Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared Ball

Wars produce veterans on both sides. Thus, opponents of the wars the U.S. government has waged since its inception against “enemies” within its territory are also veterans. “Nat Turner and his compatriots were once described as “insurgent[s]” as are those fighting today against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.” Nat Turner was a veteran, as was Sitting Bull. So are the dozens of political prisoners still held in the American Gulag. Let us commemorate their sacrifce, too, on November 11.

 

Redefining Veteran’s Day

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared Ball

Those we know as political prisoners are indeed veteran prisoners of war.”

I am officially a veteran. Like many I was conscripted by this country’s “poverty draft” and its associated judicial-military pipeline, the one that encourages military time over jail time, and then immediately pressed into service of this nation’s imperial projects. And while I recognize this reality and can still appreciate the position in which people like me have found themselves and the suffering some have endured for it, I prefer we praise another kind of veteran. On November 11th let us commemorate those who have fought, and still fight, those who have been exiled, assassinated or imprisoned as veterans of the many on-going wars against U.S. and Western imperialism. More than any they deserve our reflection and support.

Veteran’s Day began as “Armistice Day,” commemorating the end of what we now call World War I, what was called then the “war to end all wars.” But rabid empires can only expand. There can never be an armistice. So after a secondso-called World War they simply dropped the “Armistice” and made it about the oh-so-many veterans that would be created and re-created by the permanency of war. This permanence of the nation’s war machine is evident in the permanence of this nation’s thirst for war. Simply interlace lists of American wars against Europe between 1776 and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 which “settled” the matter of control over this land with lists of American invasions into every pocket of Latin America and the Caribbean from then until now. Then add the lists of repression of hundreds of African uprisings against enslavement and the domestic policing of internally-held colonies and suppression of labor organizers and you won’t find a 10 year period in this country’s history when it wasn’t at war. And all of this warfare creates veterans on all sides.

The permanence of the nation’s war machine is evident in the permanence of this nation’s thirst for war.”

In the U.S. alone we currently have dozens of political prisoners still incarcerated for their veteran participation in these wars. We certainly have thousands more here and around the globe who have, in some form of solidarity, been engaged in anti-imperial, counter-terrorism but whose names and stories we don’t know and whose political legacy we have not carried on. Perhaps an aggressive attempt to redefine the state’s propaganda could help. Power over definition is essential. This is why Nat Turner and his compatriots were once described as “insurgent[s]” as are those fighting today against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And it is also why, more than a century after Nat Turner, this same concept, applied to his political descendants, resulted in the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO)application of “counter-insurgency” tactics against domestic targets. Malcolm X did say that, “the police do locally what the military does internationally.”

This, of course, is not mere semantics. Those we know as political prisoners are indeed veteran prisoners of war. These POWs, as former Black Liberation Army member and current political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim has explained, come from the Black, Indigenous and Latin American “nations” held in “domestic (neo) colonialism.” They, along with those oppressed along class lines, are “all fighting wars of national liberation, seeking independence and sovereignty from capitalist exploitation.” In fact, during the sentencing for Muntaqim, Albert ‘Nuh’ (Noah) Washington and Herman Bell, all members of the Black Liberation Army, the judge said as much, that if these are prisoners of war then they should see themselves as having been “captured by the enemy.” And so our commemoration of a Veteran’s Day should incorporate work to free our prisoners of war and to finally force this country into an armistice. This is the least we can do.

So as symbolism goes it is indeed fitting then that tA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared Ball

Wars produce veterans on both sides. Thus, opponents of the wars the U.S. government has waged since its inception against “enemies” within its territory are also veterans. “Nat Turner and his compatriots were once described as “insurgent[s]” as are those fighting today against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.” Nat Turner was a veteran, as was Sitting Bull. So are the dozens of political prisoners still held in the American Gulag. Let us commemorate their sacrifce, too, on November 11.

 

Redefining Veteran’s Day

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared Ball

“Those we know as political prisoners are indeed veteran prisoners of war.”

I am officially a veteran. Like many I was conscripted by this country’s “poverty draft” and its associated judicial-military pipeline, the one that encourages military time over jail time, and then immediately pressed into service of this nation’s imperial projects. And while I recognize this reality and can still appreciate the position in which people like me have found themselves and the suffering some have endured for it, I prefer we praise another kind of veteran. On November 11th let us commemorate those who have fought, and still fight, those who have been exiled, assassinated or imprisoned as veterans of the many on-going wars against U.S. and Western imperialism. More than any they deserve our reflection and support.

Veteran’s Day began as “Armistice Day,” commemorating the end of what we now call World War I, what was called then the “war to end all wars.” But rabid empires can only expand. There can never be an armistice. So after a second so-called World War they simply dropped the “Armistice” and made it about the oh-so-many veterans that would be created and re-created by the permanency of war. This permanence of the nation’s war machine is evident in the permanence of this nation’s thirst for war. Simply interlace lists of American wars against Europe between 1776 and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 which “settled” the matter of control over this land with lists of American invasions into every pocket of Latin America and the Caribbean from then until now. Then add the lists of repression of hundreds of African uprisings against enslavement and the domestic policing of internally-held colonies and suppression of labor organizers and you won’t find a 10 year period in this country’s history when it wasn’t at war. And all of this warfare creates veterans on all sides.

“The permanence of the nation’s war machine is evident in the permanence of this nation’s thirst for war.”

In the U.S. alone we currently have dozens of political prisoners still incarcerated for their veteran participation in these wars. We certainly have thousands more here and around the globe who have, in some form of solidarity, been engaged in anti-imperial, counter-terrorism but whose names and stories we don’t know and whose political legacy we have not carried on. Perhaps an aggressive attempt to redefine the state’s propaganda could help. Power over definition is essential. This is why Nat Turner and his compatriots were once described as “insurgent[s]” as are those fighting today against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And it is also why, more than a century after Nat Turner, this same concept, applied to his political descendants, resulted in the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) application of “counter-insurgency” tactics against domestic targets. MalcA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared Ball

Wars produce veterans on both sides. Thus, opponents of the wars the U.S. government has waged since its inception against “enemies” within its territory are also veterans. “Nat Turner and his compatriots were once described as “insurgent[s]” as are those fighting today against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.” Nat Turner was a veteran, as was Sitting Bull. So are the dozens of political prisoners still held in the American Gulag. Let us commemorate their sacrifce, too, on November 11.

 

Redefining Veteran’s Day

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared Ball

“Those we know as political prisoners are indeed veteran prisoners of war.”

I am officially a veteran. Like many I was conscripted by this country’s “poverty draft” and its associated judicial-military pipeline, the one that encourages military time over jail time, and then immediately pressed into service of this nation’s imperial projects. And while I recognize this reality and can still appreciate the position in which people like me have found themselves and the suffering some have endured for it, I prefer we praise another kind of veteran. On November 11th let us commemorate those who have fought, and still fight, those who have been exiled, assassinated or imprisoned as veterans of the many on-going wars against U.S. and Western imperialism. More than any they deserve our reflection and support.

Veteran’s Day began as “Armistice Day,” commemorating the end of what we now call World War I, what was called then the “war to end all wars.” But rabid empires can only expand. There can never be an armistice. So after a second so-called World War they simply dropped the “Armistice” and made it about the oh-so-many veterans that would be created and re-created by the permanency of war. This permanence of the nation’s war machine is evident in the permanence of this nation’s thirst for war. Simply interlace lists of American wars against Europe between 1776 and the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 which “settled” the matter of control over this land with lists of American invasions into every pocket of Latin America and the Caribbean from then until now. Then add the lists of repression of hundreds of African uprisings against enslavement and the domestic policing of internally-held colonies and suppression of labor organizers and you won’t find a 10 year period in this country’s history when it wasn’t at war. And all of this warfare creates veterans on all sides.

“The permanence of the nation’s war machine is evident in the permanence of this nation’s thirst for war.”

In the U.S. alone we currently have dozens of political prisoners still incarcerated for their veteran participation in these wars. We certainly have thousands more here and around the globe who have, in some form of solidarity, been engaged in anti-imperial, counter-terrorism but whose names and stories we don’t know and whose political legacy we have not carried on. Perhaps an aggressive attempt to redefine the state’s propaganda could help. Power over definition is essential. This is why Nat Turner and his compatriots were once described as “insurgent[s]” as are those fighting today against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And it is also why, more than a century after Nat Turner, this same concept, applied to his political descendants, resulted in the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) application of “counter-insurgency” tactics against domestic targets. Malcolm X did say that, “the police do locally what the military does internationally.”

This, of course, is not mere semantics. Those we know as political prisoners are indeed veteran prisoners of war. These POWs, as former Black Liberation Army member and current political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim has explained, come from the Black, Indigenous and Latin American “nations” held in “domestic (neo) colonialism.” They, along with those oppressed along class lines, are “all fighting wars of national liberation, seeking independence and sovereignty from capitalist exploitation.” In fact, during the sentencing for Muntaqim, Albert ‘Nuh’ (Noah) Washington and Herman Bell, all members of the Black Liberation Army, the judge said as much, that if these are prisoners of war then they should see themselves as having been “captured by the enemy.” And so our commemoration of a Veteran’s Day should incorporate work to free our prisoners of war and to finally force this country into an armistice. This is the least we can do.

So as symbolism goes it is indeed fitting then that this year Veteran’s Day coincides with the release of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, a film that is already said to be little more than praise to a “brilliant patriot” who was merely an “impediment to the civil rights movement” and who may have been gay. Yes, Veteran’s Day and J. Edgar, one praises those who do internationally what the other did domestically.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. and is author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). He can be found and reached online at: IMIXWHATILIKE.COM.olm X did say that, “the police do locally what the military does internationally.”

This, of course, is not mere semantics. Those we know as political prisoners are indeed veteran prisoners of war. These POWs, as former Black Liberation Army member and current political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim has explained, come from the Black, Indigenous and Latin American “nations” held in “domestic (neo) colonialism.” They, along with those oppressed along class lines, are “all fighting wars of national liberation, seeking independence and sovereignty from capitalist exploitation.” In fact, during the sentencing for Muntaqim, Albert ‘Nuh’ (Noah) Washington and Herman Bell, all members of the Black Liberation Army, the judge said as much, that if these are prisoners of war then they should see themselves as having been “captured by the enemy.” And so our commemoration of a Veteran’s Day should incorporate work to free our prisoners of war and to finally force this country into an armistice. This is the least we can do.

So as symbolism goes it is indeed fitting then that this year Veteran’s Day coincides with the release of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, a film that is already said to be little more than praise to a “brilliant patriot” who was merely an “impediment to the civil rights movement” and who may have been gay. Yes, Veteran’s Day and J. Edgar, one praises those who do internationally what the other did domestically.

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

Dr. Jared A. Ball is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. and is author of I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). He can be found and reached online at: IMIXWHATILIKE.COM.his year Veteran’s Day coincides with the release of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, a film that is already said to be little more than praise to a “brilliant patriot” who was merely an “impediment to the civil rights movement” and who may have been gay. Yes, Veteran’s Day and J. Edgar, one praises those who do internationally what the other did domestically.

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

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

Direct download: 20111109_jb_VeteransDay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Racial myths are slow to die, because they serve the purposes of those who rule through mechanisms of racial oppression. Black mass incarceration, which has been public policy of the United States for four decades, is underpinned by assumptions of Black criminality – especially drug abuse. “A new study, however, shows that Black and Asian kids are, in fact, much less likely than their white counterparts to abuse or become dependent on drugs and alcohol.”

 

White Kids Abuse Drugs and Alcohol at Twice Rate of Blacks

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Nine percent of white kids develop drug dependencies and disorders – twice the rate of Blacks, and three times that of Asians.”

For some time, social scientists have known that the stereotypes were a lie: that Blacks were no more prone to drug and alcohol abuse than whites, and probably somewhat less so. Study after study has indicated that a rough racial equality exists in terms of young people’s desire to get high. A new study, however, shows that Black and Asian kids are, in fact, much less likely than their white counterparts to abuse or become dependent on drugs and alcohol – a finding that, in a more just nation, would have vast ramifications for public policy.

A team from Duke University conducted the study of young people aged 12 to 17. It was based on confidential federal surveys of more than 72,000 adolescents in all 50 states, from 2005 to 2008. This is a much larger and geographically representative group than previous studies, and presumably more definitive. It shows that 9 percent of white kids develop drug dependencies and disorders – twice the rate of Blacks, and three times that of Asians. Native Americans suffer by far the highest rates of disorders from drug and alcohol abuse, at 15 percent.

Not surprisingly, marijuana is the drug of choice for teenagers, and of the kids that smoke marijuana, 26 percent fall into the abuse or dependence category.

Overall, 8 percent of U.S. kids have a substance disorder, while 37 percent reported using drugs or alcohol at some time in the past year. But the news was in the racial breakdown.

Native American youth were found to use the most drugs or alcohol, with 48 percent having done so in the past year. Whites were second, at 39 percent; Hispanics, 37 percent; mixed race kids, 36 percent, followed by Blacks at 32 percent. Asians were far less likely to indulge drugs or alcohol, at only 24 percent.

Native Americans suffer by far the highest rates of disorders from drug and alcohol abuse.”

The racial pattern was somewhat different for drug use, alone. In the past year, 31 percent of Native American teenagers got high off drugs; 23 percent of mixed race kids; 20 percent of whites; 19 percent, Blacks; 18 percent for Hispanics, and just 12, Asians.

That’s about the same rate of drug use for whites and Blacks: 20 and 19 percent, respectively. But white youth are substantially more likely to have imbibed alcohol in the past year: 35 percent for whites, 25 percent for Blacks.

So, what does this new knowledge mean in terms of public policy? The author of the study, Prof. Dan Blazer, of Duke University Medical Center, says the data should help programs “focus on the subgroups of adolescents who are at greater risk.” At risk of what? The numbers show whites are more at risk than Blacks for actual drug and alcohol disorder and abuse. But Black kids are far more at risk for incarceration for drugs. Public policy, through police surveillance and stop-and-frisk, is justified by assumptions about human behavior, such as that Blacks are more involved in drug use and abuse than whites. But once again, this has been proven to be factually false. The Duke University data show that the United States criminal justice system – not Black behavior – is responsible for the vast racial disparities in incarceration for drug offenses. The system is rigged, and science proves it. The fundamental problem is that America is drunk on racism and constantly indulging in Black-people-abuse.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20111109_gf_DrugAbuse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13am EDT

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

A handful of Black lawmakers have joined with Blue Dog Democrats to call for $4 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years – far more than the congressional “Super-Committee” is required to make this month. $4 trillion happens to be the figure both President Obama and his deficit reduction commission proposed to cut. The six Black congressmen are attempting to help the First Black President seal his “Grand Bargain” with the GOP by defunding what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society.

 

Call Out Their Names! The Black Caucus Roster of Shame

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The five Black congressmen reveal themselves as wholly unrepresentative of any Black constituency in the United States.”

Last week, a new low was set in African American contemporary politics. Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus joined 54 other Democrats and 40 Republicans in a letter calling for $4 trillion in cuts in federal spending over the next ten years. In doing so, the six Black congressmen – and they are all men – reveal themselves as wholly unrepresentative of any Black constituency in the United States. We will call out their names, in a minute.

But first, let’s get to the substance of the letter. It was addressed to the so-called “Super-Committee” that is charged with cutting $1.5 trillion – not $4 trillion, but $1.5 – from the federal budget, the result of the disastrous dance over the debt ceiling between President Obama and congressional Republicans, last summer. The deadline for the Super-Committee of six Democrats and six Republicans from both Houses of Congress, is November 23. If the committee does not come up with the cuts, or the Congress does not pass them by December 23, then $1.2 trillion in cuts would automatically be triggered. The damage to the social safety net would be serious, but a $4 trillion cut, as advocated by the letter writers, would be far worse.

So, why would six Black Democrats join 54 mostly Blue Dog members of the Party in calling for a catastrophic $4 trillion in cuts? Because the First Black President is as eager to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare as the Republicans are. It was Barack Obama who appointed the Deficit Reduction Commission that last year called for $4 trillion in spending cuts, including Social Security. And, it was Obama who offered the Republicans the same level of spending cuts in his bid to make a “Grand Bargain” with the GOP – a bargain that, for their own evil reasons, the Republicans did not accept.

The First Black President is as eager to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare as the Republicans are.”

It was at that point, last summer, that the real Obama was stripped naked to the world as a corporate enemy of the New Deal and the Great Society who deploys progressive rhetoric in order to disarm his own Democratic base, in the service of Wall Street.

Without that revelatory moment, there may have been no Occupation movement.

The six Black Caucus members are among the congressional Democrats that want to help Obama to finally seal that Grand Bargain with the Republicans. The letter to which they affixed their signatures mimics Obama language in maintaining that “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.” That’s Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on a silver platter – in exchange for some token tax increases.

Who are these six Black congresspersons who would sell out their constituents to please the president and his corporate friends?

They are Danny Davis, of Chicago; Chaka Fattah, of Philadelphia; Gregory Meeks, of New York; Terri Sewell, of Alabama; Mel Watt, of North Carolina; and Emanuel Cleaver, of Kansas City. Cleaver is the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and made headlines last summer when he called the debt deal a Satan sandwich.” And here he is, with five other Black Caucus members, making common cause with the worst elements of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Emanuel Cleaver, Danny Davis, Chaka Fattah, Gregory Meeks, Mel Watt and Terri Sewell, feasting with the Devil on the bones of the social safety net. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20111109_gf_CBCAusterityLetter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08am EDT