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

Two-Thirds of Planet Backs Iran Against “West”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Who, then, is isolated in the world – Iran, or the U.S. and Europe?”

The United States and its European allies – the old imperialists and the new – tell their countries’ populations that Iran is isolated in the world, and will have to get rid of its nuclear energy infrastructure in order to be allowed back into what they call “the community of nations.” Among the power groupies that call themselves journalists in the West, Iran is routinely referred to as a “pariah” nation, lurking at the very edge of civilization and sanity. The United States, by this reasoning, is showing great wisdom and forbearance, for not having already unleashed its carrier task forces, Marine divisions, Special Forces commandos, and swarms of drones on the crazed Iranians. Instead, the U.S., in it infinite goodness, enforces a strangling economic and oil embargo, to make the Iranian nation scream.

The Iranians are lucky, Americans and Europeans are told, that the U.S. holds back its friends in Israel, who are eager to give the ayatollah’s in Tehran a lesson in how to behave. But, whatever happens at the end of this game to force Iran to give up its lawful right to own and operate the full industrial cycle of nuclear power, western audiences are assured that the “international community” will approve. After all, Iran is a global outcast. CNN and the New York Times tell us so every day.

Someone is committing a crime, and its not Iran.”

Last week, the 120 nations of the Nonaligned Movement voted unanimously and without qualification in support of Iran’s right to produce nuclear energy, and to enrich their own uranium in the process. The Nonaligned Movement makes up about two-thirds of all the nations of the world. As a solid block of humanity, they rejected the dictates of Washington and London and Paris – the imperial powers that for centuries enslaved most of the planet – endorsing the fundamental principle that Iran has the same sovereign rights as any other nation.

Who, then, is isolated in the world – Iran, whose position is backed by two-thirds of the world’s countries, or the U.S. and Europe?

Clearly, the Americans and Europeans still believe that the only world opinion that counts, is the white world. The arrogance of the colonizer and imperialist is infinite, but their power is not – not any longer. The Nonaligned Movement vote is a global referendum, not on Iran’s lawful pursuit of its internal development policies, but on U.S. imperial bullying and criminality. Because, if Iran is within its rights, then the U.S. and the European Union are in the wrong in waging economic war, and threatening military assault, against Iran. Someone is committing a crime, and its not Iran. Two-thirds of the world says so.

The vote is all the more remarkable because the Americans and Europeans, and even the Israelis, exercise great influence over the affairs of much of what used to be called the Third World. Yet still, the former colonies and subjugated nations of the Nonaligned Movement voted unanimously, and on principle, rather than kowtow to power.

There is a lesson here. The Empire remains militarily strong and capable of great crimes. But it has lost much of its powers of coercion – without which, Empire must ultimately cease to exist. 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: 20120905_gf_IranVote.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:11am EDT

Obama Has Been Speechless on Minimum Wage

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The lowest wage sector now accounts for almost 60 percent of job growth.”

The impoverishment of politics in the Age of Obama has been nothing short of amazing. This president has so suppressed every vestigial remnant of progressivism in the political discourse, that the most fundamental bread and butter issues have become taboo. I’m talking about raising the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2007, the year before the bottom fell out of the economy.

A new study shows that the Great Recession was most destructive of decent-paying jobs, the middle tier where working people earned between about $14 and $21 an hour. That’s where sixty percent of job losses occurred between 2008 and 2010, and most of those jobs have not come back. Instead, the greatest increase in jobs has come in the low-wage sector, with a median pay from $7.69 – just above the federal minimum – to $13.83 an hour. The lowest wage sector now accounts for almost 60 percent of job growth, with traditionally bad-paying jobs in food preparation and retail sales leading the way.

High unemployment, on top of the disappearance of living wage jobs. You would think that in an election year, the party that is most identified with working people and folks that need to find work would be screaming at the top of their lungs: Raise the minimum wage! But, you will hear little or nothing of that from the Democratic convention festivities in Charlotte.

Poll numbers show huge public support for an increase, including among lots of Republicans.”

It’s not that the delegates are unaware of the crying need for a higher minimum wage. The Democratic platform – for what its worth – declares that “we will raise the minimum wage, and index it to inflation.” However, it doesn’t say how much, or when. And that’s in deference to the party’s standard bearer, who has not said anything meaningful about the minimum wage since he was campaigning for president in 2008. Back then, Obama promised to work to raise the minimum to $9.50 by 2011. Then he got elected, and we heard nothing more about it.

When the president is mum on an issue, then the party faithful put themselves on mute. There are bills in the House and the Senate to raise the minimum wage – the best one is sponsored by Chicago CongressmanJesse Jackson, Jr., calling for an immediate $10 an hour minimum, tied to inflation. But, there’s no chance of these bills going anywhere without the cooperation of Democratic leadership. Ralph Nader and others have beseeched party leaders to break the silence, but they don’t dare raise the issue for fear of embarrassing their President.

Apologists for Obama will claim that pushing for a $10 minimum wage indexed to inflation – or any significant raise – would hurt his chances for re-election. But the poll numbers show differently, with huge public support for an increase, including among lots of Republicans. Even Mitt Romney says he supports linking the minimum wage to inflation – just not right now. Obama has effectively been saying “no, not now” to underpaid workers for almost four years. So, why in the hell is labor getting ready to spend tens of million of dollars to re-elected him, instead of building a movement that will force politicians to do the right thing? 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: 20120905_gf_MinWage.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am EDT