of Memphis and surrounding Shelby County, Tennessee, where Wells Fargo’s practice of “reverse redlining” has decimated African American neighborhoods while sparing whites of similar economic status. In some Black neighborhoods, one out of every eight Wells Fargo loans have gone into foreclosure. The proportion is only one out of 59 in similarly situated white neighborhoods because, according to the suit, Wells Fargo acted responsibly when making loans to whites.

The same pattern of racism in lending caused the city of Baltimore to sue Wells Fargo, earlier last year. Both Memphis and Baltimore argue that Wells Fargo’s disastrous Black lending practices destroyed substantial portions of the cities’ tax base by forcing so many residents out of their homes. The state of Illinois sued Wells Fargo last summer, for charging Blacks and Latinos more for mortgages than whites of similar income.

It’s the same story in Los Angeles, where thousands of Black households have been joined in a class action suit against Wells Fargo. The NAACP has launched suits against Wells Fargo and a long list of its colleagues in mortgage lending crimes.

“Not one Wells Fargo executive will spend a day in jail for participating in a racist assault against millions of Black and brown people.”

But what is the nature of the crime, and what should be the punishment? It is in the presence of massive economic outrages, coldly and systematically executed, against historically oppressed victims who are made more vulnerable in the process of the assault, that “bourgeois justice,” as some of us used to call it, is revealed as a rich man’s con game. There is no limit to what can be taken from the poor, including their lives, especially if they are Black, but the rich commit their crimes behind corporate shields, with relative impunity. Commit a crime against a bank and you face federal criminal prosecution, yet it is unthinkable that bank lending officers up and down the corporate chain of command might face criminal prosecution for ruining the lives of millions! One can earn extra years in jail for physically assaulting a person as part of a racial hate crime, but not one Wells Fargo executive will spend a day in jail for participating in a racist assault against millions of Black and brown people who were simply seeking home mortgages.

Elemental justice cannot exist under capitalism; it is incompatible with the prerogatives of money. That's why few people in our political culture even consider that several thousand bankers should be imprisoned for at least as long as bank robbers for their premeditated crimes against millions of families. But, corporate criminals like Wells Fargo don't need a Get Out of Jail Free card. Nobody even thinks about putting them in jail, in the first place.

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: 20100106_gf_WellsFargo.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 7:38am EDT

2009: The Year Wall Street Devoured the US Govt

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Something happened last year that will earn 2009 a permanent place in history: the finance capitalist class devoured the state apparatus of America. Whole. All of it. And nothing will ever be the same.

 

The Year Wall Street Ate the American State

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“President Barack Obama joined with the Federal Reserve to put the entirety of the nation's current and future wealth at the disposal of the bankster class.”

It is almost always up to historians to locate watersheds in human history, to pinpoint that period of time when accumulated social and economic changes can no longer be denied, and it must be concluded that the society has entered a qualitatively new and different period. The beginnings and ends of eras are seldom recognized at the time they occur. Only by looking back do we gain the perspective to conclude that something world-shaking has happened.

2009 will, I believe, go down in history as the year that Wall Street – shorthand for the finance capitalist class – finally chewed up and swallowed whole the government of the United States. It is, of course, true that businessmen have shaped the laws and policies of the American state since the founding the Republic – most notably, men in the business of slavery and land piracy. When plantation slavery power was broken in the Civil War, manufacturing capital, in league with banks, dominated national life. By the 1950s, captains of industry could still proclaim that what was good for General Motors was good for the country. But sometime in the 1970s – no one can definitively say exactly when – the money handlers got the upper hand over the industrialists. For the first time, the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the financial arm of the giant auto maker, made bigger profits than its parent company.

“When the bubbles finally burst, it would require the full faith and credit of the United States to prevent utter collapse of the financial sector.”

By the 1980s Wall Street was busily dismantling the manufacturing sector of the United States. Finance capital achieved total supremacy over the Democratic Party under President Bill Clinton, whose operatives abolished all effective controls on the mass manipulation of money. The bankers were now free to create bubbles so huge that when they finally burst, in September of 2008, it would require the full faith and credit of the United States to prevent utter collapse of the financial sector.

The job of reinflating the Wall Street bubble fell to President Barack Obama, whose executive branch joined with the Federal Reserve to put the entirety of the nation's current and future wealth at the disposal of the bankster class. By July of 2009, Obama and the Fed had committed $23.7 trillion dollars of the people's cash and credit to bail out the banks. In a real sense, it does not matter how many trillions were actually spent, or will be sucked up by Wall Street in the future. The point is, the U.S. government in 2009 put everything the people of the United States own or create, or can ever hope to own or create, permanently at the service of Wall Street. Like the young “Alien” in the science fiction movie series, Wall Street has attached itself to the face and body of the nation and is sucking it to death.

The picture that best explains the historical significance of the year 2009, is President Obama holding a teleconference with bankers who didn't bother to show up for a meeting with him at the White House, in mid-December. Obama is pleading with them to at least pretend to act in the interest of the public whose national resources they have stolen. But the banksters see no need to pay even token respect to a president who is actually their servant. Having swallowed the state whole, they simply...digest it, knowing they can come back for seconds and thirds until the people's credit is exhausted.

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: 20100106_gf_WallSt2009.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 6:56am EDT