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."
by John Maxwell
Jamaica is going to "borrow money to destroy the
integrity of Jamaica's loveliest town, dilapidated though it may be now, in the
interest of a foreign corporation." After despoiling much of the island's
natural beauty through industrial and tourist-generated pollution, the
government now proposes to spend US$122 million to develop Falmouth harbor to
accommodate super cruise ships. Says the author: "We are prostituting ourselves
for a foreign entity with no obligation or loyalty to Jamaica."
by Sam Fulwood III
Black White House reporters are dwindling, even
as the nation's first Black president prepares to move in. "We are going
to integrate the Oval Office long before we integrate the media that covers the
president," said a veteran African American journalist. Jesse Jackson's
two bids for the White House a generation ago resulted in a respectable Black
press contingent on the campaign trail. Might Barack Obama insist on a larger
Black press presence at the White House? Said one Black media analyst: "He's
not going to be that kind of president."
an audio speech by Ward Churchill
Until recently, scholars have taught generations of American youth that there were at most a million natives in what is now the continental US when Europeans first reached these shores. But demographic studies now indicate between 12 and 18 times that number lived here before Columbus, making the proportional native American population arguably the greatest and most thorough genocide in recorded history.
Among much else, Dr. Churchill reminds us that during the conquest of this continent United States, bounties on Indian scalps, preferably with ears attached, were paid in what are now every one of the 48 states of the continental U.S.
Click the link below to hear this 29 minute presentation by Dr. Ward Churchill.
by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
December 6 New Orleans congressional election isn't just a local
choice between a privatizing "minority" Republican, a notoriously corrupt
Democrat and a caring, competent community organizer running on the
Green Party ticket. In these times when anyone, anywhere can
contribute to the efforts of real progressives with the click of a
mouse, or volunteer to reach undecided voters, the days leading to
this election are a test of whether there exists even the shadow of a
national movement mature enough to hold any black Democrats the least
bit accountable to the needs of his constituents
As is often the case, the Republican and the Democrat represent more of the same. But this time there's another choice.
by Mario A. Murillo
Chiquita Brands was among the U.S. corporations that
funded Colombia's rightwing death squads, organized under the umbrella of the
United Self-Defense Groups. Known by its acronym, the AUC has butchered
thousands of leftists, peasants and shantytown residents in service of
Colombia's cocaine-connected aristocracy and foreign businesses. Eric Holder,
the soon-to-be U.S. Attorney General, defended Chiquita's relationship with the
death squads, as a corporate attorney. "Holder's appointment should sound alarm
bells, especially when it comes to bringing corporate criminals to justice."
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
If you're a billionaire crook in the United States, flight from prosecution is easy. But what does a rich fugitive do if he wants to come back home? He hires an expensive law firm, and begins to lobby for a pardon. That's the route Marc Rich took when indicted for tax evasion, which brought him to the attention of Eric Holder, then Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton. Rich also spread his money around Israel, seeking endorsements of his pardon. Rich "will probably die as a fugitive," but he's still fabulously wealthy, and Eric Holder's reputation was tarnished.
by Cynthia McKinney
The former congresswoman and Green Party
presidential candidate charges that "Israel's lockdown of Gaza is keeping food,
fuel, and medicine from civilians." But that's just the most recent atrocity in
a human rights catastrophe that began 60 years ago, in Palestine, the same year
that birthed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration is
prime evidence that a civilized world is possible, but "Palestine is the place
that the Universal Declaration forgot."
by Richard Searcy
Corporate media focus on Eric Holder's role in the
effort to pardon billionaire fugitive Marc Rich: basically, a wealthy man's
game. But the author reminds us that, as a U.S. Justice Department official for
Washington, DC, Holder was "an extreme drug warrior who believes that harsher
and longer sentences should be enacted for minor crimes such as marijuana use
and prostitution." Barack Obama's choice for U.S. Attorney General is "bad news
for America's youth."
by BAR executive editor
"Thanksgiving is not just a twisted fable, and
the mythology it nurtures is itself inherently evil." The holiday is rooted in
the massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indians, and has been used to justify
America's history of genocide, slavery and scores of wars against weaker
peoples. "The Mayflower's cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their
own depravity and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem
themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans."
by Netfa Freeman
Black Americans should be among the last to celebrate
Thanksgiving, a mythology that seeks to absolve white settlers of their
intentional eradication of Native Americans. "African descendants in the US
aren't primarily responsible for the theft of land or the genocide of
indigenous people. But to insinuate that what happened and is still
happening to indigenous Americans is a relic of the past makes one an
accomplice." Thanksgiving encourages notions of American exceptionalism. "At
the height of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, Americans had the
audacity to claim a higher moral ground than the apartheid government."