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

Barack Obama has the gall to claim that the U.S. supports democracy in Haiti when, as the world knows, “the United States snuffed out democracy in Haiti in 2004.” The farcical, U.S.-imposed elections have yielded grotesque results: “The most popular person in Haiti, Aristide, and his supporters are treated as political outlaws, while the presidency is guaranteed to go to an associate of the most hated man in Haiti, “Baby Doc” Duvalier.

 

The Election Charade Masks U.S. War Against Haiti

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Barack Obama has no right to put the words Haiti and 'democracy' in the same sentence.”

In the South American nation of Chile, this week, President Obama delivered a fantasyland narrative on America’s benign intentions towards its southern neighbors, including an obscene claim that the recent elections in Haiti are proof of a U.S. commitment to democracy in the region. The truth, of course, is that the United States snuffed out democracy in Haiti in 2004, when it deposed, kidnapped and exiled the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide returned to Haiti only days ago over the most strenuous objections of the United States. These sham elections, in which only 22 percent of eligible voters participated in the first round, in November, were stage-managed by the United States to provide the form, but absolutely none of the substance, of democracy. The elections excluded Haiti’s most popular political party: Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas. The result was the exact opposite of democracy: the two U.S.-approved presidential candidates are both closely connected to former dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who returned to Haiti in January with the obvious blessing of the United States. Obama's version of democracy has produced the most grotesque spectacle imaginable: The most popular person in Haiti, Aristide, and his supporters are treated as political outlaws, while the presidency is guaranteed to go to an associate of the most hated man in Haiti, “Baby Doc” Duvalier. No democratic system could possibly result in such a travesty.

Barack Obama has no right to put the words Haiti and “democracy” in the same sentence. His fairytale of U.S. beneficence in the America’s or anywhere else in the world is an insult to humanity’s intelligence and fools no one outside an ignorant and self-possessed audience in the United States. It is as if he were taunting the Haitian people, whose rightfully elected president was stolen from them by force of arms by George W. Bush. Barack Obama has made himself a full accomplice in the crime.

The criminality of the U.S. in Haiti is ongoing in nature – a crime in progress that began with the armed invasion, and now includes the imposition of sham elections.”

But, what is the nature of the crime? It is far more than simply rigging an election. It is a crime against peace, the most serious violation of international law – the crime for which most of the Nazis executed after World War Two were convicted. The criminality of the U.S. in Haiti is ongoing in nature – a crime in progress that began with the armed invasion, and now includes the imposition of sham elections. And yet, who in the United States speaks of Washington's illegal war against Haiti. Certainly not the U.S. anti-war movement, which tends to recognize as wars only those U.S. conflicts in which American troops are endangered by armed resistance. The rape of Haiti's people's right to self-determination, her humiliation under foreign occupation, the terrorizing of her citizens by thugs installed at the point of American bayonets, and the latest elections atrocity – none of this is considered war by much of the American public, including some who call themselves progressives.

That's why the Black Is Back Coalition is compelled to hold a “National Conference on the Other Wars,” this Saturday, March 26, in Washington. U.S. imperialism wages the full spectrum of wars all across the globe. We need to call these wars by their true name and bring the perpetrators to justice. Anything less is to disrespect the humanity of America's victims, including Barack Obama's victims in Haiti.

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.

For information on the Black Is Back Coalition “National Conference on the Other Wars,” go tohttp://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/mobilization3.shtml.


Direct download: 20110323_gf_HaitiOtherWars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:01pm EDT

For five hundred years, Europeans made war on virtually all the other people of the planet, erasing whole societies and nations in a crime wave that has not yet ended. These ongoing depredations against people of color, worldwide, are the focus of a Black Is Back Coalition “Conference on the Other Wars,” Saturday, March 26, in Washington, DC. “Among those ‘other wars’ are the continuing settler colonial domination of Indigenous nations, abuse suffered at the hands of the police and broader system of mass incarceration and one we might need to add; the growing hate group phenomenon occurring across this country.”

Hate Groups and the “Other Wars”

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

Barack Obama uses none of his talent and position to address this nation’s real problems with race and class.”

There is truly good reason for this week’s upcoming Conference on the Other Wars being convened in Washington, DC by the Black Is Back Coalition. For even among progressives in this country there is a tendency to be swept away by the latest foreign atrocity and to ignore the original national tendency toward anti-Blackness. This often means that the well-meaning will be distracted from national issues which are equally long-standing and often more likely to be easily addressed. Among those “other wars” are the continuing settler colonial domination of Indigenous nations, abuse suffered at the hands of the police and broader system of mass incarceration and one we might need to add; the growing hate group phenomenon occurring across this country.

The recently reported increase in domestic hate groups is a development to be blamed solely on the weakness of the political Left. Hate groups feed on the incompleteness of domestic revolutions and freedom movements along with the general refusal among elements of that Left to consistently focus on this nation’s failed attempts at real change. In fact, these hate groups are said to be gaining strength from the persistence of high unemployment which enflames pre-existing hatred, the continuing rightward lean of elected officials which encourages these groups to press harder, and the election of a perceived threat in Barack Obama who uses none of his talent and position to address this nation’s real problems with race and class.

In last month’s Southern Poverty Law Center study, which describes a massive increase in domestic hate group organization, the authors note that both the election of President Obama in 2008 and the subsequent election of hard right-wing politicians across the country have only emboldened the effort of these groups. According to the report, “The Year in Hate 2010,” these hate groups now total more than 1,000 and have increased by 7.5% since 2009 and 66% since 2000. They are inspired by the election of Obama the perfect symbol of all that has gone wrong for them and these groups are not at all mollified by an increase in political representation, indeed quite the opposite. The radical shift rightward and election of Tea Party candidates and mainstream Republicans are all the result of hate group-inspiring concessions of the Left.

Hate groups are said to be gaining strength from the persistence of high unemployment.”

These concessions include, of course, the kind of capitulation to capital represented in Obama’s refusal to invest in the public sector while only bailing out Wall Street and then appointing all of corporate America’s best friend’s to his cabinet and community of advisors. But these concessions also include similar refusals to strongly condemn a culture of racism or to strengthen through public support progressive efforts looking to improve the national understanding of race, class, gender, religion and so on. Instead the Obama administration condemns the political Left. This is precisely what Glen Ford spoke to recently when comparing the current administration’s use of the Tea Party to Bill Clinton’s use of the 1990s takeover led by Newt Gingrich. In each case progressive elements in the country were stifled by warnings that worse forms of “crackers” are waiting in the wings.

And media who might be expected to better cover things like the hyper-acceleration of hate groups or domestic terrorists make similar defensive claims to be saving us from CNN who claims to be saving us from Fox. These, by the way, are often the same media reformers who praise the coming of the internet as a revolutionary medium while ignoring the basic fact that overtly violent white supremacist hate groups have access to the web too. In fact, as Adam Klein wrote last year in his book A Space for Hate: The White Power Movement's Adaptation into Cyberspace, their websites are “the new Ku Klux Klan meeting halls” and “the latest Nuremburg rally town squares” that are no longer the “American subculture.” They are widely-visited and “globally accessible to everyone.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center report concludes that because Obama serves as a “lightening rod” for these hate groups that things are likely to get “worse before they get better.” To that we must add the predictably worsening impact on all this of a Black president who is more busy appeasing his corporate sponsors than confronting these age-old domestic hostilities. And that is why we must promote attention to those “other wars.”

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Using the internet for good we are at BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

For information on the Black Is Back Coalition “National Conference on the Other Wars,” go tohttp://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/mobilization3.shtml

Direct download: 20110323_jb_OtherWars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce Dixon

Apartheid South Africa responded to Angola's 1974 independence from the Portuguese with a US-backed military invasion.  Declaring that "the blood of Africa" flowed through Cuban veins, Fidel Castro dispatched the Cuban armed forces to confront the armies of racist South Africa in Angola.  Between 1974 and 1988 more than 1100 Cubans laid down their lives in Africa to hasten the end of apartheid.  This week is the anniversary of the historic battle of Cuito Cuanavale, in which Cuban, Angolan and Namibian forces routed the supposedly invincible land and air forces of white-ruled South Africa, eventually making possible the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and the end of apartheid in South Africa itself, and earning for Cuba the lasting enmity of the United States. If we in the U.S. were serious about racial reconciliation, we too would celebrate the March 23 anniversary of Cuito  Cuanavale. 

 

The Beginning of Apartheid's End – March 23 is the Anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

Ceremonies in several African countries and the Caribbean this week marked the March 23 anniversary of the historic 1988 battle of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola. In this military engagement, which Nelson Mandela called “a decisive turning point in the struggle against apartheid”, the Angolan army and Namibian liberation movement, along with tens of thousands Cuban troops and aircraft inflicted a decisive defeat upon the land and air forces of white-ruled South Africa, ultimately forcing South Africa's rulers to the negotiating table.

Back in 1974, the Portuguese army ended its bloody wars of colonial subjugation in Angola and elsewhere by overthrowing its own government and withdrawing from Africa. Almost immediately after Angolan independence, America's puppet dictator of the Congo, Mobutu sent forces into Angola from the north, while white ruled South Africa, also with Washington's blessing, invaded Angola from the south.

White South Africa's armed forces were presumed to be the most powerful on the continent, capable of driving from Cape Town to Cairo with little opposition. The Angolans, even with limited aid from the Soviet Union, were thought to be doomed. The long night of apartheid seemed likely to be prolonged in southern Africa. Though most regimes on the continent opposed racist South Africa rhetorically and diplomatically, not one sent a single man with a stick to oppose the South African invasion. Only Cuba, of all Africa and the African diaspora possessed the resources of moral courage and determination to aid the armed resistance to apartheid.

Responding to the request of the new Angolan government, and to the call of their own African ancestors thousands of Cuban military personnel re-crossed the Atlantic and with tanks, aircraft and other weapons arrived to confront the racist South African army. Though the Cubans and their Angolan allies drove the white South African army and its black puppets from the vicinity of Angola's capital, the South Africans remained able to bomb and raid Southern Angola, sometimes with fairly large forces.

By 1988 South Africa had acquired nuclear weapons and its apartheid army had re-invaded Angola with the usual American approval, threatening to take the crucial air base and river junction of Cuito Cuanavale. Cuba organized a massive air and sea lift, and with the help of Barbados and Guyana, which risked US disapproval by refueling Africa-bound planes carrying arms, equipment and military personnel assembled a formidable force. Cuban pilots knocked South African aircraft from the skies. Cuba concentrated 40,000 troops in an operation which stopped and rolled back the South African advance clear to the Namibian border.

The battle of Cuito Cuanavale forced the apartheid South Africa's white rulers to abandon their dreams of military domination of the region. South Africa was compelled to begin negotiations on the independence of black Namibia, which it had occupied since 1915, and to agree to the release of Nelson Mandela and eventual majority rule in South Africa itself. The new South African state became the first in history to unilaterally renounce and destroy its own nuclear arsenal. “The history of Africa,” asserted Fidel Castro, ”will be written as before and after Cuito Cuanavale.”

Nelson Mandela agrees. “The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible” he says “for me to be here today! Cuito Cuanavale is a milestone in the history of the struggle for Southern African liberation.”

It was the victory at Cuito Cuanavale which marked the beginning of apartheid's end. It's a victory that should be more widely known, and celebrated here.

Bruce Dixon is based in the Atlanta area and can be contacted at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com

Direct download: 20110322_bd_cuito_cuanavale.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:22pm EDT