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

Rev. Walter Fauntroy has so far failed to follow up on his abbreviated tale of witnessing European special forces troops on an orgy of massacres and beheadings in Libya. The former DC congressional delegate's story loses credibility with each day that he withholds further information. “It is mind-boggling to imagine why the French and the Danes would need to commit on-the-ground atrocities of their own, when they have at their disposal thousands of bloodthirsty Arab jihadis who have no problem doing their own massacres.”

Fauntroy's Libya Massacres Story: No Time for Teasing

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Why didn’t Fauntroy invite the national and international media to a press conference, once he was back in Washington?”

Former Washington, DC congressional Delegate Walter Fauntroy’s tale of French and Danish special forces rampaging through Libyan villages, killing and beheading both Gaddafi supporters and rebels, alike, is – well, there is no other word for it but bizarre. It jars the mind, not because there is any limit to the barbarity of which Europeans are capable, certainly not in Africa, but because of the manner in which Fauntroy, himself, has been behaving. The 78-year old minister and former colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who served for nearly 20 years as Washington’s non-voting representative on Capitol Hill, traveled to Libya this summer on what he said was his own mission of peace. He spent lots of time in Libya with progressive journalists associated with former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s fact-finding mission in Tripoli, and was reported by the Washington Post to have left a luxury hotel along with many corporate journalists on August 24, in a convoy arranged by the International Red Cross. When he arrived back home in Washington, Fauntroy claimed that he had gone “underground” for about a month in Libya after having witnessed the French and Danish special forces slaughtering Libyans in the streets of small villages – meaning he witnessed this in more than one village. Fauntroy told this story from his living room to Valencia Mohammed, who wrote for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. He said, “The truth about all this will come out later." We have heard nothing more from Fauntroy since the piece appeared on September 7th.

Jihadis have no problem doing their own massacres.”

So, what are we to make of Fauntroy’s story? NATO’s half-year bombing campaign in Libya has slaughtered thousands of civilians and soldiers. But, bloA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Rev. Walter Fauntroy has so far failed to follow up on his abbreviated tale of witnessing European special forces troops on an orgy of massacres and beheadings in Libya. The former DC congressional delegate's story loses credibility with each day that he withholds further information. “It is mind-boggling to imagine why the French and the Danes would need to commit on-the-ground atrocities of their own, when they have at their disposal thousands of bloodthirsty Arab jihadis who have no problem doing their own massacres.”

Fauntroy's Libya Massacres Story: No Time for Teasing

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Why didn’t Fauntroy invite the national and international media to a press conference, once he was back in Washington?”

Former Washington, DC congressional Delegate Walter Fauntroy’s tale of French and Danish special forces rampaging through Libyan villages, killing and beheading both Gaddafi supporters and rebels, alike, is – well, there is no other word for it but bizarre. It jars the mind, not because there is any limit to the barbarity of which Europeans are capable, certainly not in Africa, but because of the manner in which Fauntroy, himself, has been behaving. The 78-year old minister and former colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who served for nearly 20 years as Washington’s non-voting representative on Capitol Hill, traveled to Libya this summer on what he said was his own mission of peace. He spent lots of time in Libya with progressive journalists associated with former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s fact-finding mission in Tripoli, and was reported by the Washington Post to have left a luxury hotel along with many corporate journalists on August 24, in a convoy arranged by the International Red Cross. When he arrived back home in Washington, Fauntroy claimed that he had gone “underground” for about a month in Libya after having witnessed the French and Danish special forces slaughtering Libyans in the streets of small villages – meaning he witnessed this in more than one village. Fauntroy told this story from his living room to Valencia Mohammed, who wrote for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. He said, “The truth about all this will come out later." We have heard nothing more from Fauntroy since the piece appeared on September 7th.

Jihadis have no problem doing their own massacres.”

So, what are we to make of Fauntroy’s story? NATO’s half-year bombing campaign in Libya has slaughtered thousands of civilians and soldiers. But, blond-haired NATO killers beheading Libyans on the ground, and then telling the rebels that they will have to take the blame for it – that is a world-shaking story! So, why didn’t Fauntroy invite the national and international media to a press conference, once he was back in Washington? Given Fauntroy’s stature, the corporate media, especially the Washington Post, the nation's second most important newspaper, could not have avoided giving coverage. But Fauntroy’s own failure to forcefully put forward his story, beyond a living room interview with one person, cannot help but diminish its credibility.

It is also mind-boggling to imagine why the French and the Danes would need to commit on-the-ground atrocities of their own, when they have at their disposal thousands of bloodthirsty Arab jihadis who have no problem doing their own massacres. They don't need European special forces troops as role models for mass political murder. They assassinated their own military commander back in July. They have beheaded, lynched and burned countless Libyans, without the necessity of prodding from NATO. They laid siege to the black city of Tawergha, vowing to “purge black skin” and wipe the town from the face of the earth. Tawergha is now empty, its inhabitants slaughtered and dispersed, ethnically cleansed from the new Libya. And there are many more massacres to come, as NATO aircraft blast a path for the rebels into the dark-skinned south of the country. These so-called rebels are not people that require white men to teach them how to murder. They are quite capable killers, on their own.

So, Rev. Fauntroy, if you have a story, please tell it to the world, in full. This is no time for teasing. 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.

nd-haired NATO killers beheading Libyans on the ground, and then telling the rebels that they will have to take the blame for it – that is a world-shaking story! So, why didn’t Fauntroy invite the national and international media to a press conference, once he was back in Washington? Given Fauntroy’s stature, the corporate media, especially the Washington Post, the nation's second most important newspaper, could not have avoided giving coverage. But Fauntroy’s own failure to forcefully put forward his story, beyond a living room interview with one person, cannot help but diminish its credibility.

It is also mind-boggling to imagine why the French and the Danes would need to commit on-the-ground atrocities of their own, when they have at their disposal thousands of bloodthirsty Arab jihadis who have no problem doing their own massacres. They don't need European special forces troops as role models for mass political murder. They assassinated their own military commander back in July. They have beheaded, lynched and burned countless Libyans, without the necessity of prodding from NATO. They laid siege to the black city of Tawergha, vowing to “purge black skin” and wipe the town from the face of the earth. Tawergha is now empty, its inhabitants slaughtered and dispersed, ethnically cleansed from the new Libya. And there are many more massacres to come, as NATO aircraft blast a path for the rebels into the dark-skinned south of the country. These so-called rebels are not people that require white men to teach them how to murder. They are quite capable killers, on their own.

So, Rev. Fauntroy, if you have a story, please tell it to the world, in full. This is no time for teasing. 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: 20110914_gf_FauntroyLibyaStory.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm EDT

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

The United States is a mythical country, mean most of what it says about itself is a lie. Since most of what the U.S. has historically said about its Black population is also a lie, it would serve African Americans well to invest in their own mythology as a kind of self-defense. William Parker, the free man and the myth, is an excellent candidate for the Black pantheon. “What better way to really commemorate a 9/11 than with reminders of radical organization and resistance to state-sanctioned terrorism?”

William Parker, 9/11 and American Mythology

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

William Parker organized community defense against the state-sanctioned terrorists who had come to re-enslave nominally free Black people in Christiana, PA.”

One thing for sure can be said of what 9/11 has meant; when this country recoils into itself, when it is hit – be that hit real or perceived – and it rallies itself around itself things get worse for damn near everybody else. Flags wave, planes fly and more Black people lose their jobs and go to jail. More Brown people get deported or kept here and also imprisoned or worked at slave-labor wages. Indigenous nations get no more land or jobs and none of the wealth their lands continue to create for a handful of White people. And if you live elsewhere in the Black or Brown world rest assured that US munitions will soon be headed your way. 9/11 has literally become commercial propaganda advertising the great myth of the U.S. as the bringer of freedom and, of course, commercial products. Especially during this week’s pro football opening weekend which corresponded to the 10th anniversary, 9/11 was used to sell everything from cars to clothes and, of course, was used to re-sell the empty state-sanctioned conspiracy theory of that day’s events. Mostly, however, 9/11 has become the ultimate barrier to progressive movement building.

So on the political right 9/11 has been used to enrich a handful of the banking, military and political elite and used as a bludgeon against the political Left who themselves have used 9/11 and its mythical effect to enrich a handful of pundits, liberal authors and activists and as a bludgeon against the genuinely politically progressive or radical. In fact, 9/11 has become the big dog form of picking the lesser of evils; liberals telling us we must vote for the Democrat to save us from the Republicans has, since 9/11, worsened to we being further encouraged to follow liberal defenses of the country because even a bad America is better than anything else that does or could exist. So when Dr. Mark Bolden suggested recently that we adopt a truly anti-terrorist 9/11 story of William Parker as our own, it just sounded right on. We, too, need our own myths. And what better way to really commemorate a 9/11 than with reminders of radical organization and resistance to state-sanctioned terrorism?

We, too, need our own myths.”

On September 11, 1851 William Parker organized community defense against the state-sanctioned terrorists who had come to re-enslave nominally free Black people in Christiana, PA. The terrorists, so-called “slave catchers,” were merely acting on what the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 had, if not made perfectly legal, certainly encouraged the capturing of Black women and men, anywhere in the country, for sale or re-sale into southern bondage. This is part of that foundation of Malcolm X’s famous statement of the real Mason-Dixon line being the Canadian border. But Parker, a formerly enslaved African who had escaped Maryland for what he once thought was safety in Pennsylvania, had along with his wife and neighbors organized an armed self-defense unit to protect against the now legal theft and deportation of his people. But on that 9/11 it was only the terrorists who lay wounded and dead upon trying to reclaim what could never be theirs. Parker and his family would, a century before him, take Malcolm X’s line seriously and fled to Ontario. And no one was ever convicted of the killings.

And we would be justified in re-imaging 9/11 for our own political purposes as others have done for theirs. For example, according to Richard Prince, Time magazine – I think speaking for the entire country – included no Black people in its 64 page commemorative. Like the Washington Post said this week of Obama, to the nation, to the White political world (Left or Right), Black people are “irrelevant.” Or perhaps this omission is a response to the still widely understood notion that Black people, who know White people better than anyone are, as Prince also reported, twice as likely as Whites to reject military action and at least that likely to suggest that this country might have to suffer the consequences of its actions in the world.

Either way, William Parker stands as a reminder of the power of organization and also the power of myth. Rather that our mythology be driven by Parker’s reality than by American political fantasy. And besides, who can question Frederick Douglass who said after housing the Parker family during their flight farther north, “to me they were the heroic defenders of the just rights of man against manstealers and murders.”

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore and is the author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). He can be found online at: IMIXWHATILIKE.COM.

Direct download: 20110914_jb_WilliamParker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48pm EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Corporate school privatizers feign disgust with teachers that cheat the standardized tests. But big business theft of public education is by far the greater sin. “The real cheats are those that pushed high stakes testing under the false pretexts of reform, when the actual goal was union busting and privatization.”

High Stakes Testing in Schools: Who’s Cheating Who?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

High stakes testing was designed as a Trojan Horse for a corporate educational takeover, but packaged as a public good.”

The school privatizers now headquartered in the Obama administration are all pitching a morality fit over teachers that cheat by altering answers on standardized tests. Corporate privatizers, of course, have no real sense of morality beyond profit and loss: their own profit, and to hell with those that lose. But, when attacking institutions so historically revered as public education and the teaching profession, one must play dirty. You’ve got to get them on a morals charge.

The assault on public schools began with the blanket assertion that teachers – or, more precisely, teachers unions – are out for themselves; that they are sinfully selfish. Strange words, from the lips of corporate executives and free marketeers who preach that the highest virtues arA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Corporate school privatizers feign disgust with teachers that cheat the standardized tests. But big business theft of public education is by far the greater sin. “The real cheats are those that pushed high stakes testing under the false pretexts of reform, when the actual goal was union busting and privatization.”

High Stakes Testing in Schools: Who’s Cheating Who?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

High stakes testing was designed as a Trojan Horse for a corporate educational takeover, but packaged as a public good.”

The school privatizers now headquartered in the Obama administration are all pitching a morality fit over teachers that cheat by altering answers on standardized tests. Corporate privatizers, of course, have no real sense of morality beyond profit and loss: their own profit, and to hell with those that lose. But, when attacking institutions so historically revered as public education and the teaching profession, one must play dirty. You’ve got to get them on a morals charge.

The assault on public schools began with the blanket assertion that teachers – or, more precisely, teachers unions – are out for themselves; that they are sinfully selfish. Strange words, from the lips of corporate executives and free marketeers who preach that the highest virtues are revealed in the cutthroat corridors of commerce. Then again, pots and kettles are always calling everybody else black.

So, they slimed the teachers as the root of all that ails public education, teachers whose moral deficits could be corrected by rigorous competition regulated by standardized testing of students. If the students failed the tests, then the teachers would fail and be discharged, and the schools they worked in would also fail, and be replaced by privatized charters. High stakes testing was designed as a Trojan Horse for a corporate educational takeover, but packaged as a public good. Bad teachers and bad schools would come to a well-deserved bad end.

This morality play was always based on a lie. The standardized tests were bombs, designed to explode the public schools and the teaching profession. Everyone involved knew that inner city kids would fail the tests in huge numbers, setting the infernal machine in motion for the closing of schools and the wholesale firing of teachers. In their place would be recruited a new workforce that would either view teaching as a temporary job or cut every other teacher's throat in order to stay – neither of which redounds to the benefit of students or anyone else but the bosses. This is the substance of education “reform” in the Age of Obama.

Everyone involved knew that inner city kids would fail the tests in huge numbers, setting the infernal machine in motion for the closing of schools and the wholesale firing of teachers.”

Faced with extinction of their jobs and their very profession, and with a teacher’s learned certainty that many of their students would be pushed into marginality by the testing juggernaut, teachers turned to cheating the test. They have been caught and shamed and may face prosecution in Atlanta and Philadelphia and elsewhere, but cheating the test surely occurs in virtually every inner city. I don’t think it’s cheating, in a moral sense, at all. The cheats are those that pushed high stakes testing under the false pretexts of reform, when the actual goal was union busting and privatization. Teachers are fighting for their lives, and all of us would cheat death, if we could.

The school privatizers are determined, not just to bust the teachers unions, but to remake teachers as corporate citizens. A schools superintendent in New Jersey said part of the difficulty for teachers under the new order is that they “are more concerned about relationships than about achieving more than one another.” When he gives teachers awards, he says, they won't display them because “they don't want to outshine one another.” His teachers would rather collaborate and cooperate to achieve a common goal. And that's why they've got to change, or go.

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.e revealed in the cutthroat corridors of commerce. Then again, pots and kettles are always calling everybody else black.

So, they slimed the teachers as the root of all that ails public education, teachers whose moral deficits could be corrected by rigorous competition regulated by standardized testing of students. If the students failed the tests, then the teachers would fail and be discharged, and the schools they worked in would also fail, and be replaced by privatized charters. High stakes testing was designed as a Trojan Horse for a corporate educational takeover, but packaged as a public good. Bad teachers and bad schools would come to a well-deserved bad end.

This morality play was always based on a lie. The standardized tests were bombs, designed to explode the public schools and the teaching profession. Everyone involved knew that inner city kids would fail the tests in huge numbers, setting the infernal machine in motion for the closing of schools and the wholesale firing of teachers. In their place would be recruited a new workforce that would either view teaching as a temporary job or cut every other teacher's throat in order to stay – neither of which redounds to the benefit of students or anyone else but the bosses. This is the substance of education “reform” in the Age of Obama.

Everyone involved knew that inner city kids would fail the tests in huge numbers, setting the infernal machine in motion for the closing of schools and the wholesale firing of teachers.”

Faced with extinction of their jobs and their very profession, and with a teacher’s learned certainty that many of their students would be pushed into marginality by the testing juggernaut, teachers turned to cheating the test. They have been caught and shamed and may face prosecution in Atlanta and Philadelphia and elsewhere, but cheating the test surely occurs in virtually every inner city. I don’t think it’s cheating, in a moral sense, at all. The cheats are those that pushed high stakes testing under the false pretexts of reform, when the actual goal was union busting and privatization. Teachers are fighting for their lives, and all of us would cheat death, if we could.

The school privatizers are determined, not just to bust the teachers unions, but to remake teachers as corporate citizens. A schools superintendent in New Jersey said part of the difficulty for teachers under the new order is that they “are more concerned about relationships than about achieving more than one another.” When he gives teachers awards, he says, they won't display them because “they don't want to outshine one another.” His teachers would rather collaborate and cooperate to achieve a common goal. And that's why they've got to change, or go.

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: 20110914_gf_SchoolCheating.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33pm EDT