Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
What Black Lobbyists & CBC Members Mean When They Say “We Are Not A Monolith”

What Black Lobbyists & CBC Members Mean When They Say “We Are Not A Monolith”

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

What does it mean when current and former Congressional Black Caucus members like North Carolina's G.K. Butterfield and disgraced former Maryland Rep. Al Wynn, now a lobbyist for one of the firms that represent Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, sit down for a TV interview with ex-CBC staffer and current corporate lobbyist Angela Rye, and between them in a seven minute interview they declare four or five times that“We are not a monolith”?

When I hear “monolith” I think of the floating, murmuring slab of rock left behind by ancient aliens in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” But still it's hard to believe people are really confusing black elected officials and lobbyists with artifacts left behind by space aliens. When these folks say “we are not a monolith” it simply means “We're under NO obligation to represent you, and we ain't even tryin' so quit pretendin' like we need to.”

This was pretty much the theme of the June 23 session of Roland Martin's NewsOne Now titled “Has the CBC Sold Out To Big Banks” on TV One. The segment was a response to articles in the Huffington Post, Black Agenda Report, Breaking Brown, and elsewhere charging that CBC members, staff and black lobbyists were leveraging their “civil rights brands” on behalf of telecoms, banksters, gentrifiers, military contractors, Big Ag, Big Oil and so on.

Host Angela Rye led off with a self serving “we're not a monolith” screed bemoaning “the incredibly high and unrealistic standards” that the black caucus are held to, the notion that they should be accountable to the people instead of corporations. Rep. Butterfield, whom Rye says she calls “Dad 3” called the articles a disservice and agreed that “We're not a monolithic caucus.”

Rye pronounced herself especially offended by the charge that CBC members, staffers and especially lobbyists like herself doing the bidding of their corporate masters were “sellouts.” Former congressman Al Wynn, a man so eager to become a lobbyist that he resigned his seat before all the votes were counted in his losing primary election bid, almost sounded hurt as he called the sellout charge pejorative, “...offensive and patronizing.” In a fit of neoliberal logic that could have come straight from the lips of Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney, Wynn declared big banks and greedy corporations like the ones he represented in Congress and now shills for as a lobbyist had senior citizens and pension funds among their stockholders, that they were job creators and essential to the economy. These interests, all three agreed, deserved to have some black faces among their lobbyists and their supporters in the Congress, just as black communities deserved the opportunity to provide some of those black faces.

The two lobbyists and the congressman who is “Dad 3” to one of the lobbyists solemnly pronounced the reporting on the caucus unbalanced, their corporate benefactors essential to the welfare of the nation, and wondered aloud who these reporters actually talk to. And that was it, that was NewsOne Now for the day.

A lot happened in that seven minutes, none of it good, and none of it resembling journalism. Black corporate stooges in and out of government got a chance to publicly reassure and consoled one another, and to wisely inform ordinary people once again that the notion these black faces in high places might actually represent their interests was unrealistic. You've got a black face in a high place. What else do you need?

 

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Direct download: 20140625_bd_not_a_monolith.mp3
Category:Other -- posted at: 10:23am EDT

White Supremacy and the Central Park 5

White Supremacy and the Central Park 5

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

In America, white supremacy means never having to say you’re sorry, in any meaningful way.”

A settlement will soon be finalized, in New York City, that will award five no longer young Black men $40 million for spending between 7 and 13 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Twenty-five years ago, the Central Park 5 – Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Kharey Wise – were almost universally described in the media in animalistic terms. They were a “wolf pack” that had gone “wilding” on a mad rampage of lust and brutality, raping a 28-year-old white jogger and beating her almost to death. The cops – experts at psychological operations against Black teenagers – coerced confessions from the 14, 15 and 16 year olds, and they were convicted in 1990.

Miraculously, in 2002, the real perpetrator, a total stranger to the young men, confessed to having committed the crime all by himself. Forensic science confirmed his guilt, and the convictions were vacated. Having lost that which could never be reclaimed – their youth – the Central Park 5 sued the police and prosecutors for false arrest, malicious prosecution and a racially motivated conspiracy to deprive them of their civil rights. But, official New York was unrepentant. The billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, insisted that the city had violated no one’s rights. The five Black and Hispanic men should just go on with their lives, and be grateful that they were no longer officially branded as brutal rapists. The police had acted in “good faith.”

The war against Blacks is a permanent feature of social control in the United States.”

Only a morally depraved, irredeemable racist would use the term “good faith” to describe the treatment accorded the Central Park 5. In a sane, non-racist society, the fact that five innocent children had been made to confess to a horrible crime that they did not commit would be viewed as a prima facie case of police misconduct. The onus would be on law enforcement to explain how such multiple miscarriages of justice could have happened in the absence of unlawful behavior by the police. But, in America, white supremacy means never having to say you’re sorry, in any meaningful way – and never relinquishing the authority to behave in exactly the same manner the next time it suits your purposes.

Thus, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to accept a $40 million settlement for the unspeakable crimes committed against the Central Park 5 is more controversial, in white society, than Mayor Bloomberg’s abject refusal to atone at all. It’s not that $40 million will break the city’s budget. New York paid out more than $700 million in settlements or awards from lawsuits for negligence, police abuse and property damage in 2012, and expects to pay more than $800 million a year by 2016. But, what they refuse to relinquish is the right to whip up racial hysteria at will, to treat Black children like wolves and other species of wild animals, to scream that Black bucks are running amuk.

The war against Blacks is a permanent feature of social control in the United States. Although the Central Park 5 were exonerated, and will now be monetarily compensated, their ordeal bore ample fruit for the white supremacist state. In the wake of the fictitious “wilding,” Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg were enabled to impose an even harsher, racially selective police state on Black and brown neighborhoods all across the city, ruining countless young lives.

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: 20140625_gf_CentralPark5.mp3
Category:Other -- posted at: 10:16am EDT

U.S. Funds “Terror Studies” to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements

U.S. Funds “Terror Studies” to Dissect and Neutralize Social Movements

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

In the language of ‘terrorism studies,’ the human beings involved in these social movements are 'contagions,' as in vectors of disease.”

The U.S. Department of Defense is immersed in studies about...people like you. The Pentagon wants to know why folks who don’t themselves engage in violence to overthrow the prevailing order become, what the military calls, “supporters of political violence.” And by that they mean, everyone who opposes U.S military policy in the world, or the repressive policies of U.S. allies and proxies, or who opposes the racially repressive U.S. criminal justice system, or who wants to push the One Percent off their economic and political pedestals so they can’t lord it over the rest of us. (I’m sure you recognize yourself somewhere in that list.)

The Pentagon calls this new field of research “terrorism studies,” which is designed to augment and inform their so-called War on Terror. Through their Minerva Research Initiative, the military has commissioned U.S. universities to help it figure out how to deal with dissatisfied and, therefore, dangerous populations all around the world, including the United States.

The Minerva Initiative was the subject of an article in The Guardian newspaper by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, an academic who studies international security issues. The Initiative seeks to sharpen the U.S. military’s “warfighter-relevant insights” into what makes people tick, and get ticked off at power structures, in regions “of strategic importance to the U.S.” Since the U.S. is an empire seeking global hegemony, and sees the whole world as strategic, the Minerva program’s areas of interest involve – everybody on the planet.

Total War Against the Planet

The Minerva project paid Cornel University researchers to find out when social movements reach a “critical mass” of people – a “tipping point” at which they become a threat to the powers-that-be. In the language of “terrorism studies,” the human beings involved in these social movements are “contagions,” as in vectors of disease. Neutralizing them becomes a job for “warfighters.”

The University of Washington is studying “large scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants” in 58 countries, to see how these folks kept their movements going.

So, now you know why U.S. intelligence agencies are tapping the telephones and Internet communications of virtually the entire population of the planet. They are mapping every conceivable human network, sifting through the myriad patterns of human association to find possible vectors of resistance, which are to be identified and eradicated, like a disease. American military and intelligence enlisted academics to study the dynamics of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey" – all with the aim of preventing similar “contagions” from spreading.

The United States military sees itself as engaged in a total war against the entirety of planet Earth: all of its people, its social movements and dynamics, are enemy territory, including the people of the United States.

When American rulers say they are defending U.S. national security interests against all potential enemies, what they really mean is they are defending the prevailing capitalist order against any social movement that might oppose it, anywhere on Earth. They want to put the hole planet on lockdown, and have enlisted U.S. universities in their global fascist project.

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: 20140618_gf_TerrorStudies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Blackwashing, the Reparations Brand, and a Last Refuge For Scoundrels

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Blackwashing, the Reparations Brand, and a Last Refuge For Scoundrels

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

Why is Ta Nehisi Coates suddenly a public reparista, and what does this say about the reparations movement?

Back in the day when black politicians used to fall out of favor, their friends ratting each other out before grand juries and prosecutors combing their personal records for evidence of wrongdoing, the standard thing for the political figure to do was to get very publicly right with Jesus. The church, after all, seems to never turn anybody down.

Nowadays a disgraced black politician is as likely to blacken herself up with a public embrace of reparations in addition to the old confession of religious faith. Like the church, all one has to do to join the reparations movement is to make that confession of faith, a kind of secular Shahada.

Nobody here at Black Agenda Report disagrees with the fundamental justice of the case for reparations. But it's a just cause with a huge problem. Reparations for the descendants of slaves, the victims of historic Jim Crow and the current prison state is an immense political problem. But apart from a single piece of legislation and a few lawsuits over the last 30 years, reparistas seem to take no responsibility for proposing, discussing or advancing even the sketchiest of political roadmaps to bring us to reparations.

I'm a lifelong socialist, somebody who believes political mountains can and must be moved. But when proponents of reparations don't even try to discuss what the needed political coalitions might look like, what sectors of society we need to win over to make reparations happen, or how many years or decades all this might take, are they acting like a political movement, or like something else? What kind of political movement advances no measures, discusses no plans, takes no responsibility for advancing its own just cause? The answer is that movements don't behave like that at all. But brands do.

Brands neither say what they mean, nor mean what they say. Brands are stories, brands are narratives contrived to get specific emotional reactions, to pull real or imagined memories, sights, smells or feelings from a target audience. To do this brands operate outside of and independent from fact and/or logic. Reparations is not a movement, it's a brand.

A centerpiece of the reparations brand is the study bill that Rep. John Conyers has introduced in every one of the last dozen Congresses except the 110th and 11th. In those two Congresses, Conyers, with four decades of seniority finally chaired the powerful House Judiciary Committee with the ability to move the study bill, or at least the discussion of reparations. If reparations was a movement instead of a brand, he would have done just that. But Conyers put the reparations study bill in his desk drawer until Republicans re-took the House and he no longer had that power. Safely back in the minority again in early 2011, he re-introduced the reparations study bill once more.

After five and a half years of the Obama presidency, during which the problems of black America were ignored and in some cases made worse, some of his black enablers and apologists feel the need to get their ghetto passes re-stamped. Wrapping themselves in the reparations brand is their way of asserting fictive allegiance to African Americans along with some imaginary distance from the president. If Wal-Mart and BP pretending to be environmentally responsible is greenwashing, this is blackwashing.

Polls indicate that a majority of African Americans do favor reparations. But in the absence of a reparations movement with discussions of plans and strategies, reparations is only a brand, available for scoundrels to hide behind whenever their ghetto passes need re-stamping. Today it's Mr. Coates. Tomorrow? Well...

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or emailed directly at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20140617_bd_brand_reparations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am EDT

Black Response to the Koch $25 Million “Gift” Should Be a Movement For Free College Tuition

Black Response to the Koch $25 Million “Gift” Should Be a Movement For Free College Tuition

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

Back in the 1860s the first of our historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs were founded with dollars from white philanthropists. In the six or seven generations since we like to think we've come a long way. But have we really? The United Negro College Fund's eager acceptance of a $25 million dollar “gift” from the notorious Koch brothers ought to make us all wonder whether we're really movin' on up, or moving backward, and why.

By the 1960s and 70s, federal tax dollars were a substantial and rising portion of funding at HBCUs. That was real progress, because public funding of black higher education implies a public commitment, rather than dependence on the fickle whims of the wealthy. But college tuition has ballooned one thousand percent since 1978, and federal funding has not kept pace. Today's students are burdened by onerous debt which lenders have used their political influence to compound and make bankruptcy-proof. Higher education is in now danger of becoming an inherited privilege of well-off families, social mobility in the US is at an historic low. Instead of looking for ways to target increased funding to historically black colleges and universities, the Obama administration has made it harder for black families to qualify for college loans, causing thousands of young African Americans to forgo their dreams of higher education.

With historically black colleges and universities in a deep fiscal and strategic hole, accepting $25 million from the evil Koch brothers is not evidence of sagacity, pragmatism or wisdom. It's a decision to dig that hole even deeper.

If the gaggle of politicians, preachers, academics and business types who pass themselves off as our black leadership class possessed a shred of political imagination and moral courage they would study up, they would talk up, they would committeefy and they would help call into existence a movement demanding higher education as a human right and free college tuition for everybody. It's not an impossible dream – other countries, relatively civilized places less wealthy than the US like France and Norway already do this. A movement demanding free higher education and forgiveness of outstanding student debt, funded by taxing the rich instead of borrowing from or begging them is the kind of inspiring vision that could put tens or hundreds of thousands in the streets demanding real change. It could mobilize churches and unions, small towns and big cities, the young and the old, and make no mistake, it's the only way HBCUs will be rescued from this crisis with any integrity. Over half of black college grads are now working in jobs that don't even require a college education.

Begging harder or smarter, or being willing to accept funding from even more devilish devils is not the solution of visionary leaders. It's the refuge of lazy hypocrites and cowards.

Progress, as Frederick Douglass told us, only comes with struggle. Real leaders know how to envision the world as it should be and articulate that inspiring vision to the masses. They know when to demand what is NOT being offered, and how to pick a fight, because we cannot win what we will not fight for.

Education, including higher education is a human right. If we want HBCUs to survive the current crisis, it's time to stop begging and pick a fight. It's time to demand free higher education financed by federal tax dollars, and forgiveness of student loans. If our black misleadership class cannot get with that, it's time to sweep them to the side.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party.

 



Direct download: 20140611_bd_uncf_vs_picking-a-fight.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57pm EDT

Obama FCC's "Fast Lane" Proposals Spell The End of the Open Internet

The pending “internet fast lane” proposal advanced by President Obama's FCC chairman and telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler isn't the end of the world, but it is the end of the internet as we know it. The FCC's proposal establishes the legal right of telecom monopolies to apply “market-based” charges for any kind of internet service they choose, for any reason they might invent.

So-called “fast internet lanes” will be given to wealthy corporations like ABC-Disney, CBS-Viacom, NetFlix, HBO, ESPN, YouTube, Amazon, and Facebook, which can afford to pay millions for the privilege of reaching you. Comcast, the biggest backbone owner and internet provider also owns NBC-Universal, including MSNBC, so they and other telecom monopolies will reserve the “fast lane” for their own content as well.

But under the FCC's current proposal, every other kind of internet traffic may be restricted, throttled, subjected to random tolls and extra charges, as long as these are justified by “market logic.” What kinds of internet content will suffer?

  • Broadcast radio stations that stream their content via the internet will have to pay up, or their listeners on the other end will have to pay to receive them;

  • Internet radio of all kinds has never made money, and will pretty much vanish because neither producers nor listeners will be able to pay tolls for lanes “fast” enough to reach or sustain an audience.

  • Vonage, Magik-Jack and other telephone providers whose calls are routed over the internet will have to charge more or be driven out of business;

  • Those discount long distance telephone cards won't be such a discount any more. They too route calls over the internet, and those companies will have to raise prices steeply to pay tolls or go out of business.

  • Small newspapers, journalistic enterprises, small businesses, community voices and blogs of all kinds will also be unable pay “fast lane” tolls and opinions independent of the owners of corporate media will become difficult to publish and hard to find.

  • Artists who sell their work over the internet will be forced to use just a few middlemen, like Amazon and Apple, which will take an even larger rake off the top and will possess nearly complete control over what is available.

  • Greedy telecom companies will finally achieve their dream of being able to charge for “long distance” or “international” email, or to limit the number of emails you can send, forward or receive without additional tolls.

  • Email listserves which send bulk email to customers and interest groups of all kinds might be forced to pay tolls as well.

Before the 60 day comment period on these new rules began on May 15, the FCC had already received more than 3 million pleas from the public NOT to end network neutrality, the technical name for the principle that all content from every provider should be freely available to all comers over the internet. This should have stopped the FCC and the Obama administration in its tracks. But the White House and the FCC are not listening.

It will take a vigorous and sustained public outcry to stop the FCC from turning the internet, originally designed and built by government employees with billions of your tax dollars, into a privatized corporate plantation, much like cable TV.

It's a political question, but not a partisan one. Democrats and Repubicans, omnivores and vegans, libertarians and socialists, anarchists and independents, artists, small businesses and everyone who believes the people's conversation should not be subjected to the whims of the market and monopolists ought to be in motion these next 30 days.

So send an email to openinternet@fcc.gov before July 15, but also get a half dozen or more of your friends to go down to your local congressman's office. Better yet, call a loud and disrespectful public meeting demanding that the internet be madea public utility, like it is in Taiwan or South Korea. Whatever you do though, do it now, before July 15, before the open internet is history.

 

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly email updates at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe

Direct download: 20140611_bd_saving-the-internet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

CA Supermax Prisoners Win Right To Challenge Solitary Confinement As A Class

A Class Action Against the Torture of Solitary Confinement

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The ruling will force the state to defend its draconian policies.”

Prisoners held for ten years and more in solitary confinement at California’s infamous Pelican Bay supermax have won the right to challenge – as a class – the constitutionality of their treatment. A federal judge in Oakland has allowed five of the inmates to also represent 500 others who have spent a decade in isolation, as well as 1,100 additional prisoners who are confined in solitary for supposed gang membership. Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights are handling the class action suit. The question they are posing is simple: Does ten years in solitary – and even longer, for dozens of inmates at Pelican Bay – amount to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment?

Nowhere else in the world is solitary confinement practiced on anything like the scale of the United States, where 80,000 men and women are held in isolation on any given day. That’s significantly more than the total prison populations of France or Germany or Japan – a Solitary Confinement Prison Nation within the vast American Gulag.

Any sane and moral person would agree that solitary confinement for weeks and months, much less years and decades, is a uniquely ghastly form of torture that rips at the essence of what makes us human. It is the ultimate sentence of social death. The Pelican Bay inmates’ lawyers believe the recent ruling will, for the first time, force the State of California to defend its draconian policy on its merits. If 12 years a slave is a horror, how should one describe 12 or 20 years of solitary suffering? And, what do you call the people who enforce and defend such sadistic savagery – men with such hatred for their own species that they would torment fellow humans, endlessly?

The jailers’ roles are identical to those of the Nazi Gestapo.”

According to the lawsuit, solitary confinement, as practiced at Pelican Bay, is such a barbarity, it “renders California an outlier in this country and in the civilized world.” If it were not for the two hunger strikes staged by inmates over the last three years, the so-called civilized world would remain blissfully ignorant of the crimes routinely perpetrated against captive human beings by U.S. civil servants and dues-paying members of the guards union.

Under the California criminal justice system, solitary confinement is much more than just a punishment, or a security measure: it is a process. For the 1,100 inmates in solitary at Pelican Bay because of alleged gang associations, the process is designed to turn them into snitches or liars who finger innocent men. Release from solitary is possible only if one admits to gang affiliation and implicates other inmates – who will then be put through the same process. The jailers’ roles are identical to those of the Nazi Gestapo who tortured suspected members of the Resistance until they provided the names of their comrades, or of people they hardly knew, who would then become part of the same torture process.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl says he was tortured by his captors in Afghanistan, locked alone in a cage for weeks, maybe a month. In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the prisoners exchanged for Bergdahl spent the last 12 years, the maximum isolation time allowed at a stretch is 30 days. So, it seems that by both the standards of the Taliban and Guantanamo, Pelican Bay, California, is the deepest level of Hell.

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: 20140611_gf_SolitaryConfinement.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Are We Passing the “Tipping Point” for Black Habitation in the Cities?

Are We Passing the “Tipping Point” for Black Habitation in the Cities?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

In Harlem and elsewhere in New York City, the tipping point has clearly been passed.”

Back in the early Sixties, sociologists began to use the term “tipping point” to describe white response to the entrance of Blacks into formerly white neighborhoods. The raw statistics showed clearly that such “tipping points” existed, although sociologists argued about the dynamics of precisely when white exits turned into sudden, wholesale flight. Certainly, real estate agents and developers understood the phenomenon, having set it in motion in city after city in the Forties and Fifties in order to make a killing in the market. So-called “block-busters” played on racist hysteria, buying up white properties at rock bottom and selling them at inflated prices to Blacks desperate to escape densely-packed ghettos. The churning of neighborhoods generated billions in profits and changed the face of America in a remarkably short period of time. Ultimately, whites’ refusal to share urban space with Blacks created an American racial and economic geography unique in the world, in which the Black and brown poor resided in hollowed out, shrunken, capital-deprived central cities surrounded by a belt of suburban white wealth – the exact opposite of the historical world model of urban development.

America, which invented modern white racism through the establishment of Black chattel slavery, had once again been reshaped through the socio-economic dynamics of white racism.

For more than half a century, racial tipping points referred primarily to the behavior of white people, a predictor of white flight, creating new spaces for Black habitation in the cities. But, racism is irrational, as were the socio-economic landscape created by white racism, with whites traveling ridiculous distances to find racially exclusive environments at affordable prices. The corporate class longed for the centralized amenities that only big cities can provide, and finance capitalists looked forward to trillions in added values if only the Blacks and browns could be evicted from urban real estate.

It is more like a purge, an ethnic cleansing.”

Finance capital, corporate muscle, and the political parties that serve them have set in motion the new phenomenon of Black flight from the cities, and white return. Unlike white flight of the previous era, the current Black exodus is mainly involuntary and economic. In reality, it is more like a purge, an ethnic cleansing based on the reality that, in a racist society, the very presence of substantial numbers of Black people brings down the value of land and other assets.

Today, the question in city after city is, What is the tipping point for maintaining Black populations? How many upscale, mostly white people does it take to make a neighborhood, and ultimately whole cities – like San Francisco – unaffordable and downright hostile to Black habitation? In Harlem and elsewhere in New York City, the tipping point has clearly been passed, as it has in Washington DC, and will soon occur in Atlanta. Blacks are under siege – up against the tipping point – in Chicago. Even in cities such as Baltimore, where Black majorities make wholesale purges impractical – for the moment – targeted Black neighborhoods are rapidly tipping. Outrageously, the governor of Michigan proposes to bring in a steady stream of upscale immigrants to dilute the 82 percent Black population of Detroit.

And yet, there is nothing approaching a national Black consensus on a response – which means the political tipping point may have already passed, and the purge of the cities will continue, without effective Black resistance.

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: 20140604_gf_TippingPoint.mp3
Category:Other -- posted at: 1:00pm EDT