There will be no issue of BAR for December 24. So, until New Years Eve,
HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the team at BAR!
Transcript and audio remarks by Glen Ford, Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Dr. Donald Smith
Was the election of Barack Obama good for Black people? No, argued BAR's Glen Ford,
Baruch College professor emeritus of education Donald Smith, and two
other distinguished Black educators at a debate in New York's Harlem, last
weekend. Four activists lined up on the other side of the question, before a
crowd of over 1,500. Dr. Smith evaluated Obama based on his "personnel
appointments, post-racial philosophy, and cultural incompatibility." Said Ford: "I'm not mad at Obama. He's just
another cynical center-right politician, doing whatever he can get away with.
The people I'm mad at are the ones who let him get away with it."
Next week the Great Debate moves to Baltimore, with a live webcast on www.livinginblack.com.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
"It wasn't possible for black votes to have single handedly provided the margin of victory" for California's ban on gay marriage. "A majority of whites, Latinos and Asians all voted for" Proposition 8, and "those black voters who approved of Proposition 8 did so for the same reasons that people of other races did." Black political behavior on this issue and many others is also rooted in unique conditions of African American life, such as chronic high unemployment and mass Black incarceration. If society does not allow honest and sensitive discussion of African American problems, Blacks should not be expected to be paragons of correctness.
The U.S., having
failed to subdue Somalia through Ethiopia's proxy invasion, now appeals to the
world's militaries to turn Somalia into a "free fire zone." Somali "piracy" is
a pretext for old fashioned imperial aggression.
Dick Cheney has
openly confessed to a personal role in shaping U.S. policy in the torture of
prisoners. A Senate Committee reports that a long list of administration
officials are culpable in torture, starting with George Bush. Will President Obama let the
guilty walk free?
who would allow Detroit to go down the drain, are loyal to capital, not to
country." They are intent on obliterating the very idea "that working people
have the right to protect themselves from the ups and downs of capitalist booms
by Paul Street
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still those who think that Barack Obama "is a ‘true progressive' whose left and democratic orientation has been ‘squandered' or carefully hidden thanks to his national political ambitions and/or the influence of his political handlers." In reality, "Obama came to the political game with an already advanced and highly cultivated bourgeois taste for incremental change and compromise with concentrated power." Obama is tricky. "He posed for the liberal base as an ‘antiwar candidate' even while he signaled clearly to the foreign policy establishment that he would continue the Iraq occupation for an indefinite period."
by Mark P. Fancher
Imperialism ain't easy. Times change, and the neocolonial exploiters have to stay on their toes. They must encourage "the illusion of independence" in the formerly colonized world, the better to maintain effective economic control. "Enter Africa Command - better known as AFRICOM," whose "mission is to conduct ‘sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy." The key phrase is, of course "in support of U.S. foreign policy," a point that has not been lost on African nations.
by Carl Dix
Barack Obama, the vaunted "role model," wants a greatly expanded U.S. war machine capable of putting lots more "boots on the ground" around the globe. The author poses the question: "Is having a Black commander-in-chief enough to get you to enlist in America's war for empire, to kill people, and maybe die yourself, trying to keep America's strnglehold on the world in effect?" The "Buffalo Soldiers" of yesteryear now fill America's imperial legions, continuing the "shameful legacy" of "driving the native inhabitants off their lands to make way for the expansion of America[n]" power.
by Shannon J. Prince
Many of the solutions to poverty begin in the minds and experiences of poor people, themselves. The author examines two unconventional anti-poverty efforts, one that finds "people willing to employ marginalized people, matches young people with jobs that meet their interests, and seeks out mentors in their fields for them." Another initiative is built around cultivation of community gardens. "The gardens change spaces once used for prostitution and drug dealing into crime free areas. They also reduce crime by providing young people with a positive activity in which to engage."
by Kemet Mawakana, a.k.a. the Seven Foot Poet
There are times that mark our goings and our comings and our lives, times to acknowledge each other, our ancestors and our place in the cosmos. Those times are what poetry is for.
victories, they critically analyze their defeats and shortcomings in
order to extract useful lessons. We want to take this
opportunity to thank those BAR readers who donated or worked the phones
for his campaign, and we here republish a critical
analysis of the performance of Malik Rahim's campaign written by its
By BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
Obama's old school economic team are on record as favoring privatizations of public resources in principle. Unless Obama is willing to significantly cut the military budget or tax the rich, neither of which seems very likely, the only way to pay for even a reasonably large jobs and recovery program is to kill other jobs through a wave of Chicago-style privatizations. And privatizations are always bad for democracy.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
It is the height of historical distortion to compare President-Elect Barack Obama in any way, shape or form to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King "is probably the only person in American history who gave up a close relationship with a president," Lyndon Johnson, "because his convictions demanded it." Those convictions were anchored in King's opposition to "racism, materialism and militarism." Obama, conversely, makes common cause with financial speculators and militarists. Under the current system, "It is simply impossible to be both a fighter for justice and president of the United States."
by BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
"President-Elect Obama has promised us a massive public works program that will put two and a half million people to work in various forms of ‘green' industry" - a promise that may or may not turn out to be worth something. "Green" is a shapeless category that can include "use of healthy agricultural acreage for the production of fuels for the automobile." Obama's leftish supporters anticipate a second coming of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, but "even the Obamaists have to see that there's something slightly hinky about the names that are turning up in the presidential cabinet."
by Sadia Ali Aden
The test of Barack Obama's policies in Africa
and worldwide begins with his handling of the war against Somalia, his
inheritance from George Bush. The "world's worst humanitarian disaster" (about
which Obama has not uttered a single word), is the product of America's "proxy
war in the Horn of Africa" in partnership with Washington's client, Ethiopia. In
this unholy alliance, "Ethiopian troops are killing civilians by slitting their
throats and gang-raping women," according to Amnesty International. Next month,
Obama must take responsibility for "over one million internally displaced
persons and nearly 3.5 million on the verge of starvation" in Somalia.
The raw numbers of
dollars spent on economic recovery are not as important as transforming
relations of power in the U.S. "Only a great shift in power relationships,
seizing it from the financial oligarchy to empower the great majority, can hope
to bring even a semblance of stability and relief to the people as a whole."
politicians want to force two historically Black universities to merge with white schools, to reduce "duplicative" costs and end a "legacy of segregation.
"When a Georgia Republican goes on a crusade against the vestiges of Jim Crow,
it's time to watch out!"
U.S. business groups have joined the vast
majority of the world's nations in requesting that President-Elect Obama
quickly end the 47-year-long American trade embargo against Cuba. The economic
blockade isolates the U.S., not Cuba. "In a sense, the United States is
by Stephen Gowans
Zimbabwe is facing multiple crises because of
savage western assaults on its economy and the viability of its state
machinery. The goal is regime change. U.S.-British sanctions against Zimbabwe
are a form of warfare, like the sanctions that led to a million deaths in
pre-invasion Iraq. The cholera outbreak is useful to Washington and London,
making "Zimbabwe's crisis international, because disease can cross borders." If
the destabilization of Zimbabwe is successful, other African nations "will back
away from their own land reform and economic indigenization demands" - a
victory for imperial supremacy.
by Abukar Arman
December 10 marks the 60th
anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, yet the document
holds no sway in Palestine, where "an entire population is being brutally
punished." Israel, the occupying power, refuses to recognize the Declaration's
authority. Gaza's, "million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with
almost no access to the outside world." The president of the UN General
Assembly has "called on the international community to consider stricter
measures against Israel ....measures similar to those taken against South Africa
in the 1980s that include ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions.'"
by Shannon Prince
Regulation of industry can be a very good thing, but requiring licenses to braid hair is oppressive and stupid. "Since time immemorial black women have braided hair in open air and in kitchens and on front porches without licensing, to no societal ill effect," writes the author. Any anti-poverty offensive should recognize that "poor people can use themselves as weapons against poverty." Far more injurious to society than unlicensed hair-braiders, are welfare regulations that harm "disproportionately families of color, forcing men to sneak to see their children and treating would-be wives like slaves sold to a different plantation."
by BAR executive editor
In case there are any lingering doubts, it's
official: Barack Obama has earned a well-deserved rating of "center-right"
politician, courtesy of the New York Times. The president-elect worked
hard to pull himself rightward, after starting off with a reputation as a
liberalish "peace" candidate. Nobody calls Obama that anymore, not since he
endorsed the bankers' bailout, put the economy's future in the hands of the
same people that set the stage for financial meltdown, and let Bush's War
Secretary keep the keys to the imperial armory. So let's give it to Obama. He
won't ever have an identity crisis, again.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Barack Obama's nominee for United Nations Ambassador is a very aggressive woman - militarily speaking. Susan Rice is "more bellicose" than George Bush when it comes to threatening Sudan over the plight of the people of Darfur, "while simultaneously backing a savage U.S.-Ethiopian assault that causes an even larger humanitarian calamity in Somalia." One is forced to conclude that "Susan Rice's brand of ‘humanitarian intervention' is a farce, a pretext to justify military aggression under the guise of preventing human suffering."
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
"Terror is usually the result of unacknowledged grievance. Muslims are mad at the United States, Great Britain and the Indian government." This should be obvious, but "as always, Americans never see a connection between themselves, the acts of terror committed by their own government and anger directed at them around the globe." The victims in Mumbai are mourned in the United States, "as they should be. The victims of the United States government in Iraq and Afghanistan are not.
members of the economics profession are "shills and boosters" for the
(one-time) Titans of finance capital "The economists most cited in corporate
media are shills and boosters for capitalism in general, and Wall Street in
by Glen Ford
Washington wants "to assign 20,000 federal
troops to cope with terrorist attacks, domestic disasters and civil unrest." A
mixture of plain old racism plus rampaging PTSD and a counter-insurgency
mentality makes U.S. soldiers a threat to life and limb on ghetto streets.
Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary
by Carolyn Baker
The president-elect's "adherence to neoliberal, globalist
policies couched in the rhetoric of ‘change' but offering no substantial
departure from the ultimate strategies of imperialism, corporate capitalist
supremacy, and almost total ignorance (or ignore-ance) of the energy and
environmental suicide perpetuated by endless growth." Yes, it's that bad. Obama
economics advisor Larry Summers "has embraced "the three ‘ations'...
privatization, stabilization, and liberalization." Obama trusts the advice of
someone who has been "preaching the [shock capitalism] doctrine."
by James Petras
Newly emerging nations have joined with the
usual neocolonial suspects in a massive bid to buy up poorer countries'
available land. How do they pull it off? "The process of agro-imperial empire
building operates largely through political and financial mechanisms, preceded,
in some cases, by military coups, imperial interventions and destabilization
campaigns." One factor might end the land grab. "The biggest constraint on the
advance of agro-imperialism is the economic collapse of world capitalism."