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by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka
As the U.S. tightens its military grip on Africa, “it is absolutely imperative that we embark on a massive educational campaign with our folks that will expose the real intentions of the U.S. on the continent and worldwide.” There is nothing “humanitarian” about U.S. intentions. “The plan for Africa is being written in the blood of the people in Iraq, Syria and Libya.”
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
For the people of the Middle East, the American war never ended; it continued under the brutal, U.S.-backed jihadists who ravaged Syria, and have struck at Iraq with a vengeance. In the United States, George Bush gets the blame for the Iraq War while the First Black President reignites the region with his proxy wars and apocalyptic threats. “Imperialism is still on the move and now has a more shrewd personification in the person of Barack Obama.”
Black America and the Empire in Crisis
Black Agenda Report at Left Forum
President Obama “sounds more and more like Bush, who left office so unpopular that Republican marketing is still damaged by it,” said editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley at BAR’s Left Forum panel, “Black America and the Empire in Crisis.” In his West Point speech, Obama “told the world there will be no freedom, no democracy, no self-determination,” said Kimberley. “Any nation, any state, any people who try to make their own decisions is in danger of being crushed by the United States.”
Internet’s Days are Numbered
FCC proposals to allow “market” pricing for the Internet would smother Left political discourse. “The fast-lane, slow-lane thing will result in the total privatization of the Internet, restricting our ability to communicate with each other, forever,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. “If you think our conversation [on the Left] has no power, why are they going to all this trouble to shut it down?”
Obama’s Most Effective Evil
In one key arena, Barack Obama “has done more damage than any white president could possibly inflict,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford. “He has caused Black people to behave like white people – or even worse than white people – on issues of war and peace.” Polls showed Blacks were more supportive than whites of Obama’s threats to bomb Syria, in 2013. When Obama is gone, “we will have to rebuild the Black consensus for peace all over again,” said Ford.
A “Secure Drop” for Whistleblowers
There’s a new and safer way to alert the public to government crimes, said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, renowned whistleblower and BAR editor and columnist. “People are afraid to step forward, for fear of getting the Chelsea Manning life imprisonment response from the government,” she said. ExposeFacts.org has unveiled a “drop-box” system that is encrypted and anonymous. “We’re looking forward to people taking advantage of this opportunity to get the information out without having to put their neck on the guillotine,” said Coleman-Adebayo, who serves on the new organization’s advisory board.
A Salute to General Baker
General Gordon Baker Jr., the legendary co-founder of League of Revolutionary Black Workers, died in Detroit at the age 72. Black Agenda Radio co-host Nellie Bailey spoke with Cleo Silvers, an organizer under General Baker for most of the Seventies. “He taught us the importance of understanding the need for unity between all the sectors of the working class,” said Silvers. Racism was rampant in organized labor. “U.A.W. meant ‘You Ain’t White,’” Silvers remembered. “The U.A.W. didn’t take on the issues that were specifically related to the needs of the Black workers who were in those plants, who were becoming a majority in Detroit.”
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.”
Haitians Need National Sovereignty Most of All
Framing Haiti as a charity case is insulting and wrong, said Pierre Labossiere, co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee. “The kind of support we need is to denounce the repression that has been imposed on the people of Haiti” since the U.S.-backed coup of 2004. Haiti doesn’t need handouts, said Labossiere; it needs solidarity in the struggle to resist the foreign “conspiracy to rob the country of its resources.”
Black Folk in Dark Times
Black academics and activists gathered at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, for a “Workshop on Sovereignty, Citizenship and Freedom.” Organized by Dr. Jemima Pierre, an anthropologist, and historian Dr. Peter Hudson, the event was titled “Black Folk in Dark Times.” Author and community organizer Kevin Alexander Gray, from Columbia, South Carolina, looks forward to Barack Obama’s exit from the White House, in two years. Under the First Black President, “we bought into this idea of endless war, and we bought into the idea of star chambers where people are denied due process,” said Gray, author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.
Dr. Christina Sharpe, a professor of English at Tufts University, spoke of “ways of seeing and imagining responses to terror in the varied and various ways that our Black lives are lived under occupation.” She is author of Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects.
Dr. Maboula Soumahoro, an English professor born in France to Ivory Coast parents, told the gathering that “Afropea, Black Europe, is in the making.” “In my view,” she said, “Arabs and Muslims, sub-Saharan Africans, Afro-descended people born in France, people from the Caribbean…Asians of all kinds, Roma communities and all people of color are all Black” in France. Soumahoro is editor of the acclaimed essay collection, Constructing Black France: A Transatlantic Dialogue.
Mumia: A Half-Century of Civil Wrongs
“For the Black bourgeoisie,” the 50 years since passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “has been a rush of opportunity and entre into doors once closed to them,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. However, “for the Black poor and working class,” mass incarceration has made “civil rights as ancient and distant as Reconstruction.”
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama has placed whole nations on his Kill List. Syria and Venezuela are to join Libya and Iraq as states that have been made to fail, while Ukraine is snatched into the NATO-EU orbit. “The neo-conservative project for a new American century has reached full fruition under a Democratic president, who now has many notches on his gun.”
Resist Obama and His Black Corporate Brethren
President Obama’s “most unmemorable” State of the Union address shows “he represents corporate America and empire,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina Black activist and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics. “We’ve got to challenge those folks who are operating for the interests of the corporations and not in the interests of the people, folks like [New Jersey Senator] Cory Booker, like [Atlanta Mayor] Kasim Reed – and like Barack Obama.”
President Stuck in Neoliberal Paradigm
“If you look at Obama’s speech, he is still stuck in a neoliberal economic paradigm that has been quite destructive for ordinary Americans,” said Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet and author of the article, “State of the Union: Obama’s Underwhelming Plan to Tackle Inequality.” Denizens of Wall Street are treated as “too big to jail,” said Parramore. “Seeing bankers walk off Scot-free when they’ve done things a thousand times worse than what most people sitting in America’s prisons have done, is damaging to the spirit of the country.”
Democratic Brand Sloganizing
“Democrats only take up the cause of the minimum wage when Republicans are in office, to reinforce their fake ‘brand’ as champions of the oppressed,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon. “When Democratic are in power, their attention drifts elsewhere,” said Dixon, noting that Obama did next to nothing to boost the minimum wage or pass union-favored “card check” legislation when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, during his first two years in office.
Mumia Astonished at Global Wealth Disparities
The nation’s best-known political prisoner seemed aghast at news that 85 people possess wealth equal to the assets of 3.5 billion people – half the world’s population. “Rome, infamous for its rich and corrupt senate, never saw such inequality as this,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a recent Prison Radio commentary. “Marx, for all of his acumen, never saw that coming.”
Only the Poor Drink the Water
West Virginia officials claim it’s now safe for the Charleston area’s 300,000 people to drink the local water, following a huge chemical spill early last month. But Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, said only folks with no other options are drinking the water. “The people in the know, the legislators, the lawyers, the doctors in Charleston, when you press them: Are you drinking the water, are you letting your family drink the water? – they say no.”
Diversity Doesn’t Come Naturally in U.S.
Robert Greenfield IV, a Black Student Union leader at the University of Michigan, said the administration is deliberately marginalizing students of color. Diversity is “something that doesn’t naturally occur in the United States,” said Greenfield. “Unfortunately, you do have to have an artificial hand to make sure that people from the marginalized societies have an equal opportunity with their white counterparts.”
Giving Clarence Thomas a Pass
Students of history should check out the new documentary Anita, the story of Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas at the 1991 Senate hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Dr. Donald Smith, professor emeritus of education at New York City’s Baruch College. “Unfortunately, many people did not support Anita Hill,” said Dr. Smith. “It’s still difficult to understand, to this day, why Clarence Thomas would have been supported by so many Black people, including Maya Angelou. A lot of Black people gave him a pass.”
27 Years in Prison Based on “Vision in a Dream” and Lost Evidence
Simple justice demands that Clarence Moses El, who has spent the last 27 years in a Colorado prison on a rape and assault conviction, deserves a new trial, said Larry Hale, of the People’s Power Assemblies. Denver police “lost” DNA evidence that might have acquitted Moses El, but a U.S. Supreme Court precedent holds that “destruction of evidence, in and of itself, does not constitute bad faith” on the part of law enforcement, said Hale. The only witness against Moses El, the victim, said she identified him after a vision in a dream, and another inmate has confessed to the crime. The People’s Power Assemblies are circulating a petition on Moses El’s behalf.
Black Bodies Keep Surfacing in Lake Michigan
“In the last four years we’ve had four Black bodies come floating up in Lake Michigan, and every time it ends up with” officials finding no evidence of “foul play,” said community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney, of mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan. Rev. Pinkney strongly suspects police involvement in the killings, and has called for mass demonstrations on March 1.
by BAR poet-in-residence Raymond Nat Turner
Since that November
Night in ’08, Negroz
Ain’t been straight…
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
You know Black folks are in trouble when a Saturday Night Live skit provides more insight into African American politics than all the Black so-called political “analysts” at MSNBC. “Most African Americans are wholly unconcerned about Obama’s actual legislative and executive agenda.” The people are left defenseless, for the sake of an icon in the White House.
by Raymond Nat Turner
Making perpetual war,
Disposable killing machines
by Paul Street
Purported progressives who claim to be shocked and appalled at President Obama’s warmongering have been willfully ignorant for a very long time. “Its’ a shame folks in leading ‘progressive’ circles didn’t look more seriously into the militantly imperial content of Obama’s speeches and publications during and before his initial presidential campaign.”
by Cynthia McKinney
“The war machine of the United States, Israel, and NATO will continue to roll until we stop it. The Bolivarian Alliance countries of Latin America are showing us the way – that we can achieve democracy and self-determination and liberation with ballots instead of bullets.”
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
During President Obama’s run-up to war with Syria, “African Americans were, for the first time in polling history, the most bellicose major ethnicity in the United States.” How could such a political role-reversal come to pass? “The progressive, peace-seeking African American worldview is out of sync with the deep imperative to support the First Black President.”
Obama Still Looking for War Excuse
The Obama administration is “thrashing everywhere to find a new excuse to rev up another war threat,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. The president’s current willingness to negotiate with the Russians over Syria “is a tactical retreat that gives the anti-war movement more time to organize.”
American Exceptionalism=White Supremacy
The American “exceptionalism” that President Obama cited in his Syria speech “is rooted in a notion of unacknowledged white supremacy,” said Ajamu Baraka, associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. For 500 years, European colonists have claimed the privilege “to determine who has the right to sovereignty, who has the right to rule, who should have the authority in certain countries,” said Baraka. “It’s nothing more than the dressed up re-articulation of the White Man’s Burden.”
Syria admitted possession of chemical weapons at least a year ago, according to Sam Husseini, of the Institute for Public Accuracy, citing a 2012 article from American Interest magazine. “Everything that I’ve been able to find indicates that Israel continues to build up its chemical weapons capacity,” said Husseini. “What is ironic,” however, “is that it is Israel that does not acknowledge its possession of nuclear weapons.”
When U.S. Presidents Want War, They Get War
“I can’t think of a time when a president said, ‘I want to begin bombing another country,’ and has not gotten to do it,” said Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.Org. “By hook or crook, it gets done.” However, this time around, “the militaristic center could not hold,” forcing President Obama into negotiations with the Russians. Actually, the Russians and Syrians did Obama a favor. “He needed a climb-down, somehow,” said Solomon.
Beware Obama’s Bay of Pigs Moment
“One of the frightening aspects” of the crisis over Syria, said historian and activist Paul Street, “is that Obama has taken such a black eye, here, he’s been so humiliated, that it has upped the ante of his need to escalate.” Street warns that this could be Obama’s “Bay of Pigs moment,” as when President John Kennedy pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 after the humiliating defeat of a CIA invasion of Cuba, the year before. “All of humanity hopes this guy can be restrained,” said Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power.
Affirmative Action Again Before High Court
On October 15, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Michigan’s defense of Proposition 2, which bans affirmative action. “If we lose this case,” said Shanta Driver, the lead attorney for BAMN, By Any Means Necessary, “a white majority will have been able to end affirmative action programs in our state, permanently. That means the beginning of an era of the new Jim Crow.”
Predatory Banks Prey on Public Sector
Activists will gather in Detroit, October 5 and 6, for an International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity. “We’re asking for a complete cancellation of the debt to the banks, which is strangling the schools, the cities and the states,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, media outreach coordinator for the conference and editor of the Pan-African News Wire. “Detroit was locked into predatory lending at the municipal financing level,” he said. “That’s why they’re claiming that Detroit owes $22 billion to these financial institutions.”
by Raymond Nat Turner
Set to do drive-bys,
With the world divided
Between “NO” and “HELL NO!”