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    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.”

    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.

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