Throw Off the Dead Weight of the Democratic Party

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“Blacks haven’t transformed the Democratic Party by our overwhelming presence. Instead, the Party has transformed us – and overwhelmed our radical politics.” The best result that can occur from the Sanders campaign would be that it leads to a split in the Democratic Party, and an end to the Rich Man’s Duopoly.

Freedom Rider: America’s Endless Wars

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

There is no “peace” wing in either the Democratic or Republican parties. “Not only has Obama declared unending war against the rest of the world, but so has the rest of the two party duopoly.” When the warmongers scream “Jump,” the only question leaders of either party ask is, “How high?” It’s a matter of tone, not substance. “The Republicans openly brag about aggressions while Democrats dissemble and use weasel words to pretend they won’t do the same thing.”

Beyonce and the Politics of Cultural Dominance

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

Beyonce and her dancers perform in pseudo-Panther gear, pretending that resistance to the state is a matter of fashionability.  “It is incredibly naive to think that anything subversive or even remotely oppositional to the interests of the capitalist oligarchy would be allowed expression on a stage that it controlled.” Assata Shakur is an example of “total resistance that can’t be co-opted by bourgeois culture.”

Beyoncé, James Brown and Black Movements

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Beyoncé has wowed her public again with the YouTube and Superbowl versions of “Formation” – but it’s really all about capital formation. “Beyoncé wants to be perceived as being down with the new movement” – the same motivation that led James Brown to release “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” in 1968. Neither artist is the least bit radical, but both “know how to ride the waves of popular culture” and to masquerade as change-makers.

 
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EPA’s Deliberate Poisoning of Flint’s Children

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Flint, Michigan, was declared a “sacrifice zone” because its majority Black and poor population’s “presence is no longer required and their lives are considered a hindrance to economic progress,” writes the author, who blew the whistle on EPA complicity in U.S. corporate poisoning of South African vanadium mine workers.  The EPA is a serial criminal that has “utterly failed the Flint community and must be held accountable.”

Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital

by Mumia Abu-Jamal 

The adage that there are different systems of justice for rich and poor, Black and white, is horrifically confirmed in Flint, Michigan, where the white supremacist, capitalist state poisoned a majority Black and poor population. Yet, in U.S. society there is no punishment to fit such a crime. “In Michigan’s prisons, there ain’t a single prisoner who committed a more vicious crime than the Governor of that state.”

Pentagon Request of 582 Billion in 2017 another Indication of Imperialism's Desperation

by Danny Haiphong

Washington’s hyper-aggressive rhetoric is backed up by a Pentagon budget that promises never-ending war for the foreseeable future. The world will pay a horrific price. U.S. wars “no longer stimulate a recovery of imperialism’s economic base, but rather exacerbate crisis.” As a result, Washington’s worldwide warfare “has ignited global chaos to the point where economic development of any form is difficult to manage.”

#Incarcerated Lives Matter

by Lacino Hamilton

The struggle against mass incarceration has gained broad support in recent years. However, “as long as reducing the incarceration rate is confined to fiscal pressures, little attention, if any at all, will be paid to the root cause of mass incarceration (racism), or how caging people for part or all of their lives has removed from the community and the family the abilities to sustain themselves free of state and corporate domination.”

Portland Tenants United Leads a New Call for Organizing Against Evictions and Displacement

by Shane Burley

When renters band together, they can stop gentrification in its tracks, say tenants union advocates in Portland, Oregon. “Just as workers can have a union in their workplaces, tenants should have the same power of collective action, and bargaining, in their homes.”

The Shame of South Africa’s Black Political Prisoners

by Motsoko Pheko

More than twenty years after the end of formal apartheid, several African nationalists who resisted the inhuman system are still languishing in prison. Yet many apartheid agents who committed atrocious crimes against the African people were pardoned, some without even expressing any remorse. This is unacceptable. The ANC Government must release all political prisoners now.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 8, 2016

McKesson Parachutes into Baltimore Democratic Mayoral Primary

DeRay McKesson, the Twitter communicator who heads Campaign Zero, is a “ridiculous” candidate for mayor of Baltimore, said Jill Carter, the most radical member of the Maryland state legislature. “He hasn’t been part of any movement or struggle here, or any social circles other than, possibly, social media.” McKesson, a Teach for America alumnus and staunch advocate of charter schools, “may also cause a greater wedge in the justice movement” in Baltimore, said Carter, who notes that corporate media have given the McKesson campaign more play than the rest of the crowded field of candidates.

Movement Must Fulfill Its Obligations to Political Prisoners

People’s lawyer and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart and Ralph Poynter, the veteran human rights activist and educator, said the current movement must reaffirm its support for political prisoners and prisoners of war. “Let us not divert our energies into the courts, because if we do that, we lose the streets, and the streets is where it’s got to happen,” said Stewart, who spent 28 months in federal prison for the crime of zealously defending her client. Her husband Poynter said lawyers must defend “those brothers and sisters who defied the government in the same way that the government defied their rights – by using force.”

McKinney: “Selective Outrage” Over Flint

The Democratic Party is displaying “selective outrage” in its attempts to gain political points from the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water system, said Dr. Cynthia McKinney, the former six term congresswoman from Georgia and Green Party presidential candidate. “Where has the Congressional Black Caucus been on Detroit, where you’ve got all that water, but they were turning people’s water off?” she said. McKinney noted that the Black Caucus has failed to support Rev. Edward Pinkney, the Benton Harbor, Michigan, community activist who is imprisoned on political charges for opposing corporate domination of his majority Black town.

Good Riddance “Sweet Mickey”

The Haitian people are glad at the exit of Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, the U.S.-backed president chosen five years ago in a blatantly rigged election, whose term of office ran out last Sunday, said Jerome Franz, a Haitian community activist living in Miami. Public outrage over voting fraud forced the cancellation of run-off presidential elections and the appointment of a transitional government. Were it not for massive voter suppression, former president Jean Bertrand-Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas, “would sweep every single post,” said Franz, because “Lavalas is the party of the popular movement.” Martelly’s party’s strength flows from the huge sums of money put at its disposal by the U.S. and other foreigners.

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Vector of Fear: Blacks and the Democratic Party

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Blacks in the South will probably not vote for Bernie Sanders, although they most resemble the “Scandinavian social democrats” of Sanders dreams. However, Black voters don’t express their politics through the ballot. Rather, “Blacks are drawn into the jaws of the Democratic Party, not by ideological affinity, but in search of protection from the Republicans.” It is the politics of fear.

Freedom Rider: The Problem of Bernie Sanders and the “Left”

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Bernie Sander’s near-tie with Hillary Clinton in Iowa is fanning the fantasies of those who never cease to disbelieve in transforming the Democratic Party “from below.” What is certain, is that corporate evil-doers will still rule both wings of the duopoly at the end of the quadrennial game. “Revolutionaries don’t exult over Bernie Sanders vis a vis Hillary Clinton because they know that great change comes from mass action and not the ballot box.”

Clinton, Petraeus, Snowden and Manning: The Tail of the Two Americas

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The U.S. government does not hesitate to imprison those who leak its secrets – unless they are Hillary Clinton or some other Big Shot. “What is remarkable about American democracy is the consistent and perpetual benevolence of the ruling class towards its loyal disciples.” The privilege extends to killer cops, crooked investment bankers, and other slime. But “federal employees complaining of racism are eviscerated while their managers receive promotions.”

Going “International” on Racist Uncle Sam

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Charging the United States with serious violations of Black people’s human rights, a UN panel of experts endorsed Black community control of the police and reparations for descendants of slaves. Washington is under no obligation to comply, but “even a corporate-ruled, imperialist superpower, born in slavery and genocide, can be embarrassed when its crimes are revealed on the world stage.”

 
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Observations on Carrying Forward the Black Radical Tradition After Philly

by Sis. Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture

Organizers of the very successful Jan 7-10 Philadelphia conference on Reclaiming the Black Radical Tradition have pointed to “a pattern of disruption” by pursued there political elements who sought to undermine the conference's legitimacy and unity. Why? Who were these people and what are their politics? A friend who lives in Philly and attended the conference offers this useful picture, along with cogent observations and suggestions.

From Civil Rights to Human Rights, Black Community Control Now!

by Netfa Freeman

A United Nations Working Group preliminary report on human rights violations against Black America advocates Black community control of police. That’s the general position of Pan African Community Action, one of the groups that testified before the UN experts. Community control of police would shift power, enforce democracy and allow folks to re-imagine community security as “a social force to actually protect and serve” Black people.

Flint, Atlantic City, and the Destruction of Democracy

Flint, Atlantic City, and the Destruction of Democracy

by our friends at the Real News Network

Flint Michigan isn't the only place where local rights over infrastructure have been stolen and put in the hands of un-elected "emergency managers" whose first priorities are always repayment of wealthy bondholders. The first wave of such takeovers, Glen Ford points out, was in New Jersey a generation ago, and now Atlantic City may be next.

On the Utility of Self-Criticism and Criticism in the Future of Struggle: The Case of Ta-Nehisi Coates

by Danny Haiphong

The author recommends that a healthy dose of criticism and self-criticism might clarify Ta-Nehisi Coates’ argument with Bernie Sanders over reparations. “It would be appropriate to ask Coates why he chose to single out Sanders as a socialist even though Sanders has positioned himself as a Democratic Party politician since his entrance into the race.” As presently constructed, Ta-Nehisi’s position leads straight into the Empire's electoral graveyard.”

African Union Refuses to Invade Burundi

Ann Garrison's picture

 

by Ann Garrison

The African Union has reversed its decision to send 5,000 “peacekeepers” to Burundi, at the instigation of the U.S. and Europeans. The real threat to Burundi comes from neighboring Rwanda, which is training an army of refugees to invade Burundi. Why did the AU have a change of heart? “Member nations no doubt realized that if they authorized the deployment without Burundi's consent, unwelcome AU troops might be sent across their borders as well.”

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