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

<!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } A:link { color: #0000ff } -->

A Black Agenda Report commentary by Glen Ford

Black watchdogs are most effective in unmasking and shaming the culprits within our own ranks.” We “tip our hats” to Color of Change for exposing the Congressional Black Caucus’s abysmal collective record on Internet neutrality. “Those who are most trusted by Black America are positioned to do the most serious harm to African American interests.”

 

Color Of Change Takes On Black Caucus on Internet Neutrality

A Black Agenda Report commentary by Glen Ford

Color of Change enhances its own moral authority as a watchdog that is willing to hold Black institutions accountable to Black people.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend has always been heavy on networking. The question is: networking for whom? Is one networking to make a self-serving deal, or for the purpose of sharing information and ideas for the advancement of the common good.

Based on their legislative records, it is clear that much of the networking done by members of Congressional Black Caucus is contrary to the interests of their own constituents. Since 2006, large majorities of the Black Caucus have sided with those who seek to turn the Internet into a private network for giant telecommunications corporations. Today, only a small fraction of the Black Caucus can be counted on to support the people’s interests in the fight for Internet neutrality.

At Black Agenda Report, we tip our hats this week to Color of Change, the online activist organization that has challenged those Black congresspersons that have sided “with their corporate donors…in an effort to undermine Internet freedom and give the telephone and cable companies control over what you can see and do online.” It is significant that Color of Change, with its impressive emailing list and valuable experience in mobilizing African Americans through the Internet, is taking on the Black Caucus. What’s sorely missing in Black America, today, are mechanisms that force Black institutions, like the Congressional Black Caucus, to be accountable to the masses of African American people. The Caucus claims it is the “conscience of the Congress,” but on the issue of Internet neutrality, the Black lawmakers have acted unconscionably, selling their votes to corporate monopolizers whose ambition is the corner the global market on information, ideas and human consciousness, itself.

Only a small fraction of the Black Caucus can be counted on to support the people’s interests in the fight for Internet neutrality.”

The only moral authority the Congressional Black Caucus can claim is that which it earns through service to its core Black constituency, whose interests are antithetical to those of the giant telecom companies. In focusing the spotlight on the Black Caucus’s collective betrayal of African American interests, Color of Change enhances its own moral authority as a watchdog that is willing to hold Black institutions accountable to Black people. The internal political battle within the Black community is, in many ways, the most critical arena of struggle, since those who are most trusted by Black America are positioned to do the most serious harm to African American interests.

Color of Change zeroes in on the most shameless Black congressional servants of AT&T and Verizon, by name, singling out New York’s Greg Meeks and Chicago’s Bobby Rush. The handful of Black lawmakers that have championed a corporate-free Internet are appropriately applauded. They are Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, and Donald Payne.

It is difficult to embarrass the filthy rich, who have no shame. And racist media companies like FOX TV, which Color of Change campaigns against, are supported by huge constituencies of whites who crave their hateful messages. Black watchdogs are most effective in unmasking and shaming the culprits within our own ranks. In the case of the Congressional Black Caucus and Internet Neutrality, Color of Change has performed a vital service. 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: 20100922_gf_CBCColorOfChange.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:31am EDT

<!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } A:link { so-language: zxx } -->

Six million Congolese have died from starvation and war since 1997. The cause has not been, as Western media would have us believe, inscrutable African ethnic conflicts, but the West's hunger for their country's vital mineral resources, which power our aeropsace, automotive and information tech industries.17-23 Six million Congolese have died from starvation and war since 1997. The cause has not been, as Western media would have us believe, inscrutable African ethnic conflicts, but the West's hunger for their country's vital mineral resources, which power our aeropsace, automotive and information tech industries.

October 17-23 is Congo Week

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

This October 17 thru the 23rd is the 3rd annual Congo Week.

Congo Week is a project undertaken by thousands of Congolese exiles along with their friends and allies, in cities, towns and university campuses scattered throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and beyond. Students, labor unions, libraries, churches, local governments and community groups are showing videos and photo exhibits and hosting speakers to help break the walls of silence and disinformation around the Congo.

Six million Congolese have lost their lives since 1997 to fuel the West's hunger for their country's mineral riches. Besides vast amounts of gold, uranium and diamonds, the Congo possesses 90% of the mineral called colombo-tantalum, or coltan. Coltan is vital to the production of capacitors, jet engines, power generation equipment and computers. Every PC, every Mac and iPad, every cell phone, game box, every TIVO, VCR and flat screen TV contain coltan. The global automotive, information technology, aerospace industries, and of course the Pentagon will grind to a halt if their supplies of coltan suffer the least interruption.

The rarely told truth is that driving millions at gunpoint from their farms and villages in eastern Congo, and with them, any government that might protect their rights has created the ideal business climate for Western mining and minerals corporations and their suppliers. Wages, environmental concerns, local taxes and regulations in, and exporting the entire profits out of the zones ravaged and depopulated by invading Rwandan, Burundian, Ugandan armies and their private militia allies, are no problem. It's a piracy and slave labor zone, the ultimate free market.

The fact is that all the armies, official and unofficial are supplied directly and indirectly by the United States, and many are commanded by American-trained officers. The profits and the plunder flow mainly, but not entirely to the West. Plunder and pillage are good for business, and in the Congo, business is good.

Cover stories endlessly recycled in Western media, by the US State Department, and by occasional Hollywood do-gooders, attribute the millions of deaths by starvation and murder, the hundreds of thousands of rapes and maimings to inscrutable African ethnic conflicts no Westerner can possibly understand. In contrast to the mostly fictional genocide in Darfur, the Congolese genocide is very real indeed. It's as though 45,000 people perished ever month for a decade, with barely a whisper, and almost no truth told.

The fact is that the literal blood of literal innocents isn't just on our diamonds. It's in our computers and cell phones, in our cars and aircraft, and in all our military hardware. While the truth may be difficult to accept, it is accessible, and Congo Week aims to make the real voices of the Congo directly available to wider and wider audiences.

Again, the third annual Congo Week is October 17 through the 23rd. If you're interested in hosting speaker or showing a DVD at your home, church, union hall, library, college campus or community center for Congo Week, or finding an event in your city or town to attend, the place to go is www.friendsofthecongo.org, the web site of Friends of the Congo. That's www.friendsofthecongo.org, or you can google Friends of the Congo.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and based in Marietta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com

Direct download: 20100922_bd_congo_week.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EDT

<!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } A:link { so-language: zxx } -->

Proponents of the DREAM Act claim it will enable countless deserving immigrant youth to pursue higher education. In reality, the movement for immigrant rights is being pimped by the Pentagon, which desperately needs access to young immigrants to replenish its ranks.

DREAM ACT Will Extend Poverty Draft to Immigrant Youth. Such A Deal.

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It's a doable deal, and Democrats, with the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress can deliver it.

When questioned about restoring the draft back in 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, in a moment of rare frankness, replied that the old-style draft was no longer needed. “We have,” he told reporters, “an economic draft.” In even plainer language, the United States armed forces rely on a poverty draft.

Millions of youth emerging from high school every year face bleak prospects for careers and higher education. Good jobs are hard to find, vocational training slots aren't free and don't guarantee a job on completion or even completion itself. Their already strapped families can't even borrow the sixty, eighty or hundred thousand it will take for one child to get a bachelor's degree. But the military recruiter they see in high school every day drives a flashy new car, has a nice apartment, dresses well on and off duty, picks up the tab at restaurants every day, and has an answer for everything. Really, just one answer, that the straight road to acceptance, independence and adulthood lies through the military.

The Development Relief & Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act will extend the poverty draft to undocumented young immigrants who can pass police and Homeland Security screenings. It will get them provisional green cards that allow them them to join the military or attend college. Upon completion of a two year course of study, or honorable discharge from the military in eight or more years, they are eligible to apply for citizenship.

DREAM Act propaganda emphasizes the availability of college to immigrant youth, and it will enable some to attend college who otherwise couldn't. But with the cost of higher education sharply rising and no extra funds for undocumented students, that part of the DREAM Act campaign is pure deception, bait-and-switch, a mirage. DREAM Act green card holders will face the same bleak economic choices as other young people of modest means, with additional challenges of language, discrimination and identity. The military will be even more attractive a choice for qualifying immigrant youth than it is for citizens.

This is what the Pentagon openly counts on. Page 12 of its FY 2012 Strategic Plan says it needs the DREAM Act enable necessary to access immigrant populations in order to achieve its recruitment goals.

At every freeway exit in metro Atlanta, where I live, I can see one or two white or black guys with signs that say 'homeless vet – please help.' Maybe soon, some of those signs will be in Spanish.”

The fact that many of our friends in the movement for the human rights of immigrants imagine the DREAM Act is a step in that direction regrettably does not make it so. The truth is that Latino activists and their organizations who drove their people to the polls in record numbers for Democrats in 2006 and 2008, have precious little to show for it. Some have seized upon the DREAM Act as a deal they can actually get done, a token victory they can take back to their communities before the mid-term elections.

They're half right. It's a doable deal, and Democrats, with the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress can deliver it. Certainly they won't do anything else for Latino communities. But for those communities, the DREAM Act is a Trojan horse.

A good third of women in the US armed forces are reported victims of sexual harassment up to and including rape. Suicide among active-duty military personnel is at an all time high, and homelessness endemic among vets. At every freeway exit in metro Atlanta, where I live, I can see one or two white or black guys with signs that say “homeless vet – please help.” Maybe soon, some of those signs will be in Spanish.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and based in Marietta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20100922_bd_poverty_draft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am EDT