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

It was the unkindest cut of all. A U.S. Agency for International Development report claims Haiti, the United Nations and the Red Cross all conspired to exaggerate the death and displacement toll from last year’s earthquake. In doing so, it “calls into question both Haiti's financial needs and the trustworthiness of its government.” There are plenty of Americans who are predisposed to believe the slander – a libel written in oceans of blood.

 

U.S. Agency Sabotages Haiti Earthquake Aid

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The United States Agency for International Development questions how many people died in the quake and how many remain in camps for the displaced.”

As if it were not enough that the United States repeatedly invaded Haiti, propped up dictators, overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president in 2004, and then appointed a government of gangsters, stole Haiti’s sovereignty to make her a protectorate of her worst enemies, then invaded the country again in 2010, under the guise of earthquake relief. After so many injuries to Haiti over so many years, the United States Agency for International Development now insults the living and the dead with a report that questions how many people died in the quake, and how many remain in camps for the displaced.

The timing of the report is quite curious, since the Haitian government is desperate to receive some of the $4.6 billion in earthquake relief pledged by international donors. But apparently, there are some in the U.S. government that want to deny the Haitians that money. The USAID report claims that somewhere between 46,000 and 85,000 people died in the earthquake – probably more like 60,000 – while the Haitian government says 316,000 were killed. That’s about a five to one difference. The International Organization for Migration, which is part of the United Nations and specializes in helping displaced persons, says 1.5 million people were forced into camps by the catastrophe. But the American agency claims less than 900,000 moved into camps. Only a few months ago, in March, the International Organization for Migration went from tent to tent, counting 680,000 people still in the camps. But the USAID report claims only 100,000 Haitians remain in camps. That’s a discrepancy of seven to one. Somebody is just too wrong to simply be mistaken. The question is who, and why.

Why would the Agency for International Development, one of the United States’ principle foreign aid dispensers, hire an opponent of foreign aid to write its report on Haiti.”

Whoever wanted to question the disaster figures compiled by the Haitian government, the United Nations, and even the Red Cross, picked the right man for the job. Timothy Schwartz is an anthropologist who is vehemently opposed to foreign aid – because, he says, such aid is really designed to promote U.S. business interests. What’s important here is not whether Timothy Schwartz has a point about foreign aid – many on the Left would agree him, in general – but why the Agency for International Development, one of the United States’ principle foreign aid dispensers, would hire an opponent of foreign aid to write its report on Haiti. The answer is obvious, given Schwartz's well known views; he wrote a book that denounced aid to Haiti in particular. The USAID, or whoever pulls their strings, could bet on Schwartz submitting a dramatic underestimate of earthquake damage in Haiti. Schwartz would think he was doing Haiti a favor.

The Haitian government is soon supposed to take over administration of the national reconstruction program. By throwing doubt on the actual extent of earthquake damage, the report calls into question both Haiti's financial needs and the trustworthiness of its government. Mr. Schwartz's report is all some people need to hear, to convince themselves that Haitians are trying to scam the international donor community. White Americans, especially, are more than willing to believe such racist slander, and withhold their money from Haitian government control. Which, ironically, would leave most reconstruction decisions in the hands of private U.S. and other foreign business interests and their local elite partners – precisely the end result Mr. Schwartz claims to oppose.

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: 20110608_gf_Haiti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09am EDT

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

Journalist Ellis Cose styles himself the top reporter on the Black bourgeois beat – a landscape of delusion. Cose’s new book “concludes that the youngest generation included in the study, the ‘Gen 3s’ or those born after 1970, feel that while racism is still alive it is not a serious barrier to success.” Which is, of course, clear evidence of the deep damage done to Black Harvard Business School graduates. Neither they nor Cose ever learned that the depths of societal “racism cannot be judged on an individual basis, it has to be judged institutionally.”

 

The End of Black Rage? Class and Delusion in Black America

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

“’The End of Anger’ makes plain the continuing delusions and class divisions which persist.

It looks as though author Ellis Cose has done the Black Left a huge favor. For so long the Black Left has been trying to wrest what remains of our collective sanity away from the powerful soma of Brand Obama. And for just as long that brand has been assaulting the best and brightest among us making the need for the most aggressive forms of political struggle nearly impossible to promote. But Ellis Cose and his new book, The End of Anger, seems to ask just the right questions of just the right segment of the community and appears to make plain the continuing delusions and class divisions which persist.

As Cose says himself, his research into the levels of anger at an anti-Black system of discrimination is based on 500 surveys and 200 interviews of Black Harvard Business School graduates and former members of A Better Chance, a program which places “talented people of color” in “the most selective secondary schools in the country.” In short, Cose concludes that the youngest generation included in the study, the “Gen 3s” or those born after 1970, feel that while racism is still alive it is not a serious barrier to success. These interviewees, says Cose, were mostly privileged, grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods and went to predominantly white schools. And here is where that favor to the Black Left comes; if Cose has simply provided data to support the claims of the Black Left that Black submersion in white America and access to the most rare and “fine” centers of education (i.e., assimilation) foster delusion, then Cose has indeed aided the righteous work of exposing societal contradictions.

Why is it that gaps in income between Black and white people actually increase when each attain higher levels of education?”

And of course it is not this generation’s fault. Certainly, even the older generations who are critical of these youngsters as being naive know that no successful revolution was passed to them. These “Gen 3s” have been encouraged to believe that this is a “post-,” as in successful, civil rights period and their exclusive entrée into the world similarly encourages varying degrees of delusion. Add to that a Black president and the absence of a political movement and voila! In fact, it is the very act of asking questions which emphasize personal experience that frames these studies in ways that diminish, even ignore, the condition of the collective. Racism cannot be judged on an individual basis, it has to be judged institutionally. And herein lies yet another favor the Black Left can take from Cose.

When Cose asks questions of individuals about their personal thoughts on the prevalence of anti-Black discrimination or whether or not respondents feel as though their educational levels put them on par with whites he establishes some very safe and class-biased parameters. On the one hand the questions are going to a tremendously narrow segment of Black people, Harvard Business School graduates for example, and on the other these questions say nothing of the actual condition of the broader community. Surveys might produce very different conclusions, even with the same respondents, if the questions are more structural in nature. For instance, if the focus is higher-education, what would even these respondents say if asked why they think that only 19% of Black people over the age of 25 have college degrees, or why only about 2% have advanced degrees? Or, why is it that gaps in income between Black and white people actually increase when each attain higher levels of education? Or what about the fact that 25% of Black America has 90% of what little wealth Black people have? Or how about asking about the absence of anger among those facing a world where Black unemployment is as high as ever?

And this is where Cose ultimately does the Black Left its biggest favor. By apparently focusing on individual anecdotal responses from among the most rare and privileged within Black America and by not challenging as delusion any absence of anger Cose further exposes the powerful class divides and those levels of delusion faced by Black America. And by apparently not asking questions that speak to the institutional nature of anti-Blackness Cose actually shows how delusions are aided by those who are supposed to be exposing and weakening them.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is author of the newly released I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). All proceeds from the book go to support political prisoners. More information can be found online at: IMixWhatILike.com.

Direct download: 20110608_jb_EllisCose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:58am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Western reporters in Tripoli dismiss the casualties inflicted by their own countries’ bombs on Libyan civilians, but are careful to alert NATO when they themselves venture outside their hotels. The war criminals and their corporate media are morally – and probably legally – indistinguishable. “As facilitators of those crimes – through ceaseless propaganda, lies and demonization of those targeted by the United States – the corporate media are just as guilty of the grossest human rights violations as the government they serve.”

 

Corporate Media’s Capital Crimes Against Libya – and Humanity

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Burns’ constant dismissal of Libyan casualties has the effect of inviting more NATO bombing and more civilian deaths.”

Every day, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Congo and now Libya, the U.S. corporate media commit crimes against humanity that are equal to the crimes perpetrated by the United States government. As facilitators of those crimes – through ceaseless propaganda, lies and demonization of those targeted by the United States – the corporate media are just as guilty of the grossest human rights violations as the government they serve. The New York Times and the rest of the howling corporate propagandists that call themselves journalists behave no differently than the German newspaper publisher Julius Streicher, who was hanged for his media crimes against humanity in October, 1946.

Streicher paid with his life for having used his newspaper, Der Sturmer, to demonize Jews and thus, in the words of the death sentence against him, “infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution” of Jews. Streicher was not a member of the German military, and he did not take part in the Holocaust, but the judgment of Nuremburg was that his brand of journalism was a crime against humanity, and warranted his execution.

If the verdict was appropriate for the NAZI journalist Streicher in 1946, it should certainly apply to those in the corporate media today who “infect” the American mind with murderous emotions and feed the public lies that seek to transform aggressive war into a humanitarian rescue mission, and mock the victims of NATO’s savage bombing of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Western reporters keep NATO informed when they leave their hotels, so that they will not be caught in the bombing.”

John Burns, of the New York Times, is a celebrity media criminal. In addition to demonizing Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in precisely the same way that he and his colleagues portrayed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein – and that a previous generation of journalistic degenerates depicted Fidel Castro – Burns' current mission is to deny that hundreds of NATO bombing sorties against Tripoli have killed Libyan civilians. His constant dismissal of Libyan casualties is vulgar and racist in the extreme, and has the effect of inviting more NATO bombing and more civilian deaths. If anybody calling themselves a journalist had been running around London at the time of the 1940 NAZI blitz, claiming that British civilian bombing casualties were negligible or minimal, they would have been arrested and probably hanged.

Burns' colleagues among the lying pack of corporate media criminals camped out in Tripoli hotels create the propaganda that causes death to rain down on the city's citizens. But, according to Burns' June 7 story, Western reporters keep NATO informed when they leave their hotels, so that they will not be caught in the bombing. Once the imperialist press is safely back at the hotel, the killing can begin again.

Burns' colleagues in rebel held regions of Libya spend most of their time glorifying an opposition that is riddled with exactly the kind of Islamic jihadis that these same reporters demonize as deserving of death in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. corporate media understand full well that the power to demonize is a weapon of war, and they point that weapon in whatever direction their government wishes. In the final reckoning, they are as guilty as the government they serve.

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: 20110608_gf_Libya.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:53am EDT