Black Politics Is Over: Black Politicians No Longer Believe Social Justice Is Possible

The day before being sworn in, Atlanta's new mayor Kasim Reed pledged to the Chamber of Commerce he'd deal with downtown panhandlers in what he called a more "muscular" fashion. The hopes and predictions of white pundits that black political life would come to look like the rest of America have come true. But not because the inequalities in health, wealth, incarceration rates and other indices of disparity have narrowed. Black politics are looking a lot more like white politics because the black political elite no longer believes its mission is to fight for peace and justice. The newer, more cynical black elite are unmoored from their peace-and-justice-loving base. They are focused on their own careers, and the corporate largesse that makes those careers possible. Make no mistake about it, the black politics of a previous generation, in which black candidates and public officials were expected to stand for something beside their own careers, is over.

 

Ida B. Wells -- Still Wielding the Sword For Our People

Born in Mississippi in 1862, Ida B. Wells was perhaps the most formidable African American leader of her day. That she is rarely mentioned in the chronology of black leadership that usually runs from Frederick Douglass, to Booker T. Washington to DuBois and Garvey and on into the 20th century is a testament to the ongoing power of patriarchy. But during the wave of lynchings that marked the late nineteenth and early 20th century, when Booker T. was saying “make a brick”, Wells was the only black leader advocating resistance across the board to white supremacy, everything from working with black businesses, to emigration, to armed self defense.

2009: The Year Wall Street Devoured the US Government

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Something happened last year that will earn 2009 a permanent place in history: the finance capitalist class devoured the state apparatus of America. Whole. All of it. And nothing will ever be the same.

Black is Back Coalition Conference in Florida

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Ten months into the Obama presidency, a newly-formed coalition of Black activists and organizations gathered in Washington to confront the administration's policies. On January 23, the Black is Back Coalition meets to map out a plan of action for the new year. “Black is Back means demanding the resources that are ours by right, to shape our own destinies in solidarity with the rest of humankind in a world that says Yes to justice and peace.”

What Do Wells Fargo and Other Banksters Owe Black People?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Millions of Americans are outraged that bank officers get fat bonuses for making bad loans. But what is truly grotesque is how few people demand that these bankers go to jail for the crime of “reverse redlining.” “It is unthinkable that bank lending officers up and down the corporate chain of command might face criminal prosecution for ruining the lives of millions!”

Black America, Abortion and the Morality of Choice

by Sikivu Hutchinson
Women of color face multiple challenges when seeking effective reproductive choice. In addition to an Obama administration and Democratic congressional leadership that “kowtow to antiabortion forces out of political expediency,” African American women are brow-beaten by Black nationalists who equate abortion with genocide. “In the midst of a dangerously reactionary climate we can least afford to cede visibility to the self-appointed 'authentic' morality police of black America.”

Model Minorities vs. Black (Reverse) Racists: Blacks, Asian Americans, and South Philadelphia High

by Tamara K. Nopper

What happens when Blacks are perceived by other minorities and by whites as the bosses, wielders of state power? How does the Blacks-in-charge perception jibe with stereotypes of Black incompetence and violence. And where do Asians, the so-called “model minority,” fit into this racial drama? The author seeks answers from events at a troubled Philadelphia high school.

West Indies: 500 Years, 500 Lashes

maxell and the pirateby John Maxwell
Five centuriesof European domination has brought the world ever-increasing disparities in wealth and every other measure of the human condition. The rich nations and their servants preach a capitalist gospel that would condemn nations like Jamaica to centuries more of hell. “We are told that we must make sacrifices, must reduce the taxes paid by the rich to attract ‘development’ while we watch our jobs outsourced to the Dominican Republic, China, Salvador and other happier hunting grounds, where labor costs are infinitesimal and labor unions non-existent.”

Is the Detroit Nigerian "Terrorist" A Patsy?

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The bumbling Nigerian “terrorist” who set his lap on fire on board an airliner in Detroit Christmas day will provide days or weeks of conveniently hysterical headlines, along with excuses to target West Africa and Yemen for extra special attention from the American military, and the usual host of justifications for existing US policies in what used to be called 'the war on terror'. But the similarities between his case, and that of incompetent “terrorists” in Fort Dix New Jersey, in Miami's Liberty City and elsewhere raise serious questions about the whole incident.

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Monbiot: Copenhagen Climate Change Meeting Was Doomed, Fraudulent From the Start

by George Monbiot

Fossil fuels made two centuries of industrial civilization possible. But their continued use is now causing irreversible climate destabilization, threatening the death of tens or hundreds of millions. Since consuming only sixty percent of the already mapped and easily available deposits of coal, oil and gas around the world is an absolute gurantee of climate catastrophe, governments should have been sitting down at Copenhagen to determine which forty, fifty or sixty percent of those available reserves will be left in the ground, and to ban prospecting for more.  All the rest, Monbiot points out, was hypocritical nonsense.

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Jeff Haas New Book, “The Assassination of Fred Hampton” is a Major Contribution To The Legacy of the Slain Panther Leader

Attorney Jeffrey Haas co-founded Chicago's PLO, the Peoples Law Office, which has represented the victims of political persecution, torture and police misconduct for more than four decades.  Haas was lead attorney in the decade-long lawsuit lodged by the families and survivors of the December 4, 1969 raid by the FBI and Chicago Police that took the lives of Black Panthers Mark Clark and Fred Hampton. Haas's new book, the Assassination of Fred Hampton, How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered A Black Panther is a riveting personal account of how the author's life intersected with the movement of the late 60s and early 70s and with the brief and remarkable life of Fred Hampton, who led the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party.

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Barack Obama and Langston Hughes on “Grumblers” and “Merry Christmas”

When US presidents offer us their holiday greeting messages, do we know what are they really saying?  How hard can it be to figure that out?  Langston Hughes died in 1967, but he knew what every US president, including Barack Obama is really saying, underneath and behind the mask.  

 

Freedom Rider: Guantanamo, Illinois

guantanamo illinoisby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
In many respects, a year of President Barack Obama feels much the same as...a year of George Bush. Wars metastasize, prisons migrate from Cuba to Illinois, bankers get richer – 2009 has many elements of deja vu. “Barack Obama has firmly established the continuation of Bush regime domestic, foreign and economic policy.”

What Part of “We Need Jobs” Does Obama Not Get?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
It is as if Americans have lost the very language of social justice. The Congressional Black Caucus, finally in a mood to confront the White House on the jobs issue, find themselves having to explain that legislators have a “moral obligation” to fight for their constituents' interests. Meanwhile, “President Obama treats every appeal for attention to Black unemployment as if it is an unreasonable, or even illegal, demand.”

US Reaps Trillions While Condemning Africa To Climate Catastrophe

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
With humanity at risk and Africa facing “incineration,” the United States opted for “disaster capitalism” at the global climate conference, last week. “President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to Copenhagen to end any possibility of a global agreement on greenhouse gasses that the rich nations would be bound to respect.”

Obama Continues to Privatize America's Imperial Wars

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The Pentagon has methodically insulated its wars from most of U.S. civil society. “For the United States, war has devolved to a matter of contracts, a multi-trillion dollar cash cow for corporations, a self-perpetuating financial bubble that feeds the planet’s most dangerous and nonproductive, useless classes.” The mercenary is the ideal corporate warrior.

Reverse Images: The Acrimonious Debate on Race in Cuba

by Jean Damu
Cuba is racist, says a letter signed by 60 African American and Afro-Latin notables. Undoubtedly, “racism exists in Cuba, just as it does in every other country on the planet, especially the United States.” And just as surely, those who signed the letter have put their reputations in service of the same U.S. government and Miami (white) Cuban exile crowd that has always plotted against the Cuban revolution. The author poses the question: “Is there really a civil rights movement in Cuba or is the petition merely a grandiloquent expression of Afrogringoism?”

“You Can’t Be President”: Race, Class, and Memories of Obama

by Paul Street
No one should claim they were fooled by candidate Barack Obama – least of all, Black people. “Obama’s political team has always taken an official position of cowardice on race.His avoidance of racial realities is long-standing. The president's supporters simply ignored the evidence of their own eyes and ears, and let their imaginations do the thinking.

Universal Health Care? We Keep the Candy, But You Can Have the Wrapper. No. Wait. Give Us the Wrapper Too.

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It's half past December, and the White House is hell-bent on passing its version of “health insurance reform” out of Congress before the holiday recess. It's not universal. It's not even about delivering health care, it's about bailing out health insurance companies. The legislation will force millions of Americans to buy skimpy private insurance, often with hundreds of dollars a month of their own money under penalty of law. Billions more in government subsidies will be added to the giveaway to help purchase health insurance policies for the bottom half or more of the insurance market.

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