The Campaign, part 3 of 4: Open Letter to White America


by Kemet Mawakana (aka “The Seven-Foot Poet”)

So goooood.  The presidential campaign of Barack Obama makes Black folk (and many whites) feeeel so gooood.  Admit it.  Wouldn't a Black president make you feeel gooood?  Can't we all just get along?  Can't they let us just feeeel gooood?   

A Hungry Mob is an Angry Mob

john_maxwell03by John Maxwell

While much of the developing world, and even
consumers in the rich nations, fear growing food shortages and price hikes,
Jamaicans seem "remarkably serene about the rapidly approaching food crisis."
Forms of food rationing have already gone into effect at some U.S. chains,
while in Lima, Peru, "relief food supplies are delivered to householders by
night in order to avoid the threat of hungry mobs capturing the scarce
supplies." Food speculators reap huge profits from manipulating the market, yet
governments do "little to control or banish this parasitical and antisocial practice."

Cynthia McKinney: Bell Verdict Shows Dred Scott Reality

The Sean Bell verdict
reminds former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of the 1857 Dred Scott
Decision, which declared that Blacks have no rights that a white man is bound
to respect. In this case, three New York City cops failed to respect Bell's
right to life; he died in a fusillade of 50 shots that also wounded two of his
friends. All were unarmed. "The prospects are that black and brown men and
women will continue to be murdered by police officers who, fundamentally, seem
scared of black people." McKinney fought for legislation that would "deny
federal funds and the use of federal equipment to any law enforcement unit
found to have violated the civil rights of the people."

How Criminal Injustice System Impacts Blacks

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen FordIowaBarsHands

The state with the harshest record for putting African
Americans behind bars has become the first to pass a law that would assess the
impact of new criminal justice legislation on minorities. Iowa imprisons Blacks
at 13 times the rate of whites - more than twice the national average of racial
disparity in incarceration. Prison activists have long called for impact
statements at every stage of the criminal justice system, so that gross racial
biases could be systematically eliminated. If there is to be a national
dialogue on race, it should begin with the Black American Gulag, which
comprises nearly half of what is by far the world's largest prison system.

Click the flash player below to hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary. 


Freedom Rider: Sean Bell and Wesley Snipes

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret KimberleyBellJusticeSign

The ghastly record of police acquittals in the
death of unarmed Blacks continues to unfold. In a verdict that "surprised" even
the governor, a New York judge found three cops innocent of all charges in the
50-shot volley that killed Sean Bell on the morning of his wedding, wounding
two of his companions. "The police have
no expectation of punishment, even when they kill without cause." It made
little difference that two of the policemen were also of African descent. But
race seems to factor heavily in some celebrity cases. Just ask actor Wesley
Snipes, who was sentenced to three years on an income tax charge.

Obama’s ‘Race Neutral’ Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The world views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Sen. Barack Obama were incompatible from the start, just as the mythical American Manifest Destiny world view is directly at odds with the facts as perceived by Blacks in the United States. Wright finally forced Obama to choose sides in the conflict ofRevWrightObamaWOrried racial/historical visions, and in doing so, performed a service on behalf of clarity. Obama lashed out in a startlingly personal manner, calling Wright a "caricature" of himself and linking the minister to forces that give "comfort to those who prey on hate." Rev. Wright exposed the flimsy tissues of so-called "race neutrality" in a nation founded on racial oppression.


Cynthia McKinney: U.S. Exports Election Theft Tricks to Mexico

The same Georgia-based corporation that helped fix the Florida presidential electionsCynthiaPixCynthia in 2000, played a role in the election of a rightwing president in Mexico, in 2006. Thus, says 2008 presidential candidate McKinney, the U.S. is now a major exporter of theft masquerading as democracy. McKinney gave an Earth Day report on her recent visit south of the border, where she offered support to Mexicans fighting to keep their oil and other natural resources out of foreign control. American notions of Manifest Destiny go a long way back. "You could say that the modern version of that is NAFTA."

Obama Snubs Black Media

by Betty PleasantBlackPressDallasUSE

The Black press is just as enthusiastic as African
Americans in general at the prospect of a Black man becoming the next occupant
of the White House. But Black newspaper owners also expected that they would be
beneficiaries of what is already the most lavish campaign advertising budget in
history: Barack Obama's bulging war chest. Instead, Black publishers say they
have been locked out of Obama's advertising game plan - and even shunned in
their attempts to cover the Obama operation. The Illinois Senator's handlers -
and maybe the man himself - "think that we as black
people are so anxious to get a black president that we'll support him no matter
what," said one editor. "So why waste money on us?"

Alicia Keys Hits a Not So Strange Note

by Mel ReevesKeysMagCover

Add to the general controversy over who is to
blame for so-called Gangsta Rap, the question of who is qualified to speak
authoritatively on the subject. Songstress Alicia Keys was widely pressured to
shut up when she shared her thoughts on the origins of the genre. Initially,
Keys seemed to be unmistakably saying that Gangsta Rap was a U.S. Government
creation, to "convince black people to kill each other." Her later attempts at
clarification only made things murkier. At any rate, government certainly has
been complicit in shaping the realities that gave rise to Gangsta Rap, from
Constitutionally sanctioned slavery to the present day. So, the sister couldn't be far from right.

BET’s Offensive Content: Raunchier by the Minute

How have I offended
thee? Let me count the ways. In the case of Black Entertainment Television,
offensive remarks and images are delivered with a frequency of sometimes once
every half minute or so, according to a study commissioned by the organization
Enough is Enough. BET is accused of programming adult content when children are
a large part of the audience. The two most offensive categories of BET
programming involve "sexually charged images" and "explicit language," with
violence and drug-related images running third and fourth. The most common
expletive noted was the N-word.

Freedom Rider: Tough Questions for Clinton and Obama

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret KimberleyFRTortureCartoonBushSam

Columnist Kimberley
correctly sees the candidates and the so-called debate moderators as co-enablers of
lawlessness in the Bush administration. Not only did Stephanopoulos and Gibson fail to ask about George
Bush's admission that he "approved" of torture-planning discussions in the
White House, but Obama and Clinton got away with not having to explain why the
latest torture revelations do not rise to the level of criminal activity
deserving of serious action. So appalling has been the conduct of the corporate
media to date in the face of Bush crimes, "it is a bit late in the day" to take
effective corrective action. Both the candidates and the so-called journalists
covering the campaign seem determined to cover up, rather than expose, the Bush
outlaw legacy.

Corporate Reporters Tell Lies for a Living


by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The 41 signers of an open letter denouncing ABC's farcical conduct during the most recent presidential debate may have thought they were doing the right thing - but they managed to send the wrong message. Although there is no doubt that George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson made fools of themselves and their corporate employers in the "worst" debate of the season, the signers failed to place last week's televised travesty in the context of the rapid extinction of any semblance of professional journalism among corporate media. In expressing hope that corporate media will "return to serious journalism" during the general election debates, the letter gives the impression that last week's debacle was an aberration - when, in fact, nonsense and lies posing as "news" has become the norm.

Mirror, Mirror


by Kemet Mawakana (aka “The Seven-Foot Poet”)

is a highly acclaimed spoken-word artist, and has published two books A . . . Z . . . Infinity and Crucifixion of My Soul. The collective body of his works presented weekly in BAR are in tribute to Listervelt Middleton, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, and “For The People”. Currently, he is a facilitator at AYA Educational Institute ( and can be reached at sevenfootpoet(at)

Petreaus & Crocker, Obama & Clinton: No Matter Who Wins, the War Goes On

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
Both Clinton and Obama get big aplause from Democratic audiences pledging to withdraw combat troops from Iraq.  But do either of them intend to end the unjust, illegal and genocidal war in which more than a million have perished?  The questions Obama and Clinton asked, and failed to ask of Crocker and Petreaus, America's civilian and military satraps in Iraq, as well as the published statements of their advisors illuminate their actual intention --- to continue the war and occupation under a Democratic administration in 2009.

The Campaign, (written in four parts – Part 2 of 4)


by Kemit Mawakana (aka “The Seven-Foot Poet”)

is a highly acclaimed spoken-word artist, and has published two books A . . . Z . . . Infinity and Crucifixion of My Soul. The collective body of his works presented weekly in BAR are in tribute to Listervelt Middleton, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, and “For The People”. Currently, he is a facilitator at AYA Educational Institute ( and can be reached at sevenfootpoet(at)
Click the link below to hear or to read Part 2 of

Reclaiming Radio

by Michelle ChenRADIOradio-tower

Activists across the nation have devised a
number of strategies to combat the "white noise" of corporate commercial radio.
From organized shout-outs by
prison inmates to the folks back in the ‘hood, to open civil rights organizing
on the airwaves, to grassroots "training to demystify the workings of media,"
the battle to "take back the airwaves" is well underway. "We need to build
alternative institutions, but we also need to fight where we are," says one
activist. "We need to hold these mainstream institutions accountable because
they hold influence in our communities."

King Commemoration and Revisionism

by Mel ReevesMelKingPointing68

If Martin Luther King were to return 40 years after
his assassination, he might not recognize himself. Revising and repackaging Dr.
King's politics in order to render the human rights leader harmless, even
quaint, is a twice-yearly game played mainly by those who would preserve the
very system MLK sought to overcome. While old enemies of Dr. King, like
Republican presidential candidate John McCain, spin convoluted myths that
totally distort American history and Dr. King's central place in it, the two
Democratic contenders paint superficial pictures of King's time and mission.
The best antidote for revisionist histories of Dr. King are the words of the
man, himself.

The Lords of Capital Decree Mass Death by Starvation

LordsRiotFireA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Having crushed the planet's peasants and
converted food into just another commodity for global manipulation, the Lord's
of Capital have unleashed upon humanity the threat - no, certainty - of mass
starvation. The criminal mega-enterprise is centered in the United States, the
former "breadbasket of the planet" whose massive conversion to biofuels has
caused staple crop prices to skyrocket beyond the reach of hundreds of millions
of the world's poor. The death of millions translates into profits in the
trillions for the Lords of Capital, killers on a mass scale whose only talents
lie in "the production of overlapping calamities, each more lethal than the

To listen to the audio of this Black Agenda Radio commentary, click the flash player below


To read it click the link below 

Freedom Rider: White Guys With Guns


by BAR editor and senior
columnist Margaret Kimberley

The latest flare-up between Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton shows how inane their battles-about-nothing have become - the
inevitable result when there's no substantive difference between the
contestants. Much of Obama's campaign has been tailored to appeal to "Reagan
Democrats," the kind of "white people who vote for Republicans when it is
clearly not in their interest to do so." This time, however, he appeared to be
criticizing the narrowness of small town white folks' worldviews, giving
Clinton and Republican John McCain all the ammunition they needed to attack him
from the Right. As hard as he tries, Obama seems not to understand how and
where to kiss a redneck.

Tavis Smiley Seeks Relief from Crazed Obamites

LEADobamasupportersby BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Tavis Smiley never wanted to pick a fight with
Barack Obama. In point of fact, it is not in the media entrepreneur's nature to
pick fights with persons of power or popularity. But Obama's zealots do not
accept anything less than abject, unqualified loyalty to their leader, whom
they treat more as a messiah than a Chicago politician with close ties to Wall
Street. Smiley suddenly found himself branded as "a hater,
sellout and traitor" for questioning Obama's failure to appear on Smiley's
"State of the Black Union" event. Finally, as syndicated radio host Tom Joyner
put it, Smiley ended his 12-year association with Joyner's show because of "the
hate he's been getting" from Joyner's audience. If they'll run Tavis Smiley out
of Black radio, these are fanatics, indeed.


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