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Tavis Smiley

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 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.”

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.

Dr. King’s Televised Challenge to Obama: Tavis Smiley's Anti-War MLK

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Since the onset of the Obama phenomenon, Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth and death days have been “polluted” by false and ahistorical comparisons between Obama and MLK. The two men represent opposite political poles: one, a radical opponent of imperial war and concentrated economic power, the other, an ally of Wall Street and commander-in-chief of “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” In focusing on King, the man of peace, Tavis Smiley’s PBS special corrects a history that has been distorted, sometimes beyond recognition – not the least by the revisionist and poseur in the White House.

Tavis Smiley Ends State of Black American Union Show, Continues Media Lockdown of Obama's Black Left Critics

State of the Black UnionTavis Smiley announced on January 6 that the annual State of the Black Union event, held in early February for the last ten years, will not be held this year. His public reasons are vague and unconvincing. The real deal is that corporate media, the Democratic party and the Obama administration cannot tolerate the emergence of public leftward pressure from Black America. So the black conversation that SOBU showcased over the last decade must be silenced.

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