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    Jail the Bankers? Obama Has Been Their Staunchest Defender

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    In the second half of his second term, Obama and his crew seek to rewrite the history of his administration. Attorney General Eric Holder now declares that no bank is too big to jail. But the reality is, Wall Street’s “impunity is infinite. Holder and Obama work for them.”

    Jackson Rising: Black Millionaires Won't Lift Us Up, But Cooperation & the Solidarity Economy Might

    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    “320 activists from all over the country, including 80 or more from Jackson and surrounding parts of Mississippi converged on the campus of Jackson State University for Jackson Rising. ”

    Has raising up more black millionaires been a successful economic development strategy for our communities?  Evidently not. What's the alternative to gentrification, to stadiums, to ruthless exploitation? It's the solidarity economy. It's cooperation. It's democratically owned, worker-run cooperatives for child care, retail, auto repair, factories, health care, you name it. It's already rising in Jackson Mississippi, and soon, near you.

    Freedom Rider: How Not to “Bring Back our Girls”

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Hundreds of Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters, three weeks ago. The abductions got very little media coverage, so the wave of U.S. revulsion is only now surfacing. Americans urge their government to “do something,” but know next to nothing about the Nigerian political crisis, since there has not been “a single television news story about Boko Haram in 2013.”

    Segregation Rebounding: The Political Defeat of School Integration

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered public schools desegregated, first “with all deliberate speed” and then, more urgently, “root and branch.” By the early 1970s, substantial desegregation has taken place in the South. But today, segregation has rebounded. In some localities, folks don’t quite remember what happened. “No one paid the court order any attention in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, for 30 years.”

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    Obamacare’s Empty Victory

    By Dr. Margaret Flowers

    Millions of Obama voters in 2008 imagined they voted for universal health. What they got instead was Obamacare, an incredibly complex thicket of laws, regulations and exceptions requiring millions to purchase private health insurance which might or might not provide adequate or affordable coverage, might or might not protect them from bankruptcy, but certainly privatizes more of the nation's health care system than ever before.

    Condoleezza Rice is Not Qualified to Speak on Civil Rights 

    by Mel Reeves

    Faculty and student groups a the University of Minnesota insulted history and Black America, last month, inviting Condoleezza Rice to speak on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Rice and her immediate family rejected that Movement. “She is not a beacon of the Civil Rights Movement but, rather, an embarrassment.”

    The Historic Plague of Individualism Continues Under Present Day US Capitalism

    by Danny Haiphong​

    Capitalists hoodwink the masses into belief in an ideal of individualism, which “places sole blame for the misery of capitalism on the individual person experiencing it.” The U.S. Founding Fathers – a group of very rich white men – created a political infrastructure in which “the oppressed are coerced into competing among themselves for the crumbs the capitalist class has stolen from them.”

    Nigeria: Africa’s Number One Economy, for Wealth Evaporation

    by Patrick Bond

    Based on new calculations, Nigeria no ranks as Africa’s biggest economy. Actually, it is losing wealth a a frightening pace. In addition to the sheer volume of theft that drains the Nigerian people of their national patrimony, the biggest drain “is the depletion of natural resources, which when mined or drilled out are only counted as GDP credits on the income accounts, but not as debits.”

    Shangri-La re-zoned…

    by Raymond Nat Turner

    Must each generation’s Shangri-La turn into… ?

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/5/14

    Seattle Activists Vow to Put $15 Wage on Ballot

    “We can’t wait seven years for workers to get relief,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for the campaign by 15 Now and the Socialist Alternative Party to immediately raise most wages in Seattle to $15 an hour. A counter-proposal by Mayor Ed Murray’s hand-picked committee, unveiled last week, would phase-in $15 over a 4 to 7 year period, with no cost-of-living increases until the first phase-ins are complete. Spear said the fact that the mayor had to present even a watered-down version of $15 an hour proves that “movements really get things done and change the conversation.” The Socialist Alternative Party’s Kshama Sawant won a Seattle city council seat, last year, on a $15 platform, igniting a groundswell of support for the wage hike. Spears said 15 Now will go ahead with a drive to collect 50,000 signatures to put its own, much stronger proposal on the ballot.

    Benton Harbor Activist Under House Arrest

    Back in 2008, Rev. Edward Pinkney, a longtime community leader in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, became the first person in living memory to be imprisoned for quoting the Bible – in this case, on contempt charges in an elections law trial. Last week, 35 to 40 armed sheriff’s deputies came to arrest Rev. Pinkney on charges related to a recall petition against the city’s mayor, an ally of the giant Whirlpool Corporation. “They were losing 5 to 1, and they knew they had to do something to stop this [recall] election,” said Pinkney, who is confined to his home, forced to wear a GPS finder, and barred from working on his computer. The recall election has been called off until after adjudication of Pinkney’s case. Activists plan to protest at the Whirlpool-sponsored senior PGA tournament, in Benton Harbor, later this month. “We’re gonna have more people there, now, than ever before,” said Pinkney.

    Supreme Court Justices “Burning the House Down”

    Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even consider an appeal of Hedges v. Obama, the suit against preventive detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial. “It’s not simply that the court is turning a blind eye to constitutional rights,” said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. “It’s also the case that the court is hamstringing itself and diminishing judicial independence and inhibiting the extent to which future courts will be able to rein in similar abuses.” By failing to curb executive and legislative branch assaults on constitutional rights, “these judges are, basically, burning the house down,” said Buttar.

    Mumia, Street: Institutional Racism is the Deeper Cut

    Billionaire Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was near-universally denounced for private, racist remarks, yet institutional racism remains as deep as ever, sanctioned by majorities of Americans. “It’s interesting that you have this incident, and the shaming of Sterling, just a week after the Supreme Court hands down another absolutely terrible decision on affirmative action,” said historian and activist Paul Street. “These dramas become kinds of rituals of white self-congratulation that feed the narrative that we’re in a post-racial society, and tend to render the deeper institutional societal racism more invisible than it already was,” said Street.

    The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, made the same point in a commentary for Prison Radio: “Which story will affect the greatest number of Black lives – the anguished insecurities of a rich old man trying to exert control over his beautiful young lover, or the tortured reasoning of a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, essentially closing the doors of college to millions? Which are more relevant? Which are more racist?

    Stop-and-Frisk Still in Effect in NYC

    New York City cops continue to racially profile and confront young Black and brown men despite the fact that Bill de Blasio has replaced Michael Bloomberg at City Hall. De Blasio brought back former police commissioner Bill Bratton, an architect of stop-and-frisk. “The political incentives changed from Bloomberg to de Blasio, but the actual effect on people’s lives did not,” said Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton. Now that stop-and-frisk is officially frowned upon, “police simply won’t write down every interaction and stop anymore.” People are getting “a false sense of reform.”

    Cornel West to Support Dr. Anthony Monteiro at Temple University

    Dr. Cornel West and others will join a student-community coalition demonstration on Thursday, May 8, to demand that Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the adjunct African American Studies professor whose contract was terminated earlier this year with the assent of department chairman Dr. Molefi Asante. Students last week staged a sit-in at the Philadelphia campus's administrative offices, and later met with the university provost and the dean of liberal arts. “They basically told us it was Dr. Asante’s decision not to bring back Dr. Monteiro,” said student activist Paul Conge, a political science major who has studied under Monteiro. Asante “wanted to move to an African cultural nationalist type of department.” Asante recently told a radio audience that Dr. Monteiro’s student supporters were all “white communists” – a charge that is both untrue and smacks of “McCarthyism,” said Conge. Asante’s version of “Afro-centricity allows him to be a proponent of capitalism – Black capitalism, Black-on-Black exploitation. He really does not care about economic exploitation.”

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    Donald Sterling Thinks He Owns Basketball Players, But He Really DOES Own the NAACP

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

    Billionaire racists will be billionaire racists. Not much we can do about that. But the fact that our so-called civil rights organizations depend on the deep pockets of Wal-Mart, Comcast, and the David Sterlings of this world even though they pretend to represent the interests of ordinary black people is not something we have to live with.

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    USA: Bad Jobs Country

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Researchers confirm what desperate workers have sensed: most of the good jobs lost in the Great Recession have been replaced with bad jobs. That’ fine with Wall Street, since “capital’s global plan is to reduce all workers to a state of absolute insecurity, so that they will accept those bad jobs without complaint.”

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    Freedom Rider: The Lessons of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Two arch racists were are on national display this week, reminding folks that a post-racial America is a myth. Cliven Bundy did a further service by showing federal reluctance to confront White Terror, while Donald Sterling’s case outed the Los Angeles NAACP as a hangout for worthless Black misleaders.

    Corporate Oligarchy or People’s Democracy: Countering the Elite Agenda

    by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

    Even the tepid and formulaic kind of democracy previously permitted in the United States is too constraining for the Lords of Capital. “In its arrogance, the oligarchy is exposing the class character of the state and providing left forces a potent weapon for building oppositional consciousness.” For the Left, “it is absolutely necessary to maintain whatever democratic space still exists while struggling to expand those spaces and rights.“

     

    Obama’s “No Tolerance” for Freedom of Speech Policy (or Lament for Sunshine Week)

    by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

    President Obama runs the most secrecy-obsessed administration in U.S. history. “The president talks the talk, whistleblowers walk the plank—while the authors, administrators and implementers of torture and felonious activities walk—under the protection of absolute immunity.”

    The Sterling Shuffle: Unpacking White Jewish Racism

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    For the moment, a Jewish sports franchise owner is the most prominent racist in the United States. Donald Sterling’s conduct serves are a reminder that “the illusion of lockstep black-Jewish solidarity on liberal political coalition-building has long masked the reality of white Jewish privilege and investment in white supremacy.”

    The Reaction to Donald Sterling, Double Standards in the Midst of a Racial Hierarchy

    by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

    It seems obvious that the NAACP is willing to give a pass to the vilest bigots in return for a monetary contribution. “Prior to Sterling’s recent comments coming to light, he was scheduled to receive his second NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder enjoys similar impunity.

    ​​Respectability Politics And The Left Flank of US imperialism

    by Danny Haiphong

    In an age of savage austerity, the question is not, What will the Right do next? – but rather, How much more abuse will Black and working people tolerate? Much of what passes for a Left in the U.S. wants nothing more than acceptance by the rulers. “Solid, organized criticism and political work has been avoided for an opportunity to remain ‘respectable’ to a President and political party on a full frontal assault on oppressed people.”

    Happy 131st Birthday Hubert Harrison, Giant of Black History

    by Jeffrey B. Perry

    More race conscious than A. Philip Randolph and more class conscious than Marcus Garvey, Hubert H. Harrison’s “ideas on the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy anticipated the profound transformative power of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation struggles of the 1960s.”

    Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson - A Review

    by Rhone Fraser, Ph.D.

    Eslanda "Essie" Cardozo Goode Robeson – the anthropologist-journalist wife of Paul – was an important historical figure in her own right, especially her contributions to anti-colonialism. She “condemned African Uncle Toms, these would-be Frenchmen, Britons, etc., the especially-trained Black ‘elite’ who had been allowed to speak for Africa and would be displaced by the authentic voice of the African people.”

    My Wise Country Cousin on Ol’ See-Eye- (Confidential Informant) Sebben…

    by BAR Poet-in-Residence Raymond Nat Turner

    Whetha he wearin’ wire, Gerri-curl, or de ‘Cess

    Wen he cum, you know he cumin wit sum mess

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/28/14

    Philly Throws a Party for Mumia

    Mumia Abu Jamal’s hometown turned out for a day-long celebration of the nation’s best-known political prisoner’s 60th birthday. “This government was hell-bent on killing Mumia” for the 1981 death of a Philadelphia policeman, said Pam Africa, head of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia. The former Black Panther and radio journalist is alive because “we formulated what was known as Millions for Mumia” that unleashed “bombs of truth.”

    High Court Brings Back Old Jim Crow

    The U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold a Michigan referendum banning affirmative action “reinstitutes a policy of state’s rights that characterized the old Jim Crow,” said Shanta Driver, of Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), who argued the case before the High Court. Worse, the ruling means “that a white majority in any state can create unequal access to the political process and discriminate against Black, Latino and Native American communities.”

    Socialist Alternative Gears Up to Put Wage Hike on Seattle Ballot

    The Socialist Alternative party and its allies plan to collect 50,000 signatures to put a $15 an hour minimum wage proposal on the ballot in Seattle. Kshama Sawant, who won a seat on the local city council last year on a wage hike platform, warned 500 delegates to a national 15 Now conference that Seattle’s mayor is backing a watered down measure that would delay the increase for 3 to 4 years for big businesses and phase in the raise over 5 to 7 years for smaller firms, with no cost-of-living increases until the phase-ins are complete. Sawant recalled a low-wage worker’s response to the phase-ins: “Dear Mayor,” he wrote. “If I phase in my rent over 7 years, will the police not evict me?” Sawant told the crowd: “We have to continue to build a movement, never forgetting that the forces of big business, the forces of the super-wealthy, the forces of capitalism, are going to be relentless.”

    Secret Trade Treaty Aimed at China

    President Obama’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade treaty with 11 Asian and Pacific nations “is shrouded in secrecy because the only way they can pass this is if we don’t know what’s in it,” said Kevin Zeese, co-director of It’s Our Economy. Leaks of the treaty’s text “show that there are no protections for the environment” and that “Obama is pushing the most corporate position of any country involved” in the negotiations. Zeese said the pact is linked to a U.S. military encirclement of China.

    Minorities to Lose Under Internet Pay-for-Speed Rules

    The National Hispanic Media Coalition has weighed in against the Federal Communications Commission proposal to allow big corporations to buy faster speed on the Internet. “The Internet has been a democratizing force,” said Jessica Gonzalez, the coalition’s general counsel and executive vice president. “Through the Internet, we’ve been able to tell our stories and to organize for change.” Under the FCC’s new proposal, “where there’s a fast lane, and the rest of us who can’t pay, who aren’t wealthy, have to go into the slow lane, we don’t have the same opportunity.”

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    Supreme Court: White Majorities Über Alles

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Black folks have no rights that white majorities are bound to respect.” That’s the message from the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared diversity programs an option that white majorities can legally ban. The High Court also safeguards the right of the rich to dominate elections. This week’s ruling shows that the Roberts Court “knows how to serve both majorities of whites and Big Capital, too.”

    6 Reasons Why Obama's Clemency Program For Drug Offenders Doesn't Change Mass Incarceration One Bit

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    The White House is reportedly considering using clemency to release a few hundred or couple thousand federal prisoners. Better than nothing, but it's in no sense a start at dismantling the prison state. Clemency changes no laws or institutions or police, prosecutorial or prison practices. The cells will be refilled in weeks. It's a cynical, empty gesture from an administration marked by utter indifference to black suffering.

    Freedom Rider: Democracy is Dead

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    A new study confirms the obvious: the will of the people carries no weight in the United States. Within the nation’s borders democracy is everywhere proclaimed but nowhere to be found. These truths we hold to be self-evident: “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.”

    Ford and IBM May Have to Answer for Their Role in Apartheid

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    It’s taken 12 years, but victims of South African apartheid finally convinced a U.S. federal judge to hear their case against IBM and Ford Motor. The plaintiffs say the two multinationals sold the white regime the products it needed to torture and oppress the Black majority – and that the companies intended their vehicles and computers be used for that purpose.

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    “Chicagoland” Hero Cops Cook Books to Make Murders Disappear, CNN Pretends Not To Notice

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

    Chicagoland, the 8 part CNN campaign commercial falsely claims teacher pay and pensions have drove the city to fiscal ruin, that big league stadiums are job creators, that massive school closings are good for the city, and Chicago cops have lowered the murder rate. Except they haven't. Real Chicago journalists have revealed Chicago cops cooked the books to make dozens of murders disappear. CNN missed that, and is still missing it.

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    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

    On the Meaning of "Progress" and "Change" in the Whitewashed Political Worldview of the Black Misleadership Class

    by Danny Haiphong

    The most left-leaning ethnicity in the U.S. is (mis)led by a class of scoundrels and servants of empire. “The Black misleadership class unapologetically shoves itself down the throats of young people of color as legitimate political role models while the white capitalist power structure happily provides the financial and political support.”

    Psycho-Cartoon Warfare: Putin as Hitler

    by Dr. T P Wilkinson

    The real Hitler was rather popular in upper class western circles, at least until the start of World War Two. The media’s use of “Hitler” as a pejorative has little to do with the actual politics of the world’s most famous fascist. The Hitlerization of Putin turns reality on its head, “making the actual aggressor appear to be a victim by accusing one's target of all the acts actually perpetrated by oneself.”

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