The Election of Barack Obama Has Paralyzed Progressive Forces in US Politics

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This speech delivered by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford at African Liberation Day 2009, highlights the paralysis of black and progressive leadership and the dead end in which progressive forces in the U.S. find themselves.

Obama's Public Education Policy: Privatization, Charters, Mass Firings, Neighborhood Destabilization

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Last weekend in Chicago, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered the keynote address at Rainbow PUSH's annual conference and education roundtable.  Duncan is the premiere executor of corporate instpired policies that have closed dozens of neighborhood public schools in Chicago without substantially improving educational outcomes and at vast cost to neighborhood stability and the careers of hundreds of good teachers.  But are African American organizations standing up for their own interests, for public education?  Or are we paralyzed because the corporate policies issue from the administration of a Black President?

Giving Honduras the Haiti Treatment

HAITI ELECTIONSA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

President Obama has joined all of Latin American in denouncing the coup in Honduras. But Washington's words should always be taken “with whole spoonfuls of salt.” Obama could restore democracy to Haiti immediately, if he chose to, by allowing the return of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but instead shuts Aristide's party out of recent Senatorial elections. President Zalaya “was aligning himself with Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador and other left-led nations.... It is inconceivable that the U.S. looks forward” to his return.

French Cops are Racist, Too


stop the violence

Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

If you're Black and tired of getting stopped by the police on the streets of New York City and elsewhere in the United States, then Paris isn't the city for you. “A new study of the Paris police shows that...persons the police consider Black are stopped six times as often as whites.” And Arab-looking people are stopped even more frequently than that. Although racial profiling is illegal in France, the police studiously avoid keeping records on race.

High Court Tries to Freeze White Privilege in Place

New Haven White Firefighters

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The real “activist” judiciary if represented by the U.S. Supreme Court majority than is determined to re-enshrine white privilege in law. The New Haven firefighters ruling is an assault on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “The High Court decision would preserve an ethnic, clan and family racial protection racket that has been embedded in fire and police departments for generations.”

Eshu’s blues: Michael Jackson dies of Amurrika at 50

michael jacksonby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
The King of Pop is dead, and “you can hear the scavengers gnawing on bones all the way to the bank from any vantage point where you stand.” Michael Jackson succumbed to a peculiar Amurridan syndrome: TMTS, Too Much Too Soon. “In United States capitalist culture, performing artists have to deal with a public pillorying that actually ought to be reserved for the war criminals and thieves who have always run and owned this society.”

When Will Obama Stand and Fight?

ron danielsby Dr. Ron Daniels
Barack Obama entered the presidency with a huge mandate, but “is emerging as a cautious pragmatist who is more obsessed with 'bi-partisanship' than seizing the moment to create substantial change in this country.” His economic policy is run by “Wall Street insiders,” he has bowed to “conservative mantras” on the housing crisis, and he “has apparently capitulated before putting up a fight” over health care. “Therefore, the outcome is predictable; the insurance companies will carry the day.”

Mob Attack in Darfur: Personal Account

darfurby Isma’il Kushkush
The author, a Sudanese journalist, found himself surrounded and nearly beaten to death by “Shabab” - young men – in a Darfur displaced persons camp. The mob shouted, “Criminal! Janjaweed!” Some may simply have hated journalists. “I've been told that many IDPs in Darfur believe that journalists are 'banking' on their cause.” But it is also true that “banditry and thuggery have become components of life in unstable Darfur with the absence of stable work.”

Black Music Month at 30: A Cultural Retrospective

blk music monthby Pamela D. Reed
President Obama changed Black Music Month to "African American Music Appreciation Month," and neglected to hold a commemorative event at the White House. “This is like the tree that falls in the forest with no one there to hear it.” (George Bush held three Black Music Month affairs). “In the trademark Obama 'a rising tide lifts all boats' tradition,” a presidential spokesperson “stresses that the Obama administration subscribes to the '365 day' approach to music appreciation--all music.”

Haiti's Non-Election

haiti sceneby Kim Ives
When the most popular political party is barred from the election, what's the point of voting? Such was the simple logic of Haiti's recent farcical senatorial run-off election, boycotted by supporters of Lavalas Family, exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party. “Streets around the capital were eerily devoid of pedestrians and traffic despite the fact that the government allowed the operation of public transportation.” Some estimate only about one percent of eligible voters turned out.

Obama’s Emerging Legacy: Wars, Bankers and For-Profit Healthcare

Obama Sam by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The first Black president has racked up some impressive victories. Barack Obama has quarantined single-payer healthcare advocates, crushed dissent against the war in Congress, and transferred more money to the finance capital class than at any time in planetary history. Not bad for just five months in office. “At some point in the near future Barack Obama will become inextricably associated in the public mind with Big Capital – and deservedly so.”

Darfur “Genocide” Lies Unraveling – Only 1,500 Darfuris Died in 2008, Says African Union

darfur again

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For more than five years, the Save Darfur Coalition has used a slick and star-studded multimillion dollar ad campaign to paint a horrific vision of 400,000 dead in a black vs Arab war of extermination. No historic or political causes are offered for this scenario; it's genocide a case of good vs. evil demanding our attention and action. But the big lies underpinning the Save Darfur campaign are coming undone. Reporters, scholars and even US envoys are returning from the region affirming that if there ever was a genocide in Darfur, and there may not have been, there isn't one now. The British government has even ruled that Save Darfur cannot, in that country, use the figure of 400,000 dead which it throws around in all its US advertisements, cause it just ain't true.



McKinney Rejoins Voyage to Defy US-Israeli Blockade of Gaza – "Sink Us or Arrest Usl"


Cynthia McKinneyby The Editors
When the Free Gaza Movement attempted to send a boatload of supplies to Gaza last December, the Israeli Navy rammed the vessel, the Dignity, almost sinking it. This week, activists will send two boats on the voyage from Cyprus to Gaza, carrying cement, toys and 38 passengers, among them former U.S. Rep. Cynthia Mckinney, who was also aboard the Dignity. Ms. McKinney sent a letter to President Obama, filling him in on the Gaza mission.


Freedom Rider: Selective Sympathy for Iran

gaza child


by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The United States reserves for itself the right to say what and when the world should be watching.  “People who work for peace and justice must show skepticism when the media tell them who deserves their attention and advocacy efforts.” The world, as defined by U.S. Corporate media, turned its head when “1,400 Gazans were killed so that Israel might inflict collective punishment on a civilian population.” The U.S. Feigns great concern for the human rights of Iranians, but continues threaten a military attack. Real human rights proponents “must always keep in mind that warfare is the worst human rights abuse of all.”

Letter to Obama: Blacks Fear Shut Out of Highway Stimulus Contracts

highway stimulus moneyA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

The "rising tide" of economic stimulus that President Obama promises will "lift all boats" from the depths of economic crisis, may leave Blacks at the bottom, once again. "Black contractors and elected officials now fear that African Americans will be cut out of the huge, one-time increase in federal highway money under the economic stimulus program passed this year." In a letter to administration officials, the National Black Chamber of Commerce warns that stimulus money is flowing down the "same racist channels" that have denied highway contracts and jobs to African Americans.

Puppet Government of Somalia Invites Everybody to Invade

somaili fightersA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

In what should be its last gasp, the regime that claims to govern Somalia, "huddled in a corner of Mogadishu," the capital, has "called on 'Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen' - anybody! - to save them from what it called 'terrorists.'" The Ethiopians, who installed the mini-state after invading  Somalia with U.S. support in 2006, are already on the move in the country - whose soil they never left. But a larger invasion to beat back Islamist/nationalist fighters can only occur with "active U.S. coordination and logistical support." President Obama may get a war of his own in Africa.


Jamaica Broadcasting is Born: A fi we! A no fi dem!

john Maxwellby John Maxwell

Veteran journalist John Maxwell was there at the beginning: 1959, the start of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. “For the first time at last, it wasn't really necessary to listen to the BBC.” Successive governments, especially those of the Jamaica Labour Party, attempted to varying degrees to shape the JBC to their own political purposes. But, says Maxwell, “It is my opinion that in its short periods of independence, the JBC helped begin the transformation of Jamaica from an ignorant colonial backwater into a civilized society.”

Stanford U Study Shows Charter Schools Perform Worse Than Comparable Public Schools

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

The myth has been shattered: a new study shows charter schools perform worse than traditional public schools. In only 17 percent of charter schools do students surpass their demographically matched regular school peers in math and reading. More than twice that many charters rate worse than traditional classrooms, while close to half are about equal. Despite the data, the Obama administration "continues to demand that 5,000 schools be shut down, and their teachers fired" - a disproportionate share of them Black.   Their "position is based on ideology, not empirical data."

Tradition of Same Gender Marriage in Igboland, Nigeria

igbo weddingby Leo Igwe

Black homophobes often invoke “African” culture to buttress their arguments against gay rights, including the right to marry. But, according to the author, a native of southern Nigeria, the Igbo culture has long nurtured same-sex couples consisting of "woman-husband" and "woman-wife." The practice is entirely indigenous. “This marriage practice pre-dates Christianity and the so- called western culture which most people today blame for all the moral and cultural wrongs in Africa.


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