Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of February 6, 2012
U.S. Pursues War, Chaos in Middle East and North Africa
“If there is a substantial military strike on Iran, it is going to create mayhem in the region,” said Dr. Vijay Preshad, director of International Studies at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. “And that is precisely what the Gulf Arabs and the United States would like to see. The last thing they want is a proper Arab Spring germinate into new, democratic regimes in North Africa and Est Asia.”
McKinney: America Guilty of “Sociocide”
The U.S. is engaged in “sociocide” – the “wholesale destruction of entire societies,” said Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate. “One can honestly say that sociocide has occurred in Iraq and Libya,” she said. “This is purposeful behavior, to go into these countries and destroy all aspects of the infrastructure.”
Obama Outdoes Bush in Power-Grab
“Obama has claimed vastly more power than Bush did,” said peace activist David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site WarIsACrime.org. “He has gone to great lengths to protect and cover up and provide immunity to his predecessors and, in doing so, claimed greater powers of secrecy than his predecessor ever claimed.” Of 35 article of impeachment drawn up by Rep. Dennis Kucinich against President George Bush, in 2008, 27 would also apply to Obama, said Swanson. “Many of these are offenses that a great many people would be outraged about – if Obama were a Republican.”
DemoPublicans Speak with Forked Tongue
Organizers of the Occupy encampment at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, expect large numbers of protesters to gather for month-long activities in April, including direct actions. In addition to protests, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, “we also need to build something that will replace the power structure.” The Democratic and Republican electoral rhetoric amounts to “a false conversation that’s limited by their corporate funders. The real conversation will be happening in the Occupy movement.”
“Spying on communities has got to go, stop-and-frisk has got to go,” shouted Kalfani Nkrumah, leading the chants at a Bronx, New York, demonstration by Stop Stop-and-Frisk. “If our elected officials refuse to stand up for us, then they have to go to, too.”
Michelle Authenticates Obama
Attendees at a recent conference on “African Identities in the Age of Obama,” at Virginia’s George Mason University, “were outright frank about why they voted for Obama, in 2008: “because he was married to a ‘sister.’” Conference organizer and professor of history Benedict Carton said President Obama “didn’t come from a historical trajectory of slavery in Ameriva and post-slavery dynamics.” African Americans “needed to root him through his wife.”
In the Spirit of Lumumba
The election of Patrice Lumumba as prime minister of newly independent Congo, in 1960, was that country’s first and last free election, said Luwezi Kinshasa, secretary general of the African Socialist International and a Congolese. In the spirit of Lumumba, Africans must “struggle to overturn all compromises made with imperialism,” and take ownership of the continent’s resources.
Lynn Stewart’s Appeal
On February 29, imprisoned movement lawyer Lynn Stewart appeals her 10 year sentence on charges of aiding “terrorists” – in her defense of “blind sheik” Obama Abdel Rahman, convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. “If there were the rule of law” in the United States,” said Stewart’s husband, Ralph Poynter, “Lynn would not be in jail.”
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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of November 21, 2011
Derivatives at Root of Banking Problem
The very existence of $600 trillion-plus in derivatives, most of them held by “about six banks,” represents a grave threat to the global financial system, said Karanja Gacuca, a member of the People of Color Working Group of the Occupy Wall Street movement, in New York City. Banks are hoarding money, refusing to make job-producing investments, because “if any of these six banks defaulted, the effects to the economy would be catastrophic,” said Gacuca, whose background is in finance. The entire world’s gross annual product is only about $64 trillion. “Some of those banks have to fail. I really don’t see how we get out of this.”
Occupy Movement is Making Clear Demands
“I’ve been to 16 occupations and at every one I’ve heard the same thing: get money out of politics,” said Arun Gupta, who helped found The Occupy Wall Street Journal and is covering the national occupation story for Salon and Alternet. “It is a message about extreme concentration of wealth and power, and that wealth is used to dominate the political system. There is a very clear demand of what people do want.” Gupta concedes that many Occupiers still think in “moralistic terms, like greed,” despite the fact that “the laws of capitalism impel the corporations towards buying the system…. It’s probably the greatest return on investment you can get.”
Wealth, Not Deficit, is the Problem
“The truth is, we don’t have a deficit problem,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, an organizer with Occupy DC, encamped at Washington’s Freedom Plaza. “We have the wealth in this country to meet our needs, but our government is not willing to take that revenue from the rich and major corporations.” Occupy DC held hearings on the so-called congressional SuperCommittee’s mandate to make vast cuts in federal spending. Of the ten biggest contributors to the 12 senators and representatives on the panel, six are mega-banks, one is Microsoft, and the other is the huge corporate law firm Skadden, Arps.
Black Chicago Gears Up for Housing Push and NATO/G-8 Meetings
Under the umbrella of Occupy the Hood, Chicago Black activists are “focusing on tasks in our communities that have been neglected for so long,” said veteran organizer Pat Hill. She acknowledged that, these days, corporate media tend to pay more attention to Black activism when the “Occupy” label is attached. The next community offensive is called “Homes for the Holidays,” to tackle the housing crisis in Black neighborhoods. Then, in the spring, local activists will join with national organizations to confront simultaneous Chicago meetings of NATO and G-8, the organization of the world’s wealthiest nations. “We are actively involved in that, and intend to exercise our First Amendment rights” in the face of heavy security measures.
The Hood and Occupy Boston Didn’t Mix Well
Some Black activists who attempted to collaborate with Boston’s OWS outfit came away less than satisfied. Jamal Crawford, of the city’s Occupy The Hood umbrella, cited the Boston OWS’s “leaderless structure,” “lack of foundational principles,” and “lack of organization” – as well as “abundant” white privilege and instances of racism – for failure to forge a working relationship. “The question has never been, Can Black people navigate in a white world, because that’s something we’ve been doing,” said Crawford. “The real question has been, Can white people navigate in a Black world – and that remains to be seen.” Crawford, however, credits OWS headquarters in New York with having been “very supportive of Occupy The Hood.”
Occupation Has Energized Oakland Black and Brown Movement
“This current moment has opened up a lot of opportunities for us to get more resources, in terms of new people who are really motivated,” said Robbie Clark, a housing activist with the Oakland-based non-profit Just Cause. “A lot of organizations are willing to come together about how to win some concrete demands, especially around bank accountability, workers rights and immigrant rights.” Clark said “people are learning from how the Occupiers have been able to engage masses of people” – even if those masses are not necessarily Black and brown. The Occupiers have also learned from local activists of color, said Clark. “This movement around economic equality can be traced back to Reconstruction: 40 acres and a mule.”
Under Obama, Rule of Law Crumbles
“The president can commit murder whenever he wants,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, citing the string of U.S. and allied assassinations that have marked the past year of Barack Obama’s presidency. “This is the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and now he believes he can launch drones all over the world,” said Ratner. “This [Libya] is about the sixth war that Obama is involved in, and it looks like he is more of a warlike president than almost anybody we’ve ever had.” In the current era, all U.S. ware are waged in pursuit of global hegemony – and, specifically, to corner oil supplies. “We have to end our support for militarism, just as Dr. (Martin Luther] King said.”
BAR’s Dr. Jared Ball explores the cooptation of Hip Hop, not just by media moguls and commercial marketers, but by the U.S. State Department – “a situation where hip-hop is turned against itself and, indeed, the world.”
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by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
The author was with Washington DC’s Occupation movement for its first march against a U.S. government agency, the EPA – the same one with which she had fought an epic court battle on the way to passage of historic whistleblower protection legislation. “The EPA is spending more time protecting the polluting habits of big corporations than those suffering from respiratory diseases because the United States is the world’s biggest polluter.” It was a helluva week, with sexual abuse and gender bias – as always – in abundance.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Occupy Wall Street activists are under some pressures to come up with demands to make of the powerful. However, “in many cases, there is no point in demanding anything from your enemy, except that he drop dead in a hurry.” If Wall Street is an unadulterated evil as many OWS folks claim – and they are right – then what is to be demanded of the banksters and their friends? That they commit suicide, forthwith? And how do you reform a cancer away? “Well before 1999, Wall Street power had passed the point where it could be controlled by conventional regulation.”