Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Obama Invokes U.S. Civil Rights Movement to Defend Israel

Obama Invokes U.S. Civil Rights Movement to Defend Israel

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Zionist state has elements of both “petty” and “grand” apartheid.”

Like most politicians in the United States, President Obama takes on the ethic and political coloration of whoever he’s trying to impress. In the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Obama cozied up to Zionist writer and former Israeli solider Jeffrey Goldberg by swearing ever-lasting love for the State of Israel. Again, standard behavior for Democrats and Republicans – but, this time, Obama couldn’t resist dragging Black folks into his political fantasy. If Obama wants to kiss Zionist butt, he should do it with his own lips, and leave Black America out of it.

Obama told Goldberg he sees “a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law.” In Obama’s mind, “These things are indivisible.”

By equating the Zionist state’s racial and religious policies with the U.S. civil rights movement, Obama is committing the gravest slander against African Americans. You might call it a “blood libel.” Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, the only such governmental deformity left in the world, since the demise of the white South African regime, Israel’s close partner in crime, two decades ago. Black and white South Africans are well aware that Israel is the last bastion of the racially-based state. Bishop Desmond Tutu, who supports boycotts and economic sanctions against Israel, says segregation on Israeli highways and in housing reminds him “so much of conditions” Blacks experienced under white rule in his own country. White South African John Dugard, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur, says “Israel’s crimes are infinitely worse than those committed by the apartheid regime in South Africa.” Indeed, an article in the popular Israeli newspaper Haaretz points out that the Zionist state has elements of both “petty” and “grand” apartheid – petty apartheid in effective segregation in public accommodations and transportation, and grand apartheid in terms of where people are allowed to live and work, especially on the occupied West Bank.

Israel is a full-fledged apartheid state, the only such governmental deformity left in the world.”

The Israeli government hastily cancelled a plan to segregate Jewish settlers and Palestinians on a bus line into the West Bank, earlier this month, fearing the publicity would evoke memories of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott. As it should. The United States was the world’s first apartheid state, and remains a deeply segregated country whose politics are dominated by white racism. So much so, that a Black U.S. president cannot figure out a way to defend Israel without reference to Black America. In the sickest of political contortions, Obama invoked the U.S. civil rights movement as a way of holding out hope that Israel can break away from a deeper descent into apartheid by following the U.S. example. Which is not good news for the Palestinians.

In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly declared that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was revoked after the Soviet Union dissolved, but it remains true, nonetheless. Civilization demands that the Zionist state be dismantled, root and branch.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at


Direct download: 20150527_gf_ObamaIsraelCivilRights.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 27, 2015

Tanks Don’t Kill Blacks – It’s the Racist System

President Obama’s executive order “banning” the transfer or sale of certain weapons, gear and vehicles to local police departments is “based on a false narrative” that the conflict between police and Black communities is “non-racial,” said Justin Hansford, an associate professor at the University of St. Louis School of Law. “The armed occupation of Black communities by police has been going on for many decades before they brought out the tanks,” said Hansford, a Washington, DC native. “It’s an attempt to create an easy fix and a non-racial fix.” Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others were not killed by cops shooting automatic rifles from the tops of armored vehicles. “They were killed by a false narrative of Black criminality” and “the idea that Black life is more disposable.”

Cops Kill Sisters, Too

The “Say Her Name” campaign is necessary to “bring into the mix of this discussion of police getting away with murder the fact that police kill sisters, too,” said Carl Dix, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Protesters took to the streets and public transportation systems of Chicago, Detroit, Oakland and Philadelphia, last week, to highlight police violence against women and girls.

Death By Demonization

Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal told Prison Radio that the recent deaths of nine bikers in Waco, Texas, the 1993 massacre of Branch Davidian men, women and children in Waco, and the 1985 bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia “all have something in common: they’d been demonized.” Abu Jamal remains seriously ill from untreated diabetes and other, unknown ailments.

Settlement to Curtail “Trap-and-Detain” Arrests

In what the Washington-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund calls an “unprecedented” settlement, the U.S. Department of the Interior has agreed to abide by strict standards for policing demonstrators on federal property. Fund executive director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard said the agreement “requires that they not use police lines to surround demonstrators, and stop the ‘trap-and-detain’ kettling tactic that was used around the country.” If police are contemplating making arrests at protests, “they must give people complete notice and opportunity to comply with any lawful police orders,” said Verheyden-Hilliard. The settlement also awards $2.2 million to 400 protesters arrested in 2002, in Washington.

Socialist Alternative Exploring Electoral Possibilities in St. Louis

Seeking to expand from its base in Seattle, Washington, the Socialist Alternative party is considering fielding candidates or backing other leftist political aspirants in St. Louis, Missouri, said organizer Ashton Rome. Campaigns could be centered on demands to “tax the rich” and for a civilian police oversight board “that actually has teeth.”

Malcolm X Set the Stage for Sixties Rebellion

The Sixties “was the high tide of Black intellectual and political thought around the world” – much of it influenced by the work of Malcolm X, who would have been 90 years old on May 19, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African Peoples Socialist Party. In a birthday salute to Malcolm at the Uhuru House, in St. Petersburg, Florida, Yeshitela said: “They assassinated him, but they killed him too late; it was his influence that created the Black Panther Party...and that was the most influential throughout the country.”

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: ba-radio-week-of-20150527.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49am EDT

Hey Toni Morrison! If Clinton Was Our First Black President, Is Bill de Blasio NYC's Second Black Mayor?
Hey Toni Morrison! If Clinton Was Our First Black President, Is Bill de Blasio NYC's Second Black Mayor?

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

Some still recall it was Toni Morrison who first picked up Bill Clinton for us in the racial draft, calling him America's first black president. Now Sista Toni offers such an eloquent tribute to NYC mayor Bill de Blasio and his so-called “progressive agenda” that we imagine she might want to make him that city's second black mayor. We wish she wouldn't.

We won't deal with de Blasio's blackness or the lack thereof, that's not what we do here at Black Agenda Report. But the hard fact is de Blasio's so-called progressive agenda, and his actual policies in office utterly fail to meet the needs of poorer New Yorkers, let alone live up to the lofty accolades Toni Morrison heaps upon them.

It's not that the so-called progressive agenda is a bad thing... it's actually good as far as it goes. But it says so little, for so much praise that its omissions speak louder than what's there

To name just a couple things, this “progressive agenda” doesn't mention privatization of water, schools, media, parking, elections and public assets that are a hallmark of neoliberal capitalism. How progressive do you have to be to oppose privatization in principle? It fails to mention gentrification either, the development of urban areas not for the people who live there now, but for wealthier residents attracted from someplace else.

De Blasio's policies on the ground, though they pay lip service to “affordable housing” according to activists in Brooklyn and the Bronx, include leaning harder on public housing residents to finance long-delayed repairs and maintenance instead of taxing the billionaires to get it done. De Blasio's practice of inundating poorer neighborhoods like South Bronx and East New York with expensive housing units make his “no displacement” promises inevitably self-breaking in the face of market pressures.

Moreover, leaving the war economy, privatizations, the prison state, the energy industry and climate change, out of the severely limited “progressive agenda” allows us to falsely imagine we can improve the lot of poor and working Americans without reversing the privatizations, and without shutting down the prison state. It lets us imagine we can create good jobs at living wages for Americans without euthanizing the fossil fuel industry that's greedily poisoning the climate, and without ending the war economy in which the US with 5% of the worlds people spends half the world's military budget on constant wars and over one thousand military bases around the planet.

In the real USA there is one prison and police state, and one policy of urban economic development – gentrification. On the real planet Earth there is only one capitalist economy, one global military superpower, and one climate.

When great artists like Toni heap effusive praise upon politicians for meager and misleading promises, and policies that fail even to live up to these, they're not speaking courageous truth to power. They're just sucking up to their influential friends.

For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He lives and works near Marietta GA and is a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20150520_bd_nyc-2nd-black-mayor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17pm EDT

Malcolm X Would Wage Righteous Struggle Against Black America’s “House Negro” Leaders

Malcolm X Would Wage Righteous Struggle Against Black America’s “House Negro” Leaders

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Malcolm broke with the taboos against criticizing Black leadership within ear or eye range of white people.”

Malcolm X would have been 90 years old on Tuesday if he had not been assassinated at the age of 39, on February 21, 1965. His impact on Black America, the African Diaspora, and on human history, is inestimable, but I believe Brother Malcolm’s greatest contribution to the struggle for human dignity lay in his unrelenting critique of the political structures and behavior of Black America. Malcolm X made it legitimate and virtuous to engage in full-throated, soul searching, icon-searing debate about the past, present and future of those who were then called Negroes. Most importantly, he did not give a damn if white people heard all the Black-on-Black commotion, or not – because they were not his audience, even when his arguments were broadcast on white corporate media.

Malcolm broke with the taboos against criticizing Black leadership within ear or eye range of white people, which in the late Fifties and early Sixties was viewed as airing dirty linen in public. Malcolm’s position was that many of these Black leaders were actually creatures of the white power structure and its media. He questioned their loyalties and very legitimacy, and challenged Black folks to choose their own leaders, who would fight uncompromisingly for Black interests.

Malcolm took on the so-called “Big Six” – the NAACP, the National Urban League, CORE, SNCC, Dr. Martin Luther King’s SCLC, and the legendary A. Philip Randolph – who had gained the cooperation of the Kennedy administration to hold the 1963 March on Washington. Malcolm was not impressed. He called it the “Farce on Washington,” and derided the Big Six for diluting Black people’s power by putting “cream in the coffee.” This was not a cat-call for racial exclusion, but a demand for independent Black politics. Millions of Black people, especially the young, understood Malcolm’s meaning, and acted upon it.

He questioned their loyalties and very legitimacy.”

There is no doubt that Malcolm was a Race Man. But, when it came to his analysis of Black America, he was a “class” man, too. His elevation of the “Field Negro” over the fawning, obsequious “House Negro” was an admonition to resist cooptation into what even Dr. King later recognized was a “burning house.” Malcolm wielded his “House Negro” analogy like a sword, shaming and delegitimizing those Blacks who identify with and serve oppressive institutions, rather than the interests of the masses of the people. Malcolm’s harsh, but lucid, juxtapositons gave clarity of vision to a movement that would shake America to its foundations.

What would Malcolm say, if he were returned to us? His critique would begin with the present sorry state of the Black America, where the House Negro has held sway for the past two generations, with disastrous results. But he would also hear the voices of his great grandchildren stirring among the Field Negroes of Ferguson and Baltimore, and he would say, “Show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” And then he would immediately set about denouncing and organizing against those Black people that have sided with the bloodsuckers.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at
Direct download: 20150520_gf_MalcolmBday.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33am EDT

EU Plans War to Keep Europe White

EU Plans War to Keep Europe White

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The thousands of deaths at sea are crimes of Europe and the United States.”

The United States has been the big, bad leader of the imperial world for so long, we may sometimes forget that most of the evils that beset our world have their origins in Europe, a small corner of the Earth that has for 500 years grown fat off the blood and resources of the rest of the planet. This Europe is a greedy little place, most of whose inhabitants believe they have somehow earned what they have stolen from the world’s darker peoples, and that they are entitled to continue stealing in perpetuity.

In 2011, in league with the United States, European members of NATO launched a totally unprovoked 7-month bombing campaign against Libya, resulting in the murder of Col. Muammar Gaddafi and the empowerment of Islamist jihadists throughout the northern tier of the African continent. Col. Gaddafi had warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia, with vast numbers of people desperately fleeing across the Mediterranean Seato escape the turmoil. Gaddafi was right, of course. Not only has Libya been reduced to a state of sheer anarchy and terror, but thanks to Europe and the United States, Hell has descended on Syria, and conditions in Somalia have grown even worse. The Europeans and their American cousins are intent on wiping out every vestige of civilization in the Muslim world – all the while spouting the same twisted, racist logic that they have employed for half a millennium: that Muslims and Africans are unsuited to civilization, and must be guided by the white hands of Europe, for their own good.

Col. Gaddafi warned that the Euro-American aggression would turn Libya into another Somalia.”

The refugee crisis, the thousands of deaths at sea, are crimes of Europe and the United States. The Euro-Americans are just as unquestionably guilty as the arsonist who sets the fire that causes apartment dwellers to jump to their deaths from high windows to escape the flames. Now, the nations of the European Union, all 28 of them, are backing plans to launch air and naval attacks against boats in the ports of Libya and on the high seas, to make sure that the refugees that Europe and America have created do not wind up on European shores. This new war against Libya will not be to destroy a secular regime, or to grab oil fields, but a war to keep Europe white. On this the Europeans can unite. They argue only about how to distribute among themselves the Muslim and African refugees that somehow do manage to make landfall. They must be scattered across the map. European civilization is a fragile thing. Although the British, French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Belgians, Dutch, Danes and Germans have looted, raped and massacred every people they have encountered since the early 1400s, their own societies cannot tolerate more than a token exposure to former colonized cultures. In addition to the riches of the world, the Europeans demand racial exclusivity on their home turf.

So today, they prepare to beat back by military force the most desperate victims of previous Euro-American crimes. And they have the colossal gall to call it a “humanitarian” operation.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at



Direct download: 20150513_gf_EUBombBoats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

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


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed To Give Half Square Mile of Public Land to Tyler Perry on Fake Job Claims, No Public Input

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

Nobody celebrates themselves more tirelessly and uncritically than black America's wealthy and empowered political class of millionaire entertainers, business types, preachers and politicians. Unfortunately, black folks outside that charmed circle also tend to applaud the glittering wealth of black celebrities without bothering to look at where that wealth comes from.

Last year in Black Agenda Report, we talked about near-billionaire former NBA star Junior Bridgman, who owns more than a hundred Applebees and Wendys restaurants, and spends millions each year lobbying Congress and state legislatures to keep his workers' wages nice and low. There's Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who's a major partner in Sodexo, a firm that privatizes food service in prisons, public schools and charter schools, and janitorial service in schools as well, making tens of millions a year relentlessly cutting jobs, wages and quality of service. And in Atlanta, there's Tyler Perry.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is trying to rush through a deal with as little public scrutiny or input as possible that will give Tyler Perry more than a half square mile of public land – 331 prime acres of former military base less than four miles from downtown Atlanta, for a mere $30 million, to build new production studios and whatever else he might want to do. If Atlanta doesn't hurry up and and give Perry this land, Reed says, Perry might take the 8,000 new jobs he claims his studio might create somewhere else, like neighboring Douglass county where Perry reportedly owns more than 1,000 acres. Never mind the fact that Perry's existing Atlanta studios have been sketchily constructed and maintained, and had little or no positive economic impact on their surrounding neighborhood.

Atlanta mayors have a tradition of lying about how many jobs will be created when they give public resources and land to their friends. Previous Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin claimed her Atlanta Beltline boondoggle would create 40,000 temporary and 30,000 permanent new jobs if only Atlanta would divert $140 million away from the public schools every year for twenty-some years. Mayor Reed absurdly claims Tyler Perry's new studio will create 8,000 new jobs. In the real world a studio the size of Perry's will use a tenth, a twentieth or less of 331 acres, and most of the 800 or fewer– not 8,000 jobs there will be professional and managerial folks already working for Tyler Perry.

The fact is, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed wants to hurry up and give Tyler Perry the land without any guarantees whatsoever of how many permanent jobs will be created, no stipulation of how many units of affordable housing will be constructed, and most of all, without consulting the area's existing residents and business owners. Perry of course made substantial contributions to Georgia's Republican governor, and can be expected to generously support Mayor Reed in any state or other office he might seek.

There has never been the slightest pretense of any interest on the part of city hall in involving the public on how the 440 acre former military base will be integrated into the city of Atlanta. Instead of a chance to develop the city for the people who live here, Atlanta's greedy and myopic black political class sees only a chance to make a few of its already wealthy members a lot richer, at the expense of everybody else.

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

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)
Direct download: 20150506_bd-tyler_perry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EDT