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Martin Luther King

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    Reparations – the 800 lb. Bail of Cotton in the Room

    by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

    It is incontrovertible that the American State and society owes a huge debt to Africans and African Americans. Formulas of calculation and methods of repayment are open to debate, but not the fact of the debt, which is undeniable. White America only escape its vast liabilities by denying the essential humanity of the Black injured parties.


    Examining the Existence of Fascism in the United States

    by Danny Haiphong

    Is the U.S. a fascist society? It’s a classic fit – a country where “the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible,” militarism is the highest value, and demonization of the Other is the organizing principle of the ruling circles and state.

    Obama Ticket Prices and the Invisible Ruling Class

    by Paul Street

    Frederick Harris’ very useful book on the “high price” – to Black folks – of the nation’s First Black President has been reissued in paperback. However, Harris gives Obama too much credit as a president of all the people. “Like the great majority of U.S. presidents,” writes Paul Street, “Obama has been first and foremost a representative of the American white ruling class.”

    …In his head

    by Raymond Nat Turner

    Dr. King’s Dream come true,

    In his head! Black folks way better

    Off, in his head, Rev. Wright was

    Wrong, in his head!

    Amiri Baraka Has Died: Long Live Baraka

    by Anthony Monteiro

    To truly honor Amiri Baraka, one must examine his travels, the political journeys he undertook in search of paths to self-determination for his people and all humanity. He sought a liberatory synthesis of culture and politics. “We need a Cultural Revolution in the US and internationally, to reorient the world and ultimately transform it where we and everybody else is self-determining.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/14/13

    Cancel Detroit’s Debt

    Predatory bank lending policies destroyed the tax base of Detroit, and now these same Wall Street institutions want to confiscate the city’s public assets through forced bankruptcy. The debt should be cancelled, said Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer of the First International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity, held in Detroit last week. “It’s illegitimate. It’s based on the systematic destruction of the city,” said Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire. “We believe that people in other cities have to adopt a similar strategy.”

    Leave Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Alone

    Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP chief Ben Jealous and broadcaster Tom Joyner should halt their attacks on scholar/activist Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley, said Rev. Anthony Evans, director of the National Black Church Initiative. “Take your hands off these brothers. They are defending the integrity and worthiness of the Black community,” said Evans. Prominent Obama supporters, he said, have told the White House: “You don’t have to worry about Black folks getting out of line; we will keep them in line for you.”

    A Socialist Win in Minneapolis?

    Even the corporate media admit that Socialist Alternative candidate Ty Moore has a chance of winning a seat on the city council, this November. “If we win this race, it’s not because a majority of working class residents of Ward 9, South Minneapolis, are socialists, but because they are angry at the system and they see that the people who are running this city are clearly sided with the rich and big business,” said Moore. “Our organization has built roots in this community, by fighting back.” Another Socialist Alternative city council candidate is running well in Seattle.

    UN Sued Over Haiti Cholera

    The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed suit in federal court, demanding the United Nations take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed at least 8,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands more. The world body claims it is immune from legal action, although it is widely accepted that UN ‘peacekeepers’ were the nexus of the disease. “The UN’s refusal to accept the rule of law in this case obviously undermines its ability to promote the rule of law, elsewhere,” said Institute director Brian Concannon. He notes that the UN, which claims lack of funds to eradicate cholera in Haiti, spent $500 million last year for ‘peacekeeping’ soldiers “in a country that has not had a recognized war in our lifetime.”

    US Finances Congo Carnage

    Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni told a UN Security Council delegation that bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo is not their responsibility. Maurice Carney, of Washington-based Friends of Congo, agrees. “Kagame and Museveni can never be responsible for peace,” said Carney. “What they can be responsible for is stopping the war of aggression that they have been waging against the Congolese people, with U.S. financial and military support and training, and U.S. diplomatic and political cover.” Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich eastern region of the Congo 17 years ago, resulting in the deaths of six million people – and counting.

    Demonizing Assad

    American peace activists recently returned from a visit to Syria, where they met with President Bashir Al-Assad. Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, said it was important to counter U.S. government and media attempts to “demonize” the Syrian leader, as an excuse for arming thousands of jihadist “rebels.” “It was Syria that proposed making the whole region into a nuclear-free and chemical-free weapons zone,” said Flounders. “It was the U.S. who refused.”

    China as U.S. Banker

    Washington is “pivoting” to confront China militarily in Asia, while at the same time Beijing holds the largest share of Washington’s huge foreign debt. “It is quite ironic that the United States is seeking to escalate tensions with its bankers,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. “I’m not sure that’s a sound strategy. With an impending debt default,” said Horne, the dollar “as the principal world reserve currency comes into question.”

    Philadelphia Declaration: War = Poverty

    Grassroots activists held a Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “Our declaration of the rights of our people must demand an end to war, threats of war, and preparations for war,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. “You cannot answer the pressing social problems of this country, uppermost being poverty, without dismantling the warfare state,” he told the gathering at Philadelphia’s historic Church of the Advocate.

    Herman Wallace: A Free Man

    Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and the country’s best known political prisoner, saluted Herman Wallace, who was released from prison after 41 years of solitary confinement, earlier this month, only to die two days later of liver cancer. Wallace and two other inmates established a Black Panther Party chapter at Louisiana’s infamous Angola Prison. “He remained a soldier for the people and an opponent to the system,” said Abu Jamal. “Herman Wall truly died free.”

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    The Black Budget and the Shadow National Security State

    by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

    The “Black Budget” isn’t the sole domain of conspiratorialists, anymore. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that the taxpayers dole out $52.6 billion a year to finance the “shadow” government of spies, provocateurs, hit men, human network trackers, drone operators, secret armies and domestic and international destabilization specialists. But the country can’t afford to save Detroit.

    Cornel West and the Fight to Save the Black Prophetic Tradition

    by Chris Hedges

    African Americans have historically been the most progressive U.S. constituency because of the Black prophetic tradition, best personified today by Dr. Cornel West. This tradition has also saved the United States from itself. “America without the black prophetic tradition, from Frederick Douglass to Fannie Lou Hamer, means an American authoritarian regime, American fascism.”

    The 2013 March, the “Tranquilizing Drug of Gradualism”

    by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

    The 1963 and 2013 marches on Washington shared many of the same issues, but took place in very different political contexts. Fifty years ago, a deep and broad movement pressured Congress and presidents to accede to Black demands. President Obama’s speech at last week’s gathering “did not propose any substantive legislative initiatives to address the suffering of today.”

    Remembering the Night before The March On Washington: When Dr. W.E.B Du Bois Was Called Home By the Ancestors

    by Obi Egbuna Jr.

    A giant passed into history the day before Dr. Martin Luther King made his “Dream” speech in 1963. W.E.B. Du Bois had broken with a Democratic president 15 years before. “This put Dr. Du Bois in the exact same position that Dr. King was in when he decided losing back door access to Lyndon Johnson's White House was a small price to pay in order to stand on the side of peace and justice.

    The Best Americans: Black Americans

    by Reverend Reynard N. Blake, Jr.

    MLK wouldn’t be smiling at him

    He’d be crying

    Present-day marches

    In DC he would not attend

    If he had to share a dais with Obama

    He would defy the views of Obama

    He’d pray for him

    Call him a stone-cold killer

    The Dreamer With a Kill List

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    The most powerful – and violent – man in the world was made the star of the commemoration of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King. “The grave-markers of the martyrs of the Black Freedom Movement – in their thousands – have been reduced to cobblestones on the road to the Obama presidency.”

    King, Obama, and the Inner Core of Despotism

    by Paul Street

    Dr. Martin Luther King was a social revolutionary who preached that “a storm is rising against the theprivileged minority of the earth” that will result in a “just distribution of the fruits” of the planet. Barack Obama “has made it clear that Dr. King’s unpaid promissory note will remain un-cashed under his watch.” The First Black President disgraces the podium from which Dr. King spoke 50 years ago.

    The Black Mis-Leaders' Love-Fest with Power on the Mall

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    The commemoration of the March on Washington has been ruined. President Obama, the global assassin, protector of Wall Street, and reigning Great Mass Incarcerator, will star in the production on the National Mall. “Dr. Martin Luther King serves as a mere prop in the ceremony.” In their embrace of Power, the organizers have desecrated the Black American legacy of struggle.

    RUN SNOWDEN RUN! Dirty Lies, Dirty Wars, Dirty Secrets

    by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and King Downing

    Whistle-blowing can consist of more than simply telling a newspaper about wrongdoing by the State. Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange join the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, in opposing the rule of the unjust. “Some whistleblowers survive, others are murdered or imprisoned, but all are eventually destroyed.”

    Race, Politics, and Late Obamanism

    by Paul Street

    We can’t wait to wave the tail end of Obama goodbye – a president who “has said and done less about racial inequality than any American chief executive in recent memory.” Obama has proved one thing beyond question: “If we’re going to get a radical politics, including a radical black politics, back in this country, we have to drop out of major party electoral-ism and bourgeois identity politics once and for all.”

    Cornel West: Obama “Is a War Criminal”

    by Jacob Chamberlain

    I would rather have a white president fundamentally dedicated to eradicating poverty and enhancing the plight of working people than a black president tied to Wall Street and drones," activist-academic Dr. Cornel West told British journalists. Barack Obama, like his predecessor, should be tried for war crimes.

    DJ Sese - Liberating Dr. King Mixtape

    There was and still is a Martin Luther King who is lionized, memorialized, and fossilized.  And there was and still is a Dr. King who was something else again.  DJ Sese's mixtape liberates Martin Luther King by restoring him to his context in the truly revolutionary environment of the Freedom Movement of the 50s and 60s.

    The Expansion of Black American Misery under Barack Obama’s Watch

    by Dr. Reginald Clark

    Black folks are not only far worse off “since 2009 under President Obama’s economic and job creation policies” – Africans Americans are the only group that “has taken a definitive step backwards since then.” The main reason: “lack of attention to employment in urban and rural geographic areas where Blacks reside.”

    Ella Baker and the Limits of Charismatic Masculinity

    by Pascal Robert

    Ella Baker, the consummate organizer, “was very critical of the hot shot Black preachers who would seem to mesmerize their audience with soaring oratory, then leave and expect others to implement an agenda.” She put forward a grassroots critique of overwhelmingly male Black leadership, and showed “more wisdom, courage, and vision then almost all of them.”

    The Historical Failure of Black Leadership

    by Pascal Robert

    There’s something wrong with the process by which Black leadership is selected. “Black people are trapped in a viscous cycle of looking at their favorite leaders and revering them like baseball cards.” What’s needed is democracy in struggle. “People must be trained with the organizational and political capital to advocate and fight for policy and economic models that best serve their needs.”

    What Would the Ancestors Say?


    by Raymond Nat Turner

    Baptist, baritone strains:

    "I've been to the mountaintop,

    But this is not the mountaintop”

    God’s Body, God’s Plan: The Komen Foundation Furor and Abortion as Black/Latino “Genocide”


    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Money and religion make strange bedfellows. The most right-wing forces in U.S. politics have cultivated Black and Latino allies to label abortion rights advocates as nothing less than enemies of God. Yet, “It is precisely because of right wing opposition to universal health care coverage that Black, Latina, Asian, and Native American women are more likely to rely on the wraparound health care services that Planned Parenthood provides.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of January 16, 2012


    Year 2042 Will Bring Non-White U.S. Majority and Apartheid Economy

    Thirty years from now, the United States will have a non-white majority largely mired in poverty under an “apartheid” economy, said Tim Sullivan, co-author of a new report titled “State of the Dream: The Emerging Majority.” By 2042, the report predicts, Blacks will earn 61 cents for every dollar paid to whites – which is about the same racial earnings ratio that has existed since 1980. Hispanic workers will be even worse off, earning just 45 cents on every white dollar. “We simply won’t be able to sustain our standard of living, our place in the world” with such widespread poverty among the non-white majority, said Sullivan, of Boston-based United for a Fair Economy. Black and Latino wealth is projected to shrivel to pennies compared to white household wealth dollars.

    MLK Fought Against Rule of the Wealthy

    Dr. King talked about concrete steps to challenge this Darwinian culture that we live in, where the corporations run the government and we are no longer governed by the rule of law,” said South Carolina Black activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray. “If Black folks are content to be quiet while they wait for President Obama” to tackle the multiple oppressions against African Americans, “then they are mad.” Gray is repulsed by “the idea that Black folks are supporting the idea of preventive war and preventive assassination.” Gray is author of The Decline of Black Politics: From Malcolm X to Barack Obama.

    Phase Two” for Occupy Movement

    The occupy movement is about more than just occupying a tent in a public park,” said Kevin Zeese, an organizer of the Occupy Washington DC encampment at Freedom Plaza. The purpose is “to organize, mobilize and educate people, and start a debate about the wealth divide.” In what Zeese calls “Phase Two” of the movement, in addition to maintaining the encampment on Pennsylvania Avenue, organizers will operate out of two DC area houses. The “Peace House” will focus on mobilization of a national occupation of the nation’s capital, beginning March 30, while another house is dedicated to “occupying the economy” – creating alternative economic solutions so that people can “create their own jobs and their own wealth.”

    UN Occupation of Haiti is “Mission Without a Cause”

    Two years after a killer earthquake and eight years after the U.S. invaded Haiti, MINUSTAH, the United Nations “peacekeeping” force in the country, is a “mission without a cause,” said Dan Beeton, of the Center for Policy and Economic Research. Why is MINUSTAH still there? “There is no real justification for their presence…except that the international community, especially the United States, doesn’t want to see the Haitian people take control of their own destiny.”

    MINUSTAH soldiers from Nepal brought cholera to Haiti, which has killed 6,000 people and sickened half a million. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti sued the UN, but the world body has yet to admit responsibility for the epidemic, blaming Haiti’s poor infrastructure for allowing the disease to spread. “That’s like me going into a field of dry grass and lighting a fire, and when it turns into a forest fire, blaming the wind,” said Institute director Brian ConCannon, Jr.

    McKinney: U.S. Troops Lurk Near Libya

    Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, is alarmed at reports that 12,000 U.S. troops are temporarily stationed at Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea that has historically been a jumping off point to Libya. McKinney led a number of fact-finding delegations to Libya, before and during the U.S.-NATO bombing campaign that overthrew Col. Moammar Gaddafi’s government. “There is no real control by the National Transitional Council,” which recently signed an agreement allowing foreign troops to be stationed on Libyan soil, said McKinney. “The country has been ripped apart, the people are desperate for jobs, they need work,” in the absence of the Gaddafi government’s generous social welfare structures.

    U.S. Guilty of “Ecological Genocide”

    Michael Dorsey, a professor of environmental science at Dartmouth University who recently returned from a global climate conference in Durban, South Africa, denounced the Obama administration for refusing to seriously discuss measures to halt planetary warming. “That kind of brinksmanship diplomacy is really best characterized as a kind of apartheid for the planet, and particularly for Africa, where we know the unfolding climate change process will have catastrophic effects. It’s already playing out,” said Dorsey, director of the Climate Justice Research Project.

    Lumumba Assassination Anniversary

    Friends of Congo hold a rally and teach-in in Washington on Tuesday, January 17, to mark the 51st anniversary of the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the popularly elected prime minister of newly independent Congo. Belgium, the former colonial power, apologized for its role in Lumumba’s death in 2002, but the U.S. “hasn’t even gotten close” to expressing remorse. Formerly classified records show President Dwight Eisenhower ordered a CIA hit on Lumumba in 1960. The murder “stifled the democratic aspirations of the Congolese people,” said Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo, just as U.S. support for last November’s rigged elections that kept President Joseph Kabila in power has stifled those aspirations. “I firmly believe that the United States government is supporting a dictatorial regime in the Congo,” said Musavuli.

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    Shooting the Messenger and Rediscovering the Power in Faith and Activism


    by BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, PhD

    The messengers of truth are silenced in ever increasing numbers, with more journalists imprisoned this year, worldwide, than at any time since 1996 – a majority detained by their own governments. “If history provides a guide, the brutality of the oppression against the Occupy movement will only incite more rebellion perhaps laying the seeds for a second American revolution.” As Malcolm X predicted, “There will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation."

    Of Dr. King, Mixtapes and Imperial Crackdowns


    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

    When Black radio was cleansed of news, ideas, controversy and every other socially redeeming quality, the mixtape filled the vacuum. But now, the corporate counter-attack is in full swing, driving the independent mixtape into the nether regions of legality. “This is about managing communication and assuring that only sanctioned forms of music can be exchanged legally and that only these handful of companies benefit from the sale of that sanctioned art.”

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    “State of the Dream” Report Fails to Describe the Real Nightmare

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    This year’s “State of the Dream” report is wholly inadequate to the task of resisting the Right’s attacks under the umbrella of “austerity.” The report’s authors appear to believe that only Republicans are out to gut the government. “By largely leaving the Democrats out of the austerity equation, United for a Fair Economy contributes to the blindsiding of Blacks and others targeted for pain by corporate servants of both parties.”

    Obama and MLK: The Clear Contrast

    by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Ph.D and Kevin Berends

    Dr. Martin Luther King was a whistle-blower for justice. In contrast, Barack Obama has been more aggressive in punishing whistle-blowers than his predecessors. “Is it likely that the administration that recently announced psychologists, psychiatrists and sociologists will be deployed throughout the federal bureaucracy to ferret out potential whistleblowers would treat Dr. King any differently than it has treated Julian Assange?”

    MLK Injustice Index 2011: Racism, Materialism and Militarism in the US

    by Bill Quigley

    Dr. Martin Luther King sought peace and justice in the material world, for real people. That means our demands must be based on material reality, and our struggle guided by a careful review of the facts. Here are some facts to act upon, in the course of changing our world.

    Reclaiming Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Benjamin Woods

    The real Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remains quite accessible to us, through his writings and a wealth of other material. However, King’s political likeness is not to be found among the current Black leadership class. Therefore, “it is on those who believe in his vision today to build a real social movement for a revolutionary transformation of human society.”

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