Freedom Rider: A Dead Lion and a Dead Black Man

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

When word reached the U.S. that Cecil the lion had been shot to death in Zimbabwe, much of white America was reduced to tears. But few of them know or care about Samuel DuBose, a Black man gunned down in Cincinnati by a white security guard. “Many white people have a unique ability to humanize every other living thing except a black person.”

BlackLivesMatter Activists: Targets of US Surveilence

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The Obama administration’s spy agencies have been keeping track of the movements, communications and activities of the new crop of Black activists. Although not surprising, the recent reports should give rise to “new strategies and tactics to exchange information among groups, and new modalities to circumvent infiltration and, ultimately, government sting operations.”

Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: The Unbearable Whiteness of Nominal Nordic Socialism

by Paul Street

Bernie Sanders doesn’t understand the history and contemporary workings of race in the United States, and cannot, therefore, grasp the economics of race, either. His campaign lacks “a forthright acknowledgement of the special, vicious super-exploitation, torture and oppression experienced by Black America.” He virtually ignores housing apartheid and mass Black incarceration, and lets U.S. militarism off the hook for stealing resources.

The Only Issue in 2016 – the Legacy of 1776

by Dr. T. P. Wilkinson

The clowns are gathering for the circus that tours the U.S. every four years. There will be sideshows aplenty, but the central theme of the extravaganza – its sacred core – is worship of the right to private property, including the human kind, “the biblical ecumenical movement that has kept white supremacy strong, healthy and unrepentantly racist since the Founding Oligarchs.”

The Fake War on ISIS: US and Turkey Escalate in Syria

by Eric Draitser

Turkey has long been the most important supporter of both ISIS and the other al Qaida off-shoot, al Nusra. Indeed, “since at least 2012, Turkey has been the principal conduit for weapons flowing into Syria.” Therefore, Turkey’s claim that it is now at war with ISIS is a ruse for deeper Turkish involvement in a conflict that it fomented. What Turkey really wants is “a ‘No Fly Zone’ along the Turkey-Syria border” – and outright war with Syria.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of Aug 3, 2015

Predator Cops Fill Graveyards

U.S. police killed 412 people in 1976, 333 in 1984, and 385 in 1990, wrote Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in an essay now republished for his new book, Writings on the Wall. The cops “obviously haven’t protected or served the thousands they’ve murdered over the years. They serve and protect the system, not the people,” he wrote. “They are predators.”

Stop Police Terror

Murder by police can only be stopped by “our independent action,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “We are not looking for Obama, Loretta Lynch or any governors or mayors to do this, because they preside over the horrors that we have to stop.” Dix spoke outside the recent national conference of the Movement for Black Lives, in Cleveland. He’s gearing up for “Rise Up October” campaign of actions to “stop police terror,” under the slogan: “Which side are you on?”

Baltimore Black Political Class Protected White Mayor O’Malley

Jill Carter, a young Black lawyer from Baltimore and the most progressive member of the Maryland state legislature, said it’s no wonder that former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has trouble dealing with Black activists’ on the presidential campaign trail. During his term as mayor of Baltimore, between 1999 and 2007, O’Malley oversaw the arrest of 750,000 people, more than the total population of the city, many of them on charges that “were illegal or unwarranted,” said Carter. Nevertheless, the entire Black city leadership supported and protected O’Malley, “even when faced with the reality that he was destroying the city and the community’s relationship with the police department.” O’Malley’s protectors included the current and former mayors of Baltimore, the whole of the city council, plus all of the city’s delegation to the state legislature – except for Jill Carter.

Bernie Sanders Runs as Populist, not Socialist

Paul Street, the veteran political scholar and activist, said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is running as a populist, not a socialist. “He doesn’t say ‘socialism’” in his campaign speeches,” said Street, who was among the first to point out Barack Obama’s conservative political tendencies. Senator Sanders “identifies himself with the social democratic states of Scandinavia, particularly Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but does not refer to himself as a socialist,” said Street. “And, unlike the serious Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, back in the day, I haven’t heard him mouth the term ‘capitalism’ once.”

New Black Movement Combines Mix of Older Tactics

The emerging Black political movement “combines the tactics of the Civil Rights Movement – mass marches, civil disobedience, shutting things down – with programs and ideas that did not always crystallize in the Black Power Movement, but were thought about” during that period, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, former professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. Protesters gathered on Temple’s campus to demand Dr. Monteiro’s reinstatement to what chairman Molefi Asante has renamed the “Department of Africology.”

 
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Freedom Rider: Obama’s Africa Hypocrisy

By BAR editor and Senior Columnist Margaret Kimberley

The president's visit to East Africa has been the occasion for the same kind of hypocritical finger pointing Barack Obama usually reserves for his frequent hectoring of Black America, this time using "gay rights" as the standard, It's a standard which he would never use to lecture America's other vassals like the bloodstained beheading backward Saudi regime.

A Snapshot of Imperialism's Crime of Homelessness: Why Boston's Homeless Crisis Deepens Despite City Plan to End It

by Danny Haiphong

Homelessness in Boston has increased 40% since 2007, spurring the city's political elite to a plan to “end homelessness in Boston by 2018.” But the city's plan never mentions poverty and unavailability of affordable housing as causes of homelessness. So how likely is it to “end” anything?

NetRoots Nation Confrontation Wasn't About #BlackLivesMatter At All

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

NetRootsNation is a gathering for paid and wannabe paid Democratic party activists, including the ostensibly non-partisan ones. You go there to make connections, learn new stuff and get noticed by the people who hand out grants, jobs, fellowships and careers, cash for “voter education” and GOTV. Confronting minor white male candidates was a great way to get noticed without antagonizing Hillary, the inevitable Democratic nominee.

 
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Obama’s Takes His Prison Reform Con Game on the Road

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Never has a president been so highly praised for fraudulent efforts and fictitious accomplishments than Barack Obama, who now pretends – very late in his presidency – to have discovered the evils of mass incarceration. From crack cocaine to solitary confinement, he has mastered the arts of illusory reform.

 
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Freedom Rider: The Iran Deal Reality

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The U.S. deal with Iran – based on assumptions about an Iranian nuclear weapons program that American intelligence agencies have twice concluded does not exist – allows the U.S. to concentrate on provoking Russia and China while continuing to threaten Iran with destruction. Global peace is no closer than before, since “America’s insistence on imperialism and control of other countries is the cause of every catastrophe.”

The Assassination of Sandra Bland and the Struggle against State Repression

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

The Black Lives Matter movement has another martyr, as it prepares for a national conference in Cleveland, this weekend. Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas shows, once again, that “defending one’s dignity in an encounter with the police is a crime that that can lead to a death sentence.” The emerging movement must be clear on the political nature of Bland’s death, and that only real power in the hands of the people can break the cycle of oppression.

Black Unionists Try to Save South Africa from Becoming a Failed State

by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, editor and columnist

“What the South African people fought for is not what they have received… it’s time that we continue the struggle for liberation,” said labor leaders Irvin Jim and Zwelinzima Vavi, meeting with activist allies in Washington, DC and New York City. “The time has come that we must organize the working class, as a class to challenge the neo-liberal agenda” followed by the African National Congress government.

Bernie Out of the Closet: Sanders’ Longstanding Deal with the Democrats

by Paul Street

Bernie may call himself a socialist, but since his terms as mayor of Burlington VT in the 1980s, the state's Democrats have never run anybody against him.  In return "socialist" Bernie Sanders has supported every war and military intervention since the 1980s, just like every other good Democrat.

A Brief Reflection on the Relationship Between Syriza and Bernie Sanders

by Danny Haiphong

The Greek Syriza party and Bernie Sanders’ U.S. presidential campaign have something in common: neither has any intention to challenge the global capitalist system. “Syriza began and remains a social democratic party committed to the maintenance of the Wall Street-controlled European order,” and “Bernie Sanders is a ruling class tool.”

New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at Ten: Who Was Left Behind

by Bill Quigley

A decade after the Katrina catastrophe, 100,000 people have still not returned to New Orleans, most of them Black. Whites in the city have gotten a lot richer, yet poverty still stalks Black neighborhoods, the public schools have been almost totally charterized, and rents have skyrocketed – all in the name of “renewal.”

The Violence of Police Politics

by Steve Martinot

The “dementia” of police behavior is reflected in U.S. prisons, where punishment is justified by the fact of incarceration. “Solitary confinement is imposed on those who think critically and politically.” On the street, police dementia is policy. “In profiling, the police commit an act of suspicion, and then look for a crime with which to charge their suspect.” Profiling renders everything that follows “beyond the law.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 20, 2015

Mumia “May Have Been Poisoned”

Six months after Mumia Abu Jamal nearly died from diabetic shock, the nation’s best known political prisoner’s underlying illness has yet to be diagnosed, said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at New York City’s Baruch College and member of Educators for Mumia. Abu Jamal’s maddeningly itching skin has turned a leathery black, and his output of commentaries and analysis for Prison Radio “has diminished significantly,” said Fernandez, who fears Mumia is suffering a “deeper, systemic problem” or “may have been poisoned.” Nevertheless, “Mumia is delighted and inspired by the movement against police violence that has emerged in the country,” and will continue to speak out “from the belly of the beast.” That’s why, she said, “over and over, the state has tried to silence and kill him.”

Obama’s Recent “Epiphanies” on U.S. Racism

President Obama’s recent discovery that “racism is part of the DNA of this country” was sparked by a need to reposition himself in the wake of the Charleston massacre and “the resistance that is growing among African people in this country,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition is gearing up for a national conference, in Philadelphia, August 22 and 23, with a focus on Black community control of police, a stance that Yeshitela believes “resonates with Black people” and can put the struggle firmly on the road to self-determination.

TPP is a Black Issue

“Any agreement that has a detrimental impact on workers anywhere, is a Black issue,” said Ajamu Baraka, veteran human rights activist and editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “We are the victims of this global capitalist economy, and so we have solidarity and responsibilities to people in other parts of the world,” Baraka told Solomon Comissiong, of Your World News. President Obama’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership is “specifically a Black issue because one can’t understand the objective material conditions in places like Baltimore, Detroit, Gary, Indiana, and South Bend, Michigan, without connecting these conditions to the transformation of the U.S. economy” by deindustrialization – which will further intensify under TPP.

 
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Why Bill Clinton's Apology and Barack Obama's Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing

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

Six and a half years into his presidency, Barack Obama has discovered black mass incarceration. He's shocked, visits a federal prison and frees a token handful of prisoners. Fifteen years out of office, Bill Clinton half-apologies for his 1990s crime bills which nearly doubled the US prison population. What's got into these guys? It's election season. Hillary is running for the White House and she needs the black vote.

 
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Freedom Rider: Obama’s Prison Charade

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Barack Obama attempts to create a phony legacy as the prison “reform” president by extending clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders – not all that many, by presidential standards. Yet, he went to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep 5,000 non-violent crack-cocaine offenders locked up. Obama’s “sudden desire to look like the Great Emancipator is an ongoing publicity junket.”

The Fight For A Socialist South Africa

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

South Africa’s most militant labor leaders are pressing forward with plans to build a real socialist party to challenge the ANC government’s capitulation to global capitalism. ANC loyalists this week locked the country’s largest union and the labor federation’s former general secretary out of a COSATU special Congress. The two traveled to the U.S., last week, seeking help from activists that supported the “Free South Africa” movement in the 80s.

Obama’s Legacy: Black Child Poverty at Record High

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The consequences of the Great Recession “and the Obama administration’s response to it” have fallen most heavily on Black children, who have been plunged into poverty at the highest levels ever recorded. Poverty rates have gone down for all children except Blacks – an example of actual American “exceptionalism.”

 
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Where Obama's Race To The Top Leads: Chicago, Philly, Miami Public Schools Privatize Teacher Hiring

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Piecemeal and wholesale privatization of public schools has been the bipartisan agenda of Republicans and Democrats. Now top school districts are outsourcing teacher hiring to be sure they get the Wal-Mart style disposable temps to man the positions once held by experienced teachers connected with their students and communities.

 
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Holder’s Legacy: Corporate Criminals Too Big to Jail But Mass Incarceration, Gentrification and Protection of Killer Cops for Black Folks – Part II

by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, editor and columnist

Eric Holder has been praised as a “civil rights”-oriented attorney general, but the only rights he has championed are those of the bankers, white vigilantes and killer cops. “Holder refused to press charges against millionaire banking executives who, he assured Wall Street, ‘were too big to jail.’” Blacks have to make do with their Miranda warning rights – if they are lucky enough to survive an encounter with the police.

Hillary's Family Ties to School Privatizers, and Diane Ravitch's Review of Hoosier School Heist

By Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist Blog, and Diane Ravitch

Last week the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, without consulting more than a token slice of the union's membership. It's hard not to know that AFT leaders have turned their backs on teachers and thrown in with the privatizing politicians and consultants. Hillary too has her own family ties to school privatizers.

False Flag Change: History, the Confederate Flag, Obama and the Deeper American Racism

by Paul Street

The Confederate flag comes down at the capital of South Carolina, and smug white smiles go up all over America. “Meanwhile,” writes the author, “savage racial disparities persist and even deepen thanks to the underlying societal, institutional, historical, and political-economic racism that churns on behind the curtain of an officially color blind and, yes, politically correct media and politics culture.”

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