Selma: Black History According to Oprah

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Most Black folks are just grateful that there is finally a big box office movie about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But, of course, Selma is historical fiction, carefully crafted to make some people and ideas look good and wise, and others to appear petty, narrow or stupid. Who decides? The money-people, the producers, like Oprah Winfrey.

Not Charlie Hebdo: Why Anti Muslim “Jokes” Are Often War Propaganda

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Depicting pregnant Muslims as “Boko Haram sex slaves” howling for welfare checks, and the prophet Muhammad doing things you wouldn't want your own kids to see while drones and cops target innocent Muslims isn't simple satire. Asking, in this context, why “those backward Muslims” are so easily insulted, or can't or won't separate their religion from civic and political life is the worst kind of historical ignorance, bullying and chauvinism.

Kymone Freeman: #DC Ferguson, Poet, Playwright and Guerilla Artist

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

As prime mover at Washington DC’s independent We ACT Radio station, Kymone Freeman wrestles with the burning issues of Black life, daily. “How do we enforce demands? How do we escalate the calls for justice? How do we protect ourselves? Who are our allies? How do we force the police to share power with the community? How do we fund an organization truly committed to these values?” Being a poet helps, too.

Movement Ferguson, Beware the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

by Netfa Freeman

A recent, but deeply flawed, article on George Soro’s foundation’s support of some organizations involved in anti-police violence campaigns nevertheless raises important questions about movement dependency on “philanthropic” funding. “No one – particularly those of us working in the non-profit industry – can deny the influence funders have on what not-for-profit formations do or won’t do, what political positions they take or don’t take.”

Police Unions VS the Public, Torture and Mass Incarceration VS Restorative Justice

A radio interview by Chuck Mertz on This is Hell Radio.

Flint Taylor, co-founder of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago, who has represented the victims of police and political violence for 45 years explains the role of police unions, public defenders, the problems of supposedly progressive candidates who claim more cops will solve problems, and what restorative justice might look like.

Making Movements Matter

by Michelle Renee Matisons

People talk about building mass movements, but which “masses” do they actually intend to mobilize? It’s a difficult, but central, question for serious organizers. “How do we balance the particular (group identity) and the universal (broader agenda) tensions inherent in mass movement organizing?

What is the Real Reason Behind Obama’s New Cuba Policy?

by Pascal Robert

There’s nothing “enlightened” about President Obama shift in policy on Cuba. Growing U.S. isolation from Latin America has opened opportunities for Washington’s global rivals. Russia has proposed a raft of agreements with Cuba and other Latin countries, and “China has now strongly entered the Latin nations with its plan to build a canal through Nicaragua to rival the Panama Canal.”

Charlie Hebdo, the Free Press and Racism

by Sara Flounders

If France is a citadel of freedom of the press, then why does it ban demonstrations against Israel and in support of Palestinians? “Charlie Hebdo is protected because it hardens the population against Muslim people in order to divide the population.” For its service to French imperialism, the government awarded Charlie Hebdo a million euros. But, non-white lives count for nothing in France.

Another Round of Imperial Lies on Kagame’s Crimes in Rwanda

by Christopher Black

There is no shortage of imperial operatives eager to defend Paul Kagame’s dictatorial Tutsi regime in Rwanda. Kagame’s role in the Rwandan slaughter and the Congo genocide that followed is thoroughly documented in the book, Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later. But facts mean nothing to Kagame apologist Alex Obote-Odora, whose arguments are shredded by the author.

The Moment of Truth: African Americans’ Nonsensical  Support for Barack Obama

by Solomon Comissiong 

After January, 2017, “the delusional fantasy will be over for most African/black people in this country.” What will Black folks have to show for their near-absolute loyalty to Barack Obama? Nothing more than, maybe, a historically revisionist t-shirt “with Obama’s face wedged in between Malcolm X and MLK.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/19/15

MLK Would be “Shutting It Down”

If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive, he would have joined in the 96-hour direct action and civil disobedience campaign coordinated by the ONYX Organizing Committee, in Oakland, California, this past weekend, according to activist Cat Brooks. “He’d be shutting it down” at federal buildings and taking over freeways,” said Brooks. “As in the later part of his life, he’d be connecting, loudly, the bloody dots of capitalism and gentrification with the systematic oppression and violence against Black and brown people in the cities.”

Man Who Recorded Eric Garner’s Death Has Court Date

Ramsey Orta, the Staten Island, New York, man who videotaped Eric Garner’s death by chokehold at the hands of a cop, appears in court January 25 on weapons charges. Orta maintains police set him up in retaliation. His lawyer, Alton Maddox, said “It’s time for a reawakening of the people in New York City as to how grand juries should be employed.” As it stands, prosecutors use grand juries as an excuse NOT to indict cops, said Maddox, whose license to practice law was revoked in 1990, in the wake of the Tawana Brawley case.

French Celebrate White Supremacy and Racist Values

“’Je Suis Charlie’ has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy,” wrote Ajamu Baraka, editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report and co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. The French “values” that are supposedly under attack are, in reality, “grounded in a colonial division between people who are recognized as humans, and those who have been consigned to the category of sub-humans and are eligible to be murdered, to have their lands taken, to be enslaved,” said Baraka. “Those are the values that many of those people who embraced ‘Je Suis Charle’ were, in fact, upholding.”

Right On! to Franz Fanon on His 90th Birthday

Dr. Lewis Gordon, professor of philosophy and African American Studies at the University of Connecticut, spoke at the Pan-African Bazara, in Nairobi, Kenya, on the 90th birthday of Franz Fanon, the psychiatrist from Martinique who fought alongside the Algerians against French colonialism and wrote The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks. Fanon taught that “every group has to understand that it has the responsibility to set the conditions for its own freedom and emancipation,” said Dr. Gordon. “He argues that it is not enough to fight for material change; you need also to set the conditions for very new concepts” of human existence. Fanon died of leukemia in 1961.

Black Colombian Women Defend Ancestral Land Rights

Illegal gold mining operations are poisoning the environment and infringing on the land rights of African-descended people in Colombia, South America. Charo Mina-Rojas, an organizer of women’s resistance to the incursions, said local authorities are collaborating with the mechanized mining operators. “They are armed, but we have to expose ourselves to make sure that these people understand that these are our territories, we have rights there, and we are ready to protect them by all means necessary,” said Mina-Rojas.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour. Click here to download this show.

Freedom Rider: Charlie Hebdo: “Je Suis White People"

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Millions of citizens of one of the bloodiest empires known to man – the French colonial state – this weekend pretended to be the most enlightened, yet maligned, people on earth. “The convenient selective amnesia of the French people is as stunning as their sense of feeling more aggrieved than anyone else in the world.” Tell that to the Haitians, Libyans, Algerians, Vietnamese and the peoples still dominated by France in sub-Saharan African.

A Real Socialist Party for South Africa?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The rich Black capitalists of South Africa’s ruling party and their counterfeit communist partners will soon have to confront real socialists. The nation’s biggest union “is pressing ahead with a conference on creating a united front and, possibly, a political party to build socialism in South Africa.” “Political power without economic power is an empty shell,” says metalworkers union leader Irvin Jim.

Je Suis Who? The Obama Administration’s Selective Grief and Mourning

by BAR editor and columnist, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

In the Obama administration’s hierarchy of worthy victims, unarmed Blacks slain by U.S. police rank far below French cartoonists. “When will politicians like President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder condemn the murders of unarmed black boys, men and women with the same level of intensity and clamor that we have seen in Paris – followed by indictments of killer cops?” 

The Charlie Hebdo White Power Rally in Paris: A Celebration of Western Hypocrisy

By BAR editor and correspondent Ajamu Baraka

As leaders of the Russia, China, and Western powers and their client states like Israel, all of whom persecute and lock up their own journalists, celebrated the protection of hate-speech cartoonists in France, the real deal as always was not freedom of the press or protection of dissenters, but white Western hypocrisy.

Why Are We Afraid of Naming and Confronting Capitalism?

by Ajamu Nangwaya

Lots of “leftists,” “progressives” and even folks that call themselves socialists refuse to undertake a direct assault on the capitalist system, limiting themselves to a narrower critique of “crony,” or “unfettered” capitalism – or, simply, “greedy rich people.” Which just goes to show that “the ruling-class has imposed its economic and political ideologies onto the consciousness of the oppressed as natural, self-evident ways of seeing reality.”

Global Interlocking Oppressions from #Ferguson2Palestine

by Dr. Johnny E. Williams

Thanks to President Obama’s failures to defend Black rights and dignity, “black folks have taken to the streets because, for the first time since the modern civil rights era, we truly understand that ‘we are the ones we have been waiting for’ to bring about permanent structural change.” We also understand “the importance of forging domestic and global alliances” – especially with the similarly oppressed Palestinian people.

Where the #BlackLivesMatterMovement, Cuba, and the DPRK collide: Self-Determination and the Liberation Agenda

by Danny Haiphong

The new year portends great possibilities of change. “The #BlackLivesMatter movement is a spark that, with continued organization, has the potential to revive revolutionary political thought and action in the US for the first time in decades.” On the international scene, “the exploitative and murderous conditions of imperialism are moving the world's people to create a more just global order.”

Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People

by Sam Mitrani

The cops have always worked for the rich and powerful. In the South, policing began with slave patrols. In Chicago, “businessmen donated money to buy the police rifles, artillery, Gatling guns, buildings, and money to establish a police pension out of their own pockets.”

Black Haitian Lives Matter: Haiti on the Fifth Anniversary of the Earthquake

by Jesse Hagopian

The author was a witness to the disaster that took hundreds of thousands of Haitian lives in 2010 – a catastrophe used by the U.S. as a pretext for massive military invasion. “I saw a virtual cornucopia of water and supplies piled up on the tarmac, none of it being transported to the people in need, who were seen as a threat by the US military.”

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Plotted to Destabilize Eritrea

by Thomas C. Mountain

It appears that the corporate guardians of international “human rights” have acted as paid operatives of the U.S. effort to destabilize the fiercely independent east African nation of Eritrea. The scandal is reminiscent of operations against Cuban during the same period.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/12/15

Cop Body Cameras Threaten Civil Liberties

President Obama wants to spend $75 million to equip cops with body cameras. However, Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee warned that “body cameras will ultimately be used to create a mountain of new evidence” against citizens, leading to even higher rates of mass incarceration. “These cameras monitor people without any individualized basis for suspicion” of committing a crime, said Buttar. “The best thing to do is prohibit those police from arresting residents who capture police activities on their phone cameras.”

Mumia Abu Jamal’s Lawyers Challenge Silencing Act

The Pittsburgh-based Abolitionist Law Center and two other legal outfits filed a motion to halt Pennsylvania from enforcing the so-called Silencing Act, designed to muzzle the voice of the nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal. The law gives victims of personal injury crimes the right to sue people convicted of such offenses for inflicting “mental anguish” by virtue of their subsequent, undefined “conduct,” including by speech, written word, or other communication or action. Abolitionist Law Center executive director Bret Grote said the law is irredeemably unconstitutional. “The whole purpose of it was to target Mumia Abu Jamal, whose conduct has been recognized by the courts as constitutionally protected.” Thousands of other Pennsylvania prison inmates and convicts that have served their sentences, as well as civilians who do business with such persons, could also be prosecuted under the Silencing Act.

Mumia: Blowback in France

“Wars have a way of returning home in the most unexpected of ways,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. The Iraq War still generates new violence, ten years after the invasion. “We’re seeing that now, in France,” said Abu Jamal. “Perhaps we shall see it here, as well.”

Racist Mythology Props Up U.S. Ruling Class

The U.S. social order is largely built on the myth that cops, judges, jailers and prosecutors “are all that stand between us and rampant crime, anarchy and ruin,” said BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon. Rather than provide a decent standard of living for its people, America brands Black and poor folk as unworthy and irredeemable. For that reason, said Dixon, “the burgeoning movement against police immunity and impunity really is a threat to so-called national security, a menace to the privileges of banksters and employers, of privatizers and gentrifiers, and of the prerogatives of the 1%.”

Lynne Stewart: Abolish Grand Juries

In an article published in Socialist Action newspaper, people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart called the grand jury system an “anachronism” that “puts another roadblock in the way of the people. It’s a way in which the prosecution keeps the playing field for itself; it controls all the moves,” said Stewart, who spent five years in prison before she was released a year ago, suffering from Stage Four breast cancer. Only two or three times in her 30 years as an attorney has a grand jury refused to go along with the prosecutions wishes, said Stewart.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour. Click here to download the show.

Black People’s Grand Jury Indicts Cop for First Degree Murder of Michael Brown

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

A mostly white grand jury, manipulated by a racist prosecutor, will not have the last word in the death of Michael Brown. “We cannot trust our children, the future of our community, in the hands of this establishment that has proven to us over and over again its disregard for black life,” said one of the prosecutors for the Black People’s Grand Jury. The indictment is “an exercise in self-determination, a collective response to a collective assault on a people.”

Freedom Rider: Police Corruption Exposed

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The informal NYPD slowdown is proving that cops do more harm than good. Low level arrests have plummeted, but “so far, none of these declines in enforcement have had an impact on safety in the city.” The lesson is clear: “The hyper policing inflicted on black communities is a sick farce, serving only the purpose of making white people feel comfortable about the numbers of black people in jails.”

The Big Reality Show, the 1% and the Myth of the Thin Blue Line

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

The myth that a thin blue line of cops, jailers and prosecutors aggressively policing the ghettoes and public spaces being all that stands between society and chaos is far more important than the profits of prison labor or privatizers in maintaining America's vast prison state. The moral lesson of off-the-chain cops and the prison state justifies and makes legitimate the the brutal inequality of neoliberal America.

Once Again, the Empire Rolls the Dice of War

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S.-Saudi oil price war against Russia, like the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, is “a calculated act of desperate men, based on the inescapable facts of imperial decline and the logic of class survival.” In their doomed attempt to stay on top, U.S. imperialists and their clients risk burning down the global house. “But, that’s what any ruling class would do when staring death in the face.”

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