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

Chavez Beats the Devil, Again

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

In the United States, his ten percent winning margin would be considered a landslide.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won a resounding victory in last weekend’s elections. If you’ve been following U.S. corporate media coverage of the campaign, that may have come as a surprise to you. Chavez is routinely referred to as a “strongman” and other variations on “dictator” by the U.S. media when, in fact, he remains one of the most popular persons in all of Latin America. In the United States, his ten percent winning margin would be considered a landslide, but all the American media can talk about after Chavez’s latest victory at the polls is how much his lead has shrunk since the 2006 election, when he won by 25 percent.

Every time Chavez and his Bolivarian socialists win at the polls, the corporate media have to eat crow. One would think all that heartburn would force the U.S. press to finally admit that Chavez is the leader of oil rich Venezuela because large majorities of its citizens want him in the presidential palace, and are enjoying the fruits of his wealth distribution policies.

It is also impossible for American media, which are mouthpieces for their corporate owners and take their day-to-day cues from the State Department and the White House, to understand that most Venezuelans agree with Chavez when he denounces the imperialists in Washington. They knew what Chavez meant when he called President Bush “the devil” and said that he stank of sulfur, back in 2006. Venezuelans remembered how Bush backed a coup that almost toppled Chavez in 2002 – a coup that was reversed by a counter-rebellion of the people and loyal soldiers. They remember that the coup leaders’ first act was to abolish the Constitution and start drawing up lists of people to be thrown into prison, or worse. They remember the dark days when nearly all of Latin America was placed under the rule of generals allied with Washington, and the hands of the torturers and the death squads could reach into every family with impunity. They know who was the author of that nightmare: the United States.

Every time Chavez and his Bolivarian socialists win at the polls, the corporate media have to eat crow.”

That’s why Latin America is the corner of the world that has achieved the greatest success over the last 20 years in throwing off the dead weight of the North, by rejecting the so-called Washington Consensus. And that’s why, this time around, the Venezuelan opposition chose a candidate who pretended to be a leftist, himself. Challenger Henrique Capriles, a young state governor, styled himself as a protégé of former Brazilian president “Lula” da Silva, a more business-friendly type of leftwing politician. But Venezuela’s poor know the who opposition really are: the affluent, mostly light-skinned people that live in swank neighborhoods and whose hearts dwell in Miami. The people who draw cartoons in opposition newspapers depicting Chavez as a monkey and openly sneer at his mixed race heritage – the heritage of most Venezuelans. They know what real democracy feels like, because they remember what living under the yoke of a rich white minority felt like. Democracy is having a government that’s not made up of those people whose hearts are in Miami. Democracy calls the top Yankee a devil, and the people cheer, and then the people vote.

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: 20121010_gf_ChavezWins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16pm EDT

Black is Back, With a Conference in Washington, Nov 3

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Breaking the silence means pollinating our communities with the direction and skills necessary to break the back of those who oppress and kill us.”

When the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations first came together in October of 2009, millions of African Americans were still flush with the glow of Barack Obama’s inauguration, nine months before, when a million African Americans gathered at the Washington Mall like faithful Muslims on a pilgrimage to Mecca. But by October of his first year in office, President Obama had already announced that he would be putting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block; he had already sabotaged Durban II, the international conference against racism, just as George Bush had sabotaged Durban I, eight years before; and Obama had already announced that he would not be proposing any programs to alleviate extreme Black suffering in the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression – even as his friends on Wall Street were already moving towards a taxpayer-funded recovery. Clearly, it was time for Black activists to get activeagain – to make some noise and formulate some plans - rather than passively accept the corporate policies of the icon in the White House.

By November of 2009, the Black Is Back Coalition was in motion, with a march and rally at the White House. It was not the most popular thing to do, but it was surely the only sane response to the deepening crisis in Black America, and for the entire world. The worst elements of the financial oligarchy were emerging from the Great Recession more powerful than ever. We are talking about the gentrifyers, who boost the price of urban living until African Americans can no longer sustain themselves in the nation’s cities, and must scatter, their political power dissipated, lost forever. It was clear to the new Coalition that there is no choice but to resist the jobs destroyers, who relentlessly push down wages, here and abroad, and have already made Black youth expendable. The American Prison Gulag bulged at the seams with caged Black people, who now represented one out of eight of the entire planet’s incarcerated population. The new U.S. Africa military command, AFRICOM, was on the march, setting the stage for a neocolonial offensive to steal the continent’s independence and resources, once again.

It was clear to the new Coalition that there was no choice but to resist.”

So, in 2009, the Black Is Back Coalition broke the silence and passivity that has gripped Black America, most dramatically since Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. The Coalition marched again, in 2010, and 2011, and will break the silence again on November 3 of this year, at Malcolm X Park, in Washington.

The Black Is Back Coalition does much more than hold rallies. Its organizations and individuals strategize and teach and learn, organize and plan for the Movement that must arise from the aspirations and talents of our people. Breaking the silence means pollinating our communities with the direction and skills necessary to break the back of those who oppress and kill us. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” On November 3 and 4, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will be shouting and organizing, plotting and scheming, to win power for Black people, everywhere on the planet. Go to www.BlackIsBackCoalition.org and register for the November 3 conference. Break the silence. Black Is Back!

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: 20121010_gf_BiB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:10pm EDT