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

New data on poverty testify to the bankruptcy of U.S. corporate party politics. The most successful years in the fight against poverty are 40 years behind us, while the future promises nothing but decline. Neither Democrats nor Republicans offer even the slightest reason to hope for an economic turnaround. However, “there’s really nothing wrong with the world that a social revolution can’t fix.”

 

The Poverties of a Decaying System

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

This crisis of capitalism will be full of drama.”

A preview of new Census figures indicates that poverty in the United States will likely soon reach the highest levels in 50 years. Now, some of you optimists out there are saying: Well, there’s nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. What I think is so depressing to many people about this particular historical juncture, is that there is absolutely nothing on the economic horizon on which even optimists can pin their hopes. There are no new industries on the verge of some huge explosion, no scientific breakthrough just around the corner. With education costs soaring, people can’t even hope to study themselves out of hard times.

It’s not a good time to be a child, because there is nothing sadder than growing up around adults who have themselves lost hope that our world will become a better place. It’s not a good time to be middle-aged, knowing that the Golden Age was 40 years ago, when the proportion of Americans in poverty was the lowest ever: only 11.1 percent. It’s expected to hit 15.7 percent under a president elected as an agent of Hope and Change.

But actually, there’s really nothing wrong with the world that a social revolution can’t fix. The fact that the two corporate political parties have no ideas worth listening to, simply means that the Democrats and Republicans can no longer even pretend that they can serve the 1% and take care of the rest of us at the same time. There’s no need to despair – just direct your political energies, elsewhere.

The intricacies of speculative hyper-capital become moot when you remove the speculating class.”

In times of crisis – and capitalism is in terminal crisis – political decisions may come more easily. In recent months, we have experienced two “scandals of the century” – the mortgage robo-signing debacle, and the unfolding Libor rig-the-whole-world scheme. If these actually were scandals of the century, we could look forward to 200 straight years of clean banking. However, when systems are in collapse, they produce an accelerating cascade of crises and scandals and emergencies of all kinds, each arriving more quickly than the last, and with greater severity. Like the old song said, We’ve only just begun. This crisis of capitalism will be full of drama. At the end of the story, we either get rid of the capitalist class or they bring the whole planet down with them. Along the way, the political choices get easier as the crisis becomes more acute. The Lords of Capital will make the process even simpler by their behavior; they’ll get meaner as their universe implodes.

One thing we do know: the Lords of Capital will never go broke, in the way normal people understand it. That’s because they don’t own things the way the rest of us do. Otherwise, how could there be hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives in a world that is only worth $75 trillion a year. Who owes what to who, and where did it come from? The intricacies of speculative hyper-capital become moot when you remove the speculating class.

Once the Lords of Capital are no longer the lords of anything, humanity gets another shot at rational development of the species and the planet. That’s the idea, anyway – to make a world in which its always a good time to be a child.

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: 20120801_gf_PovertyCensus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm EDT

Africa Re-Enslaves Itself

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The African Union has been transformed into a vassal of AFRICOM.”

Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister of Ghana, will forever be remembered as a great Pan-Africanist whose goal was the establishment of a United States of Africa. Instead, in 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown by a United States-backed coup. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi assumed the presidency of the African Union in 2009, vowing to work towards a United States of Africa with “a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport,” so that Africans could “move freely around the continent." Two and a half years later, Gaddafi was overthrown and killed by forces backed by the United States. The 53-member African Union had stood by, seemingly helpless to halt the overthrow of a sovereign African state by the Euro-American war machine.

Fifty-five years after Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana won its independence, the military force that counts most in Africa is the United States. Increasingly, the African Union has been transformed into a vassal of AFRICOM – the U.S. Military Command on the continent. The war in Somalia, which now involves the whole of the Horn of Africa, is, on paper, an African Union military operation. But the AU is just a front for the U.S., which provides all the training, weapons, equipment – everything the 15,000 African soldiers from five different nations need except their salaries, which are paid for by the European Union and the United Nations. The recolonization of Africa is well underway, but it will not require a huge American or NATO occupation force. The nations of the African Union will provide the troops for their own subjugation.

The African Union pretends not to be a puppet of the United States, but even the Los Angeles Times cannot avoid the conclusion that the Somali mission is “largely a creation of the State Department and Pentagon, trained and supplied by the U.S. government.” Rwandan soldiers have been doing the Pentagon’s bidding in Africa so long, and so loyally, a group of them has been brought to Alabama to learn how to operate the U.S. Army’s drones. Kenya soldiers are also undergoing drone training, so that they might better find, fix and destroy America’s African enemies.

The nations of the African Union will provide the troops for their own subjugation.”

That’s all most African armies are good for, now that 53 of the continent’s nations have become military partners with AFRICOM. African officers learn from Americans how to communicate with their troops, how to deploy them in the field, and what tactics are best for defense and attack. They train on American equipment, using American intelligence, and are probably indirectly paid by the Americans. Many of these militaries have closer ties to their American counterparts – to AFRICOM – than to their own governments. As a defense against U.S. aggression in Africa, these guys are quite useless. But they fit perfectly into President Obama’s calculation, that the American public has a great tolerance for war, as long as Americans are not the ones who are dying. By subordinating the African Union to the Pentagon’s purposes, Obama has made it possible for the U.S. to militarily dominate the continent, at very little political or economic cost. Essentially, the Africans are being paid to kill and enslave themselves.

Come to think of it, we’ve heard that story, before.

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: 20120801_gf_AfricanUnion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT