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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/2/14

Haiti: Ten Years Under Foreign Occupation

This month marks the tenth year of the United Nations’ armed occupation of Haiti. The UN force, known as MINUSTAH, “was brought in to cover up an illegal coup d’etat against the democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand-Aristide, in 2004,” said Dr. Jemima Pierre, a professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. Even though there is no war in Haiti, “the strength of the force is greater now than when they first came,” increasing from 6,500 uniformed personnel to 8,000 soldiers and police. “There is no such thing as sovereignty in Haiti,” which has been reduced to a protectorate, said Pierre, an editor and columnist with Black Agenda Report.

Left Forum 2014: “Reform and/or Revolution”?

Renowned Black public intellectual Dr. Cornel West “embraces” reformers, but counts himself among the revolutionaries. “If you want to tinker, to be incremental, fine, but don’t just stop there,” West told activists at Manhattan’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “We’re calling for fundamental transformation of American capitalist society, with its empire and vicious legacy of white supremacy,” he said.

Running Strong as a Socialist

Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative party activist who won a seat on the Seattle city council on a $15 minimum wage platform, said that even a watered-down version of the measure will result in “roughly $3 billion being transferred from the hands of business to the bottom-most workers of the city.” The victory in Seattle put a $15 minimum on the national political map. “What we have done is forced business to swallow the idea of increasing wages substantially,” said Sawant. “And I say ‘swallow,’ because they hate it.”

Hip Hop and Social Transformation

Activists need to consider more deeply the meaning of revolution, said hip hop artist Immortal Technique. “If we decide that we’ll all of a sudden become revolutionary-minded, but we don’t leave behind all the privileges that we were born with or that we’ve assumed in life because of wealth or racist status in America, then what do we have as camaraderie with the people that are suffering the most in this system?” he asked.

South Africa Betrayed

“I sit, deeply wounded and deeply concerned that [President Jacob] Zuma and the ANC in South Africa has abandoned its calling,” said famed entertainer Harry Belafonte, a political activist for most of his 87 years. Citing the police massacre of 34 miners at Marikana, in August, 2012, Belafonte said the African National Congress government has “become the new tyranny, and this is a hard pill to swallow. How could all this have gone so awry?”

Elombe Brath Joins Ancestors

Legendary activist Elombe Brath, who died after a long illness, was laid to rest at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, on Saturday. Brath was a founder of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition. “He didn’t just love Black music and culture, he loved Black people,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, reporting for Prison Radio.

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One Year After Chicago Closes 50 Public Schools, Chicago Teachers Union Assesses the Lies and Lasting Damage

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

A couple years ago, we at Black Agenda Report wondered why the closings of 40 public schools over three years in Philly and 50 schools in Chicago were not national news. The answer of course, was that corporate media and politicians from Romney and Obama down to black mayors and state legislators agree that public education ought to be handed to business groups and charter schools even though privatization is enormously unpopular.

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Boko Haram a Blessing for Imperialism in Africa: U.S. Training Death Squads

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The Americans now admit they are training battalions of African Rangers and counterinsurgency troops. The next step is the proliferation of death squads in West Africa, as the U.S. did in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Nigeria’s schoolgirls may or may not be rescued, but U.S. and European “humanitarian” military interventionists have already gained more than they could have imagined.

Freedom Rider: Police Target Black Children

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

When white teachers handcuff first graders, or white police throw Black tweens through glass windows, or shoot unarmed youths, it may be because of racially warped perceptions. “Black children are dehumanized to such an extent that they aren’t perceived as children at all,” says a recent study. “In some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old.”

Black Caucus Members Shame Themselves, as South America Warns U.S. Not to Sanction Venezuela

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

In an act of continent-wide solidarity, the nations of South America are warning the U.S. not to impose sanctions on Venezuela, a mostly Black and brown country seeking its own path to progress. Shamefully, Florida’s three Black congresspersons show solidarity only to their imperial masters; they are co-sponsors of the sanctions bill.

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White Guy Killer Syndrome

by Brittney Cooper

The Santa Barbara killer believed the world had to pay for cheating him out of his rightful entitlements. “We cannot understand Elliot Rodger’s clear mental health issues and view of himself as the supremely forsaken victim here outside a context of racism, white supremacy and patriarchy.” U.S. society needs to face up to the lethal truth about white male privilege – as a mental health issue.”

“The More Effective Evil” Curtain Call and the Prospect of Hilary 2016

by Danny Haiphong

President Obama has proven far more effective than George Bush in consolidating the rule of corporate imperialism. It will soon become Hillary Clinton’s turn to neutralize Blacks and white liberals in pursuit of the imperial agenda. Her presidency would “further expose the collaboration between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to economic and foreign policy endeavors.”

The Obamas’ Race to the Bottom

by Sikivu Hutchinson

Michelle Obama’s recent speech on the anniversary of the Brown decision gave every indication that she understands structural racism and injustice in education. However, her husband’s Race to the Top program has “opened the floodgates to privatization, dumbed-down curricula, and a permanent regime of high stakes testing which undermines teacher creativity and guts teachers’ unions.”

Black Like Me: Black Immigration Conference in Miami

by Pascal Robert

Photos by Kevin Banatte[Dream Defenders Communications

Relentless forces, internal and external, seek to pit Black Americans and immigrants against one another. However, many immigrants are Black and subject to the same mass incarceration policies as African Americans. “Immigration is a racial justice issue that needs a progressive African American voice,” according to a just-concluded conference in Miami.

From Puppet Soldiers to Puppet Journalists: AFRICOM Grows Its War Machine

by Mark P. Fancher

AFRICOM’s primary project is to transform the militaries of the continent into dependencies and pawns of U.S. foreign policy. It’s second most import objective is the hide Washington’s actual intentions behind a “humanitarian” mask – such as participating in the search for Nigerian schoolgirls from Boko Haram. Some African journalists are eager to be part of the ruse.

Developing a Constituency for Anti-imperialist Pan-Afrikan Solidarity

by Ajamu Nangwaya

Afrikan Liberation Day must be more than a celebration of “flag” independence. The event should be a focus of work to complete the unfinished process of liberation from both the neocolonialists and “the kleptocrats and strongmen who masquerade as a national bourgeoisie” who “drain the lifeblood out of the laboring classes across Afrika.”

The “Moral Equivalence of the Founding Fathers”

by Dr. T P Wilkinson

The tall tale that claims to be U.S. history depicts the war of independence from Britain as motivated by a deep yearning for democracy. Dr, Gerald Horne’s new book frames the white settler secession as a revolt to ensure the continuity of slavery, which was growing unpopular in the home country and intolerable to the Black captives. Horne “shows that slave resistance forced the settler elite to declare independence from Britain.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/26/14

Search for Boko Haram Deepens Imperial Penetration in Africa

France recently oversaw an agreement between Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin to mount joint efforts to combat Boko Haram fighters, with the U.S. and Europeans providing financing, training and equipment. “Why should a conference concerned with the security of Nigeria and West Africa be held in Paris?” asked Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire. “The question speaks volumes to the degree of neocolonialism that is still prevalent” in Africa. “This is just an effort on the part of France, the United States and other imperialist states to deepen their military intervention on the African continent” in the guise of humanitarian concerns, said Azikiwe.

Ras Baraka’s “Daunting Challenge” in Newark

Ras Baraka’s mayoral victory in Newark, New Jersey, represents “a significant break with the past, with the [Cory] Booker administration,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress. Baraka faces the “daunting challenge” of a $93 million budget deficit when he takes office, July 1. During the campaign, he opposed further school closings and charterization, and called for an end to state management of local schools, now in its 18th year. Some fear a state takeover of municipal finances, as well. “This points out the challenges of Black Power in the 21st century,” said Hamm.

Beware Banksters Bearing “Gifts” for Detroit

Wall Street banking giants JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are offering millions in loans and grants for a structural makeover of Detroit, still mired in bankruptcy proceedings. “They say it’s philanthropy, but they also say they expect to make money” on the deal, said Tom Stephens, a people’s lawyer active in the resistance to the state and corporate takeover of the city. What the banks are actually funding is “a pretty overt racist, neoliberal and neocolonial framework – with strings attached – that is not going to benefit the vast majority of the people of Detroit.” JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs “should be facing charges for predatory, fraudulent financial manipulation” for helping bring Detroit down, said Stephens.

Temple U. Students Vow to Protest Monteiro Dismissal All Summer

“We’re fighting for students and community people to have a real voice at the university,” including matters such as gentrification of surrounding Black neighborhoods, said student leader Kashara White. The Temple University provost, she said, maintains that the firing of African American Studies scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro was done in accordance with school policy. The problem “is not that the school isn’t following its policies, but that their policies are unjust,” said White. Adjunct professors need more job security, so they won’t be fired when they support student and community demands, as Dr. Monteiro did. The protests will continue through the summer. “This is going to set a standard for students in Philadelphia and across the nation,” she said. “We want Dr. Monteiro back because we know he sets that same precedent for faculty.”

A State of Mourning for Elombe Brath

Legendary New York-based activist Elombe Brath succumbed to a long illness, May 19. The Patrice Lumumba Coalition founder was honored on May 11 of last year at Harlem’s Harriet Tubman School. Raymond Santana, who along with others of the Central Park 5 was imprisoned for 13 years for a rape they did not commit, said he knew Brath “as a protector, a man who embraced me as one of his own sons, a man who stepped up for the Central Park 5 when lots of people wouldn’t, and still champions for us to receive our just due.”

Rodolfo Reyes, the Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations, also honored Brath in 2013. “Cuba remembers with high esteem his tireless struggle for the freedom of the Cuban 5, unjustly imprisoned in United States jails,” said Reyes. “By following the example of Elombe Brath, we can turn into reality the goal of our leader, Fidel Castro, that a better world is possible, where justice, human dignity and solidarity prevail."

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Always Low Wages, More Pollution: Why Barack & Michelle Obama Relentlessly Shill For Wal-Mart

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Democrats in labor unions and figures like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and others were justly outraged at Barack Obama's latest wet kiss to Wal-Mart earlier this month. But First Lady Michelle Obama has been in bed with the giant retailer for years. Is this a nasty bug in the Obama presidency, or a corrupt core feature?

Freedom Rider: Newark Rejects $100 million School Scam

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Sometimes, local political races have truly national repercussions. Hopefully, this will be the case in Newark, New Jersey, where Ras Baraka defeated a Cory Booker acolyte for mayor. School privatization was the big issue. Folks have figured out that “the very purpose of school privatization is to close schools and give teachers no more job security than fast food workers or Walmart greeters.”

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