Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

By Asad Ismi and Kristin Schwartz

The U.S. drive for global empire, to use and allocate all the planet's resources and people for itself, has run unchecked through Africa. It has been stalled by wars and the presence of other powers in south and southwest Asia. Latin America is the only region in the world where U.S. empire has literally been rolled back in the last decade. The once isolated Cuban revolution has been joined by those of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, which have elected openly socialist governments dedicated to using their national wealth for the benefit of their own people, and fostering a new regime of international cooperation in resource allocation, in banking, in medicine and media to show humanity what a world without U.S. domination can begin to accomplish. In this first half hour installment of their 4 part radio documentary, the Latin American Revolution, Asad Ismi and Kristin Schwartz examine the impact of the Venezuelan revolution, and explain just why Uncle Sam hates Hugo Chavez so much.

Direct download: 3141-1-LAR1_Venezuela_128kbps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The United States tries to finess its defeat in Iraq and approaching ejection from Afghanistan, clinging to its Asian lines as it expands the theaters of aggression to the south, to Yemen, Somalia, and the whole of Africa. "The aim is to corner Africa's oil and mineral resources, to draw new lines of empire to shut out China and even European allies."

U.S Imperial Offensive: Stalled in Asia, Swarming Over Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"No Iraqi government can long survive if it is not perceived as committed to kicking the Americans out."

The United States is losing or has already lost its two big land wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over a million people have paid with their lives to teach the U.S. a 21st century lesson: that the most modern, expensive and lethal arsenal in the world cannot successfully occupy a country in which significant portions of the population are determined to resist.  That's the same lesson the Vietnamese taught the Americans in the Sixties and early Seventies, at the cost of two to three million Vietnamese lives.

The United States will deploy every dirty trick and bribe in the book to remain in Iraq past the end of next year - the deadline extracted by the Iraqis from President Bush - and it is possible, although unlikely, that whatever Iraqi regime sits in Baghdad may give the Americans an extension of some kind. But no Iraqi government can long survive if it is not perceived as committed to kicking the Americans out. Aside from the 15 percent of the population that is Kurdish, there is no significant constituency for a U.S. presence in Iraq. Therefore, the Americans cannot stay. As an imperial power that has never in modern times voluntarily given up a military base in someone else's country, America's inevitable withdrawal from Iraq, even though in stages and kicking and screaming, represents a huge defeat.

Iraq was supposed to be the first stop in a rolling offensive that would have projected U.S. power deep into Asia, containing China and Russia and altering the global chessboard in America's favor for decades to come. Instead, the U.S. position in the world has further declined. President Obama drew a line at Afghanistan, embracing that war as his own. But the U.S. has failed spectacularly in constructing a viable client regime or even the semblance of an effective Afghan constituency for continued American occupation of the country. Moreover, every day the Americans remain in Afghanistan destabilizes neighboring Pakistan, the real birthplace of the Taliban, a nation where all but a small fraction of the population detests the United States, and a nuclear power. Therefore, the U.S. must someday soon cut its losses and leave. Obama may think he controls the Afghanistan timetable, but he doesn't.

"Somalia and the whole of the Horn of Africa are hot zones, under protracted U.S. assault."

As it is forced to face the prospect of retreat and defeat in its Asian land wars, the Obama regime shifts emphasis to special forces, drones and other devices of terror and assassination in an expanding theater of war to the south. Yemen, Somalia and the whole of the Horn of Africa are hot zones, under protracted U.S. assault. The U.S. Africa Command is active in almost every nation on the continent, methodically drawing African militaries into the U.S. orbit. The aim is to corner Africa's oil and mineral resources, to draw new lines of empire to shut out China and even European allies. Washington is determined to seize in Africa what is in the process of being lost to the empire in Asia. This is already the bloodiest chapter of all, with as many as six million lives lost in the Democratic Republic of Congo, alone, mainly due to the depredations of U.S. proxies Rwanda and Uganda. There is no way to avoid Africa being soaked in blood, as the U.S.  attempts once again to change the global chessboard. That's what empires do, before they die.

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: 20100915_gf_USOffensive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:16am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Very late in the game, President Obama unveils his version of an industrial policy for America. But it turns out that under his "infrastructure bank" scheme "the same Wall Street players that have relentlessly and methodically de-industrialized the United States for the past 30 years, would direct the economic makeover of the country, all the while earning interest on the borrowed funds."

Obama's Phony "Infrastructure Bank"

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The president's proposed bank is yet another ploy to create a new windfall for the private bankers on Wall Street."

When hundreds of thousands gather on the Washington Mall for the NAACP's and organized labor's rally for jobs on October 2, the Obama administration's mouthpieces will try to fire up the crowd by invoking the president's plans for a National Infrastructure Bank. The public-private scheme was announced so late in the political season, it appears more like a last-minute sop to panicky congressional Democrats desperate to show that their president and his party are good for something besides funneling $12 to $14 trillion to Wall Street - the biggest transfer of wealth of all time, for which Obama will go down in history.

The so-called infrastructure bank masquerades as the beginning of an industrial policy to reverse the export of jobs from the United States. Obama is spinning the scheme as his variation on Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, when the federal government directly created millions of jobs and invested public monies in a vast, new infrastructure, much of which we are still using, today. But in reality, the president's proposed bank bears no resemblance to the New Deal of the 1930s. Rather, it is yet another ploy to create a new windfall for the private bankers on Wall Street - a public-private scam.

The scheme would transfer billions in public funds to a new banking entity, to attract the mega-bankers, whose investments would be guaranteed by the U.S. government. The Obama bank would then lend these monies to selected projects, overseen by a board heavily weighted with representatives of those same Wall Street firms and their corporate allies. Essentially, the same Wall Street players that have relentlessly and methodically de-industrialized the United States for the past 30 years, would direct the economic makeover of the country, all the while earning interest on the borrowed funds. That's not a New Deal, that's a license for yet more no-risk self-dealing by Wall Street, guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is a travesty and a swindle.

"The moneyed classes refuse to invest in any economic and social development unless they are positioned in the middle of the money stream."

But, that's what you get when finance capital has a lock on the political and economic process; nothing emerges except that which expands the power of capital. At this stage in the decline of capitalism, the moneyed classes refuse to invest in any economic and social development unless they are positioned in the middle of the money stream, to siphon off the greater part for themselves, at no risk to themselves, and with ultimate control over the shape of the project. They will not support education unless they own a profitable piece of it, through hedge fund-backed charter school companies and other privatization schemes. They will not allow a revamping of health care unless their profits and commanding position in the system are preserved. They will not lift a finger to slow the process of global warming, unless creating a green economy dumps a forest of green on their balance sheets. And they will certainly not permit any combination of politicians funded by them - as is the Obama wing of the Democratic Party - to even attempt a modest re-industrialization of the United States unless they are allowed to empty the U.S. Treasury of every available public dollar.   

Nearing the end of the second half of his term, President Obama finally - finally! - comes up with a plan flavored with just a whiff of the New Deal. But it's just another Wall Street concoction.

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: 20100915_gf_ObamaBank.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The African American economic condition deteriorates by the year, but that doesn't stop the 'bootstrappers' from talking trash. "The bootstraps mythology - sometimes under the shorthand, 'Do for Self' - implicitly or explicitly urges Black people to forego making demands of government, as if that amounts to 'begging the white man' for something."

 

Black Folks Ain't Got No Money For Bootstraps: The Black Capitalist Dead-End

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"What binds the variations on the 'bootstrap' theme together, is an essential refusal to challenge the capitalist system."

The two devastating recessions of the last decade have had catastrophic effects on Black economic prospects. Yet, despite the monstrous setbacks of recent years and the general failure to bridge the racial wage and wealth gap over the last three decades, there still exists a strong current of Black political thought that insists African Americans can pull themselves and the rest of the race up by their financial bootstraps, through hard work and pooling of collective resources. Some of these arguments are unashamedly Black capitalist; others preach a brand of communal partnerships among Black entrepreneurs and consumers that attempts to make the entire Black community a kind of capitalist engine of self-help. What binds the variations on the "bootstrap" theme together, is an essential refusal to challenge the capitalist system. The belief is that Black "buying power" or race-based investment schemes will allow Black folks to rise from the bottom of the American economic barrel.

Implicit in this line of thinking is the notion that Blacks are at the bottom because they have not been trying hard enough to move up - which is also the assumption of white racists, whether they call themselves conservatives or liberals. The most fatal flaw in the Black capitalist world view is the assumption that Black people actually have the wealth and discretionary income to build an internal economy that could insulate them from the general capitalist crisis. We know different, because all the data tell us that Black household income is stuck at the same level relative to whites as back in 1979, and Black comparative wealth was steadily eroding even before the last decade's recessions. And we know that Black wealth has been further diminished relative to whites in the ongoing housing meltdown, in which Blacks are twice as likely to face foreclosure. And we know that Blacks, a majority of whom are renters, bear the brunt of the dislocations caused by rampant gentrification, which in some urban areas forces families to spend more than half their income on rent.

"The most fatal flaw in the Black capitalist world view is the assumption that Black people actually have the wealth and discretionary income to build an internal economy that could insulate them from the general capitalist crisis."

Simply put, there ain't no damn money for these bootstrap capitalism dreams, and there never was. There was never the possibility of building a Black General Motors - and now General Motors requires billions of dollars in federal infusions to survive.

What a great distraction this nonsense about bootstrap racial upward mobility has been - so much wasted time and misdirected dreams over the generations. Worse than that, the bootstraps mythology - sometimes under the shorthand, "Do for Self" - implicitly or explicitly urges Black people to forego making demands of government, as if that amounts to "begging the white man" for something. This attitude surrenders all Black claims to any of the society's resources except those we currently hold in our own pockets - which is the equivalent of social death. President Obama also warns Blacks to expect no redress from their government. At a recent press conference, he once again urged Blacks to be patient, that when the economy grows, everybody will be "swept up into that virtuous circle."

It never happened before, and it never will. Blacks need to "Do for Self," but not as aspiring capitalists. We have always made our greatest progress in political struggle. That's the Promised Land that we make, together.

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: 20100915_gf_NoBootstraps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am EDT