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Ras Baraka's Victory: Indicting Education Crimes

by Michelle Renee Matisons and Seth Sandronsky

Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker tried to turn the city’s public schools over to privatizers and billionaires. But, there’s a new mayor in town. Ras Baraka’s “victory is about creating the educational climate – supported by larger goals of racial/ economic justice – that is required for thriving students.”

Is a New “Cold War” Coming? You Can’t Be Serious

by Dr. T P Wilkinson

We are said to be returning to conditions of Cold War – although the term was never sufficiently explained back in the days when it was believed operative. In reality, Cold Wars past and, supposedly, present, are also hot and always deadly to millions of people. They are “the logical extension of Manifest Destiny, the particularly US term for imperialism.”

Eritrea: The Cuba of Africa

by Thomas C. Mountain

The Cuban experience with the next-door imperial power bears similarities to the treatment Eritrea has been subjected to by the U.S. and its proxies in Africa. “Sanctions aimed at crippling their economies and hurting their people have hit both countries hard.”

What is Boko Haram, and Where DId It Come From?

By Gary K. Busch

Uncle Sam and AFRICOM claim that Boko Haram is the Nigerial franchise of Al Qeda, and provide the justification for open armed intervention in the affairs of Nigeria and its neighbors.  The truth is deeper, more complicated, and intimately tied to the military and kleptocratic politics of post-colonial Nigeria.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/19/14

Count-Down to a Class-Based Internet

The public has four months to respond to the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to end Internet neutrality. “The people are very clear about what they want,” said Kevin Zeese, an organizer of Occupy the FCC, which camped out in front of the Commission’s offices, in Washington. “They don’t want a class-based Internet. They don’t want a two-tiered Internet based on fees. They want an open, equal Internet,” as demanded by several million petitioners and callers to the FCC.

Rev. Pinkney Defiant Under House Arrest

The leading activist in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, will still be under house arrest when protestors converge on the PGA tournament, May 24. Rev. Edward Pinkney is facing 20 years in prison on elections law charges stemming from an effort to recall Mayor James Hightower, described as a “stoolie” for the Whirlpool Corporation, which dominates the town. Pinkney said Whirlpool hoped his arrest would defeat the recall effort and undermine the “Occupy the PGA” protests, “but we’re going to win both of them.”

U.S. War Against Libya Boosted Boko Haram

“We cannot understand the rise and strengthening of Boko Haram and, indeed, most of the radical Islamic activity in Africa, disconnected from” NATO’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya, said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, author of the article “From Benghazi to Boko Haram.” The 2011 triumph of U.S.-backed jihadists in Libya “provided a material source for training and equipment and money that strengthened these elements across the continent,” said Baraka.

“No War” Rally in Times Square

Activists will stage a “No War” rally at New York City’s Times Square, May 26, to demand the U.S. halt its aggressive confrontations with Russia – the root of the crisis in Ukraine. The Ukrainian coup-imposed, fascist-backed government in Kiev initially failed to crush resistance in the eastern parts of the country, said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, because the military “refused to fight against their own sisters and brothers. And now U.S. imperialism has only the fascists to lean on” in Ukraine. She likened the eastern Ukrainian resistance to “an armed Occupy Wall Street.”

Greg Butterfield, a contributing editor to Workers World newspaper, said the fascists that shot, beat or burned to death 46 people in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa were much like the Ku Klux Klan. “You can see why people have taken the initiative to form militias and protect themselves to keep the fascists out of eastern Ukraine, said Butterfield.

U.S. Goal is to Subdue Russia

Washington tries relentless to encircle and isolate Russia “to subordinate it, so it can be ripped off and integrated into the world market controlled by the United States and the European Union,” said Jeff Mackler, of Socialist Action, in Oakland, California. However, Mackler doesn’t think the U.S. wants to go to war with Russia, “although the Cold War rhetoric is still there,” because “Russia is no longer a workers’ state with a planned economy.”

Mumia: Systemic Racism Trumps Personal Prejudice

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private racist remarks are fodder for the media, but the press ignores “systemic racism, which has an impact on the lives and life hopes of millions of people,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner. Mass incarceration, for example, is a racist policy of the state. “It is this vase, impersonal, systemic racism that deserves our attention and condemnation,” not the private utterances “of an old goat lusting for a 30-something,” said Abu Jamal, in a commentary for Prison Radio.

Cornel West: Hands Off the Black Radical Tradition

“When you attack Tony Monteiro, you’re attacking a Black man called Cornel West, too,” said the nation’s best known Black public intellectual. Dr. West was speaking at a North Philadelphia rally demanding Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro at its African American Studies department. Dr. Molefi Asante, the department chairman, has launched a red-baiting campaign against Dr. Monteiro and his supporters. Dr. West sees this as an assault on the Black radical tradition. “You’re attacking Angela Davis; you’re attacking DuBois; you’re attacking the memory of Paul Robeson; you’re attacking the memory of Sinclair Drake,” said West.

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Kidnapped Girls Become Tools of U.S. Imperial Policy in Africa

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The “humanitarian” U.S. military occupation of Africa has been very successful, thus far. “The Chibok abductions have served the same U.S. foreign policy purposes as Joseph Kony sightings in central Africa.” Imagine: the superpower that financed the genocide of six million in Congo, claims to be a defender of teenage girls and human rights on the continent. If you believe that, then you are probably a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Freedom Rider: America Brings Hell to Ukraine

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Washington’s pell-mell rush to the brink of war against the giants of Eurasia is awesome in its recklessness. “The feverish pace of the Asia pivot meant to encircle China is matched only by the plan to dispatch Russia economically – and ultimately, militarily.”

Call the FCC – If Obama's FCC Doesn't Restore Network Neutrality, Black Agenda Report Will Die

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

Although Obama promised to protect internet access for everyone, rule changes proposed by his FCC chief will make the internet a toll road. Failure to restore the internet's common carrier status will let greedy corporations pretending be something they'll call “the market” to restrict access to any content that isn't theirs or doesn't pay to be seen. But it's not a done deal yet. There's still time to make your voice heard...

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Molefi Asante: Portrait of a Redbaiting Bootlicking Rat

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

As often as not, the guy in the most elaborate dashiki is the one working for The Man. At Temple University, Dr. Molefi Asante is “the narrow cultural nationalist who poses as the ultimate Race-man, but ultimately winds up as chief bootlicker, servant and agent of white corporate power.”

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From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I support the Benghazi Inquiry

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

You can’t understand the threat posed to Nigeria by Boko Haram, or the ghastly destruction of Syria over the past three years, outside the context of “the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.” One huge crime begets many consequences, including the death of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. The Left should be outraged at Obama policies – in North Africa, in Syria, and in backing neo-fascists in Ukraine.

Lessons from James Boggs: Capitalist Automation in the 21st Century

by Danny Haiphong

Automation has conveyed great advantages to capital over labor, worldwide. Black American revolutionary worker James Boggs “asserted that the only effective counter offensive to automation’s assault on labor would be for workers to make ‘politics’ instead of ‘things’” – that is, to create a more humane social system.

The United States: Land of Blissful Ignorance and Blatant Hypocrisy

by Solomon Comissiong

American popular geopolitical ignorance sometimes seems infinite. Most of the world is fully aware that the U.S. government financed the Ukrainian coup “that helped bring to power a wave of neo-Nazis.” Yet, most Americans think that Russia is playing the Hitler role, and Washington is the good guys.

My Wise Country Cousin on Judas comin’ to Cali…

by BAR Poet-in-Residence Raymond Nat Turner

Molefi Asante’s brand of “Afrocentricity” means McCarthyism and race and class betrayal.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/12/14

Special Edition: The Jackson Rising Conference

This week, Black Agenda Radio focuses entirely on the recent “Jackson Rising” conference on cooperative economies, organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Organizers had hoped the event would be hosted by Chokwe Lumumba, the revolutionary Black nationalist and MXGM co-founder who was elected mayor of mostly Black Jackson, Mississippi, last June. However, Lumumba died suddenly this past February, and his son Chokwe Antar Lumumba was defeated in a special election to fill his father’s seat, in April. Despite the loss, the Jackson Rising conference proceeded as scheduled, attracting hundreds of activists from the region and around the country. BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon was on hand for all three days of the conference.

Allies and Enemies

Ed Whitfield, of the Fund for Democratic Communities, said the people need a vision. “It’s a vision of where we’re able to use our labor to provide enough for our loved ones and ourselves, as well as the very young, the old, the infirm, and those people who are caretakers of the community, producing love and caring for other people.”

Mississippi law “does not allow for the incorporation of cooperatives in any other sector within the state except agriculture, Melba Smith informed a popular workshop. The restrictions pose a hardship on low-income people, who must go out of state to form cooperatives and then apply for a license to operate in Mississippi, said Smith, of the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi.

State Sen. Jim Evans, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, told delegates “You have allies all over the world” – but plenty of adversaries in Mississippi. “These folks ain’t gonna change nothing unless we organize and build a majority, said Evans, who works closely with organized labor. “They don’t know what’s right, and neither do they care.”

A Question of Self-Determination

Iya Falola, a local Jackson MXGM activist, said people need to put the concept of solidarity at the center of economic thought. “The real model of economic uplift is taking the ‘I’ out of the concept,” she said. “Until we come together collectively, and are all able to benefit from our efforts, there is no solidarity in economy. It’s still capitalistic.”

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been working with small farmers for almost 50 years, and was one of the main participants in the Jackson Rising conference. “For African Americans, from a cultural and historical standpoint, cooperatives offer a way for people to embrace values of working together with others to enhance the total community,” said the Federation’s John Zippert.

Salima Muhammad represented Praxis, which also provide support for the conference. She believes people want to be self-determining in their economic activities. “If we can own it, then we can determine how it’s used. I think that’s where people are directing their energy.”

Michael Peck spoke for the Spain-based Mondragon Corporation, the world’s best-known cooperative, with 80,000 worker-owners and plants in 39 countries. A Mondragon venture in Argentina went bust, causing suffering among the local workers. “We went into that region as a financial investor, but we didn’t take our values with us,” said Peck. After a long, democratic review of the episode, “we decided that we would never again make an international investment without taking our values with us.”

Solidarity Economy: Essential to Transformation

There is nothing capitalistic about MXGM’s cooperative vision, said Adofo Minka. “Cooperation Jackson” emphasizes “placing the means of production in the hands of the people, and focusing more on creating livable wages and benefits for the people who work in these businesses, as opposed to one owner who is only interested in developing his own pockets.”

Bruce Dixon engaged MXGM’s Mikea Kambui, Akil Bakari and Von Anderson in a wide-ranging discussion of cooperative possibilities. One idea is to form an entertainment cooperative that Jacksonians could buy into for, say, $5 a month. “Over three months, we could come to the city with a public-private partnership to start a movie theater, here, or two theaters,” said the activists. Currently, not a single movie is located in Jackson, which had 11 theaters in the 1980s.

Gus Newport, the former mayor of Berkeley, California and close friend of Malcolm X, has long experience in cooperative ventures. “The cooperative model teaches us how to create what Martin Luther King called ‘The Beloved Community’ – how to work together, to learn to have concern for your fellow human being.”

The conference was “a foundational moment,” said Rose Brewer, a Minneapolis activist with the U.S. Social Forum and the Black Left Unity Network. “To reignite that communal, as well as cooperative, spirit is absolutely essential to any social transformation,” she said.

Sage Crump, of Artists 4 Change, said: “What moved me most was this idea of the solidarity economy, and how do we shift the way we think about our exchange of goods and services, from an individual model of give-and-get to What is the benefit for all people?” Crump is from New Orleans.

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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.”

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