by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
After Ferguson: It's a New Day. Join the Black Agenda Report Team at NYC's Riverside Church Oct 24, or Support Black Agenda Report With a Donation
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
In fact, the rapid growth of black elected officials seems to have occurred at virtually the same time and roughly the same proportion as the six or sevenfold increase in the number of black bodies in US prisons and jails.
Black outrage at the events after the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO marked the re-emergence of America's prison and police state, their cultures of brutal impunity and naked injustice as the number one issue on the minds of African Americans.
It's not a new story, but these are new times, and new circumstances. There are more black faces in high places than ever before from county sheriffs all the way up to mayors, congresscreatures, even attorney general and the president. Whatever its usefulness, this IS new. But the numbers of black faces in high places seem hardly to affect the fact of black mass incarceration at all. In fact, the rapid growth of black elected officials seems to have occurred at virtually the same time and roughly the same proportion as the six or sevenfold increase in the number of black bodies in US prisons and jails.
If that's not exactly a new fact, it's one that African Americans, especially young African Americans are becoming newly and increasingly aware of, which makes this a new and unique moment in the politics of black America.
This new political moment for black America is why young on the streets of Ferguson MO booed and rejected the dinosaur “civil rights leaders” sent to chill them out and lecture them on how “low voter turnout” killed Michael Brown.
This new political moment is why supporting Black Agenda Report at www.blackagendareport.com is more important than ever. Black Agenda Report will celebrate its 8th anniversary Friday October 24 in Harlem's historic Riverside Church. It's a fundraiser, tickets are $30 for the program or $100 for the program and a reception featuring political prisoner and the peoples first responder Lynne Stewart. The topic we will explore that evening will be After Ferguson: Naming Names, Refuting Shame, Human Rights VS the Police & Prison State and our Black Political Class's Deal With the Devil. If you're anywhere near NYC that night, please join us. And if you're not, please go to www.blackagendareport.com and donate a modest monthly amount of your choice to keep what brother Cornel West calls 'the prophetic voices' alive.
Black Agenda Report has been educating our folks on the realities of the prison state since our founding in 2006. We weren't just talking about mass incarceration before Michelle Alexander, we were the very first ones to interview her and preview her book.
Black Agenda Report was one of the few places you could find a real assessment of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 which reduced the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1, or to question Attorney General Eric Holder's insistence that there should be no retroactive sentence relief for those serving unjustly long sentences.
Black Agenda Report was among the first to point out the vast gulf between the words of this president and attorney general on the one hand, their wishful surrogates on the other hand, and on a third hand the reality that 6 years into the Obama administration a black person is murdered by police, private security forces or vigilantes at least every 28 hours while no federal stats are being compiled on police violence against civilians, that the Bureau of Prisons budget has risen every year under Obama and Holder, and the feds are constructing brand new supermax prisons.
For all of our 8 years, Black Agenda Report has consistently called the Congressional Black Caucus to account, most recently over its abject support of apartheid in Israel, its subservience to corporate donors, and its impotence in the face of rising black poverty.
For 8 years, Black Agenda Report has brought the light and the heat, with news, commentary and analysis from the black left, 4 to six original articles published for the first time anywhere every week, and a weekly one hour radio program. Find it all at www.blackagendareport.com, and for tickets to our October 24 affair in Harlem go to http://events.blackagendareport.com. That's http://events.blackagendareport.com.
For Black Agenda Report, I'm Bruce Dixon
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives in Marietta GA and is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party.