Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Bottomless Cynicism and Contempt For Immigrant Communities: Obama's Long-Awaited “Executive Action” on Immigration

Bottomless Cynicism and Contempt For Immigrant Communities: Obama's Long-Awaited “Executive Action” on Immigration

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

Back when President Obama was candidate Obama, he promised the immigrant community, in his own words “a road to citizenship”. But although he swept into office with majorities in both houses of the 111th Congress, the new president and his party ignored this and many more of their promises to what the Democratic party likes to call its “base voters,” the poor and working poor, the black, the brown, the young, the old, promises on the minimum wage, promises to make it easier for workers to unionize, promises to end the war on drugs, to rein in banksters and oil companies, promises to relieve underwater homeowners, to curtailing nuclear weapons and much more.

Instead of delivering his promised “road to citizenship” the president immediately began using his executive powers to do the precise opposite of what he promised, deporting 2 million immigrants, on the flimsiest of pretexts, shattering hundreds of thousands of families.

After two years of not delivering, the president and his party lost their majority in the House. That time, not this one, was the moment for executive action on immigration, preceded by a profound presidential apology for not doing what the president is asking Republicans to do now, namely passing an immigration bill.

It's a measure of the abject subservience of Latino Democrats that they dare not call the president on his current “executive action” on immigration.

But the fact is, President Obama's announced action is a naked attempt to disarm the immigrant movement by arbitrarily dividing communities into legitimate and illegitimate immigrants. It will defer deportation of up to roughly a third of the undocumented, the parents of US citizens, provided they pass background checks and have lived here 5 years already. And being an executive action instead of the legislation the president and his party could have passed in 2009-2010 when they had the majority, it's open to interference by the Congress and totally contingent on the election of another Democrat to the White House in 2016, because after all with only the two capitalist parties, where can immigrants go?

The president's so-called “bold executive action” does nothing to address the US 40 Years War war on drugs, which continues to sprout anonymous mass graves throughout Mexico and Central America. It even contains provisions which will make it easier for employers to recruit hi-tech temps from overseas and deport them when their jobs are over, forcing US hi-tech workers to compete with them in a race for the bottom.

The president's lauded executive action on immigration then, is not a victory for immigrant communities, it's not a concession which their movement has wrung from the powers that be. It's old bone with rotten meat flung to immigrant communities, an expression of the bottomless cynicism and contempt the Democratic president and his party, have for Democratic voters and their communities.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works in Marietta GA and is a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or directly via email at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20141126_bd_immigration_exec_action.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:12pm EDT

War on the Down-Low: Obama’s Afghan Lies

War on the Down-Low: Obama’s Afghan Lies

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“President Obama never had any intention of withdrawing from Afghanistan.”

It should come as no surprise that President Obama has secretly extended the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan. Empires do not retreat unless they are defeated. This is especially true of U.S. imperialism, which, like no other empire in history, seeks to bring the entire planet under its control. That’s why the United States maintains 900 military bases in 130 countries. It’s why Washington is methodically subverting international law, which it views as an impediment to its goal of global domination. And, that’s why President Obama never had any intention of withdrawing from Afghanistan, the longest war in American history.

Barack Obama is no different than any other U.S. imperial leader – except that he is a more accomplished liar than most. He spoke with forked tongue back in May, when he promised that, after the end of this year, U.S. troops would have no combat role in Afghanistan, aside from hunting down the all but nonexistent forces of Al Qaida in that country and training Afghan government forces. Actually, all Obama really planned to do was a paper-change, reclassifying the 10,000 U.S. troops as “non-combatants” on paper, while continuing to deploy them against the Taliban. He tried to play the same trick in Iraq, but the Iraqis insisted that he pack up all his soldiers and go home, in 2011, as President George Bush had previously agreed.

Obama was determined to stay in Afghanistan, by hook or crook, until at least the year 2024. It was, after all, very much his personal war. In his presidential campaign, Obama characterized Afghanistan as the “right” war – as opposed to the “dumb” war in Iraq. He dramatically increased drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and “surged” 30,000 new troops into battle. He never planned an exit, but was compelled to pretend otherwise in the face of mounting public opposition to the war. If Obama had remained true to his word, at the end of this year U.S. troops would find themselves on the sidelines of the war against the Taliban, and watching America’s NATO allies booking flights back to Europe.

The Would-Be Eternal Empire

Rather than accept a phasing out of the U.S. role in the war, which is a kind of defeat, Obama turned the actual defeat of Iraqi forces at the hands of the Islamic State into an excuse to re-enter Iraq and to renege on the phase-out of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Islamic jihadists’ victories in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of miles away, provided the excuse for Obama to reboot the U.S. air and land war in Afghanistan. However, it was still necessary to keep the news from the American public until after the November elections.

Obama can now probably coast to the end of his term with a full combat role in Afghanistan, with confidence that his successor will also fight tooth and nail to keep that hopeless war going. Obama is also determined to continue waging a shadow war against Syria, despite the fact that his proxy Free Syrian Army is all but non-existent. Retreat is tantamount to defeat and, since war is all that U.S. imperialism is good at, defeat – even in a far-off place – can mean the end of the empire.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20141126_gf_AfghanWar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am EDT