anti-war movement

Freedom Rider: UNAC Brings Power to the People

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The United National Anti-War Coalition, which held a national conference last weekend in Richmond, Virginia, “does not change its organizing principles based on who controls Congress or who sits in the White House Oval Office.” All oppressions are intertwined. “The fight for a living minimum wage and the fight against interventions abroad must therefore be addressed together because they are in fact part of a whole.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 19, 2017

Time for a Constitutional Right To Vote

“We need visionary demands,” said Bruce Dixon, speaking at the Black Agenda Report panel at the annual Left Forum conference in New York City. A constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote would “invalidate” all the restrictions that disenfranchise so many in the United States. “If it’s not in the Constitution, any sheriff, any mayor, any governor or state legislature, any county official, can make a rule that interferes with your right to vote,” said Dixon. Democrats had “the moral high ground” to pass such an amendment in the 70s and 80s, but instead decided to rely on the U.S. Supreme Court to safeguard voting rights.

Democrats Spread Confusion in Black America

“We need revolutionary change in this country,” said Ajamu Baraka, the veteran human rights activist who ran for vice president on the Green Party ticket and is currently organizing the Black Alliance for Peace. The Democratic Party has been “the main impediment for us developing the kind of radical, oppositional politics and consciousness that we have to build,” said Baraka, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “Most of our community understand where the Republicans are coming from, but it has been the Democratic Party that has been the source of ideological confusion” in Black America.

The Rulers are in Crisis

The rulers of the U.S. face a “crisis of legitimacy,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Philadelphia-based Duboisian scholar and frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report. “All of the institutions of governing and ruling the people are being rejected by the people,” said Monteiro. This crisis exists in “all the major centers of global capitalism,” and demands that the left make “strategic decisions about how we move forward.”

Don’t Get Paranoid About Infiltrators

At a Left Forum panel on “Infiltration and Cooptation of the Left,” veteran activist Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance, said a “security culture” to identity agents of the state is “useful” to movement organizations. But, “we don’t want to create paranoia.” Zeese advocates a “nothing to hide” approach, based on the fact that “what we are doing is right, we’re on the right side of the issue.” If an organization does become hopeless infiltrated, however, “it’s OK to just leave and start” another one.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Ditch Both War Parties: Anti-War Coalition Maps Independent Course to Peace

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Democrats claim their warmongering is justified by a manufactured Russian threat, while Donald Trump wants to turn the U.S. war machine on China and Iran. For those that want peace, the destination is Richmond, Virginia, where the United National Anti-War Coalition will hold a national conference independent of the two parties of war. This year’s conference will boast "the largest Black presence in UNAC’s history.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of March 6, 2017

An Electoral School for Black Self-Determination

The Black political class has “become servants of the Democratic Party and other institutions outside of our communities,” and must be replaced, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The coalition will hold a two-day electoral school, April 8 and 9, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to begin a campaign “to unleash a new force of people, and inject them into the electoral process based on a struggle for self-determination.” The coalition last year released a 19-point National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination with positions on the widest range of domestic and foreign policy issues. Candidates that support the Agenda should get Black support -- even if they’re Democrats, said Yeshitela.

Blacks Need an Anti-War Movement, Not Anti-Russia Hysteria

The Democrats seem to have an objective interest in having us focus on Donald Trump, the person, as opposed to this system, itself,” said Ajamu Baraka, the former Green Party vice presidential candidate, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. In this environment, anti-war views are regarded as suspect. “I’m involved in building a Black Alliance for Peace, to try to revive the Black anti-war movement -- the Black anti-war consciousness,” he said. “We think we have a perfect opportunity, now that people are waking up out of this eight-year stupor, to bring the Black community back to where we used to be, as the most consistent anti-war population in this country. But, it’s difficult to do this when our people are getting caught up in this anti-Russian hysteria, too,” said Baraka.

Beyond Black Lives Matter

Despite its success in “changing the conversation about police brutality in the United States,” the Black Lives Matter movement “shows the limitations of social movements that do not advance beyond highlighting injustice,” said Dr. Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, the author, activist and professor of African America Studies at Princeton University. In a speech at Detroit’s Wayne State University, Taylor said: “Knowledge, alone, of abuse, injustice and oppression” is not enough. “Indeed, mass movements of millions have to be mobilized to stare down the autocratic impulses of the regime in the White House.”

In Praise of Two Exemplary “Jailhouse Lawyers”

Mumia Abu Jamal spent many years on death row before his sentence was reduced to life in prison. The nation’s best known political prisoner has high praise for two other Pennsylvania prison inmates, Craig Williams and Shaun T. Walker, who were kept on death row for years, even after their death sentences were lifted. Williams, said Abu Jamal, is “one helluva jailhouse lawyer -- still making new law.”

Mumia and other inmates “have complained about hazardous brown water for several months, and prison officials have done nothing to fix the problem,” according to a public service announcement produced by the Move organization. “Enough is enough.” Activists are urging the public to call John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, at 717.728.4109, and “demand that inmates are given clean water for showers and personal use.” For more information, go to FreeMumia.com.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.  Click here to download or listen to the show.
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