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

Christopher Dorner: The Defector Who Went Out With A Bang

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Dorner is best described as a disaffected soldier in the ranks of the U.S. global and local Los Angeles occupation armies.”

Although his fans will argue otherwise, Christopher Jordan Dorner was neither a Nat Turner nor a Spook Who Sat by the Door.

Nat Turner was a leader of men, who inspired approximately 70 enslaved and free Black men in a glorious attempt to overthrow the slave system in Virginia, in 1831. The rebellion that goes by his name was a collective struggle that shook the slavocracy to its core, and one of the few U.S. slave revolts that was not betrayed by informers. Christopher Donner enlisted no one in his fatal and solitary vendetta against those he felt had done him personal harm. He died alone trying to hide his huge Black self in a mostly white mountain recreation area, leaving behind a “manifesto” that was mainly about himself and his service to the national and local armed forces.

Chris Dorner was no Dan Freeman, the protagonist “Spook” of the 1973 movie about an urban Black rebellion in the United States. Freeman is a Black nationalist who joins – infiltrates – the CIA, learns all he can about their evil arts, then returns to the Black community to train a cadre of urban guerilla fighters. The war of liberation catches fire. Christopher Dorner’s manifesto reveals a man who – until the unraveling – had been wholly captured by the myth and mystic of superpower America, a proud reserve lieutenant in the imperial Navy and officer in the LAPD who wanted only to serve with personal honor as a man-at-arms.

Dorner is best described as a disaffected soldier in the ranks of the U.S. global and local Los Angeles occupation armies, who made his psychologically break with the forces of racial oppression – or, was broken by them – only after having first been ejected. He transformed his ejection into a bloody defection, and flamed out – effectively, a suicide-by-cop (and, almost certainly, a victim of execution by white phosphorous-like incendiary).

“He transformed his ejection into a bloody defection, and flamed out.”

His self-definition could not survive separation from the institution that became his personal nemesis. In the end, he was as lonely as Rambo in First Blood, and just as politically lost.

A public death belongs to the public. Dorner’s fans, his African American public, whom he did not serve but who would inevitably embrace his weeklong death-throe defection from the LAPD, imbue him with qualities they wish were reliably available to the struggle: a Nat Turner, a Spook Who Sat by the Door. The Bronx, New York dope dealer, Larry Davis, who in1986 succeeded in shooting six of seven cops who came to his sister’s apartment to arrest or assassinate him, achieved similar fame. Davis eluded capture for 17 days, negotiated a live surrender at his public housing hideout as residents chanted "Lar-ry! Lar-ry!" – and beat the charges of attempted murder of cops. (William Kunstler and Lynne Steward were his lawyers.) His fans forgave Davis’s dope dealing ways, just as Dorner’s fans forgave his previous service to the Los Angeles Occupation Army.

The enduring lesson of Dorner’s saga is that the transformation of the LAPD into a majority-minority police force does not change its nature as an army of occupation, whose mission is racist to the core, regardless of its ethnic composition. That fact finally dawned on Christopher Dorner – and it killed him.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at


Direct download: 20130213_gf_Dorner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28pm EDT

Obama Inherits & Normalizes the Arrogance, and Impunity of Tricky Dick Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Both Bushes

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Back in the early seventies, when Richard Nixon secretly bombed Laos and Cambodia, two countries the US was not at war with, and concealed it from Congress and the public, the crime was serious enough to be the fourth article of impeachment drawn up against him. A dozen years later, when Ronald Reagan defied Congress to wage a bloody contra war in Central America funded by running drugs into the US from Central America and selling arms to Iran, Reagan only avoided impeachment by pretending he just couldn't remember much of it any more and letting his henchmen take the fall. George W. Bush too was widely reviled as a murderous fraud for his lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and more, with millions of Americans and millions more around the world protesting his invasion of Iraq before it even began.

But in the end, none of these Republican warmongers were impeached while in office or indicted afterward because Democrats, in control of Congress every time, could never bring themselves to pull the trigger. So Tricky Dick Nixon stepped down. Reagan doddered off to the ranch, and Dubya's at home right now watching American Idol. Barack Hussein Obama may be a different color and from a different party but he inherits their arrogance, their immunity, their impunity.

This White House openly brags about its “Terror Tuesday” meetings in which US special forces and drones have been dispatched to and from dozens of undisclosed countries to kidnap, torture or murder thousands of people, in the case of drone strikes mostly innocents, to the cheers and jokes of cruise missile liberals like Ed Schulz and Bill Maher, who calls Obama the “black ninja president.” The potent symbol of a black face in that high place has normalized the conduct of lawless aggressive war and secretive state murder among parts of the population which had no trouble calling a crime a crime when committed by a white Republican. In that sense, the First Black President is a little bit unlike, but mostly very much like his nefarious predecessors.

It's worth noting that in the debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, kill-at-will drone wars, the militarization of Africa, Wall Street's immunity from prosecution, and the push to privatize and charterize public education were points upon which both candidates were in complete agreement. But if Mitt Romney were president today wouldn't many more of us be in the street about these things? Black apologists, as Davey D notes, try to shut criticism of this president down in the misguided name of black unity, and some white activists stay home because they don't want to be seen as racist whites hating on the black president.

A Facebook friend in Atlanta remarked last week that whenever George Bush was rumored coming to town, his inbox would be full of emergency mobilization notices. But with the current War President about to visit, he said, it looked like his only correspondent might be the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It's going to be a long, long four more years.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)

Direct download: 20130213_bd_obama_inherits_nixons_reagans_bushes_arrogance_impunity.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:20am EDT

Just Like Crack in the 80s, the Police State Thrives on Gun Hysteria

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The presence of guns in Black inner cities is sufficient excuse to create a Constitution-free zone.”

From the moment it became known that 20 suburban, mostly white children had been massacred by a young white man in Connecticut, it was inevitable that Black America would pay the price. The nation’s reflexive response to crime and domestic mayhem – real or imagined, and regardless of the actual race of the perpetrators – is always to punish Black people. Whenever the symptoms of the national sickness – America’s endemic violence and alienation – become catastrophically acute, as in Newtown, the standard treatment is mass Black incarceration, by which huge proportions of the Black male population are expelled from the social body like foreign organisms.

The madness in a well-off town in Connecticut had nothing to do with Black inner city violence, which is overwhelmingly rooted in the absence of a legitimate economy, and a lack of social justice – and requires an economic and social justice response. But America is preprogrammed to treat violence as a Black phenomenon. As could be expected, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel – President Obama’s former chief of staff – proposed mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes. It is a huge step backward. Mandatory minimum sentences have been largely responsible for making the United States home to one out of every four prison inmates in the world, and many states have been backing away from the practice. Opposition to mandatory minimums has historically been strongest in Black America. However, in the current gun hysteria, Black activists and politicians have talked themselves into a corner. When President Obama shed tears over the tragedy in Connecticut, African Americans demanded that he show similar concern for young Black victims of gunfire. It was demanded that “do something.”

America is preprogrammed to treat violence as a Black phenomenon.”

Then came the shooting death of 15 year-old Chicagoan Hadiya Pendleton. The gun violence issue now had a Black face. Whatever was going to be done about guns, would be done to Blacks, through mandatory minimum sentences and adoption of New York-type stop-and-frisk policies. According to the Gallup polling organization, 44 percent of whites own guns, versus only 27 percent of Blacks and other non-whites. Yet, white gun ownership is politically sacrosanct – untouchable –while the presence of guns in Black inner cities is sufficient excuse to create a Constitution-free zone.

Until Newtown, momentum had been building for Black resistance to the American police state. But history shows it can just as easily collapse. Back in the mid-Eighties, the Reagan administration whipped up an hysteria around crack cocaine. As Michelle Alexander chronicled in her book The New Jim Crow, Reagan’s men used the panic to institute draconian criminal justice policies, including passage of a bill that mandated 100 times the penalties for crack versus powder cocaine. Three hundred and one members of Congress co-sponsored the legislation, including a majority of the Congressional Black Caucus. Many hundreds of thousands of African Americans spent millions of collective years in prison, because Black political leaders jumped on the mass incarceration bandwagon. The stage is being set for another such betrayal – by Black leaders and activists who fail to think before they ask the powers-that-be to “do something.”

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20130213_gf_Guns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02am EDT