Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 26, 2016

Green Vs. Lesser-Evilism

The Green Party must learn how to “differentiate ourselves from the Democrats.” Otherwise, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, the party’s recent candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland, “If Trump runs again, it will be another ‘anybody-but Trump’ year, and whoever the Democrats throw up there, no matter how bad, will be considered better than Trump” -- and we’ll have the same old problem. “If we, ourselves embrace ‘lesser-evilism,’ then it only makes sense for other people to do that, as well.” Dr. Flowers said Green presidential candidate Jill Stein failed to think “strategically” before launching her voter recount effort, which was ultimately an expression of lesser-evilism.

Police Reformer Weighs Run for NYC Mayor, Cites Courts Full of “Crap” Cases

When Robert Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, sends observers into the New York City court system, they see mainly “crap cases” based on minor offenses rarely, “if ever, involving anyone who we could possibly characterize as being dangerous or predatory.” Gangi said the court dockets prove “the cops are engaged in blatantly racist practices that do little, if anything, to contribute to public safety, and that do harm to people.” He’s considering running for mayor as a “protest candidate” against Bill de Blasio, who has bought into an intrusive and aggressive “Broken Windows” policing policy.

Technology Makes Universal, Quality Employment Possible – But Not Under Capitalism

“The task right now, is how we rethink work, rethink distribution, and rethink ownership – fundamentally,” said Dr. J. Phillip Thompson, professor of Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Speaking on a podcast hosted by Dr. Michael Dawson, the nation’s premier Black social demographer and director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, Dr. Thompson said President Obama missed the chance in 2008 to “use the takeover of General Motors as an opportunity to change ownership or the way manufacturing happens in America.” Thompson said studies show it would cost $6-$700 billion a year “to gainfully employ every able-bodied person in the U.S.” at a good job paying about $50,000 annually – about one-twentieth of the cost of Obama’s bailout of the financial industry.

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_20161226.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08am EDT

Go to DC to Fight for Black Self-Determination – Not for Clinton and the CIA

“The Black servants of the Democratic Party have made a pact with that section of the U.S. ruling class that has rallied around Hillary Clinton.”

If the U.S. ruling class and the spies and national security goons that serve them wanted to divert attention from the crimes and crises of capitalism, they have temporarily succeeded. In this insane post-election season, all the corporate media talk about is the outrageous fiction that Russia is the greatest threat to American domestic peace and tranquility. Jim Crow stole the election, as usual, but the corporate media and Hillary Clinton’s minions blame it on the Russians. Tens of thousands of people will descend on Washington to denounce Donald Trump’s inauguration – which, given his horrific appointments and domestic policies, would be the righteous thing to do. If Clinton had won, she too should have been confronted with vast crowds of demonstrators determined to bring her “to heel” for crimes of mass Black incarceration and a whole list of other offenses against humanity. But it is already clear that the useless and self-serving Black Misleadership Class, who work for the Democratic Party rather than for their Black constituents, will be making common cause with the CIA and the war profiteers, shouting their worthless heads off about Vladimir Putin who -- to paraphrase Muhammad Ali -- never called anybody the N-word, that we know of, or kicked millions of poor women and children off welfare, or imposed a reign of terror in Black communities. That was the Clintons, remember?

“Black people are their own liberators.”

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will also be in Washington around the time of the inauguration -- on January 14, the day before Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. But, the coalition will not join hands with Hillary’s friends on Wall Street and the Pentagon. Instead, Black Is Back will declare to the world its intention to fight for Black self-determination in every aspect of life, “despite the rise of Donald Trump and his version of white nationalism.” The Black is Back Coalition is telling the incoming administration that Black people are their own liberators. And, that is a very different kind of message than you’ll be hearing from the Black servants of the Democratic Party, who have made a pact with that section of the U.S. ruling class that has rallied around Hillary Clinton, a raving, maniacal war criminal who is culpable in the death of millions.

The Black Misleadership Class can imagine no other way to function except to become junior partners with one powerful group of oppressors or the other. Independent Black politics is alien to them, because they see no money in it -- no profit in the liberation of other Black people. And so, they methodically sacrifice Black folks’ interests, and the hopes and dreams of all oppressed peoples, in return for some squatting room at the feet of the enemy.

The Black Misleaders have no shame, and no demands either, except that they get paid. The Black is Back Coalition, on the other hand, has put forward a 19 point agenda to guide the fight for Black self-determination, a human right of all peoples and the basis of solidarity among the oppressed -- points that will be thoroughly discussed on January 14th at Freedom Plaza, at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC.

The struggle is not about choosing between Trump and Clinton; it’s about Black self-determination and bringing down this evil system.

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: 20161221_gf_BiBinDCJan14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio Week of December 19, 2016

Cop Unions Try to Gut Newark Review Board

If police a union suit succeeds in denying subpoena power to Newark, New Jersey’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, the People’s Organization for Progress may have to relinquish its seat on the body, said POP chairman Larry Hamm. Although Mayor Ras Baraka, who Hamm calls “a friend,” wants to preserve even a weakened board, Hamm said a board without subpoena power “cannot be effective.” POP will stick with the board while the legal battle unfolds, said Hamm, but the best defense against police abuse is the ability to organize in the streets. “We do this because the police demonstrate again and again that they are an instrument of repression in our community.”

Haitians Protest Theft of Election -- Again

For more than a month Haitians have filled the streets to reject an election count that gave U.S.-backed presidential candidate Jovenal Moise 55 percent of the vote in a four-way race. The tally is “totally unacceptable,” said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee, which backed Maryse Narcisse, the candidate of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas --- which was credited with only 8 percent of the vote. The two other major parties also rejected the tally. Who fixed the vote? “The corrupt provisional council, with the help of the UN and the active support of the U.S., France and Canada -- the usual,” said Labossiere. Hillary Clinton’s intervention was key to installing the previous president, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly.

East Aleppo Liberated from U.S.-Back Jihadists

Fares Shehabi, an independent member of Syria’s parliament from Aleppo, who is also head of the country’s Chambers of Industry, said the liberation of East Aleppo ended “the largest hostage crisis in history,” dating to the capture of the city by jihadists backed by the West, four and a half years ago. “What we are seeing now is the largest commando hostage release in history,” said Shehabi. He said 1.5 million people from East Aleppo had escaped to safety since 2012, leaving only 100,000 living among the jihadist fighters when the current government offensive began.

Honoring Activists While They Still Live

Inside the Activists Studio, a project of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, strives to “build on the revolutionary journalistic tradition that Mumia represents,” said Robyn Spencer, speaking with BAR producer Kyle Fraser. “The goal is to gather information about one particular historic figure, and then interview that person, after doing intensive research, in a public forum, in a way that highlights their contribution to resistance traditions.”

The Studio did just that, recently, at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where Mumia Abu Jamal introduced the audience to Ramona Africa, Minister of Communications for the MOVE organization, whose comrades and family have been incarcerated and killed by Philadelphia police. “The case of Leonard Peltier really makes my blood boil, that the people running this country have the audacity to call Leonard a murderer, when they have slaughtered Leonard’s people into virtual extinction,” Ms. Africa told the crowd. “The audacity of these people, to get in our face and call us criminal. We would be criminal if we didn’t resist these sick-ass misfits.”

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_show_20161219.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm EDT

Gabbard’s Law: To End War on Terror, Stop Arming Terrorists

“The United States has spent billions of dollars to arm, train and protect whole armies of jihadist terrorists in Syria.”

Ever since the passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it has been a crime to provide “material support” to groups designated as terrorists by the U.S. State Department, including ISIS and al-Qaida and its Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front. As the law is interpreted, “material support” can mean providing almost any kind of service or assistance that a prosecutor believes might materially help the designated group -- even attending a peace conference or representing a group member in court. Americans have done hard time in prison for being found in violation of this law. But, at the same time, the United States has spent billions of dollars to arm, train and protect whole armies of jihadist terrorists in Syria – Islamist fighters that collaborate in every possible way with al-Qaida and its offspring in the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

In the words of Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii: “This madness must end... The Government must end this hypocrisy and abide by the same laws that apply to its citizens.” Gabbard has introduced a bill to force the U.S. government to abide by its own laws, as well as international law, by making it specifically illegal for U.S. to fund aid of any kind, not just to al-Qaida and ISIS, but to any other groups that collaborate with them. In Syria, that means virtually all of the so-called “moderate” rebels that the U.S. and its allies have lavished billions of dollars on. Just as importantly, Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Act makes it illegal for the United States to give aid to any nation that assists these terrorists. That means the U.S. would be compelled to cut off aid to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the biggest recipient of U.S. aid in the world, which openly brags about treating al-Qaida fighters in Israeli hospitals. The U.S. would also have to cut off all assistance to Britain, France and most of the rest of NATO, for their assistance to terrorists in Syria.

Rep. Keith Ellison: Useless to the Cause of Peace

Earlier this year, the Obama administration reneged on its agreement with Russia to draw up a list of the jihadist groups Washington supports, and to make sure they don’t fight alongside al-Qaida. Gabbard’s law would require that the Director of National Intelligence draw up a list of the jihadi groups that are cooperating with al-Qaida and ISIS, and update that list every six month, to make sure none of them get U.S. assistance.

Gabbard models her bill on 1980s Boland Amendment that halted U.S. aid to the U.S. Contra terrorists, in Nicaragua. She was joined by two Republican and two Democratic co-sponsors, including Black California congresswoman Barbara Lee. The bill is endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council. But don’t expect it to get effective support from the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. Congress. Minnesota Black congressman Keith Ellison is Caucus co-chair – and absolutely worthless to the cause of peace. He supported the war against Libya and the proxy war in Syria, which is why he stands a good chance of becoming head of the Democratic National Committee, where it’s all war, and anti-Russia, all the time.

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: 20161214_gf_GabbardsLaw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:09pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 12, 2016

Baraka: Fear of Trump Defeated the Green Party

Voters “wanted a change, but were concerned that if they stood with the Green Party challenge, that would in effect be a vote for Donald Trump -- and we know that the propaganda was very effective in advancing that notion,” said the Greens’ vice presidential choice, Ajamu Baraka. The veteran activist, who is also a BAR editor and columnist, told a conference of Southern Human Rights Organizers, in Jackson, Mississippi, that there is a “pattern of repression” against Black people and the working class in cities across the country -- most of them “administered and managed by Democrats.”

Dixon Defends Stein Vote Recount

Jill Stein and the Green Party are “not jumping into bed with the Democrats” with their call for a recount of votes in three mid-western states narrowly lost by Hillary Clinton, said Bruce Dixon, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. “How are we going to ignore pervasive evidence of widespread, multi-state vote tampering, and then turn around in 2017 and tell people they should campaign for office” on the Green ticket? Dixon, who is also managing editor of BAR, said Bernie Sanders should have filed a recount complaint against Hillary Clinton for “stealing” the primary elections in states like Massachusetts and California. “It seems that Bernie and his people were too intent on staying in the [Democratic] club.”

The Democratic Party Can’t Be Fixed

“The powers in the Democratic Party preferred Trump to Bernie Sanders,” said veteran anti-war activist David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime. “They wanted Hillary or nothing, and that’s what they got.” Those same people, he said, resist naming Rep. Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee. “The Democratic Party, in my mind, needs to be abandoned. The idea of taking it over and reforming it and fixing it is old, and getting a little tiresome.”

No to Trump and Clinton – Yes to Black Self-Determination

One day before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and six days before the presidential inauguration, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will gather at Freedom Plaza, in Washington, DC. “The January 14 mobilization is part of the process of replacing, moving out of the way, those sell-out, opportunist leaders who have pretended to represent the interests of our people,” said coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. He said the rally will highlight “our 19-point program to put self-determination at the center of Black political struggle” on the widest range of issues.

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_20161212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:28pm EDT

Blacks Systematically Barred from Temporary Jobs in Chicago

“The Black applicants would wind up sitting in the office beginning at dawn, watching Hispanics get assigned to work all day long.”

A national temporary worker staffing agency and a number of its clients have been sued for discriminating against Black workers. It’s a class action suit, filed in federal court by the Workers Law Office, a small but dedicated team of people’s lawyers in Chicago. The offending agency, MVP Staffing, has 60 offices in 38 states and connects hundreds of businesses with tens of thousands of people seeking temporary employment. But, according to Workers Center lawyer Christopher Williams, 98 percent of the jobs in the Chicago area go to Hispanics, most of them undocumented. That’s what most of MVP Staffing’s clients want: undocumented Mexicans who are in no position to argue about working conditions or pay. Temporary work agencies and their business clients conspire to extract super-profits at the expense of both the undocumented workers, who are locked in a twilight zone of low pay and fearful silence, and Black applicants who line up for work every day, but are seldom hired.

The temporary work agencies and their clients play a cynical game, blaming each other for excluding Blacks from the workplace. The agencies say they are simply complying with their clients’ wishes. The clients say they’re not responsible, because the agencies do the hiring.

Some of MVP Staffings employees have told on their bosses. A former dispatcher said the company used a system of code words to deny Black people jobs. African Americans were sarcastically referred to as “guapos” – which means “the handsome ones” – while Hispanics were code-named “feos,” or “the ugly ones.” It’s a nasty way of saying that Blacks don’t want to get their hands dirty or work as hard as the Mexicans. Of course, Blacks showed up at the agency every morning, willing to get down and dirty on just about any job. But most often, the Black applicants would wind up sitting in the office beginning at dawn, watching Hispanics get assigned to work all day long, until nobody was left in the room but broke and bitter Black folks.

The Unwanted

It was said to be common for managers to ask MVP to only send them workers that listened to

107.9 FM, a Spanish language radio station in Chicago.

If Black applicants somehow got placed on jobs, their paperwork would often be marked “D.N.R.,” meaning “do not return” this person to that job again.

Of course, if Black people really didn’t want to work or get their hands dirty, companies like MVP wouldn’t have to deploy such elaborate -- and illegal – codes, lies and dirty tricks to keep them unemployed. And, if the Mexican workers were not in dread of deportation, they would be just as willing to stand up for decent pay and conditions as Black workers are. But, businessmen control the state, and the two political parties that take turns running the state. It’s in these businessmen’s interests for people to believe that Black unemployment in Illinois is three times that of white people and twice the rate of Hispanics because of some flaw in Black culture. The flaw is in the system of capitalism as it actually exists in a thoroughly racist 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: 20161207_gf_JobBiasSuit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 5, 2016

Donald Trump’s Corporate Bait-and-Switch

A new report by Public Citizen shows 70 percent of Donald Trump’s presidential transition “landing team” members are affiliated with corporations. Trump’s rank-and-file supporters should be “furious that here we have corporate insider after corporate insider taking over the administration,” said Public Citizen research director Rick Claypool. Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs banker slated to become Secretary of the Treasury, “is the appointment we would expect a president to have picked, if he intends to forge a plutocratic alliance” with Wall Street, said Claypool, who warned: “We can expect a return to the kind of Wild West of anything goes risk-taking that led to the 2008 crisis.”

A Movement Sorely in Need of Science

“The importance of the discussion of analysis has grown since the election,” said Nandita Chaturvedi, one of the organizers of a conference on Revolutionary Science for Radical Times, December 9 and 10, at Philadelphia’s Church of the Advocate. “You see that there is so much confusion on the left, and you see activists that are aligning with the liberal media and aligning with the Clinton machinery.” Without a disciplined political analysis, social movements lose their moorings. “In order to see clearly what we are trying to oppose, and what is the system that we are dismantling, I think analysis is really needed,” said Chaturvedi.

RICO Prosecutions as a Tool of Gentrification

“They came to my house in the pre-dawn hours with all the elements of war,” said Paula, mother of one of 120 young men swept up in a police raid centered on two housing projects in The Bronx, last April, and charged with a wide range of crimes under RICO conspiracy laws. It was the biggest such sweep in New York City history – larger than a raid that netted 103 youths from two Harlem housing projects, in 2014. Paula has withheld her last name in fear of retaliation against her son, whose mental health has deteriorated under solitary confinement. “They are not mafia, as they are charged under RICO,” she said. “None of these youth had arsenals of firearms.” Most had no money for defense lawyers. Paula sees the raids as part of gentrification pressures to empty public housing. Many of the mothers, she said, “have their sons in jail and, at the same time, they’re going through an eviction process.

U.S. is Lying Aggressor in Syria...

The United States has no right to interfere in the affairs of other countries, period, said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley, speaking to a gathering of the Hands Off Syria Coalition, last week. The U.S. carries out regime change under the guise of “humanitarian” intervention to “protect” people from their own government, but “the claim is always a lie, a ruse to make real the Project for a New American Century,” said Kimberley, who is also active with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “The United States never has a humanitarian purpose in mind, in Syria or anyplace else -- any more so than it does here at home.”

...Just Like in Libya and Iraq

Michael Sampson, a co-founder of the Florida-based Dream Defenders who is now a labor organizer in the Washington, DC area, was among those that testified at a People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, December 1 and 2, at the University of DC Law School. “The same tanks, the same police equipment, the same tear gas canisters that the war profiteers are spending billions of dollars on, are being thrown on the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore and Milwaukee and Charlotte,” said Sampson. “The wars that occur everywhere are all connected to war at home – the war on working class people and Black and brown people. All these movements must connect. The people who colonized Iraq are the same people who colonized African Americans, here.” The Real News Network covered both days of testimony, live.

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_20161205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17am EDT

Agenda Radio for Week of Nov 28, 2016

GOP Plans Stealth Attack on Medicare

Republicans in Congress have “never really liked Social Security or Medicare” because the programs “work and they completely go against the ideology that the private sector is always better,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works. The GOP will act “in the dead of night, so the people don’t know what’s happening,” and sneak a privatization bill into a “reconciliation” measure that “the Democrats can’t filibuster,” Altman predicted. “They want to give seniors and people with disabilities a check and say, ‘Good luck, go out and get private insurance.’”

What Do You Mean by Identity Politics?

Lots of people talk about how “identity politics affected the election, but the term is never specifically defined,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. “As you tease out the rhetoric, it appears to suggest that organizations like Black Lives Matter is identity politics, and people protesting against being shot down in the streets by officers of the state is identity politics.” The only good news to come out of the election, said Horne, “is that Donald J. Trump will probably prove to be the Gorbachev of the United States of America” by accelerating the decline of U.S. imperialism and white supremacy.

2016 was Bound to be a Bad Year

The “panic and hysteria” of some Hillary Clinton supporters “is really very childish,” said Diana Johnstone, author of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. “The fact is, there wasn’t going to be a good outcome to that election, anyway; you had two terrible candidates, so you should have been prepared for that.” The Democrats crazily search for Russians behind every web site. “The idea that Russia interfered with the election is absolutely absurd,” said Johnstone, speaking from her home in Paris. “It sound to me like they’ve decided they’re going to make war against Russia -- and they’re all into that,” including the media.

President Obama’s Hollow Legacy

Barack Obama was “beloved” by large numbers of Black people, but it was a one-way affair. “Politicians score points with white people by assuring them they’re not going to do anything for Black people, and Obama was no exception,” said Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “In order to win, Black people have to be thrown under the bus.” The Obama “gave white people a message that he would not in any way upset the status quo,” said Kimberley, speaking on the Taylor Report on CUIT radio, in Toronto, Canada. “His is a hollow legacy.” Hillary Clinton lost because “you can’t transfer one person’s popularity to another.”

Peltier on Standing Rock Protests

One thousand people took part in the 47th annual Native American National Day of Mourning, last Thursday, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Placards declared “We Are Not Vanishing” and “We Are Not Conquered,” as an Elder read a message from political prisoner Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement activist who has been locked up for the past 41 years. The Standing Rock protests “are the greatest gathering of our people in history, and has made us more connected than every before,” said Peltier. “Water is life, and we cannot leave this issue to our children and grandchildren.”

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_20161128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39pm EDT

Keith Ellison as DNC Chair: Another High Place, Another Empty Black Face

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

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Democratic party honchos are scrambling to reassure their funders and to shore up the careers of Democratic elected officials who serve those funders. They must justify and retain whatever hold they still have on the millions of nominal Democratic voters who actually have no voice whatsoever in what their party stands for.

At bottom, the two capitalist parties are owned by the same class of elite one percenter funders but with different voting bases At least one US party is always the self-declared White Man’s Party. Since the late sixties Republicans have reserved that slot for themselves, leaving Democrats to claim the allegiance of racial minorities and some other groups. The different voting bases of the two parties mean they have different campaign styles, but when the campaigns are over they’re both as Barack Obama affirmed, on the same team. Both parties deliver the mandate of their constituencies to their common funders, Big Ag, Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Real Estate, the military contractors and Wall Street.

After the departures of Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and Donna Brazile, both deeply implicated in the sabotaging of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton’s loss, Democrats need a new face at the head of the Democratic National Committee, the national party’s executive body. Ideally it should be someone who reassures the funders and can help rally the base voters. The leading contender is Keith Ellison, just elected to his sixth term in Congress from Minneapolis.

Keith Ellison seems a good fit. He was the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and current co-chair of the large and virtually impotent House Progressive Caucus. He was an early endorser of Bernie Sanders who did his duty trying to lead leftward strays back into Hillary’s big tent. In a decade on the House Financial Services Committee, Ellison managed not to deeply offend the banksters who flooded the market with predatory housing and student loans, or the payday lenders and credit card racketeers, and he didn’t embarrass or insult the colleagues who openly shill for them. In that target rich environment Ellison managed not just to keep from hitting anything, but not even to take aim.

By contrast, Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2014 made headlines when she grilled Ellison's former Congressional Black Caucus colleague Mel Watt, on why the agency he heads, despite a clear mandate from Congress to reduce the principals on potentially millions of unpayable predatory home loans, refused to reduce the principal on a single one. Three years later the news is that the agency may reduce principal on a mere 3,100 home loans at most. We’re still waiting to hear from Ellison and the other eight black Democrats on the committee on this failure.

But Ellison is black. He’s the first Muslim elected to Congress, he’s smart enough and telegenic. He votes infallibly to support the apartheid regime in Israel, and he says if it were up to him there’d have been a no-fly zone (and possible shooting war with the Russians) a long time ago.

Hillary’s indispensable firewall was supposed to be the black vote, for which she needed to do little else than mumble about “black lives mattering” and pose occasionally with the mothers of some of those murdered by police. Democratic shot callers seem to still believe that all they need is another empty black face in a high place. They won’t get another First Black President. It was Hillary’s turn and that didn’t work out. Now it’s Keith Ellison’s another empty black face in a very high place.

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. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

Direct download: 2061123-bd-keith-ellison-dnc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of Nov 21, 2016

Green Party: Part of the Solution

“I fully expected that we were going to get at least five percent of the vote,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka. “I suspect that when push came to shove, particularly in those swing states, people held their nose and voted for the lesser evil.” Nevertheless, it is essential that the Greens continue to put forward “transitional demands that are meant to galvanize people and win concessions from the state, but also that you keep people focused on the fact the real objective is to transform this system, to take power from the capitalist state.”

No World War, But Plenty of Domestic Oppression

“I think the threat of World War Three has receded significantly,” said author, activist and historian Paul Street. However, “I don’t know if I’ll think that of Trump in two years,” he added. “The more immediate dangers seem to be: police statist assaults on undocumented Latino immigrants, a registry of Muslims, and a potential designation of Black Lives Matter and civil rights activists as quasi-terrorists. The other great, existential threat is runaway climate change because Trump has pledged to thoroughly deregulate energy.”

Saving Mumia and Others from a Curable Disease

Activists in the Free Mumia movement plan a rally on December 9, in Philadelphia, to pressure prison officials to treat the political prisoner and thousands of other inmates suffering from hepatitis C. “Healthwise, Mumia is not doing good at all,” said Pam Africa, of Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. “He has the appearance of good health, but he’s itching all over” and “his health is declining.” A judge ruled that Pennsylvania prison officials are obligated to treat Abu Jamal, but he used a technicality to avoid ordering that the cure actually be administered. Pam Africa said next month’s rally will also highlight unsafe, blackish water in prisons. At one facility, she said, “young people coming into the prison are losing their hair.”

U.S. Election Ran on “Fear” and “Betrayal”

“It is accurate to say that economic discontent played a part” in Hillary Clinton’s defeat at the polls, said Mumia Abu Jamal. But he thinks other factors were at least as important. “The Trump campaign represented, not just fear, but profound paranoia, and also white revenge for the darkening of America.” However, “if Trumpism represented vengeance, then Clintonism represented betrayal,” because the Democrats failed to stand up on issues vital to their base constituencies.

Torture, Anyone?

Former Kansas Republican congressman Mike Pompeo is likely to be named CIA director in the Trump administration. “He’s a big fan of torture,” said Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who now spends most of his time trying to rein in the national security state. McGovern told Paul Jay, of The Real News Network, that Pompeo “visited Guantanamo, he said it was great, and then said, “As far as I can see, those prisoners are gaining weight.’” President Obama must share the blame. “If Obama had the strength of his convictions, he would have gotten rid of the torturers in the CIA,” said McGovern. “He let them stay, and now they’re having a celebration.”

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_20161121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT

Time For the Real Left To Double Down on Single Payer Medicare For All

Time For the Real Left To Double Down on Single Payer Medicare For All

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

The Affordable Care Act, which President elect Trump promises to repeal and replace with nobody knows what, was never all it was cracked up to be.

The promise to deliver affordable health care was a key campaign issue in 2007 and 2008. But while most Americans demanded a single payer system to replace the private insurance companies, and guarantee health care for everyone, the 44th president his corporate funded Democrats instead delivered Obamacare –- billions in tax dollars to insurance companies for policies with skimpy coverage and such high co-pays and deductibles that many families cannot afford to use their new health insurance. Worse still, Obamacare only provided these sketchy policies to about half the uninsured leaving the rest to the tender mercies of state governments which control Medicaid.

Ever since 2009 corporate Democrats have justified their treachery with claims that single payer Medicare For All was impossible to get through even the majority Democratic Congress of 2009 and 2010. Hillary Clinton also declared single payer dead on arrival should she be elected. But Hillary was not elected, and even though this is the fourth consecutive Republican dominated Congress, and Republican politicians hate Medicare For All just as much as their Democratic rivals, the popular mandate for single payer health care is very much alive.

A May 2016 Gallup Poll confirms that “...58% of U.S. adults favor the idea of replacing the law (Obamacare) with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans.” The question for the left, however you read that term is what do we do about this? The answer has to be that we fight for what we know people want and need with all the means at our disposal. In the present era, the willingness to organize, to agitate, to educate, to demonstrate and to demand health care –- not health insurance, but health care for everybody as a human right is one of the markers by which we can tell actual flesh and blood leftists and their organizations from those who merely fake the funk until the next Democrat takes office. It’s worth noting that the Green Party’ candidates Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were the only ones in this election calling for single payer health care.

A 2009 study by the National Nurses Union reveals that adoption of Medicare For All would create 2.6 million new jobs, from doctors and nurses to a host of health care professionals and technicians. That’s as many jobs as were lost in the 2007-2009 recession. It would inject #75 billion per year into the US economy, including $100 billion in wages alone. President Trump won in part because he told people he’d “bring back the jobs.” But steel mill jobs are imaginary, fictitious. Health care jobs are real.

The tens or hundreds of thousands in streets each night justifiably protesting the ascension of a crotch grabbing racist con man to the White House would be well advised to not repeat the mistake of Occupy a few years ago. They and others who want to be relevant in this new era urgently need to put forth some concrete demands which if struggled for will make them opinion leaders, and if won will improve the lives of millions. Quality single payer health care NOW is one of those demands.

Trump’s threat to dismantle Obamacare is an invitation for us to reopen the struggle for health care as a human right. And this time we know we’re struggling against Republicans AND Democrats.

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 Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20161116-bd-single-payer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm EDT

War Less Imminent in Wake of Trump Election

“Trump says he wants to cooperate with the Syrians and the Russians to defeat ISIS.”

With so many people who call themselves liberals and leftists tearing their hair out in dread of a President Donald Trump, it is necessary to point out that the prospects of avoiding nuclear war are much better than they were the day before the election. Hillary Clinton was committed to imposing a “no fly zone” over Syria that would have meant instant war with Russia, likely resulting in the annihilation of the human species. You’d think that would have made Clinton anathema to decent people. But Americans, including those who call themselves liberals, are not decent people – not really. Based on their political behavior, they just pretend to be decent, but support U.S. governments that have slaughtered millions since the end of World War Two. If you voted for Obama and Clinton, you gave your assent to continuing George Bush’s wars, allowing Obama to start two major wars of his own, in Libya and Syria, and to Hillary Clinton’s plans to roll the nuclear dice on the fate of humanity. The whole world knows that Americans are dangerous, to themselves and to others. But, decent? Since when, and to whom?

Donald Trump looks and talks like the ugly, racist, bullying American -- and he is exactly that, but he hasn’t killed anybody yet, and his public statements have been of a far more peaceful nature than the woman he beat at the polls. Trump says he wants to cooperate with the Syrians and the Russians to defeat ISIS. Trump also does not make distinctions between the various Islamic jihadist groups in Syria, unlike the Obama administration, which has directly and indirectly armed and funded all of the jihadist groups, and has spent much of the last several months trying to protect the al Nusra Front, the al Qaida affiliate in eastern Aleppo, from Russian bombing.

“The jihadists are in despair, and the prospects for driving them out of Aleppo look promising.”

No sooner had the votes been counted, than President Obama ordered U.S. Special Forces to go all-out to kill the leadership of al-Nusra.

This war has been entirely based on lies, so Obama will probably limit his Kill List to al Qaida leaders, while sparing the rank and file jihadist fighters for future use by the United States. But it is safe to say that, had Hillary Clinton been elected, the most warlike factions in the U.S. military, the CIA, the State Department, and the foreign policy establishment at-large would be setting the stage for full-scale confrontation with Russia and all of Syria’s allies under President Clinton. Instead, the jihadists are in despair, and the prospects for driving them out of Aleppo look promising. Hopefully, the Syrian government and its friends will be on the road to victory before Donald Trump’s presidency is decisively captured by the bipartisan War Party that runs the empire.

Syrian President Bashar Assad says it’s fine with him if Trump wants to fight the terrorists. But, Assad isn’t sure that Trump can deliver on his campaign pledge. “What about the countervailing forces within the administration, the mainstream media that were against him?” Assad asks. Assad thinks the notion of Trump bucking the War Party is “dubious.” He’s right. Half a million Syrians are dead because most Americans don’t much care who their government kills, as long as they’re not white. But, getting rid of Clinton has slowed the War Party down a bit, and maybe prevented a nuclear war. If you are a decent person, you should be pleased about that.

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: 20161116_gf_TrumpSyria.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of No 14, 2016

Cornel West: Class Becoming “Much More Central”

“We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era,” said Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s most prominent Black public intellectual, assessing the import of last week’s election. West backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, then endorsed the Green Party’s presidential ticket. The election “did not go left-populist, following Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein,” he said. Instead, “it went rightwing-fascist. But the neoliberal era is coming to a close and the neoliberal establishment is being exposed. The issues of class now are becoming much more central.”

Trump Supporters Mounted an “Insurrection”

Duboisian scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro was among the few observers on the Left that thought Donald Trump would win at the polls. But, even he was startled at the scope of Trump’s sweep. “I felt that the insurgency would grow and deepen, but I never thought that it would become an insurrection,” said Monteiro. “In a certain sense, white working and poor people in these small, rust belt towns have a sense of achievement in having brought the Clintons down that Black people had in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected with a huge Black turnout,” he said. Monteiro is one of the organizers of a Conference on Political Science for Radical Times, set for December 9-10, in Philadelphia.

TPP “On Its Death Bed”

With Donald Trump’s victory, President Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership corporate rights trade deal is “looking like it’s on its death bed,” said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. “We’ve worked for five years to make TPP stand for Toxic Political Poison, and that seems to have happened,” said Zeese. Trump won in “the rust belt that was destroyed by NAFTA” -- Bill Clinton’s jobs-exporting bill of a generation ago -- “and was going to be threatened again by TPP.” Zeese said Obama may make a last bid to pass TPP in the lame duck session of Congress that begins this week.

Finally, a Practical Guide to Black Self-Determination

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations adopted a 19-point Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, at a conference in Washington. The document applies the principle of self-determination to the broadest range of issues, from Black Community Control of the Police, to Mass Black Incarceration, to Nationalization of the Banks. “Everybody wants self-determination,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela, “but what does it mean, practically?” The 19 points give direction to the struggle. “This isn’t something you work on every four years,” said Yeshitela. “This is something you work on every day. This is our program.”

Margaret Kimberley, an editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report, told the conference: “When we meet together, today, we are showing the world what self-determination looks like.” Voting for “your enemies” is not self-determination, and “thinking that electoral politics is the only road to liberation is not self-determination,” said Kimberley.

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_20161114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:31pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of No 7, 2016

Hi-Tech Production in the Service of Humanity in Mississippi

Renaissance Jackson, the organization that briefly won the mayor’s office in predominantly Black Jackson, Mississippi, has launched a campaign to purchase a coding and programming capacity and a 3-D fabrication facility. They call it “Fab Lab.” This technology, “if it is democratically controlled, could actually serve humanity,” said Cooperation Jackson spokesman Kali Akuno. These kinds of projects are, “first and foremost, to satisfy some of the basic needs of our community, and -- on a deeper level -- to really put this means of production directly in our community’s hands.” High tech is “one of these areas of the so-called ‘digital divide’ that Black people have been sorely and strategically absent from,” said Akuno. “So, we are doing it for ourselves.”

Obamacare “Imploding and Beyond Repair”

The current wave of insurance rate hikes and medical service cutbacks is the predictable result of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) that “was pretty much a gift to the health insurance industry” when Congress passed it, in 2010, said Dr. John Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle. ACA “was never designed for affordability -- it’s a misnomer in the name of the bill,” he said. Obamacare is “imploding and beyond repair,” and unsustainable. “Tweeks cannot work in the long term. The main fight should be for what will save money and give universal coverage to everyone: namely, single payer national health insurance.” Dr. Geyman said single payer healthcare could save $500 billion a year -- about the same as the entire U.S. “defense” budget.

The Fight for Education for Liberation in Detroit

At a “Community Conversation on the Crisis in the Schools,” Detroit activists, educators and parents gathered to address the question: “Who Created the School Crisis, and How are We Responding to it?” Among those wrestling with the issue was Dr. Thomas Pedroni, professor of Curriculum Studies at Wayne State University. He said the decline began with the state takeover of schools in the 1990s, and worsened dramatically after the imposition of state-appointed “emergency managers.” “School could be one of the most meaningful places for our communities, but instead, it’s deadened,” Dr. Pedroni told the crowd at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “But, we’re going to fight to get back to the place where we have culturally relevant curriculum, not just producing a test score but to develop people who are self-empowered and who know how to fight for their community.”

Venezuela Weathering Financial Storm, Despite Disinformation Campaign

“I challenge you to find one item of news that is positive to Venezuela in these last 16 or 17 years,” said Maria Paez Victor, a Venezuelan-born sociologist living in Toronto, Canada, and author of an article titled “Hating Venezuela.” Ms. Victor said the United States and its rightwing allies in Venezuela have kept up a non-stop disinformation campaign ever since the late Hugo Chavez and his Socialist Party were democratically elected in 1998. A crisis triggered by the collapse of world oil prices allowed the opposition to capture the legislature, last year, but Victor says the government is coping. “Venezuela has managed to weather a terrible financial situation, but this is bad news for corporate capitalism and for the United States, because they want Venezuela to be controlled by their lackies.”

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_20161107.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:47pm EDT

The Lords of Capital Sic Crazy Hillary on the World

“The Lords of Capital are creatures of U.S. imperial dominance; they go out of business when the empire does.”

By virtually every measurement, the United States is in deep crisis, as both a society and as the headquarters of global capitalism. We can roughly measure the severity of some aspects of the crisis with the tools of economic analysis. Such an analysis is quite useful in explaining why Washington is so eager to risk war with Russia and China, whether in Syria or the South China Sea or along the ever expanding borders of NATO. To put it simply, the U.S. and western Europe become smaller, in terms of their economic influence, with every passing day, and cannot possibly maintain their political dominance in the world except by military force, coercion and terror. Those are the only cards the imperialists have left to play. The ruling circles in the U.S. are aware that time is not on their side, and it makes them crazy -- or crazier than usual.

The ruling class’s own analysts tell them that the center of the world economy is moving inexorably to the East and the South; that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future; and that the U.S. is already number two by some economic measures -- and dropping. The Lords of Capital know there is no future for them in a world where the dollar is not supreme and where Wall Street’s stocks, bonds and derivatives are not backed by full weight of unchallenged empire. Put another way, U.S. imperialism is at an inflection point, with all the indicators pointing downward and no hope of reversing the trend by peaceful means.

Now, that’s actually not such a bad prognosis for the United States, as a country. The U.S. is a big country, with an abundance of human and natural resources, and would do just fine in a world among equals. But, the fate of the Lords of Capital is tied to the ongoing existence of empire. They create nothing, but seek to monetize and turn a profit on everything. They cannot succeed in trade unless it is rigged, and have placed bets in their casinos that are nominally seven times more valuable than the total economic activity of planet Earth. In short, the Lords of Capital are creatures of U.S. imperial dominance; they go out of business when the empire does.

Beat the Clock

The rulers are looking class death in the face -- and it terrifies them. And when the Lords of Capital become frightened, they order their servants in politics and the war industries and the vast national security networks to take care of the problem, by any means necessary. That means militarily encircling Russia and China; arming and mobilizing tens of thousands of jihadist terrorists in Syria, in an attempt to repeat the regime change in Libya; waging a war of economic sanctions and low-level armed aggression against Iran; occupying most of the African continent through subversion of African militaries; escalating subversion in Latin America; and spying on everyone on earth with a digital connection. All this, to stop the clock that is ticking on U.S. and European world economic dominance.

Left political analysts that I greatly respect argue that Hillary Clinton and the mob she will come in with in January will pull back from apocalyptic confrontation with Russia in Syria -- that they’re not really that crazy. But, I’m not at all convinced. The ruling class isn’t just imagining that their days are numbered; it’s really true. And rulers do get crazy when their class is standing at death’s door.

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: 20161102_gf_HillaryWars.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 31, 2016

The Missing Black Movement Ingredient: Self-Determination

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will hold a National Black Political Convention on Self-Determination, November 5 and 6, in Washington, DC. “If you go through history, the fundamental thing that we’ve confronted is the loss of our self-determination as a people,” said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. The Coalition has put forward a 19-point position on the need to put self-determination at the center of Black struggles. The 19 points “give us the beginning of some kind of a plan,” said Yeshitela. “It says, specifically, here is our view on self-determination and the subject of reparations, Black women, the question of police invasion and brutality in our community,” and many other issues.

The “Moment of Truth” for the Empire

“We are entering a new moment in American history,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist. “It is a moment of truth for the ruling class, for the ruling elite. What do they do when they are trumped at home -- forgive the pun -- and trumped internationally?” he asked. “Do they back off of empire, do they readjust, do they become peaceful, or do they up the stakes and attempt to resolve all problems with war abroad and oppression at home?” Dr. Monteiro is one of the planners of a Revolutionary Science for Radical Times conference, in Philadelphia, December 9 and 10.

Hard Times in Venezuela

Despite what the corporate media are telling you, Venezuelans are not starving and the Socialist Party government will not be toppled any time soon. However, the rightwing opposition “is smelling blood” due to an economic crisis that “has made it very difficult for people to get access to imported goods, and many goods are very expensive,” said political science professor George Caccariello-Maher, of Drexel University, author of We Created Chavez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution. Corruption, smuggling and money speculation are serious problems, said Caccariello-Maher. However, the strength of the Left lies in the nation’s grassroots organizations and communes. “It would be very difficult for an opposition government to come in and attempt to throw them off their land” or return property to the private sector, he said.

Happy Birthday, Rev. Pinkney!

Benton Harbor, Michigan, human rights leader Rev. Edward Pinkney, currently serving a 2 ½ to 10 year sentence on election tampering charges, turned 68 years old this month. Marcina Cole, a courtroom observer at Pinkney’s trial, teamed up with David Sole, of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, to throw a birthday party for Pinkney, in absentia, in Detroit. “He’s definitely in support of other inmates, doing ministry work, and looking forward to being out very soon,” said Cole. She reported that Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka visited the political prisoner on October 19. “This was historical,” said Cole. “They know how powerful Rev. Pinkney is” -- and that he has allies on the outside.

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_20161031.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT

Malcolm X on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Malcolm X on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

When astute political commentary from a half century ago eloquently describes the current political conundrum it means we’ve been stuck in a bad place for a long time. Do we really want Malcolm’s observation to apply four or eight or twenty years further into the future?

Malcolm X on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

It’s that time again, it’s presidential election season, and as we hear every four years, THIS is the most important presidential election of our lives. The fact that you’ve heard that before should tell us something. It should us that in presidential years, many old things becomes new again, often because so much of what we’re told IS new is really pretty old.

Malcolm X has been dead now a half century, dead for more years than he was ever alive. But since at least one of the tricks and traps deployed to fool, frustrate and neutralize our grandparents’ right to vote hasn’t changed much we might want to listen carefully to what Malcolm’s words in the aftermath of the 1964 presidential election.

If Johnson had been running all by himself, he would not have been acceptable to anyone. The only thing that made him acceptable to the world was that the shrewd capitalists, the shrewd imperialists, knew that the only way people would run toward the fox would be if you showed them a wolf. So they created a ghastly alternative. And it had the whole world — including people who call themselves Marxists — hoping that Johnson would beat Goldwater.”

Like today’s Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was a truly reprehensible and frightening figure, who had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned racial discrimination in public accommodations, and who favored the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the Vietnamese countryside. Also like Donald Trump, Goldwater never really stood a chance of winning the election. Goldwater the wolf was buried beneath a Johnson landslide, carrying only 6 out of the 50 states. Republican officeholders are running away from Donald Trump not because he’s a racist bufoon but because he’s expected to lose states Republicans are accustomed to winning.

The fox, Lyndon Baines Johnson went on to start a war in Indochina that killed three million Vietnamese alone. LBJ defoliated the Vietnamese countryside with millions of tons of Agent Orange instead of nukes, causing hundreds of thousands of hideous and gruesome birth defects that continue to this day.

The wolf and the fox this year are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Trump is a real estate con man, a racist and a hyper-entitled sexual predator who talks about building walls and banning Muslims. Fortunately for us all, Trump has never been in government. Hillary has scarcely ever been out of government. She’s fronted for Wal-Mart, executed bloody regime change in Libya, brought US troops to Ukraine on the Russian border, and publicly itches for a showdown in Syria. Thanks to Wikileaks there is copious evidence that Hillary’s public stands on a wide range of issues from charter schools to so-called trade agreements, to fracking and social security stand in stark contrast to the promises she makes to the powerful.

Just as it worked 52 years ago, the overwhelming defeat of her wolvish opponent will give Hillary the appearance of a mandate. But the margin of Hillary’s victory provides those of us on the left an unprecedented opportunity. It means there is no need for those who imagine themselves on the of jobs, justice, peace and the planet to ride to Hilllary’s rescue and ensure the defeat of Donald Trump. Trump has already beaten himself.

This election is our best chance to break out of the decades-old two party trap and build a new political force, a new political party. The Green Party is the only peace party, the only party that stands for people and planet over profit, and our only opportunity to vote our hopes, not our fears. It’s time to choose.

We vote Green and build Green, we can consign the political conundrum Malcolm X eloquently described a half century ago to the garbage can of history. Or we can vote for Hillary, and Malcolm’s words will be as applicable four or eight years or twenty years from now as they have been for the last fifty. For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon.

Direct download: 20161026-bd-wolves-and-foxes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

An African Stampede Out of the International Criminal Court?

“Of the six cases that are currently, or soon to be, on the docket of the ICC, all involve indictments against Africans.”

After 14 years, the neocolonial judicial farce of an International Criminal Court may be unraveling. South Africa has joined Burundi in serving notice that it is starting the process of withdrawing from the ICC. The decision by President Jacob Zuma’s government has caused panic in the West, which fears it might touch off a mass withdrawal of Africans from the ICC at the African Union Summit meeting, in January. There were similar fears of a mass African walk-out when the ICC indicted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity, in 2012. The International Criminal Court dropped those charges two years later.

From its very inception, in 2002, the ICC has been a court for Africans only, a tool of the United States and the former colonial powers. Of the six cases that are currently, or soon to be, on the docket of the ICC, all involve indictments against Africans. It is as if the only high-placed criminal politicians in the world live in Africa.

South Africa says it is saying goodbye to the ICC because the court interferes with its national sovereignty. For example, South Africa styles itself as a peace-maker on the continent, and reserves the right to host talks between feuding parties, even if one of them has been charged with crimes by the ICC. Such was the case when Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa, last year.

In Rwanda, the International Criminal Court has acted as a prosecutorial service Paul Kagame, the Tutsi dictator. Despite abundant evidence that Hutus were also massacred during the Rwandan civil war, and that Kagame’s forces deliberately provoked the bloodbath, the ICC prosecuted only Hutus and opponents of the Kagame regime.

“Washington is not even a member of the ICC -- and never will be, since the U.S. is unwilling to be judged by any global authority.”

This year, the ICC seemed to be getting ready to indict the current Hutu president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been targeted for regime change by Rwanda and its super-power protector, the United States. That’s when Nkurunziza decided to get out of the ICC.

The U.S. is the most hypocritical player of all, when it comes to the International Criminal Court. Washington is not even a member of the ICC -- and never will be, since the U.S. is unwilling to be judged by any global authority. The U.S. voted against creation of the court when the issue came up for a vote at the United Nations, in 1998. Yet, Washington uses the ICC as a threat against African leaders that resist U.S. domination – like Burundi’s President Nkurunziza.

South African President Jacob Zuma can count on his African National Congress legislative majority to support a withdrawal from the ICC. It’s a welcome move on Zuma’s part, but it doesn’t make up for South Africa’s vote, five years ago in the UN Security Council, for a “no-fly zone” over Libya. That shameful surrender to U.S. pressure resulted in the overthrow and death Muammar Gadaffi, a great friend and material supporter of the South African liberation movement. Let’s hope that Zuma is now signaling that he will pursue a foreign policy that is more independent of 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: 20161026_gf_ICCSouthAfrica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 24, 2016

20 Years of Genocide in Congo

Friends of Congo marked the 20th anniversary of the invasion and genocide that has killed at least six million Congolese with an all-day event at Thoughtworks, in New York City. “We’re not just fighting against our own government,” said Nita Evele, of the Congo Global Action Coalition. “We’re fighting against our neighboring countries” in the Great Lakes region of the continent “who figured out that they can make tons of money by helping the big multinationals and the big powers, the United States, France and Canada,” who are allied with the invaders, Rwanda and Uganda.

The Black Panther Party at 50, Bobby Seale at 80

On the same weekend that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding, in Oakland, California, hundreds gathered to roast and toast former Party chairman Bobby Seale on his 80th birthday. Seale put forward a far less revolutionary version of the Party’s origins and history. “When we went out there to patrol the police, it was a tactic to capture the imagination of the people,” he told the crowd. However, it was Seale’s intent all along to “organize a political-electoral unit and to take over some of these damn cities. My objective was to get more Black politicians, and that’s what happened.” Seale also supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Better a Dog Than Clinton for President, Says Haiti Activist

“The only reason that Hillary Clinton is not in jail; the only reason that the Clinton Foundation is not shut down, is precisely because they are protected by the highest levels of government,” said Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist and radio host in New York City. Andre said the Clintons have stolen billions from the Haitian people. “It’s like Barack Obama gave Haiti to the Clintons as a gift,” he said. “With regard to this election, whatever is able to stop Hillary Clinton, we have to support that; if it’s a dog running against Hillary Clinton, you have to vote for that dog because of the harm that this family has caused to our people.”

Theater in the Service of the Struggle

The National Black Theater, in New York’s Harlem, hosted a radical political theatrical production titled “Survival Crimes,” produced by the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). The plot focuses on two current cases: Mumia Abu Jamal’s legal battle to force the state of Pennsylvania to provide medical treatment for the thousands of prison inmates suffering from Hepatitis C, including himself; and the arrest in The Bronx of 120 people on gang-related conspiracy charges -- the biggest such roundup in New York City history. Activist Kyle Fraser said the play points out the “theatrics of the state, swooping in with helicopters to this neighborhood, using Shock and Awe tactics,” and perverting the rule of law in the Pennsylvania prison system.

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_20161024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

Trump’s Disintegration Means It’s Not Just Safe to Vote Green, It’s Mandatory

Trump’s Disintegration Means It’s Not Just Safe to Vote Green, It’s Mandatory

A BAR radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

The election is more than two weeks away but the outcome isn’t the least bit in doubt. Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. It’s high time for leftists, so-called progressives and generally sensible people to reconcile themselves to this fact.

The Trump candidacy has shot itself in both feet again and again. Scores of high profile Republican officeholders have deserted their party’s nominee. Donald Trump has failed to rally the section of America’s ruling elite that traditionally backs Republicans seeking high office. Millions in donations one that percenters usually invest in a Republican presidential candidate are finding their way to Hillary, who has opened up a double digit lead in the polls. So many Republican voters are staying home or casting their ballots for Hillary that Democrats may carry some states like Georgia which are normally well out of their reach, and Democrats expect to gain control of the US Senate.

The Donald is certainly a racist demagogue, a thief, liar, a hyper-entitled sexual predator and a loathsome buffoon. But he’ll never be president. Since Trump will in fact never be president, speculations on what kind of neanderthals the imaginary President Trump might appoint to the EPA or the Supreme Court, nightmares about how many millions he’d deport, how high a wall the pretend president might build, or who the imaginary President Trump would jail, drone or nuke after a 3AM Twitter fit are not frightening possibilities we need to take urgent action to avoid. They are bogeyman stories, make-believe, bad science fiction without the science.

If there was ever a need to unite to prevent a President Trump that need is over because the make-believe President Trump has prevented himself. Trump’s definitive meltdown and the temporary or permanent near destruction of the Republican party locks down a runaway victory for Hillary Clinton. It’s a new day, an historic opportunity which opens the way for even the most cautious among us to vote our hopes, not our fears.

Now the Henry Giroux’s of the world who claim voting for the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, the only peace, jobs and justice candidates will lead straight to President Trump and “concentration camps” can stop hyperventilating. The Angela Davis types can reconsider whether those who don’t share their fears of the imaginary President Trump are “narcissists,” and the Hillary shills who claim voting for third parties is “white privilege” can just go away.

Since Hillary Clinton has a double digit lead in the polls, she doesn’t need the votes of so-called left and progressive activists. But those activists have their own needs. They need to build their own political home, their own political party. Right now Stein and Baraka are running at four and five percent in nationwide polls, even though restrictive ballot access laws banned Green candidates from the ballot in four states, and forced them to run as “independents” with no party affiliation in seven or eight more.

If Stein and Baraka get five percent of the vote in November, ballot access for Greens will be a done deal in most states, and the possibility of additional federal campaign funds in presidential years opens as well. So the only ways for left and progressive activists to waste their votes is to stay home, or to give them to Hillary. The only place where your vote matters this year is with the Green Party.

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 co-chair 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: 20161020-bd-new-day.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24am EDT

Unspeakable America

“Having no real defense against the obvious, the Clinton campaign and most of the corporate media painted Wikileaks as an arm of Russian intelligence.”

Let’s get to the point of this commentary right up front: political discourse in the United States is devoid of substance because the people who own the country and its media can no longer justify their continued rule. Capitalism -- in deep and irreversible decline, dominated by a financial class that makes nothing but exotic forms of money -- has nothing to offer the vast bulk of the people, and no solutions for any of the multiplying crises it has created. Having no real program to offer the public, the rulers and their media have no choice but to shut down any semblance of substantive political debate.

In this presidential season most of the ruling class is gathered under Hillary Clinton’s Big Tent. Republican Donald Trump is on the outs, despite his billionaire status, because he has violated several sacred taboos of the One Percent. I’m not talking about his racism -- race is central to politics in the U.S. Trump’s heresy is that he has challenged rich people’s right to take their money and the nation’s jobs, overseas. And Trump has questioned U.S. policies of endless war, regime change, and demonization of Russia.

The truth is, most Americans oppose the deindustrialization of their country, and they know who is responsible: Wall Street. And most Americans do not want to live in a world that is constantly on the brink of war. Even Donald Trump’s white nationalists yearn for some global peace and quiet and an economy with good jobs for average (white) people.

“Trump has violated sacred taboos of the One Percent.”

Hillary Clinton is deservedly known as both a warmonger and a shameless supplicant of Wall Street, whereas Trump exhibits no loyalties to anyone but himself. Wikileaks has done periodic dumps of documents proving, in Clinton and her handlers’ own words, that she is a servant of the ruling class. Having no real defense against the obvious, the Clinton campaign and most of the corporate media painted Wikileaks as an arm of Russian intelligence. The purpose of this New McCarthyism was to inoculate the public against believing Clinton’s own words, as they were spoken to bankers, and at the same time discredit Trump’s position that the U.S. should seek better relations with Russia and stop helping jihadists in Syria. Having no intention to offer peace to the American people or stop supporting the jihadists, the ruling class shut down the conversation.

The New York Times stooped to new lows of Zionistic McCarthyism, last week, when it used the broad brush of anti-Semitism to slime Donald Trump’s critique of what he called a “global elite” that had “stripped” the U.S. of its wealth in order to line the pockets of corporate and political interests. He said Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.” Actually, this is provably true about Hillary Clinton and her past support for so-called free trade – and it’s how today’s capitalist system works, in general. Socialists, and even left liberals, make the same case all the time. But such talk is now verboten, prohibited because the New York Times tells us that anti-Semites like to say such things about “the Jews.”

So, even for mega-capitalists like Trump, critiques of capitalism are beyond the pale – unspeakable.

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: 20161019_gf_Unspeakable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 17, 2016

Glen Ford: If Trump is a Fascist, What is Clinton?

Speaking to a gathering of the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, in Atlanta, Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford challenged those who maintain that progressives are obligated to support Hillary Clinton for president to counter a “fascist” threat from Donald Trump. “I’d like to know how Donald Trump is supposed to build fascism when the ruling class is mostly with the Democrats this election season,” said Ford. “If you are worried about 21st century fascism, you need to check out the tent where the ruling class congregates -- and that’s Hillary’s tent. Most of all, if you’re looking for fascists, go to the sound of the war drums” -- which are also pounding in Hillary’s tent. For voters that are looking for a real anti-fascist and pro-peace presidential ticket, the only choice on the ballot in most states is Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, of the Green Party, said Ford.

In Some States, 20 to 25 Percent of Blacks Disenfranchised by Felonies

A new report by The Sentencing Project shows that six million Americans have been disenfranchised because of felony convictions, with huge consequences for Black America. In four states -- Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia -- one out of every four or five African Americans has lost the right to vote. “These are states with high rates of incarceration and, as is true in every state, the rate of incarceration of African Americans dwarfs that of whites, usually by about a five to one ratio,” said Project executive director Marc Mauer. “The combined effect of high rates of incarceration and the fact that many, if not most, of the people who have completed their sentences are still disenfranchised means that it is a lifetime ban.” Mauer said the U.S. stands alone among industrialized countries in its zeal to disenfranchise ex-felons. “Nothing we know of comes close to this.”

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_20161017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:27pm EDT

Soft Porn Tape Trumps Wikileaks Truths: Hillary’s “Private” Lies Prevail

Even Santa Claus would get outsourced in Hillary’s vision of ‘free trade.’”

There was never any real doubt that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump. Indeed, from the Democrats’ standpoint, Trump was the ideal candidate. Wikileaks documents show that the Democratic National Committee wanted the Republicans to put forward as right-wing a candidate as possible, so that Clinton, who represents the right wing of the Democratic Party, would look good by comparison.

Clinton has long been the favorite of the corporate media, and her best TV friends are at NBC. The network had known for months about the 11-year-old tape in which its current employee, Billy Bush, a cousin and nephew of two presidents, joined with Trump in piggish banter degrading women. NBC chose to release the tape at precisely the right moment to suck the air out of a new batch of Wikileaks documents that could have been catastrophic for the Clinton campaign. As a result, everybody and their mother knows that Trump brags about grabbing women’s private parts, but far fewer folks learned what Clinton said to those bankers and other One Percenters that have paid her $26 million for private speeches. If the contents of her bankster speeches had been divulged at the height of her primary race against Bernie Sanders, Clinton would never have won the nomination, because they reveal her as a methodical, cynical liar who wants to cut Social Security and send millions more jobs overseas.

Clinton told the bankers at Morgan Stanley that she agreed with the co-chairs of President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission, who proposed cutting Social Security and making Americans wait longer to collect their benefits. She called that “the right framework” to “restrain spending” and “incentivize growth”

To earn her $200,000-plus check, Clinton confided to Brazilian bankers that her “dream” is "a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” -- that is, a kind of super-NAFTA agreement that stretches from the North Pole to the South Pole. Even Santa Claus would get outsourced in Hillary’s vision of “free trade.”

Inoculated Against Truth

Clinton told a bunch of real estate developers that rich folks like themselves shouldn’t take her public speeches to the Democratic masses too literally. Her years in politics have taught her, she said, that “you need both a public and a private position.” She is telling the rich and powerful not to worry, because she will protect their interests while lying to the people.

Had NBC not pushed the Wikileaks story to the side with their soft-porn Trump tape, Clinton’s candidacy would have been gravely wounded. But, the Democrats and their corporate media allies have convinced many Americans that everything from Wikileaks is a Russian trick, including documents that come straight from the desk of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and which Podesta does not deny are his. Much of the public has been inoculated against any bombshells of truth from Wikileaks. And if any truth threatens to break through, then the media will find some other way to change the subject, because Big Media are a part of the filthy rich that hope to benefit from Hillary’s “private” positions and public lies.

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: 20161012_ClintonWikied.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 3, 2016

Reparations a Necessity to Correct America’s Crimes

The United Nations panel of experts that blasted the U.S. for its “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality” had no choice but to call for reparations for people of African descent, said Kamm Howard, of NCOBRA, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. “The international community recognizes that reparations is pretty much mandatory when a state has committed those types of crimes,” said Howard. “You have to repair the injury, you have to make the people whole, because these types of injuries are long term and, generally, self-perpetuating.”

Ajamu Baraka: Bush and Obama Backed Jihadist Forces

“This country and the world is more dangerous as a consequence of the rampage the U.S. has been involved in in the so-called Middle East,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka. Speaking on Democracy Now!’s “Expanded Debates,” Baraka said both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the rise of Islamic jihadism. “Under the Bush administration, there was a conscious decision to utilize jihadist forces to advance U.S. policies,” he said. “That policy was continued under the Obama administration. We see the blowback happening across the world.”

Crying Wolf on Fascism

“This notion that we’re going to have a white nationalist fascist takeover in this election, and that we all need to go running to this rightwing fanatic, this arch-corporatist, this lying neoliberal warmonger” -- Hillary Clinton – “is not sticking with a lot of people on the Left,” said historian and political analyst Paul Street. Part of the reason is that “Clinton has such a long and unambiguous track record of really vanguard neoliberalism,” said Street. The Clintons “led the way for the rightward drift of the Democratic Party.”

Nat Turner as Revolutionary Organizer

The slave revolt that swept through Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831, in which about 60 whites were killed and hundreds of Blacks were hanged or murdered in retaliation, was “far more than an impulsive lashing out against mistreatment,” said Dr. Melvin Peters, associate professor of African American Studies at the University of Eastern Michigan. Turner was a man of “unparalleled leadership,” said Peters. “When Turner called out to the recruits, his six men grew to at least 60, maybe 80 freedom fighters, including free Blacks.” Slave insurrections also broke out “all around the Dismal Swamp, even down to Wilmington, North Carolina, in the same time period --- so much so, that they appeared to be coordinated.”

Black Colombians Favored Peace Deal

“The majority of the ‘Yes’ vote came from Afro-descended territories and from those territories where war has hit most strongly at communities,” said Afro-Colombian human rights activist Charo Mina-Rojas. The agreement that would have ended the half-century-long war between FARC guerillas and the Colombian government was narrowly defeated in a referendum, last month. The conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and left more than five million homeless, the majority of them Black. Mina-Rojas called the vote a victory for “the elite.” “We were not shocked,” she said.

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: 20161010_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:23pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 3, 2016

Clinton is Far More Anti-Crime Than Pro-Justice

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed over stop-and-frisk at their first televised debate, Clinton only weakly addressed “the idea of racial justice,” but instead “went immediately to the idea of effectiveness” of stop-and-frisk as a crime-fighting tool. “If a program infringes on civil liberties and violates the Constitution, it doesn’t matter at all if it’s effective or ineffective,” said Chip Gibbons, policy and legislative counsel for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. If, however, the purpose of a policy is “to terrorize people of color, then I supposed you can make an argument that stop-and-frisk is effective in doing that,” said Gibbons.

Trump Not the Only Neo-Fascist Running for President

Hillary Clinton’s “worldview and her policies are just as dangerous as Donald Trump’s,” said Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice presidential candidate. Lots of folks “talk about the coming of neo-fascism under Donald Trump, but don’t understand that the foundation for neo-fascism has already been created under the Obama administration -- and for some of us, in our communities, we have already been subjected to neo-fascist repression.” In Syria, both Clinton and Trump “are committed to the use of military force to advance the interests of the U.S,” said Baraka.

Candidates “Tone-Deaf” to Inner City Demands

“Our big concern was that the presidential candidates were tone-deaf to the avalanche of organizing and fightback against corporate education interventions that are targeting Black and brown neighborhoods all over the United States,” said Jitu Brown, of the Journey for Justice Alliance, representing 40,000 activists in community organizations in 24 cities. The Alliance demands “real, comprehensive equality in education” and a national moratorium on school charters. “We will not give folks the pass that President Obama got,” said Brown.

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: 20161003_Black_Agenda_Radio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 26, 2016

Prison Strike Against Slave Labor Continues

Despite a near-total lack of corporate media coverage, the national prison strike that began September 9 continues at facilities in 11 states, said Pastor Kenneth Glascow, chief outside spokesperson for the Free Alabama Movement, centered at the state prison in Holman. “Some are on hunger strike, some are doing the work stoppage” to protest involuntary servitude at slave wages, said Glascow. “In the near future, we will start boycotting some of those companies that use prison labor.” U.S. unemployment is “not just about ‘outsourcing’” jobs to foreign countries, he said. “It’s also ‘in-sourcing,’ using prison labor.”

Clinton Election Heightens Danger of World War

If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, she will likely name Samantha Power, the current U.S. ambassador to the UN and an architect of the so-called “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine, as her secretary of state or national security advisor, said Duboisian scholar and veteran social activist Dr. Anthony Monteiro. “It is clear that the Clinton foreign policy would be guided by the Pentagon and her own predisposition to settle accounts in the Middle East and with the Assad government and with Russia, militarily,” said Monteiro. “We on the Left -- and, especially, the Black Left – have to begin to raise the question of war and peace as the central question in this election.”

Uhuru Conference: “Africans Need Our Own Theory”

The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (INPDUM) held its national conference in Ferguson, Missouri, this month. “We’ve been borrowing theory from everybody else,” said Movement president Kalambayi Andenet. “What is our interest? We need our own theory, and that’s African internationalism.” INPDUM is part of the African People’s Social Party, chaired by Omali Yeshitela. “We are a revolutionary organization,” he said. “If anybody is going to govern, to rule Black people, it’s got to be Black people, themselves.”

Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia

Hundreds of protestors have been killed in recent months in the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia, victims of the central government’s policy of “ethnic cleansing” of the nation’s two largest population groups, said Tsigereda Mulutega, vice president of the Ethiopian People’s Congress for Struggle (SHENGO). The Ethiopia regime is dominated by people from the Tigrayan ethnic group, which comprises only 6 percent of the population. Ethiopia is the biggest U.S. foreign aid recipient, next to Israel, said Mulutega. Therefore, “it is in the interest of U.S. taxpayers to say ‘no’ to crimes against humanity in Ethiopia.”

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: 20160926_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am EDT

The Obama Legacy: It’s No Crime For Corporations To Steal From the Public, or the Poor

The Obama Legacy: It’s No Crime For Corporations To Steal From the Public, or the Poor

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Today we’re going to look for the Obama legacy in how the federal government treats those who steal from the public or from the poor.

The current bankster scam in the news right now is Wells Fargo, whose bosses deliberately incentivized thousands of $12 an hour employees to buckle down and sell connected financial services to customers who did not need or want them in order to keep their jobs or be eligible for promotion. For the record, Wells Fargo is not the only bank to do this, it’s been a standard kind of corrupt bankster move all over the world for decades. Wells Fargo made billions doing it this time alone.

So how do scamming banksters get handled in the age of Obama, and is it any different from what came before?

The answer is that a thousand or two bank workers will be disciplined or fired. For a small fine, a mere fraction of what its executives stole, Wells Fargo got the Obama Justice Department to co-sign on their professed innocence of any crime and to guarantee their immunity to lawsuits filed by the people they robbed.

Obama’s first attorney general famously declared the banksters too big to prosecute or even investigate, and his second attorney general wrote the fine print on the similar “get out of jail free” and the “can’t be sued by the people I robbed” cards Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and of course Wells Fargo received in 2008-09. It wasn’t always this way. When savings and loan officials scammed the public out of billions during the first Bush administration, federal prosecutors put a couple thousand of them in prison. Obama could have done, and was expected by millions of his voters to do the same. He simply chose not to, which helped Democrats lose the Congress in 2010. In 8 years Democrat Barack Obama has gone further to protect criminal banksters and their investors than any Republican dared go before him.

Take a quick look at the Obama administration’s handling another kind of theft from the poor, wage theft.

Economist Richard Wolff estimates the yearly value of wages which employers refuse to pay, illegally withhold or otherwise steal from their workers in this country at several times the value of all the reported burglaries and armed robberies. Employers traditionally are not prosecuted, and in Los Angeles it’s reported that 83% of workers who WIN a case filed for stolen wages against an employer never recover a cent. Wage theft seems to be an area where little has changed. Previous administrations never bothered themselves about it, and neither did the Obama administration.

Finally not even the briefest of Barack Obama legacy on elite financial crime is incomplete without noting the president’s role in the massive expansion of the charter school racket. The Obama administration spent $4 billion in federal stimulus money outside any congressional or other oversight to incentivize the closing of thousands of so-called “underperforming public schools” mostly in black and poor communities. The near-complete absence of public accountability on the part of charter schools predictably ushered in a nationwide white collar crime wave, as charter school operators, their officers, contractors and their sugar daddy investors scrambled for shares of the cash that used to go to public education.

Thus the past 8 years reveal the definitive Obama legacy on elite financial crime. It’s not just too big to jail. It’s simply not punishable, or even investigatable as long as you steal from the poor or from the public.

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 the co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta Ga, and can be reached at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160921-bd-obama-legacy-elite-financial-crime.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:41pm EDT

Murder by Occupation: Tulsa 2016, Baghdad 2007

“That looks like a bad dude.”

The narrators of the murder were high in the sky, circling the scene of the unfolding, racist crime in their police helicopter. Down below, a large Black man named Terence Crutcher was standing with his hands up next to his disabled car. Four Tulsa, Oklahoma cops had arrayed themselves like a firing squad; one of them, Officer Betty Shelby, was the wife of Dave Shelby, one of the cops in the helicopter. From his elevated vantage point, Officer Dave Shelby provided the voice-over to Terence Crutcher’s last moments of life. “He’s got his hands up there for her now,” said Shelby. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”

You’d think that was a good thing. But, the other cop chimes in immediately: “Time for a Taser, I think.” Officer Shelby says, “I got a feeling that’s about to happen.” His partner clearly wants some damage done to the Black man, below. “That looks like a bad dude, too,” he said. “Could be on something,” he adds -- already providing some kind of drug-crazed justification for the murder that his fellow cops are about to commit. Then, with heaven and her husband Dave watching, Officer Betty Shelby blows Terence Crutcher away. The two cops in the helicopter express no surprise, no shock, no emotion whatsoever. As Terence Crutcher lays dying, the first thing out of Officer Dave Shelby’s mouth was about re-routing traffic around the killing zone.

The helicopter police voice-over of Terence Crutcher’s execution was a ghastly reminder of the video released by Wikileaks of a 2007 mass murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. helicopter gun crews over Baghdad. The Americans were engaged in what I’m sure some of them called “hajji-hunting,” which is the same as what the good ole boys back home call “coon-hunting” -- searching for colored folks to kill. Circling unseen way above the city, the Americans opened fire at an innocent group of unarmed men on a street corner.

Mission Unjustifiable

“Keep shootin. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’,” hollered one of the killers. “Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards,” said his partner. “Nice. Good shootin’,” the other soldier complimented his accomplice in murder. But they weren’t through, yet. The gunship then attacked a van driven by a father with two of his children inside. The voice of American Soldier #1 is heard saying, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

These voices over Baghdad and Tulsa speak the same language: the language of Occupation. When spoken by Americans, this language is always racist, but it also has its own, particular quality of horror. Occupations are always justified as “peace-keeping” missions. Domestic occupiers are called “peace” officers. But their mission is war against a civilian population -- to inflict preemptive terror on an entire mass of people. Since the actual mission cannot be justified, the Occupiers lie to themselves and everybody else about the real nature of their mission. In the end, the Occupied peoples have no choice but to expel their tormentors, or become as insane and morally degraded as they are. This applies just as much in Tulsa as it does in Baghdad. We need Black community control of the police, and an end to the Occupation.

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: 20160921_gf_TulsaToBaghdad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

Murder by Occupation: Tulsa 2016, Baghdad 2007

“That looks like a bad dude.”

The narrators of the murder were high in the sky, circling the scene of the unfolding, racist crime in their police helicopter. Down below, a large Black man named Terence Crutcher was standing with his hands up next to his disabled car. Four Tulsa, Oklahoma cops had arrayed themselves like a firing squad; one of them, Officer Betty Shelby, was the wife of Dave Shelby, one of the cops in the helicopter. From his elevated vantage point, Officer Dave Shelby provided the voice-over to Terence Crutcher’s last moments of life. “He’s got his hands up there for her now,” said Shelby. “This guy is still walking and following commands.”

You’d think that was a good thing. But, the other cop chimes in immediately: “Time for a Taser, I think.” Officer Shelby says, “I got a feeling that’s about to happen.” His partner clearly wants some damage done to the Black man, below. “That looks like a bad dude, too,” he said. “Could be on something,” he adds -- already providing some kind of drug-crazed justification for the murder that his fellow cops are about to commit. Then, with heaven and her husband Dave watching, Officer Betty Shelby blows Terence Crutcher away. The two cops in the helicopter express no surprise, no shock, no emotion whatsoever. As Terence Crutcher lays dying, the first thing out of Officer Dave Shelby’s mouth was about re-routing traffic around the killing zone.

The helicopter police voice-over of Terence Crutcher’s execution was a ghastly reminder of the video released by Wikileaks of a 2007 mass murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S. helicopter gun crews over Baghdad. The Americans were engaged in what I’m sure some of them called “hajji-hunting,” which is the same as what the good ole boys back home call “coon-hunting” -- searching for colored folks to kill. Circling unseen way above the city, the Americans opened fire at an innocent group of unarmed men on a street corner.

Mission Unjustifiable

“Keep shootin. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’,” hollered one of the killers. “Oh, yeah, look at those dead bastards,” said his partner. “Nice. Good shootin’,” the other soldier complimented his accomplice in murder. But they weren’t through, yet. The gunship then attacked a van driven by a father with two of his children inside. The voice of American Soldier #1 is heard saying, “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

These voices over Baghdad and Tulsa speak the same language: the language of Occupation. When spoken by Americans, this language is always racist, but it also has its own, particular quality of horror. Occupations are always justified as “peace-keeping” missions. Domestic occupiers are called “peace” officers. But their mission is war against a civilian population -- to inflict preemptive terror on an entire mass of people. Since the actual mission cannot be justified, the Occupiers lie to themselves and everybody else about the real nature of their mission. In the end, the Occupied peoples have no choice but to expel their tormentors, or become as insane and morally degraded as they are. This applies just as much in Tulsa as it does in Baghdad. We need Black community control of the police, and an end to the Occupation.

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: 20160921_gf_TulsaToBaghdad.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 19, 2016

Kaepernick’s Example Spreads “Like Wildfire”

The same reality confronts the U.S. today as in 1776, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston: “If you treat a people atrociously, you should not expect them to stand by you.” The third stanza of the “Star-Spangled Banner” “explicitly denounces Black people, since they fled en mass to British lines in the War of 1812 and helped to torch the White House in August, 1814,” because the British promised freedom for those who would fight the slave-holding white settlers. Football star Colin Kaepernick’s defiance of the national anthem and flag “is spreading like wildfire,” said Dr. Horne, “and hopefully it will help people to begin to interrogate our past and our present.”

Black Youth Activists “Lobby” for Legislation on Capitol Hill

Black Youth Project 100 and the National Black Justice Coalition launched a lobbying campaign, last week, coinciding with the Congressional Black Caucus’ yearly extravaganza. BYP100 spokesperson Samantha Master said the group’s legislative priorities include the College for All Act, the Health Equity and Accountability Act, the Healthy Families Act, and the Equality Act, among others. “We are going beyond just simple criminal justice reform,” said Master. “We are taking the stance to abolish the system that continually marginalizes Black people.” The lobbying work is intended to be “simultaneous with and intertwined with our base-building work and our grassroots advocacy work,” she said. The overall goal is to build “public policy agendas that create a world where Black people can live in dignity.”

Despite Video, Feds Will Not Charge Cop in Killing Jerame Reid

The police car video clearly showed Jerame Reid’s hands raised in surrender when a Bridgeton, New Jersey cop shot him dead at point blank range, on December 30, 2014.Yet, the local U.S. attorney has refused to charge the officer with any crime. “We categorically reject that decision not to bring a civil rights investigation,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, which has been holding weekly demonstrations at the Federal Building in Newark demanding “justice for Jerame Reid.” Hamm said the Justice Department sets the “bar so high” to prove police culpability, “it’s like a rigged game.”

Mother of Drowned Girl Finds Comradeship in Uhuru Movement

Kunde Ngudi Mwamvita, whose 16 year-old daughter, Dominique, and her two 15 year-old best friends drowned to death when the car they were driving was forced into a pond by Pinellas County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies, was a featured speaker at the Independent People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s annual conference and 25th anniversary, this past weekend, in Ferguson, Missouri. Ms. Mwamvita is suing the county. “We have to be strong,” she said. “But, I can’t be strong by myself. I had to join a group of people who said, ‘Enough is enough -- not one more Black life!’”

Darren Seals is Sixth to Die Suspiciously in Ferguson

Upstairs from the Uhuru Movement conference at Ferguson’s Greater St. Marks Church, family, friends, and “movement” folks attended the funeral of Darren Seals, the 29 year-old activist, rapper and General Motors worker whose body was found in his car, shot and incinerated. Seals’ passing was noted on Kiilu Nyasha’s San Francisco Bay Area television show, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle,” by Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, whose January 1, 2009, killing by a transit cop set off demonstrations that many believe mark the beginning of the current mass movement against police terror. “Darren Seals is the sixth young man since Michael Brown to be assassinated in Ferguson,” said Mr. Johnson. “It appears to be an assassination that is directly related to the police.”

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_20160919.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

Georgia’s Governor Wants To Turn His Public Schools Into Post Katrina New Orlean

Georgia’s Governor Wants To Turn His Public Schools Into Post Katrina New Orleans

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

There’s a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Georgia this November. The word voters will see on their machines election day read thusly:

Amendment #1: Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.

"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?"

It’s Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's cynically misnamed "Opportunity School District" or OSD, the latest atrocity in the bipartisan right wing drive to privatize public education in the United States.

The so-called “Opportunity School District,” as its corporate funded multimillion dollar advertising campaign calls it, empowers the governor, through an agency he appoints, to decide what schools are “failing”, usually by low scores on standardized tests. It authorizes the closing of a hundred Georgia public schools, almost entirely in black Georgia.

The governor then gets to fire up a virtual school district stretching across the entire state, a district in which he alone appoints all the officials on whatever basis at what ever salary suits him. OSD lets the governor create up to a hundred new charter schools in his virtual district to eat the funds which used to go to those public schools. The new OSD charter schools will make fortunes for their investors and contractors, who have already and will continue to donate generously to the governor and his friends. OSD’s charter schools will only be responsible to their own boards and investors, and of course the governor.

There is no “flexibility” or “community involvement” whatsoever. It’s simple school privatization. OSD will strip locally elected school boards, along with parents, teachers and communities of any and all rights to control their schools and the educational destiny of their children.

The only opportunity in Governor Deal’s opportunity school district is a business opportunity for his friends, not an educational opportunity for our children.

The leading candidate to head this contraption is said to be Illinois Democrat Paul Vallas, who shredded the public schools of Chicago and Philly before being named the first head of the post-Katrina New Orleans Recovery School District, an all charter operation created when one-percenters closed all 127 New Orleans public schools. So it’s not metaphor when we say Governor Deal wants to turn Georgia’s schools into those of post-Katrina New Orleans.

Some Democrats DO oppose, though they only criticize Republican privatizers, not Democrats. Some Republicans oppose it too, because OSD will strip locally elected school boards of any semblance of control over the educational futures of children. But the most powerful politicians of both parties do want school privatization. They just don’t like to use p-word, it has “high negatives.” So their privatization amendment is on the ballot, nicely wrapped up to look like something else entirely.

Unlike Democrats and Republicans, many of whom are deep in the pockets of charter school sugar daddies, the Green Party is the only political party which unequivocally opposes school privatization in general and the OSD in particular. If the amendment passes, it will be the biggest set of school closures since Katrina, and Chicago a few years back when Rahm Emanuel shut down 50 schools at once. The eyes of the nation, for a little while will be on Georgia.

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 the co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.


Direct download: 20160914-bd-opportunity_school_dist01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:36pm EDT

Philippines President Has U.S. Target on His Back

“Duterte does not accept being lectured to by the United States, a country with so much Filipino blood on its hands.”

Don’t be surprised if Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte winds up being overthrown or murdered by his own military or national police, acting on behalf of the United States. All most Americans know about President Duterte is that he called President Obama a “son of a whore” – a term Duterte throws around a lot. Duterte later clarified his remarks, saying the object of his anger wasn’t Obama, personally, but “America,” in general. And, that’s quite understandable, because the United States killed as many as one million Filipinos when it colonized the country back in 1898, and still treats the island nation of about 100 million people like a colony. The U.S. holds great influence with the Filipino military, which operates in close collaboration with U.S. Special Forces troops stationed in the country.

Duterte started cursing when he was told that Obama was planning to lecture him at the G-20 Summit meeting in Laos, last week. Duterte does not accept being lectured to by the United States, a country with so much Filipino blood on its hands. Obama, who has ordered the death of tens of thousands in the bombing of six countries, was preparing to criticize Duterte’s policy of killing accused drug dealers on-the-spot, which has so far resulted in about 3,000 deaths. When the Philippines president found out that he was in for a scolding, he exploded:

“You must be kidding,” he said. “Who is he to confront me? America has one too many to answer for the misdeeds in this country … As a matter of fact, we inherited this problem” – meaning, the drug problem – “from the United States. Why? Because they invaded this country and made us their subjugated people … Can I explain the extrajudicial killing? Can they explain the 600,000 Moro massacred in this island?” Duterte was speaking of Mindanao, where he was born.

Americans = No Peace

The U.S. troop presence inflames tensions with the local Muslim population. “The special forces, they have to go,” he said. “They have to go in Mindanao, there are many whites there.”

But, the Black Americans have to go, too. “For as long as we stay with America,” said the Philippine president, “we will never have peace in that land.”

Duterte thinks Obama has some nerve waving his finger about “human rights.”

"Why are you Americans killing the black people there, shooting them down when they are already on the ground?" he asked.

Duterte is popular with his people largely because he is not a puppet of the United States. He calls himself a socialist, and has honored an extended cease fire in the nearly 50-year war with communist guerillas. Duterte says he may begin buying weapons from Russia and China, who offer “soft loans” and better terms. He said he will stop allowing joint patrols of Philippine and U.S. naval forces in the South China sea, and will “follow an independent foreign policy.” And, Duterte says his country doesn’t need American F-16 jets and other expensive weapons.

This is more than enough to get him killed, most likely by the Philippines military, But the hit will be commissioned by the United States, which is not about to allow a president of one of its former colonies to stand in the way of America’s “pivot” to Asia and looming confrontation with the China.

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: 20160914_gf_DuterteTargeted.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 12, 2016

Networks Need to “Do Their Jobs” and Hold 4-Way Debates

RootsAction.Org is circulating a petition urging the television networks and cable news operations to “do their job, to hold a presidential debate with all the candidates that should appropriately be in it,” said veteran antiwar activist David Swanson. The Democrat- and Republican-controlled debate commission “was created to keep other candidates out and to keep any serious questions out,” while the petition demands that the debates be “open to any candidate who is already on ballots in enough states to win and who is either at 5 percent in the polls or has a majority saying they should be in the debates,” said Swanson. “Just adding Jill Stein would create an entirely different conversation, that just won’t be there with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” he said.

Baraka: Clinton is “Lying” About Her Support for TPP

Speaking at a Green Party rally in Chicago, vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka urged voters to dismiss Hillary Clinton’s claim that she no longer supports the Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade deal. “If you understand her history, her ideological orientation, you know that she is lying. She is a neoliberal capitalist and she supports TPP,” said Baraka. “This campaign is about building a movement, it’s about building an alternative to the status quo. It is recognizing that we are in a protracted struggle for fundamental change,” he said.

Priority in Pittsburgh: Community Control of the Police

“We have a police union that is at the forefront of maintaining a violent and white supremacist type of police presence,” said Khalid Raheem, of the New Afrikan Independence Party, which recently held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In order for any serious change to come about,” he said, “we really have to have community control of the police, and that means we have to dismantle the current system and replace it with something that’s controlled and run by the people, themselves.” The New African Independence Party is part of the Black Is Back Coalition.

Blacks Suspect Police Involvement in Ferguson Activist’s Death

Darren Seals, who gained national attention as part of community resistance to massive police repression in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of Michael Brown, in 2014, was found shot to death and incinerated in his car last week. “The word on the streets is that somebody paid $10,000 for it to happen, it was police-motivated,” said Edwin Chanell, who collaborated on various projects with Seals. “He was an activist from the streets, trying to bring the community together.” Chanell’s New Generation Black Council works with gang members in Greater St. Louis.

Black Teacher Shunned the Flag Before Colin Kaepernick was Born

Back in 1985, Hardy Williams was fired from his coaching position at a Los Angeles high school for turning his back on the national anthem. Williams won a $25,000 settlement in a suit against his principal and the school district. Now turning 70, he said he’s been shunning the American flag and anthem since 1973. “I don’t honor it. In my opinion, American doesn’t honor us,” said Williams, who was “elated” to hear of Colin Kaepernick’s game-time actions. “I think, hopefully, that I’ll be able to meet him.”

Black Colombians Prepare for Peace Deal Signing

On September 26, FARC guerillas and the Colombian government will sign an historic accord to end a more than half-century of civil war, to be followed by a popular referendum on the agreement, October 2. Charo Mina-Rojas, a national coordinator of the Black Communities Process in Colombia, said Afro-Colombians worry that demobilized guerillas will be relocated close to Black and indigenous people’s territories, and that right-wing paramilitaries show signs of stepping up their activities. “We are concerned about how the implementation of these agreements is going to happen, and how we are a part of the process,” she said.

Mumia: Give Generously to Prison Radio

The nation’s best known political prisoner is asking his supporters to help Prison Radio “keep the wolf from the door.” Prison Radio distributes regular commentaries by Mumia Abu Jamal and reports from other activists in America’s Gulag. “Prison Radio has brought you the voices behind the walls -- the fastest growing public housing development in America,” said Abu Jamal.

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_sept12_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 12, 2016

Networks Need to “Do Their Jobs” and Hold 4-Way Debates

RootsAction.Org is circulating a petition urging the television networks and cable news operations to “do their job, to hold a presidential debate with all the candidates that should appropriately be in it,” said veteran antiwar activist David Swanson. The Democrat- and Republican-controlled debate commission “was created to keep other candidates out and to keep any serious questions out,” while the petition demands that the debates be “open to any candidate who is already on ballots in enough states to win and who is either at 5 percent in the polls or has a majority saying they should be in the debates,” said Swanson. “Just adding Jill Stein would create an entirely different conversation, that just won’t be there with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” he said.

Baraka: Clinton is “Lying” About Her Support for TPP

Speaking at a Green Party rally in Chicago, vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka urged voters to dismiss Hillary Clinton’s claim that she no longer supports the Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade deal. “If you understand her history, her ideological orientation, you know that she is lying. She is a neoliberal capitalist and she supports TPP,” said Baraka. “This campaign is about building a movement, it’s about building an alternative to the status quo. It is recognizing that we are in a protracted struggle for fundamental change,” he said.

Priority in Pittsburgh: Community Control of the Police

“We have a police union that is at the forefront of maintaining a violent and white supremacist type of police presence,” said Khalid Raheem, of the New Afrikan Independence Party, which recently held its annual conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “In order for any serious change to come about,” he said, “we really have to have community control of the police, and that means we have to dismantle the current system and replace it with something that’s controlled and run by the people, themselves.” The New African Independence Party is part of the Black Is Back Coalition.

Blacks Suspect Police Involvement in Ferguson Activist’s Death

Darren Seals, who gained national attention as part of community resistance to massive police repression in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of Michael Brown, in 2014, was found shot to death and incinerated in his car last week. “The word on the streets is that somebody paid $10,000 for it to happen, it was police-motivated,” said Edwin Chanell, who collaborated on various projects with Seals. “He was an activist from the streets, trying to bring the community together.” Chanell’s New Generation Black Council works with gang members in Greater St. Louis.

Black Teacher Shunned the Flag Before Colin Kaepernick was Born

Back in 1985, Hardy Williams was fired from his coaching position at a Los Angeles high school for turning his back on the national anthem. Williams won a $25,000 settlement in a suit against his principal and the school district. Now turning 70, he said he’s been shunning the American flag and anthem since 1973. “I don’t honor it. In my opinion, American doesn’t honor us,” said Williams, who was “elated” to hear of Colin Kaepernick’s game-time actions. “I think, hopefully, that I’ll be able to meet him.”

Black Colombians Prepare for Peace Deal Signing

On September 26, FARC guerillas and the Colombian government will sign an historic accord to end a more than half-century of civil war, to be followed by a popular referendum on the agreement, October 2. Charo Mina-Rojas, a national coordinator of the Black Communities Process in Colombia, said Afro-Colombians worry that demobilized guerillas will be relocated close to Black and indigenous people’s territories, and that right-wing paramilitaries show signs of stepping up their activities. “We are concerned about how the implementation of these agreements is going to happen, and how we are a part of the process,” she said.

Mumia: Give Generously to Prison Radio

The nation’s best known political prisoner is asking his supporters to help Prison Radio “keep the wolf from the door.” Prison Radio distributes regular commentaries by Mumia Abu Jamal and reports from other activists in America’s Gulag. “Prison Radio has brought you the voices behind the walls -- the fastest growing public housing development in America,” said Abu Jamal.

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_sept12_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

Trump Might Call for Four-Way Debates – But Only If He Thinks He Can’t Win

“Trump might do the right thing, but only to protect his own fragile ego.”

On Tuesday night, just as I was preparing to do a commentary on whether Donald Trump might threaten to drop out of the televised debates if the candidates for the Green and Libertarian Parties weren’t allowed to participate, I ran across a story that claimed Trump had already done just that. A website called the Santa Monica Observer reported the Trump decision as fact, but without naming a source. Nobody else ran the story, and the Trump campaign said it wasn’t true, so it was probably a hoax. However, a Trump threat to boycott the debates remains a tantalizing prospect, given that, back in 2000, he said it was “disgraceful” that the Democrats and Republicans were able to shut the smaller parties out of the presidential debates. Green Party campaign senior advisor Kevin Zeese has all but dared Trump to live up to his principled stance of 16 years ago.

Principles aside, Trump has some self-centered reasons to want Jill Stein and Gary Johnson standing next to him and Hillary on September 26th. Very few Green Party supporters would vote for Trump under any circumstances, so a good showing by Stein doesn’t come at his expense. But, according to recent polls, voters that now plan to pull the lever for Gary Johnson’s Libertarian campaign would otherwise be split about evenly between Trump and Clinton. Therefore, Trump would appear to have a relative net advantage over Clinton if there were a vigorous, four-way presidential contest.

“Back in 2000, Trump said it was ‘disgraceful’ that the Democrats and Republicans were able to shut the smaller parties out of the presidential debates.”

I personally don’t think that such mathematical calculations are central to the way Donald Trump thinks. He really is a narcissist who always talks about winning and can’t stand to lose. And, unless that comb-over has affected his brain cells, he should know that Clinton is even better at lying on her feet than he is. She studies her lies, while Trump just makes things up as he goes along. If Trump becomes convinced that he is going to lose this election badly or be humiliated in the debates, he will seek to muddy the waters by introducing other actors into the contest, so that Clinton can’t say she beat him one-on-one. That is, he’ll do the right thing, and call for Stein and Johnson’s participation in the debates, but only in order to protect his own fragile ego. Right now, some polls are showing Trump even with Clinton, which is probably bad news for Stein and Johnson’s chances of getting in the first debate – but that could change quickly.

There is little hope that Stein and Johnson will average 15 percent in the polls – the arbitrary cut-off the Republicans and Democrats have imposed to keep third parties out. That’s because the media corporations that both commission the polls and monopolize the news dedicate only one half of one percent of their election coverage to the Green and Libertarian Parties. As a result, about one-third of the public has never even heard of Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. This is what elections have come to in an age when monopoly capital has a monopoly on information and defines what is and isn’t news and who is and isn’t worthy of public office. Both Trump and Clinton are products of this dictatorship of capital. It’s a crime that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson won’t be seen by the debate’s huge audience unless Donald Trump is convinced he can’t win.

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: 20160907_FourWayDebate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 7, 2016

20th Anniversary of Clinton’s War Against the Poor

It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress destroyed “welfare as we knew it” by replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the “workfare” regime called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The result, said Maureen Taylor, chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, is growing poverty in the United States. Taylor says TANF should be changed to DANF, standing for “Disappearing Aid for Needy Families.” Residents of Michigan are only eligible for cash assistance for five years in their lifetimes. It’s a shame, said Taylor, how the political class is “turning, not against poverty, but trying to turn the nation against poor folks.”

Judge Finds Way to Avoid Ordering Hep C Cure for Mumia

A federal judge agreed that it is unconstitutional for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to deny curative medical treatment to Mumia Abu Jamal and thousands of other prisoners suffering from Hepatitis C. However, the court then ruled that Abu Jamal’s suit was technically flawed. Noelle Hanrahan, a director of Prison Radio who works closely with Mumia, was outraged that the state has condemned thousands of prisoners to early and unnecessary deaths. “You can’t construct a situation that is more grossly inhumane,” she said.

Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, was more upbeat about the ruling. “It’s a good beginning that a federal judge recognizes that what the Commonwealth is doing, and has been doing for years, is not only unjust but unconstitutional, a violation of fundamental fairness and the human right to life,” he said.

Clinton and Trump Fear TV Debate with Stein and Johnson

“Our view is that if you have the potential for 270 Electoral College votes -- if you are on enough ballots to achieve that -- then you should be in the debate,” said Kevin Zeese, the veteran activist recently named as senior advisor to the Green Party’s Jill Stein-Ajamu Baraka presidential ticket. Zeese notes that polls show half the American public wants the televised debates open to Stein and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. However, the debates are a joint venture of the Democratic and Republican parties, who call the shots. “It’s a disgrace to democracy,” said Zeese, “that they can choose who they will debate.”

Obama Neutralized Blacks for Most of His Term

Barack Obama’s presidency has been “the highest expression” of the U.S. government’s long campaign to “neutralize the Black liberation movement,” said BAR regular contributor Danny Haiphong, who this week posted the ninth in his ten-part series on the Obama legacy. “It really wasn’t until 2014, when Obama was in his last years, that any semblance of a movement against issues like police brutality and racism began to come back to the fore,” said Haiphong. Black liberationist politics has been suppressed for two generations, said Haiphong, “with the help of a Black misleadership class that has diluted, sanitized and almost destroyed, up until recently, the Black Radical Tradition.”

U.S. Anti-War Movement Under Attack

A recent article by Terry Burke in the leftish magazine In These Times attacked a broad range of anti-war activists and groups for opposing the U.S. war against Syria. Burke claims U.S. activists aren’t listening to “the Syrian people.” In response, Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, said the U.S. insists on regime change in Syria, and “anyone who has any confusion as to where that leads has only to look at Libya and at Iraq and see the howling wasteland that has been created” by U.S. intervention.

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_20160905.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 7, 2016

20th Anniversary of Clinton’s War Against the Poor

It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress destroyed “welfare as we knew it” by replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the “workfare” regime called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The result, said Maureen Taylor, chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, is growing poverty in the United States. Taylor says TANF should be changed to DANF, standing for “Disappearing Aid for Needy Families.” Residents of Michigan are only eligible for cash assistance for five years in their lifetimes. It’s a shame, said Taylor, how the political class is “turning, not against poverty, but trying to turn the nation against poor folks.”

Judge Finds Way to Avoid Ordering Hep C Cure for Mumia

A federal judge agreed that it is unconstitutional for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to deny curative medical treatment to Mumia Abu Jamal and thousands of other prisoners suffering from Hepatitis C. However, the court then ruled that Abu Jamal’s suit was technically flawed. Noelle Hanrahan, a director of Prison Radio who works closely with Mumia, was outraged that the state has condemned thousands of prisoners to early and unnecessary deaths. “You can’t construct a situation that is more grossly inhumane,” she said.

Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, was more upbeat about the ruling. “It’s a good beginning that a federal judge recognizes that what the Commonwealth is doing, and has been doing for years, is not only unjust but unconstitutional, a violation of fundamental fairness and the human right to life,” he said.

Clinton and Trump Fear TV Debate with Stein and Johnson

“Our view is that if you have the potential for 270 Electoral College votes -- if you are on enough ballots to achieve that -- then you should be in the debate,” said Kevin Zeese, the veteran activist recently named as senior advisor to the Green Party’s Jill Stein-Ajamu Baraka presidential ticket. Zeese notes that polls show half the American public wants the televised debates open to Stein and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. However, the debates are a joint venture of the Democratic and Republican parties, who call the shots. “It’s a disgrace to democracy,” said Zeese, “that they can choose who they will debate.”

Obama Neutralized Blacks for Most of His Term

Barack Obama’s presidency has been “the highest expression” of the U.S. government’s long campaign to “neutralize the Black liberation movement,” said BAR regular contributor Danny Haiphong, who this week posted the ninth in his ten-part series on the Obama legacy. “It really wasn’t until 2014, when Obama was in his last years, that any semblance of a movement against issues like police brutality and racism began to come back to the fore,” said Haiphong. Black liberationist politics has been suppressed for two generations, said Haiphong, “with the help of a Black misleadership class that has diluted, sanitized and almost destroyed, up until recently, the Black Radical Tradition.”

U.S. Anti-War Movement Under Attack

A recent article by Terry Burke in the leftish magazine In These Times attacked a broad range of anti-war activists and groups for opposing the U.S. war against Syria. Burke claims U.S. activists aren’t listening to “the Syrian people.” In response, Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, said the U.S. insists on regime change in Syria, and “anyone who has any confusion as to where that leads has only to look at Libya and at Iraq and see the howling wasteland that has been created” by U.S. intervention.

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_20160905.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

The Imperial Consensus, Part 1: Hillary and Trump, Republicans and the Congressional Black Caucus Agree on Israeli Apartheid

The Imperial Consensus, Part 1: Hillary and Trump, Republicans and the Congressional Black Caucus Agree on Israeli Apartheid

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For the two capitalist parties this election year, nothing is more important than controlling the public convertsation. Republicans want you to know that Hillary is a liar and a crook. Democrats need to keep reminding you that Trump is an unrepentant racist and con man. What neither party or candidate, and none of the corporate media news outlets talk about are the places where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are on the same page, the issues on which the entire one-percenter US political establishment is of a single mind. So for the next couple weeks here at Black Agenda Report, we’ll talk about where Hillary and Donald Trump agree.

The first obvious point of agreement in the US political establishment, not just between Hillary and Trump, but between all the corporate media outlets and from the downticket hacks and flacks on the Republican side to the Congressional Black Caucus and the so-called Progressive Caucus there is nearly unanimous and unflinching support for the apartheid state of Israel.

From the moment of its founding in 1948, Israel has been a vicious colonial settler state, a savage ethnocracy bent upon the violent expulsion and dispossession of all the land’s non-Jewish inhabitants. To maintain its high-tech, well-armed, white military outpost in that sea of brown people next to a large fraction of the planet’s most easily accessible oil, the US has made itself Israel’s armorer, financier and diplomatic sugar daddy, an arrangement condoned by the leaders of both imperialist parties.

Both Trump and Hillary showed up at AIPAC’s annual meeting in March. Trump declared Israel “a strategic ally” and “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Hillary doubled down and denounced the nonviolent global movement to boycott, divest from and sanction the apartheid regime as “alarming,” equating it to antisemitism.

And it’s not just the one percenter presidential candidates. Republicans from John Kasich and John McCain and Democrats from Rahm Emanuel to the Congressional Black Caucus are solid, nearly unanimous backers of re-arming, re-financing and diplomatically reinforcing the apartheid state. New York governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, championed and signed into law a 2016 bill banning individuals and corporations identified as supporting the BDS movement from contracting with the state, and provided for a state-run blacklist of BDS supporters, much like the old Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which furnished information about local Freedom Movement activists of the 1950s and 60s to vigilantes who harassed and sometimes murdered them.

Outside the US, Israel’s pedigree as an apartheid state is almost universally recognized. But the only US presidential candidate to utter the words “Israel” and “apartheid” in the same sentence has been the Green Party’s Jill Stein, whom Democrats and Republicans alike desperately need to ban from televised debates, lest she expose not the difference between the two corporate parties, but the distance between them and the American people.

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 member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.


 

Direct download: 20160831-bd-imperial-consensus-part1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:31am EDT

Don’t Let the Russians Corrupt the U.S. Elections System! (Don’t Make Me Laugh)

There is no U.S. elections integrity for the Russians to destroy, even if they wanted to.”

Hillary Clinton is cold – not like ice, but like the Cold War. She will do anything to return to the White House, including risking thermonuclear war with Russia. Her “Big Tent” campaign apparatus is overflowing with an influx of the most warlike elements of both major parties, now united in a crusade to give Clinton a huge electoral mandate for global aggression. Clinton knows she can’t get such a mandate simply by beating the pants off the amateur white nationalist, Donald Trump. All that would prove is that voters dislike her less than they dislike him -- which isn’t saying much. To give her victory in November a truly triumphal character, she must be seen as saving the nation from an existential threat. Russia is easily made to fit the bill, as the nation that has been Uncle Sam’s boogeyman for nearly a century.

It’s not so much that Clinton has linked Trump to Russia – but that she has smeared Russia with Trump. It is obvious that Clinton has been planning for years to ride into the White House on a warhorse. No sooner than she left the State Department, she was comparing President Vladimir Putin to Hitler. Now she’s infected her entire Big Tent with rabies. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is frothing at the mouth about a Russian threat to tamper with the 2016 elections. The Nevada senator cites remarks by former CIA chief Michael Morell, who combined his endorsement of Hillary with a charge that Donald Trump was an “unwitting agent” of Putin, and that Russian tampering with U.S. elections represents “one of the gravest threats to our democracy since the Cold War.” Senator Reid fears the Russians might mess with elections in five or six states. He wants the FBI to open an investigation. FBI agents have told reporters that foreign hackers broke into voter files in two states: Arizona and Illinois.

U.S. Elections are Shams

Of course, Trump doesn’t work for anybody but himself, and the Russians are the last people that American voters have to fear. U.S. elections lack credibility because of endemic racism and corruption that is hardwired into the system, itself. Massive purges of Black voters in Florida and tampering with polling places in Black precincts in Ohio rendered invalid the results of the 2000 and 2004 elections. Yet, the Democrats did not protest the blatant tampering in 2000, and only one U.S. Senator, Barbara Boxer of California, challenged the results in 2004. The validity of U.S. elections has only gotten worse since then, with hundreds of Jim Crow-style voting restrictions introduced in virtually every state in the union. There is no U.S. elections integrity for the Russians to destroy, even if they wanted to.

The U.S., however, has interfered in Russia’s elections, quite blatantly in 2012. In the period after World War Two, the U.S. sabotaged elections in France and Italy, trying to keep out the communists. Hillary Clinton’s underling at the U.S. State Department, Victoria Nuland, bragged that the U.S. spent $5 billion interfering in Ukrainian politics, until finally engineering a coup that threw out the elected government.

The United States has opposed democracy everywhere in the world. The rulers of this country do not want free and fair elections, at home or abroad. Neither does Hillary Clinton. She prefers war. And that’s a cold fact.

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: 20160831_gf_RussiaUSElections.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:41am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 29, 2016

The district court in Sherwood, Arkansas, is in gross violation of a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against imprisoning people for debt, according to a class action suit filed by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Arkansas ACLU. Much like the pattern of abuse documented by a U.S. Justice Department in Ferguson, Missouri, Sherwood derives as much as 12 percent of its revenues from “imposing mounting fines or fees tied to very low level offenses,” said Lawyers Committee president Kristen Clarke. One of Clarke’s clients wound up spending 25 days in jail and owing nearly $3,000 to the courts because she bounced a $28.93 check. “Our hope is that we can bring national attention to this problem, and that we might inspire action by the Congress to breathe life back into this Supreme Court ruling,” said Clarke.

Reformers Hope Private Prison Phase-Out Will Spread

The Obama administration’s announcement that it will phase out contracting with private prisons in the federal system is “a real notable moment,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, in Washington. “It’s yet another indication that the growing critique and challenge to mass incarceration is really gaining ground,” said Mauer. The vast bulk of the nation’s 2.4 million inmates are held in local and state institutions, and most immigrants under detention are not affected by the executive order. However, Mauer is “hopeful” that there will be a “spillover effect.”

Mumia: Trump or Clinton – Choose Your Poison

The nation faces “incredibly grim” choices for president, according to America’s best known political prisoner. Mumia Abu Jamal said Donald Trump is “an overt racist” while Hillary Clinton is a neoliberal that “supported one of the most poisonous public policies in decades: the prison industrial complex.” Neoliberalism, he said, is the “politics of repression with a smile.”

A Green Foreign Policy Against Permanent War

“Permanent war is a central part of the elite agenda,” said Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, in an interview on Pacifica radio station KPFA. Since the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S. has tried to impose “full spectrum dominance” over the entire planet, said the veteran human rights activist and editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “That policy was adopted and embraced by the Obama administration, and it is also embraced by Hillary Clinton.” Obama’s so-called “free trade” agreements are “the economic arm of full spectrum dominance,” said Baraka.

Confused Writer Claims Anti-War Movement is “Imperialist”

In an article in the leftish magazine In These Times, Terry Burke denounced activists that oppose the U.S. proxy war against Syria as being, themselves, “imperialist.” Burke lashed out at a long list of activists and organizations, including UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “That’s illogical,” said Margaret Kimberley, an editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report who serves on UNAC’s administrative committee. Burke and her ilk “are not opposed to U.S. intervention,” and are “pro any intervention run by a Democratic president,” said Kimberley, while UNAC “is steadfast in opposing American intervention abroad. That means we must oppose the 5-year-long war of terror waged against the country and the people of Syria.”

Philippines War May Be Nearing Resolution

The Philippine government and communist guerillas of the New People’s Army wrapped up the first phase of negotiations to end a 50-year-long war in the former U.S. colony. Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of Bayam USA, which represents the above ground and armed resistance forces, said the breakthrough occurred because President Rodrigo Duterte “was not elected as the usual U.S. hand-picked candidate of the Philippines.” The country’s army and police, however, have “historically been a proxy army for the U.S...to kill off the longest armed revolution in the region against the U.S. – the Philippine revolution,” said Ellorin. Phase Two of the talks begins in October. In the meantime, President Duterte has ordered his armed forces to respect the mutual ceasefire.

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_20160829.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:02am EDT

Katrina and Other Catastrophes

The New Orleans model has gone national.”

Eleven years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, killing at least 1,200 people – although no one will ever know the actual death toll because most of the victims were Black and poor and, therefore, were never considered important enough to count.

What was important to the rulers of this country, in the aftermath of Katrina, was making sure that as many as possible of the displaced Black residents would not be allowed to return to the city. Before the waters had fully subsided, corporate planners were exulting in the opportunity to build a new New Orleans, a much whiter and richer metropolis. Katrina had ethnically cleansed the city -- permanently exiling 100,000 Blacks -- and the Lords of Capital could not contain their jubilation. What Blacks experienced as catastrophe was celebrated as a renaissance.

Katrina was a godsend for Disaster Capitalism, and provided a model for capitalists to create future disasters for Black people. President Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans" because it allowed school privatizers to fire all of the city’s teachers, 71 percent of them Black, and turn most of the schools into charters. Instead of firing Duncan for his outrageously callous and deeply racist remarks, President Obama joined in praising the so-called “recovery” of a city that had shed about a third of its Black population and was on the way to becoming the nation’s first all-charter school system. Over the next several years, Obama’s Race to the Top program would coerce states to create a “market” for charter schools or face the loss of federal education funds. Katrina paved the way to a catastrophe for public education, nationwide.

Black Caucus Muzzled, Easily

During the last weeks of the summer of 2005, when the magnitude of the disaster became apparent, it seemed that almost every Black community organization responded with some kind of Katrina support program. But, there was no political response from the Congressional Black Caucus, in Washington. The Democratic Party hoped to regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t want the Party to appear too pro-Black. She ordered her members to boycott the Republicans’ hearings on Katrina, and Democrats held no hearings of their own. In the face of what was then the greatest Black catastrophe of the 21st century, the Congressional Black Caucus allowed itself to be muzzled.

The Black political class’s abject failure to respond to Katrina guaranteed that there would be more catastrophes for Black folks. The Lords of Capital realized that, if they could get away with massive ethnic cleansing in New Orleans, while the whole world was watching, they could ratchet up the speed of gentrification and Black removal all across the country. Soon, half of the Black citizens of Michigan were disenfranchised by an emergency financial manager regime that took over all of the state’s heavily Black cities. The New Orleans model has gone national, because the rulers of this country know that they don’t need a storm to drive Black folks from the cities – and that there will be no resistance from a selfish, useless Black Misleadership Class.

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: 20160824_gf_KatrinaCatastrophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

Katrina and Other Catastrophes

The New Orleans model has gone national.”

Eleven years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, killing at least 1,200 people – although no one will ever know the actual death toll because most of the victims were Black and poor and, therefore, were never considered important enough to count.

What was important to the rulers of this country, in the aftermath of Katrina, was making sure that as many as possible of the displaced Black residents would not be allowed to return to the city. Before the waters had fully subsided, corporate planners were exulting in the opportunity to build a new New Orleans, a much whiter and richer metropolis. Katrina had ethnically cleansed the city -- permanently exiling 100,000 Blacks -- and the Lords of Capital could not contain their jubilation. What Blacks experienced as catastrophe was celebrated as a renaissance.

Katrina was a godsend for Disaster Capitalism, and provided a model for capitalists to create future disasters for Black people. President Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans" because it allowed school privatizers to fire all of the city’s teachers, 71 percent of them Black, and turn most of the schools into charters. Instead of firing Duncan for his outrageously callous and deeply racist remarks, President Obama joined in praising the so-called “recovery” of a city that had shed about a third of its Black population and was on the way to becoming the nation’s first all-charter school system. Over the next several years, Obama’s Race to the Top program would coerce states to create a “market” for charter schools or face the loss of federal education funds. Katrina paved the way to a catastrophe for public education, nationwide.

Black Caucus Muzzled, Easily

During the last weeks of the summer of 2005, when the magnitude of the disaster became apparent, it seemed that almost every Black community organization responded with some kind of Katrina support program. But, there was no political response from the Congressional Black Caucus, in Washington. The Democratic Party hoped to regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t want the Party to appear too pro-Black. She ordered her members to boycott the Republicans’ hearings on Katrina, and Democrats held no hearings of their own. In the face of what was then the greatest Black catastrophe of the 21st century, the Congressional Black Caucus allowed itself to be muzzled.

The Black political class’s abject failure to respond to Katrina guaranteed that there would be more catastrophes for Black folks. The Lords of Capital realized that, if they could get away with massive ethnic cleansing in New Orleans, while the whole world was watching, they could ratchet up the speed of gentrification and Black removal all across the country. Soon, half of the Black citizens of Michigan were disenfranchised by an emergency financial manager regime that took over all of the state’s heavily Black cities. The New Orleans model has gone national, because the rulers of this country know that they don’t need a storm to drive Black folks from the cities – and that there will be no resistance from a selfish, useless Black Misleadership Class.

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: 20160824_gf_KatrinaCatastrophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 24, 2016

Presidential Pollsters Ask the Wrong Question

“There’s no major poll that I know of that asks the American public who they want to be president,” said journalist and VotePact founder Sam Husseini. Instead, the five polling outfits that decide if candidates have enough support to appear in televised debates ask, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” Husseini believes “there are probably millions of people who would want to vote for third parties,” but plan to pull the lever for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as “a tactical maneuver.” Theoretically -- especially with Clinton and Trump rated unfavorably by majorities of Americans -- “we could have majority appeal for third party candidates right now, but we would never know it because nobody’s” asking the right question.

Clintonites Play Foul Against Greens

Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka said so-called “liberal” Clinton supporters “are trying to undermine the moral authority that we have as a campaign that stands up for the working class in this country to advance principles that transcend the limitations of liberalism; to talk about a new kind of democracy and an economic liberation that goes beyond the limitations of capitalism.” Baraka, a veteran human rights activist and editor at Black Agenda Report, said the Clintonites slime the Greens as part of the ‘loony left’ to “try to undermine this oppositional moment.”

Black Is Back Coalition Stresses Centrality of Self-Determination

For decades, the conversation around Black liberation in the United States has been missing the critical element of self-determination, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The movement that emerged in Ferguson in 2014 “wasn’t about body cameras, and it wasn’t about police-community review boards. We criticized those who could not even make a demand on the system,” Yeshitela told a gathering of the coalition, in Philadelphia. The coalition approved a list of 19 demands as the basis for a Black Agenda for Self Determination, to be submitted to the annual Black Is Back national conference in Washington, November 5 and 6.

Ralph Poynter, the veteran activist and husband of people’s lawyer and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart, assumed the chairmanship of the coalition’s Political Prisoners Working Group. “The modern death penalty -- 80 percent Black -- moved lynching indoors,” said Poynter. “The police, as the army of occupation, have taken lynching outside, again. The lynch mob is the racist system, including the courts and the media.”

Detroit Schools Activists Win Court Battle

A Michigan judge excoriated the state-run Detroit school district for attempting to bar Steve Conn and Nicole Conaway from advocating teacher strikes against the privatization and forced deterioration of the public schools. The district’s request for an injunction against Conn, a former president of the local teachers union, and Conaway, of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), was “offensive to free speech,” said the judge. “We’re certainly going to urge more protests to defeat the governor for destroying our schools,” said Conn.

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_20160822.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 24, 2016

Presidential Pollsters Ask the Wrong Question

“There’s no major poll that I know of that asks the American public who they want to be president,” said journalist and VotePact founder Sam Husseini. Instead, the five polling outfits that decide if candidates have enough support to appear in televised debates ask, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” Husseini believes “there are probably millions of people who would want to vote for third parties,” but plan to pull the lever for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as “a tactical maneuver.” Theoretically -- especially with Clinton and Trump rated unfavorably by majorities of Americans -- “we could have majority appeal for third party candidates right now, but we would never know it because nobody’s” asking the right question.

Clintonites Play Foul Against Greens

Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka said so-called “liberal” Clinton supporters “are trying to undermine the moral authority that we have as a campaign that stands up for the working class in this country to advance principles that transcend the limitations of liberalism; to talk about a new kind of democracy and an economic liberation that goes beyond the limitations of capitalism.” Baraka, a veteran human rights activist and editor at Black Agenda Report, said the Clintonites slime the Greens as part of the ‘loony left’ to “try to undermine this oppositional moment.”

Black Is Back Coalition Stresses Centrality of Self-Determination

For decades, the conversation around Black liberation in the United States has been missing the critical element of self-determination, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The movement that emerged in Ferguson in 2014 “wasn’t about body cameras, and it wasn’t about police-community review boards. We criticized those who could not even make a demand on the system,” Yeshitela told a gathering of the coalition, in Philadelphia. The coalition approved a list of 19 demands as the basis for a Black Agenda for Self Determination, to be submitted to the annual Black Is Back national conference in Washington, November 5 and 6.

Ralph Poynter, the veteran activist and husband of people’s lawyer and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart, assumed the chairmanship of the coalition’s Political Prisoners Working Group. “The modern death penalty -- 80 percent Black -- moved lynching indoors,” said Poynter. “The police, as the army of occupation, have taken lynching outside, again. The lynch mob is the racist system, including the courts and the media.”

Detroit Schools Activists Win Court Battle

A Michigan judge excoriated the state-run Detroit school district for attempting to bar Steve Conn and Nicole Conaway from advocating teacher strikes against the privatization and forced deterioration of the public schools. The district’s request for an injunction against Conn, a former president of the local teachers union, and Conaway, of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), was “offensive to free speech,” said the judge. “We’re certainly going to urge more protests to defeat the governor for destroying our schools,” said Conn.

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_20160822.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:18pm EDT

Blacks to Arrive at Promised Land in Year 2244

“In the year 2043, white households will already be a cool $1 million richer than Black households.”

No wonder there has been such an obscene growth in the Black “prosperity” church ministry. Study after study has shown that it will take a miracle for Black people in the United States to ever close the gap with whites in household wealth – that is, under the system of capitalism. The latest report on just how impossible that dream is, is titled the Ever Growing Gap. It was conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Corporation for Enterprise Development, both located in Washington. Based on the steady erosion of Black and Latino household wealth compared to whites over the past 30 years, the authors project that it would take 228 years -- into the middle of the 23rd century -- for Black Americans to amass as much wealth as the median white household already possesses. Latinos are on a somewhat faster track; they would become as wealthy as present-day white families in the year 2097,.

Only 27 years from now, in the year 2043, when the U.S. Census Bureau projects that Blacks, Latinos and other people of color will outnumber white Anglos in the United States, white households will already be a cool $1 million richer than Black households, according to the new study.

Dedrick Asante Muhammed was one of the numbers crunchers. He was also instrumental in a 2004 “State of the Dream” report, that shocked and depressed Black folks with a prediction that Black parity in wealth with whites could not be achieved until the year 2099. This year’s study projects it will take almost a century and a half longer just for Black people to reach 2016 white wealth levels.

A 2010 study out of Brandeis University issued the most honest assessment of long term Black economic prospects in the USA, concluding that African Americans will NEVER gain wealth parity with Euro-Americans.

Parity = $1 Million Per Black Household

The numbers speak eloquently, and irrefutably. Unless this system is dismantled, root and branch, including a fundamental redistribution of wealth, Blacks will fall farther and farther behind whites -- and will be left in the dust by Latinos, as well. Dedrick Asante Muhammed and his colleagues have some suggestions for federal policy changes that might have some very marginal impact on the wealth gap – but not enough to make any real difference. The math is too formidable. To close the wealth gap between white and Black households within a reasonable amount of time – say, by the year 2043, when whites become a minority – the country would have to inject an extra one million dollars into each of the currently existing 16 million Black households, for a total cost of $16 trillion. That’s just a little bit less than the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States, which is about $18 trillion dollars. If the United States wanted to bridge the wealth gap in 27 installments between now and the year 2043, they’d have to pump $600 billion extra a year into Black families’ pockets – which happens to be roughly the price tag of the annual U.S. military budget. So, Uncle Sam would have to give up his guns to pay Black folks a fraction of what is owed us. Sounds like a good deal to me – but I don’t think Washington will go for it.

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: 20160817_gf_WealthGap.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:42am EDT

Greens are Alternative to “Democratic Plantation”

Ajamu Baraka, the veteran Black activist tapped as Jill Stein’s presidential running mate, said the Green Party can make a difference, this year, by “building an alternative to the Democratic plantation” and “transcending the politics of fear.” Baraka is a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “With the continued deterioration of the democratic processes, and of this economy, and the clear tendency on the part of the state to repress political opposition, our time is limited in terms of the extent we can take advantage of the limited democratic space that does exist,” said Baraka.

Neither Trump Nor Clinton Can Resolve Crisis

Although both major party candidates acknowledge that the economy is benefiting only the One Percent, the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lies in how they “identify the source of the problem,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist from Philadelphia. “Clinton says that the policies of financialization, of Wall Street privilege, of trade deals like NAFTA and TPP, are not fundamentally wrong – that we should tweet them, not change them,” said Dr. Monteiro. “Trump, in essence, argues that the problem of the American economy is grounded in the export of capital, and that this is the source of the impoverishment of the American working class.” Monteiro believes “Trump’s stating of the problem is far more accurate than Clinton’s,” but neither of them “provide a solution to the problem.”

Roots of Black Movement for Self-Defense

Black scholars and activists came together, in Detroit, to celebrate the life of Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina, who in the 1950s formed a Black Armed Guard to defend Black people from racist violence. Among the speakers was Dr. Akinyele Umoja, chair of the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University and author of the book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. “There were already people in the South practicing armed self-defense,” said Dr. Umoja. “The thing that distinguishes Williams is that he was an advocate. Most people were quite” members of informal protective networks, but Williams advocated self-defense in his newspaper, The Crusader, and “people began to look at the movement he and others were talking about.”

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_20160815.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am EDT

Greens are Alternative to “Democratic Plantation”

Ajamu Baraka, the veteran Black activist tapped as Jill Stein’s presidential running mate, said the Green Party can make a difference, this year, by “building an alternative to the Democratic plantation” and “transcending the politics of fear.” Baraka is a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “With the continued deterioration of the democratic processes, and of this economy, and the clear tendency on the part of the state to repress political opposition, our time is limited in terms of the extent we can take advantage of the limited democratic space that does exist,” said Baraka.

Neither Trump Nor Clinton Can Resolve Crisis

Although both major party candidates acknowledge that the economy is benefiting only the One Percent, the difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lies in how they “identify the source of the problem,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist from Philadelphia. “Clinton says that the policies of financialization, of Wall Street privilege, of trade deals like NAFTA and TPP, are not fundamentally wrong – that we should tweet them, not change them,” said Dr. Monteiro. “Trump, in essence, argues that the problem of the American economy is grounded in the export of capital, and that this is the source of the impoverishment of the American working class.” Monteiro believes “Trump’s stating of the problem is far more accurate than Clinton’s,” but neither of them “provide a solution to the problem.”

Roots of Black Movement for Self-Defense

Black scholars and activists came together, in Detroit, to celebrate the life of Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina, who in the 1950s formed a Black Armed Guard to defend Black people from racist violence. Among the speakers was Dr. Akinyele Umoja, chair of the African American Studies Department at Georgia State University and author of the book We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. “There were already people in the South practicing armed self-defense,” said Dr. Umoja. “The thing that distinguishes Williams is that he was an advocate. Most people were quite” members of informal protective networks, but Williams advocated self-defense in his newspaper, The Crusader, and “people began to look at the movement he and others were talking about.”

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_20160815.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am EDT

NAACP and Movement for Black Lives Call for Moratorium on Charter Schools

“School privatization ‘strips Black people of the right to self­determine the kind of education their children receive,’ said the coalition.”

As the Obama administration heads into the sunset, its devastating policy of public school privatization through charters has met fierce resistance from two distinct political currents in Black America. The NAACP, at its annual convention last month, adopted a resolution calling for a halt to the spread of privately-owned charter schools. The NAACP has long been critical of charters, but the language of this year’s resolution was the strongest, yet, charging that charters contribute to an increase in school segregation and are as destructive to poor communities as predatory lending practices by banks. The civil rights group demanded an end to tax breaks and other advantages for charters and reaffirmed its support for high quality, free public education for all children. The privately appointed boards of charter schools, said the NAACP, “do not represent the public yet make decisions about how public funds are spent.”

About a week later, the Movement for Black Lives, representing more than 50 organizations, unveiled its platform on a broad range of issues, including a demand for community control of schools and for a cut-off of federal aid to school districts that are not run by elected school boards. School privatization “strips Black people of the right to self­determine the kind of education their children receive,” said the coalition, charging “this systematic attack” is “bankrolled by billionaire philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, the Walton Family, and Eli and Edythe Broad, and aided by the departments of Education at the federal, state, and local level.”

Cops Out of Schools

The Movement for Black Lives called for and end to Teach for America, President Obama’s favorite tool for displacing veteran educators; a moratorium on all suspensions of students; a shutdown of all juvenile detention centers; and removal of police from the schools. The coalition vowed to “build an international movement of people of African descent to force nations to ratify and recognize education as a human right, and to end privatization.” The coalition specifically called for an end to President Obama’s signature program, Race to the Top, which coerces states to increase charter schools or lose billions in federal education funding.

The NAACP, which most often acts as a virtual annex of the Democratic Party, and the Movement for Black Lives, which has righteously refused to endorse any party or political candidate, are both on the same page when it comes to charter schools. Indeed, the NAACP resolution cites the work of the grassroots organization Journey for Justice, an alliance of community, youth, and parent-led organizations in 21 cities across the country, which also worked on the Movement for Black Lives platform on charter schools. The convergence on this issue between two very different Black political tendencies shows that there is a growing, principled consensus in Black America on the need for democracy in public education, through community control of schools. The struggle for Black self-determination is inseparable from defense of public education.

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: 20160810_gf_NAACP_BLM_Schools.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39pm EDT

Black Agenda Report for Week of August 8, 2016

Voters Have Choices Outside the Duopoly

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both “evil” people, but U.S. voters do have choices this election season, said South Carolina activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray. “It’s good that people are running on various third parties, to give Americans a little bit of education,” as opposed to watching them make one or the other bad choice,” said Gray, author of Waiting on Lighting to Strike. “One of the good things about Barack Obama leaving office, particularly for Black people, is that perhaps they’ll pick up their signs, pick up their feet, and follow behind the youth that are out here in the streets challenging the system.”

Low Wage Workers to Converge on Richmond

The U.S. labor movement made an historic error in the post-World War Two era in failing to commit sufficient resources to organizing in the heavily Black South. But activists in the current movement to unionize low-paid workers and raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour vow not to repeat that mistake. “We will highlight that low wages and racial inequality is not only hurting Black and brown people, it’s hurting the working poor white people, as well,” said Terrance Wise, a leader of Fight for 15, which will hold a national conference of low-wage workers in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, August 12 and 13. “Until we can build our movement and bring all workers together to demand economic justice and racial equality, we won’t gain any ground,” said Wise, a Burger King employee from Kansas City.

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz Wins Solitary Confinement Settlement

Pennsylvania prison officials have agreed to pay a monetary settlement to political prisoner Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, and to never again place the former Black Panther in solitary confinement, where he spent 22 of the past 44 years. His daughter, Theresa Shoatz, is “elated because it opens the door to other prisoners who are still in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania.” The legal action was spearheaded by the Pittsburg-based Abolitionist Law Center, with virtually no assistance from Black elected officials. “Our state representatives are useless,” said Ms. Shoatz.

Afro-Colombian Rights Recognized in Peace Talks

FARC guerillas and the government of Colombia have agreed in principle to “make sure the rights and interests of Afro-descended and indigenous peoples will be respected” in the resolution of the South American country’s two generations-long civil war, said Charo Mina-Rojas, of the National Afro-Colombian Peace Council. Representatives of the Colombian government and demobilizing guerillas agreed to include such assurances in the peace document being hammered out at negotiations in Havana, Cuba. However, Mina-Rojas said some elements of FARC have not agreed to lay down their arms and “do not fully recognize” Afro-Colombians’ collective land rights.

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_20160808.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:41pm EDT

Coalition Declares Black Self-Determination Back on the Agenda

The Coalition ‘does not believe that our future should be in the hands of any institution that does not have its origins within our own community and has not been forged through the struggles of our people.’”

There have always been two main political imperatives in Black America. One has sought “representation” at all levels within the surrounding, hostile, white supremacist society, and celebrates the elevation of individual Blacks to high social, political and economic status. As a practical matter, under this kind of politics, the condition of the Black masses is secondary -- yet, the great bulk of Black people are expected to follow the political direction of the upwardly mobile minority. This “representationalist” Black politics makes no transformative demands on the United States, and is quite satisfied if there is a steady growth in the number of Black faces in high places.

The other main political tendency in Black America seeks self-determination: independent political, economic and social power for Black people as a group. Those that seek self-determination contend that Black people have the right to determine their own destiny and are certainly not answerable to a white society that has enslaved, oppressed and reviled them.

Throughout Black people’s history in the U.S., these two political tendencies have maintained an uneasy coexistence, even simultaneously inhabiting the same individual Black brain. However, with the fall of legal U.S. apartheid in the mid-Sixties and the crushing of Black self-determinationist forces by the U.S. State a few years later, a Black Misleadership Class emerged that was concerned solely with its own narrow interests -- with putting their own selfish faces into high places. This grasping and venal political class collaborated with the U.S. State to impose a mass Black incarceration regime -- what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow -- and ushered in a two-generation-long era of Black social disintegration, economic retrogression and political confusion.

Today, however, the Black imperative to self-determination is in ascendance. Especially in the last several years, Black people have rediscovered and revived the Black Radical Tradition, with self-determination at the core. The emerging movement that goes under the heading of Black Lives Matter is largely animated by the drive for Black self-determination, albeit commingled with notions of representationalism. Both tendencies find expression in the Movement for Black Lives newly released demands.

19 Points

The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, founded in 2009, has always put Black self-determination first, and has now codified this principle in a 19 point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, to be offered “for discussion and adoption” by Black people in a process that begins at a national conference in Philadelphia, August 13 and 14. The 19 points cover the broadest range of Black political concerns, from Black Community Control of Police, ending mass Black incarceration, freedom for political prisoners; to demands concerning Black women and families, gentrification, reparations, self-defense, nationalizing the banks, the right to housing, heath care, education, and universal enfranchisement; the necessity for socialist democracy, the defeat of U.S. imperialism and a payback of the Western debt to Africa, freedom for Palestine, and saving the Earth’s environment from the capitalist system that is destroying it.

Each and every of the 19 points is formulated through the prism of Black self-determination. As the Black Is Back Coalition states in its Declaration on the need for a National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination, the Coalition “does not believe that our future should be in the hands of any institution that does not have its origins within our own community and has not been forged through the struggles of our people.”

The August 13th and 14th conference in Philadelphia will set the stage of discussions of the Agenda for Self Determination in cities across the country, culminating in a conference in Washington, DC, following the Black Is Back Coalition’s traditional rally and march on the White House, in November. Black is Back, and so is Black self-determination, because there can be no democracy without it.

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: 20160803_gf_BiBSelfDetermination.wav
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43pm EDT

This Movement Has Millions of Mothers, Most of Them NOT Campaigning For Hillary Clinton

This Movement Has Millions of Mothers, Most of Them NOT Campaigning For Hillary Clinton

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

I don’t know Geneva Reed-Veal, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath, Maria Hamilton, and Gwen Carr. What I know about them is that they’re the mothers of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton and Jordan Davis, four of whom were killed by police, the other by a homicidal right wing nutcase.

I know they’re all members of a club they didn’t volunteer for, one that nobody wants to belong to. , and they deserve our respect, our profound sympathy and our support. I know they’re letting themselves be called “the mothers of the movement” and they’re campaigning for Hillary Clinton. I know they were trotted in front of the Democratic convention Tuesday night, where one of them announced that Hillary was going to lead us into an era of restorative justice.

There’s plenty more I don’t know.

I don’t know if the mothers are aware that Hillary Clinton justified and campaigned for the end of welfare in the 1990s, throwing families into deeper poverty and turning millions of poor mothers out into the low wage workforce without child care. I don’t know they’re familiar with the Clinton crime bills of 94, 95 and 96 which financed and fueled the expansion of the mass incarceration state and took Pell grants for college education away from people in prison. I don’t know if they know that Hillary to whom they claim a mother to mother bond helped close the courthouse doors to lawsuits against prison conditions and the efforts of the convicted to prove their innocence. She helped incentivize states to lengthen already unjust and draconian prison sentences, and expand the federal death penalty from four to sixty offenses.

I have no way of knowing whether these ladies actually thought up that “mothers of the movement” title. It sounds like it came from the sharp tongue of some mouthpiece of the black political class, that gaggle of black politicians, preachers and business types which has tied itself hand and foot to the corporate right wing of the Democratic party. This black political class relentlessly celebrates and commemorates the Freedom Movement of 50 years ago to create their signature brand, which is the impression that they had something to do with it, and they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to appear relevant to the current movement.

Capturing and cynically using some of the mothers of those murdered by police is exactly the kind of move we’d expect from the operatives of our black political class. They’re old hands at the game of power politics, and these mothers are newbies. Geneva Reed-Veal, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath, Maria Hamilton, and Gwen Carr are certainly the mothers of martyrs. But let's not get it twisted.

This movement has thousands of martyrs, and tens of millions of mothers, from maroons and runaway slaves whose names we’ll never know to the Harriet Tubmans and Ida B. Wells, to organized nurses, teachers and home health care workers, to the many thousands of women in the streets today. And it’s safe to say that most of the movement’s mothers are NOT campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

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 member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160727_bd_mothers_of-the-movment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54pm EDT

In Hillary’s Service, Ben Jealous Slimes Stein

“Jealous flaunted his utter subservience to the Democratic Party.”

Ben Jealous looked so happy to be on the prime time stage at the Democratic National Convention, Monday night – thrilled to be endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Jealous got to the convention as one of Bernie Sanders’ high profile Black supporters, a position he took to ensure that the Black Misleadership Class was represented everywhere within the Democratic Party – including its insurgent wing. The NAACP, which Jealous led for four years, is a virtual annex of the Democratic Party. But, since Jealous was no longer president of the organization, it was safe for him to temporarily join the Sanders camp, with confidence that Bernie would at some point capitulate, and they could all be welcomed back into the bosom of corporate power, personified by Hillary Clinton.

You could see the utter joy in Jealous’ face, like he was coming in from the cold. One of his next stops was the studios of Democracy Now! where he flaunted his utter subservience to the Democratic Party in a debate with the Green Party’s presumed presidential candidate, Jill Stein. Jealous sneered at the very idea of challenging the Democrats at the presidential level. “We cannot afford to end up with having an Iraq War because we narrowly lose the White House...as we did with Bush,” said Jealous, repeating the old canard that Ralph Nader threw the 2000 election to the Republicans, and ignoring the fact that Hillary Clinton supported Bush’s war in Iraq – and that Clinton and Barack Obama have since set the whole of the Middle East and much of Africa on fire. Jealous said his mission is to keep the “madman” and “neo-fascist” Donald Trump, out of the White House, to which Jill Stein replied: “Hillary Clinton’s finger on the button is as dangerous as Donald Trump. And it’s Barack Obama himself who initiated the new nuclear arms race, spending a trillion dollars.”

Jealous the Parrot

Ben Jealous could muster no substantive response to Stein on issues of war and peace, or on domestic issues, either. The Black Misleadership Class is not concerned with policy, but with their own position in the Democratic Party structure, which is their doorway to Wall Street and the ruling class. Jealous shamelessly parroted the insane line that Hillary Clinton is “a fierce advocate for women and for children” when, as Jill Stein reminded him, Bill and Hillary Clinton destroyed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program – welfare, as we knew it. Jealous said he was “rooted in a Black community that’s been devastated” by mass incarceration – as if Bill and Hillary were not the architects of the biggest surge in Black imprisonment in history.

Ben Jealous doesn’t know what a fascist is, and could care less; he only knows that his job is to keep Black people inside Hillary Clinton’s big corporate tent. He slanders leftists like Jill Stein as giving aid and comfort to Donald Trump, but makes a career of delivering Black people into the clutches of the worst mass murderers and mass incarcerators the Democratic Party has to offer. What is truly anathema to Ben Jealous and his ilk is a reemergence of a Black independent politics that would likely be more radical and more socialist than Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein – and would put Black Misleaders like him out of business.

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: 20160727_JealousVsStein.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

Blowback: Does the US Military Incubate Brutal, Abusive Cops Along With Their Deranged, Disconnected Shooters?

Blowback: Does the US Military Incubate Brutal, Abusive Cops Along With Their Deranged, Disconnected Shooters?

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

Media spokespeople and politicians in both parties are working overtime to paint imaginary connections between the broad movement supported by millions of Americans to strip police of their traditional immunity and impunity for violent acts committed against civilians on the one hand, and the deranged, disconnected shooters of police in Texas and Louisiana.

The real links they studiously ignore are that the Dallas and Baton Rouge shooters were both veterans of the unjust and murderous US military occupations of Afghanistan and/or Iraq, as are many of the police who commit violent acts against their fellow Americans after they return home. While the percentage of cops with military backgrounds is unclear due to the existence of special laws protecting police personnel, disciplinary and other records from prosecutorial and public scrutiny, the percentage of military veterans among police around the country is probably higher than any other line of work excepting civilian employees of the Pentagon, intelligence services and their contractors.

The US military is widely known to aggressively discourage soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from admitting to or seeking help for psychological disorders and injuries. The world our military members live in is a brutal and twisted place where two out of five women are sexually assaulted. It’s a world where reporting, not committing such an assault is a career-ender, a world where seeking help for psychological problems can impair your security clearance and job prospects years later in civilian life because military medical and psychological records, unlike those of civilians are not confidential.

Indications are that the Baton Rouge and Dallas shooters both had problems which are likely results of their military experience. By the same token, it’s not implausible to imagine that many violent and abusive former military members were in need of psychological help even before they became law enforcement officers.

For too long Americans have hidden from the facts and the consequences of America’s brutal overseas wars, even while making motion picture heroes of white snipers like Chris Kyle who famously claimed to have been paid to shoot 30 so-called “looters” in New Orleans during the Katrina disaster. In Chicago, the famous police torturer John Burge first learned his trade in the Vietnam war’s Phoenix program. A generation later Burge’s successors in the Chicago Police Department were directly linked to the mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo. Rank and file US torturers at Abu Gharaib were Pennsylvania prison guards in civilian life.

While malicious authoritarians from Hillary Clinton and Wolf Blitzer to Bill O’Reilly and Rudi Guliani want to sell us their fantasies connecting Black Lives Matter movement and shootings of police, they ignore the all too real blowback on American streets from our nation’s permanent war footing.

It’s not fantasy but fact that US special ops troops are currently active in dozens of countries across Africa and Asia, and in Ukraine on the borders of Russia, doing bloody brutal and unspeakable things the American people don’t endorse and didn’t vote for. Their crimes go unacknowledged and unpunished and their psychological injuries untreated. Our military, stationed at the frontiers of US empire in more than a hundred countries around the world are incubating the next waves of brutal and abusive police, along with their disconnected and deranged shooters, all practicing what they never should have been taught, bringing home to us another cost of global empire.

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 state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

 

 

Direct download: 20160720-bd-blowback.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

Hillary and Bill Clinton: Specialists in Black Misery, Foreign and Domestic

“The Clinton’s goal was to transform Haiti into the sweatshop of the Caribbean.”

Hillary Clinton and her huckster husband, Slick Willie, seem to specialize in bringing harm to Black people. The public record, stretching back many decades, proves they are Class A racists who have destroyed countless Blacks lives in the service of corporate interests and their own private greed. The Clintons’ crimes against the people of Haiti are but one chapter in the blood-soaked saga of the most vile American couple ever to stride the global stage.

The U.S. State Department, still emitting the stink of Hillary Clinton’s stewardship in Barack Obama’s first term, last week announced it would withdraw financial support for new presidential elections planned for Haiti, this October. That’s just fine with most Haitians, who know that, when the U.S. finances Haitian elections, it gets what it pays for: a government of gangsters in service to multinational corporations and a local elite that fears and despises the poor majority.

A broad consensus of Haiti’s political spectrum agreed to re-start the election process from scratch, and to discard the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have kept the political faction headed by former President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly in power. Martelly, a profane nightclub singer and close associate of terrorists and drug lords, became president in 2011 through a rigged election engineered by U.S. Secretary of State Clinton. Martelly spent much of his term ruling by decree, ruthlessly suppressing the parties of Haiti’s poor majority, allowing gold mining companies and other foreign extraction industries to illegally take over vast stretches of countryside; and seizing coastal properties and islands for the benefit of multinational tourism corporations. American companies and NGOs got the lion’s share of the billions raised to rebuild the country after the devastating 2010 earthquake, with Martelly’s gangster class skimming off the crumbs.

Promoting the Advantages of Poverty

The Clinton’s goal was to transform Haiti into the sweatshop of the Caribbean by keeping Haitian labor dirt-cheap at places like the Clinton Foundation’s Caracol industrial park. Bill Clinton preached that Haiti’s poverty provided it with a competitive advantage; so, the Clintons tried their best to keep Haiti as poor as possible. Hillary Clinton bullied Haiti and rigged its elections through the State Department, and former president Bill Clinton lorded it over the country as special United Nations Envoy, while the Clinton Foundation spent $36 million doing who knows what, and the Clinton Global Initiative managed as much as $500 million in aid money designated for Haiti. Meanwhile, 7,000 Haitians died from a cholera epidemic brought into the country by a UN occupation force that reduced Haiti to an international “protectorate” – protected, that is, from the democratic aspirations of the Haitian people, themselves.

As Martelly’s term drew to close last year, his government stole two more elections with the approval of the United States, which paid for the crime and told Haiti to accept the outcomes. But the Haitians said, keep your money, and are going ahead with new elections in October. This should mark an end to the infinitely corrupt Clinton era in Haiti – except that the Clintons will likely be on their way back to the White House in November, positioning them to pollute the whole planet with their noxious, lethal sleaze and criminality.

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: 20160720_gf_TheRacistClintons.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38am EDT

Bernie Sanders Endorses the World's Greatest (Presumptive) Evil

“Sanders’ job is to shepherd his flock into a little leftwing corner of Hillary’s Big Tent, right next to the latrine and alongside her loyal Black Democrats.”

Bernie Sanders this Tuesday consummated his sheepdog agreement with the Democratic Party, delivering a formal endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. The capitulation script that Sanders read in New Hampshire, with the cackling Banshee of War at his side, could have been written back in the spring of last year, when he formally threw his hat into the race. From the very start, Sanders was firm in his allegiance to the Democratic wing of the corporate duopoly, and any indications to the contrary were purely products of his supporters wishful imaginations.

Bernie Sanders did not lie to his followers; they deceived themselves, just as most of them – the ones that were old enough – had fooled themselves into believing that Barack Obama was a peace candidate and a political progressive back in 2008, although Obama’s actual record and policy pronouncements showed him clearly to be a corporate imperialist warmonger – a political twin of his principal primary election opponent, Hillary Clinton and her philandering, huckster husband.

Back then, phony leftists like Bill Fletcher and Tom Hayden swore on their mothers’ honor that Obama’s campaign was really a people’s movement, a prelude to revolution – as if the Democrats, a militarist corporate political party, could give birth to anti-corporate, anti-militarist people’s revolution.

Real Fascist vs. Trump Cartoon Version

Bernie Sanders threw around the word “revolution” quite a bit. He was still using it in his surrender speech on Tuesday, assuring his flock that the revolution would continue as he marched arm in arm with the most dangerous person in the world, today – far more dangerous than Donald Trump, who will be buried in a landslide of historical proportions in November by a multi-billion dollar mountain of campaign contributions from Hillary Clinton’s Democratic and Republican friends on Wall Street. Sanders’ job is to shepherd his flock into a little leftwing corner of Hillary’s Big Tent, right next to the latrine and alongside her loyal Black Democrats, who are so meek in the presence of power that they won’t even complain about the smell.

In his kow-tow to the Queen of Chaos, Sanders put words in Clinton’s mouth that she never really said, and that would be lies if she did say them. Hillary “feels” this, Hillary “believes” that – it was as if he could read Hillary’s mind. Hillary “knows,” said Sanders, “that something is very wrong when the very rich become richer while many others are working longer hours for lower wages.” Maybe she does know that, but she has no intention to do anything about it – just as she had no intention of allowing the Democratic Party platform to oppose TPP, although she claims she’s against it. As for those compromises Clinton did make on the platform: she was lying. The Clintons have an infinite capacity for lying, and now they’ve got Bernie Sanders lying for them, too.

If only 5 percent of Bernie Sanders’ 13 million voters formed or joined a party of the 99 percent – let’s say, the Green Party – that party would have nearly twice as many members as the British Labor Party. which would be one helluva start. Or, they can crawl along with Bernie into Hillary’s stinking Big Tent, where the real fascists live – the ones with actual experience in regime change, nuclear brinksmanship and mass Black incarceration.

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: 20160713_gf_SandersSurrenders.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 11, 2016

Cops Kill Revolutionary Black Panther Leader

Friends and comrades of Angelo Brown, also known as General Houdari Juelani, charge he was “assassinated” by police in Belleville, Illinois, near East St. Louis, last month. Police claim the 35 year-old father of 15 children menaced them with a gun, however, his face and body showed signs of having been beaten. The cops “had been harassing him,” said Edwin Chanell, a lifelong friend and founder of the New Generation Black Council, which is dedicated to uniting gang members “against the real enemy.” He said Angelo Brown “was doing nothing but good stuff: feeding the homeless, giving out clothes,” and was popular in the community. “They are murdering us out here, and covering it up,” said Chanell.

Illinois State House Asks Obama to Study Reparations Issue

In a unanimous vote, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that “calls on President Obama to create a commission to study the harms inflicted by slavery and discrimination and to determine how that damage can be repaired,” said Kamm Howard, of the legislative commission of N’Cobra, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. The move is historic, said Howard, “in the sense that it is the first legislation by a state body since Reconstruction that is calling on the federal government to intercede on behalf of the injuries that people of African descent today face as a result of enslavement and Jim Crow.”

Mass Incarceration in the U.S. and Palestine

On July 15, New York City’s Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center will host a public meeting on mass incarceration of Blacks in the United States, and of Arabs under Israeli occupation in Palestine. “The only way they’ve been able to silence our resistance, here and there, has been through incarceration” and assassination, said Nancy Mansoor, one of the event’s organizers and a co-founder of Existence is Resistance. “In Palestine,” said Mansoor, “I don’t think there’s any youth that hasn’t been to jail.” Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, is among the scheduled speakers.

U.S. Targets Eritrean Economy

Frustrated that years of sanctions have failed to deter the small northeast African nation of Eritrea from its fiercely independent path to development, the United States is attempting to sabotage a giant potash project that “could end up bringing in as much as $30 billion to Eritrea,” said Thomas C. Mountain, an American journalist who lives in the country. The U.S. has targeted Eritrea because it “is a socialist country, like Cuba, and could stand out as a role model for Africa,” said Mountain. Eritrea is also one of only two countries on the continent that rejects any relationship with AFRICOM, the U.S. Military Command in Africa.

Obama is Greatest Education Privatizer in U.S. History

“Basically, what Barack Obama did was turn the Department of Education into a committee on school privatization,” said Danny Haiphong, a social worker and activist from Boston and a weekly contributor to BAR who authored a 3-part series on President Obama’s legacy. “It was Shock and Awe privatization. Charter schools increased by 62 percent under his first five years,” said Haiphong. “His whole plan was to hand the public schools over to hedge funds and capitalist interests that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into for-profit charter schools,” and to boost “high-stakes testing scams like Common Core.”

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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_july11_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:54pm EDT

Hillary Clinton’s Emails and the Crisis of Legitimacy

“There’s no way the FBI was going to keep the rulers of the United States from getting the president they want.”

Hillary Clinton has escaped indictment – as almost universally expected – for commingling her email communications as secretary of state with her personal business, including the global money laundering, bribery and extortion racket called the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons are capable of infinite corruption. That’s why they’re in politics: to protect the criminal enterprises of the truly rich people they serve, and to become rich, themselves. That is the nature of the system – and the system works; it provides impunity to the powerful.

FBI Director James Comey essentially admitted as much when he acknowledged that there was “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.” A reasonable person in Clinton’s position “should have known” that what she was doing was violating the law. But, he said, the FBI’s “judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The public knows perfectly well that what Comey really means is that there’s no way he was going to keep the rulers of the United States from getting the president they want.

So, Hillary gets off, as did the warlord General David Petraeus and other insiders who were not fully prosecuted for clearly breaking the law. Yet, President Obama has shattered all historical records in treating whistleblowers as spies. Obama pushed for and got the power to detain people indefinitely without trial or charge, but is so tolerant of systemic criminality among Wall Street bankers that his own attorney general had to briefly admit that the Lords of Capital are “too big to jail.” So, on the one hand, the fundamental right to due process under the law has ceased to exist – yet, for the rich impunity has become all but absolute.

“People are just plain repulsed by Hillary Clinton.”

The rulers are caught in a crisis of legitimacy. Obscenely concentrated wealth has turned U.S. society into a Constitution-free zone for the wealthy, who behave as if they are a separate species. They have exhausted the tolerance even of white Americans, descendants of Europeans who came here hoping to become rich, but now despair of keeping their heads above water and are growing to despise the 1%.

Black folks are waking up – angry! – after two generations of relative quietude, pushing back against a police state that is coddled by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court, and unchallenged by the executive branch. The system is leaking legitimacy like a sieve.

Donald Trump is seen as illegitimate by probably a majority of Americans, but so is Hillary Clinton. In some ways, Clinton is even more revolting. Most people that hate Trump can point to one or more of his specific policies or statements. However, people are just plain repulsed by Hillary Clinton. If pressed on why find her so distasteful, folks say she is dishonest, not to be trusted – but usually offer no particulars. What they really feel, is that she is corrupt to the bone; that she personifies the Lie that the top of society tells to the bottom.

The crisis of legitimacy becomes acute when enough people say, “Who are you to hold power over me?”

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: 20160706_gf_HillaryIllegitimate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:03am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 4, 2016

Philadelphia Anti-Police Terror Activists Gear Up to Shut Dems Down

The city fathers in Philadelphia have sanctioned Democrat-friendly demonstrations during the party’s national convention, later this month, but have yet to issue parade permits for activists of the People of Color DNC Resistance Against Police Terrorism and State Repression or Shut Down DNC. “We are organizing, not just in the Black community, but in the brown community, as well,” said Erica Mimes, of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. “We’re raising the Palestinian issue, the issues in Puerto Rico. We’re going to organize and speak directly to the issues that impact our communities the most, because that’s what’s being forgotten by this entire congregation of activists coming into the city.”

Trump’s Billions, and Sanders’ Small Contributors, Made Political History

Donald Trump’s personal fortune allowed him to spout “a solid dose of racism and sexism,” but also to “talk about a lot of things that nobody had in ages in the Republican Party,” such as “dumping on Wall Street” and pointing out that “you don’t need to cut Social Security or be at endless war with Russia,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston. Ferguson is author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Politics. “If he loses this general election,” said Ferguson, “Trumpism could disappear as fast as it descended on us. You’ve got to be a real billionaire to thumb your nose” at the GOP establishment. Ferguson noted, however, that Bernie Sanders did succeed in funding a historic Democratic primary campaign with small contributions.

Mass Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.

“The U.S. government is helping to fund the Israeli occupation of Palestine – that is, the apartheid wall and the apartheid court system, to the tune of about $3 billion a year,” said Nyle Forte, a young Newark, New Jersey, minister and PhD candidate who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Palestine. Forte and other activists, including political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, will address “The Politics of Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.,” July 15, at New York City’s Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center. Forte said Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians rivals U.S. levels of Black incarceration. Like Israel, “the U.S. is becoming, more and more, a national surveillance state,” he said.

4th of July Highlights Litany of U.S. Crimes

“The United States is the only country to use a nuclear weapon, now has a military presence in over 100 countries,” and “kills people at will,” said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “The Congress says nothing, the corporate media says nothing,” and “the two major parties collude” in silencing dissent against U.S. atrocities abroad, said Kimberley. “Everywhere, from Gaza to Somalia to Afghanistan – and I’m leaving many nations out – the U.S. is responsible for terrible crimes.”

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Direct download: 20160704_1_BlackAgendaRadio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:50am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 4, 2016

Philadelphia Anti-Police Terror Activists Gear Up to Shut Dems Down

The city fathers in Philadelphia have sanctioned Democrat-friendly demonstrations during the party’s national convention, later this month, but have yet to issue parade permits for activists of the People of Color DNC Resistance Against Police Terrorism and State Repression or Shut Down DNC. “We are organizing, not just in the Black community, but in the brown community, as well,” said Erica Mimes, of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. “We’re raising the Palestinian issue, the issues in Puerto Rico. We’re going to organize and speak directly to the issues that impact our communities the most, because that’s what’s being forgotten by this entire congregation of activists coming into the city.”

Trump’s Billions, and Sanders’ Small Contributors, Made Political History

Donald Trump’s personal fortune allowed him to spout “a solid dose of racism and sexism,” but also to “talk about a lot of things that nobody had in ages in the Republican Party,” such as “dumping on Wall Street” and pointing out that “you don’t need to cut Social Security or be at endless war with Russia,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston. Ferguson is author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Politics. “If he loses this general election,” said Ferguson, “Trumpism could disappear as fast as it descended on us. You’ve got to be a real billionaire to thumb your nose” at the GOP establishment. Ferguson noted, however, that Bernie Sanders did succeed in funding a historic Democratic primary campaign with small contributions.

Mass Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.

“The U.S. government is helping to fund the Israeli occupation of Palestine – that is, the apartheid wall and the apartheid court system, to the tune of about $3 billion a year,” said Nyle Forte, a young Newark, New Jersey, minister and PhD candidate who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Palestine. Forte and other activists, including political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, will address “The Politics of Incarceration in Palestine and the U.S.,” July 15, at New York City’s Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center. Forte said Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians rivals U.S. levels of Black incarceration. Like Israel, “the U.S. is becoming, more and more, a national surveillance state,” he said.

4th of July Highlights Litany of U.S. Crimes

“The United States is the only country to use a nuclear weapon, now has a military presence in over 100 countries,” and “kills people at will,” said BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “The Congress says nothing, the corporate media says nothing,” and “the two major parties collude” in silencing dissent against U.S. atrocities abroad, said Kimberley. “Everywhere, from Gaza to Somalia to Afghanistan – and I’m leaving many nations out – the U.S. is responsible for terrible crimes.”

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Category:general -- posted at: 1:49am EDT

House Negroes International Defend European Union

“They like the house that slavery and genocide built, and where global capitalism now rules.”

We can be sure that the British exit from the European Union represents a profound crisis for the global capitalist order. We know this because the Lords of Capital and their political minions and media all over the world are in panic over Brexit. The capitalist order is built on five centuries of European plunder, enslavement, and extermination of the rest of humanity. Blood oozes from every edifice of the European Union – and yet, the victims, and the descendants of the victims of this horrific and ongoing capitalist carnage, often behave as if they have some kind of stake in keeping the old order intact. Like Malcolm X’s house Negroes, their first instinct when they see the master’s house on fire, is to put the fire out. If the master gets sick, they start sneezing. And, when the referendum went against Britain staying in the European Union, house Negroes of all colors on both sides of the Atlantic acted like their own worlds were coming to end.

On Comedy Central’s Daily Show, this week, host Trevor Noah interviewed Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie in the Broadway production of “The Color Purple.” Noah lampooned those Brits that voted to leave the EU as a bunch of Donald Trumps with Cockney accents. He said nothing about the EU’s pro-corporate, pro-banker austerity policies – maybe because there’s nothing funny about those policies, or maybe because he works for a rich corporation. Noah drew Ms. Erivo into the Brexit discussion. She was born in London to parents who emigrated from Nigeria. She explained her opposition to Brexit, saying, “If my mom didn’t get to the UK, I probably wouldn’t be here right now, on that stage on Broadway.”

“By colonizing Nigeria, the Brits saved her from being born an African.”

Cynthia Erivo is grateful that her West African parents were allowed into Britain, so that she could be born in London and pursue a successful career. Her parents were permitted to settle in Britain because Nigeria was a British colony, and later became part of the British Commonwealth. It actually had nothing to do with the European Union. By Cynthia Erivo’s logic, it was a good thing that Britain invaded, plundered, enslaved, and stole her parent’s homeland. By colonizing Nigeria, the Brits saved her from being born an African. The millions who died in the British conquest of Nigeria, and in the Middle Passage to the America’s, or on the plantations of Virginia or Jamaica, or in forced labor to the British in Nigeria, or who die today in the oil soaked wasteland of the Niger River Delta – all of this past and present suffering and human degradation is balanced out by the fact that a daughter of Nigeria gets to star in a Broadway show. This super-exploitation of Africa made Britain and France and Spain and Belgium and the Netherlands and other members of today’s European Union rich – but Cynthia Erivo and Trevor Noah, the South African, come to the defense of the European Union.

They like the house that slavery and genocide built, and where global capitalism now rules. They fear anything that might create disorder in the House of Europe, just as their counterparts in Black America fear anything that might disturb the tranquility of the U.S. ruling class and its institutions. The House Negroes are truly international, always ready to put out fires in their masters many houses around the globe.

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: 20160629_gf_HouseNegroesInternational.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:42pm EDT

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organization Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

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Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_for_20160627.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 27, 2016

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organization Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

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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_20160627.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:02am EDT

Dems Congressional "Sit In" A Cynical, Hypocritical Election Year Stunt

Dems Congressional “Sit-In” A Cynical, Hypocritical Election Year Stunt

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

The so-called “sit-in” on the floor of Congress launched by House and Senate Democrats is a fraudulent and transparently cynical exercise in partisan branding and election year theater.

Brands neither mean what they say nor say what they mean. Brands are marketing devices, calculated to evoke a desired set of emotions, to call forth real or imagined memories in an audience, independent and apart from facts or logic. Atlanta congressman John Lewis and his colleagues are leveraging his rep and the “sit-in” brand for their resonance with the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 60s.

Keen observers on social media pierced the hypocrisy almost immediately.

Color me unimpressed,” wrote Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, author of from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter in a Facebook post that was shared thousands of times almost immediately.

Where was the sit-in when Congress was cutting $5 billion from food stamps? Where was the sit in where is the sit-in for affordable housing as Congress continues to cut HUD to shreds? Where is the sit-in against police brutality in our cities? Where is the sit-in against the Supreme Court ruling yesterday that guts the Fourth Amendment and revives 'stop and frisk' policing? Where is the sit in to demand equitable funding for our nation's public schools? Where is the sit-in to end racism and the criminal justice system? This smacks of election year tomfoolery...”

Worse still, the so-called “sit-in” piggybacks on the secret and arbitrary “no-fly” and “terror watch” lists, which some of those same Democrats denounced back in the Bush Cheney era. Back then they rightly pointed out the criteria for landing on those lists is secret, and once on the list there is no appeal and no way off, though the State Department does revoke your passport, also without appeal. Government places people on those lists it cannot charge with any crimes. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the government has placed Muslims on the no-fly and terror watch list when they refused to infiltrate and inform on their neighbors, or when their names were similar to someone else's. Democrats, like California Rep. Barbara Lee once opposed hysterical and secret government blacklists noting that any sort of activist out of favor with the government could land on these lists.

But now it's election year and they have very few issues to differentiate themselves from the other capitalist party. So they want to use the secret government blacklist and the civil rights brand to score meaningless points against Republicans.

Congressional Democrats are not stupid. They know perfectly well they could be sitting in to end these secret lists. They could be sitting in to explain how the second amendment was put in the Constitution to permit armed slave patrols, and land theft and genocide against Native Americans. They could be sitting in for a living wage and universal single payer health care, or cutting the Pentagon budget by two thirds. Instead Democrats deliberately chose to sit in for this, instead of forgiving student debt, instead of addressing climate change or black unemployment or mass incarceration.

Since John Lewis and his hypocritical crew are just as much the party of the one percent as Republicans, their disputes with Republicans are confined to carefully staged food fights between meaningless brands. This is the party that wants to control Congress instead of Republicans.

This is why it's time to chuck both the one-percenter capitalist parties, and do something completely new. 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. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.



Direct download: 160623_0271.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

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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_20160620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

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_20160620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

4 out of 5 Prisoners Would Have to be Released to Reduce U.S. Incarceration to 1972 Levels

Mass Black incarceration knows no bounds in the United States of America.”

A new report shows that New Jersey has the nation’s highest racial disparity in incarceration rates, with Blacks in the state 12 times more likely to go to prison than whites. The report is titled, The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons, compiled by The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform group. Right behind New Jersey in racially disparate imprisonment are Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont – all states with relatively small Black populations, but where African Americans are 10 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Mass Black incarceration knows no bounds in the United States of America,the world champion of incarceration, with 2.3 million men and women behind bars.

Some states are worse than others, but all of them are much worse for Black people than for whites. Blacks don’t make up a majority of any state in the country, but they are the majority of the prison population in 12 states: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

In terms of the proportion of the Black male population that is incarcerated at any given time, the prize goes to Oklahoma, where 1 out of every 15 Black men, age 18 or older, is currently living behind bars. In 11 other states, 1 out of every 20 Black males has been snatched from his communities.

“Don’t expect any late term prisoner release surprises from Barack Obama.”

New Jersey stands out for high rates of racial disparity in incarceration and for having a Black majority in the prison system, but in recent years its one of three states that have substantially reduced their prison populations. New York and California have also scaled down their gulags. According to The Sentencing Project, the key to shrinking the prison population lies in the intake valves of a criminal justice system that arrests far too many people, especially Black people, and then locks them up for way too long. Project executive director Marc Mauer told Black Agenda Report that President Obama and his successors should consider clemency for whole categories of prisoners, similar to President Gerald Ford’s amnesty for draft resisters back in 1974. But, don’t expect any late term prisoner release surprises from Barack Obama, who went to court to keep about 5,000 federal crack cocaine prisoners behind bars, even after the racist legislation under which they were convicted was repealed and replaced.

Without fundamental changes at every stage of the criminal justice process, Black Americans will continue to make up something approaching 1 out of every 8 prison inmates in the world. Indeed, accounting for growth in U.S. population, by my calculations the nation’s jailers and prison wardens would have to set 4 out of every 5 of their prisoners free just to get incarceration rates down to the levels of 1972, when the effects of the national mass Black incarceration regime were just starting to be felt. Of the 2.3 million current prison inmates, fully 80 percent, totaling 1,850,000 men and women would have to be let go – and even then, the United States would still be a high incarceration nation. 1972 was one year after the Attica Rebellion – not a great time for Black people in the criminal justice system. If only we had known that, 44 years later, things would be far, far worse.

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: 20160615_gf_PrisonStats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantation for generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

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: 20160608_gf_RevPinkney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31am EDT

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantation for generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

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: 20160608_gf_RevPinkney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 6, 2016

McKinney: Duopoly is Imploding, But What Comes Next?

The 2016 election is going to be “written about and studied for a very long time,” said six-term former Georgia Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party’s 2008 presidential candidate. “Black voters don’t have any stake at all in the continuation of either the Democratic or Republican Parties, as presently constituted,” said McKinney, who last year earned her doctorate in Leadership and Change. “The implosion of the duopoly is of great political import to the Black community,” she said. “The problem is, however, that we have to be organized in order to have an imprint on the outcome.”

2016 “Most Consequential” Election in a Century

“The two-party duopoly is at an end,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Dubosian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist who helped put together a national conference on the Black Radical Tradition, in Philadelphia, in January. Monteiro believes that 2016 will go down as “the most consequential election, certainly, in 100 years.” Monteiro noted that Donald Trump told Bloomberg News he would turn the Republican Party into a workers party. “This is huge, said Monteiro. “He has broken every Republican orthodoxy.” Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, “is challenging the elite and the power brokers and the moneybags within the Democratic Party, but he has not gone as far as Trump to challenge American hegemony and American empire.”

Free Rev. Edward Pinkney, Political Prisoner

“The system is rigged and corrupt,” said Rev. Edward Pinkney, the Benton Harbor, Michigan, community activist serving 30 months to 10 years on bogus election tampering charges that he believes stem from his defiance of the Whirlpool Corporations domination of the mostly Black town. “We must stand and demand the government serve the interests of the people, and not the corporations,” said Pinkney, who fears he will be assassinated at the Marquette Branch Prison in the upper peninsula of Michigan. “The attack on democracy in Benton Harbor and around the country shows that the corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone that stands in its way,” he said.

Schools Annually Eject Huge Numbers of Black Girls

Education Week magazine called on experts to explore why Black girls are expelled or suspended from public school six times as often as white girls. It’s “misguided” to think that “low income kids and kids of color need to be heavily disciplined and heavily surveiled,” said Adrienne Dixson, professor of Critical Race Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “Schools should recognize that these behaviors aren’t just because kids want to be bad, but that they are responding to an environment that doesn’t help them feel free.”

Horne: U.S. Subversion has Venezuela on the Ropes

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is clearly in trouble, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. “With government offices being shut down three days out of the week; with electricity blackouts; with shortages of consumer goods, including toilet paper, this is obviously a reflection of that fact that, number one, the elite of Venezuela have turned against the Maduro regime” and, secondly, the United States is backing the effort to bring down the socialist government.

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Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_GlenNellie_20160606.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

Freddie Gray Case Judge Rules it is Unreasonable to Expect Cops to Obey the Law

“If you’re going to go back and charge every police officer whose arrest was determined to be illegal with assault, you’re going to indict the entire police force.”

The cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray had another good day in a Baltimore courtroom, on Monday, when one of the six officers was found not guilty of second degree assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment. Officer Edward Nero had opted not to undergo a trial by jury, so the case was decided by a Black circuit court judge, Barry Williams. The trial of another cop, William Porter, ended in a mistrial back in December when the jury deadlocked on all four counts. If Officer Porter is tried again, it will be after the trials of all the other cops are completed.

But Officer Nero is home free, because Judge Williams ruled that there was “no evidence that the cop intended for a crime to occur.” Judge Williams was affirming the triple legal standard that exists in American law: one standard for cops, another for civilians in general, and no reliable expectation of justice at all for Black people.

Officer Nero was one of the cops that arrested Freddie Gray, dragged his limping body to a police transport wagon, and then failed to secure him with a seatbelt. Gray was given a wild ride through the streets of Baltimore, his handcuffed body crashing into the sides and front of the vehicle, fatally severing his spine.

Lawlessness Begins with the Lawmen

Freddie Gray’s only offense was to run away after making eye contact with a police supervisor – which is not a crime in anybody’s law book. But, as my colleague Bruce Dixon often says, cops are like hounds, and Black people are treated like rabbits, and when a rabbit runs away from the hounds they will chase it down and tear it apart.

So, the hounds are on trial in Baltimore. The prosecution maintains that the cops had no right to arrest and move Freddie Gray – that this amounted to second degree assault on his person. In her closing arguments, deputy state’s attorney Janice Bledsoe said “people get jacked up in the city all the time” by cops, and such behavior must be punished. But, the judge seemed to think it would be ridiculous to treat every arrest as criminal just because there were no grounds for arrest. Officer Nero’s lawyer agreed, saying it didn’t make any difference if the cops acted illegally in arresting Freddie Gray. “Wrong or right isn’t the standard,” said the cop’s attorney. “The standard is, were they so wrong that it was unreasonable?”

So, cops have to be more than just guilty of breaking the law; they must be “unreasonably” guilty – whatever that is.

Warren Brown, a defense lawyer who observed the proceedings, said: “If you’re going to go back and charge every police officer whose arrest was determined to be illegal with assault, or every search that’s deemed to be absent probable cause, [then] you’re going to indict the entire police force.”

Sounds good to me. Indict them all, and empower the people to form a security force that respects, and is answerable to, the community it serves. But, of course, it would be “unreasonable” for Black people to expect anything that smacks of justice in America.

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: 20160525_gf_BaltCopAcquitted.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:11am EDT

 Dixiecrat Ballot Access Law Temporarily Overtuned: This is What a Voting Rights Breakthrough Looks Like

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

There's an opportunity for a major voting rights breakthrough in Georgia and several other southern states. It's a breakthrough that may allow third party candidates and campaigns on the ballot for the first time in many states in 70 years.

A few weeks ago the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals made a historic voting rights ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Georgia Green Party against Georgia's unfair election laws.

Back in the 1940s Georgia and other states feared that returning veterans, especially black ones would try to get on the ballot, most likely as communists or socialists. So the Dixiecrat legislatures in Georgia, North Carolina and elsewhere passed laws intended to make ballot access more difficult.

Current Georgia requires nominating petitions signed by one percent of statewide voters in the last election, for a candidate who's not a Republican or Democrat to appear on the statewide ballot. For 70 years, this Dixiecrat ballot access law has kept all candidates and parties which lack the support of friendly billionaires off the statewide ballot in Georgia. They did of course suspend the rule when their fellow Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948.

The Dixiecrat laws make it even harder for third party candidates in local elections. Not one but five percent of voters in the last election must sign petitions for local candidates to appear on the ballot. Want to run as a Green or independent for Congress in Georgia? You'll need an almost impossible 18 to 24 thousand voter signatures on your nominating petitions.

But in March 2016 a federal appeals court judge ruled in a lawsuit brought by the Georgia Green Party that Georgia's ballot access barriers for everybody except the two capitalist parties were3 unconstitutional, and temporarily lowered the number of petition signatures for statewide candidates in Georgia from 50,000 to only 7,500, provided these are filed by July 12, 2016.

That's less than eight weeks away. If activists in and near Georgia can mobilize and organize to get on the November ballot, that will make history. They … I mean WE... because I am co-chair of the Georgia Green Party will be the very first party on the statewide ballot not backed by the one percent in 70 years.

Georgia legislators 70 years ago knew what they were doing. They knew you couldn't vote for peace and justice if they didn't allow peace and justice candidates or parties on the ballot. Present day Democrats and Republicans know it too, which is why they've left Dixiecrat barriers to meaningful voter choice still on the books in Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and especially in North Carolina.

If Georgia Greens can get those 7,500 signatures by July 12, and get one percent of the vote for the Green presidential candidate Jill Stein, we will have guaranteed ballot access for 2018, and we might also get the impossibly high barriers to local Green candidates lowered too. Georgia voters could see Green and independent candidates for school board, county offices, for state legislature, congress and the senate in 2018. Other states with similar rules can't be far behind. That's what a voting rights breakthough looks like.

The judge's ruling is only temporary, until the legislature meets next year. We expect neither Democrats nor Republicans in the state house want these barriers lowered. So we have to get through the door while it's open, to make it harder to close again. Help us out. Click http://www.jill2016.com/ga_ballot_access_07 and see what you can do. That's http://www.jill2016.com/ga_ballot_access_07, repeat http://www.jill2016.com/ga_ballot_access_07.

I'm Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Report. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly email at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and the co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160518_bd_ballot_access_breakthrough.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07pm EDT

If White People Love Drugs So Much, Why are the Prisons Full of Blacks?

“The way Black people actually behave is not nearly as important as the way the state intervenes in Black people’s lives.”

It is now commonly recognized that white people do more drugs than Blacks and Hispanics, but go to jail for it far less often. White kids also smoke and drink more than Black kids, which most people would assume should correlate with youthful rebellion or rowdiness, but it’s the Black kids that are expelled from school at far higher rates than those hard smoking, booze-swilling whites. What the numbers are telling us is that the way Black people actually behave is not nearly as important as the way the state intervenes in Black people’s lives. Crime statistics do not measure actual crime; they measure arrests and convictions. In that sense, crime statistics are actually measurements of the activities of police, prosecutors and judges; Black people are simply the objects that are being acted upon, by the criminal justice system.

Now, this does not mean that Black folks don’t engage in their share of crime; it simply means you can’t measure the prevalence of crime or anti-social behavior in the Black community by arrest and conviction statistics, or by expulsions from school.

Longitudinal studies are valuable sociological tools because they keep track of groups of people over a period of years, or even decades, rather than just presenting a snap-shot of the human subjects. This month, the American Journal of Public Health published the results of a longitudinal study of nearly two thousand young people who passed through the intake facility at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, Illinois, between November, 1995, and June, 1998. Researchers interviewed the juveniles about their substance-use disorders, or SUDS in the jargon of the profession. At intervals, over a period of 12 years, the researchers caught up with their subjects, and debriefed them on their use of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens or PCP, opiates, amphetamines, and other drugs. They found that, not only were the white former juvenile detainees more likely to use drugs as they got older, their use of cocaine was 30 times higher than among the African Americans in the study. Hispanics were 20 times more likely to get coked up than Blacks. And whites were 50 times more likely than Blacks to be abusing opiates.

Deeply Troubled White Kids, Cruelly Oppressed Black Kids

These are extreme figures, showing a disparity in drug abuse behavior between Blacks and whites so huge, it could not possibly reflect the different ethnic groups’ behavior in society at large. White people as a group do not do 30 times more cocaine than Blacks. However, white kids that wind up getting caught by Chicago area police and sent to the juvenile detention center represent the most troubled segment of their age and race. Even white skin privilege could not save them from arrest. They were the most doped up of their young white cohort – and they stayed that way as they got older. Whereas, the Black kids that were passing through the Cook County juvenile detention center were much more ordinary – because picking up Black children and throwing them in jail is quite an ordinary thing for cops to do.

The study does not shed much light on race and drugs, but it does reveal a lot about race and the criminal justice system.

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: 20160518_gf_RaceDrugsCops.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:14pm EDT

“Soft Coup” Finds Soft Target in Brazil

“Soft Coup” Finds Soft Target in Brazil

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The scandal exposed the entire system as pervasively corrupt – but only Rousseff and her party are in the crosshairs.”

If the Brazilian politicians that are clamoring to impeach President Dilma Rousseff were opposed to corruption, they would impeach themselves, since 60 percent of them are facing some kind kind of corruption charges. Rousseff is personally squeaky clean. Her nominal offense was manipulating budget numbers so that her government could continue programs to help the poor after the bottom fell out of economy because of the global economic slowdown. But, the actual charge against Rousseff almost never came up when the lower house of the Brazilian legislature voted to impeach her, which is why the Speaker of the lower house briefly ruled the impeachment null and void – and then reversed himself less than a day later, clearing the way for the Senate to put Rousseff on trial and remove her from office.

Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party and its allies on the left like MST, the Landless Workers Movement, call the impeachment drive a “soft coup,” and see the long arm of the United States at work. In 2013 Rousseff stood at the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, to denounce the Obama administration for spying on her. The U.S. spymasters didn’t get anything on Rousseff, who is clean, but they dug up plenty on the giant Brazilian state oil company, Petrobas, which is at the center of a web of corruption involving billions of dollars in bribery and payoffs to politicians and businessmen affiliated with a whole range of Brazilian political parties, including, of course, Rousseff’s Workers Party. The scandal exposed the entire system as pervasively corrupt – but only Rousseff and her party are in the crosshairs.

Disintegrating Alliances of Convenience

The Brazilian Left says it will take the battle “to the streets” and mobilize internationally to defeat the “soft” legislative coup. But, sympathizers outside of Brazil must wonder, How did it come to this? How did a party that, since 2002, has won majorities of the national vote even after the economy turned sour find itself being hounded out of executive power by yelping packs of thoroughly corrupt political hyenas?

The Workers Party had a huge national following, but it makes up only about 15 percent of the country’s legislature. Early on, its charismatic leader, “Lula” da Silva, made alliances with parties to his right, at the state and national level. The more the Workers Party became enmeshed with its capitalist partners-of-convenience, the further it moved from its grassroots support. The Workers Party embraced neoliberal austerity when times got rough, and shared cabinet positions and campaign funds with its erstwhile rightwing friends. This relationship was apparently reflected in the realm of corruption, as well, with a host of parties sharing in the feast.  All the while, the deeply reactionary and vicious Brazilian ruling class, which controls the monopoly media, awaited its chance to destroy the Workers Party, even at the risk of economic and social chaos. This “soft coup” could turn very, very hard, very quickly.

The Left hangs by a thread in Brazil, has been ousted in Argentina, and is halfway out the door in Venezuela, because the power of the capitalists in those countries remained intact. Capitalism is the ultimate corruption, that never quits until it is stamped out.

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: 20160511_gf_BrazilSoftCoup.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EDT

Why Obama Silenced bin Laden

Why Obama Silenced bin Laden

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Bin Laden had to die so that al Qaida could live to fight another day for U.S. imperialism in Libya and Syria.”

Five years ago, this week, U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden, in a fully wired, real-time assassination that was observed, half a world away by President Obama and much of his entourage. It was as if the high commission of the Mafia had gathered to watch the silencing of a witness who might testify to what the whole gang had been up to all these years. The SEALS that carried out the hit, supposedly the most disciplined troops in the U.S. military, made no effort whatsoever to capture bin Laden. Instead, they shot him on sight in the head and then raked his body with at least one hundreds bullets.

Bin Laden wasn’t going to do any talking to anybody; that was the purpose of the mission. The United States government had no interest in learning the real history or capabilities of al Qaida; they already knew every detail. They had been there, with bin Laden, from the very beginning, back in Afghanistan in the late Seventies and early Eighties, when the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan created the world’s first international Islamic jihadist network, with bin Laden at the center. The U.S. and its allies have been manipulating that network like attack dogs, ever since, siccing them on their enemies with one hand and then pretending to wage never ending war against the jihadists, with the other. It’s been one hell of a scam.

A Symbolic Decapitation, to Deflect Attention from a Huge Mobilization

There was an urgent need to take out bin Laden in May of 2011. The United States and its European and royal Arab allies were in the midst of another Shock and Awe offensive to bring down the secular governments of Libya and Syria, and they needed all the jihadist foot soldiers they could get. The trick was to pretend that the jihadists in Libya and Syria were really just freedom-loving political dissidents and patriotic “moderates” who were oppressed by their governments and, therefore, deserving of U.S. arms, financing, and air support. To pull that one off, Washington had to create the impression that al Qaida, the international jihadist network, had been drastically weakened and marginalized, so that Westerners would not be terrified watching Islamic fighters on television running around cutting off heads and shouting “God is Great.” Al Qaida had to be symbolically decapitated, through the killing of bin Laden, so that the U.S. could trick its own citizens, if not the world, into believing that the Arab fighters that Washington was backing were the good guys, even though they behaved just like al Qaida.

In short, bin Laden had to die so that al Qaida could live to fight another day for U.S. imperialism in Libya and Syria. The U.S. is still arming and protecting al Qaida, whose Syrian affiliate, al Nusra, is the main force holding the so-called “rebel” lines in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. The U.S. would be protecting the al Qaida off-shoot ISIS, as well, if ISIS had not decided to fight its own war, for its own reasons. Even so, the U.S. did not mount serious attacks against ISIS in Syria until the Russians intervened, which showed the whole world that Washington had been collaborating with the terrorists, all along – something that we might have learned of in great detail, if Osama bin Laden had been captured and put on trial.

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: 20160504_gf_WhyBinLadenDied.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48pm EDT

Obama’s Legacy: al-Qaida’s Protector-in-Chief

“The U.S. war on terror is probably the greatest lie of the 21st century, and a big part of the 20th century, too.”

President Obama continues to play his three card monte game in Syria, pretending to wage an all-out war against ISIS, while at the same time helping al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s terrorist army in Syria, blend in with the other jihadists armed and financed by the United States and its allies. With Russian help, the Syrian Army may soon be in position to march against the ISIS capital, in Raqqah, and to drive al-Qaida from the country’s second largest city, Aleppo. If that happens, it would signal the final unraveling of a nearly four decades-long U.S. policy of using fundamentalist Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers for U.S. imperialism, in partnership with Saudi Arabia. That’s what is driving the Saudi monarchy crazy, because, if the jihadists are defeated in Syria, they are certain to turn on their Saudi paymasters and the other infinitely corrupt monarchies in the Persian Gulf. What goes around, eventually comes around.

And, that’s why President Obama is sending 250 more Special Forces troops into Syria, supposedly to train more of those phantom “moderate” rebels that the Pentagon last year admitted do not exist. The real number of U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq is certainly much higher than the U.S. is admitting. These U.S. soldiers are attempting to rearm and unite all of the smaller terrorist groups that are integrated with al-Qaida – that is, everyone except ISIS.

The Russians aren’t fooled one bit by Obama’s terrorist shell game. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has resisted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposals to carve Syria up into so-called “zones of interest,” a phony kind of cease-fire that would prevent the Syrian government from taking back its national territory. Lavrov is telling the U.S. that any so-called rebels that are caught fighting alongside al-Qaida will be killed, just like al-Qaida, and that the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria is not subject to negotiation.

“The U.S. presence in Syria is totally illegal.”

The Russians and the Syrian government not only have international law firmly on their side, but also the relevant United Nations Security Council resolution, which calls on the entire world to fight against both ISIS and al-Qaida’s Nusra Front. The U.S. voted for the resolution, and President Obama has repeatedly stated that Washington respects Syria’s national sovereignty. Obama is lying, of course – but then, the U.S. war on terror is probably the greatest lie of the 21st century, and a big part of the 20th century, too.

The U.S. presence in Syria is totally illegal – which is why Obama has to cloak it in terms of American self-defense against ISIS, despite the fact that ISIS grew by leaps and bounds until the Russians intervened and forced the Americans to pretend to wage war against it. The U.S. troops’ main job is to arm the various brands of al-Qaida fighters with heavy weapons, and to act as a “trip wire,” daring the Russians to bomb areas of the country where American troops are active. In other words, he is prepared to go to war with Russia to defend the terrorist armies he has unleashed on Syria.

Obama will end his term in office as the protector-in-chief of al-Qaida. What a legacy for the First Black President.

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: 20160427_gf_ObamaSyriaScam.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50pm EDT

Will Bernie's Burnout Lead To A New Movement? Maybe, Maybe Not.

Will Bernie's Burnout Lead To A New Movement? Maybe, Maybe Not.

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

What's going to happen when Bernie endorses Hillary Clinton? A springtime blizzard of articles and internet postings says some big fraction of Bernie's activists and voters won't work or vote for Hillary. But we all know what happens after springtime blizzards. The snow stops, the white stuff melts and the landscape changes.

When it does Bernie will hand over his volunteer lists, fundraising, email and social media assets to Hillary. Most of Bernie's activists will get out the vote for the Democratic nominee against the greater evil that is President Trump, and most of Bernie's voters will follow. But a minority, a significant number will be disposed to do something else election day, or to help build something afterward. What about them?

Most discussions of putting together a force outside and to the left of the Democratic party dwell on the issues and the demographics but fail to credibly explain how such a thing could be funded or to whom its leaders would be responsible. Democrat and Republican parties, politicians and all but a tiny number of campaigns are funded by the generous and more and more often the anonymous donations of wealthy corporations and individuals. Take the big easy money and your donors will, directly or indirectly determine your leadership. Don't take the money and you're broke, looking for new models of funding maybe leadership too.

What about the hot new funding model: lots of small donations, reaped over the internet? To tell the truth except for the internet part this is an old model, not a new one --- religious congregations have long supported ministries and pastors, sometimes in opulent style, off the small donations of mostly poor people. But it's the leaders and big donors if they have any, who call the shots in these organizations, not the small donors.

Moveon.org used to bill itself as an example of an outfit supported by tens of thousands of small donations, presumably from people of modest means. But MoveOn's leadership, like that of many organizations sustained by small donors are a self-selected and self-perpetuating crew. Its thousands of small donors cannot choose or un-choose the leaders, cannot determine or change its policies, any more than small donors to the NAACP or the Sierra Club both examples of places happy to take both large and small contributions.

When people discuss the formation of political movements outside the Democratic party in this or any other season they like to talk about ideas and policies, but not so much about how to guarantee some semblance of small d democratic leadership of these movements, leadership responsible to members. The answer pretty much suggests itself. If your funders will inevitably choose your movement's leadership, and you need your leadership to be responsible to your rank and file members, then you need to have dues paying members as your principal funders.

Membership funding, with organization structured so that leaders are directly accountable to, selected and un-selected by members. That's the model we should be exploring. This is the way genuine left and socialist parties and movements for the last hundred years have funded their operations all over world, a fact not much taught to so-called community organizers here.

Until these old lessons about choosing internal democracy and membership funding over s big donors and self-perpetuating leaders are re-learned, it's hard to see how a new political movement left of the Democratic party will ever take hold and grow.

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 Georiga Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160420_bd_after_bernie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm EDT

There’s Only One Cure for Chicago Police Lawlessness: Black Community Control

“Democracy demands that “the people must be empowered to hold the police accountable for their crimes and misconduct.”

The absolute intransigence of the U.S. mass incarceration regime is most dramatically on display in Chicago, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s own special investigative task force has concluded that the “police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” The report backs up that conclusion with a now-familiar recitation of statistics that show, by the numbers, the raw nature of the police as an occupying army that perceives that its mission is to stop, humiliate, frame, physically abuse, torture and kill Black and brown people. Seventy-four percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police last year were Black. Seventy-two percent of those stopped on the street but who were not arrested, were Black. Three quarters of those singled out for tasering were Black. And, the bulk of the remainder were Latino.

The task force was Mayor Emanuel’s response to demonstrations in protest of a massive cover-up of the police killing of Laquan McDonald, whose death in a hail of 16 bullets was caught on video that was hidden from public view for more than a year. Since then, the killer cops have been gunning down Black folks like clockwork, including last week’s shooting of 16 year-old Pierre Loury after he ran away from a police stop. Witnesses say the cops high-fived each other over the dead boy’s body.

The mayor thinks he can hide behind Eddie Johnson’s Black face – but those days are over.”

Mayor Emanuel was forced to fire his police superintendent in the wake of the Laquan McDonald cover-up. Last week he passed over three candidates recommended by a police oversight board, to pick Eddie Johnson, a Black 28-year veteran of the force, as the new superintendent. Emanuel made it clear that Eddie Johnson’s first job is to restore the “morale” of his fellow officers. “He’s well-respected within the department among the rank-and-file officers,” said Emanuel, as if the main task is to keep the cops happy – instead of confronting the fact that they “have no regard for the sanctity” of Black lives. The mayor thinks he can hide behind Eddie Johnson’s Black face – but those days are over. Johnson’s record of service to the Chicago Police Department is a badge of shame, not honor. He served as chief of patrol, commanding 8,000 of the very same officers that have compiled an unbroken record of lawlessness and contempt for civilian authority. Eddie Johnson would not have climbed so high in such a department if he were not, himself, a protector and champion of killer cops.

The young people that forced the issue of police terror to the forefront vow that they won’t settle for anything less than community control of police. They say democracy demands that “the people must be empowered to hold the police accountable for their crimes and misconduct,” the power to tell the police how they want their communities to be made safe and secure. As Frank Chapman, Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression wrote on the organization’s Facebook page, “Community control of the police is not a utopian dream, it is what we are fighting for now in this present reality.”

The present reality, in Chicago and throughout the United States, is that the police are an occupation army in the Black community. If there is to be peace, that army must be dismantled and disbanded.

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: 20160420_gf_ChicagoPolice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:35pm EDT

COINTELPRO Alive and Well in Los Angeles

“Officers of a secret police cyber-unit have been taking pictures of activists, collecting names, and then matching them with postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media.”

The U.S. corporate media would have you believe that the movement that goes under the heading of Black Lives Matter has already gained substantial acceptance in the ruling circles of the United States, especially on the Democratic side of the electoral duopoly; that progress is evident in Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of the fact of her own white privilege, and the Democratic National Committee’s endorsement of the Black Lives Matter Network’s founders by name; and that the Movement is now transitioning into the “mainstream” with twiterist DeRay McKesson’s campaign for mayor of Baltimore.

The reality is that the U.S. National Security and Mass Black Incarcerate State is intent on breaking the back of the movement through the usual means: police repression, reinforced by more recent innovations in the technology of political control. And, just as with the Occupy Movement of a few years ago, the task of containing and neutralizing the Movement will fall to Democratic administrations in the nation’s big cities. Like Los Angeles.

LA is the center of the criminal in-justice system’s counter-offensive. A batch of six Black Lives Matter protesters face possible retrial this month, after a jury failed to convict them on misdemeanor charges for barricading an LA highway in November of 2014. The trial of three more protesters is under way for taking part in a 1,000-person strong demonstration in which a commuter train was stopped, in April of 2015. Mayor Eric Garcetti and his City Attorneys seem determined to take down the movement’s best cadres, selectively prosecuting only 20 of the 330 people arrested in the 2014 protests – all of them active members of Black Lives Matter.

“Just as with the Occupy Movement of a few years ago, the task of containing and neutralizing the Movement will fall to Democratic administrations in the nation’s big cities.”

In an interview on Democracy Now! Black Lives Matter lawyer Nana Gyamfi said officers of a secret police cyber-unit have been taking pictures of activists, collecting names, and then matching them with postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Clearly, the cops are forming maps of activist social networks and gathering evidence for conspiracy charges in the future. According to Gyamfi, letters on LAPD and state Department of Justice stationary have been sent to activists’ workplaces, informing their bosses that they have been arrested for “felony conspiracy” to commit a crime.

Sounds like COINTELPRO, the FBI’s counter-intelligence program to disrupt and neutralize radical organizations, two generations ago. COINTELPRO also coexisted with Democratic Party attempts to co-opt Black movement leadership. At the same time that Dr. Martin Luther King was making visits to the White House, the Kennedy brothers and, later, President Lyndon Johnson were authorizing the FBI to spy on his activities. They sent letters urging King to kill himself – and we all know how that turned out.

Los Angeles was the city where SWAT teams were first deployed, in 1969, against the headquarters of the Black Panther Party. It looks like LA will be the point of the spear for political police repression in the 21st century.

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: 20160413_gf_LAPD_BLM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:09am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 11, 2016

Mississippi Schemes to Dismember Tax Base of Black Capital City

The Republican-run State of Mississippi has moved to seize the City of Jackson’s two airports and a medical services corridor, and is maneuvering to take over the municipal water treatment facility that proves the bulk of the 80 percent Black city’s budget. “They have a full-blown plan for dismembering this city,” said Kali Akuno, of Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. The GOP plan went into overdrive with the election of Chokwe Lumumba, arguably the most radical Black mayor in the country, in 2013. But Lumumba died after less than a year in office. If the state succeeds, “there will be very little left to actually govern and to deliver goods and services to the community.”

Blacks Should Stop Going Down the Democratic Party “Rabbit Hole”

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations packed St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, in New York’s Harlem, for a National Conference on the 2016 Elections and Black Self-Determination. BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley told the crowd that Black people have supported “Democrat after Democrat, demeaning and insulting and imprisoning Black people, none of them willing to fight on our behalf, and we pay the price of continuing down the same old rabbit hole, time and time again.”

“Dead End” Capitalism Can’t Provide a Recovery for Workers

Boston-based writer and activist Danny Haiphong said that fractures in both the Republican and Democratic parties are reflections of the general crisis of capitalism. The system is at a “dead end” and cannot “provide a recovery for workers while at the same time exploiting these workers for the surplus value – the profit – it is desperately needs,” said Haiphong, a regular contributor to BAR. “If Bernie Sanders were to win, his ‘New Deal’ program could never be implemented in such an historical epoch.” This creates “so many opportunities for revolutionary struggle.”

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Direct download: BAR_041116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:44pm EDT

Are African Americans “Strategic Voters” Or Are We A Captive Constituency?

Are African Americans “Strategic Voters” Or Are We A Captive Constituency?

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

Strategy is an overall plan or policy designed to achieve some objective. So what is this thing that Democrats and nominal non-Democrats call “strategic voting”?

Will this “strategic voting” thing help us roll back the vicious police and prison states? Will it make the economy work for the 99% instead of the 1%? Will it help us stop gentrification or the privatization of schools, roads, post offices and public services? Will strategic voting get the thirty million people, many of them black whom Obamacare missed real health care? Will strategic voting stop our drone bombings in Somalia and Pakistan, or US support of apartheid Israel?

The proponents of strategic voting readily admit that it will do none of these things. For them, “strategy” is simply electing a Democrat, any Democrat because Republicans are the White Man's Party. This calculus of fear, as Glen Ford has explained is the entirety of black presidential politics. It's a politics of fear, a fantasy world in which overwhelming dread of the White Man's Party is the first, the last and only thing that matters.

The problem of course is that throwing away our hopes, for a just and peaceful society, for getting off fossil fuels and creating millions of new green jobs especially in the inner cities where we need them most, shelving our demands for economic justice and radically shrinking the prison population, putting aside our struggles for higher wages and the right to unionize, for affordable day care, housing and health care, for free quality education from kindergarten through universities --- putting all these things on the back burner for fear that the White Man's Party might gain the White House, the state house or whatever house is not a strategy at all. It's just fear, and fear is not a strategy.

Fear is running away from strategy. Fear is fleeing from any meaningful struggle. “Strategic voting” means jumping back into the trunk of the Democratic party's car. If that's a strategy it ain't a good one. Democrats in office have often proved themselves the “more effective evil” executing policies like school privatization, mass survellance, whistleblower crackdowns and bankster pardons that Republicans could only dream of.

As passengers in the Democratic party's trunk we don't get consulted about what the Democrats do once they're in office. Barack Obama didn't ask black America if we wanted public schools defunded, broken and privatized or if we wanted the banksters lightly slapped on the wrist instead of broken and imprisoned. African American voters are what political scientists call a “captive constituency”. The last strategic thing we did was to let our fear of the White Man's Party induce them to climb into the Democratic party's trunk.

The Democratic party is owned by its contributors, by Wall Street and the hedge fund guys, by Monsanto and Big Ag, by military contractors, privatizers and gentrifiers. Once we're in the Democratic party's trunk, and we've been there for a generation now, the only strategic options are to remain a captive constituency or to pull the latch and escape from Hillary's and Debbie Wasserman Schulz's, from Cuomo's and Rahm Emanuel's trunk to leave the Democratic party and vote our hopes instead of our fears.

I'll be voting for the Green Party this year because it's the only party that opposes school privatization, and drone wars, and gentrification. It's the only party that thinks voting ought to be a constitutional right and that aid to Saudi Arabia and apartheid Israel ought to end yesterday, and more. Unlike a vote cast in fear, a vote from Rahm's trunk, my vote will be a strategic one. Unlike Democrats, I will be voting my hopes and demands, not my fears.

For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the Georiga Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160406_bd_strategic-voters-or-captive-constituents.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:34pm EDT

A Few Black Caucus Members Have Some Questions About Israel

The entire history of the apartheid Zionist state is an affront to the very notion of civilization.”

Black Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson has written a letter that puts him in the cross-hairs of the Israel lobby – and he’s managed to bring eight other members of the House with him, including three colleagues from the Congressional Black Caucus. Johnson teamed up with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, a longtime – and usually very lonely – critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The senator is the author of the Leahy Law, which requires the United States to cut off military aid “to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information” that the unit has “committed a gross violation of human rights.” Congressman Johnson believes this language applies to Israel and to military and police units in Egypt. Together, the two countries account for more than 75 percent of total U.S. military assistance to foreign states: $3.1 billion a year to Israel, and $1.5 billion to Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that the U.S. increase its annual gift to the Zionist State’s military to $4.5 billion.

Congressman Johnson’s letter urges Secretary of State John Kerry to do as the Leahy Law requires, and make a determination if Israel and Egypt have engaged in gross violations of human rights. The letter calls Kerry’s attention to specific cases of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians and the use of torture by Israeli security forces, and it cites the Egyptian military regime’s 2013 massacre of as many as a thousand unarmed civilians at Rab’aa Square, which Human Rights Watch describes as “the world’s largest killing of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.”

Washington has no problem with mass murder.”

In addition to Senator Leahy, Hank Johnson convinced eight other House Democrats to sign his letter, including Black Caucus members Andrè Carson, of Indiana, Eddie Bernice Johnson, of Texas, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, the congressional Delegate from Washington, DC.

The crimes of Egypt’s military regime have shocked the world, but Washington has no problem with mass murder, which is why the Egyptian military has been a U.S. client for the past 40 years.

And, there is, of course, not a chance in hell that Secretary of State Kerry will certify that Israel is a gross human rights violator – despite the fact that the entire history of the apartheid Zionist state is an affront to the very notion of civilization. Just two weeks ago, an Israeli soldier was caught on video cold-bloodedly shooting a wounded and helpless Palestinian in the head. A poll showed 66 percent of Israeli Jews have good feelings about the soldier’s behavior, and 57 percent don’t even want the government to investigate the murder. This is the kind of barbaric society that is bred by apartheid – a society that should be recognized as inherently evil by every member of the Congressional Black Caucus. But, only three Black congresspersons joined Hank Johnson in questioning why the U.S. spends billions to arm the last apartheid state on Earth. In 2014, every single Black congressperson, including Hank Johnson, voted in support of Israel even as it was slaughtering more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Four signatures on a letter will never erase the shame they have brought upon Black America through their support for the most racist regime in the world.

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: 20160406_gf_HankJohnsonLttr.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm EDT

Just What We Need: More Black Celebrity Charter School Crooks Entrepreneurs

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

Celebrities they say, are people who are famous for being well known, while entrepreneurs, in popular lore, are those with a talent for detecting opportunities to get paid, in much the same way crocodiles and sharks smell blood in distant waters. So the celebrity entrepreneur is all about finding ways to leverage that celebrity to get paid.

In this neoliberal age of privatization, the surest way for the well-connected to get paid is to bribe public officials to help you convert public assets into your private property. Look at entrepreneur Ervin “Magic” Johnson, who gave Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel a perfectly legal $250,000 campaign donation and received an $80 million contract to replace the formerly unionized janitors in Chicago Public Schools. That's entrepreneurship. Now principals in some of those schools are buying mops and brooms out of their own pockets to keep the filth at bay.

Since the Clinton era, charter school investments get automatic tax credits that allow investors to double their money in as little as 7 years. Thanks in part to vigorous lobbying on the state and federal levels by charter schools and their investors and contractors the charter school industry is not subject to the same instructional, operational, fiscal and accounting, or conflict of interest rules as actual public schools. In most states it's perfectly legal for a charter school operator to give her brother the maintenance contract, her sister the instructional contract and her cousin the textbook contract, to replace the teachers with computer programs, while her own privately held company rents and subleases the school building at a hefty markup, all with public money, and misleadingly call yourself a “public school.”

So it's no surprise that black celebrity entrepreneurs want in on the charter school racket. Magic Johnson's name is on a profitable charter school diploma mill chain that substitutes computers for human teachers and awards quick high school diplomas not in its own name but in the name of the public school the student dropped out or was pushed out of. If that's not educational fraud, it's hard to imagine what is. Deion Sanders and Jalen Rose have charter school train wrecks named after them, and they're far from alone. The truth is that black celebrity charter schools are not about giving back, they're about cashing in. If black celebrities cared about education for black children they'd be siding with parents, students and communities instead of with their investment portfolios.

The latest entries in the charter school feeding frenzy are Sean “Diddy” Combs, with accomplices Steve Perry and Iyanla Vanzant. Together, they're fronting what's called the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, apparently part of the chain of Capital Preparatory operated by Steve Perry, who's not much more of an “educator” than Diddy, and has a history of abusive and threatening public rhetoric, and advocating the mass firing of qualified, experienced teachers, especially black ones.

Despite PR flourishes like calling its teachers “illuminators,” and occasional references to “social justice” Diddy's charter school venture looks a lot more like another parasitic business venture than any kind of real educational institution. It's time we looked a lot closer at black celebs who claim to be “giving back,” and at their kind of black “success stories” as well. The last thing we really need now is more black celebrity charter school crooks... I mean entrepreneurs.

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 lives and works near Marietta GA and can be contacted via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.

 

 

Direct download: 20160330_bd_diddy_joins_charter_school_crooks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48pm EDT

Black Brooklyn DA’s Leniency for Killer COP Shows the “Whole System is Guilty as Hell”

“Former Officer Liang’s supporters argued that he would not have faced charges at all, if he had been white.”

Last week, the District Attorney for Brooklyn, New York, recommended that the cop who was convicted in the death of Akai Gurley not spend a single day in prison, but, instead, serve five years probation, six months on home confinement, and do 500 hours of community service. The cop’s lawyer called the DA’s decision “courageous.” Members of the city’s Chinese American community had packed the trial, demanding that former officer Peter Liang be acquitted of negligent manslaughter charges for shooting Gurley as the unarmed 28 year-old father walked in the darkened stairwell of a public housing apartment building with his girlfriend. Liang’s supporters argued that he would not have faced charges at all, if he had been white.

District Attorney Ken Thompson, a Democrat, the son of a cop, and the first Black to be elected as top prosecutor for Brooklyn, justified his recommendation of leniency, saying there was “no evidence” that Liang intended to kill Akai Gurley, and that Liang was not a danger to the community – despite the fact that he had already killed a law abiding member of the community.

Akai Gurley’s family was outraged. They said District Attorney Thompson’s recommendation “sends the message that police officers who kill people should not face serious consequences.” At least some of the jurors that convicted the cop agreed. One asked, “What was the point of prosecuting him? If something is wrong, you shouldn’t get a slap on the wrist.” Another juror said the DA’s call for leniency was “ridiculous,” and confided to the Daily News that his own father had spent seven years in prison for accidentally shooting a friend.

However, the only Black person on the jury, a 69 year-old man, said the prosecutor was only “doing his job.”

“Impunity for police is built into the system.”

The person who will have the final say in the case is Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who is scheduled to sentence Liang on April 14. Before he was appointed to the court, Chun, a Korean American, was a prosecutor.

The Brooklyn DA’s decision means that, even when a police officer is convicted of criminally negligent homicide in the death of an unarmed and totally non-threatening Black man, in a trial in which the chief prosecutor is Black, the chances of meaningful punishment are slim, because impunity for police is built into the system. No matter the weight of the evidence, Black lives don’t really matter in the U.S. criminal justice system. So inconsequential was the life of Akai Gurley, that Chinese Americans believed that Officer Liang was entitled to the same impunity – the same free pass – in the death of a Black man, as a white cop could expect to get.

Ken Thompson, the Black prosecutor, clearly feels the same way. He is a career Democratic politician whose allegiance is to the party and the system that appointed him, not to Black people, and certainly not to any notions of justice. His job, as he saw it, was to prevent the jury from dispensing justice, to turn loose a killer cop – because he is a killer prosecutor and, as Akai Gurley’s supporters said throughout the trial, “The whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

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: 20160330_gf_AkaiGurleyCase.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 28, 2016

Colonial Chickens Come Home to Roost in the West

In the wake of the Brussels bombing, we hear variations of the same old theme: “They [Muslims] hate us [the ‘West’] because of our freedoms.” However, “the reality is, it’s not who we are, but what we do” – wage war in Muslim lands – “that is the problem. It’s our foreign policy, not our cultural values,” said Arun Kundnani, author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror. Kundnani, a British citizen of Indian extraction who lectures at New York University, said polls consistently show that “people in the Middle East do no have any antagonisms to the United States, itself, or its values. What they have antagonisms to is U.S. foreign policy in the region.”

No Slavery Remembrance Day at the White House

The United Nations marked a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade, March 25, but there was no sign of the occasion – “no commemoration, not even rhetoric, nothing” – at the White House, said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. Baraka also attended this month’s 15th anniversary of the UN World Conference Against Racial Discrimination, whose ongoing activities are widely known as the Durban Process. Since the genocide of Native Americans and enslavement of Africans “served as the material base for the ascendancy of Europe, then justice demands that some type of repair – reparations – needs to be considered,” said Baraka. However, Europe, the United States and other white settler states have resisted the Durban Process at every turn.

Newark City Council Approves Police Review Board

In a unanimous vote, the city council of Newark, New Jersey, authorized the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board, with subpoena powers. The council’s action means the board will not go out of existence when its initiator, Mayor Ras Baraka, leaves office. However, “the implementation will still be stymied because the police unions have vowed to go to court to stop it,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, one of the community groups with a seat on the review board.

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Direct download: BAR_032816.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

Post Obama Struggle For Public Education Shifts To The States

Good News, Bad News as Fight For Public Education Goes Local

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

Barack Obama passed up multiple once in a lifetime opportunities that might have made him the most popular president since Franklin Roosevelt. Obama refused to lock up any of the Wall Street crooks that caused the crash of 2007. He made investors whole but not homeowners, he legalized and absolved Bush-era torturers, and he used the auto industry bankruptcy to slash wages, eliminate pensions and offload retiree medical care onto workers unions instead of their bosses. Obama let automakers to go back to making the same deadly defective climate-destroying products as before, when he could have redirected the industry's vast army of scientists and engineers to develop new products and processes to help us transition to a post-fossil fuel economy.

But the Obama presidency hasn't been all about missed opportunities. Barack Obama did seize the chance at $4 billion in one-time stimulus funds he could distribute with no congressional or judicial oversight to further the bipartisan elite goal of wrecking and privatizing public education. He let consultants from the Gates, Broad, Walton Family and other pro-privatization outfits draw up the award guidelines for what the president called his “Race To The Top.” It was really a race to hand over tens of billions in public assets to a galaxy of shady charter school operators and contractors, a race to normalize Common Core and other profitable test-and-punish regimes that provide the excuse to fire hundreds of thousands of teachers. It was a race to compromise the educational futures of millions.

The Obama administration inflicted incalculable and lasting damage upon public education in the US, and helped seed the administrations of school districts, states and the federal government with thousands of pro-privatization stooges from Teach For America, the corporate foundations, the US Chamber of Commerce and similar places.

The good news, in the final year of the Obama administration, is that with the stimulus money all gone, the federal Department of Education has far fewer means to force privatization and Common Core on states and school districts. The new Elementary and Secondary Education Act reserve states and school districts the autonomy to reject some federal initiatives while Race to the Top and Common Core have spawned grassroots opposition among working class whites across the country, including many nominal Republicans.

The bad news though, is that enormous damage has been done. The same charter school sugar daddies and privatizers who bought the allegiance of Obama and elected Democrats also own Republican governors and state legislatures too. And that's where the fight is now.

As the sun sets on the Obama era, the battles against school privatization, charter school corruption, test-and-punish, and run-the-school-like-a-business schemes are shifting to the states, to state governors and legislatures, to local school boards, and crucially to the national movement of parents and educators encouraging parents and students to opt out of the standardized testing regimes which have always provided the excuse to classify schools targeted for privatization and replacement.

There's a video of a little black girl weeping because President Obama will soon have to leave office. If she and her parents knew what the First Black President had done to education, she wouldn't be crying. It's time for the organizers of the opt-out movement to double down on getting the case for opting out before black parents across the land who are perfectly capable of choosing between allegiance to their nominal leaders, and allegiance to their own children and the futures of their families. You can find the National Opt-Out Movement online at unitedoptout.com. That's unitedoptout.com, and they should be able to hook you up with concerned parents and teachers near you.

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 lives and works near Marietta GA. Contact him via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20160324_bd_education_fight_post_obama.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

Raul Castro Should Ask Obama: What About U.S. Political Prisoners?

“The United States is holding scores of political prisoners, many of them captured in the 1960s and 70s.”

President Obama knew it was impolitic to play his hypocritical human rights game while in the presence of Cuban President Raul Castro, in Havana, this week. So Obama had one of his kiss-up White House reporters do the sneak attack for him. CNN’s Jim Acosta, the son of a Cuban exile, asked President Castro why his country kept political prisoners. Castro replied, “What political prisoners?” and asked Acosta to provide a list of such people. It was an awkward moment – not diplomatic at all – but Obama was clearly enjoying it. And, well he might, because neither Jim Acosta nor any of the other corporate mouthpieces in the White House press corps would dare, or even think, to ask a U.S. president about the plight of American political prisoners.

The U.S. media traveling with Obama have easy access to all sorts of lists of Cubans who are supposedly in prison for opposition to the their government – although even Amnesty International says that the Cubans released their last political prisoner, back in September.

The United States, on the other hand, is still holding scores of political prisoners, many of them captured in the 1960s and 70s. Their numbers are decreasing only because they are dying of old age – accelerated by the inhuman conditions and practices of the world’s largest prison system. If the corporate media were really concerned about political prisoners, they could go to the web site of the Jericho Movement and see the pictures of 50 of them. Eighteen were members of the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army or the Republic of New Africa, including Mumia Abu Jamal, whose life hangs by a thread because the State of Pennsylvania refuses to treat his Hepatitis C. Black Panther Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald has been incarcerated since 1969. There are men and women from the MOVE organization, all with the last name “Africa,” whose children were killed and their home bombed by the Philadelphia police. There are Native American activists from the First Nation group and American Indian Movement, including Leonard Peltier, who has been behind bars since 1976. There are white Class war, Anti-imperialist and Anarchist Hacker political prisoners, and, Marie Mason, a white Earth Liberation Front woman and Black female community activist Rev. Joy Powell.

No Truce in This War

There are prisoners who became political after they were imprisoned – which is why they are still there. There are Chicano political prisoners and the great Puerto Rican independence fighter, Oscar Lopez Rivera. There is the former H. Rap Brown, who’s doing life without parole as Imam Jamil Al-Amin. There are members of the Portland 7 and the Virgin Island 5 and the Ohio 7. There is the brilliant Mutulu Shakur, father of Tupac Shakur, who the feds say masterminded the escape and exile to Cuba of Assata Shakur. If Obama could somehow get her back behind bars in the U.S., he’d claim she wasn’t a political prisoner, either.

The Jericho Movement’s pictures do not include lots of other political prisoners, like Rev. Edward Pinkney, who’s serving up to ten years in prison for non-violently standing up for the people of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

President Obama this week told the Cuban people, “I Have Come Here To Bury The Last Remnant Of The Cold War.” But he won’t end the long war against Black people in the United States, a war that has sent millions to prison under a political policy of mass Black Incarceration. In that sense, they are all political prisoners.

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: 20160323_gf_USPoliticalPrisoners.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 21, 2016

Black Power Matters in 2016

“Fear of fascism being ‘right around the corner’ – this time in the form of Donald Trump – always means a vote for some kind of Democrat, as opposed to building our own independent political power,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition will hold a national conference on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and the Struggle for Black Self-Determination, in Harlem, New York City, on April 9. “What we’re seeing with this election is real evidence of the political weakness” of Black revolutionary forces, who have failed to keep Black self-determination at the forefront, said Yeshitela.

All Power to the Disrupters

Bernie Sanders apparently believes socialism can be achieved without much disruption of the prevailing order. The Democratic presidential candidate recently denounced all “disruptions” of political gatherings, including Donald Trump events. Veteran activist and historian Paul Street, author of They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy, called “disruption” a “legitimate part of American life.” Said Street: “I guess Bernie needs to go back and re-read Howard Zinn’s best selling, classic People’s History of the United States.” Or anything by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Flint Isn’t EPA’s Only Victim

A Virginia Tech professor of Environment and Water Resources accused the federal Environmental Protection Agency of being “willfully blind to the pain and suffering of Flint residents, unremorseful of their role in causing this man-made disaster, and unable to learn from their mistakes.” Prof. Marc Edwards testified before a congressional hearing on the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water. “Malfeasance at the EPA from 2001 to the present has harmed cities all over the United States,” said Edwards.

Death of a Political Poet and Prisoner

Mondo Welanga, born David Rice 68 years ago, died in a Nebraska penitentiary cell after spending the past 46 years serving a life sentence, along with Ed Poindexter, in the death of an Omaha cop. Amnesty International recognized Welanga and Poindexter as Prisoners of Conscience. Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, called them “soldiers for the people, dedicated to their defense and security.”

Walanga was a poet, some of whose works appeared on Prison Radio. His 2015 poem When It Gets To This Point condemns those who “replace facts with spin” as

“the beatings and the chokings and shootings
of our boys and men
by these wrong arms of the law
proceed in orderly fashion
before the sometimes sad
sometimes angry faces of
our uncertain
our hesitant
disbelief.”

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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: BAR_032116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14pm EDT

Black Is Back Coalition Holds National Conference on Self-Determination and 2016 Elections

“We arrive at the current election season with both corporate parties in a state of flux and an incipient Black movement that is anxious to transform the political landscape.”

Self-determination. It’s a term that was once at the center of the Black political discussion. How should Black folks organize themselves to gain the power to shape their own destinies, and in the process, build a better world and break the power of our enemies? Black people in the United States made great strides when we engaged in mass mobilization under independent Black leadership with the focus on self-determination. WE set the terms of discussion, and put forward principled demands that were designed – always – to result in the accumulation of more power in the hands of our people. Sometimes that involved elections, but more often not, because elections only occur every two or four years, while the struggle for power and self-determination is constant.

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations is putting Black people’s self-determination back in the discussion this election season, with a National Conference on the 2016 Election and the Struggle for Self-Determination. The conference takes place on Saturday, April 9, at St. Mary’s Church in Harlem, New York City. The Black Is Back Coalition will explore the possibilities and the dangers that the current electoral scene presents for the future of Black people and the world. This is a conference about power: the power to kick the killer cops out of our neighborhoods and establish Black community control of the police. The power to keep our people from being dispersed from the cities at the whim of rich corporations. The power to control our schools and the content and quality of our children’s educations. The power that comes from economic security. The power to say Yes to our friends and No to our enemies.

“Movement” Politics

The Black Is Back Coalition was founded in October, 2009, when a broad range of Black organizations decided to work together based on the principle of Black self-determination and the struggle against imperialism. President Obama had just begun his first term in office. The new Coalition understood that the election of a Black corporate Democrat to the highest office in the land was not a step towards Black self-determination. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Obama’s election meant that lots of Black folks would celebrate as their own incomes and wealth went further down the drain, and that many would cheering while a Black commander-in-chief slaughtered people of color all over the world. And we were right.

But something else happened in the second half of Barack Obama’s tenure in office: the beginnings of a mass movement. And so, we arrive at the current election season with both corporate parties in a state of flux and, most importantly, an incipient Black movement that is anxious to transform the political landscape through struggle outside the ballot box. Which is why the Black Is Back Coalition is holding a National Conference on the 2016 Election and the Struggle for Self-Determination, Saturday, April 9, at St. Mary’s Church, at 521 West 126th Street, in Harlem, New York. To make arrangements, go to the Black Is Back Coalition web site. Because Black Power matters.

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: 20160316_gf_BiBConf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 14, 2016

“Billionaires” Fund Defamation of Public Schools, Teachers

A poll commissioned by In The Public Interest shows Americans still hold public schools and teachers in high regard, want charter schools to conform to the same standards as conventional public schools, and oppose an over emphasis on standardized testing. “Billionaires and folks who run hedge funds have decided that the best way to make their political opponents weaker is to grow as many charters as possible,” said Donald Cohen, the group’s executive director. These forces have funded “an ongoing campaign to convince the American public that schools are bad” – but most people aren’t buying it.

Save the Schools: Opt Out of Standardized Testing

Parents and students should not ask permission to opt out of the high stakes standardized testing regimen. “We don’t need legislation to approve it,” said Dr. Denisha Jones, a board member of United Opt Out and an assistant professor of early childhood development at Howard University. “We need to say that we are opting out as an act of civil disobedience to protect education from the corporatization and the testing,” said Jones, who helped organize a recent national Opt Out conference, in Philadelphia.

New York Mayor de Blasio is No Progressive

Despite official denials, the New York City Police Department continues to operate under a “broken windows” philosophy, targeting mainly Black and brown men for minor violations under a quota summons system, according to Robert Gangi, director of the Police Reform Organizing Project. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “support for those kinds of practices completely undermines his claim to be a progressive political leader, and that the main purpose of his administration is to successfully address social, racial and economic inequities,” said Gangi. “’Broken windows,’ driven by the quota system, is a central factor in creating those inequities.”

Clinton and Obama Have Honduran Activist’s Blood on Their Hands

The Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bear responsibility for the March 3 assassination of Honduran indigenous people’s leader Berta Caceres, said Beverly Bell, a founder of Other Worlds and long time friend and comrade of Caceres. The U.S. backed a military takeover of Honduras in 2009, and Clinton “even bragged of her role in the coup in the last book she wrote,” said Bell. “There is not any doubt who killed Berta Caceres. She has received more death threats from the government of Honduras than anyone could possibly count.”

Obama Woos Cuba, Targets Venezuela

President Obama, who will visit Cuba later this month to further “normalize” relations with that country, has intensified his military and economic subversion of Cuba’s ally, Venezuela. “At the very same moment that the U.S. is unfreezing relations with Cuba, it is continuing to destabilize, to undermine, to destroy the independent socialist nation of Venezuela,” said political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of StopImperialism.org.

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Category:general -- posted at: 10:42pm EDT

Turkey and Europe: Human Trafficking on a Scale Not Seen Since the Atlantic Slave Trade

“Turkey has cashed in on the people it has helped make homeless.”

Europe, which ravaged the world for 500 hundred years, exterminating hundreds of millions in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific – Europe, which owes the rest of humanity a debt of blood and treasure that it can never repay, last week announced that its victims should give up all hope of sanctuary from the wars, enforced poverty, civil chaos, and environmental devastation that Europeans have inflicted on the darker and non-Christian peoples of the planet. European Council president Donald Tusk warned millions of refugees from Asia and Africa, “Do not come to Europe... It is all for nothing.” He was putting the last bricks in a wall that is far larger, and vastly more unjust, than anything ever erected in Berlin.

And this week Turkey – whose Ottoman empire was consumed by Europe, and has ever since begged to be accepted as a member of the European tribe – sealed a deal that essentially sells the lives of millions of refugees in exchange for semi-European status and billions of dollars. The Turks accepted $3.8 billion to keep the nearly 3 million refugees that have gathered on its soil from crossing over into Europe, a vastly richer place, but one that claims it cannot absorb any more Africans and Arabs and Kurds and Afghans and others that are non-white and/or non-Christian.

Turkey Still Striving to be Recognized as White

The great bulk of Turkey’s refugees are victims of Turkey’s role in the war against Syria, in alliance with Europe and the United States and the royal oil aristocrats of the Persian Gulf. In effect, Turkey has cashed in on the people it has helped make homeless, and established a human trafficking enterprise on a scale not seen since the Atlantic slave trade. This ghastly crime against humanity is further compounded through blackmail among the thieves and plunderers, as Turkey springs its vast protections racket trap – agreeing to protect Europe from further incursions from the formerly colonized peoples whose labor and lands have fattened Europe and its white settler states for half a millennium.

There is a further condition to Turkey’s cooperation. The regime in Ankara wants Turks – all 75 million of them – to be allowed to enter Europe without visa restrictions, and for reconsideration of Turkey’s request to join the European Union. Nearly a century after the French and British divided the Ottoman Turk empire among themselves, Turkey is still striving to be recognized, in European terms, as white. Certainly, Turkey is playing by all the European rules: as a member of NATO, it violates international law and wages aggressive war with impunity; it trafficks in the flesh of its neighbors, Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Africans, Afghans – anyone who can be bought, sold or bartered; and yet Turkey holds itself up as a model of civilization. However, the Europeans will never accept Turkey into the fold, because it is Muslim and not-quite-white, and so Turkey will have to prowl and growl on the periphery – a wannabe European.

Or, have a revolution, and come to its senses.

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: 20160309_gf_EuroTurkCrimes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:38pm EDT

High Corporate Crimes In Michigan Must be Terminated with Extreme Prejudice

“The State of Michigan itself has done “irreparable harm” to the schools and people of Detroit.”

Next week, on March 7, Steve Conn and Nicole Conoway are scheduled to appear before a Michigan judge to explain why they should not be legally prohibited from urging Detroit teachers to stage sickouts and an eventual citywide strike to halt the state’s methodical destruction of the city’s public schools. Ms. Conoway is a teacher and Mr. Conn was elected president of the Detroit teachers union, before the union’s butt-kissing national leadership deposed him. Conn and his allies at the activist organization BAMN, By Any Means Necessary, spearheaded a series of teacher sickouts that focused national attention on the appalling conditions in Detroit’s schools, which have been literally ground into the dirt by the state for 16 of the past 17 years. The State of Michigan will try to prove that Conn and Conoway must be silenced – their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly snatched away – because the sickouts have supposedly subjected the schools to “irreparable harm.”

It is, of course, the State of Michigan itself that has done “irreparable harm” to the schools and people of Detroit, through the exact same mechanism that the State used to inflict irreparable harm on the bodies and brains of the children and community of Flint, Michigan. Both were targeted by Gov. Rick Synder’s dictatorial emergency financial manager system, whose mission in Flint was to privatize the water supply, and in Detroit, to convert what’s left of the public schools to privately-run charters.

Depraved Indifference to Human Life

Recently-released email records show that Gov. Synder’s underlings knew for a full year that potentially irreparable harm was being done to the majority Black population of Flint. Yet, the state made no attempt to deal with high levels of lead and other poisons in the city’s water – proof of the Snyder administration’s depraved indifference to human life, the same depraved indifference that it showed to the students, teachers and parents of Detroit. As Pamela Pugh, treasurer of Michigan’s elected Board of Education has written, “After more than six years of a failed state takeover, Detroit Public Schools have deteriorated into a destabilized education system....” She continued: “Just as Flint’s water crisis occurred under emergency management, so did the demise of the Detroit school district.”

Darnell Earley was the Black henchman for Gov. Snyder’s crimes against humanity in both Flint and the Detroit schools – a killer for hire with the title of emergency financial manager. Under corporate rule, high finance is the motive for the highest of crimes, while the exercise of free speech and assembly and other fundamental democratic rights are criminalized. In Michigan, the “predicate crime,” as lawyers would call it, was theft of democracy in the state’s Black cities, from which all the other crimes flowed. But the only people that are at risk of losing their liberties on March 7 are Steve Conn and Nicole Conoway, for attempting to organize their fellow teachers, parents and community members for the survival of public education in Detroit.

Michigan is showing that the corporate and financial classes of the United States can no longer coexist with democratic institutions, especially when Black people’s rights are at issue. Either we get rid of them, or they get rid of us.

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: 20160302_gf_HighCrimesMichigan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:14pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 29, 2016

Sanders, Trump Campaigns May Crash Both Parties

“The Bernie Sanders movement might break out into a major conflict at the convention in Philadelphia if the Sanders people feel that they’re being cheated, being swindled out of votes,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Dubois scholar and veteran activist who helped pull together a national conference on the Black Radical Tradition, in January. “The Republican Party might also collapse under the pressure of the ‘angry’ white men and women” supporting Donald Trump, said Dr. Monteiro. “The situation is so dynamic and unlike anything that we have experienced since the Civil War and Reconstruction.”

Detroit Teachers Move Towards City-Wide Strike

Steven Conn, the elected leader of the Detroit teachers union who was deposed by the union’s national leadership, said a city-wide strike is the only way to save the public schools from the machinations of Gov. Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency managers. Snyder wants to divide the Detroit’s public schools into two districts: one heavily indebted, the other debt-free. Conn said that’s a scheme “to allow the charter school operators to take over the schools without having to make any payback to the school district of the huge amount of debt that the State of Michigan has run up since its control of the district for the last 16 years.”

Teach For America’s Job Protection Racket

A new study of Teach for America contracts showed TFA collects hefty “finders’ fees” to place its neophyte teachers in classrooms in Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and New York. Jameson Brewer, who led the study, said TFA contracts provide broad protection for its members’ jobs, while veteran traditional teachers are laid off. “Parents don’t know that their children are being taught by novice educators who’ve had two and a half days of training,” said Brewer.

Few Jobs After Jail

A n Alliance for a Just Society study documents more than 6,000 prohibitions on employment of convicted felons in states across the nation. “A lot of people know that it’s difficult for someone who comes out of jail to find a job,” said Allyson Fredericksen, an author of the report, “Jobs After Jail.” But most people don’t know that “there are laws on the books in every state in the country that ban people with felony records from specific types of employment.” Louisiana tops the list, with restrictions on 389 separate types of jobs.

Seize the Time, for Peace

Most of the people described in media as foreign policy experts “are not looking for peace; they’re looking for gain, monetary gains on some investments or something they can bank on. This is a Wall Street motive,” said lifelong activist, journalist and educator Dr. Charles Simmons, speaking at a meeting on Black Men in Unions at the Institute for Labor and Community Studies, in Detroit. “It’s going to take the little people, trade union folks, the rank and file, to come together and think about what needs to be done for peace,” said Simmons.

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Category:general -- posted at: 12:15am EDT

Black Lives Matter Take Note: Apartheid Israel Targeting Everyone that Questions Its “Legitimacy”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

It is a given that the U.S. national security state is engaged in surveillance, infiltration and disruption of the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, but they have doubtless been joined by the Israelis, who have launched a global digital war against supporters of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement. “The Israelis have already targeted, and made to disappear, web pages that are linked to BDS websites.”

Black Lives Matter Take Note: Apartheid Israel Targeting Everyone that Questions Its “Legitimacy”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“In addition to the dirty tricks and hyper-surveillance of the U.S. national security state, activists are also in the crosshairs of the Israeli secret services.”

“This time around, the cyber war will be targeting Americans, Europeans and anyone else that challenges the ‘legitimacy’ of the world’s sole surviving colonial apartheid state.”

The Israeli government is pouring $26 million and tasking many of its secret service scientists and dirty tricks operatives to wage a digital war against BDS – the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement. An Associated Press article, picked up by AlterNet, reports the Israelis have already targeted, and made to disappear, web pages that are linked to BDS websites. An Israeli corporate executive said the mission is to dismantle the digital infrastructure of groups in Europe, the United States and South America that Tel Aviv considers to be anti-Semitic. The Israeli government position is that everyone that supports the BDS movement is anti-Semitic, because they want to “delegitimize” the Zionist state.

Hillary Clinton agrees with Israel. In a letter to a billionaire fundraiser, Clinton said, “I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority,” and she promised to help “fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel.” Clinton has collaborated in Israeli cyber wars before. She was Secretary of State in 2010 when the Stuxnet program, a joint U.S. and Israeli digital assault against Iranian centrifuges, was discovered. This time around, the cyber war will not be targeting Iran, or the Chinese, but Americans, Europeans and anyone else that challenges the “legitimacy” of the world’s sole surviving colonial apartheid state. American supporters of the BDS movement cannot expect that their rights to free speech and association will be protected Democrats or Republicans in Washington – not when it comes to the legitimacy of Israel.

Decent Humankind vs. Israeli Apartheid

The emerging movement that goes under the heading of Black Lives Matter should take note. In addition to the dirty tricks and hyper-surveillance of the U.S. national security state, activists are also in the crosshairs of the Israeli secret services. Israel was white-ruled South Africa’s closest military ally for the simple reason that they were both white settler, apartheid states rooted in an ideology of ethnic supremacy. In 1975, the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv offered to sell the white regime in Pretoria nuclear weapons “in three sizes.” The Israelis feared that, should white minority rule collapse in South Africa, Israel would be the only apartheid regime left standing on the planet. They could no longer claim to be, at least, not quite as bad as South Africa. But, as Bishop Desmond Tutu and others have concluded, apartheid Israel is actually worse than apartheid South Africa, both in its genocidal policies against the Palestinians, and as a constant threat to the survival of the planet.

The term “illegitimate” doesn’t comes close to describing a state that is an affront, an insult, to the very notion of civilization. All decent people must oppose Israeli apartheid. Unfortunately, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez and Lisa Keys are not decent people; they have no problem performing in Israel. The Congressional Black Caucus is not composed of decent people; their junkets to Israel are must-attend events, and they joined with all the other members of Congress in a Resolution in support of Israeli at the moment the apartheid regime was slaughtering thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. But, a Black Lives Matter movement must be decent – and internationalist. And, to that extent, its activists will be targeted by the world’s last apartheid state.

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: 20160224_gf_IsraelTargetsBDS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

The West’s War Against Syria: Out of Control

“The American “coalition” never tried to militarily defeat ISIS in Syria or Iraq.”

The five year-long U.S.-led proxy war against Syria is about to spiral out of control, with possibly fatal consequences for the human race. The Obama administration’s web of lies, intrigue, and relentless aggression has turned Syria into the world’s most insane field of battle, where both the United States and Russia provide air cover to Kurdish forces that are being shelled by America’s NATO ally, Turkey. Turkey has also been shelling units of the Syrian army, operating under Russia’s protection. With 18,000 Turkish soldiers poised at the border, a Turkish invasion of Syria is considered imminent, and will likely include Saudi Arabian troops and aircraft – all of which would become targets for Russian air defense systems the second they violate Syrian land and air space. Should Turkey and Russia come to blows, which is entirely possible within the next few days, the Turks could block the Bosphorus Straits, closing off access to and from the Black Sea, bottling up Russian naval forces and provoking a world war. The Turks temporally blocked the door to the Black Sea back in December, after they shot down a Russian plane.

Meanwhile, western governments, their royal Arab allies, and the global corporate media scream for some kind of so-called “humanitarian” intervention in northern Syria – a transparent call for the United States to activate its so-called “Plan B” – an all-out U.S. military offensive against...who?

The United States will claim it’s against the Islamic State. These days, the U.S. claims everything it does in Syria and in Iraq is part of the fight against the Islamic State. But, of course, there never was a U.S. war against the Islamic State, which spread like wildfire until the Russian air force intervened in late September. The U.S., the Brits, the French, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf kleptocracies financed and armed all of the jihadist gangs that descended on Syria after 2011, and although the Islamic State decided that it had plans of its own, the American “coalition” never tried to militarily defeat ISIS in Syria or Iraq. ISIS was still useful, to wear down the Syrian army and keep the Iraqi government off balance and dependent on the United States.

“A Turkish invasion of Syria is considered imminent.”

The success of the Russian intervention changed all that. Under Plan B, the United States and its allies will move militarily to absorb the Islamic State and take over the Syrian territory the jihadists now occupy, de facto dismembering Syria. The surviving ISIS fighters would fight on under U.S. protection, distributed among other jihadist groups and under new political labels. At least, that appears to be the plan.

However, the Turks have their own agenda. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has staked his political life on defeating and humiliating the Kurds, in his own country and in Syria. But, the United States has made a huge investment in acting as the “protector” of the Iraqi Kurds, in order to dismember and control Iraq, and the Americans are trying to play the same game with the Syrian Kurds. That’s why the U.S. is providing air cover to some Syrian Kurdish units, while the Turks are shelling other Kurds who operate under Russian air cover, 60 miles away. The Turks don’t like the game the Americans are playing, and are threatening to invade Syria, confront the Russians, and force the U.S. to choose between Turkey, or the Kurds, or World War Three. This is a very dangerous moment for the planet.

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: 20160217_gf_CrazySyriaWar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 15, 2016

Heads Should Roll Over Flint – Like Watergate

“What did they know, and when did they know it?” That’s the question Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo would pose to everyone involved in the poisoning of Flint, Michigan, including Gov. Rick Snyder, EPA chief Gina McCarthy and, ultimately, President Obama himself. BAR editor and columnist Dr. Coleman Adebayo, who was a senior-level whistleblower at the EPA, said she “can’t imagine” that EPA administrator Gina McCarthy did not send President Obama a memo that essentially warned, “There is a potential that a major American city my be poisoned.” Failure to warn the public of imminent environmental danger “is a criminal offense,” she said.

Black and Brown Cities Disenfranchised

The poisoning of Flint began with the theft of democracy, through the imposition of state appointed emergency financial managers. “This is a form of taxation without representation,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, which held protests in solidarity with the people of Flint. “I don’t know of any white cities in America where this has occurred,” said Hamm, noting that local schools in Black and brown districts have long been targeted for state takeover.

Move Members Up for Parole, Again

Janine, Debbie and Janet Africa, members of the Move 9, will go before a Pennsylvania prison parole board, once again, in May, having spent 37 years behind bars in the 1978 shooting of a cop. The women are not even alleged to have possessed any guns. “In their fervor to kill our family, they ended up killing one of their own,” said Move spokesperson Ramona Africa. “”All of the evidence shows that.” Seven years after the 1978 confrontation, Philadelphia police bombed the Move residence, killing 11 men, women and children.

Black Lives Matter Network Supports Reproductive Rights

Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network, joined with two Black women’s organizations to combat right-wing groups that rail against abortion as “genocide” against African Americans. Or, as Garza put it: “the co-optation of Black Lives Matter language as a way to talk about restricting the ability of women to make the best decision for their own unique situation.” Garza held a joint press conference with La’Tasha Mayes, founder of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, and Monica Simpson, director of the Trust Black Women Partnership.

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Direct download: BAR_021516.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02pm EDT

Beyoncé, James Brown and Black Movements

Fans and critics alike have over-interpreted Beyoncé’s latest commercial product.”

Only two days and one Superbowl performance after Beyoncé released her video, “Formation,” the song had registered 7 million views on YouTube. These numbers are not really all that surprising for an artist who is rated the nation’s number one celebrity, with a net worth of $250 million and the highest yearly earnings record. Beyoncé and her multi-millionaire husband Jay-Z are by no stretch of the imagination political radicals. But they do know how to ride the waves of popular culture, putting their own signatures on existing social movements. It’s good business, and they are good at it.

Beyoncé and her platoon of female dancers generated maximum shock-and-awe value with her fifth career Superbowl performance, derived from the “Formation” single. Beyoncé was bedecked with a bandolier for high-powered ammunition, while her dancers were costumed in Black Panther-themed uniforms as they moved in military-like “formations” and formed a giant “X” – presumably signifying Malcolm. In the video, a young boy dances in front of a line of cops, as the camera flashes to graffiti demanding “Stop Shooting Us.” We immediately make the connection to 12 year-old Tamir Rice, murdered by Cleveland cops – except in the video, the police put up their hands in surrender to the dancing child. New Orleans is the motif for Beyoncé’s rhythmic fantasy, which ends with her atop a police car as it sinks beneath the flood waters.

Black Lives Spend Money

Fans and critics alike have over-interpreted Beyoncé’s latest commercial product – as if it provides an insight into her and her husband Jay-Z’s political leanings. A National Pubic Radio article features Black female intellectuals and journalists pontificating on the boldness of Beyoncé’s Blackness and womanhood, and her roots in the down-and-dirty quarters of the South. R. L. Stephens II, writing in the radical publication Orchestrated Pulse, complains that “Formation” fails to inform us about the “political conditions” that Black people face. He points out that Beyoncé is a supporter and Twitter follower of DeRay McKesson, who has turned a social media presence into a ticket into the V.I.P. sections of corporate power and the Democratic Party.

But, of course, DeRay McKesson is only of interest to the Power Structure because he opportunistically attached himself to an emerging social movement, the same Black Lives Matter movement from which Beyoncé and her spouse hope to derive social relevancy – and of course, tens of millions more in sales.

In the video, the Beyoncé character calls herself a “Black Bill Gates in the making” and is money-hungry to the bone. This is not a radical song. What it does, is signify that Beyoncé wants to be perceived as being down with the new movement. It’s much like soul singer James Brown’s musical endorsement of “Black” as the proud name of his people, in his 1968 hit record. Brown was, in fact, a deeply conservative businessman who would endorse – or betray – anyone, to guard his bankroll. Beyoncé and Jay-Z have no political principles except profit-making. But they, like James Brown, recognize the potential of an awakening people, and try to get with the “movement.” In that sense, the “movement” is the rising star – and that is the point of the matter.

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: 20160210_gf_Beyonce_JB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

Going "International" on Racist Uncle Sam

“When activists go the UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to document the barbarity and racism of the U.S. criminal justice system, Washington is compelled to respond.”

Advocates of reparations and Black community control of the police got a boost from a panel of the United Nations, last week. The UN’s “Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent” heard testimony in five cities on violations of Black Americans’ human rights. The experts will issue a full report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in September, but their preliminary statement paints a picture of endemic racial oppression in criminal justice, education, housing, employment, health care – virtually every aspect of life in the USA.

Of course, the United Nations is not going to force the U.S. to pay reparations to its Black citizens, or compel America to remove its blue-uniformed army of occupation from Black communities. Only Black Americans, themselves, can make that happen. However, the UN’s critique of U.S. racial policies and practices is important. Even a corporate-ruled, imperialist superpower, born in slavery and genocide, can be embarrassed when its crimes are revealed on the world stage. President Eisenhower was a segregationist, but he could not act like one when the world was watching the Black American struggle against Jim Crow segregation in the 1950s. In the Sixties, Malcolm X urged Black people to take their human rights grievances to the United Nations, where the seats in the General Assembly were filling up with delegates from the formerly colonized countries of the world. Under the gaze of global humanity, the United States pretended to welcome the end of official American apartheid.

“The African American reputation in the world has been in dire need of rehabilitation.”

Nowadays, President Obama attempts to convince the world that the U.S. would really like to get rid of mass Black incarceration – although he’d have to release 7 out of every 8 prisoners to bring U.S. incarceration rates down to 1970 levels. Still, when activists go the UN offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to document the barbarity and racism of the U.S. criminal justice system, Washington is compelled to respond.

Half a century ago, Black Americans earned the respect and admiration of struggling peoples all over the world, because we were perceived as waging a heroic fight for justice and human rights, here in the belly of the beast. And, although the Black Panther Party has been defunct in the U.S. for two generations, people in places like India and even New Zealand still proudly call themselves Black Panthers.

However, the Black American reputation has suffered over the years. The world has seen us represented by the likes of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, and now the mad bomber in the White House and his genocidal national security advisor Susan Rice, the individual most closely identified with the slaughter of six million Congolese. With all of these Black American war criminals and fiends strutting around the world stage, the African American reputation has been in dire need of rehabilitation.

But then Ferguson intervened, and Black America seemed like it might have rediscovered its soul. Black folks are actually making demands of power – and the United Nations is paying attention. There is hope for us, yet.

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: 20160203_gf_UNReport.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:44pm EDT

The Clintons: "We Came, We Stole, Haitians Died"

The discrediting of the elections would also reflect very badly on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

The island nation of Haiti is on the verge of finally ejecting the criminal President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, the dance hall performer and gangster who was foisted on the Haitian people by the United States through the bullying of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, back in 2011. Martelly’s term is up, and he is constitutionally required to leave office by February 7. Martelly and his American, French and Canadian backers had hoped to use rigged elections and strong-arm tactics to install another puppet politician, Jovenel “The Banana Man” Moise, in the presidential palace. The “Banana Man” – who wants to turn Haiti into a real banana-exporting republic, to the further impoverishment of its small farmers – came in first in an October election that was so blatantly stolen, even the thoroughly corrupt Haitian elite could not endorse the outcome.

In fact, virtually no one in Haitian society except the “Banana Man” and “Sweet Mickey” and the tens thousands of Haitians who were paid to vote, repeatedly, at different polling places in October, considered the election to be valid. Jude Célestin, the candidate that came in second in the October electoral farce – and who was also cheated of victory by “Sweet Mickey” Martelly in the election five years ago – refused to go along with the travesty. Célestin said he would not take part in the bogus run-off election that was scheduled for this past Sunday – meaning, the “Banana Man” would have been the only candidate.

“Hillary and Bill were the Bonnie and Clyde of Haiti.”

But, even the prospect of a one-man contest could not stop the Americans from insisting on going ahead with the run-off. The U.S., which pays for the Haitian elections and, therefore, believes it has the right to decide who wins and who loses, growled that Haiti should go along with the fraudulent process. The Americans were upset that they might have no reliable replacement for their loyal puppet, “Sweet Mickey.” Plus, the discrediting of the elections would also reflect very badly on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who claims to have brought stability to Haiti when she was at the State Department but, in fact, is culpable for all of the Haitians who were murdered by the Martelly regime. The truth is that Hillary and Bill were the Bonnie and Clyde of Haiti, robbing the country for their own and other corporate criminals’ benefit. The teams of FBI agents that are now matching Hillary’s emails with contributions to the Clinton Foundation are tapping a Mother Lode of corruption that may yet bring her down before Election Day in the United States.

If that happens, the Haitian people will deserve some of the credit for saving the U.S. from another period of rule by the Crooked Clintons, in the process of saving Haiti’s sovereignty and self-respect. The Haitians’ furious grassroots resistance forced the cancellation of Sunday’s run-off election; “Sweet Mickey” is slated to leave office in less than two weeks; and negotiations are underway to form an interim government that would hold clean elections. The struggle now is for Haiti’s poor majority to make its voice heard above the growling of the U.S. imperialist occupiers and their hired Haitian flunkies – some of whom are real killers, whose names aren’t funny at all.

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: 20160127_gf_HaitiHillary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19pm EDT

Ta Nehesi Coates' Bernie Sanders Brain Fart Isn't Even About Reparations

Ta Nehesi Coates Bernie Sanders Brain Fart Isn't Even About Reparations

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Ta Nehesi Coates is a black Baltimore born writer who enjoys prominence chiefly cause the good white folks at the Atlantic give him a column. For the moment, Coates lives in France, and earns his keep dispensing timely wisdom upon us all from across the water.

Coates' latest transatlantic brain fart blasts Bernie Sanders for not embracing reparations. Since changing his own mind or reparations in a long June 2014 Atlantic piece, Coates is presumably qualified to speak on the subject. But in nine hundred words Coates never mentions that his own presumed candidate Hillary Clinton also has no use for reparations, or that the Green Party's presidential candidate Jill Stein does endorse reparations.

So Coates's piece is really not so much about reparations, as it is about Sanders or even something else.

Sanders doesn't endorse reparations, Coates wants us to believe, because Sanders is a socialist, and socialists according to Coates downplay, ignore or deny the existence of racism and white supremacy. For the entire second half of the piece this is where Coates stays and doubles down, repeating nonsense claims that that socialists can't see white supremacy, so presumably black folks in motion ought to avoid it, and calling Bernie Sanders “an avowed socialist”.

That pretty much sums up Coates' weekly dose of disinformation, dispensed from across the water, courtesy of his sponsors.

  1. Number one, stay away from Bernie cause he ain't for reparations.

  2. Number two look out for those socialists too, cause they make a point of ignoring and denying the role of white supremacy..

  3. Number three, Bernie Sanders didn't return my call to explain himself

Even as conventional neoliberal wisdom goes, this is pretty lazy stuff, which Mr. Coates could really have done in three tweets instead of nine hundred words. Maybe his patrons at the Atlantic pay him by the word.

Nice work if you can get it.

In the real world, not the fantasies of Mr. Coates, Bernie Sanders is no kind of socialist. Socialists stand for the working class, the poor, the common man and woman regardless of nation and color. Bernie's socialism stops at the water's edge, as he endorses apartheid in Israel, the Pentagon budget and the global empire of hundreds US bases and vast military industries that eat half the nation's wealth annually. This makes Bernie no friend of the poor anyplace outside the US and not so much the friend of the poor inside it either, really no kind of socialist at all. Bernie know this, and has rarely if ever called himself one in recent years. But he allows, even encourages us to call him that this year because socialism is popular, even though Ta Nehesi Coates thinks it should not be.

As long as they keep paying Mr. Coates, we'll be treated to more of his very conventional wisdom. Get read for it.

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

Direct download: 20160122-tanehesi-coates-reparations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

Atlantic City Residents to Lose Their Water – and What’s Left of Their Right to Vote

After a state-appointed emergency financial manager poisoned the people of Flint, Michigan, with tainted water, you’d expect that other governors would think twice before tampering with the water supplies of poor cities. But, you’d be wrong. New Jersey Governor Chris Christy last year put Atlantic City under an emergency financial manager, and gave him a year to slash the ailing gambling town’s budget and prepare a full report. Kevin Lavin is a corporate turnaround expert with an international consulting firm. He was assisted in his dictatorial assignment by a fellow Black corporate type, also named Kevyn – Kevyn Orr, who had just finished stealing the last vestiges of democracy from the people of Detroit on behalf of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. In fact, every heavily Black city in Michigan was taken over by Governor Snyder, effectively disenfranchising fully half of the state’s Black citizens.

Apparently, Governor Christy thought that would be a good move for New Jersey, too, and he set his sights on Atlantic City, an overwhelmingly Black and Brown town that had just lost four of its casinos, and is now about to lose another one. One-third of Atlantic City’s 40,000 people live below the poverty line. With whites comprising only about 16 percent of the population, Christy must have reasoned that nobody important would stand in the way of whatever he wanted to do to Atlantic City. And, he was right. Emergency manager Kevin Lavin’s report calls for regionalizing the police department and privatizing the fire department. But even worse, the Democratic president of the state senate, Stephen Sweeney, has introduced a bill that would sell most of Atlantic City’s assets, including its water department.

But, it gets worse than that. Not only is the top Democrat in New Jersey more enthusiastic about corporate privatization than Republican Chris Christy, but the president of the local Unite-Here union has also endorsed the sell-off of city property and the further disenfranchisement of its citizens – many of them union members.

The Corporate Party Rules

Corporate Republicans, corporate Democrats, and corporate unions – all oppose the very concept of democracy, home rule and self-determination for poor Black and brown people. Indeed, New Jersey has a very long history of taking power away from local governments as soon as Blacks and Latinos become majorities. The takeovers are always cloaked as necessary to avoid financial disaster – but, since Black and brown cities are perpetually out of cash, what it really means is that poor people don’t deserve basic democratic rights.

Ron Rice, a state senator from majority Black Newark, sees the writing on the wall. “It’s Atlantic City today, it is Newark tomorrow,” he said at a rally against privatization. Senator Rice insists that “We have to mobilize people and shut down some things,” and “get back to doing what we did in the ‘60s.”

Which is true. But, this time around, we must understand that everyone who serves the corporate master is the enemy: including Black corporate hit-men, corporate Democrats, and corporate hacks in union clothing.

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: 20160120_gf_ACPrivatization.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm EDT