25 Years of Struggle Building Socialism in Eritrea; Fighting the Cancer of Corruption

by Thomas C. Mountain

Eritrea, the socialist nation of 6 million people on the Red Sea that has been called “the Cuba of Africa,” is replacing all of its old currency with new bills and moving away from a cash economy. “If you are a black market agent using cash to do your business and have literally millions of Nakfa, the Eritrean currency, stuffed under your bed, you got some explaining to do.” That’s bad news for currency manipulators – both foreign and domestic.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 16, 2016

Black Brazil Will Resist “Soft Coup” Against Workers Party

Dilma Rousseff, of the Brazilian Workers Party, was removed from her office as president, last week, and put on trial by the nation’s Senate on charges of manipulating the budget. Dr. Gerald Horne, the prolific author and professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston, predicts the Workers Party will mount waves of protests, sit-ins and occupations against what they call a “soft coup” encouraged and abetted by the United States. “I think that during the Olympics, when the global spotlight will be on Brazil, there will be an exhibition by poor, working class folk to express their disapproval of what’s going on in their country,” said Dr. Horne.

Jill Stein: “I’m Not Holding My Breath” Waiting on Bernie

Kshama Sawant, of the Socialist Alternative Party, is circulating a petition asking Bernie Sanders to either run for president on the Green Party ticket, or pave the way for a “new party of the 99%.” The Green Party is already a party of the 99%, and will be on the ballot in most states, said presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein. She said the Greens have been “reaching out to Bernie Sanders since 2011, looking for ways that we might collaborate, and Bernie has always declined our invitation for dialogue by not responding. I’m not holding my breath,” said Stein. “He regards third parties as renegades and threats to political order.”

Alabama Prison Work Stoppages Wind Down

Inmates at prisons across the state of Alabama trickled back to work after officials filled their jobs with people on work-release and starved the protestors of needed calories. “They were getting bird-fed, meaning they were getting real low portions of food because of the peaceful strike,” said Pastor Kenneth Glascow, who negotiated with state officials on behalf of the inmates. Glascow is the half-brother of Rev. Al Sharpton, and a former inmate, himself, who heads the prison reform group TOPS, The Ordinary People Society. Prisoners earn as little as 17 cents an hour at for-profit prison enterprises, and are not paid at all for kitchen and laundry work.

The strike was called by inmates of the Free Alabama Movement. “We already have a Free Mississippi Movement, there’s a Free California Movement, there’s a Free Pennsylvania Movement,” said inmate activist Bennu Hannibal, of the St. Clair prison. Brothers and sisters behind bars have to organize “because the system is organized, and the only way we’re going to have an impact against them is if we organize in a likewise manner.”

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Obama Chugs Flint Water, Dodges Federal Responsibility, Delivers Another Cynical Lecture to Black Folks

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

President Obama's self-described “stunt”, chugging a glass of Flint water, assuring residents of its safety, and claiming he might have ingested lead himself as a child were a deeply cynical deployment of his blackness to divert attention from federal responsibility for the mass poisonings and coverups.

Obama Chugs Flint Water, Dodges Federal Responsibility, Delivers Another Cynical Lecture to Black Folks

Hillary May Win in November, but the Duopoly Electoral System is Doomed

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

After the general election, corporate pundits will try to dismiss the this season’s rebellions in the Republican and Democratic parties. But newly emergent social forces on the Left and the Right, and among Black youth, are rejecting the duopoly electoral system. The Republican Party has been wrecked, and “the contradictions in the Democratic Party are at least as deep, if not so immediately acute, as those that are ripping apart the GOP.”

Freedom Rider: Sanders Supporters Can Bring Down the Democrats

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Bernie Sanders supporters could truly be on a revolutionary mission – if they choose to accept it. “They must not support or vote for Hillary Clinton in November and they must say so loudly and clearly.” Should their idol endorse Clinton, then Sanders’ people must reject him, too. And, if Sanders’ folks are blamed for Clinton’s defeat, these attacks “should be considered as a badge of honor” for sending the Democrats into the dustbin of history.

Saturday May 21 at the Left Forum in NYC

BAR at the Left Forum 2016For the dozen decades since Booker T Washington much of what passed for black politics was brokerage politics -- ostensibly class-blind black unity behind an elite black leadership class who purportedly represented our interests before the powers that be. But all politics is class politics, especially that which downplays or ignores class. Since 2006 Black Agenda Report has been rediscovering, reclaiming and reinventing the radical black perspective that must undergird the principled black movement of the 21st century. Join Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Margaret Kimberley, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Nellie Bailey, Ajamu Baraka, Jemima Pierre and our poet-in-residence Raymond Nat Turner for a penetrating exploration of the emergent radical and principled black movement of the new century and its challenges.

“Soft Coup” Finds Soft Target in Brazil

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers Party, although free of personal corruption, is being hounded out of executive power by yelping packs of thoroughly corrupt political hyenas.” This “soft coup” is led by former partners in the national legislature, where the Workers Party holds less than one-sixth of the seats. But the debacle is a lesson for those leftists that think they can finesse and bargain their way to a social revolution.

 
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40% of Detroit Will be Deprived of Life Sustaining Water: the UN Investigates Human Rights Violations

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The United States has no moral authority to speak of “human rights” as an American “value” when it systematically deprives Detroit’s Black poor population of water. “The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has begun shutting off water to 3,000 people a week, and could soon cut off access to drinkable water for 150,000 Detroit residents.” Meanwhile, the city has decided not to disconnect businesses – or even a corporate-owned graveyard.

There’s Nothing Fair About Detroit’s Massive Water Shut Offs

by Shea Howell

The corporate rulers are relentless in their drive to push the poor out of Detroit. With tens of thousands more households facing water shut offs, the authorities held – of all things – a water fair. The author was there: “Almost everyone I talked to said the same thing, ‘The city doesn't care about us. They want us out of here.’”

There’s Nothing Fair About Detroit’s Massive Water Shut Offs

Johanna Fernandez Speaks on the Revolution and Counter Revolution that Mumia Abu-Jamal Embodies

by Danny Haiphong

Mumia Abu Jamal has spoken Truth to Power since his teen days in the Black Panther Party, then as a crusading radio newsman and, since 1981, as a political prisoner. Historian and activist Johanna Fernandez is editor of Writing on the Wall, a compilation of Abu Jamal’s essays. Mumia is “locked in a steel cage because of the US Empire's need to repress the memory, ideology, and practice of the Black Liberation movement that he helped lead.”

Polyarchy in the Dominican Republic: The Elite Versus the Elite

by Jeb Silgado-Sprague

The two leading candidates in the upcoming Dominican Republic presidential elections differ little when it comes to economic policy and the targeting of migrant and migrant-descendant communities. The political establishment spouts the racial rhetoric of an “Hispanic” state, in opposition to Haiti’s “Africanness.” Ad campaigns proclaim “’Somos Dominicanos’ (We Are Dominicans) implying that the others, the Haitians in their midst, are outsiders.”

Zuma’s Denialism and Betrayal

by Zwelinzima Vavi

South African President Jacob Zuma run “a pro-big business government that is implementing neoliberal and anti-poor economic policies,” writes the author, a former trade union leader. Zuma “should have introduced a national beneficiation program complemented by a socially and environmentally sound industrialization plan, and ended the dominance of white monopoly capital.” Instead, “whole industries are in danger of disappearing.”

“Our stomachs Will Make Themselves Heard”: What Sankara Can Teach Us About Food Justice Today

by Amber Murrey

In recent weeks, news of food crises in countries across Africa has been intensifying. From the Democratic Republic of Congo all the way down to South Africa – via Malawi, Zimbabwe, Angola and many others – low rainfall has contributed to millions more being left vulnerable. “Thomas Sankara’s ecological-political praxis provides an alternative framework for food justice on the continent.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 9, 2016

Detroit Teachers “Browbeaten” Back to Work by National Union

The two-day teachers sick-out that closed Detroit public schools last week was about much more than paycheck issues, said Steve Conn, the former elected local union president who, along with activists from BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), has been leading teacher sick-outs since November. “It’s about fighting the governor’s plan to destroy the schools. Gov. Snyder wants to replace public education in Detroit with a charter model,” said Conn. More than half of Detroit students already attend charter schools, second only to New Orleans. The sick-out was popular among teachers and the public, but ended prematurely when national union president Randi Weingarten “and her local flunkies browbeat the teachers into going back to work,” said Conn. “They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Towards a National Black Political Agenda

The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations plans to hold events in cities around the country in coming months to put together a National Black Political Agenda. The project grew out the Coalition’s national conference on the 2016 elections, convened in Harlem, New York, last month. “The timing is excellent,” given the turmoil in the duopoly parties, said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “We don’t have to settle for an outcome that’s determined by these folks who are tied to the ruling establishment. We can speak for ourselves and have an agenda of our own that will influence the political direction of Black people.” Yeshitela hopes the agenda can be completed in time for the Coalition’s annual march on the White House and national conference, in November.

Sawant Petitions for Sanders to Dump Democrats After Convention

Seattle city councilwoman and Socialist Alternative Party leader Kshama Sawant is circulating a petition that Bernie Sanders run as an independent to pave the way for a third electoral party. But, what about the Green Party, which expects to be on the ballot in most states in November? “If there is any possibility of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein running together on a Green Party ticket this year, I would support that wholeheartedly,” said Sawant. “Something like that could help build the basis of an independent party of the 99%, which is the most critical project we have to get started on.”

With GOP Help, Hillary Will Move Democrats Further Right

“Get ready for the whiplash,” said historian, activist and author Paul Street, predicting that an influx of anti-Trump Republicans will assist Hillary Clinton in pushing the Democratic Party even further rightward, once Bernie Sanders’ supporters on the left have been pacified. “The Democratic Party is about to go from being the party that allowed a self-declared democratic socialist to go very far in the primary process, to becoming the objectively truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country,” now that Donald Trump has split from the Republican corporate establishment. Street’s latest book is titled They Rule: The 1% Versus Democracy.

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Bernie to Deliver Captive Constituencies to the Democratic Convention

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Bernie will take his campaign all the way to the convention. We called him a sheepdog back in May 2015, and he's filling exactly that role, enticing the Dems' captive constituencies back into the trunk of the party one more time, where their votes will count but not their demands.  The issues that made supporters "feel the Bern" will be ignored. That's what it means to be a captive constituency.

Detroit Teachers Strike Against Disaster Capitalism

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The corporate narrative on the Detroit teacher’s sick-out is that the public schools are “failing,” just as the city has “failed” to manage its own finances. But the state has intervened in Detroit’s schools for decades, and has destabilized the public system with charters. “Charter schools play a key role in urban disaster capitalism, wrecking the community nexus of public education by draining the system of students and resources.”

Freedom Rider: Obama’s Last Gasp Imperialism

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

President Obama’s remaining days in office may be short, but “there is no reason to mourn or rejoice Obama’s departure because he will be followed by someone who likes his foreign policy as it is.” Hillary Clinton was his partner in imperial crime, and “the supposedly left wing Bernie Sanders warns of non-existent Russian aggression, supports presidential ‘kill lists’ and thinks that having U.S. troops in Syria is a fine idea.” 

Why Obama Silenced bin Laden

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

President Obama likes to point to the killing of Osama bin Laden as a proud part of his legacy. Actually, the “hit” on bin Laden allowed the U.S. to dramatically increase its deployment of jihadists as foot soldiers in U.S. proxy wars against Libya and Syria. Al Qaida was symbolically beheaded so that it could be re-born as “freedom-loving political dissidents and patriotic ‘moderates’ deserving of U.S. arms, financing, and air support.”

 
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A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Mr. Obama Goes to Flint

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Barack Obama has expressed concern for any number of human tragedies in the nation and world, and waged wars under the banner of “humanitarian” compassion. But it took him two years to visit the scene of the poisoning of a largely Black American population. Obama’s “visit is not intended to alleviate the suffering of the Flint community but to whitewash his political legacy of total contempt for the plight of the very people who elected him.”

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