Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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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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_031416.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42pm EST

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 EST

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 EST