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

Michigan’s Republicans are creating a legal model for American fascism for the benefit of Wall Street. The state’s new emergency financial management legislation “is the prototype for a host of laws designed to make government – the state – a compliant tool for a dictatorship of the most predatory sections of the ruling class.” Naturally – this being the United States – the first localities targeted for de-democratization are Black.

 

Michigan’s “Emergency” Financial Regime: What Fascism Looks Like

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

There is nothing to stop the state from abolishing democratic governance in any of Michigan’s cities, if an emergency can be declared or created.”

Fascism is not all about jack-boots and guys with mustaches. It is a system of economic and social control. The particularities of fascism in any given nation grow out of the special dynamics of that country. Fascism in the United States will be blow-dried. And its legal and bureaucratic form will take shape in places like Michigan, where an innocuous sounding piece of legislation called the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act is the prototype for a host of laws designed to make government – the state – a compliant tool for the dictatorial rule of the most predatory sections of the ruling class. In 2011 America, that’s Wall Street, finance capital.

Michigan’s law allows the state to appoint emergency managers to nullify contracts, including labor agreements – which is what has unions upset. But the scope and intention of the law is much deeper and wider than simply anti-union. The legislation allows emergency managers to nullify the powers and authority of local governments of all kinds. One of its supporters gave the game away when he spoke of the need to impose a kind of “financial martial law” in which all pretense of democracy would be abolished in targeted communities. The community the Republican politician had in mind was Detroit, the Black metropolis, where the public schools were promptly put under emergency state control. But there is nothing to stop the state from abolishing democratic governance in any of Michigan’s cities, if an emergency can be declared or created. On April 15, the mostly Black city ofBenton Harbor, the poorest jurisdiction in the state, was placed under total financial martial law, its citizens suddenly made more powerless than Blacks in Selma, Alabama, prior to the civil rights movement.

Wall Street imposes instant emergencies on the larger society by starving cities and schools and the public sector in general, in order to strip down, privatize and commodify every asset in sight.”

Fascism always requires an “emergency,” a “crisis,” to justify the surrender of whatever citizen liberties previously existed. Its mass organizing principle revolves the “Other” – the scapegoating of a hated group that can be blamed for the emergency. Historically, in the United States, that “Other” has been Black people – although other “Others” have been added to the list. The U.S. has always been fertile ground for fascist politicking – in fact, I have long maintained that White Terror under southern Jim Crow was a peculiar form of American fascism.

Fascism is also associated with militarism and the national security state, which are certainly famiiar aspects of modern Americana. More importantly, the militarization of the inner cities has been an established fact since the mid-1960s. The proof is in the one million African Americans behind bars.

The “crisis” that justifies the outright abolition of democracy – beginning, of course, in Black America – is the crisis afflicting finance capitalism. Wall Street then imposes instant emergencies on the larger society by starving cities and schools and the public sector in general, in order to strip down, privatize and commodify every asset in sight. Michigan's fascist model will doubtless be duplicated across the nation, as Wall Street moves to rule directly, through its emergency managers, by one name or another. The permanent emergency has begun.

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: 20110427_gf_MIFascism.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If American economic hegemony crumbles, so must U.S. imperialism. An IMF report predicts Chinese economy will surpass that of the U.S. in just five years, based on the value of goods and services produced. After the eclipse, all that will remain of U.S. imperial power is its awesome military – the power to destroy a world it can no longer dominate by other means.

 

China to Become Economic #1 in 2016: U.S. Imperialism Doomed

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

At or around the year 2016 the United States will fall from the economic pinnacle it has occupied since the late 1890s.”

The end of U.S. economic hegemony in the world is near – much nearer than almost anyone thought. No less an authority than the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund predicts that China will outstrip the United States by the year 2016, when measured by the real value of what people earn and spend in their domestic economies. It’s called “purchasing power parities,” and under that measure – which is as good as any – China’s economy will outgrow the U.S. in five years, $19 trillion compared to $18.8 trillion. And the gap will continue to grow, from there.

Imagine: most of us alive today will see a watershed in modern civilization. At or around the year 2016, unless something wholly unforeseen occurs, the United States will fall from the economic pinnacle it has occupied since the late 1890s. Much more importantly, the bell will have tolled, definitively, for U.S. imperialism.

This is a subject that is separate from the question of capitalism’s continued survival as a social system in the U.S. or elsewhere on the planet. It is about U.S. empire. However one describes the Chinese system, it is not the twin of U.S. imperialism, which has maintained its supremacy through the rigging of world markets, the artificial supremacy of the U.S. dollar, and most importantly, the coercive force of its military – all of which are interrelated. U.S. imperialism seeks to entrap the world economy, to put it in service of finance capital, largely headquartered in New York and London. The Chinese system is fueled by relentless production of actual goods.

For some on Wall Street and in the Pentagon, the economic news is a signal for massive, preemptive military action.”

The U.S. and European imperialists, in one sense, dug their own graves decades ago, when they gambled that they could somehow maintain their grip on the world, while transferring the production of real goods, actual products, to the south and the east of the planet, through corporate globalization. They methodically dismantled the productive capacity of what had been the world's powerhouse, the United States, in search of ever lower labor costs in what we used to call the Third World. The outsourcing of actual production to the east and south meant higher rates of return – profits – on investors' dollars. Detroit and Pittsburgh and Chicago withered and rusted away, while Wall Street became economically and politically all-powerful.

Wall Street thought it could remain in the global catbird seat through its financial supremacy, backed up by an irresistible military. But especially since the meltdown of 2008, Wall Street has turned pure parasite All that now remains of U.S. imperial power is its military, more expensive than all the other militaries of the world, combined – in some ways, as much a burden as a weapon.

The Chinese do not spend even one-fifth the U.S. war budget, but will soon have an economy that is leaving the Americans in the dust. For some on Wall Street and in the Pentagon, the economic news is a signal for massive, preemptive military action, before the whole imperial edifice collapses. These are people who cannot envision a world in which they are not on top. They will not go down quietly. We are in, as the Chinese say, “interesting times.” The empire may not choose to go out in twilight, but in an inferno.

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: 20110427_gf_ChinaEconomy.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:35am EDT

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

The Media Reform Conference and Democracy Now! share common characteristics: they are the best that the white left has to offer, and profoundly inadequate. Democracy Now! doesn’t just shortchange people of color, but unions as well. And the politics of periodic Media Reform conferences are as blindingly white as the corporate variety. “Black and Brown radicalism is omitted culturally by the same mechanisms through which Black and Brown radicalism is omitted politically.”

 

Race, Class, Unions and Media “Reform”

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

Even the best news media that the left has to offer is still a space inhospitable to left-of-center Black politics.”

There is truly good reason for friends to remind me of my having gone back on a previously made promise to stop attending the very white and liberal National Conference for Media Reform. Again the conference gathered, this year in Boston a couple of weeks ago, and again nearly all of the Black and Brown people I spoke to expressed disappointment at being present but not so much heard. One friend promised to smack me and anyone else he hears about coming back in the future. Another more prominent Black woman within this and other related political struggles whose experience and work truly deserves more credit and attention than she gets simply raised her tired eyes above her glasses and asked me with all the frustration and fatigue in the world, “Jared, why do you come here?”

I told her it was because I get to see her and many others I truly admire and who I get to see too infrequently. I also told her that I come because there is legitimately a ton of great information and insight to glean from these events. Information, not so much analysis. But ultimately I told her I go because I hope it will lead to more of us doing what we need to do to collectively bring more focus to the struggles of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in this country. So once again I am left with another critique of a so-called “movement” that I again will hope help inspire me and us to do more to do what we have to do to organize our media and political work to have greater impact.

So sure, I participated on a panel about the troubled state of hip-hop politics and we all made points regarding this and the fact that finding air time for thoughtful rap music is as difficult as finding space for any thoughtful Black or Brown politics. I made sure to be clear that this was not for any lack of either but was the result of an overwhelming fear of such expression even among the white Left. Black and Brown radicalism is omitted culturally by the same mechanisms through which Black and Brown radicalism is omitted politically. Hip-hop is reduced sonically to the same narrow nonsense imposed upon its discussion politically by the academic and journalistic community. And, as we had to repeatedly point out, this was also the case in spaces occupied by white liberals who claim differences between themselves and the mainstream or right wing. And when I mentioned how the media darling of the left, Democracy Now!, was actually worse than the mainstream Meet the Press in terms of Black participation several took note even if not all took it easy.

Finding air time for thoughtful rap music is as difficult as finding space for any thoughtful Black or Brown politics.”

My point was and is simply that even the best, and it is the best, news media that the left has to offer is still a space inhospitable to left-of-center Black politics. And while this tendency seems solidly in place there is yet another way to see it. As BAR has long-ago reported, participation, particularly Black female participation, in this country’s labor unions is percentage-wise higher than any other segment of the population. So to now find that coverage of labor unions by the leading institution of the white left seems as bad as that of the mainstream shows yet another reason for members of the nation and world’s majority to be concerned.

John Nichols is a leading founder of and spokesperson for the media reform movement. During one of his talks at this year’s conference he pointed out the absence of coverage of labor unions in the nation’s liberal mainstream press, noting that rarely do they mention unions at all and more infrequently than that do they mention unions by name. Nichols also pointed out the fact that it is too easy to pick on right wing media for this kind of criticism because, as he said, even without the radical right media world the liberal mainstream would be as bad as it is. But is this also true of the white left who claim difference from that liberal mainstream?

Well, looking at Democracy Now!, the flagship white left news media program, during the calendar year prior to this most recent up-tick in coverage due to the labor strife in Wisconsin we find that out of roughly 250 potential programs only 30 or 12% mention labor unions at all and only 9 or 3.6% mention them by name.** In yet another potential area for the Black and Brown left to impact the national discussion there is, again, a similar blind eye. It is also one more in a long line of examples pointing to the need of the world’s majority to work more closely to increase the impact of our journalism and media work. We and the world desperately need it.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is author of I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press) and can be reached atIMixWhatILike.com.

** Democracy Now! online archives were searched between January 1, 2010 and the end of January, 2011. The show airs each weekday, hence the “roughly 250 potential programs,” out of which those that mentioned “labor unions” or “unions” in this country at all were counted. Those that made even one reference and in passing were counted. This actually gives undue credit to the program considering that many of these references accompanied no real discussion and less actual information about or perspective of union members regarding the issues covered in that program. The following program dates had any mention of unions and those in bold specified them by name:

1/4/11, 12/20/10, 12/13/10, 1/6/11, 12/29/10, 12/23/10, 12/10/10, 12/2/10, 11/30/10, 11/2/10, 10/28/10, 10/14/10, 10/4/10, 10/1/10, 9/24/10, 9/14/10, 9/20/10, 8/25/10, 7/27/10, 6/22/10, 6/18/10, 5/31/10, 5/18/10, 4/16/10, 3/26/10, 3/25/10, 3/18/10, 2/16/10, 1/15/10, 1/13/10

Direct download: 20110427_jb_MediaReform.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:36am EDT

Euro-American Land Invasion of Libya Imminent

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

As if hard-wired for theft of other people's lands, the European Union is preparing to put thousands of its once-and-forever colonial boots on the ground in Libya. “The mass ground onslaught may well commence with the imminent deployment of the European Union’s so-called 'battle groups' – multinational military units of about 1,500 men each.” Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi, who had earlier offered to accept some humanitarian assistance in Misrata, vowed to fight any foreign soldiers on Libyan territory.

 

Euro-American Land Invasion of Libya Imminent

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

They seek to land a “battle group” in Misrata under humanitarian pretenses, and then inevitably clash with Gaddafi’s soldiers dug in nearby.”

The official Euro-American invasion of Libya is about to begin. I say “official” invasion because the Europeans and Americans already have boots on the ground making bloody footprints in Libya, from U.S. Special Ops and CIA, British Special Air Services commandos, and their French counterparts. The news media of the invader countries know their armed forces are active on Libyan soil, and occasionally report as much. But they dutifully await announcements from their governments that the “real” invasion has, officially, begun.

That time is near. The British announced they are sending a ten-man military adviser team to help the rebels. The French, who were obscenely quick to recognize the rebels’ so-called National Transitional Council as a kind of government, already have military advisors in Benghazi. The American CIA and the Saudi Arabians are thought to be truly in on the ground floor, having sponsored and financed Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan exile who formed the so-called Libyan National Army that has been trying to mount an armed revolt against the government in Tripoli for more than 20 years.

The mass ground onslaught may well commence with the imminent deployment of the European Union’s so-called “battle groups” – multinational military units of about 1,500 men each. The 27-nation European Union had been discussing ways to insinuate a force into Libya since the beginning of April. Unexpectedly, Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi agreed in principle to allow international humanitarian personnel to aid civilians in the contested port city of Misrata. Quickly, the Europeans seized on Gaddafi’s statement as an excuse to send up to 1,000 men on an assignment that could only be accomplished by a large ground military force operating with close air support. The EU battle group would secure the port facilities, which are now held by rebels, and then create land corridors into and out of the city, much of which is held by loyal Gaddafi soldiers whose lines would have to be crossed.

The Europeans seized on Gaddafi’s statement as an excuse to send up to 1,000 men on an assignment that could only be accomplished by a large ground military force operating with close air support.”

Remembering that once you give the former colonialist an inch, he will take your whole country, Col. Gaddafi vowed that he would fight any foreigner soldiers that attempted to land on Libyan territory, no matter what they claimed their mission was.

The European scheme is transparently cynical. They seek to land a “battle group” in Misrata under humanitarian pretenses, and then inevitably clash with Gaddafi’s soldiers dug in nearby. That will be the beginning of the European’s multinational land invasion, with thousands of troops arriving in Libya in short order. The siege of Tripoli will begin, if the regime holds out, and if not, then begins the guerilla war or, as the Euro-Americans like to call it when they steal someone else’s country, the “insurgency.”

The U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, used to worry about getting permission to open an office on African soil. Soon, it may be operating from one of the largest countries on the continent.

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: 20110420_gf_Libya.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21am EDT

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

Manning Marable has repackaged Malcolm X as “moving toward views that are ‘race neutral’” – a “gentle humanism” acceptable to the U.S. book publishing industry. Like fellow academic Peniel Joseph’s absurdly twisted linkage of Malcolm and the First Black President, for Marable “Obama becomes the safe expression of Malcolm’s Black nationalist control over politics, and al-Qaeda become the anti-hero.” Such “fallacious leaps” and contortions should be as painful to the revisionist biographer as they are to the Truth. The actual, historical “Malcolm X is the antithesis of Obama, not part of the president’s political lineage.”

 

Marable’s Malcolm X: A Eulogy of Revolution as an Idea

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

The overall tone of the book is simply foreplay to his repackaging of Malcolm’s political trajectory into marketable liberal politics of the post-9/11 book publishing world.”

Manning Marable titles his book’s epilogue “Reflections on a Revolutionary Vision.” However, his conclusion is more of a eulogy for the revolutionary ideas so carefully put to permanent rest throughout its preceding pages. Manning Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention positions itself alongside, if not atop, a previous work by Marable’s protégé Peniel Joseph, as a well-written and hard-to-target missive clearly designed to popularize without implementation radical ideas – and by so-doing destroy them.

Throughout the book Malcolm’s constantly deepening and progressive struggle with armed resistance, white supremacy, socialism, pan-Africanism and even the power of the vote are softened by Marable in ways to support what has now become the only way to discuss radical ideas; riddled with scandal and distorted by selective emphasis. Marable’s conclusion is the dead giveaway. The overall tone of the book is simply foreplay to his repackaging of Malcolm’s political trajectory into marketable liberal politics of the post-9/11 book publishing world.

Malcolm’s biting and insightful criticism of electoral politics and neocolonial Black elected officials is repackaged into that which “anticipated” the power of the Black electorate to deliver Barack Obama. Malcolm’s increasing devotion to Sunni Islam and his persistent support of the Mau-Mau, even a similar effort within the United States, is re-imaged, absent context or critique, into a condemnation of Islamic “terrorism.” Malcolm’s explicit post-Mecca views on race that the white man here had not changed so nor would he and that John Brown remained his standard of white activism is lost beneath repeated descriptions of his moving toward views that are “race neutral” and support for anti-imperial struggles around the globe are re-written as “gentle humanism.”

Marable becomes William Styron, who in the late 1960s gave an interview praising Nat Turner while condemning Rap Brown.”

Marable carefully crafts a narrative that promotes Malcolm’s political changes paternalistically as maturation and consistent with the world we face today. So other than Barack Obama and al-Qaeda which serve as ideological goalposts between good and evil the only contemporary reference Marable makes is to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism which he alleges “was in many ways a fulfillment of Malcolm’s international vision.” Obama becomes the safe expression of Malcolm’s Black nationalist control over politics and al-Qaeda become the anti-hero required to safely place Malcolm’s continued move toward orthodox Islam.

The 2001 conference provides Marable with a timely balance which conveniently allows him to use Malcolm as a Muslim to condemn 9/11. But if Malcolm spoke of chickens coming home to roost over Kennedy would this really be his position? Such questions are only raised to make a current political point. Otherwise we might be more accurate to say that had Malcolm lived the world would be radically different; 9/11 would have never happened and we would all be living in an African-centered socialist utopia. Here Marable becomes William Styron, who in the late 1960s gave an interview praising Nat Turner while condemning Rap Brown. Radicalism is fine once dead and buried, but it has no place in the present.

But no mention is made of the Durban II conference where the world gathered to decry the absence of progress made since 2001. But Obama refused to acknowledge this one just as Bush had the first and for similar reasons equally inconvenient for Marable. Malcolm’s anti-Zionism is easily dismissed as the negative influence of Nkrumah and Nasser. Its contemporary detractors have no such easily dismissed dead targets.

But major publications on such potentially threatening topics like Malcolm X and his ideas must make logically fallacious leaps like those in Marable’s conclusion. Malcolm X is the antithesis of Obama, not part of the president’s political lineage. The very question of Malcolm’s thoughts in 2011 demand that we accept the political impossibility of 2011 existing as it does with a living Malcolm X. This world exists because he and his ideas were and are in perpetuity assassinated.

I am not likely to say much more about Marable’s book. My obsession with it will soon pass. As I close I am reminded of what someone once said not long ago about being careful to distinguish between who you read and who governs your interpretation of what is read.

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

Dr. Jared Ball can be contacted at freemixradio(at)gmail.com.

Direct download: 20110420_jb_Malcolm.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am EDT

Black Caucus Overwhelmingly Supports “People’s Budget”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Barack Obama and Republican leaders act like a tag team, determined to pummel Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal into oblivion. Or, maybe we should call them a duo, singing the same song, with Obama attempting to sound slightly melancholy about the death of the social safety net. Seventy-seven Democrats, 34 of them Black, sang a different tune, in last week’s vote on the Congressional Progressive Caucus “People’s Budget.” Even in defeat, the budget shows that low taxes for the rich and insane expenditures on the military are what keep the federal budget in deficit. There is nothing inevitable about a return to the law of the economic jungle.

 

Black Caucus Overwhelmingly Supports “People’s Budget”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The government is only broke because the rich pay so little and the military costs so much.”

When the enemy convinces us that his victory is inevitable, then he has already won the psychological war. Wall Street, which owns the White House, most of both Houses of Congress and, quite literally, the corporate media, is in a mad rush to save itself from its own contradictions by dismantling or privatizing much of the government, while cutting taxes for its own class to the bone. At the same time, under the canard of national defense, the U.S. military spends as much as the rest of the world combined to bring the entire planet under the Pentagon’s full spectrum dominance. The ever-expanding war budget is justified on national security grounds, while the destruction of the domestic social safety net is supposedly unavoidable because…well, because the government is broke.

Of course, banks and other corporations are not broke; they’re doing better than ever. And the rich are richer than at any time in history. They are the ones demanding austerity, and expect their demands are to be treated as law, like stone tablets delivered by Moses from the hands of God.

Obama and the Republicans sing variations on the same song: Surrender to the Inevitable. For Black America, which is being pushed back to pre-civil rights era levels of income and wealth disparity, surrender is no option. Thus, it was encouraging that overwhelming numbers of the Congressional Black Caucus voted in favor of a so-called People’s Budget” that shows, in dollars and cents, that the Republican and Obama agenda is not inevitable, that the budget deficits can become surpluses by the year 2021 while saving social programs.

The People’s Budget shows that, in dollars and cents, that the Republican and Obama agenda is not inevitable.”

The government is only broke because the rich pay so little and the military costs so much. The People’s Budget, put together by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, raises tax rates on the rich and increases government revenues by $4 trillion over ten years, It shuts down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and does not budget money for any more such wars, and thus saves $2.3 trillion from the black hole of the Pentagon. That’s all it take for the government not to be broke anymore.

Of the 77 congresspersons that voted for the People’s Budget, 34 – almost half – were Black. Only four Black lawmakers voted against the People’s Budget, so let’s call out their names in shame: Sanford Bishop, the Black Blue Dog from Georgia, who is always at the far right of the Caucus, as is fellow Georgian David Scott. Al Green, from Texas, has also surrendered to the rich man’s psychological warfare. Bobby Scott, from Virginia, is usually among the more progressive Caucus members, but now appears to be adrift. Two Black Caucus members didn’t vote either way: New York’s Gregory Meeks has served as a bag man for the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council; there’s nothing progressive about him. And Congresswoman Terri Sewell, of Alabama, is a newcomer.

The 77 supporters of the People’s Budget were outnumbered by the 108 Democrats that voted with the GOP and Obama’s side of the party. But they did show that not everyone believes that resistance is futile, even if a Black president tells them so. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go towww.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110420_gf_CBCBudget.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:50am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The rebel rejection of an African Union ceasefire plan in Libya was to be expected, given that they are backed by the firepower of the Euro-American military colossus. In a real sense, however, “the rebels are not in a position to accept or reject anything,” having “chosen to become soldiers of an Arab counterrevolution in the service of imperialism.” While western pundits scoff at the African Union as a “club” serving the interests of the continent’s rulers, the rebels are mere minions of “the most dangerous club on the planet”: NATO.

 

Libyan Rebels: Dependent Minions of U.S. and Europe

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

What kind of revolution – what kind of Arab nationalism – is it, that begs for intervention and close air support from the imperial super-power?”

The rebels in Benghazi have rejected an African Union delegation proposal for a ceasefire in Libya – a plan that was accepted by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi over the weekend. The reaction in Benghazi was no surprise. The five heads of state from Mauritania, Mali, Congo-Brazzaville, Uganda and South Africa would have been chased down the streets and lynched by mobs had the western news media not been watching, so rabid is the anti-black hysteria whipped up by the rebel political leadership. If anyone needs protection in rebel-held Libya, it is people with dark skin, hundreds of whom have been murdered for no offense other than their color. Spokesmen for the rebel transitional council claim to be fighting phantom Black African armies, mirages that do not exist – a despicable use of race as a tool of war.

In reality, the rebels are not in a position to accept or reject anything. Whatever their political composition may have been when protests against the government in Tripoli began back in February, they are now totally dependent minions of the United States and Europe. They have chosen to become soldiers of an Arab counterrevolution in the service of imperialism. What kind of revolution – what kind of Arab nationalism – is it, that begs for intervention and close air support from the imperial super-power?

The African Union heads of state had to seek approval for their delegation from the European Union,according to the BBC. Western media dismissed the peace mission as suspect, many of them referring to the African Union as a “club” for the benefit of African rulers. If that is so, it is a circumstance for Africans to deal with. The actual “club” that threatens black Africa and Arab Africa and all the world’s people’s, is the Euro-American club: France, Britain, Belgium, the United States and the other world-enslavers that are joined in the hyper-aggressive military “club” called NATO – the most dangerous club on the planet!

The Euro-Americans also bear responsibility for migrant workers' plight.”

The African Union proposal called for an immediate ceasefire, suspension of NATO airstrikes, a dialogue between the Gaddafi government and the rebels, unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid, and protection of foreign nationals. The last item points to the obscene behavior of the rebels and their Euro-American overseers, especially. Three million foreign workers did the manual labor that kept Libya's economy going, so that six million Libyans could enjoy the highest standard of living, by far, on the African continent. Half of those foreign workers, 1.5 million, are black Africans, whose abuse in rebel-held areas since February will stain the national honor of Libya for a generation. The Euro-Americans also bear responsibility for migrant workers' plight, as self-appointed protectors of Libya's civilian population. Yet they have failed to maintain a safe corridor to Egypt for the hunted and despised black Africans, making a mockery of the United Nations resolution, and showing the NATO war for what it is: a neocolonial crusade.

The real heroes in any Twenty-first Century war are those who are willing to stand up to the “full-spectrum domination” of U.S. air power. Gaddafi's soldiers have earned the respect of all those that do not worship at the alter of imperial power. The Libyan rebel leaders have chosen to be pawns in someone else's Great Game.

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: 20110414_gf_LibyaRebelRace.mp3
Category:US Empire -- posted at: 8:28am EDT

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

The recently deceased Manning Marable’s long-waited book on Malcolm X has generated both praise and disgust. Much of the heat, predictably, surrounds Marable’s claims of Malcolm’s homosexuality and he and his wife’s “mutual adultery.” Karl Evanzz, for example, has said that Marable’s book is a “fraud” and a “failure,” while others use the terms “definitive” and “meticulous.” Given the centrality of Malcolm’s life and work to modern Black political thought, it is essential that Marable’s book be discussed by the largest number of activists and influencers – in the most serious and critical manner.

 

Marable’s Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention or the Reinvention of a Life?

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

We are hearing descriptive words like, ‘disappointment’ and ‘unfortunate’ in reference to the book.”

There is a growing sense among those who have read it that Manning Marable’s latest book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is itself a reinvention, or worse. From reviewers, journalists and scholars, some of whom have as yet not gone on record, we are hearing descriptive words like, “disappointment” and “unfortunate” in reference to the book. In one more severe response from an expert on the life of Malcolm X whose public statements are as of now still forthcoming, the comparison was made to political defamation in the form of the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program warfare against revolutionary leaders and movements. Perhaps most damaging is that the author is one as prominent, well-respected and recently deceased as Marable and that the subject is Malcolm X, a man whose high regard among Black Americans and genuinely good human beings of all backgrounds is simply and often literally second-to-none.

In our initial discussion of the book Dr. Todd Burroughs offered his first observations which included that the book appeared to have been written “by committee,” that is by a staff of graduate student and junior faculty researchers, and that the book was limited in its references and even more so by its woefully short list of only 25 interviews. Burroughs has said that he will with “sadness” publish his full review this week. We also discussed with Richard Prince of Journal-isms his reporting of an interview conducted with Karl Evanzz, a noted author of and researcher into the life and assassination of Malcolm X. Karl Evanzz has said that Marable’s book is a “fraud” and a “failure.” His problems include that Marable offers nothing new or particularly revelatory, and that all of the more salacious claims in the book, from Malcolm and his wife Betty’s mutual adultery to Malcolm’s homosexuality, are far from supported by Marable. Evanzz also notes that some of the more attention-grabbing elements of the book involving the assassination have been more or less known for quite some time and had even been reported popularly in mainstream outlets for decades. Evanzz is also in the process of writing a more full review.

Host symposia, conduct interviews and challenge your organizations to do the same and then to adopt the actual politics and strategies of Malcolm X.”

Outside of the more sensational and personal aspects of Marable’s focus on Malcolm’s life are what appear to be the two central claims he makes that will help to, as he says of his book, “reconstruct the full contours of {Malcolm X’s} remarkable life.” The first, according to Marable, is that U.S. intelligence agencies and the New York Police Department did nothing to prevent the assassination despite strong evidence that it was coming. The second is that the plot was largely a product of the Newark, N.J. mosque of the Nation of Islam. Now, his review has not as yet been published but Karl Evanzz might indeed point out the fact that his own 1992 publication The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X and Zak Kondo’s 1993 publication, Conspiracy’s: Unraveling the Assassination of Malcolm X had already covered this. In fact, Evanzz is likely to further note that while Marable dismisses most of the books written on Malcolm X during the 1990s as having little value, a claim he makes without detail or explanation, he also references some of them in summarizing their arguments for his own work. This, along with a list recently sent to the book’s publisher by another well-known author detailing no less than 14 specific misspellings, inaccurate dates, and other errors, is likely to raise more concerns about the scholarship of a book already being described in some prominent places as a “meticulous… portrait” or as the “definitive” biography of Malcolm X.

While much of the recent discussion of the book has been of necessity part of glowing celebrations of Marable’s life and scholarship not enough has yet to occur that critically examines this enormously popular book specifically from the perspective of the Black political left. Malcolm X remains too important to too many for occasions like these to not be turned to our advantage. Read Marable’s work, read it in conjunction with many others. Host symposia, conduct interviews and challenge your organizations to do the same and then to adopt the actual politics and strategies of Malcolm X lest they – the most important aspects of the man – be lost in the shuffle of the academy or personal gossip. Indeed this is what we are doing. So stay tuned.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press) and can be reached online at: IMixWhatILike.com.

Direct download: 20110413_jb_MalcolmBook.mp3
Category:black history -- posted at: 8:17am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

There was certainly no justice in an El Paso jury’s acquittal of the terrorist Luis Posada Carriles – but then, a just outcome was impossible. The bomber of a Cuban airline, drug runner for the CIA and the Contras, and attempted assassin of Fidel Castro, was charged only with telling lies to U.S. immigration authorities. It was an insult to Posada’s victims to try him at all on such insignificant counts – a sick joke that showed the U.S. has no respect for the opinions of mankind.

 

Posada Verdict: Like Charging Hitler With Disturbing the Peace, and Then Acquitting Him

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Posada’s trial only makes sense as a satire on the utter fraudulence of American justice.”

The United States is the main base for terrorism in the world. That statement is true on both the large and smaller scales. Washington shows no inclination to dismantle its nuclear terror systems, despite the fact that the Cold War ended nearly a generation ago. Instead, the U.S. constantly upgrades its weapons of worldwide annihilation, introducing new generations of nuclear weaponry that have no plausible reason to exist other than to cause the rest of the planet to live in terror of the United States.

At the opposite end of the terror spectrum, there is Luis Posada Carriles, the 83-year-old veteran assassin, mass murder,er drug runner and all around hit man for U.S. imperialism in the Americas. Last week, it took an El Paso jury less than three hours to find this arch criminal not guilty of lying to U.S. immigration authorities about how he reentered the United States in 2005.

Posada’s El Paso trial only makes sense as a satire on the utter fraudulence of American justice. The U.S. knew very well Posada was a mass killer, having paid his salary to carry out murder and mayhem for many, many years. By charging Posada with such a miner offense, the U.S. insulted the memory of his victims and their relatives, including the 73 people blown out the sky by the bomb Posada’s team planted on a civilian Cuban airliner, in 1976. All 24 members of Cuba’s gold-medal fencing team perished. But Posada continued his work for the U.S. government for decades, attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro in Panama, running drugs for the CIA and the contras in Central America, and planting bombs that killed a tourist in Cuba.

America insists to its own citizens – and to a world that knows better – that the rule of law is what makes the U.S. the great exception and hope of planet Earth.”

Posada’s crimes were Washington’s crimes and, of course, the U.S. would never put itself on trial, would never risk a legal proceeding that might provide a window on American terror. But the amoral, home-country of international terror, the United States – the unchallenged headquarters of industrial scale assassination, coups, disappearances, a global network of secret prisons and torture centers, the fountainhead of fortuitous fatal illnesses and convenient accidents, this country that, in the words of Frederick Douglass“is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future,” this can-do businessman's republic that inspired at least 638 plots to kill Fidel Castro – insists to its own citizens and to a world that knows better, that the rule of law is what makes the U.S. the great exception and hope of planet Earth.

As if to prove the truth of the greatest lie ever told, the Americans put Luis Posada through the formalities of trial on charges that were so dwarfed by his known crimes, it was like putting Hitler on trial during World War Two for creating a public disturbance.

Meanwhile, the Cuban Five are serving four life sentences and 75 years, respectively, for trying to halt the terrorist activities of Luis Posada's political comrades in Miami. They also got a trail, but nobody could say it was fair, and the truth is, most Americans don't care about fairness – they care about their prejudices and hatreds, which are nurtured by, to paraphrase Frederick Douglass again, a steady diet of lies about the American past, its present, and its future.

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: 20110413_gf_TerroristFreed.mp3
Category:cuba -- posted at: 8:03am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

In the immediate aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder, myths were made and paradigms altered. To revisit the week of King's assassination is to take a personal stride across a chasm, from one epoch to the other. This crack in time opened for the author when he was an 18-year-old soldier.

 

A Crack in Time: April 1968

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Black clergy of Columbus, Georgia, like their brethren in most cities of the South, had collectively shut their doors to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the early Sixties.”

On Thursday, April 4, 1968, I was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, which was deployed in a field exercise in the woods of the sprawling army reservation at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Large tents in the division headquarters section, where my platoon acted as security, were filled with officers studying maps of Washington, DC, in preparation for a hypothetical occupation of the nation’s capital. That evening, we learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been assassinated in Memphis. We all knew what that meant. There was little doubt that our unit – which was 60 percent Black at the infantry level – would soon be going somewhere to impose order on other outraged Black people. The next day, Friday, we packed up our gear and moved back to barracks.

But, inexplicably, the commanding general failed to confine the troops to the post. Lots of us, myself included, took advantage of the oversight and left Fort Bragg. On Sunday morning, April 7, I was hundreds of miles away, in Columbus, Georgia, where my father was a very popular radio disc jockey. On that Sunday morning, scores of the area’s Black preachers were lined up outside the radio station, waiting their turn at the microphone. Each one affirmed how he had been a staunch supporter of Dr. King and his work – and every one of them was lying.

The truth was that the Black clergy of Columbus, Georgia, like their brethren in most cities of the South, had collectively shut their doors to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the early Sixties when Dr. King was urgently seeking a suitable southern city in which to deploy his direct action strategy. As a Baptist preacher, King needed an invitation from another preacher to set up shop. Columbus, Georgia was at the top of his list. But the local Black clergy formed a solid wall of opposition to King’s coming to town, for fear of upsetting their accommodation with the local white power structure. Dr. King wound up in the much smaller town of Albany, Georgia, where one preacher had sent him an invitation, in 1962.

We had only one mission in Washington: to prevent the white troops from doing harm to Black civilians.”

But there they were, the assembled men of GAWD, three days after King’s murder, inventing, right there on the spot, the myth of the Black church as Dr. King’s stalwart soldiers in the army of social change in the South – when the truth was, for the most part, diametrically the opposite.

Monday morning, I was back at Fort Bragg. The fires had been raging all weekend in a hundred cities – although not Columbus, Georgia. I and other stragglers caught up with our unit in Washington, DC, where the officers already knew the street layout from their map studies out in the field just days before. The brothers of the 82nd Airborne Division considered that we had only one mission in Washington: to prevent the white troops from doing harm to Black civilians. There would be no repeat of the white New Jersey National Guard's lynch mob behavior in occupying Newark, New Jersey, a year earlier.

In Vietnam, Long Binh jail was filling up with Black soldiers and would explode in August with great loss of life. In a few years, mass Black incarceration would become national policy in the United States – payback for the Black Freedom Movement in all its manifestations.

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: 20110406_gf_King1968.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05am EDT