by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Corinthian Colleges is going out of business, and other for-profit rip-offs will follow. However, “The very existence of Corinthian, Phoenix, Ashford and the other gangster institutions proves beyond doubt that the vast bulk of the existing U.S. educational establishment is not serving” Black and poor people. Yes, America needs free higher education, but the excluded classes also need a new system that is not hostile to their very presence.
by Reverend Reynard N. Blake, Jr.
What happens when political seasons change on the plantation?
by BAR Poet-in-Residence Raymond Nat Turner
Dan quizzed, “Don’t you have Dyson?”
Satan quipped, “Damn right, my son,”
“And Reverend Al and Harris-Perry—
What the hell—the more the merry!”
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/14/13
Cancel Detroit’s Debt
Predatory bank lending policies destroyed the tax base of Detroit, and now these same Wall Street institutions want to confiscate the city’s public assets through forced bankruptcy. The debt should be cancelled, said Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer of the First International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity, held in Detroit last week. “It’s illegitimate. It’s based on the systematic destruction of the city,” said Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire. “We believe that people in other cities have to adopt a similar strategy.”
Leave Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Alone
Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP chief Ben Jealous and broadcaster Tom Joyner should halt their attacks on scholar/activist Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley, said Rev. Anthony Evans, director of the National Black Church Initiative. “Take your hands off these brothers. They are defending the integrity and worthiness of the Black community,” said Evans. Prominent Obama supporters, he said, have told the White House: “You don’t have to worry about Black folks getting out of line; we will keep them in line for you.”
A Socialist Win in Minneapolis?
Even the corporate media admit that Socialist Alternative candidate Ty Moore has a chance of winning a seat on the city council, this November. “If we win this race, it’s not because a majority of working class residents of Ward 9, South Minneapolis, are socialists, but because they are angry at the system and they see that the people who are running this city are clearly sided with the rich and big business,” said Moore. “Our organization has built roots in this community, by fighting back.” Another Socialist Alternative city council candidate is running well in Seattle.
UN Sued Over Haiti Cholera
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed suit in federal court, demanding the United Nations take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed at least 8,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands more. The world body claims it is immune from legal action, although it is widely accepted that UN ‘peacekeepers’ were the nexus of the disease. “The UN’s refusal to accept the rule of law in this case obviously undermines its ability to promote the rule of law, elsewhere,” said Institute director Brian Concannon. He notes that the UN, which claims lack of funds to eradicate cholera in Haiti, spent $500 million last year for ‘peacekeeping’ soldiers “in a country that has not had a recognized war in our lifetime.”
US Finances Congo Carnage
Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni told a UN Security Council delegation that bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo is not their responsibility. Maurice Carney, of Washington-based Friends of Congo, agrees. “Kagame and Museveni can never be responsible for peace,” said Carney. “What they can be responsible for is stopping the war of aggression that they have been waging against the Congolese people, with U.S. financial and military support and training, and U.S. diplomatic and political cover.” Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich eastern region of the Congo 17 years ago, resulting in the deaths of six million people – and counting.
American peace activists recently returned from a visit to Syria, where they met with President Bashir Al-Assad. Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, said it was important to counter U.S. government and media attempts to “demonize” the Syrian leader, as an excuse for arming thousands of jihadist “rebels.” “It was Syria that proposed making the whole region into a nuclear-free and chemical-free weapons zone,” said Flounders. “It was the U.S. who refused.”
China as U.S. Banker
Washington is “pivoting” to confront China militarily in Asia, while at the same time Beijing holds the largest share of Washington’s huge foreign debt. “It is quite ironic that the United States is seeking to escalate tensions with its bankers,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. “I’m not sure that’s a sound strategy. With an impending debt default,” said Horne, the dollar “as the principal world reserve currency comes into question.”
Philadelphia Declaration: War = Poverty
Grassroots activists held a Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “Our declaration of the rights of our people must demand an end to war, threats of war, and preparations for war,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. “You cannot answer the pressing social problems of this country, uppermost being poverty, without dismantling the warfare state,” he told the gathering at Philadelphia’s historic Church of the Advocate.
Herman Wallace: A Free Man
Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and the country’s best known political prisoner, saluted Herman Wallace, who was released from prison after 41 years of solitary confinement, earlier this month, only to die two days later of liver cancer. Wallace and two other inmates established a Black Panther Party chapter at Louisiana’s infamous Angola Prison. “He remained a soldier for the people and an opponent to the system,” said Abu Jamal. “Herman Wall truly died free.”
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by Chris Hedges
African Americans have historically been the most progressive U.S. constituency because of the Black prophetic tradition, best personified today by Dr. Cornel West. This tradition has also saved the United States from itself. “America without the black prophetic tradition, from Frederick Douglass to Fannie Lou Hamer, means an American authoritarian regime, American fascism.”
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/19/13
Dr. Cornel West to March Organizers: Get Off the Obama Plantation
“If Martin Luther King Jr. were to show up” at this month’s commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, said academic and activist Dr. Cornel West, “what he would say would be so subversive that those on the Obama plantation would be revealed for who they are, which is obsessed with career, obsessed with access, and obsessed with status as opposed to being obsessed with the suffering of poor Black brothers and sisters.” Appearing on the latest edition of Black Agenda Television, Dr. West said Rev. Al Sharpton “and so many others” will not address the New Jim Crow, privatization of education and gentrification because of their ties to the White House. Preacher-educator Michael Eric Dyson and MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry have “become sycophants” of the administration, said West.
Stop-and Frisk Ruling is Blow to Bloomberg and His Top Cop
Last week’s federal court ruling puts Mayor Michael Bloomberg on notice that “you can’t just lump all Black or Latino New Yorkers together with the criminal population of the city and say, We can now stop you because members of your community may have committed crimes in the past,” said Darius Charney, the lead attorney in the class action suit. The decision should also remove Police Commissioner Ray Kelly from consideration to head the Department of Homeland Security, “given his utter disrespect and disregard for people’s fundamental constitutional rights.”
But, Court Keeps Foxes and Wolves in Charge of Henhouse
Although the judge provided a “service” by declaring the NYPD’s practices unconstitutional, said Stop Stop-and-Frisk co-founder Carl Dix, the court’s order “sets up a system through which the NYPD will reform itself with oversight from the federal government.” As Malcolm X advised, 50 years ago, said Dix, “They’re saying that the foxes are going to reform their approach to the chicken coop, and the wolves will oversee that reform in the approach to the chicken coop. What is that going to mean to the chickens?”
Black Federal Employees Blast EEOC
The Coalition for Change (C4C), an organization of minority federal employees, issued an angry rebuttal to an EEOC assessment that workplace discrimination is largely a problem of “perceptions” and “unintentional bias.” The EEOC, said C4C founder Tanya Ward Jordan, “seeks to downplay the pain, anguish, and the attacks that are going on right now under the Obama administration.” Fifty years after the March on Washington, “we still don’t have any measure to hold these managers accountable,” said Jordan. “At the end of the day, even if we are successful in proving our claim, and there is a finding against these public officials, there is no mandatory discipline.”
Huge “Regression” on the Black Education Front
“We are in a period of regression” in the educational arena, said Dr. Donald Smith, a founder of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. Black and Latinos “hardly exist” in the core curriculum being promulgated to public schools throughout the nation. “In fact, if you look at the fifth grade curricular suggestion, not a single writer of African or Hispanic descent is included,” said Dr. Smith. “The gains that we made in attempting to help our people understand our African heritage and how important that heritage is to the strengthening of our students, is being evaporated.”
Left and Secular Supporters of Egyptian Coup Do Great Harm
The military coup in Egypt is a disaster for the country’s people, said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “It’s so unfortunate to see, in Egypt and reflected here in the United States, those who because they had differences with the Muslim Brotherhood actually siding with the oppressive arms of the state,” said Flounders. “The revolutionary ferment is now in danger. And those who stood with the military have created the greatest danger, because they disoriented people in a massive way.”
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by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Delivery systems and platforms for information may proliferate at blinding speed, but most Americans have no access to anything resembling the truth. They may know the names of the dead – like Trayvon Martin – but have no clue why they died. “Lies and nonsense are the standard fare for the most read and watched news sources in this country.”
Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 2/25/13
Obama’s Drone Wars are “Evil,” Says Black Church Group
President Obama’s drone assassination policy is “evil” and should be condemned by all Christian clergy, said Rev. Anthony Evans, executive director of the Washington-based National Black Church Initiative. Black political figures such as Reverends Jesse Jackson Sr. and Al Sharpton and NAACP chief Ben Jealous “have replaced their loyalty to God and serving the African American people with serving President Obama, who can do no wrong.” Al Sharpton, said Rev. Evans, has become the White House “gatekeeper,” and “you can buy the NAACP, these days.”
Suit Against UN was Doomed from Start, says Haiti Lawyer
“We were not surprised” that the United Nations claimed immunity from liability for the cholera deaths of thousands of Haitians, said Ezili Danto, head of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network. “Asking the UN to find itself guilty is like asking the rapist, Tell us if you actually raped this woman,” said Atty. Danto. She favored naming the United States as liable for the epidemic, “because they call the shots, and we name the UN because their soldiers brought it in.” The unsuccessful action was brought by the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.
“Baby Doc” Duvalier Avoids Haiti Court Appearance
Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier failed to personally appear in a Port-au-Prince court in connection with allegations of human rights violations. Duvalier is also facing corruption charges for taking millions in public funds with him into exile in 1986. If Duvalier finally does show up to answer human rights charges, “it would be the first time that he is actually in court with some of his victims,” said Dan Beeton, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Modern-Day “Robber Barons” Looting Postal Service Properties
U.S. Postal Service real estate and art is being sold off to private developers through a firm controlled by the husband of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. “It really is a bank heist,” said Gray Brechlin, of the Living New Deal Project. The sell-off “is something like the great land frauds in the 19th century, when the railroads and the various other robber barons got hold of the public domain.”
Give Me That Old Time Hoodoo Religion
Although nowadays associated with items like “hotfoot powder” and “money-drawing oil,” Hoodoo was once a “full-fledged religion” among African Americans, said Dr. Katrina Hazzard-Donald, director of the Africana Studies and Research Program at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. Hazzard-Donald is author of the new book Mojo Workin’: The Old African American Hoodoo System. “What we are looking at today,” she said, “are the remnants of what was once a fully functioning religion, just as you find in Voodoo and Santaria and the other African manifestations of traditional religion on this side of the Atlantic.”
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by Pascal Robert
There’s something wrong with the process by which Black leadership is selected. “Black people are trapped in a viscous cycle of looking at their favorite leaders and revering them like baseball cards.” What’s needed is democracy in struggle. “People must be trained with the organizational and political capital to advocate and fight for policy and economic models that best serve their needs.”
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Barack Obama sends his number two, a white man, to tell Black folks that Republicans want to throw them back into slavery. You’d think Al Sharpton would object. But no, because “Black leadership has been effectively co-opted by the Obama Administration and the goal is to keep us doped up and afraid to use our Democratic voice.”
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
In the two hours of MSNBC’s corporate-sponsored “Black Agenda” featuring Al Sharpton and Ed Schulz, hosts and guests mentioned the Pentagon, its multiple wars and trillion dollar budget not even once. In their imaginary world, these have nothing to do with the funds not available for Medicaid, Medicare, education, jobs, or social security. The “black agenda” as handed down by Rev. Al is to shut up and support the president, thus limiting and dooming black politics to irrelevance.