Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black Is Back Coalition Holds National Conference in Philadelphia

Black Is Back Coalition Holds National Conference in Philadelphia

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Coalition has been a singular example of independent Black political action and analysis.”

In November of 2009, the newly-formed Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations marched from Malcolm X Park through the gentrifying streets of Washington to the White House, loudly denouncing the First Black President of the United States. Barack Obama had been in office only ten months, but the militarist and corporatist trajectory of his regime was already quite clear. Obama had retained George Bush’s Secretary of Defense, escalated the drone wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, placed Bill Clinton’s Wall Street operatives in charge of the economy, announced his intention to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, even as he pushed through Congress a health care bill that was largely written by private drug and insurance companies. Like George Bush before him, Obama sabotaged the Durban II World Conference Against Racism, in order to derail demands for reparations for slavery and colonialism. And, only 100 days into his administration, Obama had served notice to African Americans that he would propose no programs to alleviate the suffering of Black America, which had been hit hardest by the economic meltdown.

The Black is Back Coalition was determined that the first politician in history to spend a billion dollars to win the presidency would not get a free pass from all of Black America – even if his father was an African. One of the biggest contingents in that first anti-Obama march and rally was the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, “POP” – perhaps Black America’s most dynamic regional grassroots organization. POP’s membership, after much debate, had endorsed Obama in the 2008 election, but that did not stop them from chanting their outrage at his policies at the gates of the White House. The African People’s Socialist Party, whose chairman first proposed formation of the Black is Back Coalition, had reduced candidate Obama to stuttering confusion when they challenged him with the simple question, “What about the Black community?” at campaign stop in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Unity in Struggle

The Black is Back Coalition has since marched loudly and often against Obama and the decadent imperial system that he serves. In yearly conferences and year-round political work, the Coalition has been a singular example of independent Black political action and analysis. As the Age of Obama draws to a close, the Black is Back Coalition is approaching its 5th anniversary and preparing for its Annual Conference, August 16 and 17, in Philadelphia. Affiliated organizations and individuals will gather to assess the state of Black people across the Diaspora, and to map strategy in the perilous months ahead.

After more than five centuries of European dominance of the world, a new epoch is dawning. Black people must fight to shape the contours of this new world, or be consumed in the spasms of the old imperial order’s chaotic demise. In Philadelphia, on August 16 and 17, the Coalition will gather once again to advance Black people’s unity in struggle – and to celebrate the fact...that Black is Back!

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of each new issue, every Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

For information on the Black Is Back Coalition Annual Conference, go to http://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/

Direct download: 20140730_gf_BlackIsBack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24pm EST

Obama's Hot War

Obama’s Hot War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Washington’s policy is the constant fomenting of war for the subjugation of the planet – or the world’s destruction, if the U.S. cannot remain Number One.”

The United States has set the world on fire. It is nonsense to talk of a “new” Cold War, when what the world is witnessing is multiple conflagrations as intense and horrifically destructive as at any period since World War Two. Virtually every one of these armed conflicts has been methodically set in motion by the only power capable of perpetrating such massive, simultaneous mayhem: the United States, along with its underlings in London, Paris and Tel Aviv – the true Axis of Evil.

Washington is embarked on a mad, scorched earth policy to terrorize the planet into submission through relentless escalation into a global state of war. Unable to maintain its dominance through trade and competition, the U.S. goes beyond the brink to plunge the whole planet into a cauldron of death. As Russia is learning, it is extremely difficult to avoid war when a great power insists on imposing it. That was a lesson inflicted on the world 75 years ago, by Nazi Germany.

Whoever coined the phrase “No Drama Obama” should be sentenced to a lifetime of silence. The First Black U.S. President systematically brought swastika-wearing fascists to power in Ukraine to start a war on Russia’s borders. The passengers of the Malaysian airliner are victims of Obama’s carefully crafted apocalypse, a pre-fabricated conflict that could consume us all. Obama methodically and without provocation laid waste to Libya and Syria, and now the jihadists unleashed by the United States and its allies are destroying Iraq all over again and threatening to erase Lebanon and Jordan and even the oil kingdoms of the Gulf. Obama has signed yet another blank check for Israel’s ghastly war of ethnic annihilation in Gaza – a crime against humanity for which the U.S. is fully as culpable as the apartheid Jewish State, which could not exist if it were not part of the U.S. superpower’s global war machine.

Wars “R” Us

Those who say the United States is adrift or has no coherent foreign policy are colossally wrong. Washington’s policy is the constant fomenting of war for the subjugation of the planet – or the world’s destruction, if the U.S. cannot remain Number One.

The Americans have made Africa into a killing field. Somalia and its people have been smashed and dispersed, setting the whole Horn of Africa ablaze. Ethiopia commits multiple genocides under U.S. sponsorship, while Washington’s mercenaries in Rwanda and Uganda grow fat on the bones of six million Congolese. South Sudan thrashes in agony, the result of dismemberment by American, European and Israeli ghouls. The sounds of chaos and mass murder reverberate from the Magreb in the North, through the vast Sahel region, and now deep into West Africa, a direct result of criminal U.S. aggressive war and regime change in Libya.

Obama “pivots” to East Asia with the goal of turning Japan into a militaristic state with an invitation to rejoin, after all these years, the game of global conquest. Poor Afghanistan and Pakistan have no future at all, unless the U.S. leaves their region and allows them to develop an organic partnership with China. But a world based on mutually beneficial relations among peoples has no room for empire – which is why the empire wages war against the world.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com and sign up for email notification each Wednesday, when a new issue of BAR appears.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20140723_gf_ObamaHotWar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30pm EST

The Big Sell-Out: The Congressional Black Caucus and the Internet

The Big Sell-Out: The Congressional Black Caucus and the Internet

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Ten Black lawmakers have written letters against Internet neutrality, and eight in support of free access to all.”

ColorOfChange.org, which aims to “strengthen Black America’s voice” through skillful use of the Internet, is confronting ten Black congresspersons for representing the interests of giant telecom corporations that are seeking to destroy Internet neutrality. The corporations have purchased the Black lawmakers services, in hopes of making the Internet a toll road on which the rich always have the right of way. The ten congresspersons signed a letter parroting their corporate benefactors’ line: that regulation is bad for the economy. These Black turncoats claim they are for what they call “an open Internet” – which actually means an Internet that is open for the business of providing the best services to the richest customers, while starving the rest of us of vital information on subjects like which of our Black congressmen are selling out to the highest bidder.

We’re always glad when Color of Change names the bad actors in the Black Misleadership Class. In this case, it’s the usual rogue’s gallery of the Congressional Black Caucus: Sanford Bishop and David Scott, of Georgia; G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina; Bobby Rush of Illinois; Corrine Brown and Alcee Hastings, from Florida; Bennie Thompson, from Mississippi; Dallas, Texas, congressman Marck Veasey; Lacy Clay, of Missouri, and Gregory Meeks, the corporate sell-out from New York.

Color of Change also gives credit to those 36 Democratic lawmakers that wrote a letter demanding the FCC protect Internet neutrality. The eight Representatives on the right side of the issue are: Keith Ellison, of Minnesota; Barbara Lee, of California; Andre Carson, of Indiana; John Conyers, of Michigan; John Lewis, of Georgia; Charles Rangel, of New York; and Bobby Scott, of Virginia.

Massive Rightward Shift

The Black Agenda Report team has been tracking the steady slide to the Right in the Congressional Black Caucus since 2002. Back in June of 2006, when the BAR team was writing for The Black Commentator, we reported the massive sell-out to corporations by Blacks on Capitol Hill. Huge telecommunications firms took the lead in buying off Black lawmakers – most notably, AT&T’s successful capture of Chicago congressman Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, who sold his vote for a million dollars and the promise of a technology center for his district that never materialized.

Internet neutrality was at stake in 2006, as it is today. In an article titled “Black Caucus Caves to Corporate Power,” Bruce Dixon reported that all but 13 of 40 voting members of the Black Caucus sided with the corporations, and against Internet neutrality. In fact, the Black Caucus was deeper in the corporations’ pockets than the rest of the Democratic Party in the House. It seemed to be almost a package deal, with only 13 holdouts.

Because of such treachery, Congress failed to protect Internet neutrality in 2006. Now, the issue is before the FCC. Ten Black lawmakers have written letters against Internet neutrality, and eight in support of free access to all. My guess is that, eight years after the great sell-out, the majority of the Black Caucus remains firmly on the telecommunications plantation.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notification each Wednesday, when a new issue of BAR appears.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20140716_gf_CBCinternet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01am EST

Black Is Back Annual Conference in Philly, August 16 and 17

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is having its annual conference 10AM to 6 PM on August 16 and 17 in Philadelphia and you are invited.  

It's all happening at Uhuru Furniture and Colectibles, 832 North Broad Street.  The theme of the conference is 

"Resist US wars and occupations in the US and abroad, and reparations now!"

Hear African Socialist International chairman Omali Yeshitela, on resistance, and Glen Ford on Ukraine and the crises of empire.  See Ron Bobb-Semple as Marcus Garvey.  Meet Pam Africa of the Friends of Mumia, Kamm Howard, and Lisa Davis, and enjoy a weekend of cooperation on the road to something better.

Information and registration at 727-821-6621, or at http://BlackISBackCoalition.org.

Direct download: Black_Is_Black_Intl_Conference_Philly_Promo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am EST

4th of July Fireworks, In Marietta GA, and in Gaza

4th of July Fireworks, In Marietta GA, and in Gaza

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

"This year as always, the Israeli fireworks in Gaza are artillery shells fired from tanks, or air to ground missiles shot from drones..."

The nightly news covered the fireworks in downtown Marietta GA where I live. But they didn't mention the fireworks in Gaza at all, even though some of the fireworks in Gaza took place at the same time. In Marietta they shoot these fireworks off every 4th of July. In Gaza they happen at the whim of the Israeli occupiers.

So many people came to see the fireworks in Marietta that the news broadcast traffic warnings. I imagine people in Gaza, news or no news, mostly tried to hide or flee the areas being fired on, if they could, and if there was anyplace to shelter or go to.

In Marietta the fireworks were crackling red, white and blue sparklers. They flared and glittered and mostly burned out against the night sky before falling harmlessly into the park. They smelled like fireworks, like gunpowder and burning paper. Whole families sat on parked cars and trucks and lawn chairs and curbs to see.

This year as always, the Israeli fireworks in Gaza are artillery shells fired from tanks, or air to ground missiles shot from drones and from the F-16s manufactured at the Martin-Marietta Lockheed plant only a couple miles away from here in Marietta Georgia. Past fireworks displays over Gaza have included white phosporus, a banned substance that self-ignites and burns white hot when exposed to air. But unlike the fireworks in Marietta GA, white phosphorus continues to burn after falling to earth, through walls and rooftops and flesh and bones. Israeli fireworks in Gaza certainly include high explosive rounds, and in the recent past even depleted uranium with lasting radioactive contamination.

"The nation that celebrates its anniversary on July 4 was built with stolen labor on stolen land. Many who did the stealing and their descendants celebrate the notion that their god blessed that theft.."

I don't know what burning schools and libraries or farms and irrigation works or blasted grandparents and aunties smell like, and they don't let people on the nightly news who know these things to tell us. We can only guess.

I suppose things are just different over there in Gaza. But maybe not so much.

The nation that celebrates its anniversary on July 4 was built with stolen labor on stolen land. Many who did the stealing and their descendants celebrate the notion that their god blessed that theft. You can't miss that on the 4th of July weekend, many of the white churches, and even a few of the black ones were ringed with hundreds of American flags planted every few feet. How different is that from state supported Israeli rabbis and politicians waving blue and white flags calling for the expulsion or extermination of Palestinians?

The differences are that (1) genocide and dispossession of native Americans was pretty much complete a dozen decades ago. Our authorities can now afford to manufacture and export the firepower to our allies in places like Israel where similar chores are being undertaken; and (2) that we and the world don't have to allow the brutal and genocidal occupation of Palestine and Palestinians to continue.

We can build and contribute to the global BDS movement, to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel and the Israeli state, until the day that Israel-Palestine becomes not an ethnocracy, only for those with J-positive blood, as Max Blumental puts it, but a state of peace, refuge, equality and prosperity for all who live within its borders.

And maybe back in Marietta GA, we can convert that Lockheed plant, the county's biggest private employer, away from manufacturing instruments of murder to making things that help people live better lives.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web atwww.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly email updates not on Facebook or Twitter but directly atwww.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That'swww.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

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

Direct download: 20140709_bd_fireworks_in_gaza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:38am EST

Coming to America: Mercenary Justice

Coming to America: Mercenary Justice

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

As long as the United States is allowed to act with imperial impunity on the world stage, its uniformed and civilian armed forces will recognize no limitations on their behavior.”

The trial of fourBlackwater mercenaries in the unprovoked massacre of Iraqi civilians in 2007 is probably not the biggest news item of the day for Iraqis, faced as they are with a national crisis of potentially apocalyptic dimensions. However, the events unfolding in a Washington DC federal court should be of critical interest to Americans, who will one day find themselves under the guns of mercenaries licensed to kill with impunity. In fact, it has already happened, in New Orleans, after Katrina.

Two years before the atrocity in Baghdad, Blackwater descended on New Orleans in force in the wake of the 2005 hurricane, setting up a downtown headquarters and deploying its troops in full battle gear, armed just “as they would be in Iraq.” Jeremy Scahill, reporting at the time for The Nation magazine, said Blackwater troops told him that in addition to having been authorized to use lethal force, they were also empowered to arrest citizens. Many of them had flown in straight from Iraq to occupy a great Black American city.

At least five mercenary companies patrolled New Orleans under contract with Homeland Security, including an outfit of Israeli ex-special forces troops under a company named Instinctive Shooting International. Civil liberties activists warned at the time that placing an American city under mercenary occupation is illegal, but neither President Bush nor Barack Obama nor the Congress or the courts have clarified the question of mercenary deployment. Therefore, it is all but inevitable that legions of hired killers and “instinctive shooters” from around the world will again be sent to U.S. cities, with consequences that will rival the carnage at Nisoor Square, in Baghdad.

The Long Mercenary Legacy

Mercenaries have a long history in the United States. The granddaddy of them all, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, founded in 1850, specialized in both raw thuggery and advanced intelligence gathering techniques to make millions defending ruling class privileges and property. The Pinkertons broke scores of strikes and created the first national criminal data base. The State of Ohio outlawed the Pinkertons in 1890, fearing it had become a private army, or an independent militia. By that time, the Pinkerton’s were a larger force than the standing army of the United States. In 1999, after almost a century and a half of service to the rich and powerful, the Pinkerton agency was sold to Securitas Security Services USA, which six years later took part in the Katrina occupation.

However, we must be clear that the driving force behind the explosive growth of killer corporations is the U.S. military, which trains the assassins and sends them on missions of murder around the globe, and later hires them at fantastic salaries through mercenary corporations, which in turn become indispensable to the U.S. war machine. As long as the United States is allowed to act with imperial impunity on the world stage, its uniformed and civilian armed forces will recognize no laws, no limitations on their behavior. Private soldiers and mercenary corporations are only reflections of the government that gave them birth.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. Go to BlackAgendaReport.com to sign up for email notification when we put out a new issue, each Wednesday.

 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20140709_gf_Blackwater.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14am EST

At the Core of the U.S. Supreme Court, A Cabal of Corporate Hit Men

The U.S. Supreme Court’s concept of corporate “personhood” apparently means that corporate religious rights – corporate gods – trump “the religious or secular beliefs of working people – specifically, working women.”

 

At the Core of the U.S. Supreme Court, A Cabal of Corporate Hit Men

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Federalist Society, a cabal of corporate conspirators, is always only one vote away from an outright majority on the nation’s highest court.”

The U.S. Supreme Court acted with reactionary zeal, this week, to accelerate the march of corporate power into every nook and cranny of American life. The High Court handed down three decisions that most dramatically affect women, but are mainly intended to buttress the rule of the moneyed classes. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the justices ruled that private corporations owned by religious fundamentalists have the right to eliminate contraceptive services from employee health plans, thus establishing the supremacy of corporate gods over the religious or secular beliefs of working people – specifically, working women. Thanks to the High Court, overwhelmingly female and non-white home health care employees – who have historically been among the country’s most poorly paid and oppressed workers, often laboring long hours with no benefits, no sick leave, and no security – will find it much harder to unionize. And, the Supreme Court decreed that women considering abortions at the dwindling number of clinics that provide such services will have to run the gauntlet of anti-abortion crazies, who can no longer be kept at a physical distance from the targets of their venomous free speech.

With every passing year, the federal courts become more firmly the domain of right-wing lawyers, whose mission is to set in stone the legal basis for a dictatorship of the rich. These judicial political hit men, including some women and lawyers of color, are chiefly organized under the banner of the Federalist Society. Formed in 1982 at the elite law schools at Yale, Harvard and the University of Chicago, the Federalist Society is most zealous in defending the rights of property and corporations. It now boasts 30,000 lawyers and 10,000 law students as members, including four of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and chief justice John Roberts. That means the Federalist Society, a cabal of corporate conspirators, is always only one vote away from an outright majority on the nation’s highest court.

Money’s Unlimited Right to Speak

They are a devilishly clever crew, who revel in using the Bill of Rights as a weapon against the people. “Freedom of speech” was key to the Supreme Court majority’s arguments in the three recent cases. Justice Alito wrote that freedom of speech means workers cannot be forced to subsidize the speech of unions with whom they disagree. The ruling is a boon to corporate investors who want to corner the home health care market, which is projected to grow by 48 percent in the next eight years. Fewer unionized workers means higher profits. The High Court is super-sensitive to the free speech rights of anti-abortion activists, even as it typically sides with the State in creating vast zones where no free speech is allowed for those who oppose U.S. wars and corporate globalization. And, the Court’s recognition of corporate religious rights is based on the same bogus principle of corporate “personhood” that underlay its decision to allow virtually unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns as a form of freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court’s legal logic grows clearer every year: The people have no rights that corporations are bound to respect.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up to get email notifications when a new issue is published, each Wednesday.

 

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20140702_gf_SCOTUS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:15pm EST