Black Agenda Radio Commentaries (politics)
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Black Caucus Members Shame Themselves, as South America Warns U.S. Not to Sanction Venezuela

Black Caucus Members Shame Themselves, as South America Warns U.S. Not to Sanction Venezuela

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Even Colombia, Washington’s client state in the region, joined in rejecting U.S. sanctions.”

The U.S. House of Representatives began debating, on Wednesday, a bill to impose sanctions on Venezuela for supposed human rights violations. A similar bill has already cleared important hurdles in the Senate, and it is questionable whether the Obama administration could prevent passage in both Houses of Congress, even if wanted to. It’s all part of U.S. blustering and bullying in Latin America, a continent that refuses to be treated as Uncle Sam’s back yard. Foreign ministers from all 12 members of the Union of South American Nations last week spoke with one voice, declaring that U.S. sanctions would represent "an obstacle” for the Venezuelan people to “overcome their difficulties with independence, and in democratic peace.” Even Colombia, Washington’s client state in the region, joined in rejecting U.S. sanctions.

Unlike the Organization of American States, or OAS, the Union of South American Nations has no role for the United States or Canada, although Mexico and Panama have observer status. The late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was a prime mover in creating the Union, to allow South Americans to forge their own economic and political ties without interference from the imperial behemoth to the North. Were it not for South American solidarity in the face of constant U.S. threats against Venezuela, the U.S. would be moving even more aggressively to turn the socialist government into a failed state, ripe of plucking.

These overtly racist elements have staged violent demonstrations since February.”

Ever since the defeat of a U.S.-backed coup in 2002, Washington has financed and trained a right-wing Venezuelan opposition centered in the mostly white upper classes of the country. Unable to win victory at the polls, these overtly racist elements have staged violent demonstrations since February, openly vowing to make the country ungovernable. President Nicolás Maduro’s government has been cautious in containing the outbreaks – more cautious than some of his comrades would like. Maduro has called on President Obama to stop destabilizing his country, to join a commission to discuss “peace and sovereignty” – and to call off those American factions that, Maduro says, are out to assassinate him. In his appeal to the U.S. president, Maduro noted that he, like Obama, has “African grandparents.” Hugo Chavez was also proud of his African ancestry.

However, the Black delegation to the U.S. Congress from Florida is nothing for any Black person to be proud off. All three Black Caucus members from the state – Corrine Brown, Frederica Wilson, and Alcee Hastings – signed on as co-sponsors of the Venezuela sanctions bill. Once again, the Black Misleadership Class shames 40 million African Americans with their slavish devotion to the imperial powers-that-be. Venezuela is overwhelmingly a black and brown country struggling to overcome centuries of racist internal rule and national subjugation to the will of the White Colossus in the North. The brown Obama is no better, nor are the sycophants of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose notions of solidarity begin and end with a checkbook.

If Venezuela’s sovereignty and dignity are to be preserved, it will be through their own efforts and the determination of South Americans to run their own affairs, to act in the spirit of Chavez, and the still-living example of Fidel.

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: 20140528_gf_VenezuelaSanctions.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:00am EST

USA: Bad Jobs Country

USA: Bad Jobs Country

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

You will hear no countervailing vision from the Democrats, whose message differs from Republicans only in tone, not in substance.”

A new study shows that the U.S. economy has finally produced more jobs than there were before the Great Recession of 2008. The problem is, they’re mostly bad jobs in fast-food restaurants and low-wage retail. The National Employment Law Project found that there are almost two million fewer good paying jobs than there were back in 2008, but also close to two million more jobs in the low-wage sector of the economy – meaning, most of the new jobs have been bad jobs.

Actually, the change in the jobs picture during the Great Recession was just a speeded up version of what capitalism has been producing in the United States for more than 30 years. It is by design. Every time employers have turned the screws on labor, in terms of wages, benefits and jobs security, Wall Street has rewarded those companies. The Lords of Capital have also richly rewarded the politicians from both parties for removing the remaining obstacles to the direct rule of the rich.

Capital’s global plan is to reduce all workers to a state of absolute insecurity, so that they will accept those bad jobs without complaint. That requires the destruction of what we used to call the social safety net – a term that sounds increasingly quaint in the dog-eat-dog environment engineered into the system by Wall Street.

Make no mistake about it: austerity is the common program of both the business parties. That’s why you will hear no countervailing vision from the Democrats, whose message differs from Republicans only in tone, not in substance.Both answer to the Lords of Capital.

Big Capital’s intentions have been quite clear for decades.”

Barack Obama, the great actor and political chameleon, pretends to commiserate with his Democratic minority and working class constituents. Like his mentor, Bill Clinton, Obama claims to feel their pain. Yet, he is feverishly working to pass trade treaties that will further establish the legal structures of the global race to the bottom – treaties so blatantly biased towards corporations and against every principle of democracy and national sovereignty, that the language must be kept secret.

However, the main problem for American workers isn’t that Wall Street’s economic and social plans are secret – because, for the most part, they’re not. Big Capital’s intentions have been quite clear for decades. The NAFTA trade treaty has been savaging U.S. factory workers and Mexican peasants for 20 years. The Democrats were in power when the banks were set free to loot and plunder 15 years ago. Every employment study has tracked the steady decline of union membership, which the Democrats have done virtually nothing to reverse. That’s quite understandable since finance capital has steadily increased its campaign contributions to Democrats. None of this has been a secret, and no one should be surprised that, as a result, most new jobs are bad jobs. As far as Wall Street is concerned, that’s good news.

What makes the current era different from the past, is that neither of the business parties even bothers to pretend that it has a plan for a good jobs society. That means the people must put forward their own plan, through their own organizations – and learn to avoid the Democrats, whose job is to nip genuine people’s movements in the bud, so as not to disturb the corporate order.

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: 20140430_gf_BadJobs.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:40am EST

Ford and IBM May Have to Answer for Their Role in Apartheid

Ford and IBM May Have to Answer for Their Role in Apartheid

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The judge rejected Ford and IBM’s contention that multinational corporations are legally shielded from these kinds of lawsuits.”

The United States court system, whose value to anyone but the rich is rapidly disappearing, may yet play a role in the unfinished business of South African liberation. A federal district judge in Manhattan ruled that a group of South Africans can proceed with a suit against Ford Motor Company and IBM for doing business with the white regime during the time of apartheid. The plaintiffs include victims of torture and relatives of people killed by the racist government. They will have to prove, not only that the American corporations knew that their products would be used to oppress and torture South Africans, but that Ford and IBM’s purpose in doing business in the country was to “aid and abet” the white authorities.

That’s a very high burden of proof. However, it’s a better shot than the U.S. Supreme Court gave to a group of Nigerian refugees who tried to sue Shell Oil for helping the Nigerian military to systematically torture and kill environmentalists in the 1990s. The High Court’s interpretation of the relevant U.S. law was that the crimes committed in Nigeria didn’t have a close enough connection to the United States. However, the justices left the door open to other cases that might have a stronger connection to the U.S.

This week, federal judge Shira Scheindlin – the same judge who issued the sweeping ruling against New York City’s stop-and-frisk policies, last year – gave the South African plaintiffs permission to make their case. She also rejected Ford and IBM’s contention that multinational corporations are legally shielded from these kinds of lawsuits. Judge Scheindlin found no basis in law to argue that international laws against such things as genocide, slavery, war crimes and piracy “apply only to natural persons and not to corporations.”

The South African government failed to prosecute perpetrators from the old regime and paid out only paltry reparations to the victims.”

The South African plaintiffs are part of the Khulumani Group, which was created as a response to the weaknesses of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the new Black government of South Africa. The Khulumani activists say the government failed to prosecute perpetrators from the old regime and paid out only paltry reparations to the victims. Most importantly, the Black government that came to power in 1994 and its reconciliation program provided no redress for the systematic social and economic crimes of apartheid. The Khulumani Group agreed with Frank Meintjies, a South African activist and intellectual who wrote that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission “failed to address the more collective loss of dignity, opportunities and systemic violence experienced by the oppressed.” He continued: “No hearings were held on land issues, on the education system, on the migrant labor system and on the role of companies that collaborated with, and made money from, the apartheid security system” – companies like Ford and IBM.

Thanks to the Khulumani Group’s lawsuit in Manhattan, two U.S.-based multinational corporations may finally have to explain why they gave aid and comfort to South African apartheid.

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: 20140423_gf_FordIBMSAfrica.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 1:04pm EST

Armstrong Williams Wants “Diversity” Favor from FCC

Armstrong Williams Wants “Diversity” Favor from FCC

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Williams claims that he is known to provide broadcast content that reflects a minority perspective.”

The Federal Communications Commission this week dealt at least a potential blow to the monopolists who have sucked every drop of social value out of American commercial television. The FCC ruled that TV stations that sell substantial portions of other TV stations advertizing, are the real owners of the station, and thus are violating rules against multiple ownerships in the same market. The practice of joint advertizing has meant that many stations are little more than shells for getting around the rules against monopolization. The National Association of Black Journalists applauds the FCC action, since shared advertizing agreements usually mean firing the whole newsroom of one of the stations. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council supports the ruling, because the shared advertizing game only helps the media giants eat up the smaller guys.

One person who’s not happy is Armstrong Williams, the Black rightwing propagandist and hustler who calls himself a journalist. Williams owns two stations that are essentially extra channels for stations already owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, which is the largest operator of non-network affiliated stations in the country. Williams claims that Black people in Flint, Michigan, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, will suffer if he loses his stations there, since he is known to provide broadcast content that reflects a minority perspective. Now, that’s a joke! Armstrong Williams, whose mentor was South Carolina’s rabidly racist Sen. Strom Thurmond, has never uttered or written a word that was relevant to the hopes and dreams of most Black people. In political terms, Armstrong Williams most closely resembles the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained.

The fact that the owner is Black doesn’t affect the stations’ broadcast schedules and program content one bit.”

But, more importantly, there is nothing on his TV stations that distinguishes them from any other corporate money machine. In Myrtle Beach, it’s a long day of Jerry Springer and People’s Court and Friends reruns, with news at 10 provided by a network owned by CBS and Warner Bros. In Michigan, his station is just another NBC affiliate, spewing the same bland corporate crap. The fact that the owner is Black doesn’t affect the stations’ broadcast schedules and program content one bit. It’s still garbage, of no socially redeeming value. Program-wise, it’s not even Black garbage.

Black people have no reason to be concerned about the survival of television stations that do not substantially serve their interests. It is true that Armstrong Williams has as much right as any white person to get rich from poisoning the airwaves – but that does not mean that we have to help him. And in fact, the airwaves still technically belong to the public. The government is obligated by law to ensure that the broadcast spectrum is put to uses that best serve the public. That means programming that is accountable to the public, including Black people.

There was a time when the FCC at least pretended to take public input seriously. The very fact that, two generations ago, the Black public could challenge the licenses of stations that ignored, abused or simply underserved them, created wondrous opportunities for intra-Black communications – opportunities that have been wiped out by corporate consolidation.

The FCC may well make an exception to its own joint advertizing ruling, on “diversity” grounds. And, that would be a victory – for Armstrong Williams. However, Black people as a whole will have won nothing, and lost a great deal.

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: 20140402_gf_FCC.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 12:05pm EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Obama campaign has succeeded in placing it’s Black pit bull in MSNBC’s prime time slot, where Al Sharpton will more than fulfill his promise to never say anything critical of the First Black President. MSNBC ejected a mildly leftish analyst to provide Sharpton with a megaphone to keep African American politicians and activists on the Obama reservation, where they can do no harm to Wall Street’s rulers – a perfect position for an “eminently buyable man.”

 

Is Sharpton Move to MSNBC Black “Progress”?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

All we will get from Sharpton is a demand that Blacks build a “wall” around Obama to keep him safe and secure in the White House for another term.”

Is Rev. Al Sharpton’s move to a prime time slot on MSNBC television a good thing for Black people? There was a time, two generations ago, when the placement of just about any Black personality in front of the TV cameras was assumed to be a pure plus – that is, unless that person somehow embarrassed “The Race” in full view of white people. But that was before whites with power learned how to put Black faces to corporate use. They discovered that there were plenty of African Americans that were so eager to be on television, they would say anything. These aspiring anchors would read news copy full of racist code words like “forced bussing” without complaint – glad to get the check and to be on the tube. The news didn’t really get better, in terms of its treatment of Black people and the issues that mattered most to the African American community. In fact, it’s generally gotten worse. But the presence of Black faces on the screen created the illusion that television’s news content was now friendlier, and more relevant, to Blacks.

Lots of Black folks are still playing that face-counting game, and for them, MSNBC’s decision to put Al Sharpton out front at 6pm is a sign of Black progress, maybe even a kind of coup. Look at Reverend Al! He used to take it to the streets to challenge authority, and now he’s the authority, holding down a prime-time spot. That must be good for Black people, right?

Wrong. MSNBC’s choice of Sharpton over the leftish young Turkish American Jenk Uygur is a net loss for everyone outside the orbits of power. Al Sharpton is President Obama’s paid pit bull, whose main mission is to maul and mangle any Black politicians and activists that might consider leaving the Obama reservation. He has beenbankrolled by billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is running Black and brown folks out of the Big Apple as fast as hyper-gentrification will allow. Sharpton – always buyable and never trustworthy – has completed his biggest deal yet with Power, Wall Street power, and the power of a White House that serves Wall Street. He is nestled in the bosom of the rulers, and will savage anyone that tries to mess with his sugar daddies: Obama and Bloomberg.

MSNBC’s choice of Sharpton over the leftish young Turkish American Jenk You-gur is a net loss for everyone outside the orbits of power.”

So, how do Black people, or anyone else seeking to understand reality, benefit from having Obama’s pit bull and Mayor Bloomberg’s pet taking up space on the MSNBC set, every night? Who will be better off when Rev. Al hosts Obama administration officials, or even the president, on his show? Rev. Al is not going to put forward any questions worth asking – that would violate the terms of his service to Obama and Wall Street. No, all we will get from Sharpton is a demand that Blacks build a “wall” around Obama to keep him safe and secure in the White House for another term – no matter how much of the social safety net he signs away forever.

The young Turkish American host, Jenk Uygur, showed that he could be counted on to confront the Obama administration on questions of policy. That’s why he was replaced by the mercenary, Al Sharpton.

So, we will have our Black face at 6pm. Some African Americans think what’s most important is to have Black role models on TV, for the sake of the children. That’s what’s so scary: Al Sharpton, the eminently buyable man, a role model for Black kids. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110727_gf_SharptonMSNBC.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 5:15am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

What can President Obama do to show that he cares, just a little bit, about Black Americans? Since he has done nothing so far in his term, a good a place as any would be to free political prisoners, many of whom have been held for three and four decades. Black lawyers “are calling for the United States to be held to the standards of conduct established by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) and Convention to End All Forms of Racism and Discrimination (CERD).”

 

Political Prisoners? Black Lawyers Say Obama Could Free ‘Em All

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

This call by Black lawyers to free those this country denies are political prisoners remains as important a bright-line standard as any other.”

With their call this week for president Obama to free all political prisoners the National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) have given him yet one more opportunity to actually address a specific concern of many Black and other well-meaning people around the world. And he might as well because, as Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has written recently, Obama hasn’t done much else for Black America since assuming office.

Instead of championing or even making plain by highlighting and careful simple explanation the plights of Black Americans, Obama is instead only reapplying a very old strategy of preparing a base support of voters. Deploying a national propaganda campaign reminiscent of the early 20th century Creel Commission, Obama has Michael Blake, as he says himself, “crisscrossing the country… taking our stories directly to people about how the African-American community is benefiting from the Obama administration... For those who say we don't have a Black agenda,” continues Blake, “I would challenge them and ask, 'How are our policies not helping the African-American community?”

Well, Ms. Taylor provides as succinct an answer to anyone not living it or not able to look out their own windows. Black adult men are suffering the highest rate of unemployment ever measured, 43%. Twenty-six percent of the Black population lives beneath the poverty line, a line already set so low as to hide how bad it really is. For a family of 4 with a household income of roughly $20,000, “poverty” is too nice a term. These are so-called “Third World” conditions. Besides, as Taylor reminds us, 8% of African America has lost their homes and 21% more are in “imminent” danger of being next. And since, as Ms. Taylor also notes, there has been no real follow up to organize and mobilize by the Obamaton community of liberal leadership many other severe concerns continue to go unaddressed.

For a family of four with a household income of roughly $20,000, “poverty” is too nice a term.”

Among these include the repressive levels of incarceration and the continued political imprisonment of dozens of movement heroines and heroes. So this call by Black lawyers to free those this country denies are political prisoners remains as important a bright-line standard as any other. These lawyers are calling for the United States to be held to the standards of conduct established by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) and Convention to End All Forms of Racism and Discrimination (CERD). In part and in short this would mean releasing political prisoners who, though not recognized as such, have been demonstrated to have suffered incarceration largely due to the unjust and illegal practices of the FBI and their Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). This systematic and illegal attack on Black activists and those in support of Black liberation now has dozens held in anti-human conditions. Having been there more than three and four decades they are elderly and deserving of relative freedom.

Two new books are either out already or soon to come. One is Marshall Law by Marshall Eddie Conway and the other is Love and Struggle by David Gilbert. These are to be added to existing works on or about political prisoners such as Safiya Bukhari’s The War Before, Jalil Muntaquim’s We Are Our Own Liberatorsand the many works of Mumia Abu-Jamal among others and made the centerpiece of symposia, study groups and classrooms so that we may turn them into living documents of political organization and platform agenda items.

So while many continue to say that Obama is not the president of Black people he can still be challenged to amend his nation’s mistakes on behalf of the Black Americans still at least nominally held as citizens. He has done so little. These political prisoners certainly deserve their release, we certainly deserve them back in our communities and the world deserves to know that if they are not freed that all words emanating from this country regarding human rights are as baseless as the claims it makes to freedom and democracy.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Jared Ball. Online go towww.BlackAgendaReport.com

Dr. Jared A. Ball is author of the newly released I Mix What I Like! A Mixtape Manifesto (AK Press). All proceeds from the book go to support political prisoners. More information can be found online at: IMixWhatILike.com.

Direct download: 20110525_jb_PoliticalPrisoners.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:18am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Public education’s corporate enemies – Democrat and Republican – now wage open warfare against teachers unions, seeking to strip them of collective bargaining rights. But that’s just the beginning. “The billionaires, and the politicians they have purchased, want nothing less than to destroy teaching as a profession.” In the ideal corporate world, most teachers would have the status of temps.

 

The Corporate Dream: Teachers as Temps

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Under the guise of ‘reform,’ the United States is moving in exactly the opposite direction as the rest of the world.”

As Democrats hustle to shovel a billion dollars into President Obama’s campaign coffers – making promises to rich people and their corporations every step of the way – America’s billionaires are spending even more money to seize control of the nation’s public schools. Although super-wealthy capitalists like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, fellow computer mogul Michael Dell, real estate magnate Eli Broad, and the rapacious owners of Wal-Mart, the Walton Family, would like people to think of them as philanthropists, they are nothing more than down-and-dirty investors who hope to reap much more than they sow. This mega-buck mafia's goal is to gain access to the $600 billion per year that taxpayers pump into public schools, and then to profit in perpetuity by shaping the nation’s educational system to their corporate needs. The corporate education project has nothing to do with growing new generations of smarter, socially aware, independent-thinking citizens, but is designed to raid public treasuries through wholesale contracting-out of public schooling.

This mega-buck mafia's goal is to gain access to the $600 billion per year that taxpayers pump into public schools.”

Teachers are the biggest obstacle in the way of the corporate educational coup, which is why the billionaires, eagerly assisted by their servants in the Obama administration, have made demonization and eventual destruction of teachers unions their top priority. Corporations hate collective bargaining, or working people’s power of any kind, but their vision goes way beyond simply neutralizing teachers unions. The billionaires, and the politicians they have purchased, want nothing less than to destroy teaching as a profession. Plutocrats like Bill Gates and politicians like Barack Obama may make noises about respecting teachers' life-long commitment to learning, but their actions prove the opposite. At every opportunity, whenever a real or manufactured educational crisis presents itself, the corporate gang champions charter schools and imports platoons of young, mostly white, inexperienced rookies from programs like Teach for America. Most of these neophytes have no intention of making teaching a career, so they accept low wages, turnover is high, and they have no long term interest in any particular school, or school system, or the profession in general. They are temporary teachers – which is precisely the point.

Just as corporations have revamped the private white collar workforce, replacing full-time, salaried personnel with “temporary” workers – a system in which some managers are officially temps – such are the prospects for teachers in the brave new corporate world of education “reform.”

The billionaires' propaganda machinery claims the corporatization of American education is necessary to make the United States “competitive,” internationally. But teachers in most of the countries that lead the U.S. in learning are highly respected, if not revered, and relatively well compensated. Under the guise of “reform,” the United States is moving in exactly the opposite direction as the rest of the world. The American people are being conned by billionaire hustlers who are stealing the public schools – and the national future – right in front of our eyes.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110525_gf_TempTeachers.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:03am EST

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If American economic hegemony crumbles, so must U.S. imperialism. An IMF report predicts Chinese economy will surpass that of the U.S. in just five years, based on the value of goods and services produced. After the eclipse, all that will remain of U.S. imperial power is its awesome military – the power to destroy a world it can no longer dominate by other means.

 

China to Become Economic #1 in 2016: U.S. Imperialism Doomed

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

At or around the year 2016 the United States will fall from the economic pinnacle it has occupied since the late 1890s.”

The end of U.S. economic hegemony in the world is near – much nearer than almost anyone thought. No less an authority than the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund predicts that China will outstrip the United States by the year 2016, when measured by the real value of what people earn and spend in their domestic economies. It’s called “purchasing power parities,” and under that measure – which is as good as any – China’s economy will outgrow the U.S. in five years, $19 trillion compared to $18.8 trillion. And the gap will continue to grow, from there.

Imagine: most of us alive today will see a watershed in modern civilization. At or around the year 2016, unless something wholly unforeseen occurs, the United States will fall from the economic pinnacle it has occupied since the late 1890s. Much more importantly, the bell will have tolled, definitively, for U.S. imperialism.

This is a subject that is separate from the question of capitalism’s continued survival as a social system in the U.S. or elsewhere on the planet. It is about U.S. empire. However one describes the Chinese system, it is not the twin of U.S. imperialism, which has maintained its supremacy through the rigging of world markets, the artificial supremacy of the U.S. dollar, and most importantly, the coercive force of its military – all of which are interrelated. U.S. imperialism seeks to entrap the world economy, to put it in service of finance capital, largely headquartered in New York and London. The Chinese system is fueled by relentless production of actual goods.

For some on Wall Street and in the Pentagon, the economic news is a signal for massive, preemptive military action.”

The U.S. and European imperialists, in one sense, dug their own graves decades ago, when they gambled that they could somehow maintain their grip on the world, while transferring the production of real goods, actual products, to the south and the east of the planet, through corporate globalization. They methodically dismantled the productive capacity of what had been the world's powerhouse, the United States, in search of ever lower labor costs in what we used to call the Third World. The outsourcing of actual production to the east and south meant higher rates of return – profits – on investors' dollars. Detroit and Pittsburgh and Chicago withered and rusted away, while Wall Street became economically and politically all-powerful.

Wall Street thought it could remain in the global catbird seat through its financial supremacy, backed up by an irresistible military. But especially since the meltdown of 2008, Wall Street has turned pure parasite All that now remains of U.S. imperial power is its military, more expensive than all the other militaries of the world, combined – in some ways, as much a burden as a weapon.

The Chinese do not spend even one-fifth the U.S. war budget, but will soon have an economy that is leaving the Americans in the dust. For some on Wall Street and in the Pentagon, the economic news is a signal for massive, preemptive military action, before the whole imperial edifice collapses. These are people who cannot envision a world in which they are not on top. They will not go down quietly. We are in, as the Chinese say, “interesting times.” The empire may not choose to go out in twilight, but in an inferno.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20110427_gf_ChinaEconomy.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:35am EST

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The "One Nation" pep rally for Democrats wrapped itself in "movement" images and language, yet never spoke a word of Truth to Power. "Only by pretending that the Tea Party's legions are equivalent to the second coming of Genghis Khan, can Big Labor and Black Obamites justify their abject failure to fight for anything meaningful from Obama and the Democrats."

Ignominious Surrender on the Mall

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The weekend bus outing bore no resemblance to a 'movement' of any kind that Chicago's Mayor Daley would not approve."

The Black misleadership class and their labor counterparts held a ceremony of surrender to the War Party and Wall Street, on the Washington Mall, this past weekend. After spending millions to assemble a multitude, Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers - Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House, whose disfavor they fear even more than they dread the white nationalist hordes of the Tea Party.

Despite the constant references to Dr. Martin Luther King and the 1963 March on Washington, the weekend bus outing bore no resemblance to a "movement" of any kind that Chicago's Mayor Daley would not approve. Rather than building a popular platform to give voice to substantive demands - that Obama cease acting as Wall Street's philanthropist, call a halt to his wars, and spend the peace dividend on jobs and education - the weak and timid misleaders instead used October 2nd to transmit Power's demands to the people. Vote for the Democrats! And under no circumstances, embarrass the White House! Then, after November 2, go home and await further orders.

The Black and labor misleaders have found that the best way to hide their own cowardice in the face of corporate power and its servants in the White House and Congress, is to vastly inflate the threat posed by the Tea Party. Indeed, the Tea Party has never had bigger boosters than the men and women on the microphone at the Mall on Saturday.  Only by pretending that the Tea Party's legions are equivalent to the second coming of Genghis Khan, can Big Labor and Black Obamites justify their abject failure to fight for anything meaningful from Obama and the Democrats.

"Big Labor, the NAACP and the usual Black entertainers - Reverends Sharpton and Jesse Jackson - could not fix their trembling lips to utter one demand to the Power in the White House."

The truth is, a real people's movement could defeat the phony Tea Party "movement" and put fear in the hearts of corporate Democrats, too. But Saturday's charade was no threat to anyone, and all but guarantees a further strengthening of the Right through a bolder Tea Party and ever growing corporate domination of the Democratic Party.

With all its ostentatious, nervous patriotism and silly yammering about how Saturday's crowd was just as "American," if not more so, than the Tea Party, the "One Nation" event felt, in some ways, like a throwback to the days when Negroes were obsessed with proving to whites that they were also true blue for Uncle Sam. Ironically, one of the oldest speakers provided the only dignity to the occasion. Eighty-three year-old Harry Belafonte, alone among the main speakers, confronted President Obama directly on his wars. The famed entertainer, who spent freely of his own money to fund the Black Freedom Movement when it really was a movement, hoped that America "will soon come to the realization that the wars that we wage today in faraway lands are immoral, unconscionable and unwinnable."

That's as close to speaking Truth to Power as Saturday's event got - except for those of us Lefties who went down to show that the movement was not yet dead. Unfortunately, our impact was minimal amid a sea of bodies bussed in with no mission other than to serve Barack Obama. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20101006_gf_ObamaRally.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 9:04am EST

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Black Is Back Coalition's second march on the White House, November 13, signals that "a critical mass of activists and organizers are determined to push on to freedom, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the color of the war monger and corporate front man in the White House."

 Black Is Back: Let's March on White House Again, Nov. 13

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"On November 13, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will once again rally in Washington, DC and march to the White House, just as we did in our hundreds in our first march in November of last year."

As the Black misleadership class sinks deeper into servility to a president wholly beholden to Wall Street and the Pentagon, it becomes ever more imperative to send a message to our own people and to the wider world: Barack Obama does not have all Black folks fooled. There still exist principled African American organizations and individuals that every day struggle against the forces of war and oppression. On November 13, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will once again rally in Washington, DC and march to the White House, just as we did in our hundreds in our first march in November of last year. Back then, Black Is Back was only a few weeks old, but we proved that ObamaL'aide has not knocked the fight out of the real Black Left; that a critical mass of activists and organizers are determined to push on to freedom, by any and all means necessary, no matter what the color of the war monger and corporate front man in the White House.

In the year since the Black is Back Coalition appeared on the scene, Barack Obama has escalated his theater of war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, widened the war in Yemen, and stepped up the slaughter of innocents in Somalia. He has deepened the U.S. Africa Command - AFRICOM's - penetration of the continent and militarization of African society. Obama followed up his coup against a democratically elected government in Honduras with last week's attempted coup in Ecuador, as he tries to roll back Latin America's drive to free itself from U.S. imperial domination.

"ObamaL'aide has not knocked the fight out of the real Black Left."

President Obama now proclaims he has the authority to mark anyone on the planet for assassination, including American citizens, and that he owes no one an explanation why - not the courts, not the Congress, not the people, not the victim. Obama has instructed his Justice Department to launch a 21st century kind of COINTELPRO assault on the anti-war movement, through FBI raids and abuse of the grand jury system. We a Black Is Back understand that whenever the State sets out to crush dissent, it is inevitably Black folks that will bear the brunt of repression. Yet, the presence of a Black man in the White House threatens to obscure the Nazi-like nature of the government's increasing attacks on constitutional, civil and human rights.

Obama's alliances with Wall Street have resulted in the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of the mankind, while his policies have led to the largest Black loss of wealth in the entire experience of Africans on the North American continent. African Americans make up one out of eight prisoners on the planet Earth, and that's just fine with the first Black U.S. president.

The Black is Back Coalition understands that he who is struck must be the first to cry out, that no one can be expected to speak up for us, but us. We also realize that the very existence of Black Is Back makes it less difficult for non-Black progressives to stand up to this president.

So stand up with the Black Is Back Coalition, on November 13, when we rally at Malcolm X Park and march on the White House. Go to the Black Is Back web site, for more information. That's www.blackisbackcoalition.org. On November 13, Black Is Back! For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.

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

Direct download: 20101006_gf_BiBMarch.mp3
Category:politics -- posted at: 8:54am EST