Obama and the Racial Politics of Symbols

by Corey D.B. WalkerSymbolObamaStrange

It is beyond question that Barack Obama's pending
nomination as the Democrats' presidential standard bearer has great symbolic
value. However, "to equate the symbolic dimension of Senator
Obama's campaign for the presidency with the substantive standing and status of
American democracy is to commit a serious error," says the author. "Senator Obama's economic team is heavily tilted in
favor of neoliberal economists" and his "foreign policy vision
is still one wedded to the expansion and deepening of American Empire." Symbols
are one thing, but the facts of imperialism as a system carry more real-world

Racial Sins of the Past Live On, Multiplying Pain and Suffering

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen FordRaceMedicineAmputee

For a very long time, clear disparities between
Blacks and whites in medical outcomes were dismissed as the fault of African
American ignorance, superstition, or bad diets. Finally, the statistically
provable truth could no longer be denied: medical racism is a fact. When Blacks
undergo leg amputations caused by diabetes at four times the rate of whites,
institutional racist facotrs are at work. Data from a new study of race and
medicine shows dramatic disparities in patient outcomes based on geography -
but historical racism can be shown to be the primary culprit in the geography
of health care, as well.

Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary
Broadcasters wishing a downloadable MP3 copy should use the BA Radio archive page.


Freedom Rider: 35 Crimes

FRKucinichCloseupSmileby BAR editor and senior columnist
Margaret Kimberley

As George W. Bush's second term comes to an end, we
are compelled to face the fact that "the worst outrages of the Bush regime
could have been stopped with sustained opposition." The reminder comes from
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who last week submitted a 35-count bill of
impeachment against the Texas criminal, thus giving Democratic leadership -
including Barack Obama - yet another chance to show their spinelessness and
sweep it off the table. "Bush will leave office after having completed the
destruction of what little was left of democracy and his successors will know
that they too can get away with anything they want."

Cynthia McKinney's Call to Action in Support of Kucinich's Articles of Impeachment Against Bush

Cynthia McKinney, who submitted articles of impeachment
against George Bush in 2006, just before she left Congress, praises Rep. Dennis
Kucinich (D-OH) for filing impeachment charges last week. McKinney, running for
the Green Party's presidential nomination, commended Kucinich "for his courage and tenacity, for the comprehensiveness of
his research, and for the leadership he exhibited to press forward the
democratic demands of the People for accountability and justice." Describing
the Bush administration as a "lawless, degenerate regime," McKinney called upon "all the forces of the Black movement
nationwide...to organize a mass mobilization to push the House Judiciary
Committee to move on the 35 Articles of Impeachment."

Obama Insults Half a Race

by BAR executive editor Glen FordFatherDayObamaCrowd

The Black man who wants to be president spends Father's Day at church in loud and general denunciation of Black males. For added insult, he describes them as "boys." Barack Obama's primary audience isn't the conservative Black Pentecostal congregation, but "white social conservatives in a race where these voters may be up for grabs," says the New York Times. In America, even the "Black" corporate candidate runs against Black people. How did such madness come to pass in 2008? Blame the Black "progressive" misleaders who failed to challenge Obama when they had the chance. Now it's too late, and African Americans are reduced to objects of derision.

Obama and the Church

by Mel Reeves

Barack Obama is rethinking his religion. Or is he repositioning religion in his campaign profile? One thing seems certain: "He doesn't want a church like Trinity United Church of Christ, which ‘comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.'" No, sir. "Trinity was too progressive and too issue-oriented and, some may say, a bit too pro-black for someone who seeks to lead the United States without a real progressive agenda for real change."  It could have been worse for Obama. He might have stumbled into a church like the ones "that motivated the slaves that sought freedom by any means necessary: the Nat Turners, Denmark Vesseys, Gabriel Prossers, Harriet Tubmans, and David Walkers."

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald: Will Imprisoned Former Panther Receive Parole after 39 Years?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixonchip_fitz
Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, a former member of the Black Panther Party in southern California, has languished in prison since 1969, almost 40 years. Along with more than one hundred other California death row prisoners, his sentence was commuted to life in 1972. While the majority of those former death row prisoners have since been paroled, Fitzgerald has not. Having expressed deep and sincere remorse for the acts he was convicted of so long ago, and posing no threat to anyone, Chip Fitzgerald now awaits a July 2 parole hearing.
We respectfully request that our readers sign the petition at the end of the article which will be presented to the parole board prior to the hearing. 

Communities Excluded, the Public Deluded in FCC's Secret Giveaway of Thousands of TV Channels

A Black Agenda Radio Interview by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

Early next year, 1700 holders of TV station licenses holders will reap an unearned bonus. Each and every one will receive multiple new digital TV channels without the bother of new licensing, without public scrutiny, and with next to no accountability for their use of this scarce public resource. In this exclusive interview which aired on WRFG-FM Atlanta earlier this month, Ms. Carrie Biggs-Adams, a broadcast engineer and staff person for the Communications Workers of America describes how the FCC and commercial broadcasters deluded and excluded the public from the table as they engineered this colossal theft, worth an estimated $73 billion, and outlines a public response that may result in hundreds of new digital channels going to noncommercial broadcasters, to unions, to community organizations and local and minority entrepreneurs.

Racial Sins of the Past Live On, Multiplying Pain and Suffering

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

For a very long time, clear disparities between
Blacks and whites in medical outcomes were dismissed as the fault of African
American ignorance, superstition, or bad diets. Finally, the statistically
provable truth could no longer be denied: medical racism is a fact. When Blacks
undergo leg amputations caused by diabetes at four times the rate of whites,
institutional racist facotrs are at work. Data from a new study of race and
medicine show dramatic disparities in patient outcomes based on geography -
but historical racism can be shown to be the primary culprit in the geography
of health care, as well.

Grand Theft Digital; How Corporate Broadcasters Are Hijacking Digital TV

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon 
The FCC has spent millions of dollars "educating" the public on the transition from analog to to digital TV.  But what they haven't told the American people is that on February 18, 2009 every one of the nation's more than 1700 analog TV broadcasters gets three, four or more new TV channels --- for nothing.  No public service obligation, no local news or education programming, and no channels for black or Latino broadcasters, local entrepreneurs or communities.

Seven Reasons Not to Get Overly Excited About the Fact That Obama is Black

by Paul StreetFRPrezSealBlackHands

Although much of Black public opinion considers
Barack Obama's primary wins as collective victories for African Americans, the
fact remains that white voters made his success possible. They
found him acceptable; he passed the white test. Activist and author Paul Street
offers seven reasons that Blacks and progressives shouldn't be in such a
celebratory mood. The bottom line: "The Democratic Party's centrist
presidential nominee Barack Obama is a corporate and militarist politician who
can be expected to instantly and coldly betray his democratic campaign promises
when and if he becomes president."

Cynthia McKinney Congratulates Obama

Candidate points to her own campaign's comprehensive platformCynthiaPIX

Barack Obama is not the only Black candidate in
the presidential race, and he's certainly not the most progressive. Former
Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, running for the Green Party's top slot
on a Power to the People platform, has congratulated Obama "for a feat well
done," and lays out her own comprehensive plans to repair the human and
material damage wrought by corporations and their Republican and Democratic
servants. "Citizen participation is always the answer," says McKinney. "The
people deserve an open and honest debate." McKinney's platform would garner
broad support - if her voice were heard.

Freedom Rider: Obama Obliterates Iran

FRObamaProjectorAIPACby BAR editor
and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

What Israel wants from the Americans, Israel
gets - and in spades from Barack Obama. Along with Hillary Clinton and John
McCain, Obama bent his knees to the breaking point to please the
annual conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC
represents the rightwing politics of a small nation, but the fawning behavior
of America's top politicians gave the impression of an Israeli empire,
demanding tribute. Obama was generous with the U.S. treasury. "As president I
will implement a Memorandum of Understanding that provides $30 billion in
assistance to Israel over the next decade," he vowed, earning thirteen rounds
of sustained applause.

No I Can't: Obama and the Israeli Lobby

by Uri  Avnery israeli_tank_child

While the apartheid state of Israel tightens its relentless blockade of a
million Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and as Israel menaces every regional
capital from Tehran to Tripoli with nuclear weapons, Democratic
nominee-apparent Barack Obama declares that he would bring to the
White House an unshakable commitment to Israel's security.”  Obama
told the right wing American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
last week, “That starts with ensuring Israel's qualitative
military advantage. I will ensure that Israel can defend itself from
any threat from Gaza to Teheran.”

journalist Uri Avnery wonders where the promised “change” in
the Middle East will come from, if anywhere.

How Will Media Reformers Treat President Obama?

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen FordMediaReformLogo

Last week's Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis may have been the last in a series of such gatherings to occur under a Republican administration. Resembling mass meetings of progressive political activists with access to alternative media, the conferences have been uniform in opposition to Republican rule, which has relentlessly sought to deliver the nation's means of communication into mega-corporate hands. Should Barack Obama win the presidency, and fail to measure up to progressive standards, media activists will confront a challenge many have never faced: how to do aggressive reporting on erstwhile friends.

To listen to this Black Agenda Report audio commentary, click the flash player below. 

Broadcasters desiring a downloadable MP3 should visit our BA Radio Archive page on the menu at left. 


Campaign Obamizing VS Community Organizing?

by Dr. Aaron Schutzcamp_obama

An oft-heard but seldom
questioned claim among Obama supporters is that thousands of people are
becoming involved in the campaign who never cared about politics
before, and that many of these are bound to remain active in other
community-oriented endeavors after the campaign is over, win, lose or
draw.  But given the differences between organizing staff and volunteers for a campaign and organizing ordinary citizens to speak their truths to power, how realistic is that?

following discussion, which compares typical community organizing
techniques with those employed by the Obama campaign, was originally
published at OpenLeft.com. While the editors at BAR can and do find
many points of disagreement with the author we find his comparison of
the kind of political organizing being done by the Obama campaign
with community organizing, or with any mass-based organizing intended
to enable ordinary people to stand up for their own interests and to
speak truth to power instructive and compelling.

The Age of Oprah, Cultural Icon For the Neoliberal Era

A Black Agenda Radio Interview by Bruce Dixon

f you work hard enough, if you prepare long enough, if you visualize astutely and pray on it resolutely, it really can happen for you. At least that's the way it works in the world of Oprah Winfrey. In the Age of Oprah, author Janice Peck explains, there's no such thing as collective problem-solving; there are only individual, market-driven and spirit-centered solutions. Water polluted? Buy it bottled. Dissatisfied with your kids' school? Find a private one or home school. Dead-end job with no respect and no benefits? Polish that resume and assume an attitude of gratitude, or get ready to start your own business. House falling down? Maybe you can qualify for an extreme makeover. Is the world view of Oprah really uplifting after all? Or does it disempower individuals and disarm communities?

Bruce Dixon interviews Janice Peck, author of The Age of Oprah, Cultural Icon for the Neoliberal Era.

Freedom Rider: Slow Death in Gaza

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret KimberleyFRCarterTutu

Each American claim to moral authority becomes a foul excretion in light of U.S. complicity in Israel's barbaric and illegal treatment of the Palestinians. Washington deploys its superpower apparatus to smother dissent against its Middle East policy in Europe and elsewhere, leaving former president Jimmy Carter and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu as lonely defenders of Palestinian human rights. No change in American policy is on the horizon, as "the rot in America goes beyond this administration, and so does the rot in Israel." The "abomination," as Desmond Tutu describes it, against 1.6 million people in Palestine shows the hypocrisy of American and Israeli pretenses to civilization.


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