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Black is Back Coalition

Black Is Back Coalition Holds National Conference in Philadelphia

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Black is Back Coalition came together in 2009, “determined that the first politician in history to spend a billion dollars to win the presidency would not get a free pass from all of Black America.” The Coalition’s upcoming national conference will map strategies to confront Power in the waning days of the Age of Obama, and beyond.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/16/14

Nation’s First All-Charter School System Restores Segregation

The last conventional public school in the New Orleans Recovery District closed last month, a harbinger of what may be in store in systems across the country. “Apparently, this model means taking education out of the public realm and putting it into the hands of private, non-profit boards and for-profit corporations,” said Karran Harper Royal, a parent advocate with the city’s Coalition for Community Schools, one of several groups that have filed a civil rights suit against the district and the Louisiana Board of Education. “It seems that white kids are disproportionately taking up the seats in the A- and B-rated schools,” while Black children are clustered in failing schools, said Ms. Harper Royal. “After all these years, we’re back in a segregated school system, only now it is also along class lines.”

Haiti Activists Urge Rejection of Both Congressional Candidates in Harlem

Incumbent Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel and his main challenger, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, are both guilty of supporting “apartheid” policies against Dominicans of Haitian descent, charged demonstrators outside a televised campaign debate. Under a law passed by the Dominican Republic and endorsed by Rangel and Espaillat, less than 10 percent of 200,000-plus people with roots in Haiti will quality for Dominican citizenship, even though most have never set foot outside the country and speak only Spanish. Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist, called on Harlemites “not to vote for either of these supporters of apartheid,” and for “people of conscience around the world to boycott Dominican products and services,” including tourism.

Black Is Back Coalition: Obama “Worse Than Bush”

Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, said Barack Obama has been “worse than Bush” for Black people, and for the cause of peace. “Bush couldn’t have gotten away with the things Obama did without some kind of response” from the Black community,” said Yeshitela. Obama “has neutralized so many forces, taken them out of action. It wasn’t understood that part of Obama’s function was to act as a cover for white power and for imperialism. He’s escalated war, he’s signed off on assassinations, and he’s done it with a neutralized Black community.” The Black Is Back Coalition holds its annual international conference in Philadelphia, August 16-17.

U.S. Pushes Russia and China into Closer Alliance

Washington’s provocations are driving Russia, the world’s top energy exporter, and China, soon to be the world’s largest economy, into a deeper economic and political alliance, said Eric Draitser, of StopImperialism.org. “It would seem a self-defeating strategy,” said the independent political analyst. “But, the reality is that the United States doesn’t have control anymore. Obama and his blundering foreign policy have provided the impetus” for closer Sino-Russian collaboration, which can only increase with development of a “New Silk Road stretching from China all the way through Turkey and into Europe.”

Mumia on the Passing of Ruby Dee

Actress and activist Ruby Dee, who died at age 91, supported many radical causes and political prisoners, including Mumia Abu Jamal. “One would be hard pressed to find a role where she played anything less than the best of Black people,” said Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. Ruby Dee and her late husband Ossie Davis’ “work was a theater of Black dignity, Black family and Black love.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/28/13

NSA Could Ensnare Anyone in National Security Trap

“Every single person in this country owes Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning a debt of gratitude,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, renowned whistleblower and a founder of the No FEAR Coalition. The NSA program that tracks human networks endangers all Americans, said Coleman-Adebayo, “because everyone is only a person or two or three or four away from being implicated in some scheme that the National Security State comes up with.” She called Bradley Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for exposing government secrets an example of growing “tyranny.”

Ray Kelly’s Rise Halted By Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

It is highly unlikely that New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will be appointed head of Homeland Security, said Robert Gangi, of the Police Reform Organizing Project of the Urban Justice Center. A federal court found that the city’s stop-and-frisk practices routinely violate the constitutional rights of Blacks and Latinos. “There is now a big black eye on the face of New York City policing,” said Gangi. “Ray Kelly is no longer the iconic law enforcement figure he was a short two years ago.”

Black Is Back Coalition Magnifies Grassroots Forces

The betrayals and predations of the Black Misleadership Class can be overcome by out-organizing them. “Our objective is to replace that misleadership, not just to complain about it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. Black is Back seeks to “provide the ability for all of these” grassroots organizations “to come together and to magnify their presence many times over,” said Yeshitela. The coalition recently held its national conference in Harlem.

Cornel West on Obama and the New Jim Crow

The Obama administration seems to believe it is immune from effective Black criticism. “It’s sad to see us pimped like that,” said Dr. Cornel West, the activist and academic currently based at Union Theological Seminary, in New York. “All of our suffering is rendered invisible because they know we will be highly protective of them.” The administration has “that kind of power, that kind of bully pulpit, but they can’t say a mumbling word about the New Jim Crow – and they’ve been in office for five years. That’s disgusting!” Dr. West spoke on the latest edition of Black Agenda TV.

Nursing Students Charge Fraud in Philadelphia

Six Black women, who call themselves the Liberation of Students Rights Group of Philadelphia, charge the now defunct St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing cheated them out of $22,000 each and a year of their lives. Sabrina Whitaker said she and her fellow students, all college graduates at the time, had heard that the school had a Black dean, and “wanted to work in an area that was African American.” But the school turned out to be unaccredited. “We had to share gloves, we had to share needles when learning how to do IVs,” said Whitaker. The women hope to prevail in court, to prove that “if you keep fighting, keep striving for what you believe in, your dream too can come true.”

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Crimes Against Blacks Demand Consequences, Says Black Is Back Coalition

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The Black Is Back Coalition holds its national conference in Harlem, this weekend, with “movement-building” on their minds. The ongoing assaults on African American lives and dignity show that “Black people are not effectively wielding power in the United States – certainly not in their own defense.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/24/13

Ralph’s DC Vigil for Lynne

“We all know that Obama and [Attorney General] Holder can move this with the stroke of a pen,” said Ralph Poynter, husband of people’s lawyer Lynn Stewart, whose Stage Four breast cancer worsens by the day in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison facility. A request for Stewart’s compassionate release from a ten-year prison sentence has stalled at the desk of Federal Bureau of Prisons director Charles Samuels. Asked how long he would maintain his vigil in front of the White House, Poynter replied, “I will be in Washington until Lynne is free or dead.”

Rich Men’s Fears Drive U.S. Hyper-Surveillance

The wealthy classes that rule the country “are very scared of the fact that the average American citizen may rise up and rebel against the redistribution of wealth to the top,” said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. “The surveillance state isn’t creeping, anymore. It’s here.”

Obama Defiles Democracy

All-pervasive spying on the citizenry “is one more thing that we can add to the list of offenses that Obama has committed against every assumption of democracy and democratic rights,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. The revelations follow on the heels of the administration’s doubling of the bounty on Black liberation movement exile Assata Shakur. “That means anybody who supports Assata Shakur can be charged with supporting terrorism,” said Yeshitela. “I don’t think a white president could have gotten away with that.”

Humanitarian” Imperialism

Ajamu Baraka, an Institute for Policy Studies fellow and co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, said “the U.S. strategic objectives in the Middle East is to prevent any effective opposition to its interests in the region.” In an interview with Kali-Ahset Amen, host of Atlanta radio station WRFG’s “Moving the Center” program, Baraka described the doctrine of “humanitarian” military intervention as part of “desperate attempt on the part of the U.S. and the West to maintain their global hegemony” through force of arms.

Richmond’s Slave Origins Deserve Preservation

Shockoe Bottom, the historic center of old Richmond, Virginia, and site of what was once the nation’s second largest slave market, should not be replaced by a shopping mall, said human rights activist and journalist Anna Edwards. “Shockoe Bottom is the birthplace of the city of Richmond,” said Edwards, an editor of Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality newspaper. Richmond, “like so many cities in the United States, was born out of slave societies.”

African Americans Should Show Some Humility, Says Scholar

Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, had a quick response to African Americans who might ask, “What have the Palestinians ever done for us?” The Palestinians “did a much better job than many of these Africans in North America in terms of lobbying on behalf of African liberation,” Horne told Norman Richmond, host of Regency Radio’s Saturday Morning Show, in Toronto, Canada. Blacks in America “should really have a bit more humility.”

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It Was Good That Blacks Expressed Frustration with Obama – But Don’t Call It “Direct Action”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The sheer weight of the damage done to Blacks under Obama’s watch prompted some of his strong supporters to demonstrate in front the White House, this past Monday – a first, from that quarter. However, the event was mislabeled as a Day of Direct Action, which it was definitely not. That's like announcing you're launching armed struggle, and then challenging Obama to an arm wrestling contest.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of November 12, 2012

 

Racial Solidarity in Misery

Who won on November 6? “If maintaining a degree of racial solidarity is a victory, then both sides – those that were solidified by their whiteness, and those that were solidified by their Blackness – I guess you can say that they both won that,” said Columbia, South Carolina, activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray. “Every economic and social indicator since Barack Obama got elected is in the negative.” Gray is author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Wealth Wins Big

The issue of “poverty was almost completely missing in the campaign,” said author and political analyst Paul Street. “Wealthy people own this political system: they own the economy, they own the society, the own the government, they own the politicians.” Street is author of The Emperor’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power.

Blacks to Become More Invisible

Reflexive African American loyalty to President Obama reminds Dr. Anthony Monteiro of Malcolm X’s critique of Black affection for President John F. Kennedy: “We put him first, and he put us last.” The same goes for Obama, said Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “And us being last will be even worse in his second term, because he does not need the Black vote again. Black people will become more invisible.”

Capitalists Running Scared

President Obama’s preventive detention law and his plans to introduce “a new legal architecture” on national security in his next term, show that U.S. rulers live in fear of the people, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “When the state has to show its hand in such a heavy-fisted way, it is clear that they are anticipating a severe crisis for which they do not have a response,” said Yeshitela.

Seattle Likes Socialists

Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives, won 27 percent of the vote on November 6. It is no longer taboo to campaign openly as a socialist, said Sawant, a professor of economics at Seattle Central Community College. “Times are changing, it’s not the Cold War propaganda era, anymore.” She attributes the party’s success to “the massive crisis of capitalism and the anger that people are feeling” at the financial oligarchy.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 22, 2012

 

Medicare Supporters Protest While Candidates Joke

Medicare “is being threatened by both parties,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rosenthal, of Physicians for a National Health Care Program. The group led protests outside New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, where presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney told jokes at an annual dinner. “Even the Democrats are talking about raising the age of eligibility for Medicare,” said Rosenthal. Both parties and the media claim Medicare is facing bankruptcy. “That’s all very misleading. It’s not in crisis, it’s not going to run out of money for a long time, and we can fix that.” Rosenthal’s organization wants Medicare expanded to cover all Americans.

Black Is Back – in Washington

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which appeared on the scene with a march on the White House in 2009, returns to DC for a rally and national conference, November 3 and 4, under the theme “Breaking the Silence.” “There are bombs being dropped in Africa, and increased militarization of our communities in the United States,” said spokesperson Ayesha Fleary. “Millions have died in the Congo over the last 10 years, but that’s never on anybody’s agenda.”

Stop-and-Frisk Protesters Face 2+ Years in Prison

Trial begins October 23 for four members of the Stop Stop-and-Frisk movement, charged with acting “in concert” to disrupt a police precinct in Queens, New York, last year. Prosecutors are seeking to intimidate the movement by “piling on” charges that could put the demonstrators in prison for more than two years, said defendant Carl Dix. “It is illegitimate, unjust and racist for the NYPD to racially profile Black youth…and to put us on trial for protesting it. What has be put on trial, here, is stop-and-frisk, itself.”

Parents of Slain Oakland Youth Speak Out

Our youth are saying, Why plan for the future when I might not live to be 18?” said Jeralyn Blueford, whose son Alan was shot to death by an Oakland, California, policeman, last May. Mrs. Blueford and her husband, Adam, will travel to New York and Philadelphia to tell how a cop chased her unarmed son for a mile before putting three bullets in his chest. Initial police claims that there had been a shootout, soon fell apart. “It was just racial profiling at its core,” said the father.

South Africa Slum Dwellers, in U.S., Condemn Marikana Massacre

We need to take a stand, because what the miners were fighting for is just,” said Mnikelo Ndabankulu, spokesperson for the South African grassroots organization Abahlali baseMjondolo, which means “People Who Live in Shacks” in the Zulu language. At least 34 workers were shot dead by police at the Marikana platinum mine, in August. Ndabankulu's group has also been harshly suppressed by authorities. “South Africa is a protesting state,” he said. If police were allowed to shoot everyone who protests, “the country would be left with only police and rich people.” Abahlali baseMjondolo members are on a tour of U.S. cities.

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Black is Back, With a Conference in Washington, Nov 3

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Black Is Back Coalition was born in October, 2009, when Black activists came together “to make some noise and formulate some plans – rather than passively accept the corporate policies of the icon in the White House.” The Coalition has been hard at work on worldwide Black liberation ever since, and will “Break the Silence” once again, with a rally and conference in the nation’s capital.

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Break the Silence of War and Oppression: Black Is Back Coalition to Rally and March in DC in November

 

from the Black is Back Coalition

On the heels of its national conference last month in Newark, New Jersey, the Black Is Back Back Coalition will rally under the theme “Breaking the Silence,” in Washington, DC, on November 3 and 4. “Our people are enduring oppressive conditions that can only be likened to a state of warfare in every community where we are located within the U.S…. We will disavow the charlatans, poseurs and sycophants who have been chosen by our oppressors as our leaders. “

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – week of September 3, 2012

 

Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk

The police racial profiling practice known as stop-and-frisk is “wrong, it is immoral, it is racist and unconstitutional” said social activist Dr. Cornel West, announcing a “Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk” campaign starting September 13. “This struggle is going to intensify. We want to connect it to the military industrial complex,” the Wall Street complex, the prison industrial complex, and “we want to connect it to this election, where you see the farce between one oligarchic part and another.”

Noche Diaz, an activist facing multiple trials for confronting stop-and-frisk, asked “By is that I have to look at 15 year-olds in the playgrounds of the Bronx, who tell me that if you’re not a white person in this world, you don’t matter?”

Push for $10 Minimum Wage

Democrats are “dialing for the same dollars” as Republicans, seeking corporate campaign contributions and “rejecting Franklin Roosevelt’s legacy,” said social activist Ralph Nader. “Polls show over 70 percent of the American people consistently want a minimum wage kept up with inflation.” Adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage would now be $10.35, rather than the current $7.25. The United States, said Nader, has “the lowest minimum wage in the western world.”

Black Is Back Coalition Examines Electoral Strategies

We want to take this conversation beyond an examination of Obama, to an examination of the electoral process, itself,” said Ayesha Fleary, at the recent conference of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, in Newark, New Jersey.

Let us use the electoral process as one form of struggle,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “Our future depends on our willingness to build a real capacity to utilize every form of struggle in the quest for liberation.”

Black people were ill-served by the “misleadership class” that arose after the collapse of the Sixties mass movements, said Glen Ford. “The same class of Black opportunists who has risen to local power through the Blackening of America’s cities, presided over the demographic reversal of fortunes, later on,” with the mounting loss of Black urban majorities.

Corporate American and the banks have a death grip on Harlem, that will produce an even greater forced migration out of Harlem,” said Nellie Bailey, of the Harlem Tenants Council.

U.S. rulers have placed Black and brown “neocolonialists” in positions of nominal power “to make it appear that people are making progress,” said Charles Barron, the Brooklyn city councilman. What’s needed are “African-conscious, radical, revolutionary people” elected to city councils, nationwide.

Do we want to participate” in elections “just to raise issues…or to actually get people elected?” asked Larry Hamm, leader of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress. “We’ve got to be able to come up with candidates, and when we put people in office, we’ve got to keep them accountable.”

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Obama, the Elections and the Struggle for Justice, Peace, a Better Life and Black Power

 

by Omali Yeshitela

The U.S. electoral system, like American society at-large, is dominated by wealthy capitalists. What use, then, is electoral politics to African Americans? The Black Is Back Coalition explored that question at its national conference, in Newark, New Jersey. “We must create the options, destroying the proverbial claptrap from some ‘leftists’ and ‘revolutionaries’ that ask, ‘If not Obama and the Democrats, then what?’”

Black Is Back Coalition Examines the Question of Elections

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Black Is Back Coalition talks a look forward and back at its national conference, this weekend, in Newark, New Jersey. The gathering will focus on Blacks and elections in America. Forty years ago, Blacks took nominal power in much of urban America. “What did African Americans do correctly during this period of African American power at the polls in urban America, and where did we go wrong?”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of August 13, 2012

 

Elections and Black Power

On August 18 and 19, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparation holds its national conference in Newark, New Jersey, under the theme: Obama, the Elections, and the Struggle for Peace, a Better Life, and Black Power. “We’re going to take it away from simply a discussion around Obama and place it in a context of elections in a capitalist system: What are they about, who funds them, and their role” under capitalism, said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. “This is something that the movement at-large hasn’t done since the Civil Rights era, when there was an assumption that elections were the way to gain power for Black people.”

Prison for Poor People

In a practical sense, debtors prisons are a reality in America, say two Birmingham, Alabama, lawyers who have defended hundreds of people thrown in jail by private companies for non-payment of fines and fees. Companies contracted by localities to handle probation “services” pile on fees that often “exceed the amount that the person can afford to make payments,” said Atty. Lisa Borden. In many cases, people who are jailed are charged additional fees to pay for their incarceration. Atty. William Dawson, who brought suit against many Alabama cities and towns, said: “The fact that this has gone on for six or eight years throughout the South and other parts of America is outrageous.”

The Philadelphia Plan: Marginalize Blacks

Philadelphia pubic school authorities want to close at least 40 schools and convert 40 percent of remaining classrooms to charter operations. The plan was financed by large corporate interests. “There’s big business in moving us out of the way,” said Rev. Alyn Waller, pastor of the city’s Enon Tabernacle Church. “We need to recognize that there is a larger strategy, here, to disenfranchise and marginalize people in the African American community.

U.S. Persecutes Eritrea

The northeast African nation of Eritrea, which fought a 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia, “is on America’s hit list,” said Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report executive editor. The U.S. pressured the UN Security Council to renew sanctions against Eritrea, even though a monitoring group found no evidence that the country had assisted Shabab resistance fighters in Somalia over the past year. Especially in Africa, said Ford, Washington’s policy is “to create chaos and horrific human suffering in those regions it cannot directly control.”

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The Concept of “Black” Elections

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

When a Black candidate that fails to gain majority Black support wins an election, is that a Black victory, or a Black defeat? The Black Is Back Coalition holds a national conference in Newark, New Jersey, on August 18, to explore the potential and pitfalls of electoral politics. “This notion of elections=politics is pervasive across the American racial landscape.” It causes Black people to abandon their historic strengths. “The rejection of mass, grassroots action is a negation of, literally, the vast bulk of the Black historical political experience.”

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