Jamaica Broadcasting is Born: A fi we! A no fi dem!

john Maxwellby John Maxwell

Veteran journalist John Maxwell was there at the beginning: 1959, the start of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation. “For the first time at last, it wasn't really necessary to listen to the BBC.” Successive governments, especially those of the Jamaica Labour Party, attempted to varying degrees to shape the JBC to their own political purposes. But, says Maxwell, “It is my opinion that in its short periods of independence, the JBC helped begin the transformation of Jamaica from an ignorant colonial backwater into a civilized society.”

Stanford U Study Shows Charter Schools Perform Worse Than Comparable Public Schools

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 

The myth has been shattered: a new study shows charter schools perform worse than traditional public schools. In only 17 percent of charter schools do students surpass their demographically matched regular school peers in math and reading. More than twice that many charters rate worse than traditional classrooms, while close to half are about equal. Despite the data, the Obama administration "continues to demand that 5,000 schools be shut down, and their teachers fired" - a disproportionate share of them Black.   Their "position is based on ideology, not empirical data."

Tradition of Same Gender Marriage in Igboland, Nigeria

igbo weddingby Leo Igwe

Black homophobes often invoke “African” culture to buttress their arguments against gay rights, including the right to marry. But, according to the author, a native of southern Nigeria, the Igbo culture has long nurtured same-sex couples consisting of "woman-husband" and "woman-wife." The practice is entirely indigenous. “This marriage practice pre-dates Christianity and the so- called western culture which most people today blame for all the moral and cultural wrongs in Africa.

Teachers File Racial Discrimination Suit Against Obama Administration's School “Turnaround” Plan

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Public-private partnerships between Chicago's City Hall, where two men named Richard Daley have ruled more than 40 of the last 55 years, and a gaggle of corporate bagmen from the Gates, Bradley, Walton and other foundations have honed a disastrous “education reform” agenda that is now national policy. In Chicago, where dozens of neighborhood public schools have been shuttered and hundreds of experienced, predominantly black teachers fired in mid-career and replaced by underqualified, underpaid, uncertified and ovewhelmingly white newbie instructors, resistance is brewing and spreading.
 

Holding on in East Harlem and Points West, North and South

don't sell da barrioby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Neoliberalism is the root cause of rampaging gentrification and displacement, from New York to New Orleans to Atenco, Mexico.” Keen observers of political-economy would agree with this assessment from Zapatista-inspired community activists in Spanish Harlem, who recently organized an “encuentro” with similar minded Black and Asian activists. All concluded that the issue is bigger than Harlem: “This displacement is created by the greed, ambition and violence of a global empire of money that seeks to take total control of all the land, labor and life on earth.”

Freedom Rider: Ahmadinejad Wins

iranian presidentby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Few Americans were aware that Iran has even a limited democracy.” Yet, today most of them have an opinion as to whether or not Iran's recent election was rigged. In typical egocentric fashion, Americans and their corporate media believe the Iranian election revolved around that country's relations with – guess who? - the United States. “The opinions of Americans may not have entered the mind of the average Iranian voter at all. Perhaps the constant attack from the American media and politicians make Ahmadinejad even more popular in his country than he would be otherwise.”

Eshu’s blues: It’s a jungle out here

prissy prezby BAR columnist michael hureaux perez
The imperial menu offers us a range of dishes, from prime cut mass murder (Congo, Af-Pak), to trailer park cold cuts a la Sarah Palin and her abstinence-preaching daughter-momma. And then there's “Golden Tonsils Obama, whose Cairo speech just two weeks ago fell into that realm the character in Mel Brooks’ movie Blazing Saddles was talking about when he said another character in the film had a 'prettier tongue then a fifty dollar whore.'”

Margaret Kimberley On the Housing Crisis: How the Politics is Taken Out of NY Politics

If you don't see the video above, click here

BAR's senior columnist Margaret Kimberley sketches some of the local impact of the foreclosure crisis in New York City, and how , in the age of black governors and mayors and presidents, the politics have effectively been removed from black politics.  The weight and number of black faces in high places has smothered black politics.

Harlem's Mae Jackson: When Obama Speaks, Whose Lips Move?

If you don't see the video above, click here.
Mae Jackson is a New York City based writer, poet, dreamer and doer whose record of activism on behalf of her people stretches back to SNCC. A founder of Art Without Walls, an art program for the children of imprisoned women, she is well acquainted with the difference between surface change, and fundamental, revolutionary change.

ObamaCare: A Non-Existent Health Plan That Begins with Cuts

obama on health careA Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Glen Ford 
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

There is no Obama healthcare plan, “just mouthfuls of generalized rhetoric that changes with the moment, as Obama constantly woos the insurance, drug and hospital corporations.” However, Obama's proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will take on lives of their own. That's what Republicans have “been clamoring for for generations,” and Obama offered it to them, upfront. “In his rush to mollify the private healthcare profiteers, Obama has given away the pubic store.”

Bwana Obama, with Trinkets for Zimbabwe

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.
By all standards of international diplomacy, last week's White House “State” visit by Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was bizarre. President Obama praised one-half of Zimbabwe's “Unity” government, while denouncing the other half, President Robert Mugabe. Obama has continued George Bush's sanctions against Zimbabwe, but gifted Tsvangirai with $75 million for public purposes – causing Tsvangirai to appear to be “a petty agent for the Americans.”

Free the Cuba Five, Mr. President

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
If President Obama sincerely wants to improve relations with Cuba, he can show he is serious by freeing the Cuba Five. The Cuban intelligence agents were given long prison terms for infiltrating Cuban exile terrorist groups in South Florida. With this week's U.S. Supreme Court refusal to review their case, only President Obama can resolve this festering political problem.

Dead Aid: More Kool Aid

dead aid and kool aidby C. Uzondu
Dambiso Moyo pounds the talk show circuit proclaiming that foreign aid is Africa's worst problem. Her prescription: heavy doses of capitalism - as if the continent doesn't have enough of it: “Shell in the Niger delta, Canada’s Banro Corporation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Vodafone in Ghana, China’s NPOC in the Sudan, and Debeers in South Africa are all capitalist enterprises in neo-colonial states that never destroyed the colonial-capitalist state apparatus they 'inherited' from their colonial masters.” Moyo used to work for the World Bank and Goldman Sachs, and it shows.

The Real Darfur Story: A Political Conflict, But Not A Genocide

 

instant karm5aA Review of a new book by Mahmood Mamdani

The Save Darfur Coalition has convinced a large portion of the American public that “genocide” is underway in Darfur, the western Sudan. As propagandists, the coalition has done a highly effective job. Among the few public intellectuals in the U.S. to debunk the genocide story is Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, of Columbia University, who concludes, “There's no attempt to eliminate a people here. This has been a conflict over land.”
 

 

The US Mainstream Media: Selective Omission and Planned Misinformation

boob tubeby Solomon Comissiong
There is method to the maddening homogeneity and shallowness of the U.S. corporate media. “Keeping the public as dumbed down as possible keeps their corporate clients happy and their political partners in power.” Media corporations advertise that they sell “news,” but what they're really marketing is a daily defense of imperial rule. That's why, for example, “they won’t tell you how so-called 'free trade' policies create sweatshops, plunder, mass migration, and civil unrest.”

Obama Charges Backward On Health Care

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Barack Obama, like the little kids that used to appear on Art Linkletter’s TV show, says “the darndest things.” He has discovered that the “root cause” of America’s health care cost problem isn’t the insurance companies, or the drug barons, or the hospital corporations. Medicare is the villain. “Disastrously, he has created a situation in which health care ‘reform’ is predicated on stripping Medicare down to the bone.”

Freedom Rider: Obama Insults Muslims

 

gazaby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Barack Obama seems to think that Muslims are stupid, stupid enough to accept invasions and occupations without complaint if an American president shows up and quotes from the Koran.” It is amazing how Americans and their presidents keep a straight face while urging non-white foreigners to tolerate the intolerable. ““Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed,” Obama preaches – while his drones and soldiers kill women and children around the globe.

 

Cynthia McKinney in Harlem : Confronting Neo Liberalism in the Age of Obama

 
If no video is visible above, click here.  It's too late to be disappointed with the Obama administration. As our parents and grandparents might say, it hurts too much to laugh and we're too grown to cry. The answer then, is to take stock of what we have, to assess our opportunities and to organize. We have the brains and the resources, says McKinney.

Anthony Monteiro in Harlem, May 31, 2009, When Obama Won, Did We?

If no video is visible above, click here.  Was the election of the nation's First Black President a victory for our people in the long struggle against racism and empire? Or does it simply mark a change in establishment tactics that will make it even more difficult to press the case for economic justice, and an end to militarism and racism?

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