On Education, Obama's First Term Is Bush's Third

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Testing and charters – that's all President Obama's team has to offer, says the head of the American Federation of Teachers. Both are, essentially, part of the corporate strategy to privatize public schools from within, and to make teachers the villain in the education debate.

Rep. John Conyers at the Coporate Black Caucus Affair Last Week


If you managed to attend the annual DC gathering of the Congressional Black Caucus last week you know it was more the "Corporate Black Caucus" that was on display. Goodie bags from Coca-cola, a health care summit sponsored by Pfizer, and the logos from Wal-Mart, Lockheed and Boeing were everywhere to tell you who paid the bills and called the shots at this annual celebration of supposed black political empowerment. In the midst of this den of corporate iniquity, Russell Moniker from Single Payer Action cornered Rep. Conyers to inquire on the status of single payer.

Gov. Deval Patrick Joins Condemnation of Hyatt Firings

strikersA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Hyatt Hotels pounced on their Boston housekeepers like a great predator, firing the staff without notice and attempting to replace them at half the wages. A governor and a union stepped up in solidarity with the workers, who had been subjected to cruel, but not unusual, treatment in this late stage of capitalism.

The Great Black Hole of Casino Capitalism

depressionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If all the talk of economic “recovery” sound insane to the growing ranks of the unemployed and dispossessed, they're right. “The great investment banks are through, dead and gone, no longer willing or able to gather trillions in capital for any enterprise vaguely resembling national economic development.” All that's left is The Casino.

Saving Jamaica: Revaluing People

John Maxwellby John Maxwell
People who habitually describe other people as 'human resources' scare me,” writes the author. Disrespect for Jamaica's people – by the people's own government – has contributed to the flight of 80 percent of the island's graduates. A civil service exodus may be next. “We are being asked to beat up civil servants while allowing the wealthy to behave like 18th century plantation owners and slave-masters.”

Why the Public Option is Doomed To Fail, and What Can Be Done About It.

 whateverThe generous, expansive public option on the lips of Congressional progressives, which would be open to all and compete to lower insurance prices is largely imaginary, while the president's stingy, divisive and means-tested version is all too real.  But what about the third version of the public option?  What is the Congressional Progressive Caucus doing to promote it, and to allow states to pursue single payer on their own?

(an unedited draft of this story was erroneously posted yesterday, this is the corrected version.)

White House vs. Gov Paterson: Is That Any Way to Treat a Brother?

david patersonby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
People who remember the days when Black elected officials were scarce and low-ranked, might conclude that last week's spectacle is a good problem to have: A Black president carrying out the “political execution” of a Black state governor. But what does this episode say about Black voting strategies and the value of role models?

Freedom Rider: Iran’s Right to Exist

missile testby editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama has the uncanny ability to achieve Bush-like ends by much smoother means. He announces a compromise on missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, then moves the weapons elsewhere on the continent. He initially tones down the rhetoric on Iran, then escalates the pressure on that country. “A smooth, intelligent president can be more dangerous than a blustering, boorish one.”

“Black is Back” on Nov. 7: D.C. Rally and March on White House

black is backA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player to listen to or the mic below to download the MP3 audio of this commentary.

The “period of passivity in Black politics” that accompanied the ascent of Barack Obama, is about to end. The Black is Back Coalition seeks to reignite a Black-led movement for social justice, peace and reparations – which will in turn energize progressive politics in general. See you in DC on November 7.

U.S is Puppet-Master in Somalia

puppetsA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player to listen to or the mic below to download the MP3 audio of this commentary.

Being a superpower means having the ability to arbitrarily prolong the misery of weaker countries. Such seems to be the U.S. mission in Somalia, where the puppet regime would fall in hours if the Americans and their Ugandan mercenaries withdrew. “The Somali president’s dwindling soldiers only remain because they are getting paid – by the Americans.”

Apartheid is the Root of Israel’s Aggressions

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Click the flash player to listen to or the mic below to download the MP3 audio of this commentary.

Israel reacted with typical feigned outrage at the United Nations report on war crimes and human rights violations committed by its forces in Gaza, last winter. The Jewish state's serial violations of international law are rooted in the barbarism of its governing principle, apartheid, which leads Israel to place itself “above the accepted norms of civilized behavior.”

Congressman John Lewis Betrays Black Cherokee Freedmen

by Dr. Ron Daniels

Deep ties of blood and history bind African Americans and Native Americans. But a great injustice was done to the Black Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation, who were stripped of the right to vote. Black Congressman John Lewis rubbed salt in the Freedmen's wounds by honoring tribal Chief Chad Smith, the man who engineered the disenfranchisement, an act that “was tantamount to expelling” Blacks from the tribe.

Healthcare Revolution That is Second to None

cubaby Netfa Freeman
The U.S. health care jungle fares badly when compared to health care systems in other wealthy, capitalist countries. However, even western Europe and Canada can learn a great deal from the examples of Cuba and Venezuela, where health care is a human and constitutional right and the wellbeing of the people is central to the national mission. Now, that's real socialized medicine.

The Two-Faced Power of Racial Oppression

got beer?by Henry D. Rose
The summer of 2009 provided plenty of racist reruns from the past, plus scary glimpses into the future. The future “reserved for us by our enemies” is “a place where civility masks oppression, where everything is fine as long as people don’t call Blacks nasty names,” and where “even the perception of radical Blackness is punishable by eternal banishment.”

Distracting, Dissembling, Disappointing; Barack is Back!

obama toon

Like Dick Nixon after his vacations, Obama returns to the White House “tanned, rested and ready.” Good for him. But nine months into the Obama presidency, many are asking, what about health care? What about the war? What about torture and warrantless wiretapping?  What about the stranglehold of Wall Street on the real economy, and the unpayable debts of tens of millions of families? Why does the White House seem to value Glenn Beck's opinions more than those of its own Democratic base?  What happened to the candidate whose presidency was supposed to be the fulfillment of Dr. King's Dream?


Black is Back! A Coalition to Fight the Powers that Be – Including Obama

justice and peaceby BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Black leadership is paralyzed, white “progressives” are still drunk on ObamaL'aid, and much of the purported anti-war movement fears to confront the nation's First Black President. As historically the most reliably anti-war and pro-social justice ethnicity in the United States, African Americans have a special role to play in the late capitalist drama. “To free our people’s hopes and dreams from oblivion, we need a coalition dedicated to the proposition that Black is Back.”

Freedom Rider: In Praise of Tea Baggers

liarby BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The Right shows far more eagerness for a fight than the hapless Left, or what remains of it. Barack Obama “smacks down” progressives like gnats, yet they continue to behave as if their mission in life is to save his presidency. Now, purported progressives vow to defend White House “health reform” proposals that bear no resemblance whatever to reform. “Only the wrongheaded and racist are taking action at this critical time.”

Dress Rehearsal For Debt Peonage, Part 2, a Guns & Butter Interview with Dr. Michael Hudson

nasdaqThe product of a banking sector, explains Dr. Michael Hudson in part 2 of this interview conducted by KPFA's Bonnie Faulkner, is debt.  The business plan of America's finance and insurance sectors for the last generation and more has been  to manufacture debt, collect ever-rising levels of rent, fees, interest and penalties, even to be bailed out of bad investments by the government with money it lends government, and finally to strip the assets of and privatize the public sector for its own short-term gain.

“Coon Huntin’” in New York City

coon huntin NYCA 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.

Nightriding white terrorists are not confined to the South. They also roam the streets of New York City, in search of Black victims. The election of 2008 was especially rough for Up South white supremacists. Barack Obama's victory provoked four young New Yorkers to go on a Black-bashing spree that last week earned them serious prison time.


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