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Examining the Existence of Fascism in the United States

by Danny Haiphong

Is the U.S. a fascist society? It’s a classic fit – a country where “the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible,” militarism is the highest value, and demonization of the Other is the organizing principle of the ruling circles and state.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/9/14

Cornel West: Integrity is Key to Liberation

“They are closing our schools, they’re foreclosing our homes, closing our libraries, closing the factories, closing the post office,” said Larry Hamm, president of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress. “They continue to do it, because they have not yet met the countervailing force that can stop them from doing,” he told the Bethany Baptist Church crowd. Hamm then directed the question to the evening’s speaker, noted public intellectual Dr. Cornel West, of New York’s Union Theological Seminary. “How do we build this countervailing force?”

Organizing for liberation requires “three things,” said Dr. West. “Your vision, and the courage behind your vision. Your analysis; Do you really understand what you’re up against? And then, the organizing and mobilizing that has to take place.” Integrity is key. “When you confront a system that either buys off your leaders, lies on your leaders, or kills them, the freest persons are always those who have an absolute commitment to integrity and decency, and are willing to go under.”

Pressure Mounts on Temple University in Monteiro Firing

Students and community organizations plan a series of actions to protest Temple University’s firing of African American Studies professor Dr. Anthony Monteiro. A student walkout is set for this Wednesday and, next week, Philadelphia community groups will march on the campus seeking justice for Monteiro, a fair contract for university employees, and against gentrification of the Black neighborhoods that surround Temple. People recognize that “injustice to the community has gone hand in hand with this injustice to me,” said Monteiro. African American Studies chairman Dr. Molefi Asante has resorted to red-baiting to defend his complicity in Monteiro’s firing. Asante argues “that I am a radical, that I’m a Marxist, that I’m a socialist and, therefore, I don’t fit into his view of African American Studies at Temple,” said Monteiro.

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Obama Ticket Prices and the Invisible Ruling Class

by Paul Street

Frederick Harris’ very useful book on the “high price” – to Black folks – of the nation’s First Black President has been reissued in paperback. However, Harris gives Obama too much credit as a president of all the people. “Like the great majority of U.S. presidents,” writes Paul Street, “Obama has been first and foremost a representative of the American white ruling class.”

The Unemployment Question(s)

by Raymond Nat Turner

Livin’ on nothin’, while hunger works full time

No wonder, some brothers stumble into crime.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/20/14

IFCO Tax Exemption Imperiled

The IRS is threatening to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, IFCO, the venerable anti-poverty and human rights group. The government is investigating IFCO’s aid to Palestinians in Gaza and its assistance to U.S. students that want to avail themselves of medical scholarships in Cuba. The web site of the pro-Israel Investigative Project on Terrorism accuses IFCO of links to Hamas. “To have the IRS utilize a blog to come after a 47-year old, faith-based, non-profit organization run by people of color since its inception, is an outrage and an insult,” said IFCO co-director Gail Walker.

Health Disparities Rooted in Racist Legacy

Racial income and wealth gaps lead to racial health disparities, said Brian Miller, executive director of United for a Fair Economy, UFE. “Vast economic disparities are still with us, and these disparities, coupled with racial segregation, create a toxic soup that is brewing up health problems and shortening people’s lives,” said Biller, at a press conference to debut UFE’s 2014 State of the Dream Report, “Healthcare for Whom? Enduring Racial Disparities.”

War on Poverty was Great Success

The War on Poverty accomplished many of its goals, according to Annelise Orleck, professor of history at Dartmouth University and co-editor of The War on Poverty: A Grassroots History, 1964 – 1980. President Lyndon Johnson’s community action programs made enemies. “It shook things up when poor people demanded representation in school boards and housing boards and welfare boards,” said Orleck. The War on Poverty was attacked “not because it failed, but because it succeeded.”

White Racism Undermined Anti-Poverty Effort

“White backlash” scuttled some War on Poverty programs, including job training for minorities in the skilled trades. White workers whose union hiring halls had “for decades hired their sons, their nephews” became Reagan Democrats, said Jill Quadango, professor of sociology at Florida State University and author of The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty. White union members saw minority trainees as “a direct threat to their prerogative to choose who was hired.”

Mumia on COINTELPRO

A new book reveals the identities of three people who broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and made off with files on the bureau’s COINTELPRO campaign against Blacks and the Left. Mumia Abu Jamal, America’s best-known political prisoner, recalled learning of the revelations, shortly after he left the Black Panther Party. “To read about people who you’ve known for years, who were FBI informants, was absolutely mindblowing,” Abu Jamal told Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and host of WBAI Radio’s Law and Disorder program.

Socialism Needed – Quickly

Capitalism “is utterly irrational, it’s out of control, and unless we democratically organize and plan this economy, they’re going to kill us, literally, through climate change,” said Michael Steven Smith, co-editor of Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. The new book contains 31 essays by a wide range of Left activists and writers.

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Obama, the Great Dis-Equalizer

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Barack Obama has used up his people-friendly rhetoric over the past five years, and is now repeating promises he’s already made and broken: to raise the minimum wage, strengthen worker rights, establish truly universal health care, and fight for the common man and woman. Obama’s new rhetorical target is gross income inequalities – a catastrophe that has worsened on his watch.

“You Get a President… Nothing Else”

by Paul Street

President Obama offered the crowds at the March on Washington commemoration…nothing, except the fact of a Black presidency. That’s all he’s ever offered. The question is: “What good to black Americans is a first black president who brings them nothing more than the fleeting symbolic satisfaction of his technically black presence in the White House.”

Trayvon and White Madness

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“George Zimmerman is no more provably racist in a U.S. court than most white Americans” – which is why a Justice Department action will get nowhere. Whites consider it “reasonable” to believe in the inherent dangerousness of Black males. “’Not guilty’ is reasonable, when everyone that counts shares the same assumptions as the perpetrator.”

Political Crossover: The Troubling Emergence of "Black Reaganism"

by Colin Jenkins

The nation’s top Black Reaganite is quite open about his admiration for “The Gipper.” President Obama takes every opportunity to praise his racist, reactionary predecessor, and to emulate his politics. So do lots of Democrats of all colors. The truth is, “Reaganism never really left – it merely flowed through the pipelines of neoliberalism.”

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 6/17/13

BAR & Friends Anticipate the End of the Age of Obama

In the wake of the disasters that have befallen Blacks under his watch, President Obama’s exit in 2017 may “provide an opportunity to move the masses away from the Democratic Party and towards a discussion of alternatives,” said Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report. Speaking at a BAR-organized Left Forum workshop titled “Black Politics at the Tail End of Obama – and Beyond,” Kimberley noted that “Black politics had been on life support for some time before 2008, but his election marked the day that the plug was finally pulled.” The supreme irony, said Kimberley, “that the election of a Black man meant the end of Black politics, cannot be overstated.”

The Black Class Divide

Polls show that upwardly mobile Blacks often share with whites an “utter contempt and hatred for the Black poor,” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “This class division, this ideological division,” can be seen in the politics of “the Cory Bookers and Michael Nutters” – the Black mayors of Newark and Philadelphia, respectively – “and other Black agents of the 1%,” Monteiro told the workshop.

Back to Basics

We’re going to have to let go of top-down, patriarchal, backward leadership models like the Black Church, and we’re going to have to let go of the Democratic Party,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. We must “rediscover” basic organizing skills, “so that people who are most concerned about various issues can take leadership” of community organizations. And, we must “let go of the idea that we can come up with some creative act or persuasive argument that’s going to give us media access to galvanize huge numbers of people in some short period of time,” said Dixon.

Eyes on the Prize

We’ve got to get back to old fashioned Marxist and Left Black Nationalist understandings of how race, racial identity and sham electoral democracy function within the overall context of capitalism and empire,” said writer and activist Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. The renewed movement must be informed by the facts of “how labor markets work, how the criminal justice system works, how the real estate market works, instead of a game of Black and Latino and female faces in high places.”

The Doctrine of Mandatory Black Failure

Journalist Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report, speaking at a Left Forum workshop on the Economy and Ecology of Haiti, quoted Napoleon’s rational for sending 60,000 troops to attempt to crush the Haitian Revolution, in 1802. “My decision to destroy the authority of the blacks in Saint-Domingue,” Robert quoted the Frenchman, “is not so much based on considerations of commerce and money, as on the need to block forever the march of the blacks in the world.” We must realize, said Robert, “that there is a part of western foreign policy that invests in the importance of failed models of liberation. There is a psychic benefit to western imperialist nations to make sure that certain Black and brown nations stay failed, and do not ever give examples of success.”

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The Expansion of Black American Misery under Barack Obama’s Watch

by Dr. Reginald Clark

Black folks are not only far worse off “since 2009 under President Obama’s economic and job creation policies” – Africans Americans are the only group that “has taken a definitive step backwards since then.” The main reason: “lack of attention to employment in urban and rural geographic areas where Blacks reside.”

Perhaps Black People Should Stop Expecting Equality

 

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Dr. Watkins, an esteemed author, economist and social commentator, has seen the error of his ways. He has been wrong to argue that President Obama be made accountable to Black people, his most ardent supporters. Instead, Blacks should be accountable to the president. “Only whites, Jews, gays, women, labor groups and illegal immigrants are allowed to expect anything from the president.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 8, 2012

 

College Admissions Must Consider Race

The U.S. Supreme Court should reject a challenge to affirmative action at the University of Texas, at Austin. “Removing race from consideration in admissions is impractical,” said Inimai Chettiar, of the Brennan Center for Justice, at the New York University School of Law. “I don’t see how you can divorce race from who a person is.” The University of Texas “has followed the Supreme Court’s mandate in previous cases to the letter.”

Myth of Black Progress

The exclusion of incarcerated persons from many data sources “calls into question claims about Black progress” over the past 35 years, said Becky Pettit, author of Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress. For example, there has been “no improvement in the high school dropout rate among young Black men since at least the 1990s,” and “young Black males dropouts are more likely to be in jail or prison than to be employed.” Dr. Pettit is a sociologist at the University of Washington.

Two Parties: One Vision

What the debate showed is how similar the two parties are,” said Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. “We heard nothing about the most important issues.” President Obama “could not commit himself to stand for one thing that the vast majority of the people of this country need,” said Gupta, who is covering the campaign for Alternet, Truthout and The Guardian.

ObamaRomneyCare

President Obama made the most honest statement of the debate, when he said “Romneycare and Obamacare are, effectively, the same” and a “Republican idea,” said Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. Another gem: Romney, trying to act like a populist, challenged “corporatist Obama” on his support for too-big-to-fail banks. “And, because Obama is taking cash from the same sources, he’s not able to respond.”

NDAA May Lead to Mass Lockups

The assault on civil liberties by the Obama administration has been worse than under Bush,” said veteran reporter Chris Hedges, a plaintiff in a suit against the preventive detention bill signed into law by Obama, last New Year’s Eve. A federal judge this summer declared the law unconstitutional, but an appeals panel put it back in effect, pending a final ruling. “This opens the ability of the state to classify an entire group of people – and, probably, American Muslims will be the first one – who can be just rounded up,” said Hedges.

Wal-Mart Walkouts

Workers walked off the job at Wal-Mart stores in Los Angeles, while employees from Europe, Latin America and Africa flew into the city under the banner of the Wal-Mart Global Union Alliance. The retail giant’s prices are low “because they’re taking from us,” said Wal-Mart “associate” Dan Hindman. “We’re paying for these low prices.” Alke Boessinger, a union organizer from Switzerland, said: “Unless workers unite as one, Wal-Mart will do whatever it can to silence people.”

Detroit Water Strike

AFSCME Local 207, in Detroit, claimed victory in a brief strike by water workers. Union official John Reihl said Michigan’s governor is determined to seize the mostly Black city’s water resources through “a combination of suburban control and privatization.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of September 24, 2012

 

Chicago Teachers First to Stand Up to Obama School Policies

This is the first time that a teachers union stood up to the privatization of the Obama administration, stood up to the Democrats as the purveyors of these policies,” said journalist Jaisal Noor, who covered this month’s teachers strike for the Real News Network and other outlets. “The reason that the union knew it could strike and that it could maintain public support is because they had spent the last couple of years working with communities. There was massive support from parents and from students.”

Both Parties Ignore Poverty

Democrats are even less likely than Republicans to talk about poverty this election season, as evidenced by the near-absence of the word at both parties’ national conventions, said Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. In Black inner cities, “we’re looking at unemployment and poverty rates that harken back to the Great Depression. And, of course, that’s something that Barack Obama is instructed never to talk about.”

Oligarchs and Plutocrats Rule

Poverty in America is a national disgrace and a moral obscenity, which is rendered invisible by the system under which we live, run by oligarchs and plutocrats,” said Dr. Cornel West, of Union Theological Seminary, in New York. West and journalist Tavis Smiley recently completed their Poverty Tour 2.0, including stops in four so-called “battleground” states. “If we can get the Black Freedom Struggle off life support, we can really turn this country around.”

Occupy the Debates

Progressives will hold streaming analysis and discussion of the Obama-Romney debates, starting with the first event on October 3. “We’ll discuss the obvious crises the country faces, from housing to the environment to mass incarceration, the issues that are not being dealt with…by the corporate candidates,” said organizer Kevin Zeese. For information, go to OccupyTheDebates.org.

Black Educator Faces Prison for Challenging Whitening of HBCUs

Dr. Jahi Issa faces two years in prison on riot charges for supporting Black students protesting the “whitening” of historically Black Delaware State University, last March. “He was touching a very raw and sensitive nerve,” said Dr. Jeff Perry, biographer of Hubert Harrison, considered the father of Harlem radical politics. “Historically Black colleges and universities get substantial federal support,” said Perry. “Corporate interests want to take it over for both profit and social control.” To assist Dr. Issa’s legal defense, go to hbcuinstitute.org. Dr. Issa’s article “The Ethnic Cleansing of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Age of Obama” appeared in Black Agenda Report, September 6, 2011.

The Mother of all Blowbacks

In Libya and now Syria, as in Afghanistan beginning under President Jimmy Carter, “the West has once again empowered fundamentalist forces that will inevitably turn against Washington, the Greatest Infidel of all,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford. Recent anti-U.S. protests in the Islamic world are “only a small foretaste of what is to come: a blowback of such intensity that the foundations of Empire will crack, and crumble.”

Information as Weaponry

Last year’s U.S.-NATO war against Libya “was not conducted just with bombing and with troops, but was an information war, and that’s the parallel with what’s going on in Syria, today,” said journalist Don Debar. “The bloodshed is conducted on behalf of, or directed by, the United States, France and Britain. Iran is public enemy number one for the West, “as it has been since 1979.”

Jesus on Death Row

Jesus Christ spent his last days on death row and was murdered by the government at that time,” said Pam Africa, head of International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal, speaking at Riverside Church, in New York. “We cannot forget political prisoners. These brothers and sisters are in jail because they have a love for us, and understand that we must never give in.”

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