Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
US Conf of Mayors Ferguson Press Release Shows Complicity, Irrelevance of Black Mayors, the Black Political Class

US Conf of Mayors Ferguson Press Release Shows Complicity, Irrelevance of Black Mayors, the Black Political Class

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

"What's wrong with this press release is that the mayors are elected officials who usually give orders to police departments..."

I got an email Friday from from former NBA star, husband of the detestable Michelle Rhee, and current mayor of Sacramento CA and chair of the US Conference of Mayors Kevin Johnson. It was a 5 sentence press release from Mayor Johnson on the situation in Ferguson MO.

The first sentence expressed "heartfelt condolence" to the family upon the death of Michael Brown. The second sentence urged a full investigation and "applauded" the president's announcement of a federal investigation. The third sentence said that the mayors have "a long track record" of commitment to community policing, and claimed that the mayors try to "identify & implement police department policies which will help prevent such incidents from occurring in the future." The fourth sentence said that they were working with President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, and the fifth sentence said that they were the national reps of mayors of cities with over 30,000 people, and gave their Facebook and Twitter info.

What's wrong with this press release is that the mayors are elected officials who usually give orders to police departments. Mayors, hundreds of them black are elected by the people and responsible for what our disrespectful, brutal and occasionally murderous police do. Mayors don't have to wring their hands and offer condolences. Mayors, including black mayors can tell their police departments to refuse federal funding tied to the number of low level drug arrests they make, and actually get the black attorney general Eric Holder on the phone to explain why they need it. But they don't.

Mayors including the black ones don't have to mumble about community policing. They can actually can get Jeh Johnson, the Morehouse man & black head of Homeland Security, or somebody from the Pentagon on the phone and tell them to stop sending mine resistant armored vehicles, machine guns, sonic disruptor weapons, drones and storm trooper gear to their police departments when what they need is more money for jobs, schools and housing. But they won't.

"They don't have answers to poverty or gentrification or mass incarceration or the prison state,..."

Kevin Johnson and the US Conference of Mayors know very well that "My Brothers Keeper" isn't even a government program, that it's almost entirely the private charitable contributions of big corporations, some of the same big corporations that won't pay taxes to support schools and health care and infrastructure for everybody, some of the same corporations that got rich milking Detroit and other big cities before abandoning them. Whatever good it does do can dry up whenever the funders lose interest. They can count too, so they know that My Brothers Keeper's entire budget is onlh a fraction of the yearly INCREASE of the Fedeal Bureau of Prisons budget during every year of the Obama presidency.

The self-referential, self-satisfied, self-justifying press release of the US Conference of Mayors on the occasion of Ferguson is all too typical of our black black political class. They don't have answers to poverty or gentrification or mass incarceration or the prison state, even though its intake mechanism is the police departments under their control. They're not even looking for those answers. They're only looking to get contracts, to get elected, to get congratulated and to get paid.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com. And since corporate social media don't show you everything you need to know , and be sure to 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. He lives and works near Marietta GA and is a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20140820_bd_us_conf_mayors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Ferguson Unmasks the War on Black America

Ferguson Unmasks the War on Black America

 

Ferguson Unmasks the War on Black America A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford “The military character and mission of the police is more clear today than when the Black Panther Party and others sounded the alarm in the Sixties.” The brave and besieged people of Ferguson, Missouri, have already caused serious complications for the U.S. National Security State. By virtue of simply standing their ground in their own small city, the demonstrators have forced the local, county and state police to show their true, thoroughly militarized colors. Ferguson’s righteous agitators and rebellious Black youth have succeeded in pinning down in one small space the armed forces of racist repression in full view of the corporate and the people’s media, so that the whole world can bear witness to the truth of what another generation proclaimed nearly half a century ago: that, in the Black community, the police are an army of occupation. The military character and mission of the police is more clear today than when the Black Panther Party and others sounded the alarm in the Sixties. Back then, the first SWAT teams were staking out sniper positions on city streets and the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration had only just begun to funnel millions of dollars in surveillance technology, guns, body armor and all manner of lethal equipment to local and state police departments across the country. The term “mass Black incarceration” had not yet been coined, but it was only a matter of time before a permanent, militarized police offensive against rebellion-prone ghettos would cause unprecedented numbers of Black prisoners to flow into the greatest gulag in the history of the world. A Force to Crush a People White America perceived that it was at war with Black people, who no longer knew their place – and so, places of confinement were made for them; fortified dungeons to house millions. Since America tells itself and the rest of the world that it does not make war on its own citizens, and that there is a sharp and Constitutionally defined separation between the military and civilian functions of the State, the war against Black people had to be called something else – a War on Drugs, or simply a War on Crime. Therefore, it was not long before the words “crime” and “drugs” and “Black” came to mean the same thing since, really, there was only one war going on. And, it continues, still. The young people of Ferguson, and greater St. Louis, and all of urban, suburban and rural Black America understand perfectly well that war is being waged against them. The powers-that-be every day of the year make it is crystal clear to Black people, especially Black men, that an overwhelming and lethal force is prepared to crush them – for any reason, or for no reason at all. This is the definition of a war of terror. It requires the aggressor to engage in constant and ever escalating displays of disciplined force – which is what militaries do. By refusing to disperse, the Black people of Ferguson have compelled the police to flaunt their military nature and mission before the eyes of the world. The American National Security State is embarrassed. But it will take a social transformation – that is, a revolution – to disarm the beast. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday. BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

own small city, the demonstrators have forced the local, county and state police to show their true, thoroughly militarized colors. Ferguson’s righteous agitators and rebellious Black youth have succeeded in pinning down in one small space the armed forces of racist repression in full view of the corporate and the people’s media, so that the whole world can bear witness to the truth of what another generation proclaimed nearly half a century ago: that, in the Black community, the police are an army of occupation. The military character and mission of the police is more clear today than when the Black Panther Party and others sounded the alarm in the Sixties. Back then, the first SWAT teams were staking out sniper positions on city streets and the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration had only just begun to funnel millions of dollars in surveillance technology, guns, body armor and all manner of lethal equipment to local and state police departments across the country. The term “mass Black incarceration” had not yet been coined, but it was only a matter of time before a permanent, militarized police offensive against rebellion-prone ghettos would cause unprecedented numbers of Black prisoners to flow into the greatest gulag in the history of the world. A Force to Crush a People White America perceived that it was at war with Black people, who no longer knew their place – and so, places of confinement were made for them; fortified dungeons to house millions. Since America tells itself and the rest of the world that it does not make war on its own citizens, and that there is a sharp and Constitutionally defined separation between the military and civilian functions of the State, the war against Black people had to be called something else – a War on Drugs, or simply a War on Crime. Therefore, it was not long before the words “crime” and “drugs” and “Black” came to mean the same thing since, really, there was only one war going on. And, it continues, still. The young people of Ferguson, and greater St. Louis, and all of urban, suburban and rural Black America understand perfectly well that war is being waged against them. The powers-that-be every day of the year make it is crystal clear to Black people, especially Black men, that an overwhelming and lethal force is prepared to crush them – for any reason, or for no reason at all. This is the definition of a war of terror. It requires the aggressor to engage in constant and ever escalating displays of disciplined force – which is what militaries do. By refusing to disperse, the Black people of Ferguson have compelled the police to flaunt their military nature and mission before the eyes of the world. The American National Security State is embarrassed. But it will take a social transformation – that is, a revolution – to disarm the beast. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday. BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20140820_gf_MilitaryCops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54am EDT