Without Enchanted Followers: Eusi Kwayana’s Reconsideration of the Jonestown Fiasco

by Matthew Quest

The tragedy of Jonestown was not just an American saga. Most renditions of the Jonestown story tend “to obscure a sincere (but failed) effort at having faith in working toward a new society by one select group of American visitors to Guyana, while papering over the cooperative and internationalist experiments of Guyanese themselves in this same historical period.” The author reviews a new book – and takes a broader look – at the Jonestown experience.

Panama Papers: Denials Expose More Than the Original Exposé

by Farooque Chowdhury

The leak once again reveals how states collude with private interests to protect the criminality of the powerful. How could journalists uncover the Panama Papers while states which carry on surveillance on millions of people, listen to billions of phone calls and read billions of e-mails were apparently unaware of the underhand dealings?

Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 11, 2016

Mississippi Schemes to Dismember Tax Base of Black Capital City

The Republican-run State of Mississippi has moved to seize the City of Jackson’s two airports and a medical services corridor, and is maneuvering to take over the municipal water treatment facility that provides the bulk of the 80 percent Black city’s budget. “They have a full-blown plan for dismembering this city,” said Kali Akuno, of Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. The GOP plan went into overdrive with the election of Chokwe Lumumba, arguably the most radical Black mayor in the country, in 2013. But Lumumba died after less than a year in office. If the state succeeds, “there will be very little left to actually govern and to deliver goods and services to the community.”

Blacks Should Stop Going Down the Democratic Party “Rabbit Hole”

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations packed St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, in New York’s Harlem, for a National Conference on the 2016 Elections and Black Self-Determination. BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley told the crowd that Black people have supported “Democrat after Democrat, demeaning and insulting and imprisoning Black people, none of them willing to fight on our behalf, and we pay the price of continuing down the same old rabbit hole, time and time again.”

“Dead End” Capitalism Can’t Provide a Recovery for Workers

Boston-based writer and activist Danny Haiphong said that fractures in both the Republican and Democratic parties are reflections of the general crisis of capitalism. The system is at a “dead end” and cannot “provide a recovery for workers while at the same time exploiting these workers for the surplus value – the profit – it is desperately needs,” said Haiphong, a regular contributor to BAR. “If Bernie Sanders were to win, his ‘New Deal’ program could never be implemented in such an historical epoch.” This creates “so many opportunities for revolutionary struggle.”

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Sports Bar Politics and Corporate Duopolies

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

You don’t have to feel “The Bern” to root for Sanders in the primaries, nor must you be a white supremacist to hope that Trump wins the GOP contest. Both campaigns have the potential to fracture the duopoly electoral system that “ensnares the whole U.S. electoral apparatus and ensures that one of the rich men’s parties will triumph at the end of each electoral cycle.” So, cheers for whatever brings chaos and fracture to the duopoly.

Are African Americans “Strategic Voters” Or Are We A Captive Constituency?

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

Who drives the Democratic party? Not the black, brown and poor who are its base voters, trapped in its trunk. Black voters in particular are not “strategic voters” so much as captive constituents of the privatizers, gentrifiers, jailers, banksters and military contractors who steer the Democratic party. Our only strategic decision is whether to remain captives or pull the latch and escape from the Democratic wing of the party of the rich.

 
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Freedom Rider: The Panama Papers Problem

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Panama tax haven leaks reveal a lot about the lawlessness of the rich, as well as the ideological bias of the western press. “Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere, but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story.” Americans are conspicuous by their absence from the story. That’s because rich people in the U.S. can avoid taxes “legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada.”

A Few Black Caucus Members Have Some Questions About Israel

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The duopoly parties have little tolerance for criticism of Israel. Even the mildest congressional critique can bring on a primary challenge. Not one member of Congress failed to back a resolution in support of Israel, “even as it was slaughtering more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza.” However, “three Black congresspersons have joined Rep. Hank Johnson in questioning why the U.S. spends billions to arm the last apartheid state on Earth.”

 
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Petition to Fire Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy for Gross Negligence in the Flint Water Crisis

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The U.S. government had ample time, evidence and powers to protect the people of Flint from being poisoned. Three recent presidents provided federal protection when states refused to do so. “The Flint experience, given political will, could have represented an historic opportunity for the president to intervene as did Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson” in civil rights cases. At the very least, President Obama should fire the EPA chief.

The 2016 Elections Reflect General Crisis of Imperialism

by Danny Haiphong

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders represent no danger to U.S. imperialism, but “the two-party establishment has not been kind to the Trump and Sanders development because it reflects the general crisis in the system.” This election cycle has “opened up room for debate that didn't previously exist in the Obama era. It is what principled forces of revolutionary struggle do with this room that matters.”

My Wise Country Cousin on Mule Dung at the Apollo

by BAR poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner

The poet's wise cousin from the country offers his view from Harlem, where folks is linin' up to touch the yoke of ol' Hillree, Massa Willie's best mule..."

They Call Me MISTER Picasso!

by Dan De Leon

A Latina high school student created the art work, above, inspired by a previous work titled A Tale of Two Hoodies. However, she was later ‘persuaded’ by the Denver schools’ public relations director that the picture did not foster good police-community relations. “Notice he didn’t say it could be done by having killer cops arrested, charged, convicted and sent to prison.” Apparently, her elders had never seen Picasso’s Guernica.

Katrina, Climate Justice and Fish Dinners: Social Justice Lawyer Colette Pichon Battle

by Bill Quigley 

A young corporate lawyer returned to Louisiana to immerse herself in the post-Katrina struggles of her people. “People were being asked, in the middle of trauma, to sign away rights and legal documents on property and your land that are going to have ramifications for generations.” In New Orleans, Atty. Battle learned that “rebuilding since the storm favors privileged private enterprise and this illusion of recovery is not progress."

South Africa: The Hyenas are Gathering to Defend Themselves

by Zwelinzima Vavi

The author, the former head of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, says the ruling African National Congress has “hammered another nail in the coffin of the revolutionary morality and values,” and “cannot make the claim that it is a leader of society.” Corruption and neoliberalism have been allowed to triumph, and “those currently in the driving seat have abandoned any notion of transforming our society in favor of the poor.”

Western Sahara: Another Misinformed Imperial Analysis

Dr. Fikrejesus Amahazion

The same imperial nations that colonized most of the rest of the world now try to sit in judgement of which countries should be “allowed” their independence. U.S. operatives argue that Western Sahara should not be granted self-rule, because it would become a “failed state,” like Eritrea. But Eritrea has made great social strides, despite relentless U.S. subversion, while the U.S. has fomented misery and terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

Millions Starve as Ethiopia Rejects Aid Through Eritrean Ports

by Thomas C. Mountain

Ethiopians faces mass starvation. Drought is the immediate cause of the catastrophe, but the ruling minority regime has exacerbated the crisis by refusing to take up neighboring Eritrea’s offer of free use of its ports, to receive needed foodstuffs. “What kind of government sits back and allows tens if not hundreds of thousands of its own people to die of starvation because of some political dispute with its neighbor?”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of April 4, 2016

Carolina Youths Demand Black Community Control of Police

The city of Greenville, South Carolina witnessed two large funerals in recent weeks: one for a white cop, the other for 17 year-old Deontaye Mackey, who police claim killed the officer and then committed suicide. Black young people don’t buy the cops’ version, and believe the deaths occurred as part of a police scheme to flood the community with drugs and guns. “This was a dirty cop, he harassed the Black community,” said Efia Nwangaza, director of Greenville’s Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination. Black youth “are committed to developing their own patrols and calling for Black community control of police,” and plan to “launch their own ‘people’s investigation’ into what actually happened.”

Cornel West Blasts Neoliberalism, Jesse Jackson Redefines “Socialism”

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., the Rainbow-PUSH leader who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, and Dr Cornel West, the nation’s best known Black public intellectual, discussed “Politics, Black Lives Matter and the 2016 Election” at Columbia University, in New York City. Rev. Jackson has endorsed no one in this year’s Democratic presidential primaries, but praised Bernie Sanders’ goal to “democratize capital” – which Jackson said means “the same thing” as socialism. Dr. West, who has been stumping for Sanders, described Hillary Clinton this way: “When you hear the word integrity, her name is not the first one that comes to mind. Granted, Hillary Clinton is better than the neofascist in-the-making, Donald Trump,” said West. “But neoliberals are still dangerous.”

Flint Water was Poisoned on Purpose

BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a former federal Environmental Protection Agency official who blew the whistle on her bosses nearly two decades ago, said the massive contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water system was “intentional.” “We know that the EPA and the State of Michigan knew this community was being poisoned for at least nine months,” but refused to do anything about it, said Coleman-Adebayo. “The Flint crisis makes the Tuskegee Experiment look like child’s play.” In light of Black people’s experience in this country, “How many times are we going to keep saying, ‘Oops, they made a mistake?’”

Don’t Confuse DeRay McKesson with Black Lives Matter

“I would separate DeRay McKesson from the founders of Black Lives Matter,” said Umi Selah, the former Phillip Agnew, of the Florida-based Dream Defenders. “McKesson is a self-proclaimed activist from an Ivy League school and from Teach for America, that created an online persona for himself and is now able to parlay that into huge revenue and a fledgling campaign for mayor of Baltimore,” he said, in an interview with Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi “have a history of doing deep grassroots organizing. What they created is something we haven’t seen since Occupy,” said Selah.

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Trump Way to the Left of Clinton on Foreign Policy – In Fact, He’s Damn Near Anti-Empire

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

First, Donald Trump’s campaign showed that his white supporters couldn’t care less about the Republican elite’s economic agenda – in fact, they hated it. Now, “if Republican voters accept Trump’s assault on the ideological rationale undergirding U.S. foreign policy and its imperial structures, there will be nothing left of the GOP for the corporate rulers to defend.” If only the Democrats would split along the same lines.

Just What We Need: More Black Celebrity Charter School Crooks... I Mean 'Entrepreneurs'

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

Sean “Diddy” Combs, with accomplices Iyanla Vanzant and privatization hustler Steve Perry are fronting the Capital Prepatory Harlem Charter School. When black celebs put their names on a charter school what does that mean? Are they “giving back” or are they cashing in on the drive to convert public assets into their private property? Are they siding with parents, teachers and communities, or with their own investment portfolios?

 
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Freedom Rider: Hillary Clinton is No Worse than Barack Obama

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Progressive enthusiasm for Bernie and antipathy for Hillary is impressive – until one recalls that most of these folks were ga-ga over Obama not so long ago, and that Clinton and Obama are political twins. Obama is revered like a saint, “despite his record of neo-con imperial murder, bankster bail outs, destruction of the public school system, and maintaining mass incarceration while pretending that he doesn’t.” Hillary is Obama – with a cackle.

Black Brooklyn DA’s Leniency for Killer Cop Shows the “Whole System is Guilty as Hell”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Black faces in high prosecutorial places do not equal criminal justice reform. The first Black district attorney for Brooklyn, New York, is hell bent on negating the guilty verdict won by his own office against a killer cop. District Attorney Ken Thompson is a “career Democratic politician whose allegiance is to the party and the system that appointed him, not to Black people.”

 
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