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

Mouammar Khadafi was once the bane of the West, but in the past decade he has made an “accommodation” with imperialism. Since 9/11, “Khadafi has appeared more concerned with Islamic fundamentalists...than with American and European machinations.” U.S secret services may or may not have acted against Khadafi, but they will surely take advantage of any opening.

 

Khadafi On the Outs

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Khadafi had clearly reached an accommodation with the United States and the rich men of Europe.”

Mouammar Khadafi strode onto the world stage when he and other young officers kicked out a King named Idris, who had charged foreign corporations the lowest prices in the world to suck out the nation’s oil wealth. That was back in 1969. By the time I had my encounter with Khadafi, 40 years later, in late October of 2009, he was still calling himself a socialist and swarm enemy of capitalism, and pushing his Green Book as a universal guide to social justice. But Khadafi had clearly reached an accommodation with the United States and the rich men of Europe. White and Asian corporate guys were everywhere in Tripoli, the capital, which was bursting at the seams with construction projects built by foreigners for foreign corporations. Libya and its six million inhabitants had become a full-fledged corporate “destination,” and Khadafi’s armed forces were in constant collaboration with the crack forces of the U.S. imperial war machine. Khadafi might tell visitors to his huge, personal tent at a military compound in the city, that he remained dedicated to destroying “capitalism,” but Washington, London and Paris didn’t seem to be worried.

Since 9/11, Khadafi has appeared more concerned with Islamic fundamentalists like those in neighboring Algeria whose suppression cost 200,000 lives than with American and European machinations. He has coordinated military maneuvers with the Americans in the Sahel region of North Africa, and worked closely with the CIA to ferret out Al Qaida-like elements. By 2008, Condoleezza Rice was in Tripoli. “I look forward to listening to the leader's world view," she said. Khadafi had already declared his love for the woman he called “Leeza,” his “darling African American woman” who, he said, “leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders.”

The worst possible consequence of the Libyan crisis would be for the United States to find some way to intervene.”

In 2009, the year I visited Libya with a delegation headed by former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, Khadafi had just signed an “historic” agreement on military and diplomatic cooperation. The United States African Command, Africom, and Libya pledged to work together on matters of peacekeeping, maritime security, counterterrorism and African security and stability.

Yet, there was Khadafi on television on Tuesday, looking nothing like the rather serene older man I’d encountered in the big tent 16 months ago, raging that he was under assault by some combination of the United States and Islamic militants. In that sense, his claims sounded very much like the last public words of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, before he was hustled off the stage. Khadafi belittled his opponents as ignorant ingrates who knew nothing of their country's glories, or were just people high on hallucinogens. His son, Seif el Islam Khadafi, had previously threatened the Libyan people with civil war. Both father and son seemed out of touch, out of control, and on the way out. Which means the Libyan people are in danger.

But there is no greater danger to the independence and sovereignty of people's than U.S. imperialism, which has no respect for anyone's rights. The worst possible consequence of the Libyan crisis would be for the United States to find some way to intervene, in any way whatsoever. Nothing that Washington does can possibly benefit the Libyan people, who must resolve their own problems.

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: 20110223_gf_Libya.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48am EDT

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

Some of the leading lights of Black political thought have concluded that African Americans are an internally colonized people. This analysis allows us to place African America “within an international context, unites us with other colonized nations here and abroad and demands that no solution be excluded.”

 

Black History Month and The Unspoken Nature of Internal Colonialism

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

DuBois described us as ‘semi-colonial,’ or 'domestically colonized.'”

This past week the left-of-center host of GritTv, Laura Flanders, had a powerful segment focused on James Baldwin. It began with a clip of Baldwin explaining so poetically how race functions in this country. He spoke about what it means to grow up in a country “pledging allegiance to a flag… that doesn’t pledge allegiance to you” and how being Black imposes, by the age of 30, a condition whereby you lose any ability to trust your “countrymen.” But for her own reasons and his homosexuality, however, Flanders wanted to take Baldwin out of a context of Black History Month saying that he spoke to so many more. And I am sure he did. But she did that after one of her Black guests, professor Hortense Spillers, applying her own context, noted how Baldwin represented much of what goes today unspoken by too many within African America. She said, “there is so much we don’t talk about.” So I too will quite subjectively use Baldwin and this month’s nominal focus and raise one bit of the unspoken, at least for a moment.

Admittedly, my own favorite of the unspoken is the concept of African America as an internal colony, a nation within a nation or even more specifically a nation within a state apparatus which envelops and crushes other nations. Intellectually it can be challenging and it is certainly a most un-welcomed theoretical approach in the acceptable circles. But it is also one that has sustained radical movements within Black America for centuries. Martin Delaney said it in 1852, that we are a “nation within a nation,” colonized as any other. DuBois described us as “semi-colonial,” or “domestically colonized,” as did Claudia Jones. Of course Malcolm X did as well, he was assassinated largely because of that analysis forty-six years ago this week. James Boggs did, as did members of SNCC. And in his recently released collection of essays you can read how Jack O’Dell deployed the theory and see why he was forced out of his own organization and deemed a threat to this country’s national security. Of course, the Black Panther Party arrived at this analysis as did the Black Liberation Army. And today even a host of activists and academics hold to this theory. In fact, it is central to the work of the Uhuru Movement and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

The problems we face are scientifically inevitable, by design, intentional.”

Now, there is no unified field theory of internal colonialism. There are many debates and not all agree or apply it the same way. For me the highest value of the approach is three-fold. First, it demands that the adherent recognize thatthe problems we face are scientifically inevitable, by design, intentional. Secondly, the theory nicely synthesizes old beefs over race, culture and class. And lastly, and perhaps the greatest reason for its vigorous dismissal by the acceptable, it places African America within an international context, unites us with other colonized nations here and abroad and demands that no solution be excluded. By any means necessary takes on a level of clarity and immediacy that continues to frighten even those among us who find it most sound to apply the theory ourselves.

But this final point also means that the process of colonization, as Dr. James Turner said recently, also means a kind of permanent “subordination” that cannot be stopped by the dominant power primarily because it is necessary to the colonizer’s material well being as well as its own self-concept. I am a colonizer because you are colonized. Your underdevelopment is essential to my development. Without the subordinated you there can be no superordinate me. And this also means the colonized cannot wait for the impossible moral shift of the colonizer nor can the relationship be ended by a vote.

And what did Baldwin once presciently say about that? “And in any case,” he said in 1961, “what really exercises my mind is not this hypothetical day on which some other Negro “first” will become the first Negro President. What I am really curious about is just what kind of country he’ll be President of.”

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Here’s to hoping you’ve enjoyed this Black History Month and for more of our brand of anti-colonial work visit us online at: www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110223_jb_BlackHistory.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

While President Obama expounds on the need to “out-educate” the global competition, Detroit’s public schools have been ordered to pack each classroom with 60 students for the next four years – double the number most educators consider acceptable. “In a modern society, this is the equivalent of declaring Detroit – an overwhelmingly Black metropolis – a failed state.”

 

Torturing Detroit's Kids for Racist Fun and Profit

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Detroit is to be emptied out in a hurry, by doubling classroom size and utterly ruining the public schools.”

Corporate America and its servants in the Democratic and Republican parties care nothing for the education of Black, inner city school children, and the proof is in Detroit, for all to see. The State of Michigan, controlled, like every other state in the country, by business interests, has ordered Detroit to close down half of its public schools, and increase class sizes to 60 students. That’s double the number that any respectable educator considers suitable for classroom work, and tantamount to a declaration that Detroit’s public school students will not be provided an education. In a modern society, this is the equivalent of declaring Detroit – an overwhelmingly Black metropolis – a failed state.

This racist outrage is blamed on a $327 million school budget deficit, just as when the public schools were decimated twice before in recent years, eliminating 79 schools and reducing enrollment to about 84,000 students. Many of those public schools were then sold to private charter school companies. With every assault on public education, charter schools multiplied. Now 54,000 Detroit students attend charter schools, and even before the current crisis, the corporate enemies of public education were gleefully predicting that charters would overtake public school enrollment by around 2015 – which would make Detroit the second major American city in which charters outnumber public schools.

The other city is New Orleans, where 70 percent of the students attend charter schools, the highest proportion in the nation. New Orleans and Detroit have something else in common: They have lost more population than any other U.S. cities. And if that is not by design, then why are so many rich white people so happy about it?

New Orleans and Detroit have lost more population than any other U.S. cities.”

The rulers of America have decided that predominantly Black cities are to become relics of the nation’s past. In New Orleans, they had a hurricane to help them with their ethnic cleansing, but elsewhere, public policies must be crafted that make the cities uninhabitable for much of the existing Black population. Sometimes gentrification does the trick, but one needs lots of affluent white people to push Black folks out of town, and it takes time. But Detroit is to be emptied out in a hurry, by doubling classroom size and utterly ruining the public schools. Then, the education entrepreneurs and hedge fund managers and billionaires can build the kind of charter school system they want, with the kind of children they want, and without the teachers unions, which they definitely do not want.

The privatizers always claim that they have only the interests of the kids, at heart. But if that were the case, they would never even consider doubling classroom size to 60 students, and keeping it that way for at least the next four years – during which time very few students would learn anything. After four years of deliberate torture of children, lots of those kids and their parents will be gone – which is an important object of this cruel exercise. And, if the privatizers have their way, the teachers unions will be busted. Then, who will be left to demand, as Detroit's teachers have repeatedly done, that classrooms be small enough for students to have at least a chance to learn.

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: 20110223_gf_DetroitSchools.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:31am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The 2012 Obama budget should have caught no one off guard. Obama told everyone in earshot how much he admired President Reagan, so “why be surprised when you get a Reagan-type budget?” Obama’s assault on poor and working people’s programs collides with the historical Black consensus around issues of social justice. At some point there will be a reckoning.

 

Obamaland, Where Right Meets Center-Right

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Obama’s corporate character was no secret to anyone except those who wished not to know.”

The First Black President just gave birth to an unmistakably Republican budget – and everybody knows who that ugly baby’s daddy is. For the past two years, Barack Obama has been making out quite publicly with George Bush’s corporate friends. But that shouldn’t be a scandal; after all, Obama has always told everyone in range of his voice that his main goal in life is to forge a grand consensus with the GOP, a bipartisan understanding between the Right and the Center Right.

The result is an Obama budget that is all sliced up, like the loser in a knife fight – only, Obama and his corporate executives-on-loan at the White House did all the cutting, themselves. Obama is showing such extraordinary talent for obliterating poor and working class programs across the board, he’s making Republicans look redundant and obsolete.

From community block grants to Section 8 housing vouchers to child care to Pell Grants to home heating oil for the poor, Obama has preemptively savaged all that decent people hold dear in the social safety net, and is in enthusiastic, principled agreement with the Republicans that the big cuts are still to come, in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Obama has arrived in his element, and he has nothing to be ashamed about. Way back on the campaign trail, he told everyone willing to listen how much he admired President Reagan. So, why be surprised when you get a Reagan-type budget?

Obama has always been a dangerous, corporate creature.”

No, the shame is not Obama’s. The people who should be scandalized by the president’s budget are the enablers on the Left who abrogated their political responsibility to the people – and to Truth – by inventing an Obama that did not exist, back in 2007 and 2008. The shame of the proposed 2012 budget rests on the heads of those Blacks and progressives in leadership positions who chose to mis-lead their constituencies in ’07 and ’08, who refused to make even one demand, or even a mild request of Obama, the candidate – and thus rendered Blacks and progressives politically irrelevant. As we at Black Agenda Report and honest analysts like Paul Street pointed out all along, Obama has always been a dangerous, corporate creature. But like the frog that allows the scorpion to hitch a ride on his back across the swollen river, Black and progressive misleaders act shocked and hurt when Obama stings them with his deadly budget halfway through his term. But the frog should have known the nature of a scorpion. Obama’s corporate character was no secret to anyone except those who wished not to know.

Despite being dazzled by Obama's skin color and charm, there is still a consensus among Black Americans on issues of social justice. With his draconian cuts, President Obama is violating that consensus so sharply, it cannot be papered over for the sake of racial pride. We were pleased to learn that Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has dramatically distanced himself from Obama's budget priorities. The heads of traditional Black organizations would be wise to do the same. African Americans are watching their Obama-dreams turn into nightmares. Sometime soon, they will demand an accounting from those who misled them into the lair of the scorpion.

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: 20110216_gf_ObamaCuts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Many Black Americans expressed deep admiration, bordering on envy, for the Egyptians they saw on television.” There’s nothing strange about that; African Americans have often identified with other peoples of color that oppose domination by U.S.-backed regimes. But African American nationalism today leads Blacks to support a Black president who is hostile to their interests, while nationalism in Egypt helped fuel revolt against an Arab dictator who sold out his people.

 

African Americans and Egyptians: A Comparison

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Black Americans have some inkling of what Arab nationalism must feel like.”

Now that Hosni Mubarak has been driven from office, and despite the fact that Egypt remains under the dictatorship of the military, people ask how Black Americans might follow the Egyptian people’s example. It’s not a frivolous question. Black Americans have some inkling of what Arab nationalism must feel like. Black people on the East Coast feel the pain when they see videos of African Americans being beaten by police on the West Coast. When Blacks are humiliated or disrespected in Georgia, brothers and sisters in Chicago get upset. That’s Black nationalism, whether the folks experiencing those emotions admit it, or not. It is the same kind of connection that exists between Arabs from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, and throughout their Diaspora. When Arabs are humiliated and made to feel powerless in Gaza or Baghdad, the shame is felt in Jordan and Morocco. Nationalism can be a great burden.

The accumulated failures and frustrations of people hundreds or thousands of miles apart, joined only by a shared identity, can weigh heavily on the common psyche. Before the January 25 Revolution, Arabs spoke dejectedly about their impotence in the face of Israeli aggression, American military and corporate dominance, and their own corrupt political leaders who had sold out their individual countries and the Arab nation as a whole. Arabs would make sweeping statements to other Arabs about the weaknesses of the Arab people. Such Arab self-flagellation sounded to me very much like Black Americans’ commentaries on our own condition, which, more often than not, consist of a litany of failures and missed opportunities – all of which are somehow assumed to be connected to our character as a people. Being an oppressed nationality can be quite depressing – except, when you win, at which point, life becomes incandescently glorious!

Arab self-flagellation sounded to me very much like Black Americans’ commentaries on our own condition.”

Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign – although an objective disaster that would quickly relegate African Americans to the margins of the U.S. polity and result in the worst Black political crisis since Emancipation – was a Black nationalist bacchanal, crowned by a veritable Hajj, the pilgrimage of millions to Washington for the inauguration. The corrosive sense of futility and Black impotence was suddenly transformed into a kind of triumphalism – a rare and precious sensation for an oppressed nationality and, as it turned out, the prelude to a very deep and hard fall.

The pan-Arab moment came when Tunisian dictator Ben Ali ran away from the people. That an American-backed Arab sell-out had been forced to flee from Tunis empowered Arabs in Egypt and elsewhere to believe that they could do the same – that's the magic of nationalism when it's working to your advantage. Nationalism – both Egyptian and Arab – was the glue that kept Egyptians from a range of social strata unified, at least around the singular issue of removing the dictator, Mubarak. Many Black Americans expressed deep admiration, bordering on envy, for the Egyptians they saw on television. Why can't African Americans do that, they asked? Well, here is one answer. Egyptian Arabs learned the necessity to overthrow an Arab president who had sold out their interests. However, Black Americans do not yet understand the necessity to oppose a Black United States president, who is hostile to Black American interests.

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: 20110216_gf_EgyptAndBlacks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am EDT

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

If you don’t understand race, you know nothing about the United States. The catastrophes that descend on Black America must be seen “as a violent result of an ideology which results in economic and social policies predetermined to this effect.” Even the best off African Americans can’t save themselves. “The nation’s richest Black community, Prince George’s County, Maryland, is also home to the highest Black foreclosure rate.”

Critical Race Theory and Whiteness as Property

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

A fundamental anti-Blackness in this country demands the continuing inequities and also demands that they go unnoticed or improperly understood.”

In his Washington Post column last week Courtland Milloy made an interesting point. He was talking about the “economic levee” break that is currently washing away millions of “our homes… [and] jobs” when he also noted how much attention was going to the recent uprising in Egypt. He was quick to remind us that “we have a Cairo of our own,” he said, “a little town in Illinois where the unemployment rate is more than 14 percent and 33 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.” I don’t think it should be taken as a lack of solidarity as much as a warning, as he said, that we had better “wise up.” And I think that what we still have to wise up to is the underlying point, one made by Critical Race Theorists, that a fundamental anti-Blackness in this country demands the continuing inequities and also demands that they go unnoticed or improperly understood. Better to focus on the more distant effects of this nation’s policies than on those right here. Because no one in Milloy’s DC has forgotten the last time 2 million Black people showed up and that wasn’t even a revolution.

George Taylor once described the work of Critical Race Theorists as recognizing how this society sees “Whiteness as a property right” which is “an essential element of American [that is White] social stability.” Whiteness as a property right. The point has been made many times but in this particular phrasing and in this particular time it seems even more appropriate. If we see Whiteness as property we also see its necessary opposite, the absence of access, or the absence of Black opportunity for ownership. And if property, be it Whiteness or any other form is essential to social stability, it also means that Black access to property is anathema to the social order. There is a permanency here that demands and explains the hyper attention paid to Egypt and the absence of attention paid to similar kinds of suffering here in the United States, particularly among Black people.

Home and land ownership is what for the formerly enslaved represented a free and human identity.”

This also has real material impact. So, for instance, reports from last month show that home loss is increasing nationwide and that foreclosure rates will eventually surpass those of 2010. According to one analyst the “sea change” we are seeing is not a reduction in home loss but a shift in the cause from bad loans to “unemployment and economic displacement.” It is why Milloy also noted that the nation’s richest Black community, Prince George’s County, Maryland, is also home to the highest Black foreclosure rate. Even the best off can’t save themselves. But this is not simply about Black inferiority in money management. The reasons reach far deeper into the recesses of this nation’s history and culture than most realize or can allow themselves to conceive.

Consider the work of Georgetown University Law professor Emma Coleman Jordan. During her 2009 address to The Fourteenth Annual Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society this Critical Race Theorist explained the current home foreclosure crisis in terms of what she calls this nation’s “algorithm of inequality.” Jordan, performing her own Critical Race Theory, explains the foundation of these foreclosures in similar terms and is clear that they are not at the root of this most recent financial crisis despite popular claim. No. Jordan explains that the issue is a crisis born out of African America’s original crisis, enslavement and the redevelopment of humanity. She points to 1865 and explains that the idea of home ownership has for Black people been about what she calls “the psychic dividing line between slavery and freedom.” Home and land ownership is what for the formerly enslaved represented a free and human identity. Add to that decades of myth-development, the myth of home-ownership as the key component to civilized participation in society, and you have what Jordan describes as a perfect storm of susceptibility to the “contractual trap doors beneath a noose of predatory lending terms.” Decades of propaganda followed by intense target marketing of sub-prime loans to Black people and voila: $200 billion in lost wealth.

Courtland Milloy suggests in his piece, facetiously or not, that Black people “scatter” into integrated neighborhoods where foreclosures are less likely to occur or where Black people are less likely to be targeted for them. On the other hand, Jordan’s solutions, while less pragmatic, are ultimately more substantial. She argues that we need to see these crises as a violent result of an ideology which results in economic and social policies predetermined to this effect. If we do not challenge this anti-Black and anti-human ideological structure we will remain persistently atop trap doors beneath nooses.

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

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

Direct download: 20110216_jb_RacismForeclosure.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01am EDT

Without control over some form of mass media, without the ability to speak with and to hear its own voice, no community can long exist.  Commercial media in the hands of for-profit broadcasters can only build markets, not communities.  This year, the FCC will accept license applications for hundreds or thousands of new local low-power FM radio stations in cities and towns across the U.S.  It's an unparalelled chance, and the last chance for local organizers for peace and justice to grab the mics.

 

2011 Is The Year To Grab The Mic

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BA managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Without control over some kind of mass media, without the ability to speak with and to hear its own voices, communities simply do not exist. “

It's time to grab the mic. This year, 2011 is the time, perhaps the past time that community and nonprofit groups, labor unions, sororities, musicians, promoters and would-be newsmakers will have, to grab their own places on the FM radio dial in cities and towns across the U.S., thanks to the Community Low-Power Radio Act.

Passed and signed into law after more than a decade of stubborn community organizing and persistent lobbying, the Community Low Power Radio Act allows the FCC to grant broadcast licenses to not for profit organizations on the third adjacent, and in some cases the second adjacent spot on the radio dial between full power commercial radio stations.

These new low power FM radio stations will broadcast at about a hundred watts, giving them roughly a 7 mile broadcast radius – a circle 14 miles across. In small and medium cities, that's a significant audience. In major metropolitan areas it can be a vast audience. The licensing window is expected to open late this year, so the time to begin researching and preparing your license application is now.

How important is this? Without control over some kind of mass media, without the ability to speak with and to hear its own voices, communities simply do not exist.

Musicians and producers cannot break into commercial radio playlists without big sponsorships or million dollar bribes. Not for profit low low power radio will enable musicians, clubs and producers to be heard in the areas where they actually live and work. Not for profit low power radio sets deejays and emcees free to play the music they and their audiences like instead of what some national broadcaster or sponsor demands. And most of all, not for profit low power radio empowers local newsmakers, local forces for peace and justice to produce their own programming and speak to their own neighbors. Low power radio lets your neighbors lift up and share their own concerns over those of corporate-endorsed experts and celebrities.

What will happen if responsible, organized local forces don't take advantage of this low power opening? The last time a licensing window opened up, a handful ruthless and backward-looking right wing evangelical broadcasters applied for thousands of licenses across the country in order to place “repeaters” or “translators” to pull the same programming down to thousands of locations nationwide.

For more information, contact the Prometheus Radio Project online at prometheusradio.net. Prometheus will be monitoring the rulemaking process as it unfolds...”

In the next few weeks, the FCC will begin a rule making process to sketch out the guidelines under which license applications will be considered. The rule making process is not likely to last more than six months, and at its end, there will be a 30 period in which license applications will be accepted. Then the window will close, perhaps forever. If you want to be heard, if you want your community to hear its own voice on the FM radio dial, this will be your last chance.

For more information, contact the Prometheus Radio Project online at prometheusradio.net. Prometheus will be monitoring the rulemaking process as it unfolds, and can guide your local organization in the completion of a successful broadcast license application. Visit the low power FM radio page at BlackAgendaReport.com, where we will print updates every two weeks on the rulemaking and applications process, with guides, tips and resources for how your local nonprofit organization can grab the mic.

Without control over some mass media, communities do not exist. Let's grab that mic.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us at www.blackagendareport.com and at blackagendareport.com/lowpowerfmradio.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and can be reached at bruce,dixon(at)blackagendareport.com


Direct download: 20110209_bd_grab_the_mic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Dr. Jared A. Ball

The same Americans that claim to empathize with the mass revolt in Egypt support police terror against Blacks in the United States. The same corporate media that pretend to cherish democratic rights for Egyptians make a demigod of Ronald Reagan, the president who sealed the deal with the Mubarak dictatorship, and became “the first to sign an Executive Order allowing the CIA to operate domestically.” And will Obama supporters hold him accountable for extending the Patriot Act on Election Day in 2012?

 

Egypt, Reagan, Obama: U.S. Hypocrisy Is All That Really Trickles Down

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Dr. Jared A. Ball

It is wholly false to be critical of a Hosni Mubarak while not being critical of the fact that it is our tax dollars that fund his police and military as a subsidy to U.S. military contractors and weapons manufacturers.”

Would the Left in this country really support a Black American uprising like the one they are supporting in Egypt? I am doubtful. As I see it two persistent hypocritical stories seem unavoidable lately and each speak to the weakness of progressive politics in the United States and to a hypocrisy I suspect would be the case regarding equal support for a domestic uprising of that kind. I don’t mean a one-day march where everyone goes home. I mean a sustained uprising that challenged the normal flow of daily business or that threatened to overthrow someone the political elite of this country supports.

For one example, and to my point, neither of those two stories I mentioned are the continuing violence against Black people by the police or the anti-police violence which apparently his spiked in this country so much so that the police themselves are suggesting there is a “war on cops going on.” Around the country eleven police officers were killed in a 24 hour period late last month. No, it is the mainstream and liberal focus recently on the protests in Egypt and the birthday of Ronald Reagan that demonstrate this country’s hypocrisy and which explains the lack of focus on domestic hostilities resulting from unchecked battles of race and class.

On the one hand the tendency is to be supportive of uprisings around the world which call for democracy, freedom and independence. And it is easy to say we don’t want violent and repressive dictators to be in power. And, of course, it is equally and wholly false to be critical of a Hosni Mubarak while not being critical of the fact that it is our tax dollars that fund his police and military as a subsidy to U.S. military contractors and weapons manufacturers. But it is most false to raise even that criticism while not being willing to break from the conventions that result in precisely that kind of business as usual U.S. foreign policy. How can those who support Obama, be that support blind or critical, not feel their guilt and hypocrisy as they swoon over the Egyptian people now? Because they are also largely incapable of acknowledging their complicity in the tax subsidies that go into precisely that kind of state repression right here at home.

Obama’s extension of the Patriot Act, today’s Counter Intelligence Program, seems eerily familiar.”

It is precisely the same as when those on the political Left use the Reagan birthday to critique the former actor, governor and president and his political buddies calling them, as one did recently, “predators and crooks” who intentionally wrecked the economy to reduce the rest of us to “a lifetime of debt peonage.” They may also remind us of Reagan’s horrible track record of supporting the worst regimes abroad from South Africa to El Salvador. But rarely if ever do we hear of the Reagan who worked so steadfastly to prevent movements domestically from becoming powerful enough to prevent this nation’s support of those international evils.

So was an end to the support of this monster in Egypt on anyone’s platform to determine support for Obama in 2008? Would there be support for this uprising if it demanded that of Obama as much as it demands Mubarak’s removal? Will Obama supporters make it a platform item for 2012? And who among those who today decry Reagan’s treatment of the rest of the world or this nation’s economy say anything of his attacks on radical movements in this country? Did they say anything when Reagan was “characterizing {The Black Panther Party} as the essence of violence, chaos and evil” while governor of California? And why is there no discussion of how as president in 1980 Reagan pardoned two of only four FBI agents ever convicted of “COINTELPRO-related-offenses” before either would spend a minute in prison? And we are even less likely to hear discussion of Reagan being the first to sign an Executive Order allowing the CIA to operate domestically.

Perhaps all the silence relates back to Obama’s continued Reagan-like behavior and what this means for the Left in this country. If Obama is only slightly better than Reagan on foreign policy but just as bad as Reagan domestically then all of his supporters have a real river of hypocrisy to cross. His policies on education, taxes, war and the poor look a lot like the Ronnie Ray-Gun policies we once knew were no good. His extension of the Patriot Act, today’s Counter Intelligence Program, seems eerily familiar too. And until he does so Obama is like Reagan in having pardoned no political prisoner. Maybe that is the dilemma. Having to discuss the real Ronald Reagan might also mean having to discuss the real Barack Obama.

So would the Left in this country truly support an uprising here, one that also called for the removal of an undemocratically imposed representative of military and banking power? Perhaps the better question is should we care?

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online visit us at BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110209_jb_EgyptHypocrisy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

U.S. imperialism faces a “sea change” in the Arab World, but they have few tools to resist the revolt other the corrupt class of local accomplices who are the objects of the people’s rage and disgust. “It is a sure sign that the U.S. is panicking when President Obama flails about, pretending do be on the side of Egypt's popular rebellion while desperately maneuvering to keep men loyal to Washington in control.”

 

A Free Egypt Means Freedom From America

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The realization grows that, if Egypt is to be free, it must throw out of power those who have profited by selling the nation to the Americans.”

The popular rebellion in Egypt has already taken years off the life of U.S. imperial power. Even if the rebellion somehow fizzled overnight – which cannot and will not happen – It has already engaged and enraged millions across the Arab world. A sea change is taking place in the region, the likes of which has not been experienced in at least two generations, and maybe not since the so-called “Arab awakening” following World War One. The Americans are in panic because, even with a military machine that is more expensive than the armed forces of the rest of the world combinedthe United States does not possess the tools to control a whole people that are bent on achieving self-determination. And when it comes to the Arab world, we are talking about peoples with ties that bind across national borders, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

With the exception of the 2003 Iraq invasion, the United States has dominated the region mainly by co-opting or outright creating corrupt ruling classes in the various Arab countries. While the process may begin with cultivation of a strongman or a king, the subordination of a whole country to Washington’s will – especially a huge one like Egypt – requires that American corporations and global institutions of capital gain a stranglehold on the local political economy. A whole class of businessmen is created who are allied with foreign, corporate powers, not their own countrymen. Their job is to make their countries safe for foreign capital and willing tools of American foreign policy – and, in the case of Egypt and Jordan, even partners with Israel.

The United States does not possess the tools to control a whole people that are bent on achieving self-determination.”

In order to fulfill their deal with U.S. imperialism, the local rulers have no choice but to wage constant war against their own people. These corrupt politicians and businessmen’s arrangement with Washington requires that they crush the national aspirations of their fellow citizens. There is no escaping the logic of the police state unless the country is freed from the grip of imperialism, which is a form of foreign rule.

That’s why it is a sure sign that the U.S. is panicking when President Obama flails about, pretending do be on the side of Egypt's popular rebellion while desperately maneuvering to keep men loyal to Washington in control. Men like the former chief of intelligence, Omar Suleiman, Hosni Mubarak's handpicked vice-president who was also America's go-to guy for extraordinary rendition in the so-called War on Terror. But the Egyptian people know him better as the man who has waged a war of terror on them. And there are plenty of Egyptian Suleimans in Washington's service – in government, in the military, and in business. Actually, they're all in the business of profiting from imperialism.

That's why the protesters in Tahrir Square keep expanding the list of men that are unacceptable to Egypt's future. It started off with one person: Mubarak. Now, as the revolution progresses, the list of its enemies becomes larger, as the people realize that a whole class of traitors to the nation must be disempoweredThe realization grows that, if Egypt is to be free, it must throw out of power those who have profited by selling the nation to the Americans. And the rest of the Arab world learns the same lesson. And with all its military might, Washington has no idea what to do if it loses its Arab accomplices with U.S. imperialism. 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: 20110209_gf_Free_Egypt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
Having nothing much to say that will help us in the present, President Obama went back to the future in his State of the Union Address - kind of. Obama spray-painted a disconnected future while harkening back to the days of Cold War hysteria, in order to somehow explain why he won't spend any money on anything but banks and war. "Obama's Sputnik moment means less funding for schools and social programs that directly and indirectly improve a student's experience."
 
What "Our Sputnik Moment" Really Is
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball
"The ascendancy of the U.S. state requires the devolution of African people."
President Obama's reference last week to "our generation's Sputnik moment" should be taken as another cautionary sign.  The phrase itself is, of course, more branding, more euphemism and, therefore, likely to cause more confusion.  So here are seven things to think about when hearing that phrase or considering the future impact of the president's use of it:
  1. Sputnik, the Soviet satellite launched in 1957, the same year Ghana claimed independence under Kwame Nkrumah.  Nkrumah wanted a unified African continent operating under scientific socialism.  He had begun partnerships with other African leaders, including Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, and had offered financial and military assistance to all African liberation struggles.  His efforts were seen by the West as examples of what had to be prevented then and now.  With help from the United States he was deposed and demonized as are all similar ideas of cultural and resource retention and socialist distribution.
  2. Sputnik represented for the United States a loss of power over the world.  And more than just a scientific or technological loss it was seen as a loss in the struggle over ideas or which ideas would rule the world.  The 1950s had already witnessed increased unity among those of the so-called "Third World" and the evolution of the civil rights movement at home.  Even Dr. King had been an invited guest of Nkrumah and both were friends of Shirley Graham DuBois and her husband W.E.B., as well as, Amy Ashwood Garvey, George Padmore and other dissident radicals foolish enough to have problems with Western imperialism.
  3. Of the many responses to Sputnik's launch and other shifting political tides, the United States and its "major philanthropic foundations" began to establish African Studies programs within its university system. These programs were of necessity ethnocentric and designed to support the expanding political needs of the state in the period following the Second World War.  Sputnik's launch increased the pressure felt by the economic and political elite of this country to develop greater knowledge of and influence over the African continent to protect its own imperial interests.
"Obama's Race to the Top program actually means an even further "narrowed curriculum."
  1. Sputnik's launch also inspired the United States to reinvest in a system of education itself based in the racist science of eugenics.  As early as the 1920s it had already been established that lower forms of humanity, Black, Brown and poor people, could be tested out and tracked into "separate and unequal education courses."  This also further institutionalized a process of inhibiting creativity, freedom of thought and critical thinking among the rest of those in schools so as to prepare more and more for the functionalist practice of cold calculation and mass production.  No deep thought was or is necessary.
  2. In 1983 the administration of Ronald Reagan produced their report, A Nation in Crisis which argued precisely Obama's point from a week ago.  Test scores had decreased dramatically in the years since Sputnik launched, the report explained, and education was blamed then just as Obama blames it now.  And in each case the solution offered was increased government and corporate regulation through more standardized testing absent any input from educators.
  3. Obama's Sputnik moment means less funding for schools and social programs that directly and indirectly improve a student's experience and, therefore, the likelihood they will do well.  It means a hyper version of the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind.  Obama's Race to the Top program actually means an even further "narrowed curriculum" meaning that more will learn even less in an attempt to inflate test scores that, under the Obama plan, are even more so wedded to funding.
  4. The phrase, "our Sputnik moment," is about waking the country up to its slipping grip of power over the world. But, as has always been the case for Black America, words like "our," "us" and "we" must be heard cynically. An ascendance of the United States suggests nothing of an ascendance of Black people.  Indeed, quite the opposite.  As has always been the case, and is always the case, wherever that case may be, the ascendancy of the state requires the devolution of African people.
I'm Jared Ball for Black Agenda Radio, suggesting that we all see past the brand to see just what "our Sputnik moment" really is! Online check us out at BlackAgendaReport.com.
Dr. Jared A. Ball can be reached via email at: freemixradio@gmail.com.    

Direct download: 20110202_jb_SputnikMoment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59am EDT