Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/04/13

UNAC: Stop Obama’s Syria War

“There’s no basis for it, whatsoever: it’s against international law, it’s against UN conventions, it’s illegal, immoral and has to be stopped,” said Marilyn Levin, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, which has organized demonstrations against President Obama’s planned attack on Syria. “What they’re trying to do is regime change, to get a government that is compliant with the United States.”

POP Rallies Against “Re-Run” of Iraq Attack

The People’s Organization for Progress rallied against Obama’s war plans, in Newark, New Jersey. “Our opposition is in line with the Black community, which I am certain would oppose another war,” said POP chairman Larry Hamm. “But, it’s also important to note that a majority of the people in the country oppose it. This whole situation seems to be a re-run of the prelude to the war in Iraq.”

March on Washington Commemoration an “Obscenity”

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington “was a government-corporate affair, sponsored by Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola and everybody that could give Al Sharpton and the people that were organizing that march a check,” said veteran South Carolina activist and writer Kevin Alexander Gray. “It was a farce, it was an obscenity. The people were props. There was no demand on the administration,” said Gray. “Sharpton is the administration’s yard dog.”

Denied Mic, Dream Defender Says Youth are “Ready” to Challenge System

Philip Agnew, a leader of the Dream Defenders occupying Florida’s State Capital, circulated the speech he would have given to the March on Washington crowd if he and other young people had not been cut from the speakers list: “I’d tell you that millions of young people and queer people and poor people and people of color are asking, What do we do with all this anger, this fear, this disappointment? For 50 years we’ve wandered and wondered: Where are the youth? … Peace over profit, revolution over revenue, and all peace and power to the people! Just watch – we’re ready.”

Fast Food Workers Press for Living Wage

Fast food workers held job actions at 1,000 locations in 60 cities last week, demanding a $15 an hour living wage and union representation. “We think that the real people mooching off the system are the corporations,” said Kyle Kordsmeier, an organizer with the Interfaith Workers Network, in Memphis. “If we paid people a living wage, it would save us healthcare costs, welfare, food stamps. Ultimately, what we’re fight for is for them to pick up that tab. They’re the ones who are stealing our money.”

White Power, Black Pain in New Orleans

According to a report by Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley on the state of New Orleans, the city “is whiter than it was when Katrina hit, there’s more renters; there are jobs, but they’ve moved out to the suburbs,” and Teach for America instructors “have taken the jobs of primarily African American teachers whose union was broken and replaced by charter schools.” New Orleans’ city hall, city council and school board are all controlled by whites, although Blacks comprise a “technical” majority of the population, said Quigley, whose report is titled “Katrina Pain Index: New Orleans Eight Years Later.”

Will Banks be Bailed-Out, or Depositors Bailed-in?

British and American banking officials are drawing up plans to treat large depositors in U.S. banks as “investors” whose funds might be seized – “bailed-in” – in a financial crisis. Dodd-Frank legislation prohibits bailouts of banks with taxpayer money. However, Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood says: “It stretches credulity to think that this government would ever let big investors, big depositors, big bondholders take major hits in a banking crisis. I am utterly convinced they would find some way around this law and save the skins of the well-heeled.”

Tiny Eritrea Maintains Self-Reliance

Zimbabwe and Eritrea, a small country of 6 million people on the Red Sea, are the only nations in Africa that have avoided entanglement with the U.S. Africa Military Command, AFRICOM. Eritrea also refuses so-called foreign “aid” in favor of national self-reliance. “It was critical to build a self-reliant state” after 30 years of war for independence, said Simon Tesfamariam, an Eritrean-American activist and writer, speaking on Your World News. “If you look within your own resources, you’ll find a way to make it. But, all this is impossible without the unity of the Eritrean people.”


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.


Teach for America members are not scabs.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

As a former labor activist (I U Bricklayers and Allied Crafts)  and former Maryland public school teacher and member of the NEA, I think that the video that equates Teach for America  corps members with scabs  is misguided and ignores many of the actual facts of the situation.

A)  Scabs are people who cross picket lines during a strike. The New Orleans Teachers union is not currently on strike. Therefore TFA teachers are not scabs.

B) Some TFA Corps members have joined the local teachers union. In addition a good portion of TFA teachers are African American and Latino.

C) TFA members are not “low paid” replacements.  They are generally paid the same wages as all other young  teachers. In addition, many TFA members teach in public, not charter schools, and therefore get the exact same wages and benefits as union teachers.

D)  The local teachers union is taking the absolutely wrong approach and making enemies of TFA Corps members who are often naïve, and are sometimes being exploited, but who are generally bright, dedicated young people who are trying to serve  the schoolchildren of New Orleans. The union should be reaching out and recruiting these young people to join the union and strengthen its own reform agenda if it can actually articulate one. The exact same idealism that attracts young people to TFA should make make them active and dedicated union members.

The reason there is such a demand for new charter schools in NOLA is because the African American parents of the city are choosing to send their children to charter schools. The union should be trying to convince parents to enroll their kids in union schools rather than demonize TFA corps members.  The union should also conduct and publicize some accurate research concerning whether (and which) public schools are producing  better results compared to which charter  schools. If the union schools are not doing better, why not?

What are the local union teachers willing to do beside bemoan the fact that they are losing market share? Are they willing to work longer hours? Visit every parent in their classes? Make an arrangement with a local university to help every union teacher earn a master’s degree?   Maybe they should apply to work in charter schools and sue for discrimination if they are rejected.

The union teachers should set out on a new path, stop being dependent on a corrupt school district structure, and start their own charter schools that will offer teachers better working conditions and offer children a better education.

We can not win hearts and minds and expand the union movement without being honest with ourselves. For years the New Orleans public school system was a pretty  terrible place that didn’t meet the needs of children, teachers or parents.

  If the members of the local teachers union are not willing to change and evolve, and yes work longer and smarter, the local parents will continue to vote with their children's feet.



New Orleans Schools were Charterized After Katrina-

Which allowed Arne [Katrina's the BEST thing ever to happen to New Orleans' Schools'] Duncan's non-educator CPS 'CEO' predecessor, Paul Vallas, to fire all New Oleans' public schools' mainly Black & women teachers [& even service staff]- thus effectively destroying their teachers' union. So How in hell pray-tell does a destroyed teachers' union endear their [2yr temp] TFA replacements to encourage them to join a union that no-longer exists??!

Thus your claim that the reason that New Orleans parents are sending their kids mainly charter schools is by so-called 'choice'- is also FALSE. Once all New Orleans public school teachers were fired wholesale [to effectively destroy their union] & then replaced by non-union TFA style 2yr temps, as a cynical ploy to charterize nearly all New Orleans' Public schools, while at the same time taking power over the schools from community-based school boards- New Orleans parents effectively had NO choice but to send their kids to these charterized schools!! [Short of not sending their kids to school at all -or- home-schooling, private tutoring, or setting up their own independent community-run schools]! 

[PS- FOOD for Thought: I know what independent Black controlled community-based schools look like- there are real models for such IE: Haki Mahabuti's IPE schools, the NOI's Islamic Academy schools, or even Marva Collins' Westside Preparatory School, etc... But you do NOT see the likes of Mike Bloomberg, Bill Gates & the Waltons of Walmart & their ilk {a bunch of filthy rich white guys} pushing & funding those models of alternative schools in Black communities.]  

IMO whether one calls TFA teachers scabs or 2yr temp replacements, is a matter of semantics. IMO what best describes TFA mainly white middle-class / affluent college grads mainly seeking to spruce up their resume' before moving on to better-paying careers is- 'The road to HELL is paved by those claiming that they supposedly had 'Good Intentions'...'


PS-2: As both an ex-student & teacher of Chicago's CPS- I know first hand the problems of inner-city public schools vis-a-vis Black & Brown students. It involves a myriad of issues both within & outside of the direct control of schools, which have had a negative synergistic effect.  But I also know a phony {mis}Education [of the Negro] DeForm scam when I see one- IE: This Wall St Bankster type corporate charter leveraged take over of public schools at tax-payer expense- via NCLB & RTTT [Wall St knows a $TRILLION$ 'opportunity' when it sees one]! Any time a so-called reform movement is spearheaded NOT by educators, public school kids' parents & community based organizations- but rather by a bunch of mainly rich white guys who ain't even educators & have not even attended nor send their kids to any public school [let lone in the inner city- IE: Bloomberg, Gates, the Waltons, Arne Duncan, Paul Vallas, Rahmbo... & their ilk- Again Food for Thought- If charter-schools are really so good why won't these jokers send their kids to any- even when they both hype & control them]- And furthermore this phony school reform model [based on charters & standardized tests] has been rocked by several test cheating scandals, & have generally FAILED to be any better [& often worse] than standard public schools [those that do better are generally better funded & have smaller-class sizes]- even though they operate from a deck stacked in their favor. Thus 'ironically' most charters FAIL to even pass NCLB / RTTT own metrics for 'success'- Which is a clear indication that this phony corp  NCLB / RTTT school reform is a Wall St Bankster scam that ain't nothing but {mis}Education [of the Negro] DeForm!!!   

watching Al Sharpton today

My my my. He should be ashamed.

Went from somebody we could call on to a candidate for the Joseph Goebbels award.

Rebuttal to Obama’s Speech:

} 'Because they kept marching, America changed. Because they marched, a Civil Rights law was passed. Because they marched, a Voting Rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else's laundry or shining somebody else's shoe.  Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and, yes, eventually, the White House changed... - "[YetIf we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us, claiming to push for change, lost our way. The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots. Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior. Racial politics could cut both ways as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination. And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support, as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself..." { Barak H. Obama- Aug 28, 2013- at the 50th anniversary commemoration of MLK’s iconic ‘I have a Dream’ speech. 


Obviously Obama just could NOT resist another chance to take a swipe at some Black person(s) while on center [national] stage at the Lincoln Memorial addressing a crowd of mainly Black people- effectively turning this 50th anniversary event into the ‘Farcein Washington- FOR REAL. Obama knew he could NOT get away w taking another subtle dig [diss] at Rev Dr ML-King- like he did in 2008 by going MIA for the 40th anniversary commemoration of MLK’s assassination, or in 2009 during his 'War is Peace’ [ig]Nobel Peace [NOT!] Prize speech. So he resorted YET AGAIN to ‘Kick a Nigger’ poly-tricks- effectively blaming working-class / working-poor Blacks for all the ills that have befallen them since 1968 [seems Obama only even mentions working class / working poor Blacks to scold them for being poor]. One would think Obama would be above this kinda crap- especially after Newt Grinch-wench’s racist campaign meme ‘Obama: the Food-stamp Pres’ -&- Mitt RawMoney denoucing ALL Obama supporters [mainly Black & Brown] as ‘moochers’ of Gov’t welfare & his ilk’s [= the 1%] taxes- when in-fact it’s more like vice-versa.

- Obama RE the VRA: Interestingly he failed to directly mention that the SCOTUS court just gutted the VRA as a ‘racial-entitlement’. BAR’s Bruce Dixon explains how Obama & fellow lame-stream 'liberal' Dim John Kerry [now Obama’s war-mongering Sec of State] not only failed to try to block Roberts’ & Alito’s nominations to the SCOTUS court, but even gave their approval. FYI: Roberts, as chief justice, & Alito- along w Scalia & Uncle Judge Thomas- were the main ones behind gutting the VRA.
And Obama & most lame-stream Dims joined the Repugs multi yr effort to do in the ACORN, by signing unto a law of dubious constitutionality. Ironically ACORN registered many Black & Brown voters across the US, who vote overwhelmingly for Dims like Obama & Kerry.

- Obama RE: The 1960s Black Freedom struggle as a prelude to more Black Gov’t officials including Obama as POTUS: While there’s some truth to that, Black Gov’t officials, w a few notable exceptions, have largely been disappointing. Even as more Blacks have become hi-officials, conditions for the Black masses [excluding ‘middle-class’ & affluent Blacks- though the nebulous 'middle-class' is vanishing], have NOT improved since April 1968, & in some cases has actually worsened [IE: the Rise of mass Black incarceration / the Prison Industrial Complex / ‘New Jim Crow’]. Black unemployment remains at twice that for whites. In fact a white w just a hi-school diploma & a criminal record is more likely to be hired than a Black [man] w a college degree & NO criminal record! [FYI: there’s been 35 Jewish vs just 4 Black US senators & 24 Jewish US state Govs vs just 4 Black Govs- elected since 1900.  Currently there are 27 Jewish US reps {=3Xs as many reps RE Jews being just 2% of the US population} vs 42 Blacks US reps {= just 0.75 {=3/4s} as many reps RE Blacks being 13% of the US population -&- 11 Jewish vs 1 Black Repug US senator} 

- Obama’s praise for 1960s Freedom movement’s struggle for equal opportunity in Education [& employment]: Obama’s Sec of ED Arne Duncan’s corporatized RTTT model is the back-drop for an all out assault on public schools & teachers’ [unions] in Black & Brown communities. Just this yr ex-Obama chief of staff Rahmbo, closed 54 Chicago schools- nearly all in Black [a few in Hispanic] communities. And Philly’s Black Dim Mayor Nutter closed 24 schools- also nearly all in Black & Brown neighborhoods. Thus Obama lecturing Blacks w clichés IE: 'Stay in School' is disingenuous rhetoric- when his Dim ilk are closing Black kids’ schools & firing their teachers wholesale- in so many key US cities.

- Obama’s meme that Blacks use Racial Profiling & police brutality as an excuse for criminality: In fact stereotyping all Black youth as criminals is used as an excuse for Racial Profiling & police brutality [this really ain't even new- it pre-dates rap era]! IMO Obama uses this meme because he & AG Holder do NOT plan to really ever address racial profiling & police brutality [IE: cops &/or cop wanna-bes gunning-down unarmed / non-violent Blacks every 28hrs], nor the 'New Jim Crow' / Prison Industrial Complex fueled by the phony War on Drugs [mainly pot]. It must be noted that just 3 days before Obama’s much over-hyped & slickly disingenuous speech on the Trayvon case [just the 2nd time since being POTUS & only the 3rd time since taking the Presidential stage that Obama has even directly spoken on the race issue], Obama names NYPD chief Ray [Stop & Frisk] Kelly as his pick to head DHS. NYPD’s ‘Stop & Frisk’ has just been judged to be the biggest racial-profiling prog in the US that routinely violates the 4th Amendment. Dr King indicted the likes Sheriff ‘Bull’ Connor & Gov George Wallace, yet now Obama raves about the likes of NYPD chief ‘Stop & Frisk’ Kelly & NYC Mayor Bloomberg!

- Obama RE poor Blacks’ lack of parenting & looking for Gov’t hand-outs: This is a meme straight from the FOX Noise, Newt Grinch-witch, Mitt RawMoney play-book! That Obama would use MLK’s iconic ‘I have a Dream’ speech as a ‘BULLY’-pulpit back-drop to publicly diss [poor] Blacks [= his most loyal constituency who were key to putting his {1/2}Black ass in office] in a manner that he’d never dare do to any other group- is an insult to MLK’s & the Black Freedom struggle’s legacy! Obama keeps repeating this crap because he evidently agrees w FOX Noise, Grinch-witch, RawMoney, et-al RE [poor] Blacks! Blacks have lost more wealth &/or homes during Obama’s tenure than at any time since before WWII. While other groups’ unemployment has fallen, on Obama’s watch Black unemployment has risen & remains +2Xs that of whites- just like in 1968. The fact is Obama has NO jobs plan for his most loyal constituency [& has effectively said so], but also in fact plans to gut Social-Security, Medicare, Food-stamps, unemployment insurance, etc- thus worsening their plight! Thus Obama has signaled he does NOT intend to make good on that bad check the US has stuck Blacks w- which Dr King spoke of as his preamble to his ‘Dream’ in 1963.
FYI Obama- Dr King was in Memphis in April 1968 to support Memphis’ Black sanitation workers efforts challenging that city’s slave wages & working conditions. IMO Obama’s listened to Dr King’s April 3rd ‘I’ve Been to the Mountain Top’ speech on the evening before MLK’s state sanctioned ‘neutralization’. In it MLK talks in depth RE: supporting Black sanitation workers’ struggle for decent pay & working conditions.


- That this 50th anniversary would even feature the likes of O-Bomber, Slick Willie, Arne [‘Katrina’s the best thing to ever happen to New Orleans’ schools…’] Duncan, Eric [Wall St's too big to Jail] Holder, Skippy-Jiff Carter, Rev Al, Corey [Loves Wall St] Booker{T}, Nancy [‘Impeachment’s off the Table’] Pelosi, etc- shows just how much of a ‘Farcein Washington this event really was!