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

The Black Misleadership Class Lines Up Behind Transit Privatization In Atlanta

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Back in the 1960s residents of Fulton and Dekalb counties along with the city of Atlanta voted in a penny sales tax to fund MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. For all the usual reasons, the surrounding majority white counties declined participation in MARTA, claiming its acronym instead stood for Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta. Along with rural legislators they imposed savage and arbitrary funding and operational restrictions on the agency, so that to this day MARTA receives not a penny of gas tax revenue and is the only big city transit agency in the nation that gets not a penny from state government.

Though they wouldn't tax themselves to pay its bills, suburbanites were long represented on MARTA's governing board, and the rural and suburban state legislators although again, the state gives no money to MARTA, convene a permanent and powerful oversight committee that constantly interferes with its governance.

A generation of black Atlanta mayors have made it their business to push tens of thousands of low income black families out of the city in order to “revitalize” it with wealthier, whiter residents, and white suburbanites now covet the multibillion dollar transit infrastructure built by inner-city Fulton, Dekalb and Atlanta residents.

The next big play, openly demanded by Atlanta business leaders like the Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the legislative oversight committee, and tacitly agreed to by Atlanta's black mayor, it's majority black city council, and most of the local black leadership class is privatization of the city's transit assets, all at once or piece by piece. The transit agency's own governing board is on the privatization bus as well.

They commissioned a recent audit that blames the city's transit woes on lazy, overpaid workers with too many sick days and much too lavish health care plans. And with the approval of the white governor --- again despite the fact that the state provides the agency NO funding --- and the black mayor, a new transit chief has been brought in from San Antonio, TX for the express purpose of breaking the black-led union, and transitioning the agency to state control so it can be privatized.

Privatization will be a good deal for whichever fat cats get the contracts. But it won't be good for ordinary people who need transit to get to and look for jobs. It won't be so good for businesses who depend on transit to bring workers and customers to their doors. It won't be good for the thousands of elderly who have less access to automobiles, often because they can no longer drive, and it won't be good for college and high school students who depend on public transit to get to school. It won't be good for folks who have to access medical care or government services, or who want to maintain family ties or get to church on Sunday.

But a whole layer of the black political class and their hangers on are foaming at the mouth at the thought of lucrative “public private partnerships,” and that will be the shape of the politics of black Atlanta for the near future. It's the privatizers and profiteers vs the rest of us. Which side are YOU on.

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 a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20121031_bd_transit-privatization.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EDT

Arab Revolutions Will Never be Made-in-the-USA

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The men that Obama used to get rid of Gaddafi, and is now using to get rid of Syrian President Assad, have their own ideas about what constitutes a revolution.”

The New York Times noted the anniversary of the murder of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in typical imperial fashion: with a combination of lies and exhortations. The Times editorial was titled, “Making Revolution Work.” Of course, the nine month long NATO assault on a country of six million people was not a revolution in any meaningful sense of the word. The largely Islamist fighters that butchered Gaddafi after his convoy was disabled by foreign aircraft, and who subsequently executed 100 other captives were acting as proxies for the U.S. and its NATO allies who, together, account for 70 percent of the world’s arms expenditures.

No genuine revolution in world history has been brought into being by the massed arms of the globe’s reigning imperial powers. This was the old colonial order, showing once again who is in charge in Africa and the Arab and Muslim worlds. Revolutions do not emanate from Washington, Paris and London.

The Americans and Europeans, including the old Italian colonial masters who killed one-third of the Libyan population when they were in charge, were joined by the thieving royal families of Qatar and Saudi Arabia – who rightly perceive any hint of revolution in the Arab world as the equivalent of their own death warrants.

The United States and its allies and proxies ignited race war in northern Africa, a slaughter of dark-skinned Libyans and black migrants that continues to this day – as does the resistance. How befitting its national character that the United States provoke an orgy of racist violence, and call it revolution!

Hillary Clinton encapsulated the imperial nature of the overthrow of Col. Gaddafi. “We came, we saw, he died,” said the bestial secretary of state, picturing herself as Julius Caesar. Clinton understood perfectly that Libya was a war of conquest and empire.

This second round of blowback will make the first look like a schoolyard fight.”

The New York Times, which, along with the rest of the U.S. corporate media, acted as cheerleader for the conquest of Libya, now exhorts America’s former Libyan proxies, posing as a government, to disarm the rowdier elements in their midst, lest they tarnish the so-called revolution. We certainly don’t want any more U.S. ambassadors turning up dead. But the men that Obama used to get rid of Gaddafi, and is now using to get rid of Syrian President Assad, have their own ideas about what constitutes a revolution – Salafist, jihadist ideas that do not include continued U.S. domination of the world. They gladly accepted Washington’s money and guns, and remain grateful to NATO for incinerating the real heroes of the war, the Libyan soldiers who fought on for so long while death rained on them from the skies. But a favor or two from the Great Satan doesn’t alter these jihadis’ obligations to God, as they perceive them.

The new round of blowback has begun. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan virtually created the global jihadist network to fight the Soviets, in Afghanistan – with results we have all witnessed. This second round of blowback will make the first look like a schoolyard fight. So, if the New York Times and Hillary Clinton and President Obama think they are now such great friends of the Arab revolution – they ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

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: 20121031_gf_LibyaAnniversary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm EDT