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

Wall Street is “feverishly preparing to destroy the financial integrity of local and state governments, much as speculative capital has ravaged member states of the European Union.” Rather than resist this grand assault, President Obama and other top Democrats pave the way for it with their attacks on unions and the public sector.

 

Obama Uses Bully Pulpit Against Own Constituents

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Obama uses his bully pulpit to tell the people that unions and public workers are the enemies of society.”

A perfect storm is brewing, whipped up by Wall Street, that threatens the most fundamental interests of Black people, workers in the private and public sectors, the unemployed and the residents of cities – that is, the core constituencies of the Democratic Party. But don’t expect the Democrats to be of much help, because the fact is that Party leadership is busy trying to drown its own electoral base, like kittens in a bag. This only sounds counterintuitive if one fails to understand that, although minorities, the poor, workers, union members and urban dwellers may be the people that vote the most for Democrats, Wall Street is increasingly the Party’s financial patron – and the sugar-daddy with the cash usually gets what he wants.

What Wall Street wants – and what it is purchasing from Democratic leadership – is the means to utterly eliminate meaningful opposition to rule of money. For this purpose, they are feverishly preparing to destroy the financial integrity of local and state governments, much as speculative capital has ravaged member states of the European Union. In the resulting panic, public unions – the biggest political barrier to corporate rule – will be reduced to impotent shells, if not decertified, outright. With the unions decimated and Democratic constituents in despair, finance capital will feast on the bones of the public sector in a bacchanal of privatization.

President Obama has taken the lead in dismantling the Democratic coalition assembled by President Franklin Roosevelt, in the 1930s. In two short years in office, he has gone for the jugular, targeting unionized teachers as the villains of education, thus setting the stage for massive corporate penetration of public schools through charterization. Obama played the same scapegoating game with federal employees, blaming them for budget deficits and imposing a wage freeze.

With the unions decimated and Democratic constituents in despair, finance capital will feast on the bones of the public sector in a bacchanal of privatization.”

American presidents are said to have the biggest “bully pulpit” in the world. Obama uses his bully pulpit to tell the people that unions and public workers are the enemies of society. As a Black Democrat, he's much more convincing than the Republicans – which is what makes him so valuable to the moneyed classes.

Next, the public is softened up to the idea that local and state government will go bankrupt, and that the problem is public employee pensions. In steps the Democrat Richard Daley, outgoing mayor of Chicago, who says employee pensions, which are huge government obligations, should be allowed to go bankrupt.

Daley was just playing the stalking horse for the hedge funds and other financial Dukes of Disaster who have been using derivatives to make bets on which cities and states will default on their obligations – just as they have been doing with the smaller nations of Europe. Creating a public hysteria ups the ante and also hides the fact that it is Wall Street that is creating the crisis, through its financial dealings and its purchasing of Democratic politicians. The banker-inspired hysteria creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of social, economic and political destruction. And one of the messengers of the evil-minded prophesying is Barack Obama.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, to to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20110105_gf_StarvedLaborCities.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Even the puppet parliament of the rump Somali state rebelled against association with mercenaries of the infamous Saracen International corporation, whose leadership cut their teeth in apartheid South Africa death squads. The parliament demanded severance of the contract with the soldiers of fortune. The U.S.-backed Somali mini-state is dependent on Ugandan troops for survival. “The Americans and their puppets have been militarily defeated by some of the most poverty-stricken guerillas on the planet.

 

Somali Regime Hires Mercenary Outfit Rooted in Apartheid

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Saracen’s soldiers of fortune have been employed to overthrow or prop up governments all across the continent.”

Although it is difficult to believe possible, U.S. policy in Somalia is pushing that East African country even deeper into the abyss. The American-backed puppet regime, which controls only a few neighborhoods of the capital city, Mogadishu, and could not survive a day without the protection of Ugandan soldiers, has also contracted with as many as five foreign mercenary outfits to wage war against its own people. So deep is the stench, even the puppet parliament is recoiling. Last week the lawmakers demanded that the Somali rump state end its secret dealings with the mercenaries, who are said to be headquartered at Mogadishu airport.

The mercenary contractors include the infamous Saracen International corporation, whose roots go back to the murderous hit-squads organized by the white minority regime in South Africa. Saracen’s soldiers of fortune have been employed to overthrow or prop up governments all across the continent. Their services come at a high price – and not just in the lives of the Africans they slaughter. The Somali operation is thought to be financed partly by right-wing Arab emirates rulers and by the Sultan of Oman, who overthrew his own father with the help of white mercenaries. Rich Gulf Oil state involvement is confirmed by the Mogadishu regime’s own press release, which said that the contractors’ money has been “provided by some Muslim countries.”

When cash is not available, Saracen International is also said to accept payment in national resources such as oil or fishing rights. The private mercenaries already have contracts with the breakaway government in the Puntland region of Somalia.

Saracen International is said to accept payment in national resources such as oil or fishing rights.”

The United States expressed mild diplomatic displeasure with the contracting out of security services by the puppet regime. That may be because Saracen is not on the U.S. State Department's list of most-favored mercenary corporations, of which there are plenty headquartered in the Washington, DC area. But it is certain that Uganda is upset at the mercenary contracts. The Ugandan military is paid many millions of dollars to keep the road from Mogadishu's airport to the tiny Somali government enclave in town, open. Uganda's military behaves precisely as mercenaries, themselves, and don't like the private competition.

Ethiopia, which invaded Somalia in late 2006 at the instigation of the United States, is also training young Somalis to act as pro-government militia, as has the U.S.-backed regime in Kenya. The Obama administration, like the Bush gang before it, is determined that no Islamic government come to power in Somalia. But so deep is Somali nationalism and hatred of foreign interference, the Americans and their puppets have been militarily defeated by some of the most poverty-stricken guerillas on the planet.

If there was one drop of human concern in President Obama's heart for the welfare of the people of Somalia, he would call off this cruel torture of a nation. But Obama is in accord with decades of American policy in Africa, with can be summed up in one phrase: What the U.S. cannot control, it plunges into chaos.

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: 20110105_gf_Somalia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

The Obama Phenomenon creates strange effects. Among the most peculiar involve Blacks who have long been identified as “radical,” yet are staunch supporters of the center-right First Black President. Such left luminaries now “think that radical positions are the problem.” Yet, without radical solutions and radical leadership, where do we come up with “our plan to get out of this damn mess?!”

 

Ishmael Reed, Amiri Baraka and the Black Radical Dilemma

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

In the end Obama is a Democrat and not a Black leader.”

After another semi-hostile run-in with an elder statesman over Obama I am further convinced of the brilliant strategy the president represents in complicating real left-of-center discussion and organization. I am also further convinced of the serious dilemma facing the real Black left. And by that I don’t simply mean progressives who may have one or two things to say about Obama’s shortcomings but who ultimately support him. I’m talking about those of us who would hope for more radical left politics to at least be put on the table. And big stuff too. So not just some mild concessions on health care or vague orders to end wars. I mean like real universal health care or actual and immediate removal of troops. Better yet, how about a reduction of the military budget, a freeze on foreclosures and an actual declaration of an end to police brutality and mass incarceration as national policy and as a bedrock of the national economy?

But again, in 2008 it was Amiri Baraka, and this past week it was Ishmael Reed as guests on my radio program telling me that I am part of a foolish radical “fringe” who is out of touch with the real community. “Ninety percent of the Black population supports the president” Reed told me. “Segregated” White America and media are attacking him and, therefore, as he says, we must defend Obama against those attacks as Israelis defended their “odious” former prime minister Ariel Sharon from “outsider” critics. But, as I asked him, to Israelis Sharon was defending their nation, defending them. But even Reed acknowledges in his latest book that Obama treats Black people as a “demented uncle,” something far from our protector or advocate. So why should we not critique the president? Why should we not declare that he has done too little not only for Black people but for the entire world? Ultimately, where is our agenda? Our platform? Where is our plan to get out of this damn mess?!

How about a reduction of the military budget, a freeze on foreclosures and an actual declaration of an end to police brutality and mass incarceration?”

Reed makes many good points and his new book, Barack Obama and The Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers, does include some criticism of the president. And Reed is dead on when talking about how White and “segregated” mainstream, liberal and “progressive” media are ignorant and vicious when it comes to Black people. But in the end Obama is a Democrat and not a Black leader. His allegiance to that party and to the powerful interests that run it has been made clear. So that we should defend him as others would defend a national leader is conceptually unsound. So too are the arguments Reed offered about how a Black left critique comes from the “northeast academic elite” and the silly radical grassroots both of whom interestingly are equally distant from the real community.

On the one hand, as I attempted to say, most of Obama’s Black critics seem to be coming from the grassroots as much of the academic establishment is in his camp. What I see increasingly among the Black working class and non-professional intellectuals is a tiring of Obama. Those 90% numbers may be more the result of survey myopia or the trickery of polling. Perhaps not many Black people are willing to publicly critique Obama or they are simply responding to the phrasing of questions. If asked who would they prefer, Obama or the White republican, what else would they say? Recently, for example, Al Jazeera found a number of everyday Black folks who are through with the president, several of whom were shown calling into the Chicago-based Salim Muwakkil radio show. Is it possible that those Black residents would know a thing or two about the man who we are told did community organizing in their city?

Reed also argued that my position came from the old failures exposed by Harold Cruse and suggested that our liberation struggle has been hampered by Black radical thought. I suggested that probably COINTELPRO, assassinations and mass imprisonment might have more to do with it. But I am more concerned with any tendency among those of our brightest minds who think that radical positions are the problem. Reed said we have had “50 years to build a movement” and have not. But unless his movement was to have us all support another Wall Street Ronald Reagan Democrat those same 50 years have been wasted.

The real dilemma though is placing Black radical politics. If Black radicalism is seen as hindering progress what precisely are we “progressing” toward?

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. On the web go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110105_jb_BlackRadicals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53am EDT