Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

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U.S. Sets Stage for Libya-Like Regime Change in Eritrea, “Africa’s Cuba”

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. is moving towards war against Eritrea, a fiercely independent African nation of only six million people. Washington has deployed its UN “human rights” proxies to justify another “humanitarian” military intervention, remarkably like the UN-sanctioned aggression against Libya, in 2011. The UN panel charges Eritrea with “enslaving” and murdering its own people – a pack of imperial lies. Obama is set to add another war to his bloody legacy.

Freedom Rider: September 9th Prison Strike

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Prison inmates around the country have organized to resist the world’s largest and most profitable system of human bondage. Mass Black incarceration marks the U.S. as a racist police state. “When we stand up to these authorities,” say the prisoners, “they come down on us, and the only protection we have is solidarity from the outside.” All decent men and women must answer the call to action from the belly of the gulag in September.

America: The Land of Terrorists and Massacres

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The massacre in Orlando was not the largest mass killing in U.S. history, and the United States has been responsible for the massacre of millions around the planet. We should all be mindful of “the nexus between US foreign policy adventures that plunder and violate countries in search of natural resources and US domestic racist actions.” U.S. crimes against humanity stretch from My Lai to Ferguson.

4 out of 5 Prisoners Would Have to be Released to Reduce U.S. Incarceration to 1972 Levels

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. prison system is the true measure of how America regards its Blacks citizens. In a country that is till two-thirds white and only one-sixth Black, African Americans make up majorities of the prison population in 12 states. To bring U.S. incarceration rates down to 1972 levels, fully 80 percent of the 2.3 million current prison inmates – a total of 1,850,000 men and women – would have to be let go.

 
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Muhammad Ali and Dylann Roof: Contested Meanings and Contested Lies

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

In the space of a week, Muhammad Ali was eulogized by “the rapist and petty opportunist politician” Bill Clinton, and the U.S. government announced it would pursue the death penalty for the Charleston shooter. Nothing in America is innocent. The first event represents the rulers’ attempt to “Americanize” Black icons. The second cynically seeks to undermine opposition to the death penalty among Blacks, the group most opposed to capital punishment.

Keep Muhammed Ali's Legacy Away from Beyonce and Kanye West

by Danny Haiphong

Airheaded commentators compare Beyonce’s media products and Kanye West’s off-hand quips to Muhammad Ali’s heroic political struggle and genuine sacrifice in the Sixties. That’s nonsense. “Beyonce can dress up in Black Panther dress and subsequently fail to use her platform to educate others about the Black Panther Party precisely because she is selling a product, not building a movement. The same goes for Kanye West and all corporate artists.”

Prisons are for Burning: On Abolition and Dystopia

by Neal Shirley

When people claim they have a plan to abolish prisons, make sure they are not hawking some techno-analytic, biometric, genetic mapping, computer-based or electronic ankle bracelet alternative designed to ensnare us all. Rather than abolishing incarceration, they would democratize it. When it comes to phony prison “abolition” schemes, “the president and his opposition all sound an awful lot like Angela Davis.”

Hillary Clinton: Something Wicked This Way Comes

by Solomon Comissiong

Lesser evils” are still evil – and, who says Hillary Clinton is the “lesser” in a contest with Donald Trump? “If you wish to vote for someone evil who adores war and destroying human life, by way of wars of aggression, then Hillary Clinton is your candidate.” Trump’s evil is also manifest in his nostalgia for Jim Crow and his crude and contemptible xenophobia.

Green Party Seeks 2016 Ballot Access in all 50 States, an Interview with Rick Lass

Ann Garrison's picture

by Ann Garrison

The two major parties maintain their duopoly, not just on the strength of corporate money, but by making it so hard for independent parties to get on the ballot. The author spoke to New Mexico activist and Stein campaign staffer Rick Lass about efforts to get the Green Party on the ballot in all 50 states. He reminded her that it also “takes an inspiring candidate with an organization to raise the funds and attract the volunteers needed to get on the ballot.”  

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 13, 2016

FBI Widens Sting Operations Against Dissidents

The FBI appears to have widened its web of sting operations to entrap American dissidents in so-called “terrorist plots,” said Sue Udry, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Udry cited a study that analyzed about 400 alleged terror plots prosecuted by the FBI between 2003 and 2010, only four of which “did not have a component of FBI entrapment of the people who were eventually convicted.” Most were against poor, unsophisticated Muslim Americans. In more recent years, said Udry, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department have used “these entrapment stings against environmental and peace activists” and have been “monitoring and infiltrating Black Lives Matter, the Occupy Movement” and “groups that are fighting fracking.” The Committee is demanding Congress launch an investigation to find out “what other groups the FBI has been focused on.”

Black Is Back Coalition to Help Develop an Agenda for Self-Determination

Black America in recent decades has put forward “no basic political demand” of its own, but instead hopes and prays “that the Democratic Party will treat us well and the Republican Party will not treat us badly,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. On August 13 and 14 the Coalition will hold a conference on a national Black political agenda for self-determination, in Philadelphia. In the Sixties, said Yeshitela, “the drive was for self-determination, and that’s been a missing element in the political discussion up until now.”

Broad Clemency Needed to Reverse Mass Incarceration

The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform organization, is calling for a broader, categorical approach to presidential clemency, like President Gerald Ford’s 1974 amnesty for war resisters. However, even comprehensive clemencies would not alter U.S. status as the world’s premier incarceration state, said executive director Marc Mauer. “We need to have more rational sentencing policies, we need more diversion from prison, and we need more public health approaches” to social problems,” said Mauer. “If we really want to address mass incarceration, it’s going to take much more on the front end than just rectifying some of these problems five or ten years after the initial sentence has taken place.”

Death Squads and Corporate Greed Prey on Black Colombians

Afro-Colombians and indigenous groups have been blocking roads in protest of violations of their land rights by multinational corporations and intimidation by paramilitary death squads. “You have a particular kind of predatory capitalism” in Colombia and other parts of Latin America, “where you have a relationship between corporations and the government, and paramilitary forces that do the bidding of these corporations in terms of cleaning people from land and terrorizing and murdering local organizers,” said Ajamu Baraka, a member of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network. “In Colombia, paramilitarism has been taken to an art form.” Baraka is a BAR editor and columnist and a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network.

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Sanders' Moment of Truth

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The moment of truth has come for the Sanders campaign. He must act according to the logic of the “movement” that he claims to lead, or bow to the logic of the duopoly political system. “If Sanders folds before Philadelphia – as early as this week, if the White House has its way – then history will treat him as a saboteur of the 'movement' that he claimed to lead.”

We Won't Be New Orleans or Detroit: Stopping the Bipartisan Drive To Privatize Education in Georgia

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

They did it in New Orleans thanks to Katrina – closed over a hundred public schools and fired thousands to create the nation's first and highly profitable all-charter school district, an educational failure but a neoliberal social engineering masterpiece. They did it to Detroit without a hurricane. Is Georgia next, and your city or state after that?

Freedom Rider: World War III

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

President Obama has spent seven years bullying his way towards Armageddon. Russia is now preparing for war and, “contrary to popular misconception there is no ‘missile shield’ that can protect the West should Russia decide to defend itself with nuclear weapons.” Obama is intent on creating “the same risks with China, another nuclear power.” But the U.S. can’t get regime change in China or Russia, “so what will the masters of disaster do next?”

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The Black political class is constantly congratulating itself on ancient voting rights victories in the South, yet Rev. Edward Pinkney is serving his second stretch in prison for fighting against Black disenfranchisement in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Pinkney was convicted twice by all-white juries on the flimsiest evidence, and now believes his life is in danger behind bars.

 
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What Does it Mean to be an American Liberal Today?

by Danny Haiphong

Liberalism is “an ideology rooted in a nation founded upon imperial conquest and rabid capitalist exploitation.” Its main proponent in is the Democratic Party, which “has become the engine of US imperial rule.” Hillary Clinton is a twin of Barack Obama. “While Obama intensified imperial war, austerity, and domestic repression, liberal supporters sat on the sidelines and watched.” Liberals wage fake wars on Republicans and real wars on the world.

What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?

by Aidan O'Brien

So-called “progressives” fear Donald Trump’s nationalism more than they loath Hillary Clinton’s imperialism, which murders millions.  If Trump fragmented America, disrupting the West’s plans for World War III, that “would be an unequivocally good thing.” However, most U.S. “progressives” don’t really care about America’s victims, only about themselves. “Clinton’s imperialism will not disturb their slumber.”

Stop Criminalizing Sex Workers

by Deon Haywood 

The fight against mass incarceration of the poor must extend to decriminalization of sex workers. “Just as drug use is a public health issue, sex work is born of the overwhelming poverty and income inequality.” Anti-trafficking campaigns expose sex workers to yet more violence and poverty. “A felony is a sure-fire way to get locked out of the economy permanently.”

What Remains Hidden in Rwanda: The Role of Tutsi Civilians in Killing Hutus

by Judi Rever      

When Paul Kagame’s Tutsi forces invaded Rwanda in the early 1990s, they spawned two genocides. First came the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Hutus, later followed by massacres of Tutsi. Only half the story has been told. Tutsi civilians’ duties included “identifying prominent Hutus that would later be executed, locating and putting Hutus in dungeons, delivering Hutus over to RPF intelligence agents and digging mass graves to bury victims.”

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