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W.E.B. DuBois

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/19/14

Count-Down to a Class-Based Internet

The public has four months to respond to the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to end Internet neutrality. “The people are very clear about what they want,” said Kevin Zeese, an organizer of Occupy the FCC, which camped out in front of the Commission’s offices, in Washington. “They don’t want a class-based Internet. They don’t want a two-tiered Internet based on fees. They want an open, equal Internet,” as demanded by several million petitioners and callers to the FCC.

Rev. Pinkney Defiant Under House Arrest

The leading activist in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, will still be under house arrest when protestors converge on the PGA tournament, May 24. Rev. Edward Pinkney is facing 20 years in prison on elections law charges stemming from an effort to recall Mayor James Hightower, described as a “stoolie” for the Whirlpool Corporation, which dominates the town. Pinkney said Whirlpool hoped his arrest would defeat the recall effort and undermine the “Occupy the PGA” protests, “but we’re going to win both of them.”

U.S. War Against Libya Boosted Boko Haram

“We cannot understand the rise and strengthening of Boko Haram and, indeed, most of the radical Islamic activity in Africa, disconnected from” NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya, said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, author of the article “From Benghazi to Boko Haram.” The 2011 triumph of U.S.-backed jihadists in Libya “provided a material source for training and equipment and money that strengthened these elements across the continent,” said Baraka.

“No War” Rally in Times Square

Activists will stage a “No War” rally at New York City’s Times Square, May 26, to demand the U.S. halt its aggressive confrontations with Russia – the root of the crisis in Ukraine. The Ukrainian coup-imposed, fascist-backed government in Kiev initially failed to crush resistance in the eastern parts of the country, said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, because the military “refused to fight against their own sisters and brothers. And now U.S. imperialism has only the fascists to lean on” in Ukraine. She likened the eastern Ukrainian resistance to “an armed Occupy Wall Street.”

Greg Butterfield, a contributing editor to Workers World newspaper, said the fascists that shot, beat or burned to death 46 people in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa were much like the Ku Klux Klan. “You can see why people have taken the initiative to form militias and protect themselves to keep the fascists out of eastern Ukraine, said Butterfield.

U.S. Goal is to Subdue Russia

Washington tries relentless to encircle and isolate Russia “to subordinate it, so it can be ripped off and integrated into the world market controlled by the United States and the European Union,” said Jeff Mackler, of Socialist Action, in Oakland, California. However, Mackler doesn’t think the U.S. wants to go to war with Russia, “although the Cold War rhetoric is still there,” because “Russia is no longer a workers’ state with a planned economy.”

Mumia: Systemic Racism Trumps Personal Prejudice

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private racist remarks are fodder for the media, but the press ignores “systemic racism, which has an impact on the lives and life hopes of millions of people,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner. Mass incarceration, for example, is a racist policy of the state. “It is this vase, impersonal, systemic racism that deserves our attention and condemnation,” not the private utterances “of an old goat lusting for a 30-something,” said Abu Jamal, in a commentary for Prison Radio.

Cornel West: Hands Off the Black Radical Tradition

“When you attack Tony Monteiro, you’re attacking a Black man called Cornel West, too,” said the nation’s best known Black public intellectual. Dr. West was speaking at a North Philadelphia rally demanding Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro at its African American Studies department. Dr. Molefi Asante, the department chairman, has launched a red-baiting campaign against Dr. Monteiro and his supporters. Dr. West sees this as an assault on the Black radical tradition. “You’re attacking Angela Davis; you’re attacking DuBois; you’re attacking the memory of Paul Robeson; you’re attacking the memory of Sinclair Drake,” said West.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/24/14

CIA Losing Friends in Congress

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s recent denunciation of CIA spying on her Intelligence Committee “suggests that criticism of the national security state has reached such a fever pitch that even its entrenched allies in Congress are starting to peel off,” said Shahid Buttar, of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Feinstein’s committee is considering whether to release a report on CIA torture and detention programs. “It’s up to us to force the institutional actors to grapple with these issues,” said Buttar.

Omnivorous Banks Seek to Devour Detroit

Activists are encouraging Detroiters to send a bankruptcy court their formal objections to state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr’s plans to restructure the city. Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman, pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and a key member of D-REM, Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, said the banks are Detroit’s ultimate nemesis. “They’re eating out the city from below, at the base,” through predatory home lending, and “extracting wealth from above, as well,” through derivatives deals that bury the municipality in debt,” he said.

Booker T. Obama’s Black Bourgeois Song

The My Brother’s Keeper initiative, President Obama’s project for young Black males, is mainly concerned with “Black behavior, about the need to make good choices, the need of teenagers not to have children, to stay in school,” said historian and activist Paul Street, author of the new book They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy. “I don’t see any real call for significant resources to seriously tackle” the material conditions that afflict young Blacks, said Street. Obama’s approach resembles “the longstanding conservative Black bourgeoisie’s ‘politics of respectability’ that was trotted out to great white approval by Booker T. Washington and the early Urban League” at the start of the 20th century.

Book is “Hatchet Job” Against Carmichael/Ture

Dr. Peniel Joseph’s book on Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, leader of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, is “part of a continuing COINTELPRO and disinformation mission against Kwame Ture and our wing of the movement,” said Bob Brown, a close confident of the Black Freedom Movement activist. Brown said Joseph wrongly “condemns” Ture “for having left the country” to live in Guinea, West Africa, where he died in 1998 – although W.E.B. Dubois also left the U.S. for Ghana, where he died in 1963. Brown unsuccessfully tried to halt publication of Stokely: A Life, charging Joseph falsely claimed to have interviewed him for book.

Mumia: Hypocrisy on Venezuela

In a report for Prison Radio, political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal blasted congressional supporters of “rightwing and corporate-backed forces” that are “trying to stir up a popular revolt” against the socialist government of Venezuela. Abu Jamal notes that the U.S. Congress was largely silent when police, “corporate greed and the brutality of the One Percent” shut down the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the U.S.

Cuba’s Role in African Liberation

“For Fidel Castro, the struggle against apartheid was ‘the most beautiful cause of mankind,’” said Dr. Peiro Gleijeses, professor of U.S. foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. Cuba’s early intervention in Angola’s liberation struggle, in 1975-76, allowed South African and Namibian revolutionaries to open training camps in Angola, said Gleijeses, author of Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa. He was interviewed for Your World News by host Solomon Comissiong.

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Behind the Flash Mob Attack on Obama’s DOJ Attorney General Nominee Debo Adegbile

by Noelle Hanrahan and Stephen Vittoria

The U.S. Senate used hatred of Mumia Abu Jamal to defeat Debo Adegbile’s nomination as chief of civil rights at the U.S. Justice Department. “U.S. Senators and political pundits regurgitate blatant lies that seek to demonize Abu-Jamal because they face zero accountability regarding their use of the purported ‘facts.’” When it comes to Abu Jamal, they are free to lie at will.

Hillary and Other Assorted Barbarians at Russia’s Gate

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The United States is more than just an ally to fascists in Ukraine and everywhere else; the American South provided an historical model for fascism. “The fascist order of the pre-Sixties Solid South was simply a domestic expression of U.S. Manifest Destiny – the national religion.” The fascists – both local and imperial – have laid siege to Russia.

Amiri Baraka: Class Struggle and Cultural Revolution

by Anthony Monteiro

Amiri Baraka, the poet/activist who was laid to rest in his native Newark, New Jersey, last Saturday, came to understand 40 years ago that all art is ideological. “It is the courageous move from cultural nationalism to Cultural Revolution that liberated Baraka, and ultimately us, to understand the democratic and revolutionary possibilities inherent in our artistic and cultural traditions.”

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.”

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 Zimmerman Verdict is a Reflection of the Times: The People Must Organize

by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

President Obama’s request for “calm reflection” in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict “is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo.” Instead, what is needed are “campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.”

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.”

Why I Won't Vote (1956)

 

by W.E.B. Dubois

On October 20, 1956, W. E. B. Du Bois delivered this eloquent indictment of US politics and why he won't vote in the upcoming Presidential election. Du Bois condemns both Democrats and Republicans for their indifferent positions on the influence of corporate wealth, racial inequality, arms proliferation and unaffordable health care. The article appeared in The Nation.

Black Secularists and The Church

 

by Benjamin Woods

African American mythology tells us that the Black Freedom Movement was born in the church. That’s because “the Black church has had better propagandists than Black freethinkers.” But freethinkers also populate the liberation pantheon, while the church has sometimes proven an obstacle to the Movement.

The World Went to Hell and the Black Man Didn’t Go Free

 

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

Despite the fact that Barack Obama’s “approach to domestic economic and social policy has savaged the U.S. Black community on every front,” the election season will see increased demands that Blacks circle the wagons around “their” president. Narrow group thinking leads African Americans to behave as if “it does not matter that targeted assassinations and indefinite detention are the order of the day, or that a Black man is helping to foment war on the African continent.” Ignoring both the lessons of history and Obama’s role in the current Black economic catastrophe, “our establishment Blacks continue to be imprisoned in an imperialist capitalism.”

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