Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 28

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 28, 2015

Ideology and Practice for the New Movement

The Black Radical Tradition is alive and kicking in the 21st century, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an organizer and keynote speaker for a conference titled “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition in Our Time,” set for January 8 through 10 at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “We observed in the framework of the anti-police state Blacks Lives Matter Movement a need for, and a call for, a conference that would address ideological as well as practical issues,” said Monteiro. “The Black Radical Tradition is alive and on the verge of reasserting itself.” Other keynoters include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Charlene Carruthers and Vijay Prashad.

U.S. Imperialism No Longer Seen as Unbeatable

“You’ve got a whole generation who’ve seen North Korea, Iran, [Hugo] Chavez and other people around the world tell the U.S. to stuff it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “The appearance of absolute world dominance has been fractured,” he said. “The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back” in Black America came in August, 2014, with the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri.

Teacher’s Death Prompts Call for Community Control of Police in DC

The mother of Alonzo Smith, a 27 year-old Southeast Washington DC teacher who died at the hands of private Special Police, said she’s not interested in wasting time trying to get the U.S. Justice Department to intervene in the case. Netfa Freeman, an organizer for Pan African Community Action (PACA) said Beverly Smith supports their effort to bring her son’s case before the United Nations. “We feel that the only way to stop” police killings of Blacks “is community control of police, in line with the call from the Black Panther Party in the 1960s,” said Freeman.

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Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20151228.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:12pm EST

2016's New Years Revolution…  Time To Lose Some Old Habits, Gain Some New Ones

2016's New Years Revolution… Time To Lose Some Old Habits, Gain Some New Ones

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The world view, class outlook and methods of nonprofit organizations have dominated the landscape of the US left for so long most of us are hardly aware of them. Movement elder Warren Mar, in this week's Black Agenda Report sheds some useful light on those matters in his indispensable article “Why Nonprofits Can't Lead the 99%” sketching some of the effects and outcomes of the of the nonprofit ground rules and mindset upon unions and community-based organizations.

Wherever the habits and world view of the nonprofit world came from, it wasn't the peoples movement.

Things were hard everywhere eighty years ago during the Great Depression. People were starving. Unions were often illegal, there was no minimum wage or social security, no anti-discrimination laws or unemployment insurance, and Jim Crow was the letter of the law. Still, people managed to organize, to fight the power and to win some important victories, pretty much without the kinds of single-issue organizations people nowadays regard as essential.

So where did that model come from? The single-issue organization seems to be a creature of the 1960s and 1970s, a kind of blocking response to a broad based movement on the part of elite funders. They know nobody's going to an anti-pollution meeting on Monday, a housing meeting on Tuesday, a school meeting on Wednesday, a police and prison meeting on Thursday and so on. And if all of them are in competition for the same funding dollars, so much the better.

Similarly, the nonprofit models of “movement” or advocacy organization led by self-selected, usually college educated executive directors, senior staff and self-perpetuating boards of directors with heavy representation from philanthropic funders are creations of funders, not of members or of a broad mass-based political movement.

If membership is defined in these sorts of organizations at all, it might consist of people who pay dues, or people who show up at meetings or just people on a mailing list. Rarely do members get access to anything like transparency on how funds are handled, or have the power to replace their shot calling directors and board members.

Truth is, the nonprofit model is anti-democratic, top-down and ideally suited to what Adolph Reed calls the broker type of leader, the unaccountable spokesperson purporting to be the mouthpiece of some united mass constituency with no real power over its alleged leader. Energetic and charismatic leaders of nonprofit organizations often sustain impressive mobilizations, at least over a short time, but they inevitably fall short on educating their members out of dependence on self-selected or funder-selected leaders (if they define members at all) and on expanding the base of their leadership. Nonprofit formations can make impressive use of Facebook and social media too, but these are mobilizing tools allowing you to communicate with other activists, those who already agree with you, not organizing tools one can use to identify potential leaders and win over audiences who don't already agree.

Dependence on the nonprofit model is all that Democratic party honchos desire from the left. They just need an election day mobilization. But if the vision of our movement extends to taking power, we have to train a broad base of people to wield power over their own organizations, and to contend for power over their lives, their economies, their communities with those who have that power now.

With only a week left in 2015, and a world still to win it's time for a new years revolution. It's time to drop the habits of the nonprofit world, time to raise up organizations accountable to well-defined memberships. It's time to focus on expanding our base not talking to other activists on Facebook, not on keeping the same few leaders out front of the same few hundred demonstrators. That's the difference between mobilizing and organizing.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and co-chair of the GA Green party. Reach him via email at brtuce.dixon(at0blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20151223_bd_new-years-revolution.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:13pm EST

Single Payer Health Care Still More Popular Than Obamacare

Single Payer Health Care Still More Popular Than Obamacare

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“With every year, more and more companies and jobs are tied directly to the cash flow of the privatized system Obama created.”

Boosters for the Obama administration claim that his Affordable Care Act is a legacy that qualifies Obama for permanent residence in the pantheon of progressive domestic policy presidents, like Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Black Agenda Report takes the opposite position: that, in 2009, newly-elected President Obama set the cause of universal health care back many years with his surprise endorsement of a Republican health insurance plan, hatched in the bowels of the Heritage Foundation in the 1980s and championed by GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole in 1996 and Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney shortly thereafter. Obama’s bill was written by the health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, and brutally imposed on the Left wing of the Democratic Party, whose members were threatened with loss of party campaign support if they resisted.

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the last holdout for the so-called Public Option, a scaled down alternative to Obama’s corporate-based scheme that finally disappeared altogether – as did Rep. Kucinich’s seat in Congress, which was redistricted out from under him.

The White House justified its abandonment of Single Payer health care, claiming compromise was necessary in order to get Republican votes. But the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, and Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote.

As a consolation for the loss of the Public Option, Obama offered to create non-profit health insurance co-ops in the various states. However, more than half of these co-ops have gone out of business in an environment dominated by cut-throat health care capitalists.

“Majorities of Americans still support Single Payer health care.”

Our biggest concern seven years ago was that Obama was setting in concrete the corporate role in health care, planting the insurance and drug companies right smack in the middle of a multi-trillion dollar river of federal money – and that it would take decades to pry their profiteering hands loose. We still feel that way. With every year, more and more companies and jobs are tied directly to the cash flow of the privatized system Obama created. As Bruce Dixon has warned, conservative judges are increasingly likely to rule that rolling back corporate pillaging of health care would constitute an illegal “taking” and seizure of reasonably expected profits. Under Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership trade rules treaty, the corporations would win.

Therefore, it is encouraging that majorities of Americans still support Single Payer health care, in the form of Medicare for All. A new Kaiser Poll shows 58 percent of the public are in favor of Medicare for All, including 81 percent of Democrats. That’s only slightly below the high mark of Single Payer support in the months before new President Barack Obama announced that he wasn’t really talking about Single Payer when he used the term “universal coverage” – he meant universal payment to private corporations, under penalty of law. His plan, Obamacare, remains less popular than Medicare for All. Obama’s legacy is that he has made it far more difficult to dislodge the corporations from their parasitic role in U.S. health care.

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: 20151223_gf_SinglePayerStillPopular.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EST

Nigerian Military: “The Real Boko Haram”

Nigerian Military: “The Real Boko Haram”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Nigerian military has long been suspected of manipulating Boko Haram to its own ends.”

Hammad Ibrahim, a soft-spoken, intelligent young man, accompanied his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, the leader of Nigeria’s Shia Muslims, to a conference on Solidarity with Palestine, in Beirut, last week. I was there, along with other reporters and activists. Young Hammad told our group that Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadists, are terrorist thugs who get their weapons and money from both Nigerian and foreign donors, just like the Islamic State, with which Boko Haram is aligned. Hammad’s father, Sheikh Zakzaky, is recognized as a force for reconciliation among the various religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria. But Zakzaky’s Shia followers have been targeted by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military, which has long been suspected of manipulating Boko Haram to its own ends. The Nigerian army killed three of the Sheikh’s sons in 2009 during a march against the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem.

By this weekend, Hammad was also dead, killed by the Nigerian military shortly after he arrived back in the country in a massacre of unarmed Shia Muslims that left his father with bullet wounds in both hands. The military claims the Sheikh’s followers were plotting to kill the army chief of staff when his motorcade was blocked by demonstrators. But, it was pure murder on a massive scale, with as many as 1,000 dead and two hundred bodies piled up at a morgue on the outskirts of town. The military then bulldozed a Shia shrine and Sheikh Zakzaky’s home. One of the Sheikh’s followers, Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega, wrote on his Facebook page that “the REAL BOKO HARAM is now on the loose” in form of the Nigerian army, “bombing buildings and killing innocent civilians.” Soon after posting that message, Mr. Bello Jega was also killed by soldiers, along with his wife and infant child.

It was pure murder on a massive scale, with as many as 1,000 dead.”

It is not strange at all that the Nigerian military, which for years did little to halt the rise of Boko Haram terror, has unleashed a hell on earth for peaceful Shia Muslims. Saudi Arabia, the fountainhead of funding for jihadists all over the world, has just formed its own bizarre coalition against terror, made up of 34 nations from Pakistan to sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and its West African neighbors Chad, Togo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. For the Saudis to be leading a war against terror is like the Pope leading a war against Catholicism. Everything the Saudis touch turns into terror and chaos. The Saudi brand of Wahhabist Islam calls for the eradication of Shia Muslims and secular governments, worldwide – a crusade that the United States finds convenient to its own imperial purposes. When both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton say that Arabs and Muslims must fight their own war against terror, they are actually endorsing Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the Muslim world and the spread of proxy jihadist armies throughout Africa and Asia.

West Africa is the next front in these jihadist wars, which have already claimed so many of Sheikh Zakzaky’s sons. The resulting chaos will be used to justify further U.S military penetration of the African continent, under the pretext of putting out the fires that they themselves have set.

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: 20151216_gf_NigerianMilitaryJihad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:44pm EST

Dyson's "Yes She Can" Is A Lazy Shameless Official Spokesnegro Audition Tape

Dyson's “Yes She Can” Is A Lazy, Shameless Official Spokesnegro Audition Tape

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Michael Eric Dyson's shamelessly lazy and hazy 6600 word pro-Hillary Clinton screed titled “Yes She Can” passed without much notice in black America last week. That's chiefly because everybody knows Michael isn't even talking to us. He has to talk about us at some length of course, but he's mainly talking to his prospective employers, the folks he wants to be his new bosses.

If Dyson were actually speaking to black America, a “Yes She Can” piece would bear the insupportable burden of explaining to black folks just what good Hillary can or is likely to do, and why she deserves black support. Dyson knows better than to tackle that kind of heavy lifting this early in the game, before his own status is secured, and before the choice is narrowed down to Hillary and some Republican.

“Yes She Can” is the latest in the long running series of Michael Eric Dyson audition tapes for one of the Official Spokesnegro spots that open up on MSNBC and similar places with every Democratic administration. Michael didn't make the final cut for the Obama era, but is making a strong bid in what he hopes will be the administration of Hillary Clinton.

In the tradition of lazy employees with lazy bosses, Dyson demonstrates his loyalty by not contradicting or criticizing his prospective boss in any way, and telling the new bosses exactly what Dyson imagines they want to hear.

Thus he begins by pronouncing the Obama presidency one of the most consequential of all time, but again, without the bother of explaini

ng how or why. Next Dyson absolves Hillary from any racial sin, deeming her problems all in the eyes of beholders, mere perception. After that he affirms the new boss's outdated wisdom that preachers are after all, the real leaders of black America, and plays his own preacher card to affirm insider status in that charmed circle. According to Dyson, black preachers up to and including Rev. Jesse L. Jackson himself have forgiven Hillary's offenses, real and imagined, and with her ghetto pass thus properly stamped, she's good to go.

Finally he has a few noncommittal words to say about #BlackLivesMatter, nothing hostile or dismissive, and praises Hillary's own rapproachment with its leaders and spokespeople.

All in all “Yes She Can” is a classic performance. It insults nobody, it tells no new truths, it pretends to be reportage and bigs up the narrator and most importantly of all, it butters up the prospective bosses by telling them what they think they know already as if it's newly discovered truth.

Bill Clinton, Dyson says, gave black America “bad policy” and Barack Obama “no policy”. So it stands to reason, or whatever rules Dyson's world that Hillary will give black people “good policy”.

No wonder “Yes She Can” was barely noticed by black people. He wouldn't dare tell us nonsense like that. Everybody knows Michael is talking to his next set of bosses. We wish him good luck on his job interview.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a Chicagoan now living in exile near Marietta GA. He's a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.



Direct download: 151209_0243.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:56pm EST

Youth Leads the Struggle in Chicago

Youth Leads the Struggle in Chicago

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

If left to their own devices, the Black Misleaders will smother the movement in proceduralisms and other diversions.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet said she hadn’t seen Mayor Rahm Emanuel so shaken in 20 years, as when he was forced to fire his police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, this week. It seemed as if the protective shield of Black Misleadership Class collaboration that has for the last 30 years insulated white mayors from the wrath of Chicago’s outraged Black rank and file, had suddenly been stripped away. Black ministers joined militant youth in marching down the city’s “Magic Mile” Michigan Avenue shopping district, demanding that heads roll for hiding video evidence in the death of 17 year-old Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke. For 400 days, Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez refused to indict the cop, or release the police dashboard video of the shooting, or to explain why another critical video had apparently been destroyed. Alvarez finally bowed to pressure – and a court orderindicting the cop for first degree murder and releasing the death video.

But the community’s rage could not be contained. The Black Caucus of Chicago’s Board of Aldermen demanded that Police Superintendent McCarthy resign. So did Rev. Jesse Jackson and even Bobby Rush, the sell-out Black Congressman who has been a dependable servant of the Emanuel administration. The strength of the movement in Chicago can be measured by the fact that so many elements of the Black collaborationist political class have been forced to take a stance in opposition to Mayor Emanuel and the white corporate forces that he represents, and ultimately to compel the mayor to fire his favorite cop. However, if left to their own devices – if allowed to seize control of what is essentially a Black youth political rebellion – the Black Misleaders will smother the movement in proceduralisms and long, drawn out studies and compliant advisory boards and all manner of other diversions, as they have always done. That’s their job, as the Black junior partners in the permanent white corporate state.

Righteous, Transformative Demands

The young people that the are soldiers of this struggle understand that movements are defined by their demands. In a joint statement by the Black Youth Project 100, We Charge Genocide, Assata’s Daughters, the #LetUsBreathe collective, and a Black Lives Matter chapter, they declared that “Indicting cops does not change the policies that promote the violence and trauma inherent in the Chicago Police Department.” They want Rahm Emanuel’s resignation, too. The Black Youth Project also demands defunding of the Chicago police, and investment of those dollars in the Black community. They call for reparations for slavery, Jim Crow and mass Black incarceration; an end to all profit in the criminal justice system; a guaranteed income for all; a federal jobs program, and freedom from discrimination for all workers; and an end to displacement of Black people through gentrification.

These are demands for social transformation – demands that will put the young activists on a collision course with the Black Misleadership Class who are the first line of defense for the white ruling class, and who will soon close ranks in Chicago and elsewhere to try to stop this movement.

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: 151202_gf_ChicagoYouth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 1, 2015

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 1, 2015

Two Rights Groups Refuse to Sign Off on Sentencing “Reform” Bill

Legislation is moving through the U.S. House and Senate that would retroactively shorten sentences for crack cocaine possession and, its backers claim, substantially roll back mandatory minimum sentences for other crimes. However, the National Urban League and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) are refusing to give their blessing to the Sentencing Act, which actually expands the list of crimes subject to mandatory prison terms. The bill “will have a disproportionate effect on minority communities,” according to FAMM president Julie Stewart. “They have created a new class of crime that can now trigger” a sentence of 25 years, she said. Gun possession and crimes of domestic violence would also carry mandatory penalties.

New Film in the Works on Black Panther Party

Former Black Panther Party chief of staff David Hilliard and Emmy Award-winning director Dante James hope to have a documentary on the party completed in time for the 50th anniversary of the BPP’s founding, next September. “Our film is not going to be a response or reaction” to The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, directed by Stanley Nelson, Jr. and distributed by PBS. “For many, many years,” said James, “the corporate media has defined the Black Panther Party from the outside-in.” This time, the party will by defined, not by “fringe or part-time party members, but by people who were there from the very beginning, who knew and worked with Huey P. Newton.”

First Cop Goes on Trial in Freddie Gray Killing

The manslaughter trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter began on Monday, the first of six cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray, last April. Porter drove the police van in which Gray was fatally injured. Jill Carter, a Maryland state legislator and lawyer, told The Real News Network that some of the cops should have been charged with murder. “We all saw in the video that an assault happened prior to Freddie Gray ever being placed in the van,” said Carter. “If there was an illegal arrest that was contemporaneous with an assault, I would argue that would be first degree assault and attempted murder, with cumulative charges for everything that happened after that.” Baltimore erupted in street rebellion in the wake of Gray’s death.

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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20151130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:55pm EST

From Hanrahan to Daley to Alvarez, Protecting Killer Cops is a Chicago Prosecutorial Tradition

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

 

From Hanrahan to Daley to Alvarez, Protecting Killer Cops is a Chicago Prosecutorial Tradition

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The city of Chicago yesterday released a video it had held for 400 days of a police officer apparently murdering a young man with a knife walking away from him. Police announced that the officer, who'd been on paid leave that entire 400 days, would be suspended without pay. Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez's office, which had “investigated” the case that entire time finally announced that Officer Van Dyke would be charged with first degree murder.

Upon viewing the video, as hundreds of thousands of people have by now, the obvious questions are why the Cook County States Attorney took 13 months, instead of 13 days or 13 hours or 13 minutes to come up with that murder indictment? Unfortunately this easy and obvious question has an easy and obvious answer. Anita Alvarez is the same states attorney who deliberately sabotaged the case against the killer cop who shot Rekia Boyd by charging him with manslaughter instead of murder, a charge which the judge was forced to dismiss, neatly immunizing the killer cop from further prosecution.

States Attorney Alvarez is part of a long tradition of Chicago prosecutors who aid, abet and sometimes hire and directly supervise killer cops to do what they do. Before Richard M. Daley was mayor for twenty years he was the county's top prosecutor who accepted and carried to court all the cases built upon the torture of innocent black men by Chicago Police commander John Burge. And when we talk about infamous Cook County States Attorneys nobody should forget that the 1969 murder of Chicago Illinois Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was executed by a squad of Chicago cops (except for the lead sergeant, whose identity and affiliation are unclear) under the direct supervision of the states attorney's office.

Alvarez comes up for re-election in November 2016, and people are pointing to a rival in the Democratic primary election as the one to vote for. Should a tidal wave of public indignation ends the political career of Anita Alvarez next year it will be a kind of justice, but only of a very limited sort.

Edward V. Hanrahan was thrown out of office by a tidal wave of public disgust over the assassination of Fred Hampton. His political career was over, but not much else changed. And now, just as then there are a lot of things that need changing in Chicago.

The city just had a reform candidate for mayor who barely seemed to notice the Chicago Police black site at Homan Square, an issue that should have been a rallying point for black Chicago around his campaign. That same reform candidate kicked off his campaign and stump speech with a pledge to hire a thousand more Chicago cops, in a city which already has one of the highest police-to-civilian ratios in the country, and which clearly protects its corrupt and brutal cops from any accountability to civilians. And let's not talk about Chicago's media, which, when the Homan Square story broke in a British paper, spent its reporters time trying to debunk instead of investigating it.

The enabling of killer cops is a tradition in Chicago, as it is around the country. Anita Alvarez can and should be swept from office next November. But it will take a lot of elections, and a lot more than just elections to change the system that brought us Hanrahan, Daley, and now Alvarez.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a Chicagoan now living in exile near Marietta GA. He's a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20151125_bd_hanrahan2alvarez.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

Israelis – Not Muslims – Cheered in Jersey City on 9/11

Israelis – Not Muslims – Cheered in Jersey City on 9/11

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“By making only a partial correction of Donald Trump’s prevarication, the corporate media were telling their own lie about what happened on 9/11.”

The corporate media don’t like Donald Trump. They used to like him a lot; in fact, Big Business Media are responsible for making this minor multi-millionaire into a household name. But Trump is on their hit list, nowadays, because the Republican presidential candidate insists on telling his own lies, rather than sticking to the list of official lies parroted by corporate media every minute of every day.

Donald Trump told a really “HUGE” – as he would put it – lie when he claimed to have watched thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center came down on 9/11. Every corporate news outlet in the country rushed to debunk Trump’s fictitious account. The Washington Post offered psychological theories for why Trump gets away with telling fantastic lies. The New York Times said there was no evidence that Jersey City Muslims cheered the destruction on 9/11. CNN said it never happened. And, they were right.

However, by making only a partial correction of Donald Trump’s prevarication, the corporate media were telling their own lie about what happened on 9/11. There was, in fact, celebration in Jersey City on that fateful morning, and the incident did, briefly, make a major news splash. But the people doing the cheering weren’t Muslims: they were five young Israelis in a white moving van, who were observed in Liberty Park ecstatically taking pictures of themselves framed against the smoking ruins of the Twin Towers. As ABC News reported, the five were later arrested at gunpoint near the New Jersey Giants football stadium. Most U.S. intelligence sources believed the men were Israeli spies, and that their “moving company” was an Israeli intelligence cover. They were detained for a while, and then deported.

“Who is the biggest liar?”

In the year before 9/11 scores of young Israelis posing as “art students” were arrested after penetrating U.S. Defense Department and other classified sites. Both stories made national news. The corporate media could not have avoided running across articles on the “cheering Israelis” when they set about debunking Donald Trump’s “cheering Muslims” account. But, not one of them dare to mention that, yes, some people were seen celebrating 9/11 at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

I was in a different part of the park on 9/11 morning, alone except for two young Israelis with very expensive cameras, carrying phony New Jersey press credentials, who claimed to be Polish but spoke Hebrew to each other. The two young men were giddy with joy at the destruction that the three of us were observing across the Hudson River.

Later that day, I learned from local and national news outlets about the five Israelis who were dancing with delight about a mile upriver from me and the two other Israelis. Articles about Israelis celebrating 9/11 would have come up in any search to correct Donald Trump’s tall tale – but the corporate media kept that part of the story from the public. They censored their own correction of Donald Trump. So, who is the biggest liar? Trump, who lies to advance his own personal interests, or the U.S. corporate media, who lie to the people on behalf of the State of Israel, and Zionism.

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: 20151125_gf_CheeringIsraelis_9_11.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of November 23, 2015

Black Agenda Radio for Week of November 23, 2015

ISIS and the White Lives Matter Movement

Although civilians in Nigeria, Iraq and Syria have suffered the highest casualties from jihadist terror, these crimes “get no attention, especially because in most of these tragedies Western governments are the primary responsible parties, said Ajamu Baraka, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report and a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. Baraka authored an article in the current issue of BAR titled “The Paris Attacks and the White Lives Matter Movement.” Most Europeans and Euro-Americans exhibit an “inability to recognize the humanity of other people” – a form of psychopathology, said Baraka. ”They advance the notion that they are the upholders of a humanitarian tradition, while at the same time are responsible for the most horrific acts known in human history.”

Black Power Through Sustainable Development

Activists with Cooperation Jackson looked forward to joining huge demonstrations in Paris, later this month, to influence United Nations negotiations about climate change and to promote their Jackson Just Transition Plan to create environment-friendly employment in predominantly Black Jackson, Mississippi. However, French authorities have declared a state of emergency. Cooperation Jackson spokesman Kali Akuno said Black Power has everything to do with sustainable development. “In the 21st century, I don’t think there’s anywhere else for many of us in the United States to go,” said Akuno. “None of the other industries are producing anything that is going to employ us very intensely. We have to realize that the masses of Black people are completely disposable to this system, and we have to come up with the concrete alternatives, ourselves.”

Protestors Mark Anniversary of Tamir Rice’s Murder

Stop Mass Incarceration Network activists confronted Cleveland’s mayor and disrupted traffic on a major thoroughfare to mark the date, a year ago, when a white cop shot to death 12 year-old Tamir Rice. The local district attorney accused Rice’s mother of having “economic motives” for demanding justice for her son. “For this district attorney to impugn anybody’s motive is beyond disgusting,” said Network co-founder Carl Dix. “This is a guy who’s heading a secret grand jury process who has leaked three reports that say the police who murdered Tamir Rice were justified in doing so.” The cops shot the child two seconds after arriving at the park where he’d been playing with a toy gun. “They charged at him like they were some Wild West gunslingers who had their prey in their sights,” said Dix.

Bill and Hillary Clinton Might Face Indictment

In an article in Harpers magazine, investigative reporter Ken Silverstein predicted that newly-released Clinton Foundation tax returns could get Bill, Hillary and daughter Chelsea indicted on money laundering and influence peddling charges. “As secretary of state she paid particular attention to Clinton Foundation donors,” said Silverstein. Now, after years of filing false returns, “the shit is hitting the fan” for the former – and possibly future – First Couple.

Cuban Official Remembers Jim Crow

Kenia Serrano, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship of the People, spends much of her time greeting visitors to her island nation. But, this month she led a Cuban delegation on a tour of U.S. cities, starting with New York, where she expressed pride in the great changes the Revolution has made in the lives of the people, especially Black Cubans. “In Cuba, we have a Fifth Avenue similar to the one in New York City. Black people couldn’t walk on Fifth Avenue” in Havana. “Before the triumph of the Revolution, Black people could not work in the banks.” Even the “mulatto” Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista “was not allowed to go to the bourgeois clubs in Cuba,” said Serrano.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

 

Direct download: blackagendaradio_20151123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20am EST

Baltimore Study Sheds Light on Bankers’ Scheme To Expel Blacks from the City

 

Baltimore Study Sheds Light on Bankers’ Scheme To Expel Blacks from the City

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Some neighborhoods will live, and some will die, to be born again as gentrified communities.”

A new study of bank lending practices in Baltimore shows that whites get twice the number of mortgage loans as Blacks do, even though Blacks outnumber whites two to one in the city. Baltimore is 64 percent Black, with a quarter of its population living below the poverty line. However, the study found that the banks continue to issue mortgages in some low income neighborhoods – the ones where white people live. Yes, Baltimore still has some poor neighborhoods where whites are the majority, and if you live in one of them, you are far more likely to get a mortgage from the bank. But, if you live in a neighborhood that’s 80 percent Black or more, your chances for a mortgage are a much slimmer.

So, what are the Lords of Capital really up to? The data shows that the banks are willing to put money into low-income neighborhoods that still have large white populations, but will do nothing to stabilize low-income communities where Blacks predominate. The implications are quite clear, but the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which seeks to draw public and private investment into the cities, and which commissioned the study, doesn’t seem to get it. They issued a statement, warning that failure to provide credit to prospective inner city homeowners will cause their neighborhoods to “continue to deteriorate” – as if the banks don’t know that!

“They know exactly what they are doing.”

The bankers are perfectly aware of the consequences of their lending policies. Some neighborhoods will live, and some will die, to be born again as gentrified communities valued at many times the previous worth of the land and buildings. When Black neighborhoods are killed, the banks make a killing. The banks have other plans for Baltimore’s remaining white low income neighborhoods. White folks always get different treatment; that’s part of the privilege.

For the time being, the banks have decided to keep those poor white enclaves stable, through the magic of mortgage money. But, the bankers have condemned the Black sections of town to a death spiral of social and physical deterioration. They know exactly what they are doing: inflicting the maximum social pain on Black people, in anticipation of fantastic financial gains for bank shareholders after the Blacks are forced to disperse.

In a white supremacist society like the United States, the very presence of Black people lowers property values – not because of anything within Black people’s control, but because of white people’s behavior in the marketplace. The banks are the most important institutional participants in the white supremacist marketplace and profit the most from it. Baltimore is what it has become, mostly because of the banks, who also had a lot to do with deindustrialization and the collapse of the blue collar job market in the Baltimores of the nation.

There’s a lesson here, but one that groups like the National Community Reinvestment Coalition will never learn. They spend much of their time trying to get bankers to do the right thing – which is an absolute impossibility – when the real task at hand is to get rid of the banking class and nationalize the banks so that we can make rational investments of the people’s money in jobs and housing for the folks who live in places like Baltimore.

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: 20151118_gf_BaltimoreBanks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EST

Black Agenda Radio Weekly, November 17, 2015

Black Agenda Radio for Week of November 16, 2015

Prison Reformers Distort Facts to Make Obama Look Good

In 2013, President Obama’s Justice Department went into federal court to prevent the retroactive reduction in prison sentences for people convicted under the old crack cocaine laws. The case was U.S. v. Blewett. As a result, about 6,000 inmates were forced to spend additional years in prison. However, according to members of The Sentencing Project, a highly respected prison reform organization, President Obama should not be blamed for keeping thousands of offenders incarcerated under an admittedly racist law. “That was a decision made by lawyers studying constitutional law and applying that in a specific case,” said Sentencing Project advocacy counsel Jeremy Haile, at a telephone press briefing to push for passage of another bill that would – finally! – retroactively scale back crack cocaine sentences. BAR executive editor Glen Ford said Obama seemed to have one prison policy for the public, and another for the courts. “You certainly could make that interpretation,” replied Robert Craemer, a political consultant for the Sentencing Project. But, “whatever sins there may have been in the past, I think they are definitely committed” to passage of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, now before the U.S. Senate. “I’ve been told that by people at the very top of the administration – the White House,” said Craemer.

Black Is Back Coalition Holds Conference at Howard U.

The Russians are correct to help the Syrian government defend itself against U.S.-backed jihadists, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition held a national conference at Howard University’s Blackburn Center, under the theme “Black Power Matters.” Much of the event focused on global developments. The U.S. “has funded every criminal with a gun and a bomb in the Middle East,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “The modern jihad that people are so upset about was created by the Carter regime” nearly 40 years ago.

Margaret Kimberley, senior columnist for Black Agenda Report, said Black people need to build a movement with a global perspective. “It’s Putin who has proved beyond any doubt that the United States was lying about wanting to get rid of ISIS,” she said. “We talk about Black Power mattering. But, if we don’t speak against imperialism then we’re not talking about the whole picture.”

One of the Coalition’s principal demands is Black Community Control of the Police. “It’s a demand that calls for the dismantling of the occupation army that the Black Panther Party identified and described back in 1966,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford. However, much of the new crop of Black activists “don’t know the meaning of the word ‘demand.’ Movements are defined by their demands, and to that extent, the two factions that go under the heading BlackLivesMatter network and Campaign Zero have dropped out of the movement and dropped – or jumped, or leaped – into the Democratic Party.”

Herdosia Bentum, president of the International Uhuru Movement, who hails from Ferguson, Missouri, is coordinating a campaign to charge the U.S. with domestic genocide against Afrikans. The project involves knocking on lots of doors. “The most important thing as an organizer is going to those houses and sitting down and talking to people,” said Bentum. “Because, they understand that one of the biggest crimes is poverty.”

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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

 

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20151116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm EST

What Good Are Our Black Politics When 3 of Every 8 Black Children Under 6 Are in Poverty?

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

There have never been more black elected and appointed officials, more black corporate and military functionaries, more black faces on TV and in the movies than there are right now. There's been a black family in the White House for seven years already and the first lady is from the south side of Chicago. But what does it really mean to black children in places like Chicago's south side all around the country?

The plain and simple answer is not a whole lot. Current census data pegs the percentage of African American children under 6 who are growing up in poverty at 38%. That's three out of every eight black children in the US. It's been just a little higher once or twice in the several decades that particular statistic has been kept, but never by much, and not since the early 1980s.

Why? Politics isn't just about voting, elections and political parties. Politics broadly speaking is about how we humans arrange our collective affairs. And black politics, as far back as anybody can recall, black politics has never been aimed at confronting those who wield power, or contesting for that power. Black politics has always been about representation, about which black faces would best serve as designated spokespeople for the rest of us, which of them might best broker for our interests. Brokers don't contest power.

The current waves of mass incarceration and gentrification would have been impossible without the active collaboration of large groups of black preachers, black business leaders and black politicians, the kind of black political class which views its own glittering careers as the indisputable proof that something great is being accomplished on behalf of the oppressed.

So far, the newest wave of so-called “movement activists” are walking down that same well-traveled road. They're asking for more representation, with themselves as the brokers this time. They want town hall meetings and to their own presidential debates. But as Glen Ford points out, they don't have demands.

They're not proposing abolition of the crushing burden of student and consumer debt.

They're not championing laws that would make the kinds of mortgage fraud perpetrated by the big banks illegal, or which would let cities snatch underwater homes from the speculators.

They're not educating or organizing parents and communities to resist the wave of school privatizations or to opt out of the standardized testing which provides the fake justification for them.

They're not speaking or mobilizing against the permanent warfare state which swallows fully half the nation's revenue, money which could be spent transforming cities, industries, economies, and tens of millions of lives.

They're not building new political organizations that value and practice democracy internally, that prefigure the world we deserve.

This new movement crowd has lots to say about the slippery nebulous demons of white supremacy and institutional racism, but almost nothing against the state and corporate actors who exercise real power. Like the classes of broker-leaders before them, they don't have answers to gentrification, or the housing crisis or mass incarceration, or much to say to the three out of every eight black children in poverty, except to point to their own careers, while declaring how they love their blackness, and that of the pretty first lady in the White House. And yours too.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a partner in a technology firm. He lives and works near Marietta GA and is on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20151111_bd_confronting_the_state.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm EST

The Middle Age White Male Die-Off: When Skin Privilege is Not Enough

The Middle Age White Male Die-Off: When Skin Privilege is Not Enough

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

A generation of poorly educated white men who came of age in the Seventies and Eighties are suffering dramatic levels of psychological instability.”

It appears that white middle aged men with no more than a high school education have not adjusted well to their declining economic and social status in the United States. That seems to be the logical conclusion that can be drawn from a study by two Nobel laureates in economics who found that the death rate for white men of lower educational attainment between the ages of 45 and 54 has been increasing, while every other racial, gender and economic group has been living longer. The study was conducted during the 15 years between 1999 and 2014. The findings came as a shock – not just because the life expectancy of non-college educated white middle aged males was going in the opposite direction than everyone else, but also because the heightened mortality rate of this particular cohort is not due to the most frequent killers, like heart disease and diabetes. Instead, these low-income white men are committing suicide or dying from the complications of substance abuse at previously unheard of rates. So many of this group are dying by their own hands, or from illnesses based on self-destructive behaviors, that they have dragged down the life expectancy of the entire white middle aged male population, regardless of education and income.

These low-income white men are committing suicide or dying at previously unheard of rates from the complications of substance abuse.”

Clearly, we are looking at mass psychological problems, rooted in class, race, and gender at a particular point in history in the United States. These suddenly at-risk white men are by no means the most endangered U.S. demographic; Black and Hispanic men still die much younger than whites, but their life expectancies are gradually improving, while the opposite is true of the at-risk white cohort. Even more intriguingly, white relatively uneducated males who are older or younger than the 45 to 54 group are not dying at such high rates from self-destructive behavior.

What the numbers are telling us, is that a generation of poorly educated white men who came of age in the Seventies and Eighties are suffering dramatic levels of psychological instability, so that they drink or drug themselves to death or kill themselves outright. The death rate for this group rose 22 percent during the study period. The researchers noted that the incomes of households headed by people with only a high school education fell by 19 percent during the same period. But, that’s true for less educated households of all ethnic groups and both sexes, and only the white males of a certain age began dying at alarming rates – as if much of their group had been emotionally destabilized.

Working class people of all ethnicities have lost a great deal of economic ground under late stage capitalism in America, but the uneducated white males have also lost what they were led to expect was their special place in the racialized pecking order. Late in life, they find that white skin privilege can’t buy security or serenity in the age of austerity – and their worlds fall apart.

You might say they died from a White Lie.

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: 20151104_gf_WhiteMalesDying.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17am EST

War Abroad Breeds Homicidal Indifference At Home: St. Louis Garbage Fire Creeps Toward Nuclear Weapons Waste Dump

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Underground fires are notoriously hard to control or extinguish, and they often burn for years. One of these, a smoking, stinking garbage fire in a St. Louis MO landfill is at least five years old, and it now rages 1200 feet or less from a cache of buried nuclear waste left over from the Manhattan Project, the World War 2 effort to build the world's first atomic bombs. There are no barriers between the creeping subterranean garbage fire and the nuclear waste. Should the fire reach the radioactive material one of the likely results will be a plume of deadly radioactive smoke directly over the St. Louis airport, the city and nearby suburbs, including Ferguson.

Authorities have known about the fire creeping toward the nuclear waste dump for some time, but only in October were they finally forced to make public their emergency plans to be executed in the event that the smoldering garbage fire reaches the radioactive waste. The report calls for the use of sirens, SMS text messaging and other means to spur the evacuation of affected areas, and calls for the mobilization of first responders and volunteer resources, the cooperation of hospitals, businesses, schools and other local institutions.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the nuclear waste was dumped in suburban St. Louis in 1973. Even without the approaching underground garbage fire, the atomic waste site near the St. Louis airport is leaking radiation, and lies in the floodplain of the Missouri River.

Local residents are not reassured by the pronouncements of the EPA, the federal agency in charge of the atomic bomb waste site, that there is little danger to the health and safety of the 2 million plus residents of the St. Louis metro area, and are urgently demanding more public information and accountability.

Local officials are making noises about suing the owners of the landfill over the long burning fire, but this does nothing to protect the public. No corporation and no insurance companies can possibly cover the cost in property, lost business or human lives caused by a radiation disaster in a big city. This is why no insurance company anywhere in the world will cover a nuclear reactor, it's something only a government can pretend to do. And pretend is absolutely the right word here. The government after all has for decades displayed a kind of homicidal indifference to the well being of people in the greater St. Louis area.

In 1994 the US Army admitted that in the 1950s it had deliberately sprayed sprayed certain poor neighborhoods in and around St. Louis with toxic and radioactive dust. Much like the Manhattan Project secretly dumping its radioactive waste on the outskirts of big cities, this time the army was testing its ability to wage war not against foreign aggressors, but against civilians going about their own business on the other side of the planet. It seems that the local topography around St. Louis, in the opinion of army officials, resembled that of some Russian cities they might want to target in a future war. Some unknown number of local residents died.

The first obvious lesson here is that war overseas breeds a kind of murderous indifference to civilian life at home. The folks who manufactured the nukes used on Japanese cities in World War 2 didn't mind dumping their radioactive garbage on the outskirts of an American city, and US military officials who considered poisoning Soviet civilians in the 1950s didn't shrink from testing their methods on American civilians.

The second, and equally obvious lesson is that you probably shouldn’t believe much of what the officials of a government that would do such things will say. Right now the EPA says not to worry, that it will come up with a solution to the problem this year. We'll see.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20151031_bd-st-louis-nukes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:49pm EST

FBI Chief Gets the “Ferguson Effect” All Wrong

FBI Chief Gets the “Ferguson Effect” All Wrong

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

In Comey’s mind, there is no such thing as mass incarceration.”

FBI Director James Comey put his boss in an uncomfortable position this week, blaming the movement against police brutality in Black America for increases in crime in some cities. Comey was talking about the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” the theory that intensified scrutiny of police since the rebellions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore has caused cops to be less aggressive in carrying out their duties, allowing crime to flourish. The FBI chief painted a picture of a digitalFort Apache, the Bronx, with cops cowering in their squad cars “surrounded by young people with mobile phone cameras held high,” waiting to capture them on video. Comey said the cops feel like they’re “under siege,” and are reluctant to get out of their cars.

Actually, I think that’s a very pretty picture, and I wish it were the case everywhere in Black America. In the next scene of that movie, the occupation-army-in-blue would turn around and drive back to the suburbs where they live, never to return – and Black folks would take up the task of providing security for their own communities. Now, that would be real “community policing.”

Director Comey also put himself, at least rhetorically, on the wrong side of the White House when he questioned the very existence of “mass incarceration” in the United States. The U.S. prison population has grown eight-fold since 1970 but, as Comey points out, each of these prisoners has been locked up one at a time. Therefore, in Comey’s mind, there is no such thing as mass incarceration.

Obama has brought not a single federal prosecution against killer cops.”

All this is quite embarrassing to the Obama administration, whose job is to convince Black people that a kinder, gentler police force is on the way and mass Black incarceration is nearing an end, and that all this can happen without fundamentally changing power relationships in America. It’s a scam, of course. The administration’s version of community policing would actually increase police penetration of the Black community, in the guise of community relations, multiplying the points of contact between police and the people. Pro-active policing merges with predictive policing, which is racial profiling on steroids. Obama is only seeking to put a smiling face on an even more intrusive, higher tech Mass Black Incarceration State.

The cops shouldn’t be so nervous. Obama has brought not a single federal prosecution against killer cops. Police impunity is not threatened in any way by his so-called reforms – most of which have been recommended by the cops, themselves. Obama and his political twin, Hillary Clinton, want to strengthen the grip of police power, by putting Black people back to sleep.

The only group that can be counted on not to cooperate is the Black street. Those young Black folks that FBI Director Comey talked about are armed with their phone cameras – and that’s not the only tool that Black hands can hold, a lesson learned with the first modern Black urban rebellion in Harlem, in 1935, and re-learned over the past year in Ferguson and Baltimore.

The next chapter of Black history will be written in the streets. The effects will be bigger than Ferguson.

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: 20151028_gf_FergusonEffect.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EST

 

Find Out What the “Or Else” Is: March with the Black Is Back Coalition in Washington, Nov. 7

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“The only way to shield Black children from killer cops is through Black Community Control of the Police.

The struggle for justice begins with a demand. Not with an empty threat that everyone knows is a bluff – like the Nation of Islam’s “Justice or Else” bait-and-switch, which left hundreds of thousands of Black people dangling in the Washington Mall with no hint of direction for the future. And, we definitely don’t stand a chance of getting justice by holding racial sensitivity sessions with an infinitely corrupt, profoundly racist war criminal like Hillary Clinton. Who cares what goes on in her wicked mind – a mind we already know too well, based on decades of experience.

What we know is that “Power concedes nothing without a demand – it never has and it never will.” Frederick Douglass’s voice resounds across the generations, yet presidential candidates are allowed – no, beseeched! – to come up with their own ideas for bringing justice to Black people, without having to grapple with actual Black people’s demands. And we know that an aging Muslim minister can summon a million Black people as a backdrop, speak for two hours, and make not one substantive demand of those in Power.

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations has a demand: Black Community Control of the Police – now, and in every Black community in the United States. The Black Is Back Coalition will rally and march on the White House on Saturday, November 7, as it has every year since 2009. This year, the theme is “Black Power Matters” – because the power of a mobilized people is the hammer that backs up the demand for Black Community Control of the Police.

“Impunity is the law of the land.”

It’s the proper demand for Tamir Rice, whose murder at the age of 12 by a Cleveland cop has been declared a “reasonable shooting” by two law enforcement “experts.” The only way to shield Black children from killer cops is through Black Community Control of the Police. That’s why Black Power Matters – because only Black Power can ensure that Black Lives Matter.

So far this year, the police have shot dead 789 people, 28 of them unarmed Black people. But only 12 police officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter, and not one officer has been convicted this year. Impunity is the law of the land, and will always be so until we demand, and then seize, Black Community Control of the Police.

How is Black Community Control of the Police achieved? With great difficulty, and sacrifice, and disruption of the ruling order – because it is the ruling order that is killing us. That’s why, on the Sunday, November 8, the day after the rally and march on the White House, the Black Is Back Coalition will convene a conference at the Blackburn Center Auditorium, at Howard University, to discuss concrete strategies for ending the reign of terror, poverty, miseducation and mass incarceration that has been methodically inflicted on Black America.

Black Community Control of the Police is the most fundamental demand that can be made at this juncture in history – and Black lives will only matter if Black Power Matters. Make it matter, on November 7, in Washington.

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.

For information about the Black Is Back Coalition and the November 7 march on the White House, go to http://www.blackisbackcoalition.org

 

Direct download: 20151021_gf_BlackIsBackMarch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49am EST

Confederate Flag Wavers Arrested Under Law Designed to Imprison Blacks

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Every law that can be abused for political purposes will be disproportionately deployed against Black people.”

Lots of Black people thought it was good news, this week, when a grand jury in Douglas County, Georgia, indicted a bunch of Confederate flag waving white boys who spewed racial abuse and threatened Black guests outside a child’s birthday party, this past summer. It’s hard not to celebrate on those rare occasions when your enemies are getting hammered by the State. The white marauders in Douglas County, which has gone from just 8 percent Black 25 years ago to 44 percent African America today, carried banners demanding that the Confederate flag be “respected” – their response to the image problem that Johnny Reb has been having since the Charleston church massacre.

However, Black folks should not be celebrating the Douglas County prosecutor’s decision to indict the white supremacists for participating in “criminal gang activity,” in addition to charges of making terroristic threats. This is the first time that Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act has been used in such overtly political circumstances. If we have learned anything from the modern mass Black incarceration regime that has been in place since the early Seventies, it is that every law that can be abused for political purposes will be disproportionately deployed against Black people. The Georgia gang statute was designed to circumscribe the movements and constitutional liberties of Black and brown youth, as are similar statutes and gang injunction laws in effect all across the country. It was conceived as an anti-Black law, and its one-time use against racist whites does not change the nature of the law as an instrument of mass Black incarceration. The gang statutes are throwbacks to the Black Codes imposed on ex-slaves after the Civil War, when freedmen were not to allowed to gather in groups of more than three people at a time. One isolated circumstance of racist white boys getting caught up in a law designed to ensnare Blacks, is not a sign of progress.

“The gang statutes are throwbacks to the Black Codes imposed on ex-slaves after the Civil War.”

In fact, it is a very dangerous precedent. The Douglas County prosecutor argues that the gang law can be applied to “any type of activity that occurs with a group that’s organized that commits a crime.” This legal formula is similar to the way the RICCO anti-racketeering laws have been used to swallow up whole neighborhoods of Black teenagers, as happened last year when 100 young people at two neighboring housing projects in New York’s Harlem were charged with conspiracy to murder, largely based on postings in Facebook.

Douglas County prosecutor Brian Fortner, a white Republican, says he will continue to use the gang law against people who don’t “respect the rights of all of the citizens to feel safe and secure.” The Southern Poverty Law Center thinks the prosecutor acted appropriately – but the Center also classifies Min. Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam as a “hate group.” How would the law be applied to Black activists marching or congregating and waving Red, Black and Green flags and shouting “Killer Cops Out of Our Community!” – and maybe using the word “pig”? Would that be a criminal conspiracy, punishable by 15 years in prison? And if flags are indictable signs of criminality, what about leather jackets and Black berets. Think about that, while you’re applauding the prosecutor for coming down on some low-life Georgia white boys.

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: 20151014_gf_GAGangLaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm EST

Tell the New Education Secretary: Charter Schools Flunk Out in New Orleans

Tell the New Education Secretary: Charter Schools Flunk Out in New Orleans

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The gap between Louisiana charter schools – meaning, mainly, New Orleans – and public schools was the biggest in the country.”

Arne Duncan, the outgoing U.S. secretary of education, will be succeeded by an even more rabid professional privatizer of public education. John B. King, a Black and Puerto Rican native of Brooklyn, New York – and, like President Obama, a product of Harvard and Columbia universities – has spent his entire teaching career in the charter school business. King is a hit man for school privatization – the perfect credentials to take over from presidential buddy Arne Duncan, the ghoul who obscenely declared that “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.”

Corporations stand to make hundreds of billions of dollars from privatization of education, so it pays to tell lies about what happened when Katrina provided the opportunity to illegally fire 7,000 New Orleans teachers, the majority of them Black, replacing them with young, largely white, non-union and ultimately temporary staff, and then converting all of the city’s schools to charters. The privatizers claim that test scores are way up in New Orleans, but studies show that it’s all propaganda and phony numbers. Charter schools do what they have always done: they select and retain students that tend to do well on tests, and discard the rest. That’s called “creaming” – taking the better-performing students right off the top. But, in New Orleans, the creaming preceded the charter school coup. One-third of the Black population was driven from the city, never to return. The schoolchildren among these displaced Black persons were disproportionately poor – precisely the demographic that does relatively worse on standardized tests. They never showed up for class in New Orleans newly charterized schools, leaving a more affluent mass of students to take the standardized tests. But, the charter schools continued the creaming students, in an attempt to boost the test numbers, especially at selected schools – all the while claiming that underperforming students were not being displaced.

That was a lie. For example, a study by the Education Research Alliance showed that a preparatory high school somehow lost-two-thirds of its students when it converted to charter. The school claims it doesn’t know where they went, but keeps bragging about how great things are for the kids that remained and for the new students, many of them non-Black.

New Orleans’ charter school system flunks.”

Most of Louisiana’s charter schools are located in New Orleans. A study by the Network for Public Education found that the state’s charter schools performed significantly worse than conventional public schools. The gap between Louisiana charter schools – meaning, mainly, New Orleans – and public schools was the biggest in the country – which had a lot do with Louisiana overall scoring the fourth lowest in the nation. Even by Louisiana standards, New Orleans’ charter school system flunks – even after controlling for factors of race, class and qualifications for special education. And the entire nation’s education system will also flunk, if given over to the lying privatizers, like John B. King. But, don’t expect the Black Misleadership Class, masquerading as members of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, to save us. Leadership Conference CEO Wade Henderson had effusive praise for Arne Duncan, and for his Black and Puerto Rican protégé, who will undoubtedly become an even more effective educational evil than his outgoing boss, the obscene Mr. Duncan.

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: 20151007_gf_JohnKing_NOLACharters.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:55pm EST

The Whites Are Coming! The Whites Are Coming!: Gentrification Surging in U.S. Cities

The Whites Are Coming! The Whites Are Coming!: Gentrification Surging in U.S. Cities

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Twenty-one of the 50 biggest cities in the country have added significant white populations over the past four years.”

The Washington Post gleefully reported that Detroit – the nation’s Blackest metropolis, at 82 percent African American – has gotten significantly whiter. In an article last week, the Post seemed to welcome the news that 8,000 new white people set up residence in Detroit in the year 2014, increasing the overall white population by 14,000 since 2010.

This surge in white settlement in Detroit, mainly by young professionals taking advantage of the collapse of the city and its housing market, is part of a stunning acceleration in gentrification, nationwide. According to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, 21 of the 50 biggest cities in the country have added significant white populations over the past four years.

Only five cities have lost white residents since 2010: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Sacramento, Tulsa, and Tucson. In about half of the rest, including Chicago, Houston, Boston, Miami and St. Louis, the white population has remained essentially unchanged. But Austin, Texas, has added 60,000 new white residents in the past four years, after a 20 percent increase in growth during the first decade of the century. During that same period, the Black population of Austin shrank by more than 5 percent. Blacks were pushed out to the suburbs, while whites took their places in the central city.

The surge has brought 38,000 more whites to Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle, 32,000 additional Caucasians to Dallas, 25,000 more Euro-Americans to Washington, DC, and 23,000 more to Portland, Oregon, which has been described as the most gentrifying city in country. Meanwhile, Portland’s Black community is being rapidly dispersed.

The Black population of Austin shrank by more than 5 percent.”

The white tide is running high in Omaha, New York, Raleigh and Atlanta, each of which added over 20,000 Caucasians since 2010. Charlotte drew in 17,000 white newcomers; San Antonio and San Francisco, 12,000 each; and New Orleans capped off the white recovery from the Black catastrophe of Katrina by absorbing 13,000 new Euro-Americans – while 100,000 Black Katrina refugees have been unable to return.

Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and Columbus, Ohio, each added 10 to 11,000 whites. Oakland, California, which was 47 percent Black in 1980, now stands at just 27 percent African American. The city lost fully one-quarter of its Black population to gentrification between 2000 and 2010. But the whites, they keep on coming, with 9,000 more arriving in the past four years.

Louisville, Kentucky, added 3,000 whites, and 1,000 additional Euro-Americans set up households in Baltimore, which is still 63 percent Black. It’s not yet clear what effect the recent rebellion in Baltimore will have on whites’ willingness to move there.

But of course, even though it looks to some as if white people have organized a nationwide invasion of Black communities, the reality is that Capital – Wall Street – has decided to reclaim the cities, and to create urban environments amenable to affluent white investors and professionals. That means moving the Black folks out – with lots of help from low-life, treasonous Black politicians, without whose assistance the Great Black Urban Displacement could not have occurred.

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: 20150930_gf_TheWhitesAreComing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:39pm EST

Jitu Brown on the end of #FightForDyett 34 day hunger strike in Chicago

In this interview by Robin Hiller of the Network for Public Education Jitu Brown, talks about the end of the 34 day hunger strike over the privatization of Dyett High School in Chicago, and the continuing struggle against school privatization being forcfed upon inner city communities across the land.

Direct download: 20150919-jitu-interview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07pm EST

Black Families Crushed Under Prison and Death

Black Families Crushed Under Prison and Death

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Not only are Black mothers much less likely to be married; but they are also much less likely to live with the fathers of their children.”

The Brookings Institution, an establishment think tank in Washington, DC, commissioned a team of researchers to answer the question: Is there a shortage of marriageable men in the United States? Black women have long claimed that there is a shortage of potential Black husbands. The Brookings study shows that they were right. It is, indeed more difficult for Black women to find a Black mate of roughly of the same age, income and education level. No such shortage exists among white Americans except, ironically, among the most highly educated. Women of all races are better educated than their mothers, and earn more money. However, male earnings on average have been stagnant or falling, especially for less skilled workers. For highly educated white women, finding a husband of comparable status has, indeed, become more difficult, according to the Brookings researchers.

The masses of Black women face a mating problem of a whole different order. Black mass incarceration and inner city violence have taken a devastating toll on the pool of potential husbands. According to the Brookings report, “Among black male high school dropouts, 60 percent will be dead or incarcerated before the age of 35.” These Black men won’t be marrying or moving in with anybody, or paying child support, or acting as role models or protectors for their girlfriends’ children.

Black mass incarceration and inner city violence have taken a devastating toll on the pool of potential husbands.”

Seventy-two percent of Black births occur outside of marriage, compared to 29 percent of white births. But, lots of couples form meaningful partnerships without getting married. In a majority of out-of-marriage births, the two parents nevertheless live in the same home. Sixty-eight percent of white and Hispanic mothers who give birth out of wedlock are cohabiting with the fathers of their babies. However, only about 35 percent of the Black women who give birth outside of marriage are cohabiting with the baby’s father. The lesson of statistics is unmistakable: Not only are Black mothers much less likely to be married; but they are also much less likely to live with the fathers of their children.

A 2011 Pew Research study showed that Black fathers who don’t live with their children nevertheless spend more time with the kids than their white counterparts do, which demolishes the myth that Black men don’t care about their children. But the stark fact remains that Black men and women have been less successful than whites and Hispanics at living in the same household, whether married or not. The cause lies in the economic chaos and insecurity that this racist system has imposed on Black people since Emancipation, an historical crime that gets worse by the day under a capitalist system that no longer needs Black labor.

Black people are not supermen and women. They cannot create economically viable households with only one-twentieth of the wealth that white households possess. And they can’t build families when they are dead or in prison.

This is not about morality; it’s about power, and up-ending a power structure that has created a hostile environment for Black life and Black families.

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: 20150923_gf_BlackFamilies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am EST

Yale's Lucrative Wet Kiss Anoints Deray McKesson Their Kind of “Transformational” Leader

Yale's Lucrative Wet Kiss Anoints #BlackLivesMatter's Deray McKesson Their Kind of “Transformational” Leader

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

What does it mean when Yale Divinity School bestows a fat check on former Teach For America alum, #BlackLivesMatter activist and CampaignZero honcho Deray McKesson for two days of guest lecturing on “Transformational Leadership in the #BlackLivesMatter Movement?” It's not complicated. It simply means that Mr. McKesson exemplifies the kind of “transformational leader” whatever that means, that our elites have decided to laud, to prop up and to place in front of us. It certifies that Deray is their kind of leader, offering their kind of leadership.

Deray McKesson is the kind of deep thinker who, during the same week that Apple, apparently through the US Chamber of Commerce succeeded in overturning a law that would have obliged Apple and its competitors to disclose what percentage of their products originated in places like the Eastern Congo, where 6 or 7 million Africans have perished since the late 1990s to ensure the free flow of strategic minerals like gold, tantalum, tungsten and coltan, to the West. Coltan is a vital component of every cell phone, every computer, every car and aircraft manufactured on this planet. Transformational leader that he is instead served his two hundred thousand Twitter followers brain farts about the massive market share of Apple products. Evidently some black lives matter a lot less than others.

Deray McKesson is the kind of slavish “thought leader” whose tweets have likened liken the privatization of education via the wave of unaccountable charter schools forced upon parents and communities across the country, to the free breakfast for children programs of the 1960s Black Panther Party. But what should one expect from a “transformational leader” spit out by Teach For America, a corporate funded outfit that specializes in replacing experienced black teachers with younger and usually whiter temps, who either go on to careers in banking, law and finance, as consultants to the testing and school privatization industry, or as school administrators devoted to running public schools more like businesses.

Deray says he loves your blackness, and his own, and issues scores of tweets and retweets to that effect daily. What he doesn't seem to love is bottom-up local leadership. Going into the 30th day of a hunger strike by Chicago parents and community leaders resisting the forced privatization of south side Dyett High School, nobody's haven't heard a word from Deray on the subject yet.

Deray McKesson is the kind of shallow activist who shows up at the scene of the latest police atrocity to take selfies, maybe with cops and demonstrators in the background, huff a little tear gas and live tweet to his two hundred thousand twitter followers about the persistence of racism.

Deray McKesson's brand of “transformational leadership” led him to be the first prominent figure in #BlackLivesMatter to eagerly seek and accept private meetings with Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and with the campaign of Hillary Clinton, as it led him to co-found, along with Teach For America's Brittney Packnett and a couple others, to establish CampaignZero, a pseudo ”movement” outfit that is just as non-transparent and undemocratic as #BlackLivesMatter, though unlike #BlackLivesMatter it has more specific and updated demands.

The bottom line is that corporate shot callers at Yale are gifting Deray McKesson because he's their kind of leader, of their kind of movement, a movement based on what the owners of Twitter, Facebook and the like want us to call social media, but which are really online corporate marketing tools. Deray can probably use the money, having left his six figure a year job in the Minneapolis school system, the kind of school administration gig Teach For America grads who stay in education typically end up with.

Though it happened just last week, the fact that Yale Divinity School is taking Deray on as a visiting professor of black twitter, or whatever isn't new news, it's old news, part of an old pattern. McKesson is the latest in a long line of black “leaders,” so-called movement leaders who emerge not from the people's struggle, but from the gut of their corporate sponsors, leaders put in place by our rulers to speak not for us but to us, with their sponsors' mouths.

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 newsletter at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com
Direct download: 20150916-bd-deray-blacklivesmatter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EST

Former Leader of Chad and CIA Tool Denounces U.S. Imperialism at His Trial

 

Former Leader of Chad and CIA Tool Denounces U.S. Imperialism at His Trial

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

 

Habré was a willing asset of both the United States and the French former colonial masters of Chad.”

 

When the trial of former Chadian president Hissène Habré began, this week, in Dakar, Senegal, the judges and the guards treated the defendant like Bobby Seale, at the Chicago Seven trial, back in 1969. The 72 year-old Habre was carried into the courtroom by four guards and forced to sit still in his seat, as he shouted “Mercenaries!” and “Scofflaws!” at the judges. It was much the same scene as back in July, when the Extraordinary African Chambers court first attempted to try Habré for alleged crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes. The former strongman yelled “Down with imperialism!” and denounced Senegalese politicians as “African traitors!” and “Valets of America!”

 

Which is quite interesting because Hissène Habré used to be a client of America and tool of U.S. imperialism, himself, between the years 1982 and 1990, when he is alleged to have committed all those crimes. Habré was a willing asset of both the United States and the French former colonial masters of Chad, who made good use of him in their proxy war against Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s government in the neighboring country of Libya. With the CIA’s help, Habré managed to defeat Gaddafi’s forces in the 1987 so-called “Toyota War,” and to kill 40,000 of his own countrymen in his vast political prison system, where another 200,000 were held and tortured. Habré served the Americans so well, Gaddafi gave up trying to influence events in Chad, leaving it the Americans and Europeans. Soon, Hissène Habré was no longer needed, and in 1990 was overthrown by Idriss Déby, a warlord from an ethnic group that had suffered greatly under Habré. But nothing has changed in Chad except the name and tribe of the puppet. The U.S. and France remain the real powers in charge.

 

A Test for Africa?

 

Needless to say, the United States and France are not sitting in the dock with Hissène Habré, who faces the consequences of their mutual crimes, alone. Habré might have escaped judgment, entirely, had pressures for his arrest not caught up with him. The out-of-work warlord has spent most of the last 25 years in quiet exile in Senegal. The Belgians had claimed “universal jurisdiction” to prosecute him – but what kind of justice would that be, given that the King of Belgium killed as many as 12 million Congolese and countless other Africans during the colonial period? The Senegalese refused to hand Habré over to the Belgians. Then, in 2010, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, asked the African Union to create a special tribunal to try Habré. In 2013, Habré was arrested.

 

The Extraordinary African Chambers court is thought by some to be a “test” of whether Africa can dispense justice to its own current and former politicians. But, I think the question is posed incorrectly. Africa is full of presidents that have killed and imprisoned their own people – most of them while working as agents and “mercenaries” for U.S. imperialism, the main source of the crime wave. Until the American, British and French are made to sit in the dock with the Hissène Habrés of the continent, there can be no justice.

 

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: 20150909_gf_HabreOnTrial.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59am EST

Killed and Killer Cops

Killed and Killer Cops

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The civilized world is aghast at the bloodthirstiness of U.S. police.”

Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ron Hickman claims that one of his deputies, Darren Goforth, was shot to death “because he wore a uniform.” Goforth was gunned down while filling up his tank at a Houston gas station. Shannon Miles, the 30 year-old Black man charged in the killing, has a history of mental illness. Of course, a Black person doesn’t have to be crazy to want to harm a cop. But, cop-killing in the United States is actually quite rare, when compared to the huge number of civilian lives snuffed out by folks that wear “the uniform.” If there is some kind of war with the cops, as Sheriff Hickman deceptively infers, then it’s a very one-sided conflict.

We will never know the full historical extent of police mayhem and murder, since U.S. authorities have never compelled local police departments to keep records of who they kill, and why. Withholding information is part of police impunity from punishment – or even criticism – in this country. But, the cops are keen to keep track of their own casualties “in the line of duty” – which, it turns out, are at historically low levels. An FBI study of police fatalities shows that an average of 64 police officers per year were feloniously killed between 1980 and 2014. Only 27 cops were killed in 2013, the lowest death toll for the whole 35-year period. The next year, 2014, cop killings went up, with 51 officers dead. But, that’s still way below the average of 64 a year. This year, the number of felonious police deaths from all causes is on track to be about the same as in 2014. So, the statistics tell us that there has been no rash of attacks on cops. Those who try to portray cops as victims of what Sheriff Hickman calls “dangerous national rhetoric” are simply attempting to silence the real victims of police terror.

U.S. cops are already by far the most lethally aggressive and demonstrably racist in the developed world.”

Thanks to a process begun by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s 2012 “Operation Ghetto Storm” study of extrajudicial police killings of Black people, the civilized world is aghast at the bloodthirstiness of U.S. police. As the Guardian newspaper reported earlier this summer, U.S. police kill more people in days than other countries kill in years. For the first time, the names and pictures of the fallen are posted for planetary observation, so that the rest of the species can know how the U.S. government really feels about human rights. The figures are not yet in on the civilian body count for August, but July was the deadliest month this year for people who found themselves on the other side of police guns, tasers, chokeholds, and batons.

Civilians are also killing each other in large numbers, with homicides up in many cities. The cops want you to believe that’s because officers are being less aggressive in fear of being charged with brutality. That’s insane. First of all, U.S. cops are already by far the most lethally aggressive and demonstrably racist in the developed world, which is why one out of every eight prison inmates on the planet is an African American, and why the U.S. stands alone in police violence against civilians. Secondly, in the Black community, the cops’ job is not to protect the residents. It is to contain, control and terrorize the population. Sheriff Hickman wants to get on with the business of police terror, because that’s all he’s good at.

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: 20150902_gf_KillerCopsKilled.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48am EST

A Rare Conviction of Killer Cops in South Africa

A Rare Conviction of Killer Cops in South Africa

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

A South African court found eight Black policemen guilty of murdering a Mozambican taxi driver by handcuffing him to a police van and dragging him two hundred yards behind the vehicle. Then, the cops beat the already badly injured man to death at the police station.

A cell phone camera video of the dragging of the victim, Mido Macia, went viral on the internet, back in February of 2013. The grizzly crime is reminiscent of the murder of James Byrd, Jr., by three white racists in Jasper, Texas, in 1998. Byrd was tied to a pickup truck by his ankles and dragged three miles to his death on a country road. One of the Texas racists was executed.

The murder convictions of the eight South African police are unusual – as they would be in the United States – because South African cops also operate under a culture of impunity. Just six months before Mido Macia was killed by cops in the city of Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, police massacred 34 workers on strike against a platinum mine at Marikana, ushering in a new phase of opposition to the increasingly corrupt and brutal African National Congress regime. Those killings were also caught on camera, but none of the cops has been punished, and a government commission of inquiry into the August 2012 Marikana bloodbath concludes only that the police acted on a “defective” plan, but that they murdered no one.

“Political assassinations of labor and poor people’s organizers are common.”

South African police are as feared, today, as under the apartheid regime that slipped into history in 1994. And, just as under white rule, the main victims of police violence are the poor and powerless. The South African police now serve the Black-led ruling party, the ANC. Therefore, not only do they protect the interests of the wealthy corporations that still dominate the economic life of the nation, the police are also the enforcers of the African National Congress’s public services patronage system. The ruling party’s critics say desperately needed housing, utilities and other government services are distributed on the basis of loyalty to the ANC. This has contributed to South Africa being widely described as the “protest capital of the world,” with the highest levels and frequency of protests – thousands of demonstrations every month, most of them involving demands for housing and other basic services.

Political assassinations of labor and poor people’s organizers are common, in South Africa. Many activists suspect the police are directly implicated in the killings and cover-ups. In recent years, the police have often tolerated or encouraged mob attacks against Africans from elsewhere in the continent, especially Zimbabweans and workers from neighboring Mozambique, like Mr. Macia, the murdered taxi cab driver. The violence against African foreigners is a sad irony, since not so long ago the white regime considered all Black people in South Africa to be foreigners, with no rights of citizenship and no protection from civilian or police violence.

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: 20150826_gf_SouthAfricanPolice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29pm EST

Black College Households Lost Half Their Wealth Despite Degrees

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Black college families saw a steady erosion of their economic status.”

For generations, it has been an article of faith among Black people that education is the path to success, not just for the individual, but for the Black community as a whole. That’s never been entirely true, which is why W.E.B. Dubois was the first Black person to get a PhD from Harvard, but was not allowed to teach there, and why Black high schools in Washington, DC, during Jim Crow were full of teachers with doctorates who couldn’t find steady employment, elsewhere. The notion that college is the “great equalizer” in American society may have some validity for whites and Asian Americans, but for Hispanics and Blacks, the situation is much more complicated.

new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that the wealth of Black families headed by college graduates diminished dramatically between 1992 and 2013. There were three recessions over that time period, but despite the downturns the median net worth, or wealth, of white households headed by a college graduate increased by 86 percent. For Asian college families, the rise in net worth was even more dramatic over the two decades; their wealth went up nearly 90 percent. But, Black families in which the head of household held a college degree saw their net worth drop by more than half: 56 percent, when adjusted for inflation. In other words, three recessions in 20 years didn’t stop whites and Asian American college graduates from steadily increasing their family wealth, while Black college families saw a steady erosion of their economic status. Hispanic households headed by college graduates lost a catastrophic 72 percent of their wealth in the last recession, alone, largely because they were even more heavily invested in housing than their Black counterparts.

“They were deeper in debt, both on their houses and their college educations.”

Indeed, Black college graduate households lost a lot more during the recessions than Black families headed by people without college degrees, whose wealth declined less than 4 percent. But, of course, that’s largely because most Black people don’t have much wealth to lose. After the last recession, Black median household wealth shrank to one-twentieth that of white families.

Black college households, along with their Hispanic peers, sank a lot more of their money into the family home, where much of it disappeared in the Great Recession. The homes of white college graduates declined in value by only 25 percent, during the economic meltdown. But Black and Hispanic college graduates’ homes lost about half their value.

The authors of the study conclude that the Black and Hispanic college families fared so badly during recessions because they were deeper in debt, both on their houses and their college educations. Without the benefit of affluent relatives, and in a job market rife with racism, their college degrees provided little protection from economic downturns. 

The study states the obvious: that “higher education alone cannot level the playing field.” But a report by the Federal Reserve Bank cannot tell the real truth: that it is statistically impossible for Blacks, under the current system, to ever achieve economic parity with whites, no matter what their educations. What’s needed is a fundamental transformation of society – a revolution. Let that be a lesson to you.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. Find us on the web at BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

 

Direct download: 20150819_gf_BlackCollegeHouseholds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:11pm EST

Pretty Words, Ugly Actions: The Obama Legacy on Climate Change

Pretty Words, Ugly Actions: The Obama Legacy on Climate Change

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

President Obama announced his plan last week to slash US carbon emissions by 2030, mostly by EPA rules which will effectively prohibit new coal fired electric plants.  This is unambiguously good news, especially from a president who once declared himself in favor of “clean coal.” .  

The bad news is that the Obama administration could have done this in its first weeks in office rather than half past its seventh year, and it doesn't begin to redeem Obama climate change legacy.

The bad news is that the US still leads the world in water polluting, earthquake causing fracking, in taxpayer subsidies to the fracking industry, and in the export of fracking technologies, for which the Obama administration has been a tireless advocate.

The bad news is that when the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the largest known gas and oil spill in history occurred, the Obama administration actively colluded with oil companies to lie to the public concealing the volume and extent of the leak.  President Obama had the US Navy and Coast Guard ban civilian overflights of the spill area, and local police agencies bar civilian access to affected shorelines apparently to prevent independent experts from assessing the extent of damage and the speed at which the poisonous discharge was settling on the sea floor.  The Obama Justice Department even protected British Petroleum by declaring that damage awards could only be assessed against BP's holdings in the US Gulf rather than against its global assets on six continents and oceans across the planet.  And although the president's party controlled both houses of Congress for another six
months, President Obama and his party sponsored not one piece of legislation, not one administrative rule to rein in the plundering
and polluting activities of Big Oil.

The bad news is that despite past disasters and future dangers the Obama administration continues to issue new permits for drilling up and down the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and is even permitting deepwater offshore fracking.  What could possibly go wrong?

The bad news is that the Obama administration, just like the Bush and Clinton ones before it, has continued the bipartisan American
tradition of subverting and destroying international accords on climate change, giving the final coup de grace to the Kyoto Accords, condemning hundreds of millions in Asia, Africa and Oceana to suffer theravages of climate change.

The bad news is that the Obama administration's equivocation on the Keystone pipeline seems transparently calculated to get his party through the 2016 election, after which it will almost certainly be approved, whoever is elected.  The Obama administration has issued permits for drilling in the Arctic Ocean, accessible for the first time in human history due to the melting of polar icecaps.

Actual leadership on climate change would set a near term goal of 80 to 90% of US energy needs met by renewables like wind and solar, an end to fracking on land and sea, and banning of offshore drilling, especially in the Arctic.  Leadership would be applauding the citizen activists who are delaying the departure of Shell's mammoth Arctic drilling rig from the port of Seattle.  Leadership would have the US look more like Germany, which although it's as far north as Canada derives most of its energy from wind and solar power and other renewables.  At this point climate leadership would mean popularizing the case for leaving the coal in the hole, the gas beneath the grass, and the oil in the soil while we fund and find other ways to power our agriculture, our cities and our lives. 

But none of that is part of the Obama legacy on climate change, which is pretty words but ugly actions.

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 newsletter at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report.  He lives in Marietta GA where is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.  Contact him via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150805_bd-climate-change-legacy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50pm EST

The Obama Legacy on Nuclear Weapons at the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
 
 

The Obama Legacy on Nuclear Weapons at the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

If you grew up in the US, you learned in school that President Truman near the end of World War 2 was forced by the diehard Japanese government to nuke the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to prevent a seaborne US invasion that might have cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. Like many things we learned in school this is a complete fabrication.

As a US Senator Harry Truman had declared the US should help the Nazis of the Soviets were winning and the Soviets if the Nazis were winning, so as to kill as many of both as possible. The Soviets faced more than 80% of the Nazi armies, and suffered more than 20 million dead absorbing and rolling back the Nazi invasion forces to Berlin. Despite early assurances, the US and Britain delayed entering the land war against Nazi Germany from 1942 to 43 and finally to the summer of 1944.

By the summer of 1945 the US had sunk the Japanese navy, defeated its isolated forces from the Philippines to Okinawa, blockaded Japan into near starvation and bombed most if its wooden cities to burnt matchsticks. US officials were pointedly ignoring Japanese surrender overtures. The Japanese badly wanted to surrender before the Soviet Red Armies could invade their Chinese and Korean colonies, where the bulk of their intact forces still were. But the eyes of US policy makers were fixed upon the next war, and the next enemy, the Soviet Union.

The US bombed the undefended cities of Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9 not to end the war with Japan but in the hopes of intimidating the Soviet Union, which that same week rolled up most Japanese forces in China and Korea.

So the atomic bombing of Japanese cities, and the firey immolation of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians and the slow killing of an equal number over the next few decades wasn't even about Japan. It was US imperial bluster to set the stage for more than forty years of the Cold War against the Soviet Union and eventually China as well, to establish the US as the sole and only global superpower.

It didn't work. The Soviets tested their own nukes in four years and a global arms race was on. In the late 1980s before the fall of the USSR, its leaders proposed major mutual cutbacks of all nuclear weapons, but President Reagan said no.

The Russian state that succeeded the Soviet Union was assured at birth that the US and its Eurasian military arm NATO would never threaten Russia, but that was almost immediately proven a lie. President Obama early in his first term made hopeful noises about curtailing nuclear weapons, but was careful not to move on this intention till the Congress was safely in the hands of Republicans. Under President Obama, NATO bases, some with nuclear arms now ring the western and southern rims of Russia. The US funded the overthrow of the Ukrainian government, US warships are now in the Black Sea and America has long forsaken its commitments to nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament and peace with Russia. Nuclear armed US aircraft carriers are parked in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, allegedly to deter Chinese expansion.

President Obama inherited a bloodstained, radioactive, murderous legacy on nuclear weapons, and managed to make it all a little bit worse than he found it. Not bad for a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose acceptance speech justified preventive war.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives in Marietta GA where is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150805_bd-hiroshima-nagasaki-70th-anniv.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm EST

Black Parents Should Opt Their Children Out of High Stakes Testing

Black Parents Should Opt Their Children Out of High Stakes Testing

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

This is a battle for democracy in public education.”

The movement by parents to opt their children out of high stakes testing is growing by leaps and bounds, but remains largely white and suburban, despite the fact Black folks are the primary targets of the destructive testing regime. Almost two decades ago, the corporate world began pouring millions of dollars into a massive campaign to split the two pillars of the Democratic Party: teachers unions and Black voters. It began as a mainly Republican strategy to divert public funding to private school vouchers – an idea that was never very popular among Black parents. But, corporate Democrats discovered that public education could be privatized even more effectively – and much more profitably – through chartering the schools. Charter schools are a capitalist’s dream, in which the public provides all the money, private companies get rich contracting services, teachers are deprofessionalized and deunionized, and Black parents lose all democratic rights concerning their children’s education.

In one of the great ironies of recent U.S. history, the Democratic Party took the lead in what had begun as a Republican project to vilify teachers and privatize schools in Black neighborhoods. High stakes testing became a weapon guaranteed to fail the students, fail the teachers, fail the neighborhood schools, and fail entire school districts in largely Black cities. Everybody loses except the hedge funds and other billionaire investors in the charter school marketplace. These are the people whose interests President Obama has served for the past six and a half years. Obama became the biggest public school privatizer of all time, wielding executive power to force the states to establish more charter schools or lose federal education funds.

A scam to destroy any semblance of democracy in inner city schools.”

Studies show that charter schools are not better than public schools, but they are great sources of wealth for big investors, while the public – mostly, the Black inner city public – takes all the risk. But, because Obama is Black, and Democrats are the party pushing hardest for charters, the established civil rights organizations are urging Black people to opt in to the high stakes testing madness. Twelve of these misleadership groups signed a letter in support of high stakes testing, including the national offices of the NAACP and the Urban League.

At root, this is a battle for democracy in public education. The white parents that make up the bulk of the anti-testing movement are accustomed to democracy in their school districts, through active and empowered local school boards. They know their rights, and they exercise them. However, the whole charter school scam is based on destroying any semblance of democracy in inner city schools, many of which are already under the control of the states or strong-mayor forms of government. The testing regime is crafted to make local control of schools an impossibility – forever – and to reduce the teaching staffs of inner city schools to temporary drones, not educators.

Black people desperately need to opt-out of this nightmare.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, find us at BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

 

Click HERE to watch Glen Ford’s informative speech on the Corporate Assault on Public Education.

Direct download: 20150805_gf_OptOutOfTesting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:22pm EST

Black Agenda Radio Weekly August 4, 2015

Predator Cops Fill Graveyards

U.S. police killed 412 people in 1976, 333 in 1984, and 385 in 1990, wrote Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in an essay now republished for his new book, Writings on the Wall. The cops “obviously haven’t protected or served the thousands they’ve murdered over the years. They serve and protect the system, not the people,” he wrote. “They are predators.”

Stop Police Terror

Murder by police can only be stopped by “our independent action,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “We are not looking for Obama, Loretta Lynch or any governors or mayors to do this, because they preside over the horrors that we have to stop.” Dix spoke outside the recent national conference of the Movement for Black Lives, in Cleveland. He’s gearing up for “Rise Up October” campaign of actions to “stop police terror,” under the slogan: “Which side are you on?”

Baltimore Black Political Class Protected White Mayor O’Malley

Jill Carter, a young Black lawyer from Baltimore and the most progressive member of the Maryland state legislature, said it’s no wonder that former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has trouble dealing with Black activists’ on the presidential campaign trail. During his term as mayor of Baltimore, between 1999 and 2007, O’Malley oversaw the arrest of 750,000 people, more than the total population of the city, many of them on charges that “were illegal or unwarranted,” said Carter. Nevertheless, the entire Black city leadership supported and protected O’Malley, “even when faced with the reality that he was destroying the city and the community’s relationship with the police department.” O’Malley’s protectors included the current and former mayors of Baltimore, the whole of the city council, plus all of the city’s delegation to the state legislature – except for Jill Carter.

Bernie Sanders Runs as Populist, not Socialist

Paul Street, the veteran political scholar and activist, said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running as a populist, not a socialist. “He doesn’t say ‘socialism’” in his campaign speeches,” said Street, who was among the first to point out Barack Obama’s conservative political tendencies. Senator Sanders “identifies himself with the social democratic states of Scandinavia, particularly Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but does not refer to himself as a socialist,” said Street. “And, unlike the serious Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, back in the day, I haven’t heard him mouth the term ‘capitalism’ once.”

New Black Movement Combines Mix of Older Tactics

The emerging Black political movement “combines the tactics of the Civil Rights Movement – mass marches, civil disobedience, shutting things down – with programs and ideas that did not always crystallize in the Black Power Movement, but were thought about” during that period, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, former professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. Protesters gathered on Temple’s campus to demand Dr. Monteiro’s reinstatement to what chairman Molefi Asante has renamed the “Department of Africology.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
Direct download: Black_Agenda_Radio_20150803.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:46pm EST

NetRoots Nation Confrontation Wasn't About #BlackLivesMatter At All

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

The first thing to know about the #BlackLivesMatter confrontation with Democratic presidential candidates Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders is that it didn't happen on the street or some neutral setting, it didn't happen at some random campaign appearance. It happened at the annual NetRootsNation gathering, this year in Phoenix.

NetRoots bills itself as “the largest gathering of the progressive movement” in this country. Unless you think the Democratic party IS the progressive movement, or that all “progressives” are Democrats, this is nonsense. I know, I've been to NetRoots.

What it actually is, is the largest gathering of paid and wannabe paid Democratic party activists, Democratic candidates and Democratic campaign managers, of consultants and vendors to Democratic campaigns, and folks of all kinds who are part of the far-flung partisan and ostensibly “non-partisan” machinery that gears up every even numbered year to elect Democrats to local, state and national office. Some of them want to change the Democratic party from within, some of them want to take it as it is, but they're all committed to staying inside the Democratic tent, and to keeping you there as well.

If you're a black Democratic party activist like I was for 25 years, even if like me, you never called yourself that, you go to NetRoots to connect with other Democratic party activists, and hopefully, with the people who will be handing out grassroots money, among other things, to get out the Big Black Vote in November, without which Democrats on every level have no hope of winning.

High ranking Democrats who hand out money, whether through partisan campaigns or to ostensibly nonpartisan and/or nonprofit organizations are always on the lookout for new activist blood with catchy new hooks, for activists who'll say the things they will not say in the effort to turn out the black masses for that Big Black Vote. So if you're a black activist at NetRoots you really NEED to stand out, to get noticed by the people who can give you fellowships, grants, jobs, funding of all kinds, and a career.

Since Hillary is the all but inevitable Democratic nominee, confronting two minor white male candidates, demanding they “say her name” and come up with solutions that address white supremacy, structural racism and the runaway police state is pretty much a foolproof strategy to get noticed, and as Hillary did not attend NetRoots, they got to do it without antagonizing the Clinton camp. Hillary wisely covered her own ass by releasing a tweet that unequivocally said “black lives DO matter.”

But all in all, the NetRootsNation confrontation wasn't the stirring of black women activists “taking their rightful place at the front of the progressive movement,” as one breathless tweet called it. It didn't tell us anything we didn't know about O'Malley or Sanders, or about hypocritical Hillary.

It was about flying the #BlackLivesMatter flag to jockey for positions inside the machinery that is the Democratic party and its affiliates.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter.

 

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150723_bd-netroots-nation-confrontation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:11pm EST

Obama’s Takes His Prison Reform Con Game on the Road

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Don’t expect anything other than cynical theatricality and double-dealing from this president.”

President Obama last week took his criminal justice con game into the U.S. prison system, home to one out of eight incarcerated persons in the world. On any given day, about 80,000 inmates are held in solitary confinement, some of them for decades. Obama proclaimed that’s not a “smart” thing to do, and ordered his Justice Department to conduct a study of how to cut down on solitary confinement. If that means Obama’s going to pursue a “smart” criminal justice policy, in the same way that he wages “smart” wars, then not much will change in U.S. prisons.

The president waited until the second half of his second term in office – and the rise of an incipient mass protest movement – before experiencing his epiphany on mass incarceration. So-called prison reform is now a thoroughly bipartisan affair. Republicans have harbored a strain of prison reformism ever since many of Richard Nixon’s men found themselves behind bars in the aftermath of Watergate, and even the rabidly reactionary Koch brothers are funding prison reform. The legislatures of at least 15 states have either passed, or are debating, ways to limit solitary confinement. And Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a crucial swing vote on the high court, has all but invited prison reform groups to challenge solitary confinement on Constitutional grounds. So, although Obama is the first serving president to actually set foot in a prison, he is moving in politically safe territory.

However, don’t expect anything other than cynical theatricality and double-dealing from this president. When it comes to the criminal justice system, Obama is a consummate trickster. This month, with great fanfare, he commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders. Eight of them had been convicted for crack cocaine. But, two years ago, Obama’s Justice Department successfully argued against retroactive release of prisoners convicted under the infamous 100-to-1 crack cocaine penalties. Because of Obama, 5,000 people, most of them Black, were left to languish in prison – yet he is praised for letting just eight of them out, under presidential commutation, two years later. Now, that is champion con man.

The Curtain’s About to Close

If Obama had launched his reviews of solitary confinement and other U.S. criminal justice atrocities during his first term in office, then, theoretically, tens of thousands of inmates might have been spared millions of collective days and nights of isolation and psychological torture. But, Obama will have less than a year left in office when his new study is completed.

Five percent of all federal prison inmates are currently in solitary confinement. Federal prisons are 35 to 40 percent overcrowded. High security federal prisons, where solitary confinement is most widely practiced, are 55 percent overcrowded. Obama last week told the NAACP that solitary confinement has “no place in any civilized country.” But he has overseen such practices for six and a half years. The NAACP roared its approval, anyway – willing participants in Obama’s criminal justice con game.

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: 20150722_gf_ObamaPrisonCon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am EST

Why Bill Clinton's Apology and Barack Obama's Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing

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

Six and a half years into his presidency, Barack Obama has discovered black mass incarceration. He's shocked, visits a federal prison and frees a token handful of prisoners. Fifteen years out of office, Bill Clinton half-apologies for his 1990s crime bills which nearly doubled the US prison population. What's got into these guys? It's election season. Hillary is running for the White House and she needs the black vote.

Why Bill Clinton's Apology and Barack Obama's Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing

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

Ten whole years ago, back in July 2005 when the Black Agenda Report crew was still at Black Commentator, I wrote that

With under 5 percent of the world’s people, the US accounts for 25 percent of the planet’s prisoners.  More than half its 2.2 million prisoners come from the one eighth of its population which is black.  Today, an astounding 3 percent of all African Americans languish in prisons and jails, and nearly as many more are on probation, parole, bail, house arrest or court supervision... Right now, the shadow of prison squats at the corners of, and often at the center of nearly every black family’s life in this nation.”

Yesterday President Obama repeated some of these same figures, and they are pretty much the same. Total US prisoners are still 2.2 or 2.3 million, and a slight drop in the black incarceration rate makes us now a little less instead of a little more than half, but the overall picture is unchanged in a decade. The president then announced the release of forty-some nonviolent federal drug offenders out of a total of about 70,000, and stopped in at a federal prison Thursday. The same day, ex-president Bill Clinton offered a half-hearted “apology” for his 1990s crime bills, which he admitted “set the stage” for state and federal governments to nearly double the US prison population.

Why? Why did President Obama wait six and a half years into his presidency to say the basic damning numbers and free a token handful of drug war prisoners? And how come Bill Clinton, fifteen years out of office chose this week to publicly admit that black mass incarceration was maybe not the best public policy?

The short answer is that Hillary Clinton is running for president, and she needs that big black vote. Barack and Bill are working hard to position Hillary as the lesser evil, so that a large black vote, an essential component of what Democratic party consultants call their “base vote” can be mobilized for her.

We shouldn't forget however that despite the posturing of former presidents, that mass black incarceration has been the joint and bipartisan policy of both Republicans and Democrats.

The federal prison budget rose every year but one in the Clinton years, the Bush years, and so far the Obama years look about the same. The First Black President approved new federal supermax solitary prisons in places like Illinois, where citizen action closed the infamous Tamms penitentiary, and his Justice Department went to court to keep thousands who should have been freed when Congress relaxed the crack to powder sentence disparity from 100 to on to 17 to 1 behind the walls to this day.

Why? Why is black mass incarceration the bipartisan policy of America's rulers?

It's not about a continuation of slavery or to get free prison labor, that's silly. Nine out of ten prisoners do no work at all. And it's not because prisons are especially profitable. Apart from immigration prisons under Obama, privatization has never been big enough to drive the engine of mass incarceration at any time in the last 3 or 4 decades.

The America prison state came into fullest flower at the same time as and as the flip side of Bill and Hillary Clinton's so-called “welfare reform.” Whether Republicans or Democrats are in office black mass incarceration serves the vital purpose of morally justifying America's viciously unequal and racist economic and social order. The prison state does this by creating mostly black and brown class of permanently stigmatized and “unworthy” poor who can be portrayed as not deserving decent housing, real educations, affordable health care, dignity or jobs at living wages and whose precarious lives and devastated communities can be blamed on anything except the failure of neoliberal capitalism to provide bread, education, housing dignity or justice.

The more unjust and unequal capitalist America becomes, the more it needs prisons, and that stigmatized class defined by them. Their precarious lives are also a standing lesson to millions more with falling wages and rising debts to shut up and suck it up or this could be you.

We at Black Agenda Report have been talking about black mass incarceration for ten years now, longer than Michelle Alexander, and before anybody heard of the New Jim Crow. We're glad that presidents Bill and Barack have rediscovered it, even if only just in time to get another Democrat elected, which for them is about all that matters.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Reach him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150715_bd_bill_n_barack_on_mass_incarceration.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EST

Where Obama's "Race To The Top" Leads: Chicago, Miami, Philly Privatize Teacher Hiring

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

Piecemeal and wholesale privatization of public schools has been the bipartisan agenda of Republicans and Democrats. Now top school districts are outsourcing teacher hiring to be sure they get the Wal-Mart style disposable temps to man the positions once held by experienced teachers connected with their students and communities.

Where Obama's Race To The Top Leads: Chicago, Philly, Miami Public Schools Privatize Teacher Hiring

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

Are you credentialed? Degreed? Qualified? Are you applying for a public school teaching job in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia or a number of other cities? If you are you probably know already that for many public school systems nowadays the teacher personnel office is NOT in the city where your schools are. In keeping with President Obama's Race To The Top program which makes piecemeal and wholesale run-the-school-like-a-business, unaccountable charter schools and other privatization schemes requirements for federal education dollars, Chicago and Philly, and perhaps MiamiDade are among the first to outsource and privatize teacher hiring.

They've handed the function, and a big chunk of public money with it, to a shadowy firm called TeacherMatch.Org, headed by a former Chicago Public Schools (and Chicago Police Department) chief and private equity speculator Ron Huberman.

Like charter schools that take public money but offer no public accountability, TeacherMatch's web site contains no information about who its financial backers are, no mention of who its clients are, except for Miami. But the site is full of the usual corporate reform jargon about “innovation” and such.

Privatization is just about always grand theft. It's perfectly legal under US law to bribe a politician or a gaggle of them to hand you a public asset you can profitably squeeze.

Whether it's maintaining vehicle fleets, delivering water, payroll, the post office or teacher hiring, privatization offers rock-solid profit gurantees for the privatizer with less accountability than when the asset was in public hands. Fleet maintenance companies, for example have successfully kept the public from knowing how often, with whose parts and at what expense they fix vehicles because the information might be used by competitors.

You can be certain that TeacherMatch will never willingly share its teacher hiring criteria that it will not share with the public. But you can also be certain that in keeping with the drive to corporate school reform under begun with No Child Left Behind, intensified by Obama's Race to the Top, and nailed into permanent place with NCLB's successor bill now in the senate, TeacherMatch is being used to replace experienced, competent, well-paid teachers with Wal-Mart style temps, and Teach For America scabs with 5 weeks of training. Back in the 1980s the media year for teacher experience was 8. Now that median year is less than two.

The public, especially the black community has never supported the privatization of public education. But since the day Barack Obama appointed Arne Duncan secretary of education, and they jointly announced the administration's initial goal of closing 5,000 public schools, ten or twenty percent of the nation's total, the Obama administration and Democrats down to the black and Latino mayors of big and small cities, have been all about privatization.

They just dare not call it by its real name. But make no mistake, the savage decimation of public schools, handed over to charter chains and other private operators like TeacherMatch, and the firing of tens of thousands of qualified black educators will be one of the lasting legacies of Barack Obama's presidency.

We'll be living with it for some time to come.

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 newsletter at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe. That's www.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, which unequivocally opposes school privatization.  Reach him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 20150715_bd_privatizing-teacher-hiring.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The consequences of the Great Recession “and the Obama administration’s response to it” have fallen most heavily on Black children, who have been plunged into poverty at the highest levels ever recorded. Poverty rates have gone down for all children except Blacks – an example of actual American “exceptionalism.”

Obama’s Legacy: Black Child Poverty at Record High

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The raw numbers of poor Black kids now exceeds whites in absolute terms.”

A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that Black children have been reduced to record levels of poverty over the last several years. Black kids are four times as likely to be poor as white children, with Black child poverty now cresting at 38.3 percent. Only 10.7 percent of white children live in poverty. Asian children are the least poor of all, at only 10.1 percent. Hispanic kids are about three times more likely than whites to live in poverty-stricken households, at 30.4 percent.

The trend is even more disturbing. Overall, child poverty fell by 20 percent between the years 2010 and 2013, according to U.S. Census data. The decline was registered for every major racial group – except Black kids, whose poverty level remained stuck at record highs.

And, it gets worse. For the first time since the federal government began gathering statistics on poverty, the raw numbers of poor Black kids now exceeds whites in absolute terms. Remember back when Jesse Jackson used to point out that there were more poor white Americans than poor Blacks. Today, when it comes to children, that is no longer the case. And yet, the federal poverty program that serves poor families with children is stingier than it has ever been.

Whose fault?

The analysts at the Pew Research Center offered no rationale for why Black kids are faring so badly in the current economy. But, several factors are obvious. During the Great Recession, Black household wealth fell to one-twentieth that of median white households. After debts were subtracted from assets, the median white household was worth a little over $113,000, while Black households could lay claim to only $5,600 in assets. Half of Black households were worse off than that, and about half of those had virtually no family worth at all. That means the children of such households began life economically naked to the world.

The closely related culprit is Black unemployment, which has been stuck at roughly twice that of whites for more than two generations, then hit record levels during the Great Recession, and stayed there for longer than any other group.

The consequences of the economic crash and the Obama administration’s response to it, are now borne by Black children, who start off life in an historically worse condition than any other major group, and more vulnerable than the Black kids of previous generations. This is President Obama’s legacy, as the chief executive who began his first term with a blanket refusal to target federal programs to Black people, who had suffered the worst from the deliberate policies of his friends on Wall Street. Obama has since claimed to have lifted every boat – except those of the children of the people he claims as his own.

Now, let the choir sing “Amazing Grace.”

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: 20150715_gf_BlackChildPoverty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am EST

Cynical Democratic Party Leaders Will Say Anything You Wanna Hear For Your Votes Or Your Cash

Cynical Democratic Party Leaders Will Say Anything You Wanna Hear For Your Votes Or Your Cash

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

Last month, Talking Points Memo noted that the Democratic National Committee or DNC, the recipients of tens of millions of dollars in legal bribes (campaign contributions, they're called under US law) from Big Oil, Big Ag, Big Pharma, Wall Street, the military contractors and more every year, the DNC was featuring Bernie Sanders on the mass fundraising mailings it sent to thousands of likely Democrat donors.

At first glance this does seem quite strange. While Bernie Sanders does talk and vote like many other pro-war liberal Democrats, while official Democrats across the country think he's Democrat enough to run in Democratic primaries and caucuses, and while Bernie's even pledged to support the eventual Democratic party nominee, pointing out to George Stephanopoulos that he does that every election anyhow, Bernie Sanders describes himself as a socialist, and talks about what he calls “a political revolution.”

So what's happening here? There's no question that the Democratic National Committee is the subservient tool of its ruling class donors, and of their candidate Hillary Clinton. TPM's Josh Marshall explains that although Hillary remains the official candidate of the DNC and its donors, they need an official opposition to make the year-long run up to the Democratic nominating convention a year from now look less like a coronation.

Bernie's presence, and his half-hearted pro-war brand of socialism, as Paul Street also explained in Black Agenda Report a few weeks ago doesn't further any “political revolution” at all. What it does is make Hillary's absolutely certain Democratic party nomination look almost legit, as though she emerged from some kind of process where the Democrats' base voters actually get to have their say. It makes sense, if only a profoundly dishonest kind of sense.

But the cynicism of corporate Democrats runs much deeper than this. Immediately after President Obama muscled fast track legislation needed to pass his so-called trade bills though Congress without the bother of legislators being able to amend them, or even see what's in them, the California Democratic party was emailing thousands of likely small and medium sized donors with the promise that it would “continue the fight” against “unfair trade agreements” like the TPP.

The California Democratic Party being effectively the local branch of the DNC chose not to remind prospective donors that their Democratic president forced TPP's fast-track provision through Congress, that their Democratic president is hounding, harassing convening secret grand juries and jailing on espionage and terrorism charges Wikileaks and other persons for revealing parts of the so-called trade agreements, which are really corporate power grabs.

The California Democratic Party isn't about to fight the Democrat in the White House over TPP, the privatization of schools, cutting the military budget, rolling back the prison state or anything else. Their feeble and hypocritical pretense of opposing TPP is aimed at the most deluded and gullible among their donor base, in the same spirit that the DNC uses Bernie Sanders to supplement fundraising. It's a measure of how uninformed and stupid Democratic party leaders on the state and national level imagine Democratic donors and voters to be, another marker of the boundless contempt that Democratic party leaders have for ordinary Democrats, and ordinary people.

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 newsletter at www.blackagendareport.com/subscribe.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works near Marietta GA, where he is a partner in a technology firm and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150708_bd_cynical_dems.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28am EST

Why Charleston Shooter Dylan Roof Isn't a “Terrorist” But Maybe Some of Us Are

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

The terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” have never been our words, they've always been deployed by the oppressor against us... ”

There's a lot of noise asking why government officials from the Charleston police chief to the head of the FBI to President Obama refuse to call Charleston shooter Dylan Roof a “terrorist.” Listening closely to their official should make us wonder if that's really a good idea.

As the FBI director explained, the term “terrorist” has a very specific legal meaning in the US. Legally, a terrorist is somebody aiming to influence or change government or corporate (it's hard to tell them apart) policies by breaking the law. By that definition, Dylan Roof, who simply wanted to kill as many black people as he could is NOT a terrorist because the willingness to kill a lot of black people is NOT a change in corporate or governmental policy. Killing lots of black folks has been business as usual ever since Europeans landed in the New World half a thousand years ago.

The Charleston shooter is a deranged kook though, because unlike the Koch Brothers, or R.J. Reynolds, or Aetna Insurance or Bank of America, United Fruit, US Steel or the Massachusetts Bay Company, all of whom filled cemeteries and raked in billions, Dylan Roof did his handful of bodies for free.

On the other hand, if you take a picture of or write a description for publication about what goes on in a food, agricultural or animal processing facility, or you've been protesting the leaky oil pipelines and bomb trains that wind through thousands of communities, the FBI and federally funded fusion centers have no trouble designating you an actual or potential “terrorist,” or what they call an “eco-terrorist.” The #BlackLivesMatter folks who break the law blocking traffic fit the FBI director's definition of terrorism quite neatly, and right now Chelsea Manning is doing 35 years in federal prison for espionage, “aiding and abetting terrorism” by releasing video of US soldiers murdering Iraqi civilians, and handing over cable traffic showing everything from US State Department intervention to keep Haitian wages low to secret US bombing campaigns to US torture and mercenary companies trafficking in children and more to Wikleaks which distributed them to news outlets around the world.

The terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” have never been our words, they've always been deployed by the oppressor against us. The first time I recall hearing about “terrorists” and “terrorism” were was back in the 1970s, when the white colonial regimes of Angola, Mozambique and Rhodesia called the black Africans who took up arms against them and fought for their people's freedom terrorists, and declared they were on the front lines of a global war on terror. Charleston shooter Dylan Roof wore their flag, a Rhodesian flag on his jacket.

The poor and oppressed have never had the privilege of deciding who was and was not a terrorist, because the terrorist has always been a handy construction of the rich and powerful, a construction that justifies Homeland Security Departments, militarized policing and a country with 5% of the world's population spending half the world's military budget on its so-called “global war on terror.” Our government needs terrorism and terrorists to justify itself so badly that FBI and other police agencies constantly manufacture “terrorist plots” in which they ensnare the ignorant and unwary.

So let's get real about this. If breaking the law to change government or corporate policy makes you a terrorist, Martin Luther King, Chelsea Manning, Wikileaks' Julian Asange, anti-pipeline activists and “#BlackLivesMatter protestors blocking roads and streets, and even Boondocks cartoon character and self-confessed domestic terrorist Huey Freeman all pass the test.

Dylan Roof, who wants things pretty much the way they already are only more so, does not.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon.  Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and subscribe to our free weekly email.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report.  He's a member of the state committee of the GA Green party and lives and works near Marietta GA.  Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150617_bd_whos-a-terrorist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm EST

Obama Rams Through TPP With Little Democratic Support, Even from Black Caucus

Obama Rams Through TPP With Little Democratic Support, Even from Black Caucus

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

 

Obama delivered a crushing defeat to his own party, and to the health and welfare of all humanity.”

 

In the weeks before Barack Obama began his first term in office, we at Black Agenda Report described him as a center-right politician, based on the cast of characters he chose for his cabinet and his announcement that Social Security and all entitlement programs would be put on the chopping block under his presidency. Six and a half years later, Obama stands at the far right wing of his own Democratic Party, and – on issues of corporate domination – to the right of many Republicans. Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership treaty, the 21st century blueprint for global corporate rule, garnered only 28 Democratic votes in a showdown on Capitol Hill, last week. But, backed by 190 Republicans, and all the assets that Wall Street can muster, Obama delivered a crushing defeat to his own party, and to the health and welfare of all humanity. So rotten is the stench of TPP – a treaty so toxic it is a state secret – that only three members of the Congressional Black Caucus were willing to side with the First Black President.

 

The “Black TPP Three” are: Gregory Meeks, the corporate servant from Queens, New York; Terri Sewell, the sell-out who misrepresents Alabama’s Black Belt; and Eddie Bernice Johnson, the congresswoman from Texas who occupies a special place of shame, since she also voted in favor of the disastrous NAFTA treaty, 22 years ago.

 

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Recidivist

 

Back in 1993, Obama’s political mentor, Bill Clinton, crossed over the aisle to lead Republicans to victory over his fellow Democrats in the fight to pass NAFTA, the treaty with Canada and Mexico. Clinton got a much larger share of Democrats to go along with his jobs-killing bill, but most of the party still opposed the deal; 102 Democrats voted Yes, versus 156 that said No to NAFTA. Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus sided with Bill Clinton: Carrie Meek, of Florida; Mel Reynolds, from Chicago, who two years later was forced to resign after a conviction for statutory rape; William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, the money-man from New Orleans who hid cash in his refrigerator; Floyd Flake, whose New York seat is now held by the thoroughly corrupted Gregory Meeks; Harold Ford, who went on to become George Bush’s favorite Black congressman; and Eddie Bernice Johnson, the only one of the six still in a position to betray more 700,000 of her constituents, in Dallas, Texas.

 

In the generation since passage of NAFTA, the Black economy has collapsed, largely due to the flight of manufacturing jobs to low wage foreign shores. On Barack Obama’s watch, Black wealth fell to one-twentieth of median white household wealth, making it statistically impossible for African Americans to ever hope to reach parity with whites, short of a revolution. TPP will hasten the pace of social and economic decline in the United States – the real legacy of Barack Hussein Obama.

 

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: 20150624_gf_CBC-TPP.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:16pm EST

From Roosevelt Island to Rikers Island – Hillary Clinton Can't See Black Mass Incarceration

New York City's Roosevelt Island and Rikers Island are on the same planet, but different worlds. For Hillary Clinton, the suicide of Kalief Browder, a New York city teen imprisoned for 3 years, two in solitary at Rikers who hanged himself on the eve of her inaugural New York City rally, was not important enough to mention before a friendly white audience. Apparently those are discussions reserved for black audiences only, or surrogates.

From Roosevelt Island to Rikers Island – Hillary Clinton Can't See Black Mass Incarceration

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

In the first week of June 2015, young Kalief Browder committed suicide. Browder was arrested at the age of sixteen for the alleged theft of a backpack. Without being tried or even formally charged, Browder spent 3 years down at New York City's notorious Rikers Island complex, two of them in solitary confinement.

Lacking competent legal representation and isolated in part because he was not a member of any street organization, Browder was relentlessly beaten and abused by both staff and inmates during his incarceration. On the outside, in the hopeful estimation of his family and friends, Browder's condition seemed to be improving. Browder had made several prior suicide attempts during and after his time at Rikers, but at the time of his death was attending city college classes, his grades were going up and his panic attacks and other PTSD symptoms seemed to be retreating, until his mother found him hanging from an open window one morning.

Less than a week later, on the same planet, the same city, but in another world just six miles downstream from Rikers, Hillary Clinton kicked off her campaign with a Roosevelt Island campaign rally, eagerly covered by Melissa Harris-Perry and MSNBC. Being an island, Roosevelt Island is not a gated community, it's a moated community, inhabited in large part by UN employees and such, many quite well to do.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is no dummy, and she employs some of the cleverest marketers around to craft her every photo opportunity, appearance and most of the words that come from her mouth. Not much escapes their notice, except of course those matters they deem just not worth noticing. You can bet people on Hillary's team knew who Kalief Browder was. They knew Rikers was just 6 miles upstream, and they knew it wouldn't embarrass the mayor because deBlasio had already acknowledged it. They knew the crowd was Hillary's no matter what she did or did not say.

For Team Hillary, the life and death of Kalief Browder, and hundreds or thousands like him just didn't make the cut. Other points, other matters were too pressing, too urgent.

Since becoming a presidential candidate again in the last few weeks, Hillary has learned to make her lips say the words “mass incarceration.” She's said it more often in the last couple months than Bernie Sanders has in twenty years, but it seems to be one of those things she'll only come out with in front of black and other receptive audiences, as though black mass incarceration and the prison state were the exclusive creations or problems of black and brown Americans instead of something she and her husband expanded dramatically during their last terms in the White House.

As the entire black political class maneuvers to deliver the black vote to Hillary (sometimes through Bernie Sanders in the primary season) it's instructive to note that when their candidate has a free hand and a friendly white audience before which to speak, the prison state and mass incarceration which virtually define the black experience of government are simply not worth mentioning.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, where you can also subscribe to our free weekly email alerts.

 

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works near Marietta GA, where he is a partner in an IT firm and serves on the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150617_bd_roosevelt-island-2-rikers-island.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:36pm EST

Data Show Cops Growing More Aggressive Against Blacks In Missouri

Data Show Cops Growing More Aggressive Against Blacks In Missouri

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The cops’ mission is to project police power against Black people as a group.”

New statistics from Missouri show that the racial disparity in police stops, searches and arrests of drivers was higher, last year, than at any time since the year 2000, when Missouri started keeping records. Black drivers in 2014 were 75 percent more likely than whites to be stopped by police, and 73 percent more likely to be searched. In 2013, the year before a Ferguson, Missouri, cop killed Michael Brown, setting off the Black Lives Matter movement, Missouri was stopping Blacks 66 percent more often than they stopped whites. So, in Missouri, at least, the statistics tend to confirm the general impression among Black people that the police are becoming measurably more aggressive in their dealings with African Americans.

Missouri is not widely viewed as one of the more enlightened states, but it is one of only about a half dozen states that keep track of how citizens who are Driving While Black are treated on the states’ streets and highways. Missouri provides the kind of information that civil liberties lawyers in New York City had to spend years in court to force police to provide. The Missouri data show an increase in the already familiar pattern, in which Black people who are stopped are also more likely to be searched than whites who get pulled over, but that whites are almost 50 percent more likely to turn out to be carrying some kind of contraband, usually drugs. Nevertheless, at the end of the stop, Blacks were about twice as likely to be arrested as whites.

Race is the guiding principle of the U.S. criminal justice system.”

The New York Times article on the new Missouri statistics included comments from a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Prof. Kenneth Novak was reluctant to draw firm racial conclusions about what the data means, because police tend to concentrate their attention in areas where there are higher proportions of Blacks. Therefore, he finds the numbers “perplexing.” But, Prof. Novak has already answered his own question. Yes, the cops do concentrate their energies in Black areas, and they also place Blacks traveling in white areas under greater surveillance. Their mission is to project police power against Black people as a group, wherever they are. The cops do not work under a similar mission in the white community – and that’s why the whites that do wind up getting stopped are more likely than Blacks to be carrying unlawful goods and substances. Generally speaking, you have to be a relatively wild-looking or badly behaving white person to get stopped in the first place. But Black folks are all fair game, because race is the guiding principle of the U.S. criminal justice system.

White supremacy is the reason that one out of every eight prison inmates in the world is an African American; it’s why there are more people of color in U.S. prisons than in the entire prison system of China, a country with a population four and a half times that of the United States. The Black American Gulag has been built stop-by-stop, frisk-by-frisk, sweep-by-sweep, and through constant racialized surveillance of Black people wherever they go in this country.

There’s nothing “perplexing” about it. Mass Black Incarceration is foundational government policy everywhere in the United States.

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: 20150603_gf_MODrivingWhileBlack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15am EST

The U.S. and Al Qaida in Love and War

The U.S. and Al Qaida in Love and War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Al Qaida and the U.S. are on the same side in Yemen, just as they are in Syria.”

In Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq and in Libya, the United States is playing out the last bloody chapters of its attempt to dominate the energy basin of the world, through terror. Washington’s policy in the Arab and Muslim world has always been terror: the terror of shock and awe invasion of Iraq, in 2003; the constant terrors inflicted by the “51st State,” Israel, which has waged endless war against its neighbors with impunity for almost 70 years under the U.S. military and diplomatic umbrella; the totally unprovoked terror that rained NATO bombs over Libya for seven months, in 2011, allowing the dark night of jihadism and ethnic cleansing to descend on what had been Africa’s most prosperous country, and then sending these jihadists to commit a similar bloodbath in Syria. The international jihadist network owes its very existence to the United States, which, in a joint venture with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, spent billions creating the global infrastructure of terror with its headquarters in Afghanistan, starting in the late 1970s.

More than three decades later, the U.S. and its filthy rich royal Arab allies in the Persian Gulf have become totally dependent on the jihadists they have unleashed on humanity. Washington’s virtual sponsorship of the Israeli state, and America’s own epic crimes in the Middle East means the United States has no natural allies among the people. Plus, America’s deep-rooted racism renders it unfit to competently negotiate the services of Islamic jihadists to fight imperialism’s battles. For this – and to pick up a portion of the tab – the U.S. needs the Saudis and other wealthy Arabs.

Fatal Dependence

The Arab kings and emirs are also dependent on the jihadists, since their own armed forces are comprised mainly of mercenaries. The Muslim politician who runs Turkey also relies on the jihadists to fight his war against Syria, since he would risk bringing chaos to his own country – and being ousted from office – if he directly attacked Syria.

The Americans and the Saudis believed they could buy the jihadists’ services, and then discard them when no longer needed. Instead, they have created a Frankenstein, whose Islamic State component has already declared its intention to sweep away the Arab monarchies – along with the Great Satan, the U.S. The other al Qaida branches will also turn against their creators, when the time is right. Who, then, will be left to defend the U.S. empire’s interests in the region?

The CIA recently sent a drone to kill al-Qaida’s top guy in Yemen, in the town of Mukalla. Mukalla’s airport is the only one in Yemen that Saudi Arabia hasn’t bombed, because the Saudis are allied with al-Qaida in their war against the Houthis. In fact, they depend on al Qaida, because the Saudi army is incapable of occupying Yemen. The U.S. is also a critical ally of Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war. Al Qaida and the U.S. are on the same side in Yemen, just as they are in Syria. But, of course, in the long run, their interests are irreconcilable. In the end, the jihadists, who have grown exponentially stronger, will remain a force in the region, the U.S. will be expelled, and royal Saudi heads will roll.

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: 20150617_gf_LoveHateJihadists.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am EST

Arne Duncan’s Patently False Promise to Forgive Student Debts at For-Profit Schools

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Enforcers for loan sharks don’t give debt holidays to the masses of victims.”

Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Secretary of Education, claims his department is prepared to forgive the debts of thousands of students who attended the Corinthian Colleges, the for-profit rip-off conglomerate that filed for bankruptcy last month. Duncan chose his words carefully, claiming that the federal government is putting together a process that would forgive the loans of any student who can show that she had been defrauded by any college – Coriinthian or some other school.

Duncan is, of course, lying. His own department estimates it would cost as much as $3.5 billion to provide debt relief to the 350,000 students that have had the misfortune to attend Corinthian schools over the past five years. And Corinthian wasn’t the top dog in the for-profit education scam. Phoenix University, owned by the huge Apollo chain of con artists, had an enrollment of 600,000 five years ago, and still processes the checks of a quarter million victims a year. Forgiving the debts of all the students that have been victimized by the for-profit college industry would cost many tens of billions of dollars – far more than what’s left of the nation’s welfare program. We know that Arne Duncan was making no such commitment on behalf of an administration that loves austerity just as much as the Republicans do.

Arne Duncan is lying when he says the administration will hold for-profit colleges “accountable.” These criminal enterprises are creatures of the federal government. The for-profit school industry has no reason to exist except to suck up federal education moneys while destroying the hopes and credit of desperate, largely Black and brown people. The Education Department acts as the bill collector for the industry, enforcing the terms of student debt. Enforcers for loan sharks don’t give debt holidays to the masses of victims.

“The for-profit education industry will be protected.”

Arne Duncan’s boss, President Obama, knows that the $1.2 trillion national student debt looms as a huge campaign issue, and that his political soul-mate, Hillary Clinton, will need every Black and brown vote to win in 2016. They know that a new movement is emerging, energized by young people who are especially outraged at the astronomical cost of education, including the inferior education provided by for-profit schools, which charge two to four times the tuition of public colleges. The collapse and bankruptcy of Corinthian Colleges brought the issue to a head. Arne Duncan is attempting to deflect the damage by setting up a mechanism to allow former students to petition for debt relief. It’s like a safety valve, but not too much money will be allowed to escape, and the for-profit education industry will be protected from the worst consequences of its crimes.

But, what will replace Corinthian colleges, and the other scam schools that are teetering on bankruptcy? The answer is: more for-profit schools, repackaged and rebranded – because neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any intention of reinvigorating public education in the United States. For-profit colleges, like charter public schools, are a capitalist’s dream: the public pays the cost, and private corporations make the profits. And the people’s dreams go up in smoke.

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: 20150610_gf_CorinthianScams.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:07am EST

Obama Invokes U.S. Civil Rights Movement to Defend Israel

Obama Invokes U.S. Civil Rights Movement to Defend Israel

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Zionist state has elements of both “petty” and “grand” apartheid.”

Like most politicians in the United States, President Obama takes on the ethic and political coloration of whoever he’s trying to impress. In the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Obama cozied up to Zionist writer and former Israeli solider Jeffrey Goldberg by swearing ever-lasting love for the State of Israel. Again, standard behavior for Democrats and Republicans – but, this time, Obama couldn’t resist dragging Black folks into his political fantasy. If Obama wants to kiss Zionist butt, he should do it with his own lips, and leave Black America out of it.

Obama told Goldberg he sees “a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law.” In Obama’s mind, “These things are indivisible.”

By equating the Zionist state’s racial and religious policies with the U.S. civil rights movement, Obama is committing the gravest slander against African Americans. You might call it a “blood libel.” Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, the only such governmental deformity left in the world, since the demise of the white South African regime, Israel’s close partner in crime, two decades ago. Black and white South Africans are well aware that Israel is the last bastion of the racially-based state. Bishop Desmond Tutu, who supports boycotts and economic sanctions against Israel, says segregation on Israeli highways and in housing reminds him “so much of conditions” Blacks experienced under white rule in his own country. White South African John Dugard, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur, says “Israel’s crimes are infinitely worse than those committed by the apartheid regime in South Africa.” Indeed, an article in the popular Israeli newspaper Haaretz points out that the Zionist state has elements of both “petty” and “grand” apartheid – petty apartheid in effective segregation in public accommodations and transportation, and grand apartheid in terms of where people are allowed to live and work, especially on the occupied West Bank.

Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, the only such governmental deformity left in the world.”

The Israeli government hastily cancelled a plan to segregate Jewish settlers and Palestinians on a bus line into the West Bank, earlier this month, fearing the publicity would evoke memories of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. As it should. The United States was the world’s first apartheid state, and remains a deeply segregated country whose politics are dominated by white racism. So much so, that a Black U.S. president cannot figure out a way to defend Israel without reference to Black America. In the sickest of political contortions, Obama invoked the U.S. civil rights movement as a way of holding out hope that Israel can break away from a deeper descent into apartheid by following the U.S. example. Which is not good news for the Palestinians.

In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly declared that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was revoked after the Soviet Union dissolved, but it remains true, nonetheless. Civilization demands that the Zionist state be dismantled, root and branch.

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: 20150527_gf_ObamaIsraelCivilRights.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am EST

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 27, 2015

Tanks Don’t Kill Blacks – It’s the Racist System

President Obama’s executive order “banning” the transfer or sale of certain weapons, gear and vehicles to local police departments is “based on a false narrative” that the conflict between police and Black communities is “non-racial,” said Justin Hansford, an associate professor at the University of St. Louis School of Law. “The armed occupation of Black communities by police has been going on for many decades before they brought out the tanks,” said Hansford, a Washington, DC native. “It’s an attempt to create an easy fix and a non-racial fix.” Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others were not killed by cops shooting automatic rifles from the tops of armored vehicles. “They were killed by a false narrative of Black criminality” and “the idea that Black life is more disposable.”

Cops Kill Sisters, Too

The “Say Her Name” campaign is necessary to “bring into the mix of this discussion of police getting away with murder the fact that police kill sisters, too,” said Carl Dix, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Protesters took to the streets and public transportation systems of Chicago, Detroit, Oakland and Philadelphia, last week, to highlight police violence against women and girls.

Death By Demonization

Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal told Prison Radio that the recent deaths of nine bikers in Waco, Texas, the 1993 massacre of Branch Davidian men, women and children in Waco, and the 1985 bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia “all have something in common: they’d been demonized.” Abu Jamal remains seriously ill from untreated diabetes and other, unknown ailments.

Settlement to Curtail “Trap-and-Detain” Arrests

In what the Washington-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund calls an “unprecedented” settlement, the U.S. Department of the Interior has agreed to abide by strict standards for policing demonstrators on federal property. Fund executive director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said the agreement “requires that they not use police lines to surround demonstrators, and stop the ‘trap-and-detain’ kettling tactic that was used around the country.” If police are contemplating making arrests at protests, “they must give people complete notice and opportunity to comply with any lawful police orders,” said Verheyden-Hilliard. The settlement also awards $2.2 million to 400 protesters arrested in 2002, in Washington.

Socialist Alternative Exploring Electoral Possibilities in St. Louis

Seeking to expand from its base in Seattle, Washington, the Socialist Alternative party is considering fielding candidates or backing other leftist political aspirants in St. Louis, Missouri, said organizer Ashton Rome. Campaigns could be centered on demands to “tax the rich” and for a civilian police oversight board “that actually has teeth.”

Malcolm X Set the Stage for Sixties Rebellion

The Sixties “was the high tide of Black intellectual and political thought around the world” – much of it influenced by the work of Malcolm X, who would have been 90 years old on May 19, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African Peoples Socialist Party. In a birthday salute to Malcolm at the Uhuru House, in St. Petersburg, Florida, Yeshitela said: “They assassinated him, but they killed him too late; it was his influence that created the Black Panther Party...and that was the most influential throughout the country.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

 

 

Direct download: ba-radio-week-of-20150527.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49am EST

Hey Toni Morrison! If Clinton Was Our First Black President, Is Bill de Blasio NYC's Second Black Mayor?
Hey Toni Morrison! If Clinton Was Our First Black President, Is Bill de Blasio NYC's Second Black Mayor?

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

Some still recall it was Toni Morrison who first picked up Bill Clinton for us in the racial draft, calling him America's first black president. Now Sista Toni offers such an eloquent tribute to NYC mayor Bill de Blasio and his so-called “progressive agenda” that we imagine she might want to make him that city's second black mayor. We wish she wouldn't.

We won't deal with de Blasio's blackness or the lack thereof, that's not what we do here at Black Agenda Report. But the hard fact is de Blasio's so-called progressive agenda, and his actual policies in office utterly fail to meet the needs of poorer New Yorkers, let alone live up to the lofty accolades Toni Morrison heaps upon them.

It's not that the so-called progressive agenda is a bad thing... it's actually good as far as it goes. But it says so little, for so much praise that its omissions speak louder than what's there

To name just a couple things, this “progressive agenda” doesn't mention privatization of water, schools, media, parking, elections and public assets that are a hallmark of neoliberal capitalism. How progressive do you have to be to oppose privatization in principle? It fails to mention gentrification either, the development of urban areas not for the people who live there now, but for wealthier residents attracted from someplace else.

De Blasio's policies on the ground, though they pay lip service to “affordable housing” according to activists in Brooklyn and the Bronx, include leaning harder on public housing residents to finance long-delayed repairs and maintenance instead of taxing the billionaires to get it done. De Blasio's practice of inundating poorer neighborhoods like South Bronx and East New York with expensive housing units make his “no displacement” promises inevitably self-breaking in the face of market pressures.

Moreover, leaving the war economy, privatizations, the prison state, the energy industry and climate change, out of the severely limited “progressive agenda” allows us to falsely imagine we can improve the lot of poor and working Americans without reversing the privatizations, and without shutting down the prison state. It lets us imagine we can create good jobs at living wages for Americans without euthanizing the fossil fuel industry that's greedily poisoning the climate, and without ending the war economy in which the US with 5% of the worlds people spends half the world's military budget on constant wars and over one thousand military bases around the planet.

In the real USA there is one prison and police state, and one policy of urban economic development – gentrification. On the real planet Earth there is only one capitalist economy, one global military superpower, and one climate.

When great artists like Toni heap effusive praise upon politicians for meager and misleading promises, and policies that fail even to live up to these, they're not speaking courageous truth to power. They're just sucking up to their influential friends.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

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: 20150520_bd_nyc-2nd-black-mayor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17pm EST

Malcolm X Would Wage Righteous Struggle Against Black America’s “House Negro” Leaders

Malcolm X Would Wage Righteous Struggle Against Black America’s “House Negro” Leaders

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Malcolm broke with the taboos against criticizing Black leadership within ear or eye range of white people.”

Malcolm X would have been 90 years old on Tuesday if he had not been assassinated at the age of 39, on February 21, 1965. His impact on Black America, the African Diaspora, and on human history, is inestimable, but I believe Brother Malcolm’s greatest contribution to the struggle for human dignity lay in his unrelenting critique of the political structures and behavior of Black America. Malcolm X made it legitimate and virtuous to engage in full-throated, soul searching, icon-searing debate about the past, present and future of those who were then called Negroes. Most importantly, he did not give a damn if white people heard all the Black-on-Black commotion, or not – because they were not his audience, even when his arguments were broadcast on white corporate media.

Malcolm broke with the taboos against criticizing Black leadership within ear or eye range of white people, which in the late Fifties and early Sixties was viewed as airing dirty linen in public. Malcolm’s position was that many of these Black leaders were actually creatures of the white power structure and its media. He questioned their loyalties and very legitimacy, and challenged Black folks to choose their own leaders, who would fight uncompromisingly for Black interests.

Malcolm took on the so-called “Big Six” – the NAACP, the National Urban League, CORE, SNCC, Dr. Martin Luther King’s SCLC, and the legendary A. Philip Randolph – who had gained the cooperation of the Kennedy administration to hold the 1963 March on Washington. Malcolm was not impressed. He called it the “Farce on Washington,” and derided the Big Six for diluting Black people’s power by putting “cream in the coffee.” This was not a cat-call for racial exclusion, but a demand for independent Black politics. Millions of Black people, especially the young, understood Malcolm’s meaning, and acted upon it.

He questioned their loyalties and very legitimacy.”

There is no doubt that Malcolm was a Race Man. But, when it came to his analysis of Black America, he was a “class” man, too. His elevation of the “Field Negro” over the fawning, obsequious “House Negro” was an admonition to resist cooptation into what even Dr. King later recognized was a “burning house.” Malcolm wielded his “House Negro” analogy like a sword, shaming and delegitimizing those Blacks who identify with and serve oppressive institutions, rather than the interests of the masses of the people. Malcolm’s harsh, but lucid, juxtapositons gave clarity of vision to a movement that would shake America to its foundations.

What would Malcolm say, if he were returned to us? His critique would begin with the present sorry state of the Black America, where the House Negro has held sway for the past two generations, with disastrous results. But he would also hear the voices of his great grandchildren stirring among the Field Negroes of Ferguson and Baltimore, and he would say, “Show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” And then he would immediately set about denouncing and organizing against those Black people that have sided with the bloodsuckers.

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: 20150520_gf_MalcolmBday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33am EST

EU Plans War to Keep Europe White

EU Plans War to Keep Europe White

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The thousands of deaths at sea are crimes of Europe and the United States.”

The United States has been the big, bad leader of the imperial world for so long, we may sometimes forget that most of the evils that beset our world have their origins in Europe, a small corner of the Earth that has for 500 years grown fat off the blood and resources of the rest of the planet. This Europe is a greedy little place, most of whose inhabitants believe they have somehow earned what they have stolen from the world’s darker peoples, and that they are entitled to continue stealing in perpetuity.

In 2011, in league with the United States, European members of NATO launched a totally unprovoked 7-month bombing campaign against Libya, resulting in the murder of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the empowerment of Islamist jihadists throughout the northern tier of the African continent. Col. Gaddafi had warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia, with vast numbers of people desperately fleeing across the Mediterranean Seato escape the turmoil. Gaddafi was right, of course. Not only has Libya been reduced to a state of sheer anarchy and terror, but thanks to Europe and the United States, Hell has descended on Syria, and conditions in Somalia have grown even worse. The Europeans and their American cousins are intent on wiping out every vestige of civilization in the Muslim world – all the while spouting the same twisted, racist logic that they have employed for half a millennium: that Muslims and Africans are unsuited to civilization, and must be guided by the white hands of Europe, for their own good.

Col. Gaddafi warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia.”

The refugee crisis, the thousands of deaths at sea, are crimes of Europe and the United States. The Euro-Americans are just as unquestionably guilty as the arsonist who sets the fire that causes apartment dwellers to jump to their deaths from high windows to escape the flames. Now, the nations of the European Union, all 28 of them, are backing plans to launch air and naval attacks against boats in the ports of Libya and on the high seas, to make sure that the refugees that Europe and America have created do not wind up on European shores. This new war against Libya will not be to destroy a secular regime, or to grab oil fields, but a war to keep Europe white. On this the Europeans can unite. They argue only about how to distribute among themselves the Muslim and African refugees that somehow do manage to make landfall. They must be scattered across the map. European civilization is a fragile thing. Although the British, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Belgians, Dutch, Danes and Germans have looted, raped and massacred every people they have encountered since the early 1400s, their own societies cannot tolerate more than a token exposure to former colonized cultures. In addition to the riches of the world, the Europeans demand racial exclusivity on their home turf.

So today, they prepare to beat back by military force the most desperate victims of previous Euro-American crimes. And they have the colossal gall to call it a “humanitarian” operation.

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: 20150513_gf_EUBombBoats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EST

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

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

 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

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

Nobody celebrates themselves more tirelessly and uncritically than black America's wealthy and empowered political class of millionaire entertainers, business types, preachers and politicians. Unfortunately, black folks outside that charmed circle also tend to applaud the glittering wealth of black celebrities without bothering to look at where that wealth comes from.

Last year in Black Agenda Report, we talked about near-billionaire former NBA star Junior Bridgman, who owns more than a hundred Applebees and Wendys restaurants, and spends millions each year lobbying Congress and state legislatures to keep his workers' wages nice and low. There's Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who's a major partner in Sodexo, a firm that privatizes food service in prisons, public schools and charter schools, and janitorial service in schools as well, making tens of millions a year relentlessly cutting jobs, wages and quality of service. And in Atlanta, there's Tyler Perry.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is trying to rush through a deal with as little public scrutiny or input as possible that will give Tyler Perry more than a half square mile of public land – 331 prime acres of former military base less than four miles from downtown Atlanta, for a mere $30 million, to build new production studios and whatever else he might want to do. If Atlanta doesn't hurry up and and give Perry this land, Reed says, Perry might take the 8,000 new jobs he claims his studio might create somewhere else, like neighboring Douglass county where Perry reportedly owns more than 1,000 acres. Never mind the fact that Perry's existing Atlanta studios have been sketchily constructed and maintained, and had little or no positive economic impact on their surrounding neighborhood.

Atlanta mayors have a tradition of lying about how many jobs will be created when they give public resources and land to their friends. Previous Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin claimed her Atlanta Beltline boondoggle would create 40,000 temporary and 30,000 permanent new jobs if only Atlanta would divert $140 million away from the public schools every year for twenty-some years. Mayor Reed absurdly claims Tyler Perry's new studio will create 8,000 new jobs. In the real world a studio the size of Perry's will use a tenth, a twentieth or less of 331 acres, and most of the 800 or fewer– not 8,000 jobs there will be professional and managerial folks already working for Tyler Perry.

The fact is, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed wants to hurry up and give Tyler Perry the land without any guarantees whatsoever of how many permanent jobs will be created, no stipulation of how many units of affordable housing will be constructed, and most of all, without consulting the area's existing residents and business owners. Perry of course made substantial contributions to Georgia's Republican governor, and can be expected to generously support Mayor Reed in any state or other office he might seek.

There has never been the slightest pretense of any interest on the part of city hall in involving the public on how the 440 acre former military base will be integrated into the city of Atlanta. Instead of a chance to develop the city for the people who live here, Atlanta's greedy and myopic black political class sees only a chance to make a few of its already wealthy members a lot richer, at the expense of everybody else.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150506_bd-tyler_perry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EST

More Dyson V West: Michael Eric Dyson Ain't No Muhammad Ali

More Dyson V West: Michael Eric Dyson Ain't No Muhammad Ali

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

What do you do when a lunatic or someone deeply unprincipled tries to pick a public fight with you? It can be a vexing problem, first because such people tend not to be honest about what their real beef is, and secondly because onlookers may easily decide that both parties to such a dispute are equally bankrupt and worth ignoring.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson has done something very much like this to the man he calls one of his former mentors, Cornel West. Dyson's ten thousand word screed in the New Republic focuses at great length on West's alleged academic and personal shortcomings. But the current context of time and place and alliances at this, the official start of the 2016 presidential campaign season, mark Dyson's piece as an unmistakably political attack.

It's a profoundly disappointing and dishonest critique as well, failing as it does to grapple with any of the dozens of specific policy matters upon which Cornel West has harshly criticized the entire lack political class of black mayors, black preachers, black legislators and officials and of course the first black president. Michael Eric Dyson on the other hand, is eagerly scrambling for his place in the pecking order of that black political class. Dyson knows that nobody's career, nobody's bottom line has ever negatively affected because they sucked up to a sitting president, or to the next sitting president.

As in his 2012 debate with Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford, (part one here, part two here) all Dr. Dyson can do is throw up his usual “wall of words.” But Dyson cannot defend drone warfare across Africa and Asia. Dyson can't justify the TTP and TTIP, or Obama's Race To The Top program to privatize public schools in black neighborhoods across the country, all of which West denounces. Dyson can't explain Obama's deportation of two million people after he promised them a road to citizenship, or Obama's preventive detention laws or his refusal to prosecute the banksters who crashed the economy. So he talks about West's inflated ego. Dyson cannot defend Obama's arms deals in Africa, his support for GMOs at home, apartheid in Israel or his broken promises to raise the minimum wage early in his first term, or much of anything else, so he hones in on West's love of the limelight and his questionable status as a prophet.

In subsequent snippets, Dyson has inexplicably likened himself in conflict with West to Muhammad Ali. Dyson however lives in upside-down land. Dyson's inability to make winning political arguments on behalf of his masters renders him, like Muhammad Ali's early opponents, unable to lay a glove on the man. Whoever he is, Michael Eric Dyson ain't no Muhammad Ali.

Dyson is closer to Joe Frazier, but without the great champion's generosity, his humility or his integrity, without Joe's hands or Joe's heart. In fact the only part of Joe Frazier Dyson successfully channels is Joe's sense of aggrieved malice, which led Frazier to boast shortly before his death, that when one sees the visible impairment in Ali's face and manner, as Joe says, “I did that.” But unlike Joe Frazier with Ali, Dyson hasn't laid a glove on his opponent.

For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.. D

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party.  He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150430_bd_west-v-dyson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:05am EST

Lawless President Obama Chides Baltimore "Criminals and Thugs", Ignores Savagery of Baltimore Police

Lawless President Obama Chides Baltimore “Criminals And Thugs,” Ignores Savagery Of Baltimore Police

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

According to the Baltimore Police Department's own story, all Freddie Gray ever did was make eye contact with a police lieutenant and take off running. In 21st century America, the relation of young black men to the police is such that when you run like a rabbit, cops will chase you like hounds. When the hounds caught 25 year old Freddy Gray they did what hounds do when they catch a rabbit. Baltimore cops snapped Freddy Gray's spine, and they may have inflicted additional torture upon him during a half hour in leg irons in back of a police van after which they finally got around to calling the paramedics.

This kind of simple, elemental savagery is the ordinary everyday state of policing not just in Baltimore but in a hundred other US cities. Black Baltimore knows, just like black Chicago, black Los Angeles and Philly and Birmingham and Jacksonville and Detroit --- they all know that the courts and ballot box provide no credible remedies to the scourge of police violence or the national policy of mass incarceration inflicted upon Americans of African descent.

Our black political class was quick to point to the absence of black faces in high places in Ferguson Missouri. But most Baltimore mayors have been black for a generation, as have many of its top cops. There are black faces in judges' chambers, a mostly black city council and Maryland has a large and active legislative black caucus. Curbing the cops though, is not part of what any of our black political class actually DO.

President Obama is big on poor people remaining peaceful and nonviolent and respecting the law. This is a notion that should either make us laugh out loud, or cry, it's hard to decide which. President Obama you see, also claims the law entitles him to drone-bomb hundreds, perhaps thousands of civilians across Asia and Africa whose names he doesn't even know based upon their “profiles” or their proximity to supposed “terrorists,” also frequently unknown by name. The president, along with his outgoing and incoming attorneys general assure us this is all perfectly legal. We have to take their word for it, because they've made the precise legal language of the rule they says permits this classified – a secret.

Along with the president, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also drew the line at protesters interfering with the private property of others. This too is a joke. The Baltimore PD is one of hundreds of cop shops that routinely confiscate cash and assets with little or no justification from people for its own use, a runaway policy called asset forfeiture blessed by the incoming attorney general Loretta Lynch. So let's be clear – when presidents and mayors call for “nonviolence” and “obeying the law” and “respect for private property” they're appealing to rules they would not dream of following themselves.

These are the rules the police and prison state makes for its victims, the rules that hounds make for rabbits. If we no longer intend to be hunted by hounds, we have to start by ignoring their rules, as many of our finest young people are seizing the opportunity to do. The most important lesson of Freddy Gray's death may be that it's high time to stop running like rabbits.

 

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150429-bd-hounds-n-rabbits.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40pm EST

So the One Percent of One Percent Who Own US Politics Include Some Black Faces. Is This A Victory For Us All?

So the One Percent of One Percent Who Own US Politics Include Some Black Faces. Is This A Victory For Us All?

 

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

 

One percent of the one percent, about 30,000 individuals account for 42% of all the contributions to political candidates in the US. In most other countries these would be bribes, but in this, the freest country in the world, wealthy have baked their right to bribe into our election law. They've even purchased a Supreme Court ruling – Citizens United – which says their unfettered right to bribe is guaranteed in the Constitution.

 

While America's corporate elite is disproportionately white, nobody I know considers this a victory for white people. So why then, do many African descended Americans insist on celebrating black members of this one percent of one percent as persons worthy of respect and admiration on the part of the rest of us?

 

Former NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson is a case in point. With business interests all over the country, Magic dropped a quarter million dollar campaign donation on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and flew to Chicago to get his picture taken with the mayor on the eve of the elction. Magic's payback was an $80 million dollar contract managing privatized custodial services in Chicago's Public Schools, under which he pays those custodial employees, many of them African American far, far less than they once made as direct employees of the public school system.

 

This doesn't make Johnson unique. It makes him one of the gang, a very privileged gang indeed. A recent study by the Sunlight Foundation revealed that corporations get about $760 back from federal, state and local governments for every buck they donate to politicians of the two capitalist parties. The nation's top 200 campaign donors gave $5.8 billion to political campaigns, and got back $4.4 trillion – that's trillion with a T in return between 2007 and 2012. In perspective, during the same period 50 million Americans on social security got only $4.3 trillion. It's all perfectly legal, and in the eyes of some of our black pundit class, admirable, when the recipients are folks like Magic Johnson.

 

Junior Bridgman, another former NBA superstar owns hundreds of Wendys and Applebees franchises, and pays millions every year to lobby state and federal government to keep the wages of his workers nice and low, seven bucks and change for the fast food sector and two dollars and change for the restaurants. Is he an inspiration to young blacks or a scourge on black families?

 

How should we regard the black faces among the one percent of one percent? Are they smart and savvy business people, examples of real black power? Or are they well connected, despicable thieves stealing from the rest of us?

 

It's a question we should ask ourselves more often.

 

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

 

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150422-bd-one-percent-blacks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EST

We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”

We Charge Genocide: 1.5 Million Black Men “Missing”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

There are more Black men missing from their communities than the combined Black male populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington and Boston.”

A new analysis of population data confirms what has long been obvious to every minimally conscious Black person in the United States: a huge proportion of the Black male population is missing, physically absent from the daily life of the community. Many are prematurely dead, but the largest group has been consigned to the social death of incarceration. According to a study by the Upshot unit of the New York Times, when prison inmates of both sexes are taken out of the equation, there are now 1.5 million more Black women in the country, age 25 to 54, than there are Black men. In some locations – for example, Ferguson, Missouri – there are only six Black men physically present in the community for every ten Black women.

In white America, there is almost no imbalance in gender among the 25 to 54 age group. For every 100 white women, there are 99 white men.

There are more Black men missing from their communities than the combined Black male populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington and Boston. Six hundred thousand of them are in prison, and that’s not counting Black male prison inmates that are younger than 25 and older than 54. The analysts estimate that roughly half, and maybe as many as three-quarters, of the other 900,000 missing Black men have died before their time from diseases and accidents, and that 200,000 are no longer here due to homicide.

The war of attrition is a race war.”

Black life in America does not start out with these bizarre imbalances between the sexes. There is no gender gap among Blacks in childhood. Roughly the same number of boys and girls are born, and the ratio stays stable until the teenage years, when the war of attrition begins mercilessly grinding down the numbers of Black males. How else is this phenomenon to be described except as a war, in which 600,000 are held captive during their most productive years, 200,000 are killed by violence, and most of the rest go to early graves from accidents and diseases that cause far lower casualties among whites.

The data show that U.S. society has become much more toxic for Black men during the very period in which Blacks were supposedly making such fantastic “progress.” The numbers show that the missing-Black-men phenomenon “began growing in the middle decades of the 20th century.” The increasing ratio of Black women to men is primarily a product of the age of mass Black incarceration. The war of attrition is a race war deliberately and methodically initiated by the U.S. government, the effects of which have been devastating to Black society on the most fundamental level: stunting the formation of Black families and the Black American group as a whole by physically removing and eliminating the men.

The data support a totally plausible, factually grounded charge of genocide, based on international law. The U.S. government, through its mass Black incarceration policies of the last half century, has been guilty of a) “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” as well as b) “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.”

The facts bear witness to the indictment. So do 1.5 million missing Black men.

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: 20150422_gf_MissingBlackMen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am EST

The Ascent of Hillary, the $.2.5 Billion “People’s” Candidate

The Ascent of Hillary, the $.2.5 Billion “People’s” Candidate

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It is the triumph of filthy rich campaign contributors.”

Hillary Clinton just announced that she’s running for president. However, this commentary is not really about her. It’s about a nation of more than 300 million people in which politics has become the sole property and domain of the rich. The rich decided some time ago that Hillary Clinton would be the virtually unchallenged presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. The 48 percent of Americans that express an affinity with the Democratic Party have not yet chosen Clinton. There has been no primary election in any state. But, that does not matter because the selection process that counts occurs in the boardrooms and mansions and private clubs and getaways of the rich. Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill, have spent virtually their entire adult lives on the millionaires’ campaign circuit, the rich man’s primary. In the process of pleasing the rich, they have become rich, themselves.

Hillary hopes to spend two and a half billion dollars of – mostly – rich people’s money in the 2016 campaign. Wealthy people will be just as generous with the Republican candidate. The outcome on Election Day is absolutely certain: the rich man’s candidate will definitely win, and the people will lose – because they have no candidate in the major parties.

The people are not even in the game; the contest is over before the Democratic Party’s formal selection process even begins. And, when primary season does arrive, it will only be a formality. The menu has already been printed, and Hillary will be the main course for Democrats next year.

Democratic voters can say “Yes” to Hillary, but they can’t say “No,” because the party machinery and the rich men who pay for that machinery will crucify and expel any Democrat who seriously challenges her from the Left.

The Party has always been a scam.”

The Democratic Party’s apologists like to call it a big tent with room for Blacks and browns and gays and labor and peace-loving people. But it’s actually a huge trap designed to contain and politically neutralize the folks who might otherwise turn against the rich. The Party has always been a scam, but at least in the old days it put on a populist show to fool the rank and file into believing that they could actually influence the party’s direction. However, Wall Street is determined that there will be no serious Democratic deviation from the corporate agenda set by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton would represent the third Clinton presidency – which, for Wall Street, is just as good as the two George Bush presidencies. Maybe better, because labor and Blacks and that fuzzy cohort called liberals will all think they won the election, when nothing could be farther from the truth. Rank and file Democrats will see the fait accompli of Hillary’s nomination as a sign of unity among Democrats, when in fact it is the triumph of filthy rich campaign contributors. The rich have shown great solidarity in uniting behind a Democratic presidential candidate. Later on, they will unite around a Republican candidate, too. After that, it won’t matter who wins.

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: 20150415_gf_HillaryRuns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am EST

The Vocabulary of Struggle

The Vocabulary of Struggle

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Can the organizers reboot the momentum of protest.”

The Black Lives Matter mobilization against the brutal guardians of the State proved its militancy in a winter campaign of protests. Hundreds of thousands marched and staged righteous disruptions of the status quo in defiance of the collaborationist Black Misleadership Class and the Black president of the United States. Deep into the cold season, aroused and angry young people dared to confront their persecutors, incarcerators and executioners: the police. It was an organized, disciplined campaign that reached into every region of the United States. And, for the first time in two generations, it seemed possible that a real grassroots Black-led movement might have sprung forth from the pain and fury at Michael Brown’s murder, August 9, in Ferguson, Missouri.

The winter is over, the season has turned, and soon the mass mobilization that desperately needs to become a movement will face the test of sustainability. Can the organizers reboot the momentum of protest, and ultimately bring it to such a fever pitch of intensity – a state of crisis – that the powers-that-be are forced to make concessions they would reject as unthinkable under normal circumstances. Concessions that allow Black people to determine how, and by whom, their communities will be policed.

Relearning Movement Politics

Managing a deliberately escalating social crisis is a gargantuan undertaking. There are no experts; it has been too long since the last mass movement. Conditions of life, including the ways that people communicate with each other, have changed drastically in 40 years. But, if the movement is to succeed, there must be tens of thousands of students of mass mobilization who are eager to major in the study and practice of political confrontation and social transformation – students of all ages, but mainly the youth. They will have to take up the task of dismantling the Mass Black Incarceration State – the New Jim Crow – that was imposed after the last mass movement was shut down, four decades ago.

When there is no resistance, one loses the vocabulary of struggle. The incipient movement that currently calls itself Black Lives Matter has emerged from a political desert, where even many protesters don’t know the difference between “community policing” and “community control of police.” The vocabulary of struggle has been so under-used, that some young folks who put their lives on the line in confrontation with the police, would deny that they’re engaged in politics; they think politics is about voting once every couple of years. And, it has been so long since there was an actual movement to betray, we have not yet invented a word to replace the no longer useful term “Uncle Tom.”

But we will come up with something appropriately insulting, if this nascent movement continues. Some of the phrases that were in common usage in the Sixties might even come back. I’ve always had a soft spot for “the Long Hot Summer.”

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: 20150408_gf_VocabularyOfStruggle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09am EST

Call GA Governor, Prison Officials, Demand End to Deliberate Malnourishment & the "Tier Step Down" Program

Several years after peaceful prison hunger strikes asking for decent medical care, educational programs, an end to the incarceration of juveniles with adults and other reasonable demands, Georgia prison authorities continue to viciously retaliate against past and future dissenting prisoners with what they call Tier Step Down, a program that apparenlty includes deliberate malnourishment of prisoners and other brutal and inhuman treatment.

Call GA Governor, Prison Officials, Demand End to Deliberate Malnourishment & the "Tier Step Down" Program

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Several years after inmate hunger strikes in multiple Georgia prisons in 2010 and 2012, officials at Georgia's Department of Corrections are still imposing vicious and illegal collective punishments. Both inmates who took part in past actions along with those the state thinks might be future threats are all being subjected to something Georgia calls “Tier Step Down.”

Under Tier Step Down, prisoners are doubled up in single cells designed for one person at half rations. They are unable to flush toilets have no access to medical care, educational programs or materials and other elementary human rights. Prisoners are prevented from bringing their grievances before responsible authorities in any meaningful way, and are frequently assaulted by staff when they try.

Kelvin Stevenson is a Georgia prisoner who was made an example after the 2010 hunger strike by Smith State Prison officials who beat him almost to death with a hammer. Stevenson is now confined at the Special Management Unit of Jackson State Prison, not far from where state officials murdered Troy Davis in 2011. He's one of those upon whom Tier Step Down is being inflicted.

In a series of letters published at Atlanta Indymedia, Mr. Stevenson describes the arbitrary and brutal treatment prisoners are being put through. He calls for intervention on the part of those outside the walls to rein in the savagery of prison authorities, for any combination of citizens, their organizations, their elected and appointed officials to take action compelling the Georgia Department of Corrections to treat prisoners with humanity and decency.

A good start would be calling prison officials and respectfully asking that Georgia prison officials unconditionally end the use of deliberate malnourishment, that they begin to treat prisoners in the Special Management Unit decently, allow them medical care, fair evaluations and access to educational materials, relieve their overcrowding and end the inhumane Tier Step Down Program. Prison officials in Georgia, like those across the rest of the vast US prison state are able to do what they do in part because so many of us turn the other way. It's time for all of us to turn toward the prisoners, our prisoners.

Black Agenda Report is asking that you call

  • Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at 404-656-1776;
  • Georgia Dept of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson at 404-656-4661
  • and Rick Jacobs, the GA DOC Director of Facilities at 478-992-5101

During business hours on weekdays Eastern Standard Time. When you do, please leave an appropriately respectful message expressing your concern for the condition of Mr. Stevenson and the other prisoners in the Special Management Unit.  Politely express your revulsion at the notion of deliberately malnourishing and withholding medical care from inmates, and ask for the re-evaluation of the Tier Step Down program.

This is a time when your call and a hundred like it truly DOES make a difference.

Do it now.  Please call the governor, call the head of the Department of Corrections, and call the Facilities Director. The three numbers of the governor, of Commissioner Homer Bryson and Rick Jacobs the Facilities Director are 404-656-1776 for Governor Nathan Deal. That's 404-656-1776.

For Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson the number is 404-656-4661. That's 404-656-4661.

And for Rick Jacobs, the Facilities Director who oversees the Tier Step Down Program the number is 478-992-5101. That's 478-992-5101.

This is Bruce Dixon at Black Agenda Radio. Find us at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached atbruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150401_bd_GA_prisoners.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm EST

Black Is Back Coalition to Hold National Conference on Black Community Control of Police

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Mass Black Incarceration regime gains legitimacy through diversity in hiring and the collaboration of the servile Black political class.”

If the Black Lives Matter mobilization is to sustain itself – if it is to go beyond protests against the latest police atrocity and become a full-fledged movement – it must embrace the principle of Black community control of the police. The entire history of the United States screams out that Black people must define and control the processes by which justice is meted out in their own communities. If there is one historical truth that is indisputable in America, it is that Black people have never gotten justice from the U.S. criminal justice system – which is why one out of every eight prison inmates on planet Earth is a Black American.

In the nearly half century since the Black Panther Party described the police as an army of occupation in Black America, we have learned the very painful lesson that inclusion of large numbers of Blacks among the ranks of the police does not change the nature of the occupation. Nor does the naming of Black police chiefs, or the election of Black mayors and city councils – and certainly not the election of a Black corporate president. In fact, the Mass Black Incarceration regime – what Michelle Alexander calls the “New Jim Crow” – gains legitimacy through diversity in hiring and the collaboration of the servile Black political class. Black cops get jobs, but people get no justice, because the mission of the police remains the same: to contain, control and terrorize the Black community. That’s their job. And that will remain the mission of policing in the Black community until the community seizes control of the police.

Civilian review boards are not the equivalent of community control, by any measurement. Most are worthless. At best, such boards respond to police crimes after-the-fact and serve at the pleasure of politicians who are ultimately answerable to wealthy white people.

Black people have never gotten justice from the U.S. criminal justice system.”

So, what would Black community control of police look like? The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will hold a national conference in St. Louis, Missouri, on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19, to examine this crucial issue. If Black people fail to define for themselves the functions and obligations of policing in Black communities, then others will continue to do it for us. The choice is simple: either Black people discipline, direct, and hire and fire the police in their community, or the police continue to beat, kill and terrorize Black people in their own neighborhoods.

The National Conference on Black Community Control of Police will be held at the Janan Academy, at 3625 North Garrison Avenue, in St. Louis. Community organizers and activists from greater St. Louis and across the country will get down to the serious business of changing relationships of power on the streets of Black America, and advancing the cause of Black self-determination.

For more information and to register for the conference, go to the Black Is Back Coalition website. That’s BlackIsBackCoalition.org, for the National Conference on Community Control of Police, April 18 and 19, in St. Louis, Missouri.

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.

What: Black Community Control of Police Conference
When: April 18-19, 2015
Where: Janan Academy, 3625 N. Garrison Ave., St. Louis, MO
Contact: Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, 224-572-9887 www.blackisbackcoalition.org

Direct download: 20150401_gf_ControlPolice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am EST

U.S. Voter Turnout is Low Because There’s Little to Vote For

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

White Americans also vote in numbers far below almost all of the rest of the developed world.”

President Obama wants you to believe that the political map of the United States would be transformed – “completely changed,” he says – if citizens were required by law to vote. Obama told a town hall meeting in Cleveland that mandatory voting would “counteract” the influence of money in the U.S. electoral process. That’s a hell of a statement from the guy who wrecked the public campaign finance system by opting out of it in 2008, and outspent his Republican opponents in both of his runs for the presidency. Obama ought to have his picture on a million dollar bill.

But, why does the United States have the lowest voter turnout in the industrialized world, including Russia? It’s not because Americans are happier with the way they’re living than the rest of humanity. The U.S. ranks 17th on the global Happiness index and 23rd on the Satisfaction with Life scale. And, although racial exclusion in voting is very important when comparing Black voter turnout with whites, white Americans also vote in numbers far below almost all of the rest of the developed world.

Americans don’t vote because both major political parties are answerable to the same people: the moneyed classes, the power structures that determine the issues that will be on the political agenda long before the party primaries begin. This is called the hegemony of the bourgeoisie, the rule of the rich.

The corporations and bankers choose the menu; the only option citizens have is whether to select from the pre-packaged list of candidates, or stay home. Almost two out of three chose not to vote in 2014. They were not behaving irrationally. Since both major parties are controlled by the rich, only the most minor tinkering with the way the country is actually run, is tolerated. No matter how many people vote, very little changes, because the U.S. offers the narrowest spectrum of electoral choices in the industrial world – which is why it has the lowest voter turnout.

Blacks Corralled by Democrats

The Democrats want to keep their lock on the Black vote, but they have no interest in Black people voting their own political agenda, for the simple reason that Blacks are the most left-wing constituency in the country and must, therefore, be kept in check by the Democratic Party machinery. It is the Democrats who have for decades sought to break up concentrations of Black voters, spreading them out across a number of districts. This gives the Democratic Party a better chance to win seats in more districts, but it means that only those Black candidates that can appeal to a substantial segment of white voters can win election. The Black political conversation is left in a state of arrested development. Ultimately, even the Black political landscape turns into a desert, and rational Black people choose not to vote.

There is much more to politics than voting. The Sixties was the most productive decade in Black American history, but the victories came mainly from the street. The vote can be put to good use, but not when it’s cast for a Republican or a Democrat. Which is why so few votes are cast on Election Day in the United States.

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: 20150325_gf_MandatoryVoting.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am EST

Seattle Urban League Leader to Run Against Socialist Seattle City Council Member. Why?

Seattle Urban League Leader to Run Against Socialist Seattle City Council Member. Why?

“...In return for speaking out against teachers, communities, standing up for privatization, and a little aggressive flattery, the Urban League gets handsomely rewarded.”

In its 105 years, the National Urban League has done a lot of indisputable good, not just for the reputations of its founders and funders, but also for the actual communities it claims to serve.

But lately, like the NAACP, NAN, and the whole lot of corporate funded dinosaur civil rights organizations, the League seems to pay a lot more attention to what its corporate donors need, as opposed to its constituents.

There's the Urban League's lucrative embraces of Common Core, high stakes testing, charter schools and privatizing public schools. The League receives generous gifts from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, now chairman of the Gates Foundation, whose consultants helped write the president's privatizing Race To The Top program. The League is solidly behind the drive to turn public schools in poor neighborhoods into privatized, heavily policed and often remotely instructed holding tanks. In return for speaking out against teachers, communities, standing up for privatization, and a little aggressive flattery, the Urban League gets handsomely rewarded. The 2012 keynote at the National Urban League's annual affair was a “dialog” between Skip Gates and Bill Gates, whom the professor called his “brother”.

Bill Gates is a major investor in Monsanto, another generous giver to the Urban League. Monsanto wants to hijack the food supplies of Africa, Latin America and even the US, so when California voters put a 2012 referendum on the ballot that would have required GMO foods to be labeled, the Urban League took Monsanto money to campaign against that as well. The Urban League, NAN, NAACP, Operation PUSH earned their gifts from Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and others by testifying against network neutrality, in favor of corporate mergers and the digital redlining of their own communities, and with them, requested that they not be required to mention it when they testify on matters affecting their funders.

“...while you can never have too many Republicans or Democrats in office, even one socialist is way too many...”

The list of policy positions and actions undertaken by the League in the interest of its funders, often against those of its presumed constituents, is quite a long one, and about to get longer still. The latest League atrocity is in Seattle Washington, where voters in a city council district elected a socialist three years ago. That council member, Kshama Sawant helped lead a multi-year effort to raise the minimum wage in Seattle. The CEO of Seattle's Urban League, a longtime political insider with great fundraising connections wants to run for local office. Apparently there are no neoliberal pension-cutting Democrats for her to go after in Seattle, and no neolithic Republicans worth dethroning either.

The number one and only target of of Seattle Urban League CEO's Pam Banks' campaign for office will be the socialist, because she knows things. Pam Banks knows that while you can never have too many Republicans or Democrats in office, even one socialist is way too many. CEO Banks knows that while you can never have too many corporate funded politicians, even one elected official that doesn't take the corporate cash makes everybody else feel nervous and look bad. Banks knows that when gentrification is a problem, rent control is probably not a solution her funders would appreciate, even though it makes perfect sense to residents in danger of displacement. Banks knows that any run against a socialist incumbent will be well funded by forces who already call the League, and her, their good friend. They just might not be friends of the people of Seattle.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150318_bd_seattle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm EST

Thirty Years of Black Economic Regression

Thirty Years of Black Economic Regression


“Black households have been falling further and further behind whites since at least 1984, when Ronal Reagan was in office.”

President Obama almost always speaks well – but he hardly ever speaks the truth. Obama’s main theme at this month’s Selma commemoration was that you’d have to be crazy not to realize that conditions of life for Black folks are improving in America. In reality, however, Blacks have been losing ground compared to whites for at least three decades. In other words, Black economic progress is a myth.

A new study by Brandeis University and the Demos think tank shows that the typical Black household now possesses just six percent of the wealth of the median white household. The white household is worth a little over $110,000, compared to a median Black household wealth of just over $7,000. The racial wealth gap is virtually unchanged from a similar Brandeis study conducted back in 2010, which showed the typical white household was twenty times richer than its Black counterpart.

The two studies, conducted five years apart, both conclude that the historical public policies of the United States created the wealth gap – beginning with slavery – and that only racially-targeted public policies can hope to overcome these disparities. But of course, President Obama said categorically, in his first 100 days in office, that he opposes racially targeted government programs. He said “a rising tide lifts all boats.” But Black boats have been sinking for the past 30 years. The 2010 Brandeis study showed Black households have been falling further and further behind whites since at least 1984, when Ronal Reagan was in office. Reagan also liked to say that a rising tide lifts all boats.

“Blacks and Latinos get much lower returns on their investments in education than whites do.”

There is another myth, that there exists a large and growing, upwardly mobile cohort of Black people who are rapidly closing the gap with their white peers. Such people do exist, but they are not statistically significant. The Brandeis 2010 report showed that upper income Blacks fell even farther behind their white peers than lower income Blacks during the Great Recession.

The latest Brandeis study also thoroughly undermines the long-held notion that education is the key to Black economic progress. The numbers show that Blacks and Latinos get much lower returns on their investments in education than whites do. For every $1 of wealth that accrues to Black households because someone earned a college degree, the typical white household accrues $11.49. That means white people are rewarded far more for their educational achievements. Therefore, even if Blacks caught up with whites in college graduation rates, they would continue to fall further and further behind, economically.

The 2015 report projects that, if Black home ownership could be made to rise to the same level as whites, the racial wealth gap would narrow somewhat. But of course, that can’t possibly happen unless the U.S. reverses 200 years of history by instituting racially-targeted, pro-Black policies at every level of society, and keeps those policies in effect for generations.

One more little detail: you’d have to get rid of capitalism, which is the Mother of All Economic Disparities.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150318_gf_BlacksEconomy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:23pm EST

Why Isn't Sen. Kirk's “Chicago Will Become Detroit” Threat National News?

Why Isn't Sen. Kirk's “Chicago Will Become Detroit” Threat National News?

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

On March 2, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk plainly threatened the people of Chicago. If Rahm Emanuel was not re-elected mayor, he declared, banksters and bond market investors concerned about the city's mountain of debt would see that Chicago went the way of Detroit.

Given that Chicago is the nation's 3rd largest city, and finances itself pretty much like every other big US city, a threat like this has potential implications for scores of other cities and ought to be national news. But it wasn't It made a local Chicago headline and dropped down the memory hole, out of sight. Why? The senator's threat wasn't national news because the plain facts beneath it, might have made Chicagoans and people in your city as well even more disturbed.

A great deal of Chicago's debt is pension debt. Pensions are deferred wages which employees agreed to allow the city or state to deposit into prudently invested pension funds so they would be available for payout years later upon their retirement. But public officials in Chicago, in Illinois and in cities, counties and whole states across the US broke these agreements, frequently violated the law and didn't make these payments, sometimes for decades. Now that the payouts are due, they need to blame it on “greedy teachers” or anything that will keep them from taxing the rich, which is the only place that kind of money can be had.

In Chicago, and very likely in your town too they doubled down on their dishonesty by investing hundreds of billions in pensions and other funds as well in exotic investment devices, credit default swaps, derivatives, real estate and stock market schemes which their investment advisors and ratings agencies assured them were sound and lucrative, but turned out to be black holes.

City workers and the public got screwed, but everybody else made out like, well... bandits. And the bandits are good friends of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, of Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, of the mayors of Atlanta, Philly, Sacramento, the governors of California and New York and everyplace in between. Kwame Kilpatrick didn't snort Detroit's pension funds up his nose, he gave them to the same folks Rahm gives Chicago's to. Wall Street gave Kwame Kilpatrick a medal for that, and Rahm's friends who do business with the city have put millions in his campaign coffers. Thanks to them, Chicago to some extent is already Detroit.

Getting out of the city's debt trap will require some real creativity, but there are answers. The state of North Dakota, with maybe 30% of Chicago's population, has its own bank, where state funds are exclusively deposited. There's no good reason why Chicago can't do the same, and have its own funds in its own bank, available for investment in the region's own economic future. A city-owned bank could invest those funds in job-creating green technologies that might put large numbers of young Chicagoans, now out of the labor force altogether, to work. It could do what private banks refuse to do and invest in refitting and construction of affordable housing, and transit, and job-creating municipal broadband, like the city of Chattanooga has already successfully deployed.

Senator Kirk's threat isn't national news because staring it down lays bare the predatory habits of our politicians and their funders, and might even lead us to real solutions. But the next step, at least in Chicago, is to fire Rahm Emanuel on April 7.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com

Bruce Dixon is a Chicagoan living in exile in suburban Atlanta. He's managing editor at Black Agenda Report, a mamber of the state committee of the GA Green Party and a partner in a technology firm. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com
Direct download: 20150310_banksters_threaten.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39pm EST

Obama, at War on Three Continents, Threatens Venezuela

Obama, at War on Three Continents, Threatens Venezuela

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Venezuela has every reason to fear that Obama’s executive order might be a prelude to military attack.”

President Obama, who is currently engaged in multiple wars on both the African and Asian continents and is hell-bent on provoking a war in Europe with Russia, is now stepping to the very brink of war in South America, against Venezuela. On Monday, Obama declared a state of national emergency to justify freezing the assets of 7 Venezuelan officials that the U.S. claims are involved in human rights violations. In order to comply with U.S. law, Obama asserted that Venezuela represents a threat the national security of the United States. The White House pretended that the scary language was just a legal technicality, and does not mean that the president actually believes Venezuela is about to do harm to the United States. However, Obama is invoking the same language and law against Venezuela that was used against Syria and Iran, leading to Syria’s near destruction by the U.S. and its allies and proxies, and to vicious sanctions and a state of near-war with Iran. Venezuela has every reason to fear that Obama’s executive order might be a prelude to military attack.

Washington has been trying to topple the socialist government in Venezuela since at least 2002,

when George Bush backed an unsuccessful coup against the late President Hugo Chavez. Since then, Venezuela has conducted more elections than any other nation in the hemisphere, all of them vouched for as free and fair by international observers. Unable to prevail at the polls, the rightwing, racist opposition hopes to come to power through another coup or direct military intervention by the United States. In that context, Obama’s assertion that Venezuela is a danger to U.S. national security ranks just short of a declaration of war.

Yankee, Stay Home

Venezuelan President Maduro has thrown a few of the most brazen coup plotters in jail, which Obama ridiculously describes as a massive violation of human rights. However, the worst human rights violators in the hemisphere are Washington’s allies. Almost six million people, most of them Black and indigenous, have been displaced from their homes by political violence in Colombia, a U.S. client state. Mexico’s is a narco-state, as violent as Colombia. And Honduras, where the U.S. backed a military coup against the democratically elected government in 2009, is a place of lawlessness and state terror.

Luckily, the United States only has a few remaining allies left in Latin America. What unifies the southern part of the hemisphere is the common experience of the U.S. boot on one’s neck. CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which includes all of the nations of the western hemisphere except Canada and the U.S., has warned Washington to stop interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

So, if Obama thinks that he can get away with waging a phony “humanitarian” interventionist war against Venezuelan President Maduro, as he did against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, he will find himself opposed by an entire continent.

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: 20150311_gf_ObamaVenezuela.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am EST

Netanyahu Punks Obama as Congress Grovels

Netanyahu Punks Obama as Congress Grovels

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Israel does not hesitate to use its veto power over the Americans.”

President Obama got punked in his own Capitol by the leader of a country that gets more U.S. money, weapons, technology and diplomatic support than any other nation in the world. How could that happen?

Benjamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of a country that has been an appendage of U.S. imperialism since the day it was founded, and could not exist were it not joined at the hip of the superpower. And that is Israel’s greatest strength, because when two bodies are joined at the hip, the smaller one can wreak havoc, and even poison the larger one’s vital organs. President Obama is always saying that the United States is the world’s indispensable nation, but Netanyahu has once again demonstrated that Israeli cooperation is indispensable to any U.S. president.

Both Israel and the United States tell essentially the same lies to the world: that they are morally superior nations, when in fact both states were born in the cauldrons of mass murder, racial expulsion and genocide. Israel and the U.S. have learned to sing a perfect harmony of lies; they are the closest of co-conspirators. Neither one can rat out the other – which gives the weaker party great power over the stronger one.

The United States and Israel have told the very same lies about Iran: that it supports terror and aggression in the region, when it is actually Israel and the U.S. that have terrorized Iran through covert and proxy wars since 1979, while Iran has attacked no one for centuries. And, of course, there is the world’s greatest lie of omission: Israel’s refusal to acknowledge that it is a nuclear power, and Washington’s half century of collaboration in that lie. Having for so long weaved a common web of lies with Israel, Washington cannot easily extricate itself from Its co-conspirator in Tel Aviv. Israel, for its part, does not hesitate to use its veto power over the Americans.

“Israel and the United States tell essentially the same lies to the world.”

So, when President Obama attempted to tone down America’s lies about Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions, so as to reach an advantageous deal for the United States, Netanyahu played his Republican card and screamed even bigger lies in front of a joint session of Congress – lies that Barack Obama cannot effectively rebut because Netanyahu’s lies about Iran are only slightly exaggerated versions of Washington’s lies about Iran. That’s why, after his emasculation on Capitol Hill, Obama had no choice but to pretend to agree with most of Netanyahu’s lying presentation. After all, Obama has told the same tall tales about non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons programs, and the real origins of the Islamic State. Obama’s in no position to contradict Netanyahu, who is determined to make it appear that the only path possible is everlasting war – which is Israel’s element.

The Americans are, of course, masters of fomenting war and chaos, but they do reserve the right, as a superpower, to call a truce when it suits them. Israel is telling Washington that it better get permission from Tel Aviv, or else Netanyahu will punk the U.S. president In his own house – especially if he’s Black.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150304_gf_NetanyahuPunksObama.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:14am EST

The Ultimate Corruption

The Ultimate Corruption

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“The real grand corruption is in the system, itself.”

The giant British bank HSBC is once again in the spotlight, accused of helping its wealthy customers avoid taxes. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists coordinated the investigation of HSBC. It’s estimated that rich people around the world have succeeded in hiding more than $17 trillion from tax collectors, and that such tax avoidance schemes cost governments $200 billion in revenue a year. Another organization, Transparency International, has started a “No Impunity” campaign targeting ostentatious displays of wealth by corrupt individuals. Transparency International chairman Jose Carlos Ugaz claims that corruption has reached such huge proportions that it is affecting global economic development. He calls the phenomenon “grand corruption.”

If Mr. Ugaz is really looking for the grandest, most destructive kind of corruption, then he will have to set his sights much higher than a few individuals who make themselves obnoxious by flashing their wealth around. The real grand corruption is in the system, itself.

Most so-called anti-corruption campaigns aren’t really about corruption, in the larger, grand sense, at all; they’re about cheating, and condemning people who break the rules that govern behavior between businessmen. The assumption is that, if it were not for the minority of businessmen that cheat, the system would work just fine, to everyone’s benefit.

Thus, we are told, the problem is banks like HSBC that help wealthy people cheat the system. But, the real problem is that the banks as institutions and wealthy people as a class are the ones that control the system, who write the rules for their own benefit, and to the detriment of everybody else. That is the grand corruption: not that individual rich people break the rules, but that rich people as a class get to make the rules.

Exploitation of Humankind

A number of international agencies compile annual report cards on the levels of so-called “corruption” existing in countries around the world. What these report cards actually measure is not the effects of corruption on various societies, but how the corrupt demands of government officials affect foreign corporations’ ability to do business in those countries. If corporations have few difficulties doing business in a given country, then that country gets high marks for having low levels of corruption. It doesn’t matter if the local government fails to protect the nation’s natural resources, or allows its people’s labor to be cheaply exploited by foreign companies. Selling out one’s own people to foreigners is not considered grand, or even petty, corruption.

Europeans see no element of corruption in the fact that they are relatively rich, compared to the rest of the world’s people, because Europe spent 500 years pillaging and plundering the planet and enslaving the peoples of other countries. The United States sees nothing corrupt in using its vast military superiority to dominate much of the planet – to exploit the weak countries for the benefit of rich Americans. Yet that is the Mother of All Corruptions in the world, today.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com, and sign up for our email notifications of new issues, each Wednesday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150225_gf_Corruption.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18am EST

Cowardly Black Caucus Reacts to Israeli Insults, Ignores Israeli Apartheid

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Nobody celebrates victories against racism and apartheid a generation or two back more often and more lavishly than the Congressional Black Caucus. It's something they must do constantly not just because some of those victories made their careers possible, but because apart from their own careers, they haven't accomplished much in the last 40 years.

From the 1990s onward, most of them voted for legislation that doubled down on the war on drugs, and to intensify overpolicing and mass incarceration in their communities. When it became clear that Katrina was the excuse to dispossess and disperse into exile a couple hundred thousand black people on the Gulf Coast, the black caucus called no hearings, sounded no alarms. And despite their relentless celebrations of victories over racism the entire caucus has consistently turned a blind eye to brutal settler-state apartheid in Israel.

The CBC's promise to skip out when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the US Congress on March 5 is not an act of vision or moral courage. When Israel demolishes Palestinian houses, lynches and deports Africans, when Israel passes more discriminatory laws and steals Palestinian land the Congressional Black Caucus says nothing. When successive US administrations of both parties endorse Israeli punishment of civilians with water and power cuts and blockades of medical and construction supplies, books and even toys, the CBC is silent then too. When Israel threatens all its neighbors with nukes, and makes the false claim that Iran has nuclear weapons, the CBC are quiet. When Israeli fighter jets, armored copter gunships and tanks rain white phosphorus and shellfire on Palestinian neighborhoods the CBC, with the rest of Congress, unanimously endorsed the aggressor's right defend themselves by murdering children, and voted to resupply the expended Israeli munitions.

So let's be clear. Netanyahu is a demagogic racist. He heads the planet's most vicious apartheid regime, a US supported and funded client state engaged in the conquest and occupation of neighboring territories and the genocidal dispossession and exile of their populations, all with US tax dollars and US diplomatic cover. But that ain't the CBC's problem with him or with Israel.

Like the rest of the US ruling elite the CBC has no problem with Israeli apartheid. The CBC's problem is that Republican House leader John Boehner invited Netanyahu, not President Obama, so the Netanyahu visit is a violation of protocol, a kind of insult to the First Black President.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The CBC's tunnel vision works the same way at home as it does abroad. Thanks to the large numbers of blacks pushed out of homes and the workforce in recent years, the rate of black child poverty stands now at 38.2%, an all time high. The CBC isn't calling daily press conferences over that either. Detroit is executing its own slow motion Katrina, and pursuing water cutoffs and evictions that will affect over 100,000 residents, just abhout all black, and the CBC hasn't noticed that either. But let somebody insult or disparage the first lady, and they'll be all over that.

It's because the CBC, like the rest of the black political class, are self-serving cowards. Their failure is symptomatic of the shrinkage of black politics from one of vision and struggle to a politics of protecting their own privilege.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

 

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20150218_BD_cbc_again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm EST

Black Agenda Radio Weekly for Feb 18, 2015

Black Agenda Radio February 18

 

 

Black Agenda Radio – February 16, 2015

 

KKK-Style Lynching of Haitian in Dominican Republic

Police were quick to dismiss race as the motive for the lynching of a 24 year-old Haitian man despite anti-Black riots and the burning of Haitian flags on that same day in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second largest city. “They specifically did this to terrorize, and to make it clear that this is KKK-style stuff that’s going on here,” said Dahoud Andre, a Haitian community activist who helped organize a New York City protest against the murder. A 2013 court decision paved the way for expulsion of many Dominican descendants of immigrants from neighboring Haiti. However, Andre blamed the turmoil on multinational corporations that control the country “lock, stock and barrel. Dominicans,” he said, “are used as proxy racists to do what is happening to Haitians.”

Newark Police Review Board Won’t Replace Protests

Mayor Ras Baraka’s draft plan for Newark, New Jersey’s first Citizens Complaint Review Board “is pretty good, and we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress (POP). The board would be empowered to subpoena witnesses, investigate police wrongdoing and recommend punishments, but its recommendations could be vetoed by the city’s police director. POP and four other community organizations would name members to the board. Asked if POP’s involvement with the board might lead it to hold back on protests, Hamm said: “This is not in any way going to change the activist nature” of POP. “If we did such a thing we would betray the very people we say we’re fighting for.” Public feedback on the plan continues until the end of the month.

U.S. to Answer at UN for Treatment of Political Prisoners

Veteran human rights lawyer Efia Nwangaza and other activists are preparing to meet with U.S. and international diplomats on the plight of former Black Panthers Assata Shakur and Russell “Maroon” Shoatz. Nwangaza said the U.S. must respect Shakur’s rights as a political exile in Cuba, and provide necessary medical care to Shoatz, who is suffering from prostate cancer. Since 2010, Nwangaza has been a lead activist in focusing international attention on U.S. treatment of political prisoners from the COINTELPRO and civil rights eras, which will culminate in a United Nations Periodic Review of U.S. behavior on May 11 in Geneva, Switzerland. Contributions to support the effort should be sent to the Malcolm X Center for Self Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina, where Nwangaza is director.

Obama Wants Unlimited Powers to Expand Wars

President Obama’s request for congressional authorization to engage in combat against the so-called Islamic State and its “associates” for three years “could very easily lead to an expansion of the U.S.-led war on ISIS to neighboring countries...and where the whole world is a potential battlefield,” said Sarah Lazare, a staff writer with CommonDreams.org. Lazare wrote a recent article titled “Obama Seeks Broad Powers to Wage Geographically Limitless War.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

 

 

 

Direct download: 20150216_Black_Agenda_Radio_55mins54secs.mp3
Category:weekly 1 hour show -- posted at: 10:12pm EST

Loretta Lynch: She’s Black, and That’s All the Black Caucus Cares About

Loretta Lynch: She’s Black, and That’s All the Black Caucus Cares About

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The ridiculously ineffectual Congressional Black Caucus is circling its wagons around Holder’s replacement.”

An important aspect of the Age of Obama will soon come to a close with the departure of Eric Holder, the first Black U.S. attorney general. Holder’s record in office makes up a great part of the Obama legacy – which, after six years turns out to be scarcely any different than what could have been expected from any center-right white corporate Democrat. Like former president Bill Clinton, whose Wall Street dominated administration deregulated the banks and set the stage for the economic meltdown, eight years later. Obama’s first act in office was to bring back Bill Clinton’s Wall Street wrecking crew. So, in a sense, Obama is actually a protégé of Bill Clinton, and will likely be succeeded in office by Hillary Clinton.

Obama’s and Eric Holder’s most singular contribution to American political economy is having articulated the concept of banks being Too Big to Fail, or to jail. Back in the late Eighties and early Nineties, one-third of the nation’s savings and loan institutions did fail, and over a thousand individual executives were prosecuted, with a large proportion of them sent to prison. But, Eric Holder’s Justice Department has specialized in protecting big banks and defending the Lords of Capital.

At this late date, with his exit probably only weeks away, Eric Holder is trying to put a final spin on his legacy by demanding that some of the world’s biggest banks, including JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup, plead guilty to a felony for manipulating foreign currency prices. Of course, not a single living, breathing banking executive would be branded a felon. Rather, the banks, as institutions would bear the shame. But, institutions have no shame, and cannot be jailed, and the banks will not be prevented from continuing to deal in foreign currency trading and all the other money streams they have manipulated, with impunity. However, Eric Holder will ride off into the sunset of a multi-million dollar corporate law practice claiming that he finally busted a bank for felonious conduct.

The Pavlovian Black Caucus

Meanwhile, the ridiculously ineffectual Congressional Black Caucus is circling its wagons around Holder’s replacement, Black New York federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch. Lynch last month told a Senate committee that she fully supports the practice of civil forfeiture, which allows police to confiscate people’s money and property on mere suspicion of involvement in illegal activity. Even Eric Holder has advanced some very limited reforms to civil forfeiture, but Loretta Lynch appeared gung ho about the seizures. The Black Caucus, in an uproar, denounced Republican libertarian Senator Rand Paul for saying he’d vote against confirming Lynch because of her position on civil forfeiture, and he sniped that Lynch ought to be a little more concerned about poor people, who are more likely to have their cash seized by the cops. Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield, one of the most pro-corporate members of the Caucus, fumed that Rand Paul was using civil forfeiture as an excuse to “keep an African American legal scholar” from heading the Justice Department. But, of course, the Congressional Black Caucus has adopted no position at all on the pros and cons of civil forfeiture. They have no opinion. All they care about is that a Black Democrat get the attorney general’s job – and that they get to hold on to theirs.

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

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20150211_gf_Holder_Lynch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:40am EST

Detroit-Style Black Removal Coming to New Jersey

Detroit-Style Black Removal Coming to New Jersey

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“If you can ethnically cleanse Detroit, then little Atlantic City should be a piece of cake.”

Kevin Orr, the Black corporate lawyer dispatched by Michigan’s Republican governor to preside over the bankruptcy and degradation of Detroit, has sold his urban executioner skills to Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey. Orr’s next victim is Atlantic City, the town built around boardwalks and casinos, whose full-time residents, as in Detroit, are overwhelmingly non-white and poor. The immediate cause of Atlantic City’s financial crisis is loss of its employment and tax base. Four of the city’s 12 big casinos have closed, putting more than 8,000 people out of work.

Atlantic City’s top elected officials oppose the imposition of an emergency manager, and no governor has ever tried to force bankruptcy on a city in New Jersey. But Detroit worked out so well for the bankers, it’s now the textbook model for how to destroy any semblance of democracy in mostly Black and brown cities. Kevin Orr proved, in Detroit, that it’s always best to put a Black man out front when your mission is to disenfranchise the residents of a chocolate city.

Atlantic City council president Frank Gilliam says Governor Christie is usurping the sovereignty of the community. But that, of course, is precisely the purpose of establishing an emergency manager dictatorship: to strip the targeted population of an effective vote and, ultimately, to push them out of town, altogether. The State of New Jersey will probably never succeed in bringing Atlantic City’s casinos back to their former profitability, just as Detroit can never relive its days as a world center of manufacturing. However, there are other potential uses for Atlantic City’s seaside properties – if only all those poor Black and brown people could be cleared out of the way. If you can ethnically cleanse Detroit, a city of 700,000 with an 82 percent Black majority, then little Atlantic City, with only about 40,000 residents – 70 percent of them Black and Latino – should be a piece of cake.

Christie and Orr – What a Team!

Detroit is right now preparing to evict 100,000 people from their homes for being behind in taxes; that’s two and a half times the total population of Atlantic City. Detroit authorities have cut off running water to 40 percent of the city, and are shutting the valves on 3,000 homes every week. The United Nations calls that a “human rights violation,” but its not even an issue for the Democratic Party or the First Black President. Therefore, it is no wonder that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican presidential hopeful, is eager to replicate the Michigan model for Black urban removal. Remember, that Christie’s political career took off when he put the Black mayor of Newark on the road to prison, back in 2008. If he can disenfranchise the voters in Newark, Jersey City, Camden, Trenton, and Patterson – just as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder did in all the largely Black cities of his state – then Governor Christie will be hailed as a hero by every white racist in the country.

And, the Democrats won’t do a damn thing to stop him – just like in Detroit.

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: 20150204_gf_KevinOrrToAC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am EST

Insane U.S. Oil Glut Wars

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The destruction of energy exporting economies will only intensify the global recession that has already begun.”

The people that rule the United States have determined that, the only way for the U.S. to maintain its hegemony in the world is to engineer the economic collapse of its rivals. The likelihood that such economic warfare will wind up dragging the entire planet into chaos and catastrophe does not seems to phase the Lords of Capital, who are so rich they can only be made poor at the point of a firing squad. Having surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s biggest producer of oil and natural gas, the Americans are now flooding the planet with fuel that no one needs in order to keep prices so low that Russia, Iran and Venezuela will suffer regime change. Washington is also eager to deploy its military and dirty tricks of all kinds to break its rivals’ will to resist U.S. empire.

The problem is, it’s very difficult to aim an oil and gas weapon. The effects tend to be general, rather than targeted. It’s kind of like poison gas; the wind blows death into everybody’s face, including the guy who popped the canister. The Americans have soaked the entire world with gasoline, and now they’re running around with matches between their fingers, laughing like maniacs, thinking they have the ultimate power because they can burn the whole place down. Yes, it is conceivable that the regimes in Russia, Iran and Venezuela could be brought low, broken, through years of depressed prices – but oil and gas prices can only be kept low if the world economy is also depressed, locked in stagnation. The destruction of energy exporting economies will only intensify the global recession that has already begun. Chaos, instability, unintended – and even unimaginable – consequences will surely characterize the next, purposely created crisis: a deliberate economic crime against humanity.

“Oil and gas prices can only be kept low if the world economy is also depressed, locked in stagnation.”

It has already become clear to the nations of the Caribbean and Central America that the disruptions imposed by the oil glut go beyond the drilling platforms of Venezuela. The 17 members of Petrocaribe have for years enjoyed access to Venezuelan fuel at cut-rate prices, with the best of credit terms, as part of the socialist country’s policy of solidarity with its neighbors. Venezuela even accepted payment in commodities, a kind of barter system. The Petrocaribe program was losing Venezuela about $2.3 billion a year, and with the collapse in world prices, Venezuela may have to scale back its generosity. Meanwhile, the U.S. is licking its chops, hoping to make the whole region dependent on American liquefied natural gas. But, we all know what dependence on the United States means in the Caribbean and Central America. It means the end of sovereignty, the end of dignity, and the certainty of continued misery for the masses of the people.

The artificial oil glut, on top of global economic stagnation, will also cause insane things to happen to a U.S. economy whose only bright spot – besides the Wall Street casinos – is an energy industry that keeps on churning out oil and gas that a stagnant world can’t use, just to spite other countries that have oil. How crazy is that? And how long can that go on?

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: 20150128_gf_OilGlutWar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15am EST

Not Charlie Hebdo: Why Anti Muslim “Jokes” Are Often War Propaganda

Not Charlie Hebdo: Why Anti Muslim “Jokes” Are Often War Propaganda

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

When you want to understand how the big wide world works you don't look back at yourself and try to make it rhyme with what you already think you know.

That means you don't ask smug, Eurocentric, self-congratulatory Bill Maher questions like “Why are they so touchy? How come those backward Muslims separate their religion from politics?” If you actually want to understand why some fraction of Muslims saw gratuitous insult instead of satire when the French magazine Charlie Hebdo depicted the prophet Muhammad doing things you wouldn't want your own small children to see, or pregnant Muslims as “Boko Haram sex slaves” howling for welfare checks, all you've got to do is look at is two bits of history. Philospher Karen Armstrong, in her latest book Religion and the History of Political Violence, goes a long way to break it down.

The first bit of history Armstrong explains, is that the notion of religion as a set of practices and beliefs about the diety you can perform on Sundays separate from how you put together political and economic life is an exclusively Western concept that nobody on earth before 17th and 18th century Europeans would recognize at all. The Sanskrit, Jewish, Arabic and other old terms for “religion” all mean something that recognizes no separation between politics, economics and morality and moral life.

It took more than a century of warfare in the 1600s and 1700s at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives to establish a kind of religion in Europe which could be separated from politics and economics. That way Europeans could have slavery and capitalism. European ruling elites could exterminate tens of millions in history's greatest genocide colonizing the New World and still call themselves Christians. Non-European Muslims are being allowed only a generation or two and fortunately a lot less bloodshed to make that kind of transition, which brings us to Armstrong's second bit of relevant history.

She reminds us that the 20th century's so-called modernizers in the Muslim world mostly didn't do it with friendly and democratic persuasion. Under the approving eyes of the West, they did it forcibly, with secret police, torture, discriminatory laws, kangaroo courts and especially in Iran sponsored by Britain and the US, with bullets fired into crowds of often nonviolent protestors. In addition to needed reforms like curtailing shariah law, Turkey's Mufasta Kemal Atatürk, the Pahlevis in Iran and Egypt's Gamel Adbul Nasser each locked up thousands of religious opponents, and purged them from the civil service and political life.

This ain't exactly how you train people to engage in a friendly, respectful and civil discussion of religious and political differences. It IS how you make lasting enemies, every suspicious and vengeful, alert for the next slight or insult. But this is the real and relevant history Americans have trained themselves not to know.

Add to this the wave of armed US and European interventions in Muslim lands, our puppet governments, our occupations, torture campaigns and drone strikes, and factor in that even while cruise missile liberals like Bill Maher and US presidents say we just don't DO religious war, US military personnel “at the tip of the spear” call their enemies “hajis” and police departments in the US and Europe surveil Muslim communities wholesale and incarcerate Muslims disproportionately.

In this context, unlike jokes exposing the foibles of the powerful, which are real satire, Charlie Hebdo, which is now subsidized by the French government is engaged in something much like war propaganda. And Bill Maher is just another cruise missile liberal, a bully.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web each week at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page or via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Direct download: 20150121_bd_on_provoking_muslims.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:12pm EST

Selma: Black History According to Opra

Selma: Black History According to Oprah

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Oprah insults Black SNCC civil rights heroes, but she protects the white, rich Kennedys.”

Like all historical dramatic films, Selma is a political work, reflecting the political views of the producers. Oprah Winfrey is one of those producers, in addition to playing one of the characters in this version of the Selma story. Her handwriting – that is, her conservative Black political worldview – is all over the film, which demands and deserves a political response.

For the purposes of this brief radio commentary, I’m only going to register three complaints.

Number One: the film is a crude insult to SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee workers who, along with a small minority of Black preachers like Dr. Martin Luther King, comprised the infrastructure of the civil rights movement in the Deep South. These hundreds of heroic young people, who had been organizing communities in Mississippi and Georgia and, yes, Lowndes County, Alabama for years, and who invited Dr. King to come to Selma, are personified in the film by one confused sounding, infantile behaving youth who we are supposed to believe is James Forman, the SNCC executive secretary who was, in real life, a Korean War veteran and former teacher and ground-breaking organizer about the same age as Dr. King. In the film, the James Forman character comes across as petty-minded, while Dr. King is made to seem like the only adult in town. Veterans of SNCC have a right to be hurt at being consigned to the dustbin of history by the likes of Oprah Winfrey. The rest of us should also be angry at having our history treated like a Saturday morning cartoon.

“King was seeking social transformation, a new system of living.”

Some people are missing from the film that absolutely should be in there. No, I’m not talking about Stokely Carmichael, although yes, he is quite relevant to the story. I mean the Kennedy brothers, John and Bobby, who were the ones who authorized the bugging of Dr. King’s phones and office and hotel rooms. But Oprah loves the Kennedys, and so the movie leads the audience to believe that J. Edgar Hoover and President Lyndon Johnson set out to surveil and destroy King because of his push for voting rights. But Attorney General Robert Kennedy signed the order, while his brother, who was then president, was still alive. Oprah insults Black SNCC civil rights heroes, but she protects the white, rich Kennedys.

Finally, near the end of the film, Dr. King is depicted as yearning for an end to mass protests, so that Black people could achieve real political power – quite clearly meaning the election of more Black people to office. As if that’s what the mass movement was all about, in King’s mind. We know that’s not true, because Dr. King said the opposite in countless sermons, speeches, books and essays; that he was seeking social transformation, a new system of living. Three years after Selma, King died, still seeking to revive the mass movement.

For Oprah Winfrey, Dr. King was just an opening act for a future President Obama, and for an age of billionaire Black TV celebrities.

As Prof. Abdul Alkalimat, of the University of Illinois, has written about the film Selma: “If the most militant person in the movie is played by Oprah, you know something is very, very wrong.”

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: 20150121_gf_OprahSelma.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am EST

The Big Reality Show, the 1% and the Myth of the Thin Blue Line

 

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

 

There's a potent and powerful racist and classist myth that tough cops, jailers, judges and prosecutors are all that stand between us and rampant crime, anarchy and ruin. For American politics its an increasingly necessary fantasy, a myth that generations of public officials from jailing judges and hang 'em high prosecutors, to lock 'em up legislators, sheriffs, governors and even presidents have based their careers upon.

 

The myths are necessary because no modern society can openly abandon its duty to provide its people quality educations, decent housing, living wage jobs and economic security, unless it is willing to brand large numbers of those it won't provide education or housing or jobs and a dignified retirement unworthy, undeserving and irredeemable. The American political class of both parties, including black politicians stopped even talking about any rights to full employment, decent housing, economic security and the like decades ago, preferring to pretend that There Is No Alternative.

 

Thus the myths of the triflin' lazy, drug-addled crime-ridden, mostly black and brown poor are essential to the stability of America as we know it. These myths are the ethical and moral justification of the neoliberal economic order and its prison state. Overpolicing and mass incarceration don't just happen because the cops are racist, the prosecutors corrupt, and the legislators and media vicious and cowardly, nor are they driven by the profits of private prisons or captive labor.

 

America's savage police and prison states provide us with a long running reality show that justifies our profoundly unequal and unjust social order. It gives us a morality play that casts the criminalized and mostly nonwhite poor as villains kept at bay by the heroism of that thin blue line, while schools, roads, parks public works, nature and even water are privatized, while private and public pensions are looted, while student loan debt, black unemployment and underemployment continue to rise and wages continue to fall, while child homelessness is at an all time high and there are more vacant homes than homeless people, and while the rich and famous are celebrated and lionized for being famously rich.

 

This is something that politicians from the president down to local mayors and aldermen know, and top cops, from Homeland Security and the FBI to state and local departments know as well. It's something those in motion in the streets today over the last dozen and the next dozen police atrocities need to better understand and articulate. The burgeoning movement against police immunity and impunity really IS a threat to so-called “national security”, a menace to the privileges of banksters and employers, of privatizers and gentrifiers, the prerogatives of the 1%.

 

When more of them openly question these prerogatives in the same breaths as they do the privilege of cops to murder and maim with immunity and impunity, we'll be a long step closer to a better world.

 

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

 

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page or via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 20140107_bd_thin_blue_line.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EST

Once Again, the US Empire Rolls the Dice of War

Once Again, the Empire Rolls the Dice of War

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

 

If the war against Iraq was dumb, the oil price war is the Mother of Dementia.”

 

Twelve years ago, the people who rule the United States wagered the fate of its decaying empire on a lightning military strike into the Middle East, beginning with the rapid conquest of Iraq. From there, the Americans planned to project imperial power deep into energy-rich central Asia, allowing Washington to isolate and strangle China, which was then only a few years away from becoming the world’s largest economy. America’s pivotal ally in the region was Saudi Arabia, the most reactionary regime on the face of the earth and a client state of the U.S. since the end of World War Two.

 

Instead of containing China, the Americans “accelerated the processes of their own ruin,”as I predicted on the very day they invaded Iraq. George Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, called it a “dumb war.” But, in fact, the Iraq War was a calculated act of desperate men, based on the inescapable facts of imperial decline and the logic of class survival. It was a war in which the potential damage to U.S. power and prestige in the world was weighed and measured against the consequences of allowing China to continue its rise, possibly in a future partnership with Russia, creating a new nexus of economic and political collaboration that would draw in Brazil, India, Latin America – and, eventually, even Europe. In other words, U.S. imperialism looked into the near future, and saw its own death. It chose not to die, but to preemptively re-set the global chessboard, knowing full well that failure in Iraq would hasten the pace of imperial decline. George Bush rolled the dice – and lost. But, that’s what any ruling class would do when staring death in the face.

 

Forestalling the Inevitable

 

Barack Obama, who answers to the same masters as Bush, entered office confronting the same scenario as his predecessor – only from an even weaker position. Obama chose to spread chaos through proxy jihadist wars in North Africa and the Middle East – in partnership with Saudi Arabia. But the pace of imperial decline had quickened decisively with the financial meltdown. Chaos is an unreliable weapon, and jihadists are no friends of Wall Street bankers or Saudi royalty. China is the acknowledged economic top dog, with Russia as a partner and the rest of the world reconfiguring itself. Death is still breathing down U.S. imperialism’s neck.

 

And so, Barack Obama, like George Bush before him, rolls the dice of war.

 

His partner, once again, is Saudi Arabia, without which the breathtaking plunge in oil prices could not have occurred. This time around, Washington aims to cripple Russia, before moving against China, by destabilizing the whole world’s energy sector – including U.S. energy production. But, that’s like setting your apartment on fire to get rid of an unwanted roommate. There is no way to calibrate and control such an assault on energy pricing, no possible means of avoiding a cascade of unintended consequences to the world economy. If the war against Iraq was dumb, the oil price war is the Mother of Dementia, and cannot help but further unravel all manner of capitalist structures – including deadly derivatives – throughout the planet.

 

But, doomed systems and declining classes will do anything to forestall the inevitable.

 

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: 20150107_gf_OilPriceWar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45am EST