Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 1, 2015

Bottom Line: Fire Some Cops

A U.S. Justice Department report shows Philadelphia police are five times as trigger happy as cops in New York City. The report contains 49 findings and 91 recommendations on better training and community relations, but Linn Washington Jr., a professor of journalism at Temple University, isn’t impressed. Over the past 25 years, the city’s police department has been the subject of “two dozen reports, federal consent decrees and executive orders,” said Washington. “The issue is not the ideas, the issue is implementation and enforcement. The bottom line is, you have to make police accountable. The police who engage in misconduct need to be fired.” But, that seldom happens in Philadelphia.

The Limits of Criminal Justice Reform

Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka held a third public hearing on his proposal to create a Civilian Complaint Review Board with subpoena powers. Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, which would be empowered to appoint one member to the board, has no illusions that the board will compel cops to respect Black people’s rights. “We fight for reforms in the hope that these reforms will ameliorate the suffering of the people,” said Hamm. “But, we also fight for reforms because we believe that people have to go through the reform process to deepen their understanding of the need for more fundamental, structural social change.”

Black Martyrs, Old and New

Cinque S. Djahspora, a 20 year-old online MIT student shot in the back by a policeman last November, is among the many victims of racist violence who will be honored on April 4, in Jackson, Tennessee. The town is near the site of Fort Pillow where, on April 12, 1864, hundreds of Black soldiers and civilians were massacred by Confederates under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who went on to become the first Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. “What we want folks to understand is that the killing of one person, based on his membership in a group, is genocide,” said Dr. Randy Short, one of the organizers of Black Martyrs’ Day, in Jackson.

“Black Lives Matter” Resonates in Johannesburg

South African labor and social activists marched on the American embassy in Johannesburg in solidarity with the U.S.-based Black Lives Matter mobilization. United Front organizer John Manana said South African Blacks are all too familiar with police brutality. “Our protesters everywhere in South Africa continue to suffer the same way from the capitalist regime.” Police killed 34 striking miners at Marikana in the summer of 2012, accelerating a split between leftists and the ruling African National Congress regime.

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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Philadelphia’s Killer Cops Prove the Necessity of Black Community Control of Police

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the U.S. Justice Department has attempted to position itself on the side of “reform.” Its new report on the Philadelphia police is one example. However, their version of reform is designed to perfect the system of mass Black incarceration, and to derail the movement. “It is critical that the movement put forward its own proposals that would fundamentally alter the power relationships between the police and the Black community.”

Freedom Rider: Uncle Tom Celebrities

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

A young singer who dresses like a bellhop considers himself to be the “new black.” A rapper-actor-songwriter operates under the delusion that racism is like a love affair gone bad. A TV and movie heartthrob invites whites to call him “nigger.” Where do we get these celebrity mutants, and “what good are awards and ratings and record sales if the people who gain these successes stab us all in the back?”

U.S. Voter Turnout is Low Because There’s Little to Vote For

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Voter suppression plays an important role in keeping Black turnout below that of whites, but does not explain why overall U.S. voter participation is far below most developed countries on the planet. The reason is simple: the rich control both political parties and, as a result, “the U.S. offers the narrowest spectrum of electoral choices in the industrial world.” Voting has relatively little impact on how the country is run.

 
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Eugene Puryear: A Revolutionary Perspective on Why the Left Should Engage in Electoral Politics

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

“Radicals should not simply support the ‘best available’ candidates in elections, but present themselves for office,” says Eugene Puryear, the Washington, DC, activist profiled by in this issue by Dr. Coleman Adebayo. Puryear believes radicals engaged in electoral politics must “advocate and agitate as loudly and clearly as possible for our ‘side’ in the struggle, the side of the exploited and oppressed.”

Netanyahu’s Victory is a Victory for Palestinian Solidarity Movement

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

Netanyahu’s racism was never a secret to Israelis, but his election outbursts may have put the final kibosh on the “two-state” diversion, and given new life to the demand for “one, democratic, secular state for all of the people who live in the territory.” The boycott Israel movement has also gotten a big boost. Meanwhile, Black U.S. apologists for Israel have some serious explaining to do.

Obama's War Plans Against Venezuela: Another Act of Imperial Desperation

by Danny Haiphong

U.S. manic belligerence towards Venezuela may seem counterproductive, given Washington’s growing isolation in Latin America. But the logic of imperialism dictates that it must destroy the Venezuelan model of economic and political development. “Venezuela is no threat to US ‘national security,’ but its resistance to Empire is a threat to US hegemony.” 

Has Terrorism Stepped into Africa’s Political Void?

by Mark P. Fancher

As AFRICOM, the U.S. military command, wraps its tentacles around the continent and jihadist organizations spread mayhem and massacre, Africa sometimes seems to have lost its internal political compass. “In the absence of sustained revolutionary organizing, desperate, confused, oppressed individuals have unfortunately responded to terrorists’ calls to arms.”

The NYT Turns a Blind Eye While the Clintons and Mexico's Richest Man Feast on Haiti

by Ezili Dantò

The corruption that surrounds U.S.-backed Haitian President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly is deeply entwined with the billion dollar deals revolving around Bill and Hillary Clinton and a Mexican billionaire. Martelly now rules by decree, while the Clintons prepare to reoccupy the White House. President Obama’s legacy is that he and Hillary “finished the Bushes’ project to destroy democracy and installed outright dictatorship back into Haiti.”

Translating Malcolm X into Irish: Malcolm X Film Festival’s First Historic Event in West Belfast

by Sukant Chandan

For some of the younger people of Northern Ireland, “it was the first time they heard Malcolm X’s own words speaking about ‘rejecting the white man,’ developing independence Black liberation organizations, rejecting the dehumanization from the white man, and being inspired by the ‘darker nations’ of Africa and Asia uniting against European colonialism.”

U.S. Blames Others for its Own Crimes

by Ken Peeples

Like the thief who lives in fear of his wallet being stolen, the United States routinely commits the very crimes it accuses its rivals and victims of perpetrating. The U.S. ruling elite project their own criminal impulses on other nations, and then “invest a ton of time, effort and treasure into misleading the masses with benevolent rationales for all things war, imperialism and neoliberalism.”

Black Agenda Radio, Week of March 25, 2015

Black Agenda Radio, week of March 25, 2015

“Liberal” Israeli Zionists Hoped to Prolong the Farce of Negotiations

Had the “liberal” Zionist Union defeated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last week’s elections, they hoped to “force the Palestinians back to the table for some more endless negotiations” and thus “reverse the shift in public opinion that has emerged from the last few years of Netanyahu,” said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka. Netanyahu’s declaration that he will never agree to a Palestinian state lays bare Israel’s colonialist intentions and long history of duplicity.

Hillary’s Missing Emails Hide Her and Bill’s Haiti Corruption

Protesters from the Committee to Mobilize Against Dictatorship in Haiti demonstrated at Clinton family headquarters, in Manhattan, last Thursday. The former Secretary of State kept her emails under a private server – and deleted tens of thousands of them – to hide details of the Clintons’ corrupt financial dealings in Haiti, said organizer Dahoud Andre. “We see that the Obama administration is covering up for Hillary, but the more they try to protect Hillary, the more they get themselves covered in that stuff.” Sec. Clinton’s brother was named a board member of a corporation prospecting for gold in Haiti.

In Johannesburg and Ferguson, Black Lives Matter

The United Front and Democratic Left Front of South Africa and the nation’s largest trade union marched on the U.S. consulate in Johannesburg in solidarity with the Black Lives Movement. “After 50 years of apartheid system racism, we understand fully what it means to be on the receiving end of racist police brutality,” said Trevor Ngwane, national secretary of the Democratic Left Front. Blacks have also suffered brutality under the Black-led African National Congress government, which was complicit in the 2012 massacre of 34 mine workers at Marikana. “The present government is actually dancing to the tune of the big capitalists,” said Ngwane.

Mumia: “Homicides of Black People are Always “Justifiable”

Speaking from Frackville State Prison, in Pennsylvania, political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal recalled the night in 1969 when Chicago police, aided by the FBI, killed 21 year-old Panther leader Fred Hampton in his sleep. A grand jury called it “justifiable homicide” – just as grand juries would rule the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner justifiable, 45 years later.

Prison Radio Targeted

Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania’s Rockview State Prison, said prison authorities are disrupting inmate telephone access to Prison Radio, where he – like Mumia – is a correspondent. “What the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is doing is effectively preventing 54,999 prisoners from calling Prison Radio to express their views” – a violation of their freedom of speech.

Tivoli Gardens Victims Demand Reparations

In May of 2010, Jamaican security forces killed at least 73 people in a siege of Tivoli Gardens, and then looted the Kingston apartment complex. Journalist Lloyd Aguilar has directed a video of survivors’ demands for reparations. Two of Nadine Sutherland’s nephews were gunned down after soldiers ordered them to run from her apartment. “I never saw them again until I identified [their bodies] on the computer,” she said.

Daughter of Hit Squad Victim Blames Rwanda’s Paul Kagame

Rwandan exile leader Col. Patrick Karegeya, a former high official in Paul Kagame’s Rwandan military dictatorship, was gunned down on New Years Eve, 2013, in South Africa – one of many dissidents to meet a similar fate. His daughter, Portia Karegeya, told Phil Taylor, of CIUT radio, in Toronto, Canada: “Once he and his colleagues formed a formal opposition party, it was pretty much written in stone that your life is under threat.”

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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Seattle Urban League Leader to Run Against Socialist Seattle City Council Member. Why?

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Like the NAACP, the NAN and other corporate funded dinosaur civil rights outfits, the National Urban League mostly says and does what its wealthy donors need. So how surprising is it that Seattle's well-connected Urban League CEO on her first run for public office, thinks she needs to knock out the city council's only socialist? What's wrong with that picture?

 
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Thirty Years of Black Economic Regression

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Black progress in the United States – the kind you can measure in numbers – is a myth. A new study confirms that Blacks have been steadily falling further behind whites in wealth for the past 30 years – which means the Great Black Regression has lasted about twice as long as the brief period of progress in the wake of the Sixties. Short of a revolution, Blacks will never achieve parity with whites.

 
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Depravity at the Highest Level: Obama Prepares the Boil from Selma – PART II and Black Code Alert

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Kevin Berends

The Obama administration has no intention of tampering with police immunity from prosecution for the slaughter of Black people. “We have by now seen the only real policy the government has to offer – waiting us out until the storm blows over.” Obama seasons the pot with “commemorative platitudes” on historically significant occasions.

The Israeli Election: The Obamafication of Israeli Oppression

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

Whichever of the main Israeli parties gets to form a new government, the Jewish State’s colonial policy towards Palestinians will not change. Benjamin Netanjahu’s Likud and the rival Zionist Union are in fundamental agreement on expanding the Jewish presence in the occupied territories and denying Palestinians a right to return to their homeland.

Exuberant Irrationality Driving Afrikan-Canadians’ Support for Deputy Police Chiefs

by Ajamu Nangwaya

The late Maya Angelou supported Clarence Thomas for U.S. Supreme Court Justice, because he’s Black. Afro-Canadians are making the same mistake in endorsing two Black cops for police chief in the nation’s largest city, Toronto. Both Black officers are supporters of “carding,” the Canadian version of stop-and-frisk.

Testing Public Education to Death in New York

by George Joseph and John Tarleton

The real teaching crisis in New York is “the failure to keep experienced and highly capable teachers and allow them to do their jobs.” The exodus of veteran teachers is by design. So-called “reformers” want to “transform teaching into a deskilled, low-wage job performed mostly by middle-class whites for a few years after college before moving on to other work.”

No Justice, No Peace, Without Black Community Control of Police

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Police, prosecutors, politicians and corporate propagandists seized on the shooting of two cops in Ferguson, to claim that the Black Lives Matter movement had suffered a “setback” – as if they have the moral authority to judge. But the movement is not about keeping its enemies happy, but to establish the power of the Black community over the police.

No Justice, No Peace, Without Black Community Control of Police

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Police, prosecutors, politicians and corporate propagandists seized on the shooting of two cops in Ferguson, to claim that the Black Lives Matter movement had suffered a “setback” – as if they have the moral authority to judge. But the movement is not about keeping its enemies happy, but to establish the power of the Black community over the police.

Freedom Rider: 47 Republicans and Israeli Control of Congress

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

When it comes to Israel, the line separating Democrats from Republicans is essentially non-existent. Not one congressperson of either party will risk the wrath of the pro-Israel lobby. “To date, 15 Democrats have at various times expressed a willingness to go along with the Republicans and end any chance for negotiations with Iran.” If Obama’s own administration was not engaged in the talks, he’d probably be opposed, too, in deference to Israel.

Black Agenda Radio Week of March 16, 2015

Rand Paul is Ally in Fight to Repeal Patriot Act

Congress will consider a bill to completely repeal the Patriot Act, which is up for renewal, this spring. President Obama campaigned on a platform to rein in U.S. intelligence agencies, but “will soon leave Washington in even worse shape than he found it” in terms of civil liberties, said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Buttar said GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul and elements of the Tea Party are more willing than most Democrats to stand up to the CIA and NSA.

A Multi-Generational Movement

“We need to create an intergenerational dialogue between those who represent the older movement and those who are representing the newer movement,” said Nyle Fort, a young minister from Newark, New Jersey, and contributor to the latest issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy. The journal is sponsor of a public forum on “Mass Incarceration, Police Violence and Political Imprisonment” at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center in New York City, March 20.

Mumia: What Was “Unsaid In Selma”

“Selma is a vivid example of an evil that still lives with us: that of police immunity for their violence,” said Mumia Abu Jamal. President Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary ceremonies in Selma was a “masterwork” of oratory, said the nation’s best known political prisoner. The president “could have addressed police immunity, but that would have shattered his ‘we’re all better’” off than we used to be speech.

A 20-Year Cap on Prison Terms

No one should serve more than 20 years in prison, no matter what the crime, said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project. About 3,000 people sit on death rows in the U.S., while 160,000 are serving life sentences – comprising one out of every nine inmates, said Mauer. Sentences are a lot shorter in Europe, where “some countries have found life sentences to be unconstitutional, and those that still maintain it generally have only a few dozen people serving those kind of terms,” he said.

Obama goes Reagan on Venezuela

President Obama last week invoked the same language against Venezuela that President Ronald Reagan deployed against Nicaragua, in the Eighties, when the U.S. waged a proxy war against that country. In imposing economic sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, Obama declared the country an “extraordinary threat” to the national security of the United States. Obama is attempting, like President George Bush, “to inoculate Latin America from the contagion that Venezuela represents in terms of social and political change,” said Miguel Tinker Sala, professor of history and Latin American Studies at Pomona College, in Claremont, California. However, all of Latin America has denounced U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said the U.S. foreign policy establishment doesn’t under “that the hemisphere has changed drastically in the last 15 years, and is truly independent of the United States for the first time in 150 years.”

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. Click here to download the show. Length: One hour.
 
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Burkina Faso Courts Allow Exhumation of Thomas Sankara Remains

by Abayomi Azikiwe

During his four years as head of a revolutionary government in Burkina Faso, Captain Thomas Sankara captured the imaginations of Marxists and Pan-Africanists throughout the world. He was assassinated by treacherous comrades in 1987. The exhumation of his body could shed light on the circumstances of Sankara’s death, and breathe new life into his program for African liberation.

Obama's Selma Celebration Speech: Another Brand For US Imperialism

by Danny Haiphong

President Obama milked the Selma commemoration for all it was worth, depicting the events of 1965 “as a symbol of American exceptionalism.” For this month’s participants, the contradictions of the occasion were acute. “While some didn't march in the Selma celebration because of GW Bush's presence, it is equally deplorable that these same critics marched alongside Obama.”

Obama’s Selma Song: America Is Not Racist – It’s Just Ferguson

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

No matter how many Black people are shot down in the streets by cops, no matter how far Black people fall in the relative to whites in the economy, Barack Obama has always denied that racism is endemic to the United States. He amended that slightly, in Selma this weekend. “Obama now admits that racism had once been endemic to the country, but that it is now limited to Ferguson-like localities.”

Freedom Rider: Obama’s Final Insult to Michael Brown

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder bestowed impunity on the killers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and then journeyed to Selma, Alabama, to explain how great it is to have Black faces in such high places. Half a century has passed since “Bloody Sunday,” yet Black people’s life prospects remain irrelevant to the powers-that-be.

Why Isn't Sen. Kirk's “Chicago Will Become Detroit” Threat National News?

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Chicago could become Detroit, an Illinois Senator threatened on March 2, if Chicago fails to re-elect Rahm Emanuel. Staring down this threat tells us a lot about how the game is, and ought to be played.

Obama, at War on Three Continents, Threatens Venezuela

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

No sooner does Obama break the ice with Cuban, than he turns up the imperial heat on Venezuela, the other openly socialist government in the hemisphere. “Obama’s assertion that Venezuela is a danger to U.S. national security ranks just short of a declaration of war.”

 
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Depravity at the Highest Level: Obama Prepares the Boil from Selma – Part I

by BAR editor and Columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Kevin Berends

Barack Obama journeyed to Selma, Alabama, one of the poorest places in a very poor state, to urge Black people to reflect on how much progress has been made over the past 50 years. If they had actually done so, they might have run the president out of town, along with the “Black Misleadership roosters” who “strutted their egos across Edmund Pettus Bridge and crowed about THEIR accomplishments.”

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