Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"No one deserved rejection by Black voters more than Artur Davis," the caricature of a right-wing Black congressman who lost his bid for governor by a landslide. Davis "decided he could win tons of white votes in Alabama by blatantly giving Blacks the finger." But then he extended a digit to Obama, master of a game Davis was ill-equipped to play.

Good Riddance Artur Davis, Rahm Emmanuel's U.S. House Negro
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"Davis thought he could take Barack Obama's game to a higher level."
Alabama's Artur Davis says he will never again run for political office. We only wish he had made that decision eight years ago. Davis was elected on a wave of corporate and pro-Israel money in 2002, the same year that Cynthia McKinney was knocked out of Congress by those same political forces. Earlier this month, Davis accomplished a miraculous feat. He lost in his bid for governor of Alabama, not just by a landslide - he lost the Black vote to a white candidate, decisively.
No one deserved rejection by Black voters more than Artur Davis, who has reigned as the most right-wing member of the Congressional Black Caucus since the exit of the ridiculous Harold Ford, Jr., of Memphis, Tennessee.
Like Harold Ford, Artur Davis was the darling of the Democratic Leadership Council, the DLC, the corporate bagman of the Democratic Party. No sooner had Davis replaced the relatively progressive Earl Hilliard, than he was taken under the protective wing of Illinois Congressman Rahm Emmanuel, now Barack Obama's White House attack dog, who was then head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Emanuel groomed Davis as the model right-wing Black Democrat. Hoping to find lots of little Artur Davises, in 2005 Rahm Emanuel put him in charge of recruiting Black candidates for Congress in the Southeast. Luckily, Davis was not very successful, and was unable to clone himself for the benefit of his corporate sugar daddies. In fact, the little club of rightwing Black Members of Congress that Davis hung with back in 2005 has now shrunk from six to only three. Georgia's David Scott and Sanford Bishop are still around, but Harold Ford, Louisiana's William Jefferson, and Maryland's Albert Wynn no longer walk the halls of Congress. With his stunning defeat, Artur Davis should be gone by next year, too, if he keeps his promise never to run for office again.
"Davis has reigned as the most right-wing member of the Congressional Black Caucus since the exit of the ridiculous Harold Ford, Jr."
Apparently, Davis thought he could take Barack Obama's game to a higher level. Obama convinced a near-majority of white people that he wasn't like the rest of Black America, that he sees the world much as most whites do; but at the same time Obama fooled Blacks into thinking he was on their side, deep down. Artur Davis, doubtless under the malignant influence of his mentor Rahm Emmanuel, decided he could win tons of white votes in Alabama by blatantly giving Blacks the finger, rejecting out of hand any involvement with traditional Black organizations. And then, he stepped off the plank, voting against Barack Obama's version of health care. Davis lost by large margins in most Black districts, including his own voting precinct in Birmingham.
So, what is the lesson, here? Unfortunately, it is not that Black people consistently vote their own interests. Not in the Age of Obama. In Arkansas, Blacks gave majorities to the dreadful Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln over a relatively progressive challenger. That's because Obama supported Lincoln.
But Artur Davis somehow believed that he could win, in Alabama, by not only rejecting Black people's political aspirations, but by going further and ostentatiously rejecting Obama, himself. That is the definition of an idiot. 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: 20100616_gf_ArturDefeated.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 11:33pm EDT

 Chicago Teachers Wise Up to Obama Privatization
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"So-called school reform is not an education plan. It's a business plan."
The nation's unionized public school teachers are in a race for survival, whether they know it or not. Their worst enemy - the one that can do them and the public the most harm - was not George Bush, the white Republican, who called teachers' unions "terrorists." It is Barack Obama, the Black Democrat, who has taken the corporate education agenda farther than Bush could ever dream of.
By all rights, the nation's five million unionized teachers should be in the forefront of resistance to the corporate money bags that dominate the Republican and Democratic parties. Teachers are the best-equipped for the job, in raw numbers, in depth of union penetration and, especially on the moral front: most people like and admire teachers. George Bush's Republicans were made to look like ogres when they tried to vilify teachers as a class. Yet that is precisely what Barack Obama is doing: making teachers the scapegoats and villains for all the ills that have been inflicted on the inner cities of America for the past five or six decades. Obama is having considerably more success than Bush in his offensive against teachers, mostly because teachers' unions cannot seem to recognize their enemy when he is a Democrat, and Black.
That lesson has finally been learned in Chicago, hometown of Obama and his Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Chicago's teachers, students and neighborhoods were the guinea pigs for Arne Duncan's campaign to hand over public education to corporations, when Duncan was CEO of the city's schools. Mass firings were the order of the day, decimating the ranks of Black teachers, especially. Whole communities were destabilized.
"Barack Obama, the Black Democrat, who has taken the corporate education agenda farther than Bush could ever dream of."
Last week, reformers finally won control of the Chicago Teachers Union, in what will hopefully set an example for teachers, nationwide. Karen Lewis, co-chair of the victorious Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators, or CORE, told the truth that so many teachers' union hacks have been avoiding: "This so-called school reform is not an education plan," she said. "It's a business plan." Lewis continued:
"Fifteen years ago, this city purposely began starving our lowest-income neighborhood schools of greatly needed resources and personnel. Class sizes rose, schools were closed. Then standardized tests, which in this town alone is a $60 million business, measured that slow death by starvation. These tests labeled our students, families and educators failures, because standardized tests reveal more about a student's zip code than it does about academic growth," said the union reformer.
And that is the heart of the matter. Public and private policies have devastated inner city America, with totally predictable results in terms of inner city student performance. And yet, what do both the Obama's and the Bush's propose? They demand more privatization, more so-called "public-private" initiatives that outsource Black and brown schools to corporations, for profit. Barack Obama and Arne Duncan learned the privatization game in Chicago. Hopefully, Chicago teachers can awaken five million union members and millions more inner city residents to the clear and present danger posed by Obama's corporate school agenda. 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: 20100616_gf_TeachersUnion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
So many Black American entertainers and luminaries flocked to the World Cup opening ceremonies in South Africa, one veteran activist was prompted to remark that "these folks are crossing the picket line." It is a line that separates South Africa's poor Black majority from the real beneficiaries of the "gold" - "the soccer elites of FIFA, the elites of domestic and international corporate capital and the political elites who are making billions and who will be benefiting at the expense of the poor."

Bend It Like Imperialism! The World Cup 1, African Liberation Nil
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.

"These stadiums are encased in a 'Ring of Steel' to protect audiences from 'unpatriotic citizens' of South Africa."
Today, June 16, marks the 34th anniversary of the South African Soweto uprising where thousands of African youth took to the streets and where hundreds would die at the hands of the South African police and military. Today, June 16, also marks the first anniversary of that uprising to take place during the first ever World Cup on the African continent. These competing, colliding commemorations and events stand in violent opposition to one another precisely because the World Cup is corporate-sponsored spectacle playing on our emotions in the hopes that we will not realize or will ignore those who try to force realization, that the causes of the Soweto uprising, indeed the very existence of a Soweto or a South Africa, remain, are even worse now than 34 years ago. So bad are these conditions today that in response to seeing so many Black American entertainers participating in the World Cup opening ceremonies one veteran activist remarked to me that "these folks are crossing the picket line."
No one at all familiar with the history of the labor movement can hear lightly this kind of condemnation. To cross any picket line, that is, to become a "scab" is to betray the struggle of your kind, of your class. And this is precisely what major events such as the World Cup demand of its participants. And everyone did. Hugh Masekela was there to briefly blow his once defiant horn, as was John Legend and the Black Eyed Peas fresh off their Obama inauguration performance where they omitted their lyrics about the CIA being terrorists. Shakira was there in her grass skirt wiggling her light/white Latin Americanness before the world and from within the "Dark Continent" no less! And, of course, there was K'Naan the talented Somali rapper who foolishly accepts invitations from white liberals to bash Black Americans as not really being that oppressed while himself selling his liberation song Wavin' Flag to Coca-Cola to be used as the World Cup theme song absent, naturally, of its lyrical references to Somali suffering. And all the while his fellow continental Africans, who he cannot dismiss as having it as easy as their American cousins, do not have their concerns addressed either.
"Since the "fall of apartheid" White income has risen 24% while that of Black Africans has actually dropped."
So no mention of the 20,000 poor removed from stadium sites into even smaller slums. No mention that these stadiums are encased in a "Ring of Steel" to protect audiences from "unpatriotic citizens" of South Africa whose presence alone, never mind any actual protest, might heighten too many contradictions. No mention either of the 22 million Africans in South Africa who live as squatters, and have no potable water. Or the 14 million who are unemployed, or that 43% live ith less than $2 a day. And no mention that Black South African men earn what equates to $320 a month while White men earn $2,600 or that Whites as 12% of the population still hold 74% of private sector jobs, control over 80% of the land and all of the military. Further, no mention can be made of the fact that since the "fall of apartheid" White income has risen 24% while that of Black Africans has actually dropped. Of course, this is aided by the embedded model of journalism where the World Cup governing body FIFA has right of refusal to any journalist accreditations should anyone be so foolish as to actually attempt to report any of this. This will also be helpful in preventing the world from becoming aware of the fact that most of the products being sold at the World Cup are Chinese or that FIFA owns all the merchandising rights which has led one writer to explain that, "This World Cup is not for the poor - it is the soccer elites of FIFA, the elites of domestic and international corporate capital and the political elites who are making billions and who will be benefiting at the expense of the poor."
And though few will see or hear of them protests are being organized and efforts to break through the televised façade will continue. One such effort is coming from the Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) whose statement in promotion of a call to join them June 16 in South Africa to commemorate the 1976 Soweto uprising says: "Therefore, our call comes at a time when the subtle and insidious mechanism of State is used to good effect by the Capitalist Overlords to ensure the willing obedience and subservience of the working-class through a twisted vocalization of what they claim is a "universal message of equality, love and justice" wrapped up in massive sports jamborees, coupled with the subtle threat that "...if we do not believe and promote their message, then we are evil and will be dealt with in ways that we cannot begin to imagine..."
In the meantime, I like many Black onlookers, will continue to watch and root for teams along the following lines: against all teams of the West, then for the teams with the most Black players and so on down the line and ultimately only for those whose struggles continue and remain ignored.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball. Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com
Jared Ball can be reached at jared.ball@morgan.edu
 
Direct download: 20100616_jb_WorldCup.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 10:57pm EDT