Black Liberation Movement

Twelve Ideas Post-Election from Front Line Organizers

by Bill Quigley 

Never in living history -- not even when Ronald Reagan won the White House -- have activists been so visibly distraught. The author has gathered some suggestions for coping with post-election trauma. “We need to stay centered, to foster actual human connection and build a shared commitment to struggle together.” 

Trump Says Go Back, We Say Fight Back

by Robin D.G. Kelley

The author writes: “I am not suggesting that white racism alone explains Trump’s victory. Nor am I dismissing the white working class’s very real economic grievances. It is not a matter of disaffection versus racism or sexism versus fear. Rather, racism, class anxieties, and prevailing gender ideologies operate together, inseparably, or as Kimberlé Crenshaw would say, intersectionally.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of Nov. 7, 2016

Hi-Tech Production in the Service of Humanity in Mississippi

Renaissance Jackson, the organization that briefly won the mayor’s office in predominantly Black Jackson, Mississippi, has launched a campaign to purchase a coding and programming capacity and a 3-D fabrication facility. They call it “Fab Lab.” This technology, “if it is democratically controlled, could actually serve humanity,” said Cooperation Jackson spokesman Kali Akuno. These kinds of projects are crucial, “first and foremost, to satisfy some of the basic needs of our community, and -- on a deeper level -- to really put this means of production directly in our community’s hands.” High tech is “one of these areas of the so-called ‘digital divide’ that Black people have been sorely and strategically absent from,” said Akuno. “So, we are doing it for ourselves.”

Obamacare “Imploding and Beyond Repair”

The current wave of insurance rate hikes and medical service cutbacks is the predictable result of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) that “was pretty much a gift to the health insurance industry” when Congress passed it, in 2010, said Dr. John Geyman, professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle. ACA “was never designed for affordability -- it’s a misnomer in the name of the bill,” he said. Obamacare is “imploding and beyond repair,” and unsustainable. “Tweeks cannot work in the long term. The main fight should be for what will save money and give universal coverage to everyone: namely, single payer national health insurance.” Dr. Geyman said single payer healthcare could save $500 billion a year -- about the same as the entire U.S. “defense” budget.

The Fight for Education for Liberation in Detroit

At a “Community Conversation on the Crisis in the Schools,” Detroit activists, educators and parents gathered to address the question: “Who Created the School Crisis, and How are We Responding to it?” Among those wrestling with the issue was Dr. Thomas Pedroni, professor of Curriculum Studies at Wayne State University. He said the decline began with the state takeover of schools in the 1990s, and worsened dramatically after the imposition of state-appointed “emergency managers.” “School could be one of the most meaningful places for our communities, but instead, it’s deadened,” Dr. Pedroni told the crowd at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. “But, we’re going to fight to get back to the place where we have culturally relevant curriculum, not just producing a test score but to develop people who are self-empowered and who know how to fight for their community.”

Venezuela Weathering Financial Storm, Despite Disinformation Campaign

“I challenge you to find one item of news that is positive to Venezuela in these last 16 or 17 years,” said Maria Paez Victor, a Venezuelan-born sociologist living in Toronto, Canada, and author of an article titled “Hating Venezuela.” Ms. Victor said the United States and its rightwing allies in Venezuela have kept up a non-stop disinformation campaign ever since the late Hugo Chavez and his Socialist Party were democratically elected in 1998. A crisis triggered by the collapse of world oil prices allowed the opposition to capture the legislature, last year, but Victor says the government is coping. “Venezuela has managed to weather a terrible financial situation, but this is bad news for corporate capitalism and for the United States, because they want Venezuela to be controlled by their lackies.”

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.
 
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Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 31, 2016

The Missing Black Movement Ingredient: Self-Determination

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will hold a National Black Political Convention on Self-Determination, November 5 and 6, in Washington, DC. “If you go through history, the fundamental thing that we’ve confronted is the loss of our self-determination as a people,” said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. The Coalition has put forward a 19-point position on the need to put self-determination at the center of Black struggles. The 19 points “give us the beginning of some kind of a plan,” said Yeshitela. “It says, specifically, here is our view on self-determination and the subject of reparations, Black women, the question of police invasion and brutality in our community,” and many other issues.

The “Moment of Truth” for the Empire

“We are entering a new moment in American history,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Duboisian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist. “It is a moment of truth for the ruling class, for the ruling elite. What do they do when they are trumped at home -- forgive the pun -- and trumped internationally?” he asked. “Do they back off of empire, do they readjust, do they become peaceful, or do they up the stakes and attempt to resolve all problems with war abroad and oppression at home?” Dr. Monteiro is one of the planners of a Revolutionary Science for Radical Times conference, in Philadelphia, December 9 and 10.

Hard Times in Venezuela

Despite what the corporate media are telling you, Venezuelans are not starving and the Socialist Party government will not be toppled any time soon. However, the rightwing opposition “is smelling blood” due to an economic crisis that “has made it very difficult for people to get access to imported goods, and many goods are very expensive,” said political science professor George Caccariello-Maher, of Drexel University, author of We Created Chavez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution. Corruption, smuggling and money speculation are serious problems, said Caccariello-Maher. However, the strength of the Left lies in the nation’s grassroots organizations and communes. “It would be very difficult for an opposition government to come in and attempt to throw them off their land” or return property to the private sector, he said.

Happy Birthday, Rev. Pinkney!

Benton Harbor, Michigan, human rights leader Rev. Edward Pinkney, currently serving a 2 ½ to 10 year sentence on election tampering charges, turned 68 years old this month. Marcina Cole, a courtroom observer at Pinkney’s trial, teamed up with David Sole, of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, to throw a birthday party for Pinkney, in absentia, in Detroit. “He’s definitely in support of other inmates, doing ministry work, and looking forward to being out very soon,” said Cole. She reported that Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka visited the political prisoner on October 19. “This was historical,” said Cole. “They know how powerful Rev. Pinkney is” -- and that he has allies on the outside.

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.
 
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Advancing Black Liberation Through Economic Justice

by Benjamin Woods

Black America has always revered education as a stairway to progress, but the data show that “education has not created social mobility for Black people, and it has done little to close the Black-white wage gap.” Black millennials put far less trust in the U.S. electoral system, but are open to the kind of “clear, bold and intersectional policy demands” put forward in the Vision for Black Lives policy platform.

The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond

by Paul Street

Police violence provides the “spark” that draws crowds instantly to the streets, but apartheid and inequality are the “underlying tinder that fuels the fires of rage across Black America today.” It may also have “sunk in with millions of Black Americans that the symbolic election of a technically First Black President is nothing compared to the deep structurally and institutionally entrenched racism of the American System.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 19, 2016

Kaepernick’s Example Spreads “Like Wildfire”

The same reality confronts the U.S. today as in 1776, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston: “If you treat a people atrociously, you should not expect them to stand by you.” The third stanza of the “Star-Spangled Banner” “explicitly denounces Black people, since they fled en mass to British lines in the War of 1812 and helped to torch the White House in August, 1814,” because the British promised freedom for those who would fight the slave-holding white settlers. Football star Colin Kaepernick’s defiance of the national anthem and flag “is spreading like wildfire,” said Dr. Horne, “and hopefully it will help people to begin to interrogate our past and our present.”

Black Youth Activists “Lobby” for Legislation on Capitol Hill

Black Youth Project 100 and the National Black Justice Coalition launched a lobbying campaign, last week, coinciding with the Congressional Black Caucus’ yearly extravaganza. BYP100 spokesperson Samantha Master said the group’s legislative priorities include the College for All Act, the Health Equity and Accountability Act, the Healthy Families Act, and the Equality Act, among others. “We are going beyond just simple criminal justice reform,” said Master. “We are taking the stance to abolish the system that continually marginalizes Black people.” The lobbying work is intended to be “simultaneous with and intertwined with our base-building work and our grassroots advocacy work,” she said. The overall goal is to build “public policy agendas that create a world where Black people can live in dignity.”

Despite Video, Feds Will Not Charge Cop in Killing Jerame Reid

The police car video clearly showed Jerame Reid’s hands raised in surrender when a Bridgeton, New Jersey cop shot him dead at point blank range, on December 30, 2014.Yet, the local U.S. attorney has refused to charge the officer with any crime. “We categorically reject that decision not to bring a civil rights investigation,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, which has been holding weekly demonstrations at the Federal Building in Newark demanding “justice for Jerame Reid.” Hamm said the Justice Department sets the “bar so high” to prove police culpability, “it’s like a rigged game.”

Mother of Drowned Girl Finds Comradeship in Uhuru Movement

Kunde Ngudi Mwamvita, whose 16 year-old daughter, Dominique, and her two 15 year-old best friends drowned to death when the car they were driving was forced into a pond by Pinellas County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies, was a featured speaker at the Independent People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s annual conference and 25th anniversary, this past weekend, in Ferguson, Missouri. Ms. Mwamvita is suing the county. “We have to be strong,” she said. “But, I can’t be strong by myself. I had to join a group of people who said, ‘Enough is enough -- not one more Black life!’”

Darren Seals is Sixth to Die Suspiciously in Ferguson

Upstairs from the Uhuru Movement conference at Ferguson’s Greater St. Marks Church, family, friends, and “movement” folks attended the funeral of Darren Seals, the 29 year-old activist, rapper and General Motors worker whose body was found in his car, shot and incinerated. Seals’ passing was noted on Kiilu Nyasha’s San Francisco Bay Area television show, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle,” by Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, whose January 1, 2009, killing by a transit cop set off demonstrations that many believe mark the beginning of the current mass movement against police terror. “Darren Seals is the sixth young man since Michael Brown to be assassinated in Ferguson,” said Mr. Johnson. “It appears to be an assassination that is directly related to the police.”

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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.

 
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ESPN’S Journal of Black Respectability Politics

by Jon Jeter

Michael Eric Dyson is up to his corporate tricks, this time in ESPN’s black-oriented web site The Undefeated. Dyson personifies the surrender of the Black middle class, in total synch with The Undefeated’s typical narratives “in which history is inert, racism exists only inasmuch as it vexes Obama, and no injustice is so grave that it cannot be resolved by black folks pulling up their pants.”

Black Agenda Report for Week of September 7, 2016

20th Anniversary of Clinton’s War Against the Poor

It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress destroyed “welfare as we knew it” by replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the “workfare” regime called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The result, said Maureen Taylor, chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, is growing poverty in the United States. Taylor says TANF should be changed to DANF, standing for “Disappearing Aid for Needy Families.” Residents of Michigan are only eligible for cash assistance for five years in their lifetimes. It’s a shame, said Taylor, how the political class is “turning, not against poverty, but trying to turn the nation against poor folks.”

Judge Finds Way to Avoid Ordering Hep C Cure for Mumia

A federal judge agreed that it is unconstitutional for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to deny curative medical treatment to Mumia Abu Jamal and thousands of other prisoners suffering from Hepatitis C. However, the court then ruled that Abu Jamal’s suit was technically flawed. Noelle Hanrahan, a director of Prison Radio who works closely with Mumia, was outraged that the state has condemned thousands of prisoners to early and unnecessary deaths. “You can’t construct a situation that is more grossly inhumane,” she said.

Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, was more upbeat about the ruling. “It’s a good beginning that a federal judge recognizes that what the Commonwealth is doing, and has been doing for years, is not only unjust but unconstitutional, a violation of fundamental fairness and the human right to life,” he said.

Clinton and Trump Fear TV Debate with Stein and Johnson

“Our view is that if you have the potential for 270 Electoral College votes -- if you are on enough ballots to achieve that -- then you should be in the debate,” said Kevin Zeese, the veteran activist recently named as senior advisor to the Green Party’s Jill Stein-Ajamu Baraka presidential ticket. Zeese notes that polls show half the American public wants the televised debates open to Stein and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. However, the debates are a joint venture of the Democratic and Republican parties, who call the shots. “It’s a disgrace to democracy,” said Zeese, “that they can choose who they will debate.”

Obama Neutralized Blacks for Most of His Term

Barack Obama’s presidency has been “the highest expression” of the U.S. government’s long campaign to “neutralize the Black liberation movement,” said BAR regular contributor Danny Haiphong, who this week posted the ninth in his ten-part series on the Obama legacy. “It really wasn’t until 2014, when Obama was in his last years, that any semblance of a movement against issues like police brutality and racism began to come back to the fore,” said Haiphong. Black liberationist politics has been suppressed for two generations, said Haiphong, “with the help of a Black misleadership class that has diluted, sanitized and almost destroyed, up until recently, the Black Radical Tradition.”

U.S. Anti-War Movement Under Attack

A recent article by Terry Burke in the leftish magazine In These Times attacked a broad range of anti-war activists and groups for opposing the U.S. war against Syria. Burke claims U.S. activists aren’t listening to “the Syrian people.” In response, Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, said the U.S. insists on regime change in Syria, and “anyone who has any confusion as to where that leads has only to look at Libya and at Iraq and see the howling wasteland that has been created” by U.S. intervention.

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.

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Why Black Self-Determination Matters

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Malcolm X correctly anticipated that narrowly conceived “civil rights” could ultimately be curtailed. He therefore urged Black people to demand their human right to self-determination. We are now living in the age of Black rights “give-backs” – or no Black right to life, at all. The Black Is Back Coalition’s newly formulated political agenda “insists that the principle of self-determination must be central to all arenas of Black struggle.”

What Does Black Lives Matter Want?

by Robin D.G. Kelley

“A Vision for Black Lives” is a plan for ending structural racism, saving the planet, and transforming the entire nation—not just black lives,” writes the author, a noted Black public intellectual. The wide-ranging document, prepared by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) with input from 60 organization, “emphasizes community control, self-determination, and ‘collective ownership’ of certain economic institutions,” as well as police violence.

Black August

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

August is a month to assess and build upon the legacy of Black people’s resistance to the armed repression of the U.S. state and its agents. The author, the nation’s best known political prisoner, wrote this article August 4, 1993.

Arresting Development: The State Targets Activists to Derail a Movement

by Bakari Kitwana

The movement against police terror is spawning another generation of political prisoners, many of them virtually unknown and without organizational support. “Unknown numbers of people have slipped through the cracks and are still sitting in jail” in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities. “Local police are using arrests and felony charges to contain a resistance movement pushing to disarm, defund and abolish their departments.”

Coalition Declares Black Self-Determination Back on the Agenda

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford 

After two generations of “Black social disintegration, economic retrogression and political confusion” ushered in through the collaboration of the Black Misleadership Class, “Black people have rediscovered and revived the Black Radical Tradition, with self-determination at the core.” The Black is Back Coalition is promulgating a groundbreaking 19-point Black political agenda entirely “formulated through the prism of Black self-determination.”

Ready Or Not, the Black Movement Enters a New Stage

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Black youth in the U.S. have crossed a kind of Rubicon, and the rulers are fearful — and so are their henchmen in the Black Misleadership Class. “When a Black beauty queen calls Micah Johnson ‘a martyr,’ we know that the movement’s values have been internalized by a broad strata of the Black public.” Both wings of the duopoly are issuing dark threats of repression — a clear sign that those in power feel genuinely threatened.

Freedom Rider: Gavin Long’s Last Words

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

So-called “responsible” Black folks may dismiss the young Black veteran gunmen of Dallas and Baton Rouge as deranged, but who are really “the crazy ones” – those who believe the racist system will change under the pressure of peaceful protest, or those, like Gavin Long, who maintain that revolutions are won “through fighting back through bloodshed”? Black folks will have to wrestle with this question without interference from corporate voices.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 18, 2016

A “New Moment” in Black Struggle

The Black struggle in the U.S. is “approaching a new moment” when the country might “become ungovernable by the political class that is tried to Wall Street and the 1%,” said Duboisian scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an activist with the Black Radical Organizing Committee. President Obama is fond of claiming that Sixties-type politics is over. However, Dr. Monteiro thinks “it’s almost as though we’re starting up from the 1980s, and going forward from the militancy of the 1970s; rather than civil rights, the whole problem of human rights and self-determination is what you’re hearing on the streets, these days.”

Democrats Fear Embarrassment in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia appears to be “starting to back down” on restrictions on protesting at next week’s Democratic National Convention, said Scott Williams, an organizer of the “Shut Down the DNC” march, set for July 26. The Democratic Party had taken over every public space in the Center City area for the entire convention,” Williams said. However, “the city, in some ways, is starting to back down, because they don’t want to see hundreds, or thousands, of Black people getting arrested at the Democratic Party National Convention, which is supposed to represent Black people.”

Armed March Set for St. Louis to Honor Slain Panther

The Revolutionary Black Panther Party will hold an armed march against genocide in St. Louis, Missouri, an open-carry weapons state, on August 5, to honor Angelo Brown, also known as General Houdari Juelani, the local party leader who was shot dead by police in nearby Belleville, Illinois, last month. The party also plans “to file human rights violations with the International Criminal Court and the World Court,” according to Chief General in Charge Dr. Ali Muhammad. Juelani died from a single bullet to the temple, but his face showed signs that he had been beaten before death. “Every time he was out he was harassed” by the cops, said Dr. Muhammad, a neurologist. “They assassinated him.”

Mumia Salutes Maroon Shoatz Court Victory

Russell Maroon Shoatz, the former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member who has been imprisoned since 1972, won an agreement from Pennsylvania prison authorities that they will never again place him in solitary confinement. Shoatz spent 22 years in solitary before being released into the general prison population, in 2013. Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, saluted Shoatz’s victory, which includes unspecified monetary compensation. “The struggle continues,” Abu Jamal said – “and, sometimes, you win.”

The Poor Suffer in Civil Court, Just Like Criminal Court

The nation’s civil courts process 20 million cases a year, some involving matters that are “the cutting edge civil rights issues of the day,” said David Udell, executive director of the National Center for Access to Justice, at Cardozo University. However, Udell said a survey by the center shows there is only one civil court legal aid attorney for every ten thousand poor people in the country. Although deficiencies in the criminal justice system get more media coverage, civil law is even more pervasive in people’s lives. “People are so often in court on debt collection matters, on family matters, on housing matters,” he said. The center operates a website at JusticeIndex.org.

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Why Did America’s Ruling Elites Declare War on the Black Movement?

by Abayomi Azikiwe

1966 was a watershed year, the historical juncture when the “civil rights” movement, which had been largely victorious in ending legally-mandated apartheid in the U.S., was overshadowed by the “Black Power” movement. Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, was at the center of the transformation that led to the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense the same year.

Muhammad Ali and Dylann Roof: Contested Meanings and Contested Lies

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

In the space of a week, Muhammad Ali was eulogized by “the rapist and petty opportunist politician” Bill Clinton, and the U.S. government announced it would pursue the death penalty for the Charleston shooter. Nothing in America is innocent. The first event represents the rulers’ attempt to “Americanize” Black icons. The second cynically seeks to undermine opposition to the death penalty among Blacks, the group most opposed to capital punishment.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 9, 2016

Detroit Teachers “Browbeaten” Back to Work by National Union

The two-day teachers sick-out that closed Detroit public schools last week was about much more than paycheck issues, said Steve Conn, the former elected local union president who, along with activists from BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), has been leading teacher sick-outs since November. “It’s about fighting the governor’s plan to destroy the schools. Gov. Snyder wants to replace public education in Detroit with a charter model,” said Conn. More than half of Detroit students already attend charter schools, second only to New Orleans. The sick-out was popular among teachers and the public, but ended prematurely when national union president Randi Weingarten “and her local flunkies browbeat the teachers into going back to work,” said Conn. “They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Towards a National Black Political Agenda

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations plans to hold events in cities around the country in coming months to put together a National Black Political Agenda. The project grew out the Coalition’s national conference on the 2016 elections, convened in Harlem, New York, last month. “The timing is excellent,” given the turmoil in the duopoly parties, said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “We don’t have to settle for an outcome that’s determined by these folks who are tied to the ruling establishment. We can speak for ourselves and have an agenda of our own that will influence the political direction of Black people.” Yeshitela hopes the agenda can be completed in time for the Coalition’s annual march on the White House and national conference, in November.

Sawant Petitions for Sanders to Dump Democrats After Convention

Seattle city councilwoman and Socialist Alternative Party leader Kshama Sawant is circulating a petition that Bernie Sanders run as an independent to pave the way for a third electoral party. But, what about the Green Party, which expects to be on the ballot in most states in November? “If there is any possibility of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein running together on a Green Party ticket this year, I would support that wholeheartedly,” said Sawant. “Something like that could help build the basis of an independent party of the 99%, which is the most critical project we have to get started on.”

With GOP Help, Hillary Will Move Democrats Further Right

“Get ready for the whiplash,” said historian, activist and author Paul Street, predicting that an influx of anti-Trump Republicans will assist Hillary Clinton in pushing the Democratic Party even further rightward, once Bernie Sanders’ supporters on the left have been pacified. “The Democratic Party is about to go from being the party that allowed a self-declared democratic socialist to go very far in the primary process, to becoming the objectively truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country,” now that Donald Trump has split from the Republican corporate establishment. Street’s latest book is titled They Rule: The 1% Versus Democracy.

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