Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
“Peace Through Revolution”: Black Is Back Coalition March and Rally Nov 1 and 2

"Peace Through Revolution”: Black Is Back Coalition March and Rally Nov 1 and 2

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Black Is Back Coalition held firmly to its founding principles of unity in struggle against imperialism, white supremacy and the rule of the rich.”

The orgy of militarized policing in Ferguson, Missouri, and the forces that had already been set in motion in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s assassination-by-vigilante have changed the tone and substance of the Black political conversation in America – except, of course, among the Black Misleadership Class, whose crisis of relevancy deepens by the day. Having reached the pinnacle of their own narrow and entirely symbolic version of Black Power with the election of the first Black President, in 2008, they have had nowhere to go but down ever since, and nothing worthwhile to say. The silence of the shams.

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations came together during Barack Obama’s first year in office, in large part to show that there were still lots of Black folks who understood that the struggle for self-determination and a new dispensation for all the world’s people is the real prize worth fighting for. The fact that the new president was Black did not alter in the slightest the demands put forward by the newly organized Coalition at its first rally and march on the White House, in November of 2009.

There have been many marches and rallies and conferences and mobilizations since then. As Obama plugged the world deeper into chaos and war, and a brutal police state tightened its grip on impoverished Black communities across the nation, the Black Is Back Coalition held firmly to its founding principles of unity in struggle against imperialism, white supremacy and the rule of the rich. It was critical that, when the fog and confusion of the Age of Obama finally lifted, at least some Black folks could be identified as having been right all along.

Black is Back!

Well, the fog is lifting, people are once again trying to get in motion, and the Black Is Back Coalition returns to Malcolm X Park, in Washington, for a rally and march on the White House, on Saturday, November 1, under the theme “Peace through Revolution.” Then, on Sunday, November 2, the action shifts to Howard University, for a teach-in where activists and strategists will tackle the problems of organizing for the battles that have already begun. Speakers at the rally will include New York’s fighting city councilman and former Black Panther Charles Barron, Philadelphia’s Pam Africa, a prime mover in the campaign to free Mumia Abu Jamal, Omali Yeshitela, veteran organizer and chairman of the African Socialist Party – and I’ll have a few things to say, as well.

The teach-in will bring together some of the freshest young minds and seasoned veterans of the liberation struggle. So, now you know: November 1st and 2nd is an important time to be in Washington, where the Black Is Back Coalition and its allies will chart a path to “Peace through Revolution.” The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Hands Up Coalition, United Against Police Terror, Friends of Congo, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, NCOBRA, and both the ANSWER Coalition and the United National Anti-War Coalition have all endorsed the march, rally and teach-in. On November 1st and 2nd, Black Is Back!

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com. And, while you’re there, sign up for free email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.

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

 

For more information on the Black Is Back Coalition march, rally and teach-in call: 224-572-9887, 727-821-6620 or visit blackisbackcoalition.org.

Direct download: 20141022_gf_BiBMarchRally.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48am EST

Organizing 102: After Getting the Digits of Those Who Show Up, Call Everybody Back Within A Week

 

 

 

Organizing 102: After Getting the Digits of Those Who Show Up, Call Everybody Back Within A Week

 

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

 

“...don't make the mistake of the Million Man March, of Occupy and so many others ...”

 

Back in August, when flash mobs and social-media driven demonstrations of young people were popping up everywhere fueled by universal outrage at the latest unpunished murders by police, I wrote a piece in Black Agenda Report called “Organizing 101: Don't Do Another March or Rally Without Getting The Digits”.

 

The gist of it was that radio and social media are great tools but they are owned and run by and for billionaires not for you and me. They may get you a crowd, but if you cannot recontact that crowd outside of that social media platform or radio station, if YOU can't reach them directly on the phone, by text or email, then they are not your crowd, that list doesn't belong to you it belongs to somebody else, it belongs to Twitter, or Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, none of whom provide you with this info, they have all the data they need, and if they decide to censor you or your politics tomorrow – which they can – or if your new friends are not monitoring their social media next week you will be cut off from these people.

 

If you want to build a movement, Organizing 101 is when people show up in person at your events, you gotta get those digits so you can contact them when YOU need to. Today we'll talk about Organizing 102, which is calling everybody back within a week. The principle is that a new friend you never call back does not remain your friend for long.

 

So don't make the mistake of the Million Man March, of Occupy and so many others, in the week after EVERY demonstration with new faces, every meeting or action when you were smart enough to get a crowd, and get their digits, you MUST send everybody an email and a text, and make a personal phone call thanking them for coming and strike up a brief conversation about what it all means, what might happen next, and how they might be willing to participate or help out.

 

“It's a media myth that movements are suddenly born out of magical moments when everybody on Twitter or listening to the radio gets outraged and something happens...”

 

You will find, when you make these calls that people will be grateful you stepped out of your life to call them one on one, and some will enthusiastic enough to ask what THEY can do BEFORE you can ask them. When people are especially enthusiastic about what you're doing, you want to put those individuals on a separate list, and invite them help make the next round of phone calls. These are the folks you invite to smaller meetings that plan and do the outreach for your next public meeting or action. That's how circles of people in motion get bigger, how movements begin to grow themselves.

 

It's a media myth that movements are suddenly born out of magical moments when everybody on Twitter or listening to the radio gets outraged and something happens. The crowds that came out in Egypt and places like that were not brought together by Twitter and Facebook for the first time, those were existing networks built methodically by face to face interaction and personal contact. They used social media to activate those pre-existing networks.

 

In the wake of Ferguson, and Beaverville Ohio, and Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, the Bronx and wherever else we have to build those networks. Social media are immensely useful, but there is no app for movement building. You can't ride to freedom on Pharaoh's chariot. Organizing 101 is getting the digits of people who show up. Organizing 102 is personally calling, emailing, texting every one of them back to establish the beginning of a relationship. Organizing 103, which we'll talk about in a couple weeks will be engaging them.

 

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to sign up for 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 in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 20141015_bd_organizing102.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:54pm EST

FBI, NSA and Cops Jointly Track “Outside Agitators”

 

 

FBI, NSA and Cops Jointly Track “Outside Agitators”

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

 

When the FBI makes these kinds of noises in public, you can be sure that a national counter-intelligence operation is already fully in motion.”

 

It has only been a little over two months since a white cop gunned down Michael Brown, whose body was left to bake in the summer sun for four hours as if to remind Brown’s friends and neighbors and the whole Black world that U.S. police can do whatever they want to a Black teenager in America in the 21st century. The word “Ferguson” now carries the accumulated weight of centuries of white violence against Black bodies, necessitating a rejuvenated movement against police impunity. Young people, especially are determined that, this time, a price will be paid for police lawlessness.

 

There is, however, little anticipation that any semblance of justice will be forthcoming from the grand jury that is hearing evidence against police officer Darren Wilson, whose very identity authorities attempted to hide from the public in the days after the shooting. The grand jury’s nine white and three Black members are expected to render a decision sometime in mid-November. Given the history of such legal exercises, it will be surprising, to say the least, if the officer is indicted on murder charges, and a minor miracle if he is convicted. Nevertheless, for the thousands that gathered in greater St. Louis over the past weekend, Ferguson has become a watershed historical moment, the possible beginning of a massive campaign to end police impunity and, just maybe, a real grassroots movement for genuine social transformation.

 

Back to the Future

 

The FBI and law enforcement agencies around the country also seem to think this may be a watershed moment. They, too, don’t expect a grand jury to indict Darren Wilson, especially a grand jury under the direction of a prosecutor whose policeman father was killed by a Black suspect. The FBI has joined in discussions with police chiefs as far away as New York and Los Angeles and lots of cities in between, to coordinate a response to possible civil disturbances if officer Wilson gets off scot-free, and to keep track of so-called “outside agitators” who might spread the Ferguson contagion across the country.

 

When the FBI makes these kinds of noises in public, you can be sure that a national counter-intelligence operation is already fully in motion – a program designed to “neutralize and destroy” any possibility of the re-emergence of a militant movement against today’s national security and mass Black incarceration state. Although many of the organizations and individuals that have traveled to Ferguson in support of the local struggle for justice may not yet be clear in their own minds about the political direction that a national movement should take, they have already been targeted as potentially dangerous “agitators” – as threats to national security. Their movements and contacts with fellow activists are being tracked, and individuals and organizations are being sorted out and categorized according to the level of threat they may represent to the state.

 

In the 21st century, just like in the previous one, the merest hint of a movement for justice puts the machinery of political oppression in motion.

 

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and while you’re there, sign up for our free email notifications of new BAR issues, each Wednesday.

 

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

 

 

 

Direct download: 20141015_gf_Ferguson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:47pm EST

 

 

There Will be a Reckoning, from Ferguson to Gaza

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

 

One murder charge against one white cop in one small town doesn’t even begin to address America’s crimes against a whole people.”

 

Thousands are expected to gather in Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend for four days of protest, agitation, entertainment, and training in how to conduct non-violent resistance. A march is scheduled for Saturday, and unspecified acts of civil disobedience are set for Monday. In the classic, Martin Luther King sense of the term, “civil disobedience” involves the breaking of at least some laws, either because the laws are unjust, or to show that a community is prepared to break the rules to make its point.

 

One unjust rule the police will almost certainly not try to enforce this weekend, is the arbitrary requirement that protesters keep moving, or face arrest. It’s commonly called the “five-second rule.” This week a federal judge, acting on a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, ruled the police practice unconstitutional. The Ferguson City police last week handed over responsibility for protests to the county police department, which says they won’t force demonstrators to keep constantly moving.

 

Ferguson has become a place where people tell time by the days since August 9, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by officer Darren Wilson. From the beginning, a core demand has been that the white cop be indicted for murder, but a grand jury is not expected to act until at least mid-November. However, by now Ferguson has become an important juncture in the African American journey, one that demands a reevaluation of Black people’s relationship to the U.S. society and State. There may be hell to pay in the Black community if Officer Wilson isn’t indicted, but one murder charge against one white cop in one small town doesn’t even begin to address America’s crimes against a whole people.

 

Revolutionary Internationalism

 

Ferguson was a world story. The scenes of militarized police repression instantaneously called forth images from Gaza and other sites of desperate struggle against white supremacy and unjust occupation. Ferguson made us remember Malcolm X’s admonition to bring United States crimes before international forums, to air America’s dirty linen in front of the whole world, and to join with the legions of other peoples that the U.S. has killed and exploited.

 

This weekend, In the spirit of Malcolm’s revolutionary internationalism, hundreds will gather at the place where Malcolm was assassinated, in 1965 – the former Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabbaz Center, in Harlem. “The World Stands with Palestine” rally will trace the many parallels between the oppression of Blacks in the U.S. and the plight of Palestinians in their native land under Israel’s system of ethnic apartheid. It is a system that is quite familiar to Black Americans, because it has never gone away here in the United States – and the day of reckoning cannot be delayed any longer.

 

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: 20141008_gf_FergusonToGaza.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:49am EST

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

After Ferguson: It's a New Day. Join the Black Agenda Report Team at NYC's Riverside Church Oct 24, or Support Black Agenda Report With a Donation

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In fact, the rapid growth of black elected officials seems to have occurred at virtually the same time and roughly the same proportion as the six or sevenfold increase in the number of black bodies in US prisons and jails.

Black outrage at the events after the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO marked the re-emergence of America's prison and police state, their cultures of brutal impunity and naked injustice as the number one issue on the minds of African Americans.

It's not a new story, but these are new times, and new circumstances. There are more black faces in high places than ever before from county sheriffs all the way up to mayors, congresscreatures, even attorney general and the president. Whatever its usefulness, this IS new. But the numbers of black faces in high places seem hardly to affect the fact of black mass incarceration at all. In fact, the rapid growth of black elected officials seems to have occurred at virtually the same time and roughly the same proportion as the six or sevenfold increase in the number of black bodies in US prisons and jails.

If that's not exactly a new fact, it's one that African Americans, especially young African Americans are becoming newly and increasingly aware of, which makes this a new and unique moment in the politics of black America.

This new political moment for black America is why young on the streets of Ferguson MO booed and rejected the dinosaur “civil rights leaders” sent to chill them out and lecture them on how “low voter turnout” killed Michael Brown.

This new political moment is why supporting Black Agenda Report at www.blackagendareport.com is more important than ever. Black Agenda Report will celebrate its 8th anniversary Friday October 24 in Harlem's historic Riverside Church. It's a fundraiser, tickets are $30 for the program or $100 for the program and a reception featuring political prisoner and the peoples first responder Lynne Stewart. The topic we will explore that evening will be After Ferguson: Naming Names, Refuting Shame, Human Rights VS the Police & Prison State and our Black Political Class's Deal With the Devil. If you're anywhere near NYC that night, please join us. And if you're not, please go to www.blackagendareport.com and donate a modest monthly amount of your choice to keep what brother Cornel West calls 'the prophetic voices' alive.

Black Agenda Report has been educating our folks on the realities of the prison state since our founding in 2006. We weren't just talking about mass incarceration before Michelle Alexander, we were the very first ones to interview her and preview her book.

Black Agenda Report was one of the few places you could find a real assessment of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 which reduced the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1, or to question Attorney General Eric Holder's insistence that there should be no retroactive sentence relief for those serving unjustly long sentences.

Black Agenda Report was among the first to point out the vast gulf between the words of this president and attorney general on the one hand, their wishful surrogates on the other hand, and on a third hand the reality that 6 years into the Obama administration a black person is murdered by police, private security forces or vigilantes at least every 28 hours while no federal stats are being compiled on police violence against civilians, that the Bureau of Prisons budget has risen every year under Obama and Holder, and the feds are constructing brand new supermax prisons.

For all of our 8 years, Black Agenda Report has consistently called the Congressional Black Caucus to account, most recently over its abject support of apartheid in Israel, its subservience to corporate donors, and its impotence in the face of rising black poverty.

For 8 years, Black Agenda Report has brought the light and the heat, with news, commentary and analysis from the black left, 4 to six original articles published for the first time anywhere every week, and a weekly one hour radio program. Find it all at www.blackagendareport.com, and for tickets to our October 24 affair in Harlem go to http://events.blackagendareport.com. That's http://events.blackagendareport.com.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives in Marietta GA and is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.
Direct download: 20141006_bd_after_ferguson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33pm EST

US Headed For “China Syndrome” Meltdown in Syria

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The president is in fact apologizing for the CIA’s loss of control over ISIS.”

You know that an American military adventure is going very badly when the conversation turns to the “mistakes” of U.S. intelligence agencies. Usually, Washington starts scapegoating its spies after its wars have failed to achieve their objectives – as happened in Iraq, when the natives failed to greet the American invaders with rose petals and bottomless gratitude, and in Vietnam, where the awesome U.S. war machine slaughtered three million people but still could not subdue a Third World country’s quest for independence. America files all of its failures under the heading of “mistakes” – after the fact.But, President Obama has essentially inaugurated his bombing campaign in Syria with an admission of past “mistakes,” telling 60 Minutes that the CIA “underestimated” the strength of ISIS. What Obama’s admission actually shows is that the real U.S. mission in Syria – the three-year proxy war to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad – is already a failure.

Obama has thus been forced, by failure, to mount a far more conventional – although equally illegal – air war in a desperate bid to rescue his original mission of regime change. The president is in fact apologizing for the CIA’s loss of control over ISISand the other jihadists that Obama and his Arab and Turkish allies sent to bring chaos to Syria. Obama thought his intelligence services could calibrate and control the bloodbath they had spent billions to inflict on Syria; that they could regulate and direct the Islamist fighters’ death-embracing furies, like a well-engineered nuclear reactor. Instead, and inevitably, what Obama and his allies got was a meltdown, a China-Syndrome of holy war that has left Washington’s regime-change-by-proxy scheme in ashes.

U.S. imperialism has been deeply and irrevocably weakened by the revolt of the jihadists.”

Much of the Left in the United States is also suffering from a kind of “intelligence” deficit, failing to understand the magnitude of the crisis now confronting U.S. imperialism in the Arab and Muslim world. Washington’s jihadist foot soldiers have struck out on their own mission. Not only does the U.S. have no force to replace these Islamist warriors, it must now kill enough of them to retain some imperial authority in the region – but not so many as to ignite a general jihad against America and its allies. Plus, under these new and infinitely more complex conditions, Obama must also find a way to bring down the Syrian government.

U.S. imperialism has been deeply and irrevocably weakened by the revolt of the jihadists, which is the logical and predictable result of U.S. policy in the region since the overthrow of President Mubarak in Egypt and the bombing of Libya. In fact, I did predict it, back in February of 2011. No matter what the United States does, the crisis will deepen, directly threatening the viability of the Arab monarchies on which the West depends to control the price and availability of oil.

However, just because the U.S. has no good options, doesn’t mean it has no options at all. Superpowers always have options; they have the immense ability to destroy things: for example, Damascus, the capital of Syria, could be obliterated. But such a crime would be evidence of the weakness, not strength, of U.S. empire.

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: 20141001_gf_ObamaISISmistakes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm EST