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Black poverty

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    “You Get a President… Nothing Else”

    by Paul Street

    President Obama offered the crowds at the March on Washington commemoration…nothing, except the fact of a Black presidency. That’s all he’s ever offered. The question is: “What good to black Americans is a first black president who brings them nothing more than the fleeting symbolic satisfaction of his technically black presence in the White House.”

    I’m Black and I Want More “Stuff” and “Things”: An Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly

    by Jesse Hagopian

    The arch-racist Bill O’Reilly believes Blacks expect to receive “a cornucopia of benefits” from the newly-reelected president. However, it’s about four years late for that. African Americans know they’ll have to fight – and work – to get what they deserve, as has always been the case.

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of September 24, 2012


    Chicago Teachers First to Stand Up to Obama School Policies

    This is the first time that a teachers union stood up to the privatization of the Obama administration, stood up to the Democrats as the purveyors of these policies,” said journalist Jaisal Noor, who covered this month’s teachers strike for the Real News Network and other outlets. “The reason that the union knew it could strike and that it could maintain public support is because they had spent the last couple of years working with communities. There was massive support from parents and from students.”

    Both Parties Ignore Poverty

    Democrats are even less likely than Republicans to talk about poverty this election season, as evidenced by the near-absence of the word at both parties’ national conventions, said Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. In Black inner cities, “we’re looking at unemployment and poverty rates that harken back to the Great Depression. And, of course, that’s something that Barack Obama is instructed never to talk about.”

    Oligarchs and Plutocrats Rule

    Poverty in America is a national disgrace and a moral obscenity, which is rendered invisible by the system under which we live, run by oligarchs and plutocrats,” said Dr. Cornel West, of Union Theological Seminary, in New York. West and journalist Tavis Smiley recently completed their Poverty Tour 2.0, including stops in four so-called “battleground” states. “If we can get the Black Freedom Struggle off life support, we can really turn this country around.”

    Occupy the Debates

    Progressives will hold streaming analysis and discussion of the Obama-Romney debates, starting with the first event on October 3. “We’ll discuss the obvious crises the country faces, from housing to the environment to mass incarceration, the issues that are not being dealt with…by the corporate candidates,” said organizer Kevin Zeese. For information, go to

    Black Educator Faces Prison for Challenging Whitening of HBCUs

    Dr. Jahi Issa faces two years in prison on riot charges for supporting Black students protesting the “whitening” of historically Black Delaware State University, last March. “He was touching a very raw and sensitive nerve,” said Dr. Jeff Perry, biographer of Hubert Harrison, considered the father of Harlem radical politics. “Historically Black colleges and universities get substantial federal support,” said Perry. “Corporate interests want to take it over for both profit and social control.” To assist Dr. Issa’s legal defense, go to Dr. Issa’s article “The Ethnic Cleansing of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Age of Obama” appeared in Black Agenda Report, September 6, 2011.

    The Mother of all Blowbacks

    In Libya and now Syria, as in Afghanistan beginning under President Jimmy Carter, “the West has once again empowered fundamentalist forces that will inevitably turn against Washington, the Greatest Infidel of all,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford. Recent anti-U.S. protests in the Islamic world are “only a small foretaste of what is to come: a blowback of such intensity that the foundations of Empire will crack, and crumble.”

    Information as Weaponry

    Last year’s U.S.-NATO war against Libya “was not conducted just with bombing and with troops, but was an information war, and that’s the parallel with what’s going on in Syria, today,” said journalist Don Debar. “The bloodshed is conducted on behalf of, or directed by, the United States, France and Britain. Iran is public enemy number one for the West, “as it has been since 1979.”

    Jesus on Death Row

    Jesus Christ spent his last days on death row and was murdered by the government at that time,” said Pam Africa, head of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal, speaking at Riverside Church, in New York. “We cannot forget political prisoners. These brothers and sisters are in jail because they have a love for us, and understand that we must never give in.”

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    Black Children’s Lives Short and Cheap in U.S.


    by BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

    Poverty is closer to the norm in the United States than most Americans realize. “More than half of Americans earn $26,000 a year – barely above the poverty level of $22,000 a year.” Yet the U.S. spends 50 percent more per person on health care than Europe, with deplorable results, especially for Black children.

    Black Agenda Radio with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, on the Progressive Radio Network – Week of December 5, 2011


    Obama’s Civil Liberties Record “Very, Very Bad”

    Under President Obama, the state of civil liberties in the U.S. has become “very, very bad” and is “actually worse” than under the Bush administration, said Bill Quigley, Loyola University professor of law and associate legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. One reason for the decline is that “so many of us were beguiled by the beautiful rhetoric and speaking voice of President Obama,” said Quigley, author of a recent article titled “Twenty Examples of the Obama Administration Assault on Domestic Civil Liberties.” Had President Bush or a President McCain undermined civil liberties to the extent that Obama has, “people would have protested, would have organized, would have educated and would have challenged” the Republican in the White House.

    Ejected Occupiers Should “Come on Down” to DC

    As Occupy sites are shut down one by one across the country, dislodged activists should relocate to the Occupy Washington DC encampment at Freedom Plaza, said David Swanson, activist and publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime. The Occupy Movement needs to target the political servants of Wall Street in Washington, as well as the finance capitalists in Manhattan. “We have to go after both the people who are funding the campaigns and asking for the corruption, and those [politicians] who are soliciting and accepting the money.”

    Poverty, Not OWS, is a Public Health and Safety Hazard

    It is the height of hypocrisy for big city mayors to close down Occupation sites on the “pretext” of public health and safety, when Black neighborhoods face jobless rates of 30-35 percent, representing huge threats to life and limb. Activist and author Paul Street said Black communities are “plagued by a host of incredible public health and safety issues,” with boarded up homes, no place to buy fresh vegetables, and an absence of doctors. Street wrote the article “Urban Neoliberal Racism, Mass Poverty, and the Repression of Occupy Wall Street.”

    Occupation Movement Can’t Substantiated Its Claims

    It’s a positive thing that large numbers of white youth have become somewhat socially engaged and been willing to try to step out and put themselves on the forefront of some aspects of the social struggle,” said Kali Akuno, of the U.S. Human Rights Network. “The negative piece, however, is making claims that can’t be substantiated, because they haven’t organized the 99%.” Black communities have “started to step out and say, Hey, we like some of what we see” in OWS, “but we object to folks speaking in our name and trying to articulate our interests without our input.” Akuno reserved particular criticism for the Occupy effort in Atlanta, where he is based.

    NYC Top Cop Gets Bull Connor Award

    New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly is the winner of the Bull Connor Award, named for the Birmingham, Alabama, public safety commissioner who set dogs on Black children in 1963. Kelly oversees a stop-and-frisk policy that is on track to accost and humiliate 700,000 people, this year, the vast majority of them Black and Latino. Kelly has proven himself, like Connor, to be unrelenting “in hounding Blacks and Latinos, persecuting Freedom Fighters, and keeping the city safe for upper class white men.”

    Newark’s People’s Organization for Progress Adds Allies

    I think it is really important that union people and progressive groups support each other,” said Pat Fahy, of Newark, New Jersey’s IBEW Local 827, who had just addressed a rally of POP, People’s Organization for Progress. POP has been holding daily demonstrations since June for jobs, social justice, adequate housing, education and peace, and has so far been joined by over 110 community, church, student and labor groups.

    Employers Steal Workers Blind

    Employer theft of worker wages is rampant in the U.S., said Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice and author of “Wage Theft: Why Millions of Americans Are Not Getting Paid and What They Can Do About It.” One out of four low wage workers isn’t paid the minimum wage and three-quarters of low wage workers are not paid overtime, said Bobo. She blames much of the problem on declining union strength and “ridiculously weak” federal enforcement of workers’ rights.

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