Black Agenda Radio, Week of November 17, 2015

Black Agenda Radio for Week of November 16, 2015

Prison Reformers Distort Facts to Make Obama Look Good

In 2013, President Obama’s Justice Department went into federal court to prevent the retroactive reduction in prison sentences for people convicted under the old crack cocaine laws. The case was U.S. v. Blewett. As a result, about 6,000 inmates were forced to spend additional years in prison. However, according to members of The Sentencing Project, a highly respected prison reform organization, President Obama should not be blamed for keeping thousands of offenders incarcerated under an admittedly racist law. “That was a decision made by lawyers studying constitutional law and applying that in a specific case,” said Sentencing Project advocacy counsel Jeremy Haile, at a telephone press briefing to push for passage of another bill that would – finally! – retroactively scale back crack cocaine sentences. BAR executive editor Glen Ford said Obama seemed to have one prison policy for the public, and another for the courts. “You certainly could make that interpretation,” replied Robert Craemer, a political consultant for the Sentencing Project. But, “whatever sins there may have been in the past, I think they are definitely committed” to passage of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, now before the U.S. Senate. “I’ve been told that by people at the very top of the administration – the White House,” said Craemer.

Black Is Back Coalition Holds Conference at Howard U.

The Russians are correct to help the Syrian government defend itself against U.S.-backed jihadists, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition held a national conference at Howard University’s Blackburn Center, under the theme “Black Power Matters.” Much of the event focused on global developments. The U.S. “has funded every criminal with a gun and a bomb in the Middle East,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “The modern jihad that people are so upset about was created by the Carter regime” nearly 40 years ago.

Margaret Kimberley, senior columnist for Black Agenda Report, said Black people need to build a movement with a global perspective. “It’s Putin who has proved beyond any doubt that the United States was lying about wanting to get rid of ISIS,” she said. “We talk about Black Power mattering. But, if we don’t speak against imperialism then we’re not talking about the whole picture.”

One of the Coalition’s principal demands is Black Community Control of the Police. “It’s a demand that calls for the dismantling of the occupation army that the Black Panther Party identified and described back in 1966,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford. However, much of the new crop of Black activists “don’t know the meaning of the word ‘demand.’ Movements are defined by their demands, and to that extent, the two factions that go under the heading BlackLivesMatter network and Campaign Zero have dropped out of the movement and dropped – or jumped, or leaped – into the Democratic Party.”

Herdosia Bentum, president of the International Uhuru Movement, who hails from Ferguson, Missouri, is coordinating a campaign to charge the U.S. with domestic genocide against Afrikans. The project involves knocking on lots of doors. “The most important thing as an organizer is going to those houses and sitting down and talking to people,” said Bentum. “Because, they understand that one of the biggest crimes is poverty.”


Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Civil Rights Movement

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Shaun King and others like to compare today’s incipient movement to the civil rights era. But that’s a mistake. Today’s youth confront “a profoundly post-civil rights phenomenon”: the Mass Black Incarceration State, a national project that was created as a response to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Black folks in the early Sixties appealed to the feds for protection. Today, the feds are the ones who will take you out.

What Good Are Our Black Politics When 3 of Every 8 Black Children Under 6 Are in Poverty?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The newest wave of so-called movement activists have lots to say about institutional racism, but as Glen Ford has pointed out, they have few concrete demands beyond their own inclusion in the pantheon of recognized black leadership. With 3 of every 8 black children in the US live in poverty, black family wealth a tenth what it was a decade ago, isn't it time to confront the corporate power, the government, the state?


Freedom Rider: The New York Times Covers Up American Role in Refugee Suffering

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Like its corporate media cousins, the New York Times uses the global refugee crisis to spread propaganda on behalf of the U.S. government, which created the crisis in the first place. The Times scrupulously omits the facts of U.S. complicity in destroying the displaced people’s homelands, while pretending to empathize with the refugee’s plight. It is journalism in service of Power, not Truth.

The Corporate Media is Never Your Friend

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

After bringing the University of Missouri to its knees, Black students wanted some privacy in a “black space,” away from the peering eyes and suspect motives of the media. Media does, however, have its privileges. When Black activists and their allies challenged media privilege, their heroic struggle against racism was instantly downgraded to the actions of a “mob.”

Self Determination: What It Is, What It Isn't

by Danny Haiphong

Malcolm X’s call for Black self-determination remains widely misunderstood in the United States, including among Black activists. Some even hold that Barack Obama’s election was an expression of Black self-determination. But self-determination is about people’s power, not voter turnout in an electoral system controlled by rich white rulers. It's about taking power “by any means necessary.”

Whither Africa in the Global South?: Lessons of Bandung and Pan-Africanism

by Issa Shivji

Africa’s comprador ruling classes and educated middle class are so compromised by imperialism that they are incapable of providing the revolutionary leadership required for the continent’s true liberation. The only possible alternative is that of the working people. They need an ideology, organization and leadership to constitute an alternative political bloc.

Will the West Create Its Next Failed State in Burundi?

Ann Garrison's picture

by Ann Garrison

In the current era, states do not “fail” – they are targeted and destroyed. The tiny central African nation of Burundi appears to be next on the West’s list. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, a close ally of Hillary Clinton, is leading the destabilization strategy, which aims to seize Burundi’s national resources for multinational corporations.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of November 9, 2015

A Movement in Need of Vision and Ideology

Hundreds of activists will converge on Philadelphia’s Temple University, January 8-10, under the banner “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition in Our Time.” Conference keynoters include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Alicia Garza and Robin D.G. Kelly. “We’re in the throes of an emerging and intensifying movement,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, one of the conference organizers. “The most visible part of the movement is anti-police state violence, but it includes the struggle for schools, for jobs, the struggles against gentrification. So we have this proliferating set of movements without yet a clear vision or ideology. What we hope to do is help develop a vision of the future, about what the fight is, and where to target the fight.”

U.S. Slavocracy vs. Haitian Revolution

The triumph of George Washington and his white settler rebels “was, in many ways, a triumph of the slave trade,” which “tipped the demographic balance against the European settlers in Haiti,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, the prolific professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic. The Black Republic defeated the militaries of Britain Spain and France, causing the latter to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States. For several generations, U.S. slaveholders feared the Haitian example would inspire rebellion among slaves in Dixie – and they were right.

Food and Self-Determination

There’s a lot more to food sovereignty than just having enough to eat, said Beverly Bell, co-director of Other Worlds, part of the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance. “Food sovereignty looks at global systems of food, and considers the right to eat, the right of farmers to produce, the right of people to live on their land, and the right to control the riches of nature, including the water they need to irrigate,” she said. The 2015 winners of the Food Sovereignty Prize are the U.S.-based Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras.



Demand Nothing, Get Nothing: The Movement Needs to Say What It Wants


by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The movement that emerged in Ferguson must define itself through the demands it makes of Power – “a truth that appears to have been widely forgotten in the two generations since Black America last experienced a mass movement.” “Black Lives Matter” is not a demand, and the organization that coined the slogan is busy collaborating with Power, in the Democratic Party.

The Obama Education Legacy Part 1 of 3: Obama Appoints Another Privatizing Stooge Secretary of Education

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

When president-elect Barack Obama announced Arne Duncan would be Secretary of Education in December 2008, Black Agenda Report called him an “underqualified stooge and privatizer.” The best thing we can say about his successor John King is that he's not underqualified. He is a highly qualified stooge and privatizer

Freedom Rider: Americans are Poor

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

If Americans understood how poor they actually are – on a par with Latvians and Romanians, according to newly released data – they would dump the Democratic Party. With “more black children in poverty than white children,” it’s past time for African Americans to rid themselves “once and for all of their useless political party” which only pretends to fight for working people in election years.

War, Repression and International Gangsterism: U.S. State Policy from Benghazi to Baltimore

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

When it comes to maintaining U.S. imperial power and the rule of the rich, impunity is absolute. The congressional Benghazi hearings exposed not a single official crime, while suppressing vast violations of U.S. and international law. The domestic Obama doctrine makes inner city teenage “rioting” a federal concern, but the people that supply weapons to al-Qaeda in Syria and Libya are untouchable. Crime isn’t crime when it’s imperial policy.

The Middle Age White Male Die-Off: When Skin Privilege is Not Enough

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

What happens to middle aged white men with only a high school education when white skin privilege is no longer enough to secure a safe haven in the racial pecking order of America? Many members of this cohort seem to be caught in a death spiral.


Miners Shot Down! The Marikana Massacre Represents the Beginning of the End of the ANC – Part II

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The bloodbath at Marikana was a watershed for post-apartheid South Africa. The compact between Big Capital and the ruling African National Congress is no longer acceptable to the workers that produce fabulous wealth for multinational corporations. “The youth, the labor movement have seen the ANC for what it is” – a protector of white supremacy and the neocolonial order.

Public School Privatization Strategies: What Teachers, Unions, and Public Education Stakeholders Should Know

by Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr. Phd, M.S.P.H.

The future of public education is not guaranteed. A corporate-financed “Cartel has infiltrated every level of the political structure by utilizing targeted campaign contributions and has cultivated major backing among public education’s traditional supporters.” The privatizers target heavily minority school districts and do not hesitate to manipulate data “to show fraudulent academic gains.”

Clinton and the Benghazi Committee: Dancing on a Tightrope

by Cynthia McKinney

Hillary Clinton, who takes credit for the invasion and regime change in Libya, claims to be blameless for the war’s consequences, including the spread of Islamic jihad in the region. “Hillary’s War” expanded to claim hundreds of thousands more lives. “After destroying Libya, the US policy was to use that ‘success’ to roll right into Syria for that country’s destruction.”

Benghazi Smokescreen: Hiding Western War Crimes in Libya

by Thomas C. Mountain

Republicans and Democrats at the Benghazi hearings collaborated to disguise what the U.S. was really up to in Libya: regime change and the empowerment of Islamic jihadists in north Africa. As a result of the U.S.-NATO aggression, “fanatics from the entire region have a haven to rest and recuperate, and rearm, before returning to the front lines to commit more murder.”

Free Education: The Right to Call Our Souls Our Own

by Veli Mbele

The South African student struggle is about much more than high fees and limited Black representation at universities. “Black students are fighting against a system whose foundation is white supremacy, capitalism, anti-Blackness and now neo-liberalism.”

Rwandan Parliament Makes US Ally and Military Partner Paul Kagame President for Life

by Charles Kambanda 

Paul Kagame, the military leader of the Tutsi minority-dominated regime in Rwanda, has engineered a constitutional coup to keep himself in power – mocking his Euro-American sponsors’ claims that Kagame is a force for democracy in Africa. The rewritten constitution would give the strongman “a chance to rule for 17 years after 2017” – effectively making him president for life.


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