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    Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/25/14

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/25/14

    Obama and ISIS in Dance of Death

    The growing U.S. bombing campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria serves no one but war profiteers, said veteran anti-war activist David Swanson. “I know that ISIS had to be aware that slitting throats on camera would result in more bombing, just as President Obama had to be aware that blowing men, women and children up with 500-pound bombs would result in slitting throats,” said Swanson, publisher of the influential web site WarIsACrime.Org. “The beneficiaries of escalation, which is entirely predictable, are the weapons makers.”

    Black Strategies Must Include Self-Defense

    “First and foremost, it is right for our people to rebel,” said Kali Akuno, an organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and co-author of the groundbreaking report “Operation Ghetto Storm,” which documented extrajudicial killings of Black Americans under color of law. “I think it boiled over in Ferguson as a result of a transformation in our people’s consciousness, especially our young folks,” said Akuno. “They’ve had enough of the brutality, of being systematically excluded.” Black community self-defense must be part of any organizing strategy. “This has been part and parcel of what we know we have to do in the face of white supremacy and in the face of the brutality that the capitalist system has reserved for us, in particular.”

    Black Passivity is Mentally Unhealthy

    Political protest is therapeutic for Black Americans, said Dr. Vernellia Randall, professor emeritus of law at the University of Dayton and author Dying While Black. “I want us to be less passive, I want us to engage in civil disobedience” – and not the kind of protest-like activities sanctioned by the authorities. “If they’re telling us, Here’s how you can protest, then that, to me, is not civil disobedience,” said Randall. “If you are coloring within the lines that the establishment establishes, then you are putting no pressure on the establishment.”

    Cuba Should Join in Fight for Slavery Reparations

    The young United States was a horrible example of democracy, but it did lead the way in the business of human trafficking. “After the establishment of the United States, it quickly became the leader in the African slave trade to Cuba,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of Race to Revolution: The United States and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. “They also became the leader of the African slave trade to Brazil, helping to account for the fact that Brazil has more people of African descent than any other nation outside Nigeria,” said Horne, who hopes to enlist Cuba in “our journey to claim reparations for the enslavement of Africans in the Americas.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/18/14

    Proxy War Against Syria Allowed ISIS to Thrive

    By arming and funding groups seeking regime change in Syria, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey have fostered the growth of ISIS, now called the Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in vast stretches of the region. “It’s a classice case of blowback,” said Dr. Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. “The very fact that the Islamic State has declared a caliphate is an open declaration of war against Saudi Arabia,” whose monarchy bases its legitimacy on its role as defender of the holy places of Mecca and Medina.

    Police Brutality is Built into the System

    “Police brutality is not caused by a few aberrant, rogue cops. It is a systemic problem that arises from the system of social, economic and political oppression that we live under,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Abuses persist, even in those cities that have community police review boards “because the use of violence against Black people has been necessary and condoned since the creation of the United States of America.” You can’t keep people in slavery, or commit genocide against Native Americans, without massive applications of violence, said Hamm, speaking at the annual conference of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, in Philadelphia.

    Black Is Back Coalition to March on White House

    The police response to Black protest in Ferguson, Missouri, has called attention to the massive militarization of U.S. police behavior and equipment. “They call it surplus military equipment that they have given to police departments, but that’s not surplus,” said Black Is Back Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “The military budget includes the resources they are shooting into communities to control African people. It’s not surplus when you understand that the local police department is an extension of the same state apparatus that’s functioning today in places like Afghanistan. That’s colonialism,” said Yeshitela. The Coalition announced plans to march on the White House, on November 1, under the banner “Peace Through Revolution.”

    Justice Department Should Review Every Police Killing of Unarmed Blacks

    The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund called on the U.S. Justice Department to mount a “comprehensive review of all police-involved assaults and killings of all unarmed individuals, with a particular focus on the killings of unarmed African Americans,” said associate director Janai Nelson. The review is one of four recommendations outlined by the LDEF in a letter to the Justice Department. “There are concerns of over-policing in these communities, of ‘broken windows’ policing, of racial profiling, that has led to this disparate number of killings among African Americans,” said Nelson.

    Mumia: “We are All Michael Brown”

    The Black people of Ferguson, Missouri, “have resisted every attempt to sidetrack or silence their efforts to achieve the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the white cop who shot and killed Mike Brown,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “The face of sweet-talking politicians promising peace; police with dark faces promising protection; preachers praying for placidity,” did not deter the protesters. ”They kept on marching for justice.”

    “Broken Windows” Policing Must Go

    Robert Gangi, director of New York City’s Police Reform Organizing Project, has documented the racial bias inherent in the NYPD’s pursuit of so-called “quality of life” offenses. “Police in New York arrest people for occupying two seats on the subway, even though it’s 2 o’clock in the morning and there’s nobody else in the subway car,” said Gangi. “Far too much of the NYPD’s resources focuses on activities that are not criminal, that are not dangerous, that are not predatory; activities that are engaged in by people of color,” like selling loose cigarettes. “The senseless death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD is a worst-case scenario of what can happen with the aggressive application of broken windows policing.”

    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.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/16/14

    Nation’s First All-Charter School System Restores Segregation

    The last conventional public school in the New Orleans Recovery District closed last month, a harbinger of what may be in store in systems across the country. “Apparently, this model means taking education out of the public realm and putting it into the hands of private, non-profit boards and for-profit corporations,” said Karran Harper Royal, a parent advocate with the city’s Coalition for Community Schools, one of several groups that have filed a civil rights suit against the district and the Louisiana Board of Education. “It seems that white kids are disproportionately taking up the seats in the A- and B-rated schools,” while Black children are clustered in failing schools, said Ms. Harper Royal. “After all these years, we’re back in a segregated school system, only now it is also along class lines.”

    Haiti Activists Urge Rejection of Both Congressional Candidates in Harlem

    Incumbent Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel and his main challenger, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, are both guilty of supporting “apartheid” policies against Dominicans of Haitian descent, charged demonstrators outside a televised campaign debate. Under a law passed by the Dominican Republic and endorsed by Rangel and Espaillat, less than 10 percent of 200,000-plus people with roots in Haiti will quality for Dominican citizenship, even though most have never set foot outside the country and speak only Spanish. Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist, called on Harlemites “not to vote for either of these supporters of apartheid,” and for “people of conscience around the world to boycott Dominican products and services,” including tourism.

    Black Is Back Coalition: Obama “Worse Than Bush”

    Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, said Barack Obama has been “worse than Bush” for Black people, and for the cause of peace. “Bush couldn’t have gotten away with the things Obama did without some kind of response” from the Black community,” said Yeshitela. Obama “has neutralized so many forces, taken them out of action. It wasn’t understood that part of Obama’s function was to act as a cover for white power and for imperialism. He’s escalated war, he’s signed off on assassinations, and he’s done it with a neutralized Black community.” The Black Is Back Coalition holds its annual international conference in Philadelphia, August 16-17.

    U.S. Pushes Russia and China into Closer Alliance

    Washington’s provocations are driving Russia, the world’s top energy exporter, and China, soon to be the world’s largest economy, into a deeper economic and political alliance, said Eric Draitser, of StopImperialism.org. “It would seem a self-defeating strategy,” said the independent political analyst. “But, the reality is that the United States doesn’t have control anymore. Obama and his blundering foreign policy have provided the impetus” for closer Sino-Russian collaboration, which can only increase with development of a “New Silk Road stretching from China all the way through Turkey and into Europe.”

    Mumia on the Passing of Ruby Dee

    Actress and activist Ruby Dee, who died at age 91, supported many radical causes and political prisoners, including Mumia Abu Jamal. “One would be hard pressed to find a role where she played anything less than the best of Black people,” said Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. Ruby Dee and her late husband Ossie Davis’ “work was a theater of Black dignity, Black family and Black love.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/19/14

    Count-Down to a Class-Based Internet

    The public has four months to respond to the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to end Internet neutrality. “The people are very clear about what they want,” said Kevin Zeese, an organizer of Occupy the FCC, which camped out in front of the Commission’s offices, in Washington. “They don’t want a class-based Internet. They don’t want a two-tiered Internet based on fees. They want an open, equal Internet,” as demanded by several million petitioners and callers to the FCC.

    Rev. Pinkney Defiant Under House Arrest

    The leading activist in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, will still be under house arrest when protestors converge on the PGA tournament, May 24. Rev. Edward Pinkney is facing 20 years in prison on elections law charges stemming from an effort to recall Mayor James Hightower, described as a “stoolie” for the Whirlpool Corporation, which dominates the town. Pinkney said Whirlpool hoped his arrest would defeat the recall effort and undermine the “Occupy the PGA” protests, “but we’re going to win both of them.”

    U.S. War Against Libya Boosted Boko Haram

    “We cannot understand the rise and strengthening of Boko Haram and, indeed, most of the radical Islamic activity in Africa, disconnected from” NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya, said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, author of the article “From Benghazi to Boko Haram.” The 2011 triumph of U.S.-backed jihadists in Libya “provided a material source for training and equipment and money that strengthened these elements across the continent,” said Baraka.

    “No War” Rally in Times Square

    Activists will stage a “No War” rally at New York City’s Times Square, May 26, to demand the U.S. halt its aggressive confrontations with Russia – the root of the crisis in Ukraine. The Ukrainian coup-imposed, fascist-backed government in Kiev initially failed to crush resistance in the eastern parts of the country, said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, because the military “refused to fight against their own sisters and brothers. And now U.S. imperialism has only the fascists to lean on” in Ukraine. She likened the eastern Ukrainian resistance to “an armed Occupy Wall Street.”

    Greg Butterfield, a contributing editor to Workers World newspaper, said the fascists that shot, beat or burned to death 46 people in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa were much like the Ku Klux Klan. “You can see why people have taken the initiative to form militias and protect themselves to keep the fascists out of eastern Ukraine, said Butterfield.

    U.S. Goal is to Subdue Russia

    Washington tries relentless to encircle and isolate Russia “to subordinate it, so it can be ripped off and integrated into the world market controlled by the United States and the European Union,” said Jeff Mackler, of Socialist Action, in Oakland, California. However, Mackler doesn’t think the U.S. wants to go to war with Russia, “although the Cold War rhetoric is still there,” because “Russia is no longer a workers’ state with a planned economy.”

    Mumia: Systemic Racism Trumps Personal Prejudice

    Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private racist remarks are fodder for the media, but the press ignores “systemic racism, which has an impact on the lives and life hopes of millions of people,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner. Mass incarceration, for example, is a racist policy of the state. “It is this vase, impersonal, systemic racism that deserves our attention and condemnation,” not the private utterances “of an old goat lusting for a 30-something,” said Abu Jamal, in a commentary for Prison Radio.

    Cornel West: Hands Off the Black Radical Tradition

    “When you attack Tony Monteiro, you’re attacking a Black man called Cornel West, too,” said the nation’s best known Black public intellectual. Dr. West was speaking at a North Philadelphia rally demanding Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro at its African American Studies department. Dr. Molefi Asante, the department chairman, has launched a red-baiting campaign against Dr. Monteiro and his supporters. Dr. West sees this as an assault on the Black radical tradition. “You’re attacking Angela Davis; you’re attacking DuBois; you’re attacking the memory of Paul Robeson; you’re attacking the memory of Sinclair Drake,” said West.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/12/14

    Special Edition: The Jackson Rising Conference

    This week, Black Agenda Radio focuses entirely on the recent “Jackson Rising” conference on cooperative economies, organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Organizers had hoped the event would be hosted by Chokwe Lumumba, the revolutionary Black nationalist and MXGM co-founder who was elected mayor of mostly Black Jackson, Mississippi, last June. However, Lumumba died suddenly this past February, and his son Chokwe Antar Lumumba was defeated in a special election to fill his father’s seat, in April. Despite the loss, the Jackson Rising conference proceeded as scheduled, attracting hundreds of activists from the region and around the country. BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon was on hand for all three days of the conference.

    Allies and Enemies

    Ed Whitfield, of the Fund for Democratic Communities, said the people need a vision. “It’s a vision of where we’re able to use our labor to provide enough for our loved ones and ourselves, as well as the very young, the old, the infirm, and those people who are caretakers of the community, producing love and caring for other people.”

    Mississippi law “does not allow for the incorporation of cooperatives in any other sector within the state except agriculture, Melba Smith informed a popular workshop. The restrictions pose a hardship on low-income people, who must go out of state to form cooperatives and then apply for a license to operate in Mississippi, said Smith, of the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi.

    State Sen. Jim Evans, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, told delegates “You have allies all over the world” – but plenty of adversaries in Mississippi. “These folks ain’t gonna change nothing unless we organize and build a majority, said Evans, who works closely with organized labor. “They don’t know what’s right, and neither do they care.”

    A Question of Self-Determination

    Iya Falola, a local Jackson MXGM activist, said people need to put the concept of solidarity at the center of economic thought. “The real model of economic uplift is taking the ‘I’ out of the concept,” she said. “Until we come together collectively, and are all able to benefit from our efforts, there is no solidarity in economy. It’s still capitalistic.”

    The Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been working with small farmers for almost 50 years, and was one of the main participants in the Jackson Rising conference. “For African Americans, from a cultural and historical standpoint, cooperatives offer a way for people to embrace values of working together with others to enhance the total community,” said the Federation’s John Zippert.

    Salima Muhammad represented Praxis, which also provide support for the conference. She believes people want to be self-determining in their economic activities. “If we can own it, then we can determine how it’s used. I think that’s where people are directing their energy.”

    Michael Peck spoke for the Spain-based Mondragon Corporation, the world’s best-known cooperative, with 80,000 worker-owners and plants in 39 countries. A Mondragon venture in Argentina went bust, causing suffering among the local workers. “We went into that region as a financial investor, but we didn’t take our values with us,” said Peck. After a long, democratic review of the episode, “we decided that we would never again make an international investment without taking our values with us.”

    Solidarity Economy: Essential to Transformation

    There is nothing capitalistic about MXGM’s cooperative vision, said Adofo Minka. “Cooperation Jackson” emphasizes “placing the means of production in the hands of the people, and focusing more on creating livable wages and benefits for the people who work in these businesses, as opposed to one owner who is only interested in developing his own pockets.”

    Bruce Dixon engaged MXGM’s Mikea Kambui, Akil Bakari and Von Anderson in a wide-ranging discussion of cooperative possibilities. One idea is to form an entertainment cooperative that Jacksonians could buy into for, say, $5 a month. “Over three months, we could come to the city with a public-private partnership to start a movie theater, here, or two theaters,” said the activists. Currently, not a single movie is located in Jackson, which had 11 theaters in the 1980s.

    Gus Newport, the former mayor of Berkeley, California and close friend of Malcolm X, has long experience in cooperative ventures. “The cooperative model teaches us how to create what Martin Luther King called ‘The Beloved Community’ – how to work together, to learn to have concern for your fellow human being.”

    The conference was “a foundational moment,” said Rose Brewer, a Minneapolis activist with the U.S. Social Forum and the Black Left Unity Network. “To reignite that communal, as well as cooperative, spirit is absolutely essential to any social transformation,” she said.

    Sage Crump, of Artists 4 Change, said: “What moved me most was this idea of the solidarity economy, and how do we shift the way we think about our exchange of goods and services, from an individual model of give-and-get to What is the benefit for all people?” Crump is from New Orleans.

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    Cornel West: Integrity is Key to Liberation

    “They are closing our schools, they’re foreclosing our homes, closing our libraries, closing the factories, closing the post office,” said Larry Hamm, president of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress. “They continue to do it, because they have not yet met the countervailing force that can stop them from doing,” he told the Bethany Baptist Church crowd. Hamm then directed the question to the evening’s speaker, noted public intellectual Dr. Cornel West, of New York’s Union Theological Seminary. “How do we build this countervailing force?”

    Organizing for liberation requires “three things,” said Dr. West. “Your vision, and the courage behind your vision. Your analysis; Do you really understand what you’re up against? And then, the organizing and mobilizing that has to take place.” Integrity is key. “When you confront a system that either buys off your leaders, lies on your leaders, or kills them, the freest persons are always those who have an absolute commitment to integrity and decency, and are willing to go under.”

    Pressure Mounts on Temple University in Monteiro Firing

    Students and community organizations plan a series of actions to protest Temple University’s firing of African American Studies professor Dr. Anthony Monteiro. A student walkout is set for this Wednesday and, next week, Philadelphia community groups will march on the campus seeking justice for Monteiro, a fair contract for university employees, and against gentrification of the Black neighborhoods that surround Temple. People recognize that “injustice to the community has gone hand in hand with this injustice to me,” said Monteiro. African American Studies chairman Dr. Molefi Asante has resorted to red-baiting to defend his complicity in Monteiro’s firing. Asante argues “that I am a radical, that I’m a Marxist, that I’m a socialist and, therefore, I don’t fit into his view of African American Studies at Temple,” said Monteiro.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/13/14

    The Friends and Foes of Amiri Baraka

    Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, wants there to be no mistake: His friend and mentor Amiri Baraka, the activist/poet/public intellectual who died last week at age 79, “was a revolutionary. In the days ahead, until he’s buried, everybody is going to look back upon him with fond remembrances. But, for some of those people, if Amiri Baraka was coming down the street, they would cross to the other side.” Baraka’s funeral will be held on Saturday, in Newark.

    War on Poverty was Underfunded and Restrained

    From the very beginning of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, launched 50 years ago, “there was a push to keep the lid on new spending on anti-poverty programs – and that only got worse with the funneling of money to Vietnam,” said Alice O’Connor, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara and author of Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy and the Poor in Twentieth Century U.S. History. Although newly created federal agencies were mandated to give the poor a voice in anti-poverty efforts, “there was pressure from the localities to keep that money out of the hands of groups that were going to challenge the status quo,” said O’Connor.

    From Many Struggles, One

    Progressive forces can achieve victory by building a “movement of movements,” said Margaret Flowers, co-author with Kevin Zeese of the article “Task of a People-Powered Movement for 2014.” Flowers and Zeese, directors of It’s Our Economy, have identified ten “fronts of struggle,” ranging from health care to jobs to peace. “Our task is to help connect these individual struggles to the broader struggle,” said Flowers.

    Worthless Democrats

    President Obama’s recent promises about combating economic inequality are meaningless rhetoric,” said Doug Henwood, editor of the Left Business Observer. “The problem is, the Democrats are now so thoroughly a Wall Street party, that they can’t do anything serious” to help poor and working people. “I expect nothing out of the Democratic Party, nationally or locally.” Real social progress will require grassroots mobilization, said Henwood.

    The Washington Post as a CIA Asset

    RootsAction.Org co-founder Norman Solomon will this week present a petition to editors of the Washington Post, demanding the newspaper inform its readers of owner Jeff Bezos’ intimate business relationship with the CIA. Bezos is also the billionaire owner of Amazon, which last year concluded a $600 million contract with the CIA. “The responsibility of the CIA is to keep secrets, and the responsibility of journalism is to expose secrets,” said Solomon. Post journalists should be worried that it become commonly known as “being in bed with the CIA.”

    Tutu Wrong About ICC, Says Herman

    Edward Herman, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, takes issue with former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu’s contention that the International Criminal Court is a force for justice in Africa. The ICC only indicts Africans, and only those Africans that are not allied with the United States, said Herman, co-author of The Politics of Genocide. “The bias has been blatant.” U.S. allies Uganda and Rwanda invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo and “killed literally millions of people,” with no response from the ICC, said Herman.

    Mumia: Support the Dallas Five

    On January 21, trial begins for five Pennsylvania inmates charged with riot and incitement stemming from a 2010 protest against violence by guards at a prison in the town of Dallas. The Dallas Five “are fighting for their lives,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, reporting for Prison Radio.

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    Racial Hatred in the Dominican Republic

    The Dominican Republic’s efforts to deny citizenship to hundreds of thousands of residents of Haitian descent is rooted in the racism of an “elite that has never wanted to have anything to do with Black people,” said Dr. Jemima Pierre, a professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. “They’re trying to establish rules that will also effectively get rid of dark-skinned people who don’t have Haitian ancestry. What about the poor Dominican woman who doesn’t have any papers and can’t prove she isn’t Haitian?” asked Pierre, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report.

    The Uncounted Homeless

    The Obama administration’s claim that homelessness declined last year is based on “incomplete” data, said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. The government’s methodology mainly counts “who is in a shelter, which really just measures the capacity of shelters – and we know that shelters turn people away every night,” while failing to adequately measure the number of people those who are living on the street or have crowded into unsustainable quarters with friends and relatives, said Foscarinis.

    Nationalize the Banks

    In the face of unremitting criminality by the biggest American banks, “any reasonable person would say that leaving banking in the hands of these banksters is unwise public policy, and terribly costly for everyone else,” said Dr. Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Big Finance must be nationalized, not just broken up into smaller pieces – as would be obvious to most Americans “if we weren’t drowning in a fog of ideology,” said Wolff.

    U.S. Spreads Chaos in World

    “The one thing that’s become clearer than at any time in the past is that U.S. intervention creates spreading destabilization and chaos,” said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition. “It’s designed to do that. We can see the immediate results in South Sudan, a country that came into existence under U.S. protection in order to put this oil-rich region directly under the control of U.S. and U.S.-led forces,” said Flounders. “A quarter of all the oil that is consumed in the U.S. comes from Africa. Washington has no interest at all in democracy, development and freedom” – only in power and profits.

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    Newark Rallies for Mandela

    “We marched because we wanted to highlight the revolutionary dimension of his personality, rather than an anemic and eviscerated Mandela,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of POP, the People’s Organization for Progress, following a demonstration in downtown Newark, New Jersey, last week, in honor of the deceased South African leader. “Believe it or not,” said Hamm, “there are still people who don’t know about Mandela.” Founded in 1983, POP’s first buttons demanded “Free Nelson Mandela!”

    America’s Mostly War Budget

    Peace and social justice activists gathered on Capitol Hill to mark International Human Rights Day and demand that Congress reject a budget that allocates more than 50 percent of resources to war-making. David Swanson, publisher of the influential website WarIsACrime.Org, noted that some lawmakers were away in South Africa. “You can’t celebrate nonviolence and then come back and dump over 50 percent of your money into so-called ‘defense,’” said Swanson. “It’s offensive, in every sense of the word.”

    De Blasio Picks Giuliani “Retread” for Top Cop

    According to Stop Stop-and-Frisk activist Carl Dix, New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s choice of William Bratton as his police commissioner is designed to send a message: “Guess what? There will still be two cities, and the city that I represent, the city of the power brokers, of the elite, of the capitalist class, will continue to clamp down on the rest of you.” Bratton deployed the much-feared street crime units under law and order mayor Rudy Giuliani in the mid-Nineties.

    Slavery + Genocide + Vast Theft = Capitalist Genesis

    “The capitalist state was an imperialist state from its inception,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, at the party’s 6th Congress in St. Petersburg, Florida. The wealth necessary to launch capitalism was accumulated through slavery, extermination and land theft. “Our material condition has its origin in the attack on Africa,” said Yeshitela.

    Obama Mouth Runs Amok with Double-Talk

    Rhetorically speaking, President Obama has once again positioned himself as a “populist,” declaring that income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” “Obama is quite practiced in double-talk,” said Paul Street, historian and author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. “As if he hasn’t been attacking Social Security and Medicare; as if he hasn’t pushed deficit reduction, in some ways, even more dramatically than the Republicans have.”

    Lynne Stewart “Home for the Holidays” Campaign

    Federal prison officials pretend that people’s lawyer and political prisoner Lynne Stewart, who suffers from Stage Four breast cancer, “is getting better, but she is not,” said her husband and fellow activist Ralph Poynter. Supporters should sign a petition asking the Bureau of Prisons, President Obama and Attorney General Holder to grant Stewart compassionate release from prison in time for the holidays. The administration is “stalling and stonewalling, and the clock is running out,” said Poynter.

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    LA Schools Overrun by Cops

    The Los Angeles Unified School District is among the most heavily policed in the nation, with Black students 29 times more likely than white students to be charged with disturbing the peace. “Are they trying to set students up for success and education, or are they trying to set them up to go to prison?” asked Ashley Franklin, an organizer with the Labor Community Strategy Center and one of the authors of a report titled “Black, Brown and Over-Policed in LA Schools.” Despite the heavy hand of the law, students have organized throughout the district. “Our youth have read their history and they’re fighting back,” said Franklin.

    Charter Schools Increase Segregation

    Studies show the spread of charter schools exacerbates economic and racial segregation, said Stan Karp, of New Jersey’s Education Law Center. “Systematically, if you look at the demographics of the charter experiment, this is where you’re finding the increase in segregation, higher attrition rates, and the different populations that are being served,” said Karp, author of the recent Rethinking Schools article “How Charter Schools are Undermining Public Education.” The privatizers are deceiving inner city parents. “Investors and business interests have been able to attach their agenda for market reform in education to the urgent needs of communities that have not been well served by the existing system.”

    African People’s Socialist Party Holds 6th Congress

    The struggles – and defeats – of the Sixties must be put in context in order to chart a course towards liberation in the future, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, which holds its 6th Congress in St. Petersburg, Florida, December 7 – 11. “We had a movement that was crushed” by state repression and assassinations, and “we’re seeing the consequences of that defeat” in the corrupt Black leadership that has emerged over the past 40-plus years. “Occasional spontaneous outbreaks” of protest after incidents like the Trayvon Martin killing cannot “substitute for real revolutionary work,” said Yeshitela.

    Mumia: Where is Justice for the Living?

    Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, who is serving a life term in the 1981 death of a Philadelphia policeman, noted that the State of Alabama recently granted posthumous pardons to the 9 Scottsboro Boys, convicted in a 1931 “rape that never happened.” Meanwhile, the four Black women and five men of the Move 9 are in the 35th year of prison sentences in the death of a Philadelphia policeman. “In 2058, will a future governor declare them pardoned, and grant them symbolic justice?” asked Abu Jamal, with deep sarcasm. “Justice delayed is still justice denied.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/28/13

    Bankers and State Owe Detroit

    Instead of figuring out ways to strip Detroit of its assets to pay banks, the courts should force bankers and the state to repay the city hundreds of millions owed. “Some of the main creditors have been bogus, complicated interest rate swaps by banks who overcharged hundreds of millions of dollars of interest,” said community activist Debra Taylor. “If anything, that needs to be renegotiated.” Taylor said the city was also denied $224 million in revenue sharing funds when the state arbitrarily changed the payment formula.

    Obama Schemes to Cut Social Security

    President Obama has “enabled” the assault on Social Security and other entitlement programs since his first days in office, said independent journalist Arun Gupta, a co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. The president has long sought an austerity “Grand Bargain” with Republicans, but has been stymied by GOP reluctance to cut a deal. “The U.S. has become so dysfunctional, in terms of its political system,” said Gupta, “it seems the most you can hope for is gridlock.”

    Who Stopped Stop-and-Frisk?

    Opposition to stop-and-frisk is now all but mandatory among New York City Democrats. But, that wasn’t the case two years ago, when Carl Dix and others began a civil disobedience campaign under the Stop Stop-and-Frisk banner. “Things like stop-and-frisk were not front-burner issues” back then, said Dix. “The question of torture in prison was something hardly anyone knew anything about. We thought that waging a mass resistance movement was a key way to bring these issue front and center.”

    Hi-Tech Corporations Behind National Surveillance State

    A new study shows the high-tech industrial sector uses its campaign contributions to bolster congressional and White House support for the national surveillance state. “It’s really a giant interest-group issue,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston, and an author of the report. “These are industries that we’d already identified as uniquely friendly to Obama,” based on campaign contributions.

    U.S. Facilitates Congo Genocide

    Six million Congolese have died since neighboring Rwanda and Uganda invaded the country in 1996, said Maurice Carney, director of Friends of Congo. Speaking at the 7th anniversary celebration of Black Agenda Report, at New York City’s historic Riverside Church, Carney said “these crimes could not be committed without the backing of the United States and the protection of its allies, Uganda and Rwanda.” How could Washington call for military action in Syria and Libya, where thousands were at risk, Carney asked, “when you’re not even willing to take diplomatic action in Congo, where we’re talking about millions?” It all depends on whether “one values Black life, or not.”

    Organize!” says Danny Glover

    Actor and political activist Danny Glover called for a “reinvigoration of the idea of democracy.” Speaking at a fundraiser for Benton Harbor, Michigan’s Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), the TransAfrica Forum chairman said: “It is important that people are active in the process. We need to organize!”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/23/13

    Lynne Stewart Imprisonment Meant to “Chill” Defense Lawyers

    New Justice Department guidelines on compassionate release from prison should, by all rights, apply to people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, serving a 10-year sentence for zealously defending her client, said David Gespass, former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Stewart suffers from Stage 4 breast cancer. “The only possible reason not to release her would be just pure vindictiveness,” said Gespass, an attorney practicing in Birmingham, Alabama. “I think her prosecution was a warning to defense lawyers that they should not do their jobs as vigorously as they are required constitutionally to do, particularly in cases involving allegations of so-called terrorism.”

    October 22 Day of Protest Against Police Atrocities

    The Stop Mass Incarceration Network will hold the 18th annual National Day of Protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation, said Carl Dix, a co-founder of the event. “If anything, it is even more relevant, today.” The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing “takes us back 150 years and more, to the Dred Scott Decision, when Black people were ruled to have no rights that white people are bound to respect,” said Dix.

    October 24 is “Workers Demand a Raise Day”

    The Baltimore Workers Assembly will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the federal minimum wage with demands that today’s minimum be raised to $15 an hour. “If wages had kept up with the cost of living since the first minimum wage was enacted, it would now be $15.23,” said organizer Karen Black. President Obama and other politicians have not been helpful in increasing workers’ paychecks. “That’s in part why we formed a workers assembly that can get a movement going to force these issues,” said Black.

    Obamacare Would Still Leave U.S. Last in Developed World

    Forty-eight million Americans are still without health insurance, and 48,000 of them die every year due to inadequate care, said Dr. David Himmelstein, of Physicians for a National Health Plan. “Billions and billions are drained out of the health care system by greedy insurance companies whose interest is in denying people care,” said Himmelstein, whose organization favors a Medicaid-for-All system. “Even if Obamacare works as planned, we’re still going to have 31 million people who won’t have coverage,” which means the U.S. health care system will remain “the worst in the developed world.”

    The Incredibly Shrinking Welfare State

    The remnants of the federal welfare program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, “needs to be made more accessible,” said Timothy Casey, senior attorney for Legal Momentum. “Right now, two out of three families and children who are eligible don’t get any benefits.” Moreover, “benefits in every state are far below the official poverty level – typically less than half,” said Casey. Legal Momentum was formerly known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

    U.S. Protects Purveyors of Genocide in Congo

    Washington refuses to bring real pressures on Rwanda to halt its 17-year war and occupation of the eastern Congo, the “deadliest conflict in the world since World War Two, in which millions of Congolese have lost their lives,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “When you compare it to the way the U.S. has acted against Zimbabwe, or the way it’s been beating the war drums against Syria, the U.S. hasn’t brought substantial weight, whatsoever,” against its ally, Rwanda, said Carney.

    Kenyans Say No to International Criminal Court

    Both houses of Kenya’s parliament voted to sever ties with the International Criminal Court, which had previously indicted Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, the current president and deputy president of the country. “They had and election, and one of the major aspects of the campaign was, We can handle our problems ourselves and we don’t need the ICC,” said John Philpot, a Canadian attorney and expert on international criminal law who has defended clients before the ICC. Parliament’s action “was a good step,” said Philpot, “because the ICC is the right hand of military/political intervention” and only prosecutes Africans.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/18/13

    Obama Still Looking for War Excuse

    The Obama administration is “thrashing everywhere to find a new excuse to rev up another war threat,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. The president’s current willingness to negotiate with the Russians over Syria “is a tactical retreat that gives the anti-war movement more time to organize.”

    American Exceptionalism=White Supremacy

    The American “exceptionalism” that President Obama cited in his Syria speech “is rooted in a notion of unacknowledged white supremacy,” said Ajamu Baraka, associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. For 500 years, European colonists have claimed the privilege “to determine who has the right to sovereignty, who has the right to rule, who should have the authority in certain countries,” said Baraka. “It’s nothing more than the dressed up re-articulation of the White Man’s Burden.”

    Nuclear-Chemical Israel

    Syria admitted possession of chemical weapons at least a year ago, according to Sam Husseini, of the Institute for Public Accuracy, citing a 2012 article from American Interest magazine. “Everything that I’ve been able to find indicates that Israel continues to build up its chemical weapons capacity,” said Husseini. “What is ironic,” however, “is that it is Israel that does not acknowledge its possession of nuclear weapons.”

    When U.S. Presidents Want War, They Get War

    “I can’t think of a time when a president said, ‘I want to begin bombing another country,’ and has not gotten to do it,” said Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.Org. “By hook or crook, it gets done.” However, this time around, “the militaristic center could not hold,” forcing President Obama into negotiations with the Russians. Actually, the Russians and Syrians did Obama a favor. “He needed a climb-down, somehow,” said Solomon.

    Beware Obama’s Bay of Pigs Moment

    “One of the frightening aspects” of the crisis over Syria, said historian and activist Paul Street, “is that Obama has taken such a black eye, here, he’s been so humiliated, that it has upped the ante of his need to escalate.” Street warns that this could be Obama’s “Bay of Pigs moment,” as when President John Kennedy pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 after the humiliating defeat of a CIA invasion of Cuba, the year before. “All of humanity hopes this guy can be restrained,” said Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power.

    Affirmative Action Again Before High Court

    On October 15, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Michigan’s defense of Proposition 2, which bans affirmative action. “If we lose this case,” said Shanta Driver, the lead attorney for BAMN, By Any Means Necessary, “a white majority will have been able to end affirmative action programs in our state, permanently. That means the beginning of an era of the new Jim Crow.”

    Predatory Banks Prey on Public Sector

    Activists will gather in Detroit, October 5 and 6, for an International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity. “We’re asking for a complete cancellation of the debt to the banks, which is strangling the schools, the cities and the states,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, media outreach coordinator for the conference and editor of the Pan-African News Wire. “Detroit was locked into predatory lending at the municipal financing level,” he said. “That’s why they’re claiming that Detroit owes $22 billion to these financial institutions.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/09/13

    Syria is Opportunity to Build a Real Peace Movement

    “They’ve handed this to us on a silver platter: an announced war,” said David Swanson, veteran peace activist and publisher of the influential web site WarIsACrime.org. “This is an opportunity to build an anti-war movement.” However, so-called “progressives” on Capitol Hill have proven to be of little use. “For the most part, the Progressive Caucus has reached a new low,” said Swanson. “Now they’re split, half pro-war and half anti-war. You’re not seeing leadership from the usual congresspeople. You see incredible deference to the president.”

    Obama is Going Down

    “England and Germany and other forces that have usually been reliable partners in crime have tried to distance themselves from this criminal war” that Obama plans against Syria, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. The president’s domestic situation is also perilous. “It is difficult for many of the Negroes who have been in bed with Obama to continue this elicit affair. Obama stands the chance of going down in history as a war criminal.”

    Deceitful War, American-Style

    The U.S. routinely tells bald-faced lies to justify its military aggressions, said John Quigley, professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University. Quigley, author of Ruses for War: American Intervention Since World War Two, cites phony U.S. pretexts for war in the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983), Sudan (1998), and Iraq (1993), not to mention the patently false basis for the Iraq invasion of 2003. Is the U.S. a rogue state? “In the sense of taking action that has no basis in international law, then I suppose” it is, said Prof. Quigley.

    Lynne Stewart Critiques the “So-Called Left”

    People’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, who is suffering from Stage Four breast cancer, will probably not benefit from Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent revisions of Bureau of Prisons regulations on compassionate release, since she is charged with terrorism, said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and comrade in struggle. Stewart “is very angry with what is happening in the so-called Left, who have neglected the struggle in the rest of the world,” said Poynter. “If we can’t get our minds around freeing our political prisoners, maybe all of our time has come.”

    Misleadership Class in Deep Conflict with Black Masses

    “I don’t believe there has ever been this wide and extensive a split between the Black elite and bourgeoisie, who are aligned through Obama to finance capital and American empire, and the broad masses” of African Americans, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Philadelphia’s Temple University. Monteiro estimates the March on Washington commemoration, organized by traditional Black organizations in deep collaboration with the White House, drew only about 25,000 people. “The elite, the so-called leadership, is in trouble with the great masses of Black people.”

    California Prisoners Suspend Hunger Strike

    After nine weeks, inmates called a halt to the third hunger strike since 2011, without having forced California officials to accede to any of their major demands, most notably an end to the “torture” of long term solitary confinement. However, the struggle continues, according to Keith James, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Movement. “They are waging a protracted battle,” said James. “We really have to have these prisoners’ backs, because this torture is continuing." At its height, 30,000 inmates were involved in the protest.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/28/13

    NSA Could Ensnare Anyone in National Security Trap

    “Every single person in this country owes Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning a debt of gratitude,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, renowned whistleblower and a founder of the No FEAR Coalition. The NSA program that tracks human networks endangers all Americans, said Coleman-Adebayo, “because everyone is only a person or two or three or four away from being implicated in some scheme that the National Security State comes up with.” She called Bradley Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for exposing government secrets an example of growing “tyranny.”

    Ray Kelly’s Rise Halted By Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

    It is highly unlikely that New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will be appointed head of Homeland Security, said Robert Gangi, of the Police Reform Organizing Project of the Urban Justice Center. A federal court found that the city’s stop-and-frisk practices routinely violate the constitutional rights of Blacks and Latinos. “There is now a big black eye on the face of New York City policing,” said Gangi. “Ray Kelly is no longer the iconic law enforcement figure he was a short two years ago.”

    Black Is Back Coalition Magnifies Grassroots Forces

    The betrayals and predations of the Black Misleadership Class can be overcome by out-organizing them. “Our objective is to replace that misleadership, not just to complain about it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. Black is Back seeks to “provide the ability for all of these” grassroots organizations “to come together and to magnify their presence many times over,” said Yeshitela. The coalition recently held its national conference in Harlem.

    Cornel West on Obama and the New Jim Crow

    The Obama administration seems to believe it is immune from effective Black criticism. “It’s sad to see us pimped like that,” said Dr. Cornel West, the activist and academic currently based at Union Theological Seminary, in New York. “All of our suffering is rendered invisible because they know we will be highly protective of them.” The administration has “that kind of power, that kind of bully pulpit, but they can’t say a mumbling word about the New Jim Crow – and they’ve been in office for five years. That’s disgusting!” Dr. West spoke on the latest edition of Black Agenda TV.

    Nursing Students Charge Fraud in Philadelphia

    Six Black women, who call themselves the Liberation of Students Rights Group of Philadelphia, charge the now defunct St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing cheated them out of $22,000 each and a year of their lives. Sabrina Whitaker said she and her fellow students, all college graduates at the time, had heard that the school had a Black dean, and “wanted to work in an area that was African American.” But the school turned out to be unaccredited. “We had to share gloves, we had to share needles when learning how to do IVs,” said Whitaker. The women hope to prevail in court, to prove that “if you keep fighting, keep striving for what you believe in, your dream too can come true.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/12/13

    Lynne Stewart’s Husband Asks: Where are the Unions and Clergy?

    Claiming the law gave him no choice, a federal judge rejected people’s lawyer Lynn Stewart’s request for compassionate release from a ten-year prison sentence. Judge John Koeltl said he would have given “prompt and sympathetic consideration” to such a request if it had come from the federal Bureau of Prisons, which maintains that Stewart’s health is “improving” despite the ravages of Stage Four breast cancer. Pressure must now be brought directly on President Obama, who “seems to enjoy doing the work of this oppressive corporate juggernaut,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and comrade in struggle. Poynter noted that “the unions have not participated as a group in the support for Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning, Snowden, or any others on the issues of freedom of speech. The ministers have also not participated in this struggle.”

    Dream Defenders Fight Criminal Justice Racism

    Stand Your Ground laws are only part of the agenda of the young people occupying state government offices in Florida’s capital. Dream Defenders political director Ciara Taylor said their focus also includes “the school-to-prison pipeline that takes children out of school and puts them into jail cells,” and “racial profiling practices. We want to disassemble all three of these practices in Florida.” Ms. Taylor said “Trayvon Martin would not even have been in Sanford, Florida, at that time, had it not been for a school suspension that he received on the basis of a zero tolerance policy.”

    Zimbabwe Shows the Way for Africa

    President Mugabe’s landslide victory in Zimbabwe’s recent elections was not only “a plebiscite on land reform, it’s a barometer reading of what Africa is really thinking,” said political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of StopImperialism.com. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party “have stressed that political independence is meaningless without economic independence,” said Draitser.

    Gold Rush Would Further Devastate Haiti’s Ecology

    The U.S.-backed Haitian government is fashioning new laws to attract foreign mining corporations to exploit the country’s gold deposits. President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s group “is, essentially, a kind of mafia, and they are joining hands with this international mafia of gold companies that are going around the world raping countries,” said Kim Ives, an editor of Haiti Liberte, the news and analysis weekly. “The people are very worried that words like ‘protecting national interest and sovereignty’ are a cover for just the opposite,” said Ives. Gold mining, which uses vast amounts of cyanide, has caused “an ecological disaster” in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

    Why Not a Prisoner Exchange for the Cuban Five?

    Every 5th of the month, supporters of the Cuban Five designate someone to write a letter to the U.S. president. Jane Franklin, author of Cuba and the U.S.: A Chronological History, did the honors this month. Asked about the prospects of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Cuba, Franklin replied: “Cuba has asked over and over again to sit down and discuss anything at all with representatives of the United States, but the U.S. has shown no interest in discussing the release of the Cuban Five.” The Cuban intelligence agents were imprisoned 15 years ago after revealing terrorist plots by Cuban exiles in South Florida.

    New Black Activist/Scholar Think Tank

    The Pan African Collective for Advocacy and Action makes its debut, this week, at a press conference in Washington, DC. “We’re sick and tired of these white organizations looking at issues within the Black community as if we’re some kind of terrarium or aquarium or incubator,” said Solomon Commisiong, one of the founders. The Collective “will do ‘white papers’” and such, but will not operate “solely as a think tank. It’s an organization of activists, scholars, and organizers whose aim is to go into our communities and work with grassroots organizations to try to deconstruct systemic issues that plague our communities.”

    POP Chairman Reports on Mumia Meeting

    Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, said his recent meeting with Mumia Abu Jamal was “a benchmark experience in my life that I will never forget.” The nation’s best-known political prisoner “has done more to bring about political consciousness than many of us who have our so-called freedom on this side of the prison walls,” said Hamm. During the two-hour visit, according to Hamm, Mumia said “President Obama has been able to enact policies that George Bush could not have gotten away with.” The first Black president’s election “has helped to demobilize people and blunt resistance that we might otherwise see in this country.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/05/13

    Obama Losing Black Appeal

    The 50th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, set for later this month, is “going to be a form of apologizing for Obama, but I predict that not many people are going to come, because Black people’s trust in Obama and his apologists is at an all time low,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. President Obama “is probably less popular than Bill Clinton was at this point in his presidency among African Americans,” especially due to his handling of the Trayvon Martin killing. “His meditation on the Zimmerman verdict,” said Monteiro, “did very little, if anything, to calm the sense of disenchantment of the African American people with this presidency.”

    First Fatality in California Hunger Strike

    Prison authorities refuse to acknowledge that a hunger striker found dead in his solitary confinement cell is a fatality of the month-long protest, insisting the death was a suicide. “What the authorities are saying is that, as far as they are concerned, people can die and they will not back off of the torture they are inflicting on people,” said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. News from inside the prisons has been extremely difficult to obtain. “They took 14 of the leaders, who were already on long term solitary confinement, and put them under further restrictions to try to cut off the link to their outside supporters,” said Dix.

    Prosecution Obstructs Lynne Stewart Compassionate Release

    The judge that sentenced people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart to ten years in prison will rule this week on her request for compassionate release. Stewart is suffering from Stage Four breast cancer. Federal prison officials turned down her request, asserting that Stewart’s health is “improving,” but refused to turn her latest medical records over to the judge. “This is obstruction,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and lifelong comrade. “It’s not a Catch-22, it’s in your face: now we’re going to kill you.” A rally is scheduled August 8 to demand Stewart’s release, in Manhattan’s Foley Square.

    Democracy Convention in Madison

    Nine conferences on democracy will convene under one tent, August 7 to 11, in Madison, Wisconsin. With focuses on democracy in and economics, race, constitutional reform, media, education, the environment and more, the Democracy Convention is expected to draw hundreds of activists from around the country. “We’re fired-up people who believe that we can have a much better democracy than we have now, but we have to work for it,” said Leah Bolger, president of Veterans for Peace. “This is an opportunity for action and activism.”

    Buju Banton Presses for New Trial

    Lawyers for Jamaican reggae superstar Buju Banton say misconduct by a juror in his 2011 cocaine trafficking conviction should lead to a new trial. The juror was accused of doing trial “research” on her home computer, which is forbidden, and then switching computers when the judge ordered her to present the machine for inspection. “What has happened is representative of what this criminal just system does to millions of African Americans,” said Aula Sumbry, of the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee. Except that, in this case, “they have picked on someone who is an international cultural icon and has the wherewithal to fight back.”

    Imperialism is Losing,” Says Black Is Back Coalition Chairman

    U.S. imperialism is losing its grip on global hegemony, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. “That’s why it was necessary for them to invent Barack Hussein Obama to seduce the people into submission.” The veteran activist spoke at a rally of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, in Harlem, New York. The Obama administration, by characterizing Assata Shakur as the nation’s number one terrorist, is attempting “to delegitimize the whole struggle of Black people, historically,” said Yeshitela. St. Mary’s Church is also the site of the Black Is Back Coalition national conference, August 17 and 18.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/29/13

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/29/13

     

    Trayvon Protests Should Lead to Movement Against Racial Surveillance

    If there is to be a mass movement against racial profiling, “we’ve got to talk about the War on Drugs and decriminalization and legalization; we’ve got to talk about the surveillance state, where the government at the local and the national level profiles you every day of your life,” said South Carolina activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray. “We’ve got to talk about the idea that the only people that are being required to show something to prove that they are not guilty of something are people of color in this country – and we’ve got to figure out a way to fight back.” Gray is author of The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

    Obama Approval Rating Drops Among Blacks

    A recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows Black approval of President Obama dipped to 78 percent following George Zimmerman’s murder acquittal. “It’s a perceptual shift, a big-time shift in how Black people are perceiving Obama when it comes to being responsive to the needs of our community,” said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. The president’s high praise for New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly, who runs the nation’s biggest stop-and-frisk operation, as a potential new chief of Homeland Security “speaks to where Obama is, morally,” said Williams. “How are you going to put somebody who, basically, does the same thing that George Zimmerman did to Trayvon Martin, in charge of Homeland Security?”

    White Reaction to Zimmerman Verdict Disturbing

    An ABC News-Washington Post poll showing two-thirds of whites think Trayvon Martin’s killing was justifiable, is a measure of the “separateness in perspective that reflects very real, savage, and profound, literal segregation” of the races in America, said historian and activist Paul Street. “That’s a lot more than just the segment of the white population that’s Republican or Tea Party,” said Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. “There’s a lot of Democrats in there, and that probably includes a whole bunch of ‘liberals.’ This isn’t just about cracker whites in the South.”

    NSA Vote Shows Hope in Face of Fascist Trends

    The narrow defeat of a U.S. House bill to halt wholesale NSA spying on Americans’ telephone calls was “a tactical loss but a strategic victory” for the rule of law, said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He warned of the rise of “fascist principles” in the U.S., including “collusion between the corporate private sector and the government sector to abuse fundamental rights,” and “xenophobia and militarism…vilifying the Other, within our country, justifying international belligerence towards other countries.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/22/13

    Blacks Preyed Upon by For-Profit Colleges

    Education corporations like Phoenix University have entrapped record numbers of African Americans in high debt and poor quality college course with no jobs at the end of the process, said journalist Kai Wright, author of an article titled “Young, Black and Buried in Debt: How For-Profit Colleges Prey on African American Ambitions.” Black college enrollment increased 35 percent between 2003 and 2009, twice the rate of white increase, according to Wright. However, most of the increase was in pursuit of “subprime degrees” from for-profit schools “that play on people’s ambitions and trick them into a terrible deal, because they’re desperate.”

    Preventive Detention a Counter to Social Unrest

    A federal appeals court last week upheld preventive military detention of U.S. citizens without charges or trial, ruling that the plaintiffs could not prove they were actually in danger of being detained. “It would be extremely simple for the executive and the legislative branch” to exempt U.S. citizens from the provisions, said former New York Times foreign correspondent Chris Hedges, one of the plaintiffs. “But they won’t do that, because they consciously want, in the event of social unrest, the capacity to use the military to carry out domestic policing.”

    Cornel West: Zimmerman Verdict Reveals Nature of System

    The “legal lynching” of Trayvon Martin “allows us to see what is systemic and what is chronic throughout the criminal justice system and its connection to the larger capitalist society,” said activist and academic Dr. Cornel West, of Union Theological Seminary. “We have to make the connection between the killing of our innocent brother Trayvon and the killing of innocent children by U.S. drones in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia.

    California Hunger Strike is “Call of Desperation”

    Ever Florez, a former inmate on solitary confinement in California’s notorious Pelican Bay prison, said the current hunger strike is more widespread than previous actions because prisoners are more desperate. “People get tired,” said Florez, a member of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “You live in a little cell for an enormous amount of years, and it makes you sick in your mind. If you feel that you’re on the brink of going insane, you have to make a call. It’s a call of desperation.”

    Vigil at White House for Lynne Stewart

    Ralph Poynter, husband and comrade of people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, resumed his daily vigil outside the White House, demanding her compassionate release from prison. “They turned a cold ear to us and said, ‘See us in six months,’” said Poynter. “Psychologically, Lynne is fantastic,” he said. “Physically, she is dying a little each day.” Stewart is suffering from Stage Four breast cancer. Her lawyers are seeking a hearing with the judge that sentenced her to prison for ten years for zealously defending her client in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    Why the U.S. Arms Islamic Jihadists

    “U.S. imperialism feels that it can use the jihadists to depose a particular regime,” such as in Syria, “and then pivot and isolate and marginalize the jihadists and put in neoliberal forces,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. “That strategy has not been working – look at Libya, for example – and I think that perhaps that may lead to a rethink on the part of Washington.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/17/13

    Obama Turns Federal Workers Into Snitches

    President Obama’s “Insider Threat Program,” which profiles potential whistleblowers in the federal workforce, “is straight out of fascist models of government and behavior,” said Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, of the No FEAR Coalition. Obama’s executive order requires federal managers and employees to view as “suspect” workers that are under stress, going through divorce, or experiencing money problems. “I think the Obama administration views whistleblowers as terrorists,” said Coleman-Adebayo. “Therefore, he’s put the Gestapo on us.”

    WalMart Vs. DC City Council

    Lots of folks would be happy if WalMart makes good on its threat to cancel plans for three stores in Washington, DC, and halt construction of three others. The low-wage retailer is balking at compliance with a DC City Council bill compelling WalMart to pay $12.50 an hour, as opposed to the local $8.25 minimum wage. “The effects on small businesses and homeowners within a ten-block radius of their stores is devastating,” said anti-WalMart activist Assantawaa Nkrumah Toure. “Even at $12.50 an hour, if you have a 40-hour work week, that’s still not enough to live on in a city like Washington, DC, where the average one-bedroom apartment can be $1,200 a month.”

    Newark Activists: “Hands Off Social Security”

    Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress holds its seventh demonstration against President Obama’s planned cuts in Social Security benefits, with a 25-hour vigil on Tuesday at the agency’s Newark offices. “We say to the Obama administration and the Republicans in Congress, ‘Hands Off Social Security,’” said POP chairman Larry Hamm. “For folks on fixed incomes,” the projected yearly loss of “$500 or $600 is a lot of money, and could be the difference between eating and not eating, or not being able to get a prescription filled.”

    California Hunger Strike Gains Traction

    “You’ve got 30,000 people putting their lives on the line, refusing to eat because of the tortuous conditions that are forced on them by the state of California,” said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.” The hunger strike was called by inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay. A Center for Constitution Rights lawsuit claims lengthy solitary confinement constitutes torture. “However,” said Dix, “the State of California has shown that it is willing to ignore even court orders to do anything about conditions in prison.”

    Socialists Offer “Alternatives”

    “The people of Seattle are well to the left of the city establishment,” said Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative candidate for the Seattle city council. Sawant won 27 percent of the vote in a run for the Washington state legislature, last year. Socialist Alternative candidates are also running for city council in Boston and Minneapolis. “What we’re trying to show is that the political space that is currently fully dominated by corporate interests and the wealthy can be taken over by grassroots representatives, by movements.”

    What Happened to Malcolm’s Grandson in Mexico?

    Hundreds of Mexico City police attacked hunger strikers protesting the killing of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, allegedly in a robbery, in May. The protesters, Black expatriates that have settled in Mexico, believe Shabazz was murdered by police. Their U.S. liaison, Dr. Randy Short, said “Mexico is known for being a notoriously bigoted and racist society.” The Shabazz family has only recently asked for help in finding out what happened to 28 year-old Malcolm, said Dr. Short.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/8/13

    A Plan to Sue the NAACP under RICCO

    “We’re putting together this class action lawsuit, we’re going to file it under the RICCO Act,” said Rev. Edward Pinkney, the former head of the Benton Harbor, Michigan, NAACP who has been organizing grassroots member protest against the civil rights organization’s national headquarters, in Baltimore. “We’re going to charge them with racketeering” for voiding elections in chapters across the country. “They’re eliminating people who are willing to get out here and fight,” said Pinkney. “They’re goal is that you should never, ever fight until you get permission from the national office.”

    UNAC: U.S. Guilty of Air Piracy

    The forced landing of Ecuadoran President Evo Morales’ plane by America’s NATO allies in Europe “is air piracy, it’s an attack on the sovereignty of every country in Latin America,” said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC). “It shows the level of panic in Washington” over Edward Snowden’s revelations of massive, worldwide U.S. spying, said Flounders. The U.S. is trying to “impose silence on the world.”

    Bill of Rights Under Assault by Obama, Congress, FISA Courts

    “We have an executive branch and a Congress, and a kept-court system – the FISA surveillance court – all working in de facto collusion to destroy the Bill of Rights,” said Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.Org. The web site facilitated 50,000 individual emails to the White House in support of whistleblower Edward Snowden. The U.S., as “the preeminent global surveillance superpower…asserts, with impunity, the prerogative to monitor and to intrude on any semblance of privacy,” said Solomon.

    Washington Condones Congo Genocide

    President Obama, when questioned during his recent Africa trip on what actions the U.S. would take to end its ally’s 17-year destabilization of the Democratic Republic of Congo, refused to even mention the offending nations by name. “It is simply that the United States is not ready to hold Rwanda and Uganda accountable, which means they are condoning the killing of over six million Africans in the heart of the continent,” said Kambale Musavuli, of the Washington-based Friends of Congo.

    American “Revolution” was a Racist Revolt

    Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, said the American rebellion against British rule “was basically a successful revolt of racist settlers. It was akin to Rhodesia, in 1965, assuming that Ian Smith and his cabal had triumphed. It was akin to the revolt of the French settlers in Algeria, in the 1950s and 1960s, assuming those French settlers had triumphed.” Dr. Horne is author Negroes of the Crown.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 7/3/13

    Zimmerman Defense Engages in “Racist Bullying”

    “They’re trying to put together a scenario that paints Trayvon as the aggressor” the night that George Zimmerman shot the teenager dead, said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. The defense in the televised murder trial, in Sanford, Florida, has engaged in “a certain white supremacist condescension and bullying” of witness Rachel Jeantel, the young woman who was on the phone with Trayvon Martin during his fatal encounter with Zimmerman. “They’re playing into a certain white dislike and fear of an angry Black person, where the sister had a right to be angry, because she was being mistreated on the stand,” said Dix.

    Lynne Stewart: Keep Up the Pressure

    People’s lawyer Lynne Stewart, battling Stage Four breast cancer in her fourth year of a ten-year prison sentence for zealously defending her client in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, vows to continue her fight for compassionate release. The head of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons rejected her plea, claiming Stewart’s health was “improving.” “They are lying,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and comrade in activism. “There as been no improvement in the cancer in her lungs. They didn’t talk about her diabetes, they didn’t talk about her inability to move around” and her low white blood cell count. Poynter will lead demonstrations in New York and resume a vigil, in Washington. “I’m going to start building a fire in front of this White House,” he vowed – in line with Stewart’s wishes.

    Snowden’s Gift to the World

    If Ecuador or another country grants NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, “the whole world will benefit, because some of the revelations are that the U.S. is spying on civilians all over the world,” said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Snowden is fleeing political persecution, and Ecuador takes that very seriously.” Might the U.S. try to seize Snowden from sanctuary? “No, I don’t think so,” said Weisbrot. “There’s a lot of public support for what he did here in the United States, and most of the world sees him as a hero.”

    U.S. Revs Up for Another Mideast War

    Citing an “Emergency situation,” the United National Anti-War Coalition, UNAC, has called for National Days of Action against U.S, NATO and Israeli attacks on Syria, from now through July 17. “We need to keep working to keep the United States from starting a whole new war,” said UNAC’s Marilyn Levin. Washington is attempting to stage a replay of the “humanitarian” attack on Libya and the WMD-justified war on Iraq. “This is just phony,” said Levin, referring to U.S. claims that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. “They always have to have a pretext.”

    The West’s Crusade Against Mugabe

    The U.S. is unrelentingly hostile to President Robert Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe because Washington “opposes the very idea of political and economic independence in Africa,” said political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of the web site StopImperialism.com. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party “have really begun to exercise this independence” with a land redistribution program that has replaced 6,000 white landholders with 245,000 Black farmers, he said. Zimbabwe hold elections at the end of July. The West backs Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, which Draiter called “the mouthpiece of the United States and the British,” the former colonial ruler.

    Obama Finally Names Special Africa Envoy

    Back in 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama won passage of his only significant piece of legislation, to prevent further destabilization of eastern Congo by its neighbors. The bill called for the appointment, within 60 days, of a U.S. Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But President Obama only last month got around to naming former Democratic senator Russ Feingold to fill the job. “Although it is overdue, we are pleased that he has finally appointed this individual,” said Jacques Bahati, of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, in Washington, DC. “I suspect that the “Rwandan lobby” and “special interests” cause the delay, said Bahati.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/24/13

    Ralph’s DC Vigil for Lynne

    “We all know that Obama and [Attorney General] Holder can move this with the stroke of a pen,” said Ralph Poynter, husband of people’s lawyer Lynn Stewart, whose Stage Four breast cancer worsens by the day in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison facility. A request for Stewart’s compassionate release from a ten-year prison sentence has stalled at the desk of Federal Bureau of Prisons director Charles Samuels. Asked how long he would maintain his vigil in front of the White House, Poynter replied, “I will be in Washington until Lynne is free or dead.”

    Rich Men’s Fears Drive U.S. Hyper-Surveillance

    The wealthy classes that rule the country “are very scared of the fact that the average American citizen may rise up and rebel against the redistribution of wealth to the top,” said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. “The surveillance state isn’t creeping, anymore. It’s here.”

    Obama Defiles Democracy

    All-pervasive spying on the citizenry “is one more thing that we can add to the list of offenses that Obama has committed against every assumption of democracy and democratic rights,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. The revelations follow on the heels of the administration’s doubling of the bounty on Black liberation movement exile Assata Shakur. “That means anybody who supports Assata Shakur can be charged with supporting terrorism,” said Yeshitela. “I don’t think a white president could have gotten away with that.”

    Humanitarian” Imperialism

    Ajamu Baraka, an Institute for Policy Studies fellow and co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, said “the U.S. strategic objectives in the Middle East is to prevent any effective opposition to its interests in the region.” In an interview with Kali-Ahset Amen, host of Atlanta radio station WRFG’s “Moving the Center” program, Baraka described the doctrine of “humanitarian” military intervention as part of “desperate attempt on the part of the U.S. and the West to maintain their global hegemony” through force of arms.

    Richmond’s Slave Origins Deserve Preservation

    Shockoe Bottom, the historic center of old Richmond, Virginia, and site of what was once the nation’s second largest slave market, should not be replaced by a shopping mall, said human rights activist and journalist Anna Edwards. “Shockoe Bottom is the birthplace of the city of Richmond,” said Edwards, an editor of Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality newspaper. Richmond, “like so many cities in the United States, was born out of slave societies.”

    African Americans Should Show Some Humility, Says Scholar

    Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, had a quick response to African Americans who might ask, “What have the Palestinians ever done for us?” The Palestinians “did a much better job than many of these Africans in North America in terms of lobbying on behalf of African liberation,” Horne told Norman Richmond, host of Regency Radio’s Saturday Morning Show, in Toronto, Canada. Blacks in America “should really have a bit more humility.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/17/13

    BAR & Friends Anticipate the End of the Age of Obama

    In the wake of the disasters that have befallen Blacks under his watch, President Obama’s exit in 2017 may “provide an opportunity to move the masses away from the Democratic Party and towards a discussion of alternatives,” said Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report. Speaking at a BAR-organized Left Forum workshop titled “Black Politics at the Tail End of Obama – and Beyond,” Kimberley noted that “Black politics had been on life support for some time before 2008, but his election marked the day that the plug was finally pulled.” The supreme irony, said Kimberley, “that the election of a Black man meant the end of Black politics, cannot be overstated.”

    The Black Class Divide

    Polls show that upwardly mobile Blacks often share with whites an “utter contempt and hatred for the Black poor,” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “This class division, this ideological division,” can be seen in the politics of “the Cory Bookers and Michael Nutters” – the Black mayors of Newark and Philadelphia, respectively – “and other Black agents of the 1%,” Monteiro told the workshop.

    Back to Basics

    We’re going to have to let go of top-down, patriarchal, backward leadership models like the Black Church, and we’re going to have to let go of the Democratic Party,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. We must “rediscover” basic organizing skills, “so that people who are most concerned about various issues can take leadership” of community organizations. And, we must “let go of the idea that we can come up with some creative act or persuasive argument that’s going to give us media access to galvanize huge numbers of people in some short period of time,” said Dixon.

    Eyes on the Prize

    We’ve got to get back to old fashioned Marxist and Left Black Nationalist understandings of how race, racial identity and sham electoral democracy function within the overall context of capitalism and empire,” said writer and activist Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. The renewed movement must be informed by the facts of “how labor markets work, how the criminal justice system works, how the real estate market works, instead of a game of Black and Latino and female faces in high places.”

    The Doctrine of Mandatory Black Failure

    Journalist Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report, speaking at a Left Forum workshop on the Economy and Ecology of Haiti, quoted Napoleon’s rational for sending 60,000 troops to attempt to crush the Haitian Revolution, in 1802. “My decision to destroy the authority of the blacks in Saint-Domingue,” Robert quoted the Frenchman, “is not so much based on considerations of commerce and money, as on the need to block forever the march of the blacks in the world.” We must realize, said Robert, “that there is a part of western foreign policy that invests in the importance of failed models of liberation. There is a psychic benefit to western imperialist nations to make sure that certain Black and brown nations stay failed, and do not ever give examples of success.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/10/13

    Rice and Power Turn Blind Eye to Congo Genocide

    President Obama’s choices of Samantha Power as United Nations ambassador and Susan Rice for National Security Council chief should trouble “those of us who are concerned about Africa” because they were “the two most aggressive individuals in the intervention in Libya,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “Congo serves as a massive inconvenience for the likes of Power and Rice,” because U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda are implicated in the genocide of millions in that country, site of “what the United Nations, itself, says is the deadliest conflict in the world since the Holocaust,” said Carney.

    Rice, Power Implicated in Libya Genocide, Assault on Syria

    Renowned professor of international law Francis Boyle says Susan Rice and Samantha Power were among those most responsible “for slaughtering 50,000 Libyans under the pretext of Responsibility to Protect [R2P]. We saw outright genocide inflicted on the black citizens of Libya and black foreign guest workers…these people were outright exterminated,” said Boyle. “These are the same people who will be pushing [R2P] against Syria.”

    Tell Harvard: Stop Polling Black People

    Eighty-six percent of Black respondents told a Harvard/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation poll they were “satisfied” with their lives – but the numbers do not mean Blacks are doing well, said South Carolina author and activist Kevin Alexander Gray. In southern poor communities “people used to sweep the dirt in their front yards,” said Gray. “They didn’t have lawns, but they swept the dirt because they wanted to keep up appearances. Some of these polls are like sweeping dirt in the front yard.” Harvard should refrain from polling African Americans, since it doesn’t “know how to measure well-being in the Black community,” said Gray.

    Detroit City Council Useless

    The Detroit City Council has remained largely passive while an appointed Emergency Financial Manager considers auctioning the city’s assets to pay corporate creditors. Local people’s lawyer Tom Stephens says the council is “willing to compromise with power” as long as “they keep a seat at the council table, and are still getting their salaries. I think, at this point, short of, perhaps, human sacrifice, they’re willing to go along with pretty much anything.”

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