Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 30, 2016

Jill Stein: U.S. Electoral “House of Cards” Coming Down

Presidential candidate Jill Stein has an answer tor those Democrats that accuse the Greens of offering themselves as “spoilers” who would throw the election to Donald Trump. “I will be horrified if Donald Trump gets elected, and I will be horrified if Hillary Clinton gets elected,” Stein told a panel at the Left Forum conference, in New York City. “I’m most horrified by a political system that gives us two lethal choices and says, ‘Pick between them, and that’s it.’” The two-party duopoly electoral arrangement is in trouble because of the “inherent disfunction of the system, and the fact that the house of cards really is coming down.”

Blacks Will Be Slow to Abandon Democrats

Bernie Sanders has no interest in creating a new political party to the left of the Democrats, because he “wants to strengthen the leftish faction within the Democratic Party,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford, speaking at the same Left Forum panel as Jill Stein. However, Ford predicted that millions of Sanders’ followers will choose to join or help form such a party. Although Blacks are the most left-leaning constituency in the country, they will be slow to support any new, “social democratic” political formation, for fear of helping the “White Man’s Party” – the GOP. Blacks will only break out of the Democratic “trap” in large numbers, said Ford, when they perceive that the Republicans are no longer “a kind of monolithic threat” to Black America.

Charter Schools Take Chicanery Online

Charter school companies are now operating so-called “virtual schools” that have no physical classrooms, but only exist on the Internet. David Cohen, executive director of the advocacy group In The Public Interest, said California Virtual Academies, run by K-12 Inc., graduates less than half its students and is accused of counting pupils as “present” if they log online for as little as one minute a day. The charter’s teachers are paid only about $30,000, said Cohen. The company “needs to make a profit, they need to pay their CEOs, they also need to do whatever they need to do for their shareholders on the stock exchange,” he said. The profits are produced by paying teachers less, hiring fewer administration people, and squeezing every way they can,” he said.

Rich Countries Drain Trillions from Developing World

Global banking expert James Henry said rich countries siphon more than $12 trillion a year from China, Russia and other developing nations. “Collectively speaking, the world has to worry about this because it means that, oddly enough, the developing world is actually a net creditor of western Europe and the United States.” Much of the huge cash outflow is diverted to secretive offshore banking outlets, but soon finds it way back into rich western portfolios. The loss of wealth is disastrous for the developing world, said Henry. “It’s a tremendous opportunity cost for developing countries.”

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Seats on the 2016 Democratic Platform Committee Are NOT a "Political Revolution"

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The Sanders campaign named Cornel West, and 4 others to the Democratic party 2016 platform committee. But platform promises to Democratic voters have always been worthless. Bill Clinton's 1992 platform promised inner city job programs, reinvestment of military spending and much else. Obama's 2008 platform pledged relief to homeowners in the foreclosure crisis and more. The 2016 platform committee is a dead end for the "political revolution" leveraging the credibility of Brother West behind empty pledges neither the platform committee nor Democratic voters can enforce, promises which Hillary Clinton has no intention of keeping.

Crime “Prediction”: The Algorithms of Racist Injustice

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Mass Black incarceration wound up ensnaring too many white people in the gulags, bringing forth calls from within the establishment for “reform” to spare those undeserving of imprisonment.  Digital science came to the rescue. “The U.S. criminal justice system now deploys algorithm-based technology to predict who will be criminalized in the future, and to systematically push whites out of the path of the New Jim Crow juggernaut.”

Freedom Rider: Georgetown Should Pay for Slavery

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

If ever there was a clear path to reparations for the descendants of slaves, it is in compensation to the progeny of the 272 men and women sold South to save the Jesuit school that became Georgetown University. The institution’s $1.5 billion endowment is at least partially owed to an identifiable group of Black people. “If Georgetown pays up like it ought to they can go to any college or make whatever financial decisions they choose.”

Freddie Gray Case Judge Rules it is Unreasonable to Expect Cops to Obey the Law

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The prosecution in Baltimore wanted the cop that arrested Freddie Gray to be convicted of assault, because Gray had done nothing illegal. But “the judge seemed to think it would be ridiculous to treat every arrest as criminal just because there were no grounds for arrest.” The officer was acquitted, affirming the American criminal justice principle that nothing is illegal – including murder – when the cops do it.

 
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On the Challenges of Building a Principled Left Movement in Our Time

by Danny Haiphong

These are exciting – and frustrating – times. “The crisis of US empire has created ripe conditions for a revolutionary movement, yet no such movement exists.” Social forces opposed to capitalism’s predations multiply, yet too often fail to unify. “The task from here is to engage those who have been propelled into action by the crisis of US Empire, whether it is the Sandernistas or Black Lives Matter activists.”

Layers of Islamophobia: Rep. Keith Ellison Says He’s “Unaware” of Clinton Having Returned “Muslim Money”

by Sam Husseini

The only two Muslim members of Congress, Keith Ellison and André Carson, both Black, seem oblivious to Hillary Clinton’s history of distancing herself from Muslim Americans, and share her militaristic vision for the Middle East. U.S. discussions of Islamophobia “largely excludes discussion of U.S. foreign policy, the dehumanization of Muslim lives lost, especially in U.S. attacks.” The only good Muslim is one who supports U.S. imperial policy.

Prisoners’ Voices Blocked and Censorship in U.S. Prisons

by Jaan Laaman

Like many political prisoners, the author’s freedom of speech rights are routinely curtailed. “While prisoners do have a legal right to express their thoughts and report on issues and abuses, actually getting your words out is often very hard or impossible.” U.S. prisons operate their own “kangaroo courts” that often shut down inmate communications “even if the prisoner ultimately wins appeal and has his or her communications restored.”

Africa Liberation Day: Pentagon and CIA Continue to Destabilize the Continent

by Abayomi Azikiwe

African Liberation Day is always a cause for celebration – but also for sober assessment of how far off the goal of continental liberation remains. The great pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah warned that, if Africa did not unite, “imperialists would reverse the minimal gains made by the national liberation movements and political parties.” More than a half-century later, U.S. troops operate in the vast majority of African nations.

Fidel Castro & Cuba: Thorns In Side of US Imperialism

by Solomon Comissiong 

Cuba is a hero nation, and “Commandant Fidel Castro’s legacy can never be undone; his internationalist and revolutionary history will serve as an inspiration forever.” The island nation and its leader confronted – and triumphed against – a giant neighbor whose wealth “comes directly from the plunder and theft.” However, “in the case of Cuba and Fidel Castro, their attempts to break the island nation failed miserably, time and time again.”

Down with the Duopoly: The Republicans Have Split; Now It’s the Democrat’s Turn

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The split in the Democratic Party will become an unbridgeable chasm “when Sanders supporters are forced to recognize that the 40-plus percent of the Democratic base they represent cannot coexist with Hillary’s ‘truer and more fully explicit ruling class party,’ and needs its own electoral political formation.” The Republican side of the corporate duopoly has already been destabilized. Clinton’s hard right turn will fracture the Democrats.

Dixiecrat Ballot Access Law Temporarily Overtuned: This is What a Voting Rights Breakthrough Looks Like

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Georgia is one of several southern states whose Dixiecrat legislature erected high obstacles to new parties on the ballot in the 1940s to keep returning WW2 veterans from cranking up socialist or communist parties. Those laws protected Democrats and Republicans from competition for 70 years. That might end soon, first in Georgia then in the rest of the south. If we cannot vote our hopes instead of our fears, our vote doesn't mean much.

 
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If White People Love Drugs So Much, Why are the Prisons Full of Blacks?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

A new study cites huge disparities, by race, in drug use among former detainees at Chicago’s juvenile detention center. Whites were 30 times as likely to use cocaine as Blacks, and 50 times more likely to abuse opiates. The numbers are misleading. What the study really showed was that only exceptionally troubled white kids wound up in juvenile detention, while Blacks are thrown into the system in droves. Drug and crime stats are skewed by race.

 
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Freedom Rider: Transgender Rights but No Rights for Black People

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

If you are Black in America, “driving, walking, riding a bicycle, being in a public space at the wrong moment, or even calling the police for assistance” can get you killed. President Obama doesn’t care about that, yet he puts the full force of the federal government behind transgender bathroom rights. “Obama loves to wade in on the side of a small segment of white liberal concern instead of helping the people who love them the most.”

A Glimpse of Justice for South Africa’s Gold Miners: High Court Allows Largest Class Action Suit in History

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Under colonialism and apartheid, South African miners have died by the tens of thousands from silicosis, an incurable lung disease. The rates of affliction “haven't got any better since apartheid ended more than twenty years ago.” However, a High Court is allowing miners to sue for relief as a class. “Up to a half-a million miners may be eligible to seek damages, a decision that could cost the mining industry millions.”

The Crisis This Time: US Capitalism Continues to Decline with No End in Sight

by Danny Haiphong

Periodic crisis is endemic to capitalism, built into the system. However, late stage capitalism has entered a phase in which crises are the norm. “Unemployment has remained high for months, if not years, after each successive crisis since the 1990s.” Expect no lasting recovery. “No amount of austerity, war, or repression can halt this trend” because “this is all capitalism can offer.”

The Result of the Akai Gurley Case Reminds Us that New York State Needs a Permanent Special Prosecutor

by Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq.

A Chinese American cop was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death, without provocation, of Akai Gurley. Yet, the Brooklyn, New York, district attorney recommended, and got, probation for the officer. “We give preferential treatment to non-Black defendants while exacting the harshest of punishments for Black defendants.” That’s why permanent special prosecutors are needed to investigate official misconduct.

Louisiana Number One in Incarceration

by Bill Quigley

With over 38,000 people in prison, Louisiana is first in the planet in per capita incarceration. Plus, “there are an additional 69,000 people in Louisiana on probation and parole.” Race is the primary factor that makes the Bayou State the global champion of imprisonment. “Louisiana has been much more severe in sending black people to prison than whites, at least after black people were no longer slaves.”

US Foreign Policy in Africa and the 2016 Elections

by Abayomi Azikiwe

The pace of U.S. meddling in Africa has increased tremendously under the Bush and Obama administrations, yet U.S. policies in Africa are non-issues in the current presidential campaign. “Pentagon, State Department and CIA interventions in Africa have done more to destabilize the continent rather than create the condition for full independence and sovereignty.” Black leaders have proven useless to the defense of African lives, rights and resources.

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