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

In any global battle of the racists, the U.S. and Britain are always top contenders. A new study has some putting odds on merrily racist Old England (and Wales) for the honor of white supremacist society in-chief. “The figures would seem to indicate that Blacks in England and Wales are targeted by police with even more ferocity than their counterparts in New York City.” But the Big Apple takes a back seat to no one, when it comes to bigoted police behavior on the streets.

 

Whose Cops are More Racist, America’s or the Brits'?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Blacks in England and Wales are 26 times more likely to be stopped and frisked on the streets than whites.”

The United States criminal justice system has been called the most racist on the planet. And, by most measures, that’s true. But Blacks in Great Britain are also under siege by police – enough to generate a recent visit to London by Rev. Jesse Jackson. A new study shows that Blacks in England and Wales are 26 times more likely to be stopped and frisked on the streets than whites, a figure that Rev. Jackson said “undermines the moral authority” of the United Kingdom. It would be hard to criticize the analysis for sloppiness; it was conducted by the London School of Economics, in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On the face of it, the figures would seem to indicate that Blacks in England and Wales are targeted by police with even more ferocity than their counterparts in New York City, where a similar stop-and-frisk campaign has scooped up progressively larger numbers of Blacks and Latinos in recent years. In England, Section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act was originally promulgated to deal with rowdy soccer hooligans, most of whom are white, but has in recent years turned into a mechanism to disproportionately stop Blacks on the streets.

New York City’s stop-and-frisk regime has drastically escalated under billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also dramatically ramped up the pace of gentrification. Strong pressures also exist in England to contain the non-white population.

U.S. cops stop a much higher percentage of the people – about 25 times as many per capita.”

But, are the police in England and Wales really more viciously racist than New York City cops? With Black Brits 26 times more likely to be stopped than whites, while Black New Yorkers are only 9 times more likely, one might conclude that the English cops behave in a more racist manner. But the sheer numbers of stop-and-frisks in New York City may say otherwise. In 2009, only about 150,000 people were stopped on the streets in all of England and Wales, home to 54 million people. New York City has 8 million residents, less than one-sixth the size of England and Wales, but its cops stopped nearly 600,000 people, four times as many, the vast majority of them Black and Latino.

The conclusion: When English cops stop someone on the street, it is more likely to be a Black person than a white – more likely than when New York cops make a stop: 26 to 1 versus 9 to 1. But U.S. cops stop a much higher percentage of the people – about 25 times as many per capita. What that would tend to indicate is, that a Black Brit might think he had it bad in England, but he'd be more likely to get picked out to be stopped and searched on the streets of New York, because of the sheer volume of stops in the Big Apple.

The same applies to prison. The Black-white incarceration ratio is worse in Britain than it is in the United States. But the U.S. imprisons four times as many people per capita as the Brits do and holds a full 3 percent of the Black U.S. population behind bars. For Blacks in Britain, it's only 1 percent. So yes, it's true: the U.S. does have the most racist criminal justice system in the world. 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: 20101027_gf_BlackBritsPolice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am EDT

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When the White House wanted to get its latest message out to black communities, it didn't call a press conference. Its spokespeople didn't turn to BET or black radio. They called in black bloggers, most of them not even remotely political, and few if any working journalists. What the White House hoped to accomplish was crystal clear --- to use them the manner corrupt and lazy reporters are used, to seduce them with the illusion of “privileged access” in return for the ability to plant anonymous stories and gossip as “news” items.

Black Bloggers Get Played By the White House

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Real journalists would have laughed those anonymous spokesperson and “off the record” requirements right out of the room. Ethical journalists only grant anonymity to sources like whistle blowers with well-founded fears of retaliation..”

In the words of I.F. Stone, one of the 20th century's great investigative journalists, “Governments lie. All governments lie.” Stone's words are as true now as they were when he uttered them more than half a century ago.

When the White House invited black bloggers in for a Columbus Day meeting, they were told they could print anything they heard in the first half of the meeting, but that they could attribute none of it to any White House spokesperson by name, while the second half of their meeting would be completely “off the record.” Fortunately, or perhaps by design, none of the invited bloggers were actually journalists. They hailed mostly from celebrity gossip sites like ConcreteLoop, and Young, Black and Fabulous, from BET and Essence magazine, from BlackSingles.Com.

Real journalists would have laughed those anonymous spokesperson and “off the record” requirements right out of the room. Ethical journalists only grant anonymity to sources like whistle blowers with well-founded fears of retaliation, not to police to mayors or to prosecutors, not to military or civilian government officials. The only reason for representatives of these powerful institutions to speak to reporters, or bloggers “off the record” is to lie to them with the expectation that they will pass untraceable falsehoods on to the public as news, or in the case of Young, Black and Fabulous, celebrity gossip.

Sure enough, cell phone video of the president dropping in to briefly address the bloggers hit the internet the very next day, prompting the Atlantic's token black commentator Ta Nehisi Coates to grouse about colored folks who didn't understand what “off the record” meant, as if being the covert mouthpieces of the powerful were something they really should strive to be.

Black Agenda Report was not invited to the White House briefing, and that's perfectly OK with us. “

One of the invitees was a friend and colleague of ours, Ms. Leutisha Stills, now at JackAndJillPolitics.Com. Observing that the White House hadn't called black bloggers in since the 2008 presidential campaign, she opined that the bloggers were being, as she put it, “pimped.” We think Ms. Stills was correct, but for the wrong reasons. To be “pimped” is to be manipulated for some underhanded and shameful purpose. Whether bloggers, or journalists are shamefully used once every couple years, or three times every week is a difference only in the frequency of the act, not in the roles of the players or of the played.

Thus when Keli Goff, a Huffington Post and theLoop21.com blogger, called the White House briefing “a good first date,” she was publicly signaling her willingness to be used any way, any time by the powerful. There's a word for people who play that role, and that word is not “journalist.”

In his long career, the great investigative reporter I.F. Stone broke scores of original stories about war, peace and corruption. He never asked for, and he never got the privileged and “off the record” access to the powerful, which Ta Nehisi Coates imagines black reporters should aspire to, the private interviews with mayors, admirals and presidents, who would have been much too afraid of his direct and probing questions anyway. Stone got his stories the old fashioned way, with diligent research.

Black Agenda Report was not invited to the White House briefing, and that's perfectly OK with us. We understand that reporters and bloggers too, who subsist on privileged access to the powerful in return for passing their anonymous tidbits to the public as news, that such people are being pimped. Which makes them.... well.... you know....

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web every Wednesday 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: 20101026_bd_blackbloggers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46am EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

The U.S. government’s COINTELPRO assault on Black and radical political activists wasn’t just a Sixties episode: it was part of the continuity of oppression stretching from the European invasion of the Americas and the slave trade to this very day. American regimes are prepared to deploy COINTELPRO-like repression whenever popular movements threaten the established order. “Assassination, imprisonment, surveillance and encouraged internal strife [are] employed to forcibly dissolve these movements.”

COINTELPRO 101

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

It is an introduction to the often omitted history of the FBI’s illegal wars of terror waged against the full spectrum of radical Left movements in this country.”

COINTELPRO 101, the latest film release from The Freedom Archives, is nothing like the all-too-common soft, liberal documentary which tells of worse and distant horrors so as to lessen the pain or awareness of those still occurring. It is not a film that imposes a happy ending by suggesting that its subject is somehow past. It is a film that makes plain the fact that all of your problems of today, from war, to incarceration, to banking crises, joblessness and environmental catastrophe, still exist because movements to do away with them suffered and continue to suffer the greatest levels of repression from the most powerful state apparatus in world history. And worse still, as Black Panther Party veteran Kathleen Cleaver states unequivocally, unlike the official Counter Intelligence Program of previous decades, today’s version is perfectly legal.

COINTELPRO 101 is just that. It is an introduction to the often omitted history of the FBI’s illegal wars of terror waged against the full spectrum of radical Left movements in this country. The Counter Intelligence Program which emerged in the post-WWII era of international struggles for human rights and national liberation simply focused internally to the United States all that had been carried out against populations abroad. It turned so-called U.S. citizens in the 20thcentury into insurgent rebels to be dealt with as any foreign army or movement. Assassination, imprisonment, surveillance and encouraged internal strife were employed to forcibly dissolve these movements. But, as this film so skillfully demonstrates, this all was merely an extension of a continuing state project of enslavement, genocide, theft of land, culture and humanity that pre-dates even the official declaration of U.S. nationhood.

The film’s brilliance is not simply its nicely-styled aesthetic elements. They are there of course. Strong interviews, rarely seen clips, high quality audio and video production across the board with equally strong narration from Liz Derias. But it is the film’s ability to force new confrontation with the political reality of today, as much as with the past, that truly demonstrates its value. The simple point made by Geronimo Pratt is also its strongest; that COINTELPRO made official the illegality of politics, the “criminalization of positions” represented by its targets. COINTELPRO was the political and legal descendant of its ancestors, slavery and genocide, and is now itself an ancestor to the still-implemented policies of, for instance, the Patriot Act. This central theme of the film is its most important because it forces us to put in context the current and horrific state of peace, freedom and labor movements.

It turned so-called U.S. citizens in the 20th century into insurgent rebels to be dealt with as any foreign army or movement.”

As CONTELPRO 101 makes vividly clear, “the Black misleadership class” described so often in the pages of Black Agenda Report is the result of having first destroyed the rightfully ascending Black leadership class of that time. This film helps re-establish lost cognition imposed by popular anti-histories which allow for so many to falsely assume that Obama is a natural progression from Civil Rights and Black Power movements. The film inserts stolen pages of history that result in an assumption that Native America went willingly to the reservations and then happily stayed there having never having attempted movements to protect whatever remaining autonomy they might have had. No one who sees this film can return to conventional and now popularly re-emerging arguments over immigration or human “illegality.” In fact,COINTELPRO 101 goes further than most histories of this phenomenon in reminding us of the threats posed by the Puerto Rican and Chicano independence movements. One can only imagine with a kind of hope what these discussions would sound like were they to take place in this film’s context of state repression and specifically the killing of Chicano movement activists like Ricardo Falcon. Indeed, would these arguments even exist without first the assault on these movements and their representatives?

CONTELPRO 101 is the latest in an increasingly long line of collected, preserved and produced media from The Freedom Archives which seeks to appropriately tell the stories of diverse but unified efforts toward liberation. It powerfully summarizes the continued need of those in power to suppress and, in their own words, “neutralize” movements and individuals so that more acceptable replacements can be developed and promoted. For if, as the film asserts, the continued imprisonment of people like American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier is a “symbol” to, through discouragement, protect the state from further similar activity, then what do popular, sanctioned, elected leaders of today represent?

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online go towww.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Jared Ball can be reached via email at: freemixradio@gmail.com.

Direct download: 20101027_jb_CointelproFilm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42am EDT

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

Just as much of the southern "civil rights" movement collapsed after passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Black progressive politics all but evaporated with the election of Barack Obama. Now, as Democrats face disaster in midterm elections, the insane idea circulates that Obama has "only failed in delivering our utopia because he has been hampered by Republicans," conveniently forgetting Obama's own services to the corporate agenda.
 
And We Are Still Not Yet Saved
by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
"The president has surrounded himself with so many reactionaries and centrists that it can hardly still be said to be a fight between him and someone else."
"In 2008 we changed the guard.  This year we must guard the change."  This, the Democratic Party-sponsored "call-to-arms" by civil rights veteran Reverend Joseph Lowery, is supposed to encourage young Black people back to the polls next month.  To protect the sanctity of that fight for the vote young people must blah, blah, blah.  This is part of the DNC's $3 million scramble for Black votes which includes these kinds of public service announcements, and outreach to Black bloggers, and is also what continues to highlight several severe problems for Black people.  The ideas that Obama is a changing of the guard or that the struggle for the right to vote was simply a struggle for the right to vote or that new media technology represent some revolutionary change in the way we disseminate information around which we then organize are all simply absurd.
The message taken from Reverend Lowery is one echoed a lot recently by defenders of the president.  It is an idea that he has only failed in delivering our utopia because he has been hampered by Republicans.  Given a complete pass are the conservative Democrats and the president himself who has surrounded himself with so many reactionaries and centrists that it can hardly still be said to be a fight between him and someone else.  How someone who demonstrates the kind of continuity of governance as has Obama is still called a "changing of the guard" is testimony to the power of propaganda.  But the other attendant myths are equally powerful and have a longer track record.  The myth of the vote itself being the sole or primary focus of the civil rights movement denies the subsequent struggles of Black Liberation, for which too many remain imprisoned by the way, as well as, the broader human rights movement signified by the kinds of grassroots movement histories so often omitted from the popular record.
"Black bloggers are being hired, bribed, or cajoled into cheerleading for a president rather than adequately informing their audiences."
For one instance is the work of Debbie Louis, And We Are Not Yet Saved: A History of the Movement as People, in which she recounts the absolute disillusionment among actual grassroots laborers within the Civil Rights Movement that accompanied the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.  For them the issue was never the vote in and of itself.  The vote was a means to an end we have subsequently been conditioned to ignore.  Louis describes the issue of voting as "unquestioningly righteous" and, therefore, easy to support.  But issues of genuine equality, abolition of poverty and White terrorism had become "too confusing and disturbing to follow."  For "most northern supporters" she writes, "the Voting Rights Act represented a welcomed solution to their dilemma."  Below the Mason-Dixon line, which Malcolm X still remains correct in calling the Canadian border, Louis explains that "With the Voting Rights Act, the southern movement dissolved."  As the movement dissolved in its place arose the myth that the struggle was for the right to vote as opposed to striving for the vote as a means to achieve power.  Instead, victories were claimed, funding dried up, people went home and little changed.  Vietnam became the focus, poverty and White terror remained largely unchecked.
And as for this nonsense about new media technology and the positive value of social media, we need to ask what good are more media if they too are forcibly cowed to elite financing?  Lowery's PSA is running as part of a $3 million funding blitz to Black media.  To my knowledge Black Agenda Report has received none of this and has not been invited to White House blogging summits for Black "journalists."  No, that is reserved for our political opposites some of whom have as their masthead that they are the voice of the "black bourgeoisie."  So just as was the case with the Civil Rights Movement, we of the Black Left have to ask, for whom is all this done?  In 2008 Obama's campaign ignored the Black press and denied it millions in ad revenue.  In 2010 Black bloggers are being targeted with the same old stale and empty rhetoric of voting for change and protecting the change we've achieved.  They are being hired, bribed, or cajoled into cheerleading for a president rather than adequately informing their audiences.  They once did it entirely for free and now are being offered crumbs to do the same.  How can it then be said that new media advance our ability to understand our reality and then organize it out of existence?
And yet, we are still not saved.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Jared Ball.  Online visit www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
Jared Ball can be reached via email at freemixradio@gmail.com.

Direct download: 20101020_jb_Obama2010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:58am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

One should not overstretch the similarities between Black South Africa and Black America. But both communities have been in denial about their nominal leaders. "After all these years of believing that labor - Black labor - was on the inside of power in South Africa, the unionists of COSATU are forced to a different realization." The same realization looms for African Americans.
 
In Some Ways, ANC's South Africa Like Obama's USA
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"All we have done is to change the skin color of the driver."
In the words of Zwelinzima Vavi, the president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU, "All we have done is to change the skin color of the driver, but in terms of economic policy the direction remains the same as the one the apartheid regime was traveling, which was inspired by Margaret Thatcher." Thatcher was, of course, the right-wing British Prime Minister who had a political love affair with U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Their policies, with minor alternations, remain in place in the United States and Britain, today.  And, according to union leader Zwelinzima Vavi, the same is true in South Africa, despite 16 years of nominal Black rule.
On the face of it, COSATU is in a much better position to influence South African government policy than unions in the United States. The struggle to overthrow apartheid was led by a triumvirate of the ANC - the African National Congress - COSATU and the South African Communist Party. With the Left comprising two legs of the stool, and the ruling ANC Party enjoying overwhelming majorities, one would think that the Left would be in an unchallenged position to transform South African society. Yet, again quoting trade union leader Vavi, "This road we have travelled has not only reproduced but deepened inequalities and unemployment.... Various measures indicate that income inequality has widened."
In the United States, income inequalities have been widening for the past 30 years. Republicans have held national power for 20 of those 30 years, but unions exercised virtually no strategic influence in the eight years of Democrat Bill Clinton's reign, when corporate free trade became law and Wall Street was liberated from the rule of law through deregulation. President Obama did not lift a finger for labor's number one priority: a bill that would have made it easier to replenish depleted union ranks. Instead, he bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $12 to 14 trillion.
"Real power in supposedly Black-ruled South Africa is rooted in the 'discredited Washington consensus.'"
Similarly, in South Africa, the Black government this summer deployed its full powers to blunt a nationwide strike of public sector workers struggling against growing inequalities. After all these years of believing that labor - Black labor - was on the inside of power in South Africa, the unionists of COSATU are forced to a different realization. The real power in supposedly Black-ruled South Africa is rooted in what Mr. Vavi calls the "discredited Washington consensus that is based on the supremacy of the markets and the limited role of the state" - the same equation of power that exists under Barack Obama's regime.
Of course, South Africa's Black government was chosen by a huge Black majority of the electorate, while the government in Washington merely has a Black chief executive elected mainly by white voters. But the connecting link is the longtime refusal among Blacks, in the face of the evidence, to admit that the Black person or persons in charge are not on their side. It has taken some very smart, sophisticated people in South Africa 16 years to figure that out. It will take a little longer than two years for Black folks to get wise to Barack Obama. But time is ticking on both sides of the Atlantic.
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: 20101020_gf_SAlikeUSA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
It is a false love of Black people that compels so many African Americans to forgive Black notables of the crimes they commit against Black people. In terms of the national security state and drug enforcement, Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department is in many ways identical to its Republican predecessor. Yet, too many Black misleaders "want only to bask in the glow of the first Black Attorney General."
Racial Narcissism Vs. Love of Black People and Justice
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
"The Newburgh travesty of justice is near-identical to the Bush administration's successful prosecution of poor, harmless Black men in Miami, Florida - only the complexion of the Attorney General is different."
When a people are presented with new opportunities to make a choice - a choice they were never before permitted - there is the natural tendency to celebrate the new opportunity, while giving little thought and analysis to the actual substance of the choice at hand. Certainly, we have observed this phenomenon in the history of Black people in the United States. Having had so few choices in a racist society, we have reveled in those opportunities that came our way, sometimes to the detriment of serious contemplation of the consequences of those choices.
This axiom applies to individuals as well as groups. During World War One, the great scholar and leading figure in the recently formed NAACP, W.E.B. Dubois, was offered an officer's commission in U.S. military intelligence. The job was essentially to spy on other African Americans who might be collaborating with socialists or others to impede President Woodrow Wilson's national mobilization for war. Dubois decided to accept the commission, as did other Black notables of the day, arguing only about whether he would be a captain or a major.  The military later withdrew the intelligence job offer to Dubois, deciding that he was also politically suspect, but that was their decision. Dubois' overriding consideration in accepting the commission was that it was a new opportunity for the Negro, and such opportunities should not be passed up.
As it soon transpired, this World War One domestic spying apparatus became the direct precursor to the establishment of a national secret police network that would lead to generations of FBI assaults on civil liberties, the infamous COINTELPRO program and a wave of assassinations of Black leaders.
"Yet Black misleaders want only to bask in the glow of the first Black Attorney General."
Nearly 100 years later, the keynote speech at a reunion of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, was delivered by Eric Holder, the first Black Attorney General of the United States. It did not matter to the aging SNCC activists that Holder's Justice Department continues to build on the national security state that went into hyperdrive under George Bush. The SNCC veterans, at their North Carolina reunion earlier this year, were undeterred by Holder's Justice Department's campaign of entrapment against poor, Black Muslim men in Newburgh, New York, who posed no threat whatsoever to the security of the United States, but who now face life in prison for a terror plot conceived from beginning to end by a paid FBI operative. The Newburgh travesty of justice is near-identical to the Bush administration's successful prosecution of poor, harmless Black men in Miami, Florida - only the complexion of the Attorney General is different. Eric Holder's Justice Department has devised new and more dangerous ways of using grand juries to target peace activists.  And Holder promises to continue federal marijuana prosecutions in California, even if voters in that state decide to decriminalize pot next month. This, despite the huge role that drug arrest disparities play in the mass incarceration crisis that is destroying Black society. Yet Black misleaders want only to bask in the glow of the first Black Attorney General. For them, the impact of law enforcement on the quality of justice is less important than the opportunity to see a Black face in a previously all-white place. What we are seeing in this skin worship, is a shallow racial narcissism, rather than a genuine love for Black people.
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: 20101020_gf_HolderJustice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11pm EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

America’s top hit man in Africa, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, is calling for a much larger air, sea and land war in Somalia – with Museveni’s forces on point. The saber-rattling follows on the heels of Uganda’s and Rwanda’s threats to withdraw from UN “peacekeeping” missions, such as in Somalia. What’s up?

 

Uganda, America’s Pit Bull, Wants to Lead a Larger War in Somalia

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Uganda also volunteers to head up a coalition of African nations for a renewed military campaign to save the U.S.-backed puppet regime.”

Uganda, long a military client of the United States, proposes that a no-fly zone be imposed on Somalia and that the nation’s ports be blockaded by aircraft carriers in order to starve out the Islamic Shabaab resistance. Uganda also volunteers to head up a coalition of African nations for a renewed military campaign to save the U.S.-backed puppet regime, which controls only a few neighborhoods of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. All of this would, of course, be paid for by what Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni calls “the international community” – meaning, the United States and Europe.

Museveni’s troops, along with soldiers from Burundi, another central African nation in Washington’s orbit, are all that keep the puppet Somali regime barely alive. It is commonly accepted that, if the Ugandans left, the puppet government would collapse in a matter of hours. The Shabaab resistance, it goes without saying, has no air force, and is not supplied by air from any outside source, so it is difficult to imagine whose planes President Museveni wants to keep out of the skies. His calls for a blockade by sea are also problematical. An informal international armada, including China, already operates off the Somali coast to curb piracy against cargo vessels. The U.S. Indian Ocean fleet is always nearby. But Somalia’s pirates have not been allied with the Shabaab – at least not until quite recently – and the Americans had hoped to keep it that way. If the U.S. wanted to shut down every port on Somalia’s coast, it could easily bomb them out of existence. To do so, however, would turn every Somali irrevocably against the Americans. The possibilities of maintaining a viable puppet regime would evaporate, forever, requiring endless military occupation in the face of guerilla resistance.

The Ugandans and Rwandans are angry at the United States for failing to suppress a recent United Nations report on mass murders in Congo.”

It is also widely acknowledged that the Shabaab resistance eats what the Somali population eats, so starving them out would be an act of genocide – not that the United States has not considered such a solution. And the Shabaab appear to get all the weapons and ammunition they need from constant defections and weapons sales from the American-financed puppets in Mogadishu.

Museveni is already scheduled to get thousands of reinforcements and money for his troops in Somalia, paid for by the Americans and Europeans. There is plenty of military business for Uganda, which acts as a hit man and enforcer for neocolonialism in Africa.

So what is Uganda's Museveni up to, with his saber-rattling?

Uganda was implicated, along with Rwanda, another American client, in the massacre of Hutus during the two countries' invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo – massacres that could lead to genocide charges. The Ugandans and Rwandans are angry at the United States for failing to suppress a recent United Nations report on the killings, as Washington had suppressed previous reports of mass murders in Congo. Both Uganda and Rwanda had threatened to withdraw their troops from so-called UN peacekeeping missions – such as in Somalia – but the UN called their bluff. Museveni is making big war talk in Somalia to call attention to his ongoing service to U.S. policy in Africa. He is telling the top gangsters in Washington that the hit man still has value; that the hired killer deserves his proper respect.

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: 20101013_gf_UgandaSomalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Waiting for Superman” is pure propaganda for the hedge funders that seek to “create a private market in for-profit educational services that can be traded on the stock market and bet on derivatives.” Obama has deployed his presidential bully pulpit as a booster for this “bait-and-switch” scam of a film, and for the underlying privatizing project.

 

Obama and the “Superman” School Predators

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“’Waiting for Superman’ is a profoundly predatory film, in character with the predatory finance capitalists that are its biggest boosters.”

The corporate media, right-wing billionaires like the Wal-Mart family, Bill Gates and President Obama, are all in the same business. They are trying to create a private market in for-profit educational services that can be traded on the stock market and bet on derivatives but whose costs will be borne by the public. They project this public educational market to be potentially worth trillions of dollars – at virtually no risk to finance capital. That’s why the hedge funds are now so deep into charter schools. But, to transform the public schools into a privately-exploitable market requires great volumes of skillful propaganda, to convince the public that Wall Street and hedge funds will “save” public education.

The movie “Waiting for Superman” is the latest, and slickest, of this corporate propaganda. It is a profoundly predatory film, in character with the predatory finance capitalists that are its biggest boosters. The film shamelessly exploits five Washington, DC school kids and their desperate parents, seeking to win a lottery placement in a charter school exemplified by a 24-hour public charter boarding facility called The Seed School, where student life is “centered around dorms…named for a college or university,” each housing 12 to 15 kids. There are only 15 students for each teacher. On its face, this truly does seem to be a public educational wonderland. But, as mass propaganda for urban charter schools, it is the most cruel and evil bait-and-switch imaginable.

This film callously dangles a 24-hour prep school as a real and palpable possibility for the millions of educationally underserved in the inner cities.”

The nation’s public schools are in the deepest crisis in memory. It is a money crisis, which has led to the most draconian educational cutbacks in modern times. Teachers have been fired by the tens of thousands, curriculum scaled back to the bone all across the country – yet this film callously dangles a 24-hour prep school as a real and palpable possibility for the millions of educationally underserved in the inner cities. A live-in prep school is supposed to stand in for charter schools as a whole, despite the fact that more charter schools perform worse than their traditional public school counterparts than those that test better, nationwide.

Waiting for Superman” is a scam and a sham, that has been catapulted into the national political conversation by a $2 million marketing grant from the Emperor, himself, Bill Gates. In the most perverse sense, it is appropriate that Washington, DC’s Seed School is featured, since Gates and the hedge fund billionaire parasites consider their cash contributions to charter schools as “seed money” from which will grow a hybrid, publicly-funded school system where profiteers will flourish. In the last decade, these finance capitalists have enlisted a cadre of Democratic politicians to wage war against teachers and against the very idea of public education, exploiting the historical grievances of Black parents, especially. Barack Obama is the highest expression of the success of this privatizing project, so it is no surprise that he endorsed “Waiting for Superman” as only a president could, hosting the film and the five kids at the White House. But do not be fooled. The film performs the same function for the corporatizing of American education as the movie “Exodus” did for the founding of Israel. This ain't “Roots.” Rather, it sets the stage for the uprooting and destruction of public education. 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: 20101013_gf_ObamaSuperman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:43pm EDT

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by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

Just because millions of people can interact at the speed of light, does not mean they are going anywhere. Indeed, by providing the illusion of common action, social media tend to suppress the kind of methodical organizing necessary to sustain a real “movement.” And, who owns the new media, anyway? The super-rich. Social media are “perfect for illusion-development and propaganda dissemination but horrible for the oppressed engaged in political struggle.”

 

The Evangelists of Social Media

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

All this persistent chatter about new media technology improving the world – and improving even radical political organization – is little more than a de facto public relations campaign.”

The “evangelists of social media,” according to Malcolm Gladwell, want us to believe that the revolution we all want has simply been awaiting Twitter or Facebook accounts. And having now achieved them by the hundreds of thousands these evangelists would have us believe that success – political, economic or social – is inevitable. But all this persistent chatter about new media technology improving the world – and improving even radical political organization – is little more than a de facto public relations campaign. Somehow that which happens to increase the ability of the “superclass” to enrich itself and promote its interests can also, coincidentally, make possible the revolution that will overthrow them. Its pure propaganda, the effect of which is to help reduce our capacity to develop radical political movements.

There would seem, also coincidentally, more than a passing connection between the deplorable state of radical politics in this country and this rising mythology of “social media” leading us to a new organizational promised land. More than a few speakers and participants at the recent One Nation rally congratulated Facebook and Twitter users for helping to mobilize more people faster than at any other time in history. This is actually a popular theme among activists at most of their gatherings these days. But worse still was that these voices included NAACP President and Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Jealous. The statement was made as if this storied organization, whatever we may think of it, had never before been able to organize its members. As if the problem the NAACP has faced all these years was an inability to move so many so quickly. This praises speed at the expense of careful education and reasoning. Or was the NAACP’s involvement merely a hired response to an even more compromised labor movement?

The internet gives us weakly-tied lose bonds of “networks” which create mobs of uninformed, untrained, ill-prepared sheep.”

Remember, Rosa Parks did not sit down that day as some random act of a tired worker. She did so because she had been trained to do so since she joined the NAACP in 1932. We discredit our struggle by dismissing acts of courage as simple accidents as opposed to the results of careful planning and strategy. The original March on Washington had at least as many participants as this One Nation silliness. The Million Man March, also in the pre-internet era, had 10 times more. Shoot, African people in this country have been fighting so long to develop powerful and threatening alternative methods of communication that as far back as 1775 John Adams, fearing the impending rebellions that came with reasoned, planned and strategic communication noted that “The Negroes have a wonderful art of communicating intelligence among themselves.”

The speed of the internet is more than mitigated by the absence of thoughtfulness, intimate strategy and reasoned planning that most often accompanies it. If anything, we should consider this the intent of military technology imposed on us with the sleekest of public relations techniques. While it may at times make our lives easier it can also quickly give us any number of branded phenomena from tennis shoes to presidents, from movies to social movements. This in part is Gladwell’s point. The lunch counter takeovers that launched the modern civil rights movement occurred at the tail end of planning, strategy, training and all with a “military precision” from what he calls the “strong-tie” intimacy of ordered, hierarchical organization. On the other hand, the internet gives us weakly-tied lose bonds of “networks” which create mobs of uninformed, untrained, ill-prepared sheep perfect for illusion-development and propaganda dissemination but horrible for the oppressed engaged in political struggle.

Our use of the internet should be only to promote support for locally-based community media, from community, low-power and mixtape radio ventures to intimate in-person grassroots political organization. Gladwell was indeed correct, “the revolution won’t be tweeted” and neither will it be cheap, easy or come at the speed of a clicking mouse.

For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball. Online visit www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

Jared Ball can be reached at freemixradio@gmail.com.

 

Direct download: 20101013_jb_socialmedia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:07pm EDT

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The "One Nation" pep rally for Democrats wrapped itself in "movement" images and language, yet never spoke a word of Truth to Power. "Only by pretending that the Tea Party's legions are equivalent to the second coming of Genghis Khan, can Big Labor and Black Obamites justify their abject failure to fight for anything meaningful from Obama and the Democrats."

Ignominious Surrender on the Mall

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The weekend bus outing bore no resemblance to a 'movement' of any kind that Chicago's Mayor Daley would not approve."

The Black misleadership class and their labor counterparts held a ceremony of surrender to the War Party and Wall Street, on the Washington Mall, this past weekend. After spending millions to assemble a multitude, Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers - Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House, whose disfavor they fear even more than they dread the white nationalist hordes of the Tea Party.

Despite the constant references to Dr. Martin Luther King and the 1963 March on Washington, the weekend bus outing bore no resemblance to a "movement" of any kind that Chicago's Mayor Daley would not approve. Rather than building a popular platform to give voice to substantive demands - that Obama cease acting as Wall Street's philanthropist, call a halt to his wars, and spend the peace dividend on jobs and education - the weak and timid misleaders instead used October 2nd to transmit Power's demands to the people. Vote for the Democrats! And under no circumstances, embarrass the White House! Then, after November 2, go home and await further orders.

The Black and labor misleaders have found that the best way to hide their own cowardice in the face of corporate power and its servants in the White House and Congress, is to vastly inflate the threat posed by the Tea Party. Indeed, the Tea Party has never had bigger boosters than the men and women on the microphone at the Mall on Saturday.  Only by pretending that the Tea Party's legions are equivalent to the second coming of Genghis Khan, can Big Labor and Black Obamites justify their abject failure to fight for anything meaningful from Obama and the Democrats.

"Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers - Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House."

The truth is, a real people's movement could defeat the phony Tea Party "movement" and put fear in the hearts of corporate Democrats, too. But Saturday's charade was no threat to anyone, and all but guarantees a further strengthening of the Right through a bolder Tea Party and ever growing corporate domination of the Democratic Party.

With all its ostentatious, nervous patriotism and silly yammering about how Saturday's crowd was just as "American," if not more so, than the Tea Party, the "One Nation" event felt, in some ways, like a throwback to the days when Negroes were obsessed with proving to whites that they were also true blue for Uncle Sam. Ironically, one of the oldest speakers provided the only dignity to the occasion. Eighty-three year-old Harry Belafonte, alone among the main speakers, confronted President Obama directly on his wars. The famed entertainer, who spent freely of his own money to fund the Black Freedom Movement when it really was a movement, hoped that America "will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in faraway lands are immoral, unconscionable and unwinnable."

That's as close to speaking Truth to Power as Saturday's event got - except for those of us Lefties who went down to show that the movement was not yet dead. Unfortunately, our impact was minimal amid a sea of bodies bussed in with no mission other than to serve Barack Obama. 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: 20101006_gf_ObamaRally.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:04am EDT