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

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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

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Black Is Back Coalition's second march on the White House, November 13, signals that "a critical mass of activists and organizers are determined to push on to freedom, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the color of the war monger and corporate front man in the White House."

 Black Is Back: Let's March on White House Again, Nov. 13

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"On November 13, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will once again rally in Washington, DC and march to the White House, just as we did in our hundreds in our first march in November of last year."

As the Black misleadership class sinks deeper into servility to a president wholly beholden to Wall Street and the Pentagon, it becomes ever more imperative to send a message to our own people and to the wider world: Barack Obama does not have all Black folks fooled. There still exist principled African American organizations and individuals that every day struggle against the forces of war and oppression. On November 13, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will once again rally in Washington, DC and march to the White House, just as we did in our hundreds in our first march in November of last year. Back then, Black Is Back was only a few weeks old, but we proved that ObamaL'aide has not knocked the fight out of the real Black Left; that a critical mass of activists and organizers are determined to push on to freedom, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the color of the war monger and corporate front man in the White House.

In the year since the Black is Back Coalition appeared on the scene, Barack Obama has escalated his theater of war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, widened the war in Yemen, and stepped up the slaughter of innocents in Somalia. He has deepened the U.S. Africa Command - AFRICOM's - penetration of the continent and militarization of African society. Obama followed up his coup against a democratically elected government in Honduras with last week's attempted coup in Ecuador, as he tries to roll back Latin America's drive to free itself from U.S. imperial domination.

"ObamaL'aide has not knocked the fight out of the real Black Left."

President Obama now proclaims he has the authority to mark anyone on the planet for assassination, including American citizens, and that he owes no one an explanation why - not the courts, not the Congress, not the people, not the victim. Obama has instructed his Justice Department to launch a 21st century kind of COINTELPRO assault on the anti-war movement, through FBI raids and abuse of the grand jury system. We a Black Is Back understand that whenever the State sets out to crush dissent, it is inevitably Black folks that will bear the brunt of repression. Yet, the presence of a Black man in the White House threatens to obscure the Nazi-like nature of the government's increasing attacks on constitutional, civil and human rights.

Obama's alliances with Wall Street have resulted in the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the mankind, while his policies have led to the largest Black loss of wealth in the entire experience of Africans on the North American continent. African Americans make up one out of eight prisoners on the planet Earth, and that's just fine with the first Black U.S. president.

The Black is Back Coalition understands that he who is struck must be the first to cry out, that no one can be expected to speak up for us, but us. We also realize that the very existence of Black Is Back makes it less difficult for non-Black progressives to stand up to this president.

So stand up with the Black Is Back Coalition, on November 13, when we rally at Malcolm X Park and march on the White House. Go to the Black Is Back web site, for more information. That's www.blackisbackcoalition.org. On November 13, Black Is Back! 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_BiBMarch.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 8:54am EDT

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by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

The political exercise at the Washington Mall on October 2 “held out no real challenge to power” and was, therefore, of no use to the powerless. “What is being heralded as a largely successful mobilization of a young, energetic, diverse movement led by unionized labor and civil rights organizations was really a carefully manicured slap in the face of those traditions of struggle.”

 

No Groove, Just One Nation Under a Grip

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

This grip of the Democrats is no soft hold. It is a death grip.”

A rally for jobs, justice and education that occurs only two years after the election of a president and party who apparently cannot deliver either and which blames not the party in power for those two years but only the fringe elements of the out-of-power right wing, is a rally that even with a George Clinton performance is One Nation under no groove only a grip. And this grip of the Democrats is no soft hold. It is a death grip. It is a strangle hold designed to squeeze the life out of progressive elements within their own party and throughout the rest of the country – indeed the world. In what is being heralded as a largely successful mobilization of a young, energetic, diverse movement led by unionized labor and civil rights organizations was really a carefully manicured slap in the face of those traditions of struggle. Rather than the traditions of each, which include bold, strong irreverent organized acts of disobedience today’s versions are safely cajoled spokespersons of the liberal element of the ruling elite.

For those who have been coming to Washington, DC for decades to attend these kinds of rallies there was absolutely nothing new. First and foremost is that it was yet another march in DC that had nothing to do with the immediate concerns of most of the residents of DC. Secondly, there were the same tributes to organized religion, pledges of allegiance to the United States and a choir-styled national anthem meant to convey a fraudulent grassroots image and inclusion of the Black working class. But mostly it was the same in that it held out no real challenge to power, no threat of a push against liberalism or conservative Democratery. There were the regular co-opted calls of “power to the people,” quotes referencing A. Phillip Randolph’s that enemies of health care, education and jobs are “enemies of the Negro,” comparisons made between the Tea Party and the old Dixiecrats and even an extended reading by several young people of Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech. But there was only scant reference of King’s own disillusion with his dream or the fact that the Dixiecrats of old are the Democrats of today and that these are still the “enemies of the Negro.”

A banker’s party is a banker’s party no matter the color or gender of the candidate.”

But worst of all was the consistent and clear message that the problems we face today are the result of “40 senators” and a rabid right-wing of the country whose persistent responses of “no” have held back our innocent, even heroic, current president. The calls for jobs, peace, health care and education were simply hollow given that the president all of these people elected has done nothing to advance any of these issues in ways that did not more so advance the interests of the very entities who benefit by the currently horrible conditions of each. The proud traditions of labor and human rights struggles in this country and around the world are disrespected by a leadership that simply says to vote for the Democrat who will beautify our oppression rather than end it. The argument coming loud and clear from the podium Saturday was simply that if you don’t again vote for the Democrats and Obama then there was no point in having voted for them in the first place. There was no point then and there is no point now. A banker’s party is a banker’s party no matter the color or gender of the candidate.

There was one white man I heard this weekend who seems to have not completely lost his mind. David Swanson of the Progressive Democrats of America actually called for us to devalue the role of elections and the presidency itself by massive, even disruptive civil disobedience and grassroots organization. He is absolutely correct. Calls that we vote specifically because of the lives given toward achieving that right usually miss the point of what those fighting for the vote actually wanted that exercise to deliver. Marches that only belatedly call for the elected to deliver that which their benefactors have assured they cannot are simply foolishness. New directions with newly-developed methods of popular and public challenges are needed.

For in the end Dick Gregory was right. By consistently voting for the lesser of evil and by never seeking the truth about the assassinations of people we march in honor of we follow the path that leads us to Nazis.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Visit us online at BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

 

Direct download: 20101005_jb_onenation.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 8:47am EDT