There’s Nothing Fair About Detroit’s Massive Water Shut Offs

by Shea Howell

The corporate rulers are relentless in their drive to push the poor out of Detroit. With tens of thousands more households facing water shut offs, the authorities held – of all things – a water fair. The author was there: “Almost everyone I talked to said the same thing, ‘The city doesn't care about us. They want us out of here.’”

There’s Nothing Fair About Detroit’s Massive Water Shut Offs

Johanna Fernandez Speaks on the Revolution and Counter Revolution that Mumia Abu-Jamal Embodies

by Danny Haiphong

Mumia Abu Jamal has spoken Truth to Power since his teen days in the Black Panther Party, then as a crusading radio newsman and, since 1981, as a political prisoner. Historian and activist Johanna Fernandez is editor of Writing on the Wall, a compilation of Abu Jamal’s essays. Mumia is “locked in a steel cage because of the US Empire's need to repress the memory, ideology, and practice of the Black Liberation movement that he helped lead.”

Polyarchy in the Dominican Republic: The Elite Versus the Elite

by Jeb Silgado-Sprague

The two leading candidates in the upcoming Dominican Republic presidential elections differ little when it comes to economic policy and the targeting of migrant and migrant-descendant communities. The political establishment spouts the racial rhetoric of an “Hispanic” state, in opposition to Haiti’s “Africanness.” Ad campaigns proclaim “’Somos Dominicanos’ (We Are Dominicans) implying that the others, the Haitians in their midst, are outsiders.”

Zuma’s Denialism and Betrayal

by Zwelinzima Vavi

South African President Jacob Zuma run “a pro-big business government that is implementing neoliberal and anti-poor economic policies,” writes the author, a former trade union leader. Zuma “should have introduced a national beneficiation program complemented by a socially and environmentally sound industrialization plan, and ended the dominance of white monopoly capital.” Instead, “whole industries are in danger of disappearing.”

“Our stomachs Will Make Themselves Heard”: What Sankara Can Teach Us About Food Justice Today

by Amber Murrey

In recent weeks, news of food crises in countries across Africa has been intensifying. From the Democratic Republic of Congo all the way down to South Africa – via Malawi, Zimbabwe, Angola and many others – low rainfall has contributed to millions more being left vulnerable. “Thomas Sankara’s ecological-political praxis provides an alternative framework for food justice on the continent.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 9, 2016

Detroit Teachers “Browbeaten” Back to Work by National Union

The two-day teachers sick-out that closed Detroit public schools last week was about much more than paycheck issues, said Steve Conn, the former elected local union president who, along with activists from BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), has been leading teacher sick-outs since November. “It’s about fighting the governor’s plan to destroy the schools. Gov. Snyder wants to replace public education in Detroit with a charter model,” said Conn. More than half of Detroit students already attend charter schools, second only to New Orleans. The sick-out was popular among teachers and the public, but ended prematurely when national union president Randi Weingarten “and her local flunkies browbeat the teachers into going back to work,” said Conn. “They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Towards a National Black Political Agenda

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations plans to hold events in cities around the country in coming months to put together a National Black Political Agenda. The project grew out the Coalition’s national conference on the 2016 elections, convened in Harlem, New York, last month. “The timing is excellent,” given the turmoil in the duopoly parties, said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “We don’t have to settle for an outcome that’s determined by these folks who are tied to the ruling establishment. We can speak for ourselves and have an agenda of our own that will influence the political direction of Black people.” Yeshitela hopes the agenda can be completed in time for the Coalition’s annual march on the White House and national conference, in November.

Sawant Petitions for Sanders to Dump Democrats After Convention

Seattle city councilwoman and Socialist Alternative Party leader Kshama Sawant is circulating a petition that Bernie Sanders run as an independent to pave the way for a third electoral party. But, what about the Green Party, which expects to be on the ballot in most states in November? “If there is any possibility of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein running together on a Green Party ticket this year, I would support that wholeheartedly,” said Sawant. “Something like that could help build the basis of an independent party of the 99%, which is the most critical project we have to get started on.”

With GOP Help, Hillary Will Move Democrats Further Right

“Get ready for the whiplash,” said historian, activist and author Paul Street, predicting that an influx of anti-Trump Republicans will assist Hillary Clinton in pushing the Democratic Party even further rightward, once Bernie Sanders’ supporters on the left have been pacified. “The Democratic Party is about to go from being the party that allowed a self-declared democratic socialist to go very far in the primary process, to becoming the objectively truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country,” now that Donald Trump has split from the Republican corporate establishment. Street’s latest book is titled They Rule: The 1% Versus Democracy.

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Bernie to Deliver Captive Constituencies to the Democratic Convention

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Bernie will take his campaign all the way to the convention. We called him a sheepdog back in May 2015, and he's filling exactly that role, enticing the Dems' captive constituencies back into the trunk of the party one more time, where their votes will count but their demands.  The issues that made supporters "feel the Bern" will be ignored. That's what it means to be a captive constituency.

Detroit Teachers Strike Against Disaster Capitalism

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The corporate narrative on the Detroit teacher’s sick-out is that the public schools are “failing,” just as the city has “failed” to manage its own finances. But the state has intervened in Detroit’s schools for decades, and has destabilized the public system with charters. “Charter schools play a key role in urban disaster capitalism, wrecking the community nexus of public education by draining the system of students and resources.”

Freedom Rider: Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

President Obama’s remaining days in office may be short, but “there is no reason to mourn or rejoice Obama’s departure because he will be followed by someone who likes his foreign policy as it is.” Hillary Clinton was his partner in imperial crime, and “the supposedly left wing Bernie Sanders warns of non-existent Russian aggression, supports presidential ‘kill lists’ and thinks that having U.S. troops in Syria is a fine idea.” 

Why Obama Silenced bin Laden

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

President Obama likes to point to the killing of Osama bin Laden as a proud part of his legacy. Actually, the “hit” on bin Laden allowed the U.S. to dramatically increase its deployment of jihadists as foot soldiers in U.S. proxy wars against Libya and Syria. Al Qaida was symbolically beheaded so that it could be re-born as “freedom-loving political dissidents and patriotic ‘moderates’ deserving of U.S. arms, financing, and air support.”

 
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A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Mr. Obama Goes to Flint

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Barack Obama has expressed concern for any number of human tragedies in the nation and world, and waged wars under the banner of “humanitarian” compassion. But it took him two years to visit the scene of the poisoning of a largely Black American population. Obama’s “visit is not intended to alleviate the suffering of the Flint community but to whitewash his political legacy of total contempt for the plight of the very people who elected him.”

Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon

Ann Garrison's picture

by Ann Garrison

The Green Party has been around for two decades as an alternative to the two corporate parties.  It's time some Greens paid attention to why it hasn't caught a mass following, despite being mostly correct on the issues and closer to the beliefs of actual votes than either of those two parties.  Some Greens are interrogating their own party and their own practice, with a view toward moving to a membership-led and membership financed party.

Drain the Swamp

by BAR poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner

Our poet tires of the swatting zika-infested mosquitoes that bring us emergency managers and privatization, of seeing the crocodile tears of our black big city mayors and the rest of the black misleadership class. this week he advocates a more comprehensive approach.

Self-Determination and Socialism: The Fight for Socialism is Now!

by Danny Haiphong

The ills of capitalism – a system ruled by the rich – can only be cured by appropriating the wealth and power of the rich, through socialism. In Black America, an opportunistic class emerged that seeks “to attach the Black masses to capitalist rule.” Yet, this class – which includes Barack Obama – “has brought no material benefit to the Black working class.” The way forward is socialism: the seizure of power and resources for self-determination.

Unveiling White Supremacy in the Academy

by Dr. Ama Biney

Europeans colonized the world, and maintain their control through paradigms of thinking “that continue to produce ‘black skins in white masks’ in the twenty first century and leave intact colonial patterns of control, domination and exploitation.” This world of “coloniality” is split between a “’Zone of Non Being’ which is inhabited by people of color who largely constitute the South and the ‘Zone of Being’ inhabited by Europe and North America.”

Capitalism's Depleted Reserves: Recognizing and Preparing for Systemic Breakdown

by Ben Peck

The capitalist system has “burned away many of the reserve layers at its disposal, economically, socially and politically,” and will be much weaker when the next great crisis hits. The reformists have bankrupted themselves, as well. “Where the social democrats offer no alternative to austerity, but instead work hand-in-glove with the bosses to implement it, they completely undermine their reason for existence in the eyes of the working class.”

2016 Open letter to President Obama: “What About We People Who Are Darker Than Blue?”

by Norman (Otis) Richmond (aka Jalali)

In 2009, President Obama changed the name – and the meaning – of Black Music Month to African American Music Appreciation Month. The author maintains the change represents “a step backward” for Black music. “In one fell swoop he took an international music and nationalized it.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 4, 2016

Min. Farrakhan Should Join Anti-Police Terror Movement – and Stop Flirting with Trump

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has said there are some things he likes about Donald Trump. What’s to like? asks Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Trump’s campaign statements “drip with racism and misogyny,” and “anybody with progressive inclinations shouldn’t be seeing things they like in him.” Dix noted that Farrakhan spoke under the banner of “Justice or Else” at a giant rally, last year. “But, there has been no justice; the police continue to brutalize and murder people. So – where’s the ‘or else?’ I don’t see the Nation of Islam in the streets saying: ‘This must stop,’” said Dix.

Both Clintons Neck Deep in African Blood

Bill and Hillary Clinton are deeply implicated in the death of six million Congolese, said Claude Gatebuke, a Rwandan genocide survivor and co-founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network. Bill Clinton’s Rwanda policies put dictator Paul Kagame in power “in spite of the overwhelming evidence of the massacres Kagame committed” and his role “in the death of more than six million people in the Congo and other millions of people in the region.” Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state under President Obama, tried to suppress a United Nations report that documented Rwanda’s culpability in the ongoing Congolese bloodbath – the worst genocide since World War Two.

Black Colombians Block Highway in Land Fight

Thousands of Colombians of African descent blockaded the Pan American Highway, demanding respect for Black people’s ancestral land rights. Millions of Black Colombians have been displaced by seizure of their lands by multinational corporations, said activist Charo Mina-Rojas. Afro-Colombians also fear that FARC guerillas covet Black territories as part of a peace deal being negotiated in Havana, Cuba. “We are concerned that we are not sitting at that table,” said Mina-Rojas. “We know that FARC has an interest in areas where Black people are located. This is a territorial control issue.”

Woodfox: Recidivism Begins in the State Legislature

Albert Woodfox, the former political prisoner who served 44 years in Angola’s notorious Angola prison, most of it in solitary confinement, has some ideas on crime prevention. He agrees that nobody wants to be victimized by crime. “But, if you don’t want to be a victim of crime, stop letting these politicians pass these laws that make it impossible for an ex-felon to get out and survive unless he commits a crime.” Woodfox spoke at a University of Pittsburgh Law School symposium  on solitary confinement.

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Sanders Prepares to Bow Down to Hillary, But Many of His Supporters Won’t

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Bernie Sanders has endorsed President Obama’s troop escalation in Syria, once again showing that “he is no more ‘progressive’ than Obama on foreign policy, and just as dishonest – a true Democrat. Sanders will ultimately bow to Hillary Clinton, while still claiming that the Democratic Party can be transformed from the inside. However, millions will have witnessed that the campaign proves exactly the opposite – and will seek alternatives.

Freedom Rider: Honoring Harriet Tubman

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The U.S. government sullies the name of the great freedom fighter Harriet Tubman by putting her picture on its foul currency. “Not only has her name been ruined by a dubious connection with the dollar that kept her captive, but she will share this ‘honor’ with Andrew Jackson, enslaver and Indian killer.” No Black person should feel affirmed by this sacrilege. “Our story is a deeply sacred responsibility and must never be granted to anyone else.”

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