Bernie Out of the Closet: Sanders’ Longstanding Deal with the Democrats

by Paul Street

Bernie may call himself a socialist, but since his terms as mayor of Burlington VT in the 1980s, the state's Democrats have never run anybody against him.  In return "socialist" Bernie Sanders has supported every war and military intervention since the 1980s, just like every other good Democrat.

A Brief Reflection on the Relationship Between Syriza and Bernie Sanders

by Danny Haiphong

The Greek Syriza party and Bernie Sanders’ U.S. presidential campaign have something in common: neither has any intention to challenge the global capitalist system. “Syriza began and remains a social democratic party committed to the maintenance of the Wall Street-controlled European order,” and “Bernie Sanders is a ruling class tool.”

New Orleans Katrina Pain Index at Ten: Who Was Left Behind

by Bill Quigley

A decade after the Katrina catastrophe, 100,000 people have still not returned to New Orleans, most of them Black. Whites in the city have gotten a lot richer, yet poverty still stalks Black neighborhoods, the public schools have been almost totally charterized, and rents have skyrocketed – all in the name of “renewal.”

The Violence of Police Politics

by Steve Martinot

The “dementia” of police behavior is reflected in U.S. prisons, where punishment is justified by the fact of incarceration. “Solitary confinement is imposed on those who think critically and politically.” On the street, police dementia is policy. “In profiling, the police commit an act of suspicion, and then look for a crime with which to charge their suspect.” Profiling renders everything that follows “beyond the law.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 20, 2015

Mumia “May Have Been Poisoned”

Six months after Mumia Abu Jamal nearly died from diabetic shock, the nation’s best known political prisoner’s underlying illness has yet to be diagnosed, said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at New York City’s Baruch College and member of Educators for Mumia. Abu Jamal’s maddeningly itching skin has turned a leathery black, and his output of commentaries and analysis for Prison Radio “has diminished significantly,” said Fernandez, who fears Mumia is suffering a “deeper, systemic problem” or “may have been poisoned.” Nevertheless, “Mumia is delighted and inspired by the movement against police violence that has emerged in the country,” and will continue to speak out “from the belly of the beast.” That’s why, she said, “over and over, the state has tried to silence and kill him.”

Obama’s Recent “Epiphanies” on U.S. Racism

President Obama’s recent discovery that “racism is part of the DNA of this country” was sparked by a need to reposition himself in the wake of the Charleston massacre and “the resistance that is growing among African people in this country,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. The Coalition is gearing up for a national conference, in Philadelphia, August 22 and 23, with a focus on Black community control of police, a stance that Yeshitela believes “resonates with Black people” and can put the struggle firmly on the road to self-determination.

TPP is a Black Issue

“Any agreement that has a detrimental impact on workers anywhere, is a Black issue,” said Ajamu Baraka, veteran human rights activist and editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. “We are the victims of this global capitalist economy, and so we have solidarity and responsibilities to people in other parts of the world,” Baraka told Solomon Comissiong, of Your World News. President Obama’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership is “specifically a Black issue because one can’t understand the objective material conditions in places like Baltimore, Detroit, Gary, Indiana, and South Bend, Michigan, without connecting these conditions to the transformation of the U.S. economy” by deindustrialization – which will further intensify under TPP.

 
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Why Bill Clinton's Apology and Barack Obama's Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Six and a half years into his presidency, Barack Obama has discovered black mass incarceration. He's shocked, visits a federal prison and frees a token handful of prisoners. Fifteen years out of office, Bill Clinton half-apologies for his 1990s crime bills which nearly doubled the US prison population. What's got into these guys? It's election season. Hillary is running for the White House and she needs the black vote.

 
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Freedom Rider: Obama’s Prison Charade

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Barack Obama attempts to create a phony legacy as the prison “reform” president by extending clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders – not all that many, by presidential standards. Yet, he went to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep 5,000 non-violent crack-cocaine offenders locked up. Obama’s “sudden desire to look like the Great Emancipator is an ongoing publicity junket.”

The Fight For A Socialist South Africa

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

South Africa’s most militant labor leaders are pressing forward with plans to build a real socialist party to challenge the ANC government’s capitulation to global capitalism. ANC loyalists this week locked the country’s largest union and the labor federation’s former general secretary out of a COSATU special Congress. The two traveled to the U.S., last week, seeking help from activists that supported the “Free South Africa” movement in the 80s.

Obama’s Legacy: Black Child Poverty at Record High

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The consequences of the Great Recession “and the Obama administration’s response to it” have fallen most heavily on Black children, who have been plunged into poverty at the highest levels ever recorded. Poverty rates have gone down for all children except Blacks – an example of actual American “exceptionalism.”

 
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Where Obama's Race To The Top Leads: Chicago, Philly, Miami Public Schools Privatize Teacher Hiring

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Piecemeal and wholesale privatization of public schools has been the bipartisan agenda of Republicans and Democrats. Now top school districts are outsourcing teacher hiring to be sure they get the Wal-Mart style disposable temps to man the positions once held by experienced teachers connected with their students and communities.

 
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Holder’s Legacy: Corporate Criminals Too Big to Jail But Mass Incarceration, Gentrification and Protection of Killer Cops for Black Folks – Part II

by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, editor and columnist

Eric Holder has been praised as a “civil rights”-oriented attorney general, but the only rights he has championed are those of the bankers, white vigilantes and killer cops. “Holder refused to press charges against millionaire banking executives who, he assured Wall Street, ‘were too big to jail.’” Blacks have to make do with their Miranda warning rights – if they are lucky enough to survive an encounter with the police.

Hillary's Family Ties to School Privatizers, and Diane Ravitch's Review of Hoosier School Heist

By Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist Blog, and Diane Ravitch

Last week the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, without consulting more than a token slice of the union's membership. It's hard not to know that AFT leaders have turned their backs on teachers and thrown in with the privatizing politicians and consultants. Hillary too has her own family ties to school privatizers.

False Flag Change: History, the Confederate Flag, Obama and the Deeper American Racism

by Paul Street

The Confederate flag comes down at the capital of South Carolina, and smug white smiles go up all over America. “Meanwhile,” writes the author, “savage racial disparities persist and even deepen thanks to the underlying societal, institutional, historical, and political-economic racism that churns on behind the curtain of an officially color blind and, yes, politically correct media and politics culture.”

The Problem of Greece is Not Only a Tragedy: It is a Lie

by John Pilger

The Greek people said “No” to the bankers in Brussels, but their supposedly “radical” Syriza leaders immediately said “Yes.” What is the true political nature of Syriza? “Tsipras and his impressively-educated comrades were not radical in any sense of that cliched label, neither were they ‘anti austerity.’” The consequence of their false leftism “is not resistance, but subservience.”

UK Government Was Right in Arresting Rwandan Spy Chief

by Theogene Rudasingwa

President Paul Kagame threw a mighty tantrum following the arrest in the UK of his spy chief, Gen. Emmanuel Karenzi Karake. But the exiled opposition party Rwanda National Congress has welcomed the arrest, applauding the new efforts by some Western nations to demand accountability from the brutal tyranny in Kigali.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 13, 2015

Austerity Rendering Detroit Unfit for Habitation

A serious fire raged out control due to chronic low water pressure in Detroit, despite the majority Black city’s location in one of the world’s major fresh water regions. “The whole process of so-called rebuilding of Detroit has not been clearly thought out,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, veteran activist and editor of the Pan African News Wire. “How can you rebuild a city when you don’t have fundamental infrastructure, such as fire services, public safety, education, emergency services, simple things like being able to go to a supermarket?” The economic elite are “doing everything possible to drive out the African American population,” he said, but poor infrastructure discourages white resettlement. “What you have is the anarchy of capitalism.”

Big Business Tries to Roll Back Socialist Alternative in Seattle

Corporate contributions are pouring into Seattle Urban League chief Pamela Banks’ campaign to unseat Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative councilwoman who championed the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage law. “It’s not so much about my opponent’s qualities,” said Sawant, “It’s because corporations, billionaires, the people who have an incentive to uphold the status quo, recognize that if we win re-election this year, then it really confirms to working people in Seattle and everywhere that we can prevail against the full might of big business and the political establishment.”

Mumia: “Flags and Rags”

The heritage of the Confederate battle flag is “one of terror and violence in support of a system of organized theft of Black labor, in the name of white supremacy and Black subjugation,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “Dylan ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Roof knew, instinctively, what the flag stood for.”

Justices OK Painful Death Drug

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term by allowing states to continue lethal injections with a cocktail that can cause horrific pain for condemned persons. “Prisoners remain less than human” in the High Court’s eyes, said Kenneth A. Hartman, a writer and prison activist serving life in California. “How else can a decision that allows for deliberate torture be explained?”

Fear of Blacks Triggered 1776 War of Independence

White settlers turned against the their mother country partly in fear that the British Crown would put guns in the hands of Blacks, according to Dr. Gerald Horne, chairman of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of more than 30 books, including The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. In 1775, the British colonial governor of Virginia established an “Ethiopian Regiment” to counter rebellious white settlers. “One of the factors that caused formerly patriotic British subjects to revolt against British rule was this ‘Black scare’ that, I argue, led to the formation of the United States of America,” said Dr. Horne, in a lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

 
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Black Self Determination Matters

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

After two generations of political decay, Black people finally realize they “need to find ways to protect themselves from the police agencies of the Mass Black Incarceration State.” The problem is, getting the police off the community’s back is often...illegal. “The U.S. system is full of ‘checks’ and ‘balances’ to keep the people in check and the rich men’s books balanced.”

Greece, Debt and Democracy

By BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

From Athens to Detroit the financial crises used to justify privatizations, wage-and-pension-cutting, and general austerity are being created. Their purpose is always to transfer vast public wealth into the hands of banksters and investors.

Cynical Democratic Party Leaders Will Say Anything You Wanna Hear For Your Votes Or Your Cash

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

So why is the Democratic National Committee, thoroughly committed to the Hillary Clinton campaign featuring Bernie Sanders in its fundraising emails? How can the California Democratic party raise money pretending to oppose the president on TPP without even pointing in his direction, let alone mentioning his name? Are they really that cynical? Are Democrat donors that gullible?

 
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The 26th Friendshipment Caravan En Route to Havana, Cuba

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

For more than a quarter century, U.S. volunteers have delivered aid to the Cuban people, through the Pastors for Peace Caravan. Gail Walker, daughter of the late Rev. Lucius Walker, who initiated the caravans, speaks of the historical “link between Cuba and the African diaspora,” and the volunteers’ determination to continue “the solidarity that we feel for our Cuban brothers and sisters.”

Liberalism Still the Left Flank of Oppression in the Coming Post-Obama World

by Danny Haiphong

It is already clear that the buzz words gay rights and the Confederate flag “will be used by the powerful to move as many disaffected people toward the Democratic Party as possible.” In reality, “the American flag is the global banner of white supremacy and oppression of LGBTQ people. Its Stars and Stripes are responsible for the genocide of indigenous peoples, enslavement of Africans, and the exploitation of the global working class.”

Six Lessons #BlackLivesMatter Can Learn From Amilcar Cabral

by Benjamin Woods

The emergent Black Lives Matter mobilization is nearing the juncture where it will grow into a true mass movement for liberation, or take some other fork in the road. BlackLivesMatter# should study the practice and writings of Amilcar Cabral, the great African revolutionary. “Cabral understood the new national culture would primarily be built through a process of protracted struggle and have what he called a “mass character.”

Self-Defense of Black Lives DOES Matter

By Thandisizwe Chimurenga

The stars and bars are not the substance of white supremacy itself. They are a deliberately odious signifier of the bloody suppression of black bodies, aspirations and lives from the end of Reconstruction and to the dawn of the Freedom movement of the 1950s and 60s. Some of the flag's groupies are and always have been frankly dangerous.

U.S. - Cuba Policy: A Goal by Any Other Strategy Still Smells As Sweet

by Netfa Freeman

Washington keeps harping about the benefits to Cuba of closer relations with the United States, but never considers “how Cuba might assist in transforming the social and moral essence of the U.S.A.” The United States and its people could learn a great deal from Cuba’s experience in providing universal health care and education, as well as in forging relations of friendship and solidarity with other nations.

Dr. Che Guevara’s Prescription for Africa’s AFRICOM Headache

by Mark P. Fancher

With the United States military command in the lead, “western troops and advisors continue their forward march across African.” But continental liberation is still possible: it just requires the spark of a decisive example. “At least one African country should, pursuant to its own national legislation, seize and nationalize all foreign oil operations, mines and processing facilities within its borders.”

An Eritrean in Mississippi: The Importance of Black Diaspora-Eritrea Solidarity

by Filmon Zerai

The work of a Black lawyer named Lumumba from Detroit drew a young man from Eritrea to Jackson, Mississippi, last year. “I learned how Chokwe Lumumba valued Black diasporan engagement to build solidarity and power,” writes the author. “I experienced the egalitarian spirit of Eritrea in Jackson’s economic justice movement that’s being led by Cooperation Jackson.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of July 6, 2015

Shut Down the Prisons from the Inside

Prison inmates with the Free Alabama Movement have been placed in solitary confinement for advocating a national prison work strike. “Their argument is that all the attempts at prison reform and appealing to legislative bodies and courts to thwart the explosion of mass incarceration have failed, and that the only mechanism left is to shut down these prisons,” said former New York Times correspondent and veteran prisons activist Chris Hedges, whose recent article is titled “America’s Slave Empire.” The prison gulag “can’t function without unpaid or poorly paid labor,” said Hedges. The imprisoned strike leaders urge outside supporters to boycott corporations that profit from prison labor, including the fast-food giant, McDonald’s.

Newark is the Destination, July 25

“We have a pandemic of police brutality all around the United States,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, drumming up support for a Millions March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality, July 25, in Newark, New Jersey. “We demand an end to the murder of unarmed people by the police, and to the use of excessive force by the police,” said Hamm, speaking in Plainfield, New Jersey. “First and foremost, we want community control and civilian oversight of all police forces in the United States. This is critical to any effort to reform the police.”

“Rise Up October” to End “Police Terror”

The co-founders of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network fired up an organizing meeting for the “Rise Up October” campaign against “police terror,” set for October 22-24. Veteran activist Carl Dix told the New York crowd: “We’ve got to do this because Black people continue to be targeted by racist killers, in and out of uniform, and this must stop.” The Charleston massacre was not simply the act of a “crazy, lone wolf. The rage that drove him was nurtured by the white supremacy that has coursed through the veins of America since the very first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains” said Dix.

Dr. Cornel West, the Union Theological Seminary-based public intellectual and activist and Network co-founder, said “young folk of all colors – but disproportionately chocolate – have been at the center of this movement for the last year or so. It’s been very much a new school leadership, and I like that.”

Twin Flags of White Supremacy

Dr. Jared Ball, a host for the Baltimore-based Real News Network, asked: Why the solitary focus on the Confederate flag, when Black people have been enslaved, Jim Crowed and mass murdered under the stars and stripes for the entire history of the United States? Marshall “Eddie” Conway, a former Black Panther political prisoner and current producer for the Network, replied: “That Confederate flag is flying over Chicago and wherever there is white supremacy. We need to recognize that as a distraction from who’s really getting the benefits” from the economic arrangement in the U.S. – the ruling class.

Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston, said: “We need to get to the nub of the question, which is the genocidal origins of the United States.”

Rwandan Suspect in Congo Genocide Arrested in Britain

Karenzi Karake, the intelligence chief for Rwanda, was arrested in Britain for overseeing mass murder of civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three Spanish aid workers were among the victims, prompting an investigation and issuance of warrants by a Spanish judge. “It is a great embarrassment to the British authorities, because the British government is the number one donor to the Rwandan government,” said Claude Gatebuke, founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network and a survivor of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Congo genocide followed. “Even when Rwanda was invading the Congo and causing mayhem, to the tune of six million dead, the British government continued to support” the regime headed by Paul Kagame, Karenzi Karake’s boss.

 
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