Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from an African American point of view.

Honor Dr. King (and Real Black History): Oppose Obama’s Wars

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Dr. Martin Luther King who was assassinated in Memphis, April 4, 1968, broke with a Democratic president over the “giant triplets” of militarism, extreme materialism, and racism. Obamite revisionists must, in effect, gag the actual Dr. King to make him compatible with the current resident of the White House. They portray all of Black history as preparation for Inauguration Day, 2009. The true voice of MLK, the anti-warrior, is silenced for Obama's sake.

 

Honor Dr. King (and Real Black History): Oppose Obama’s Wars

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If you believe the revisionists, the whole of Black history has been a series of supporting acts leading up to the Main Event: the First Black U.S. Presidency.”

Every year, African Americans pay respect to Dr. Martin Luther King on the anniversaries of his birth and death. Since 2009, however, these occasions have been put to the service of a revisionist and essentially obscene narrative that portrays the great triumphs and sacrifices of the Black Freedom Movement in general, and Dr. King’s life work in particular, as mere preludes to the ascension of Barack Obama to the White House, four decades later.

This narrative finds expression in the fast-buck language of t-shirts that photo-shop Dr. King shaking hands with Obama, a digital miracle achieved by erasing Malcolm X from the actual photo – a huckster’s trick that amounts to a kind of political assassination of both Malcolm and Martin, and of Black history. We hear the twisted narrative in the popular post-2009 rhyme: "Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Obama could run, Obama ran so our children can fly!" What the rhymer is saying, is that Rosa Parks and Dr. King and a whole people in motion – all the sacrificing, dying, theoretical agonizing, political strategizing and, sometimes, sheer terror of the struggle – were simply a prelude to Barack Obama’s inaugural ball. Dr. King’s and Malcolm’s lives – and thousands of others – were snuffed out so that one day we would have those pretty pictures of Barack and his family in the executive mansion. What the revisionist narrative and the little poem really mean, is that the whole of Black history has been a series of supporting acts leading up to the Main Event: the First Black U.S. Presidency.

Of course, if that really were true, then we would already have arrived at the end of Black politics and history. Ironically, this is what Black people’s worst enemies would also like to believe.

Dr. King would oppose the Obama administration’s foreign and domestic policies, just as he broke with the much more liberal President Lyndon Johnson.”

Once you have bought into the revised history of Black people from Rosa Parks to the present, once all of the players from the past have been aligned in ways that make Obama inevitable, it becomes all but impossible not to believe that these dead ancestors would enthusiastically support the First Black President. Especially Dr. King, the most widely revered ancestor.

However, we knew Dr. King; he is probably our most documented – and self-documented – Black leader. His words, his writings, his life, testify to the certainty that Dr. King would oppose the Obama administration’s foreign and domestic policies, just as he broke with the much more liberal President Lyndon Johnson. Dr. King would see clearly the “giant triplets,” as he called them, at work in this administration: racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. It is an administration bankrolled by and in service of Wall Street: the most extreme materialism. Obama has expanded the theaters and technologies of war, and claimed the sole right to determine who shall be killed anywhere on the planet: militarism at its worst. And Obama is so intent on protecting white supremacy and privilege, he pretends it doesn’t exist: that is some deep racism.

Dr. King, like anyone else, would like to be remembered for his actual battles and beliefs. But you can’t celebrate Obama and celebrate Dr. King at the same time, and so the Obamites revise history and put a gag Dr. King – so that he can’t denounce Obama as a warmonger from the grave.

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: 20120404_gf_MLK.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34 PM

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

On strip searches, the Obama administration is “marching in lock step” with the rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Department lawyers posited political protesters with guns as the bogeymen for their argument to strip-search everyone headed for jail. It’s a chilling message: “Uncle Sam wants to look into all of your bodily cavities if you get arrested at a demonstration.”

 

Strip-Searches: Obama Wants You to Bend Over (Or Squat) and Spread ‘Em

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Crushing political dissent, not safety in jails, is what motivates the Obama administration to ally itself with the most reactionary wing of the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.”

Humiliation is the law of the land. When you fall into the clutches of the police, for any reason, or no good reason at all, you can be compelled to bare your private parts before being placed in the general jail population. Five of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that Constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable searches end at the jailhouse door, even if there is no reason to suspect that the person under arrest is in possession of anything that could be called contraband.

The decision throws out laws against unreasonable strip searches in at least ten states, and overrides federal law enforcement regulations against intrusive searches. The High Court decision also flies in the face of international human rights treaties to which the United States is a signatory. In effect, the Supreme Court majority ruled that the whim of the local jailer trumps any standard of reasonableness. The American Correctional Association, which represents jail guards, is pleased that its members now have the “flexibility” to look into virtually every human orifice that enters their domain, even though the association’s own standards currently discourage blanket policies of strip-searching everyone.

The administration’s lawyer chose to use hypothetical political protesters as the bad guys of his argument.”

The casual observer might conclude that the ruling is more evidence of a rightwing court on the warpath against what remains of the Bill of Rights. But, on this issue, the Obama administration is marching in lock step with the High Court’s rightwing majority. U.S. Justice Department lawyers spoke and filed briefs in favor of blanket strip searches. Indeed, the oral argument put forward by Obama’s lawyer was, perhaps, the most curious of all. Most of the discussion about the smuggling of contraband into jail settings involves drugs or crude weapons and other petty criminal concerns – the day-to-day stuff of life in a jail. But the administration’s lawyer chose to use hypothetical political protesters as the bad guys of his argument. In this weird scenario, a protester with a gun, traveling in a car that was about to stopped by police, would hide the gun on his person in hopes of avoiding a pat-down search, and then bring the gun into the jail when he is arrested – presumably for some minor offense connected to the demonstration.

This is quite strange reasoning, and shows what kinds of conversations the Obama folks are having at the Justice Department. Crushing political dissent, not safety in jails, is what motivates the Obama administration to ally itself with the most reactionary wing of the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court. The Left is not paranoid; the Obama administration really is preparing its legal arsenal to smash dissent in the United States. They are getting ready for a “full spectrum” assault on civil and political freedoms, ranging from the big hammer, suspension of all due process through preventive detention, to the intimately chilling effect on potential protesters of knowing that Uncle Sam wants to look into all of your bodily cavities if you get arrested at a demonstration.

Obama’s lawyer was not talking off-the-cuff before the U.S. Supreme Court. This administration is obsessed with political protesters. They want you to bend over, and spread ‘em – literally and politically.

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: 20120404_gf_StripSearches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:25 PM

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

NATO, the armed fist of the US and Western Europe in Asia and Africa is coming to Chicago in May. NATO countries account for more than 70% of the planet's military spending. To underline their contempt for ordinary Chicagoans and their children, Chicago's Public Schools are sponsoring a “welcome NATO” video contest for public school children, but the first prize is much less than what a round fired from many of NATO's guns cost. What cheapskates.

NATO, Chicago's Cheapskate Public Schools Insult City's Children Again

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

NATO is now the multinational cloak for US intervention in Afghanistan, and in the Middle East and Africa as well. It is the armed and predatory white West arrayed against the rest of the world...”

I was born and raised and lived most of my life in Chicago, and although I've lived in Georgia the last decade, I still consider myself an exiled Chicagoan. So this spring I'm especially proud of the movement activists and ordinary citizens of Chicago who did something we were all told could not be done against the opposition of the White House and Rahm Emanuel's City Hall. They drove the G8 summit meeting, which had been scheduled concurrently with the NATO summit in May, out of town.

So at the end of February, the White House quietly announced that the G8 summit would be moved to the remote presidential mountaintop retreat at Camp David, Maryland.

This is as it should be. No past meetings of the global bankster elite and their captive heads of state could be conducted in the midst of living cities full of ordinary people anyplace on this planet, because when ordinary people learn what the G8 is, they inevitably turn out to protest in large numbers, with permits or not, legally or illegally. This is why past G8 summits have had to be held on fortified islands in the Quebec River, at mountaintop retreats in Italy, on in the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia.

Chicago will, however, play host to the NATO summit in May, which is almost as bad. NATO was originally the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Canada, the US and the powers of northwestern Europe arrayed against the Soviet Union after World War 2. With the end of the Soviet Union in the 80s, NATO now includes all of Germany, and eastern and southern Europe right up to the Russian border and down as far as Turkey.

NATO is now the multinational cloak for US intervention in Afghanistan, and in the Middle East and Africa as well. It is the armed and predatory white West arrayed against the rest of the world, poised to seize and control the wealth and strategic resources of the former colonial world on behalf of those who rule the US and Europe. Taken together with the US, which alone accounts for half the world's spending on arms and military training, the NATO countries make up more than 70% of the world's military expenditures.

So what's the first prize? A free ride scholarship at a choice college? A pair of new Mercedez Benzes like the winners of the Chicago marathon get every year?”

You really can't put a friendly face on that. But the Department of Cheapskate Public Relations at Chicago Public Schools, which since the 1990s have been under direct mayoral control, is trying. They're sponsoring a pitiful little contest among Chicago Public Schools students for who can make the best three minute video welcoming NATO's armed fist to Chicago next month.

So what's the first prize? A free ride scholarship at a choice college? A pair of new Mercedez Benzes like the winners of the Chicago marathon get every year? Not really. These are Chicago public school students and their teachers, after all. The first prize winner gets an iPad, and their teacher gets $400 worth of school supplies. They don't call them the Department of Cheapskate Public Relations for nothing.

When AT&T's minority broadband circus comes to town, they let Tom Joyner give away three or four dozen laptops in every city. NATO governments spend a lot more than iPad money on every single missile and round fired from some of their fancier guns. They should call up Tom Joyner and see how this bribing minority kids and photo-op thing actually works. It's just another cheapskate insult to Chicago, to our schools and teachers and our children.

A single iPad doesn't cost much. Movement folks in Chicago can probably take up their own collection and offer their own comparable prize for the public school student who comes up with the best “say NO to NATO video” around the time that zoo pulls into town. I hope they do.

And I hope to be back home in Chicago when NATO comes to town, and to join with tens of thousands of friends and neighbors to greet the bloody handed lying warmongers of NATO when they come to defile my home town. Hope to see some of you there.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and resides in Marietta GA, where he serves on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com, or through this site's contact page.

Direct download: 20120404_bd_NATO_chicago.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:20 PM