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