Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 4, 2016

Building a Black “Movement” from the Current “Momentum”

Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s best known Black public intellectual and a keynote speaker at this weekend’s conference on the Black Radical Tradition, at Philadelphia’s Temple University, said Black America is not yet experiencing a mass social movement. “I would say it’s significant motion and momentum that can become a movement if we can sustain it. We’ve got a significant number of brothers and sisters who have broken the back of fear,” said West, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. The path to a full-blown movement starts “with the criminal justice system, and we connect it to mass unemployment, mass underemployment, then connect it to a critique of capitalism and a critique of empire.”

Chicago’s Mayor Failing the “Pacify the Blacks” Test

Rahm Emanuel “is not doing his job,” said activist, scholar and author Paul Street. “One of the main jobs for a mayor of Chicago, frankly, is to keep the Black community in line and non-rebellious, so that downtown finance and real estate interests can continue their endless gentrification and expansion, free of disturbance.” Calls have intensified for Emanuel’s resignation or recall from office for covering up police crimes against Blacks.

Obama to Press for TPP in State of the Union Address

President Obama will “make a very big push” for congressional passage of his Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade treaty in his January 12 State of the Union Address, said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. However, Zeese believes TPP can be defeated. “We’re going to have our people out in force on-line, in the Twittersphere and social media, getting out the facts, because we expect a lot of dishonesty from the president,” said Zeese, who notes that the top Democratic and Republican candidates to succeed Obama oppose TPP.

The Semantics of Terror

On January 25, the U.S. and its allies will meet with the government of Syria and its Russian ally to discuss which of the West’s jihadist proxy armies might be considered legitimate players in any future peace process. Washington considers all of the armed groups except ISIS and al-Qaida to be “moderate rebels.” Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC), said: “They asked Saudi Arabia to head up the countries that will be vetting these terrorist groups. Now, who is most directly responsible for the arming and funding – from ISIS on through – of terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq and throughout the entire region?” The whole exercise, said Flounders, “is an outrageous fraud.”

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Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 28, 2015

Ideology and Practice for the New Movement

The Black Radical Tradition is alive and kicking in the 21st century, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an organizer and keynote speaker for a conference titled “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition in Our Time,” set for January 8 through 10 at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “We observed in the framework of the anti-police state Black Lives Matter Movement a need for, and a call for, a conference that would address ideological as well as practical issues,” said Monteiro. “The Black Radical Tradition is alive and on the verge of reasserting itself.” Other keynoters include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Charlene Carruthers and Vijay Prashad.

U.S. Imperialism No Longer Seen as Unbeatable

“You’ve got a whole generation who’ve seen North Korea, Iran, [Hugo] Chavez and other people around the world tell the U.S. to stuff it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “The appearance of absolute world dominance has been fractured,” he said. “The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back” in Black America came in August, 2014, with the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri.

Teacher’s Death Prompts Call for Community Control of Police in DC

The mother of Alonzo Smith, a 27 year-old Southeast Washington DC teacher who died at the hands of private Special Police, said she’s not interested in wasting time trying to get the U.S. Justice Department to intervene in the case. Netfa Freeman, an organizer for Pan African Community Action (PACA) said Beverly Smith supports their effort to bring her son’s case before the United Nations. “We feel that the only way to stop” police killings of Blacks “is community control of police, in line with the call from the Black Panther Party in the 1960s,” said Freeman.

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Palestinians Resist Zionist Terror, Plus U.S., European, Arab Royal, Turkish and Nigerian Terror

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The West has forced millions to become wandering, destitute refugees, as it destroys nations and peoples that get in the way of Empire. Palestinians have lived this reality for 67 years. Beirut sits at the lip of the volcano.

2016's New Years Revolution… Time To Lose Some Old Habits, Gain Some New Ones

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The nonprofit world has trained much of the US left in its image. We depend on “advocacy organizations” with college educated, self-perpetuating boards of directors, responsible only to themselves and funders to carry “the movement” forward. It's not a good look, and there's no time like the dawn of a new year to lose some old bad habits.

 
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Single Payer Health Care Still More Popular Than Obamacare

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Obama’s legacy is having set back the cause of universal health care many years through his duplicitous switch to a corporate-based scheme, in 2009. Since then, half of the non-profit health insurance co-ops created as a consolation to the Left have gone out of business. However, “a new Kaiser Poll shows 58 percent of the public are in favor of Medicare for All, including 81 percent of Democrats” – more popular than Obamacare.

 
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Freedom Rider: San Bernardino and Government Terror

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The official version of events lacks credibility in most cases of domestic “terrorism,” and the San Bernardino shooting is no exception. “Several eye witnesses described shooters or suspicious persons fleeing the scene as three white men wearing black military type clothing.” Plus, the FBI opened the Farook’s apartment to reporters just two days after the killings – unprecedented speed, showing more concern for publicity than a search for truth.

Rahmbo Must Go, says My Wise Country Cousin

by BAR poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner

With Chicagoans in the street almost every day meeting, marching, teaching-in and demanding the resignation of mayor Rahm Emanuel, the poet checks in with his wise country cousin.

A Sacrificial Rahm? Mayor 1%, Racist Policing, and Metropolitan Disorder

by Paul Street

Black Chicago is fired up – which means that Corporate Chicago may be in a mood to fire Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom they trusted to “keep ghetto residents pacified.” Protesters ruined Black Friday for Magnificent Mile merchants, teachers are threatening to strike again, and a mayoral recall is possible. Militant youth declared that “Task forces, press releases, symbolic replacements of one crony for another are no longer enough to mollify the masses.”

Report: Syria Scores Victory in Moscow Talks Despite Weakness of US Anti-war Movement

by Danny Haiphong

The U.S. anti-war movement – which protests only Republican wars – went largely out of business with the election of Barack Obama, who almost immediately started new wars in pursuit of regime change. Russia’s intervention in Syria has blocked Washington’s aims to seize power in Damascus. Ironically, Obama’s inability to topple the Assad government “has given the Democratic Party room to brand itself as a party of peace for the 2016 elections.”

Why NonProfits Can't Lead the 99%

by Warren Marr

A seasoned movement elder examines what happens left organizations are led exclusively by college-educated professionals answerable to self-perpetuating boards and philanthropic funders, what happens when union leaderships free themselves from their memberships, and when community organizations become government contractors.  Only membership supported and membership-driven organizations, he suggests, can actually lead the 99%.

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Marks Year Behind Bars

by Geraldine Matthews

The United States has many political prisoners. Rev. Edward Pinkney, railroaded for trying to empower the mostly Black population of Benton Harbor, Michigan, “stands as the most glaring example of imprisonment for political activity in Michigan, and possibly in the Midwest.” The 67 year-old activist’s “phone use is suspended until July 2016,” and he believes a hit has been placed on him and that “his life is in danger.”

Low Hanging Fruit: Curbing Police Violence in Georgia Would Be A Good Start

by Hugh Esco

This weekend the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a front page report acknowledging the fact of police violence and impunity in Georgia. While the AJC didn't make the source data public, and didn't include strong and specific recommendations on how to curb killer cops and their enablers, its publication is a milestone that would not have been reached without the persistent and popular pressure from below.  That's a good thing, but only a start.

Hubert H. Harrison’s When Africa Awakes: The “Inside Story” of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World

by Jeffrey B. Perry

The works of the finest mind in early 20th century Harlem, a man who was more class-conscious than Marcus Garvey and more race-conscious than A. Philip Randolph, are now available in a new, expanded Diasporic Africa Press Edition. Hubert H. Harrison was the “Black Socrates,” according to historian Richard B. Moore. He was “ahead of his time,” said Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, and “an advanced thinker and prophet,” in the words of John Henrik Clarke.

Marcha das Mulheres Negras: The Myth of a Racial Democracy in Brazil

by Sokari Ekine

Last month, upwards of 20,000 Brazilians of African descent, predominantly women, came together to protest the deep seated racism, including the targeting and murder of Black youth by the police, and gender based violence in Brazil. This single act of protest shatters the myth of a racially harmonious nation.

Elvis, Donny Hathaway and the Daft Hollywood Paradigm

by Julian Cola

Hollywood is one of U.S. imperialism’s greatest assets, hyping a world in which all things “super” are white – and speak English. “Media exploitation had famished many of my students’ outlook to humanity's potential for achievement and excellence, reducing it to an almost exclusive white hero and heroine archetype.” Critical analysis doesn’t stand a chance against the mega-fantasy. “White superiority is the primordial thread holding this model intact.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 21, 2015

Michigan Water Crisis Rooted in Crisis of Democracy

In majority Black Flint, Michigan, the mayor has declared a state of emergency due to unsafe water, while in mostly Black Detroit tens of thousands of poor people have been shut out of the water system. Both jurisdictions were plunged into crisis under the dictatorial powers of state-appointed emergency financial managers. Thomas Stephens, a people’s lawyer and activist, blames corporate governance. “The problems with water affordability and access in Detroit, leading to a public health crisis, and the problems with lead and other contaminants in Flint actually have the same root cause: treating water, a necessity of life in our communities, as if it were a widget, something to be dealt with pursuant to the corporate bottom line.”

Exploring the Black Radical Tradition

Activists and intellectuals will converge on Temple University, in Philadelphia, for a conference on “The Black Radical Tradition In Our Time,” January 8 through 10. Keynote speakers include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Anthony Monteiro and Charlene Carruthers, of Chicago’s Black Youth Project 100. Larry Hamm, chairman of Newark, New Jersey’s People’s Organization for Progress, will speak at one of the conference panels. “The conference is needed,” he said, “because we do need a theoretical understanding of what is happening, and at the same time, those who are involved in theoretical work need to hear from people who are involved in the actual organizing on the ground, so that we can have a synthesis of the two.”

Prison as an Incubator for Hepatitis C

About 100 supporters of Mumia Abu Jamal gathered at a Scranton, Pennsylvania, courthouse where a federal judge heard arguments to compel the state prison system to treat the nation’s best known political prisoner for Hepatitis C, which caused complications that almost killed him earlier this year. Joe Piette, of Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal, said 8,000 Pennsylvania inmates carry the infection. “People are tested routinely for HIV, but they’re not tested for Hep C,” said Piette. “So they go back to the community when they get out of prison and it just spreads throughout the community.”

Venezuelan Revolution Down, But Not Out

The Socialist Party founded by the late Hugo Chavez was soundly defeated in legislative elections, earlier this month. The voting took place amid raging inflation and deep shortages of consumer goods. “The reality is that this was a deliberately constructed scarcity for the purpose of psychological warfare against the people of Venezuela,” said Eric Draitser, a New York-based political analyst who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Venezuela. After the victory of the U.S.-backed parties, said Draitser, “all of a sudden, those items began magically returning to store shelves.” Draitser’s most recent article on Venezuela is titled “The Revolution That Will Not Die.”

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How Democrats and Republicans Collude to Block the Vote -- And How We Can Un-Block It

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

We hear lots of outrage about how Republicans block the vote. But blocking the vote by keeping third parties off the ballot with unjust laws in more than a dozen states is a project Democrats share with Republicans. Both capitalist parties know you can't vote against gentrification or mass incarceration or for a peace and justice candidate if no such candidates or parties are allowed on the ballot.

Nigerian Military: “The Real Boko Haram”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

When the United States and Saudi Arabia partnered to spread global jihadist terror, they set the stage for massacres throughout Asia and Africa. The latest atrocity has claimed as many as a thousand Shia Muslim lives in Nigeria, a nation that has joined Saudi Arabia’s bizarre coalition against terror. “For the Saudis to be leading a war against terror is like the Pope leading a war against Catholicism.”

 
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Freedom Rider: Rich Countries Subvert Climate Change Talks

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The recent Paris talks on climate change failed utterly to slow the planetary slide towards extinction. The human-induced heat wave will continue to build. President Obama and other world leaders “say they want to reverse fossil fuel emissions and yet they agreed to what amounts to a 3 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase.”

Why African Americans Should Stand with Muslims and Arabs

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

The methods of repression that are now directed against Muslims and Arabs in the United States were developed to oppress Black Americans and will return tomorrow “when the state and public opinion turns against the latest expressions of black opposition popularly characterized as the black lives matter movement.” For collective self-interest and in the spirit of the Black Radical Tradition, Blacks should reach out to Arabs and Muslims and “share with them our experiences surviving racial totalitarianism.”

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