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Freedom Rider: How Not to “Bring Back our Girls”

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Hundreds of Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters, three weeks ago. The abductions got very little media coverage, so the wave of U.S. revulsion is only now surfacing. Americans urge their government to “do something,” but know next to nothing about the Nigerian political crisis, since there has not been “a single television news story about Boko Haram in 2013.”

Segregation Rebounding: The Political Defeat of School Integration

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered public schools desegregated, first “with all deliberate speed” and then, more urgently, “root and branch.” By the early 1970s, substantial desegregation has taken place in the South. But today, segregation has rebounded. In some localities, folks don’t quite remember what happened. “No one paid the court order any attention in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, for 30 years.”

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Obamacare’s Empty Victory

By Dr. Margaret Flowers

Millions of Obama voters in 2008 imagined they voted for universal health. What they got instead was Obamacare, an incredibly complex thicket of laws, regulations and exceptions requiring millions to purchase private health insurance which might or might not provide adequate or affordable coverage, might or might not protect them from bankruptcy, but certainly privatizes more of the nation's health care system than ever before.

Condoleezza Rice is Not Qualified to Speak on Civil Rights 

by Mel Reeves

Faculty and student groups a the University of Minnesota insulted history and Black America, last month, inviting Condoleezza Rice to speak on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Rice and her immediate family rejected that Movement. “She is not a beacon of the Civil Rights Movement but, rather, an embarrassment.”

The Historic Plague of Individualism Continues Under Present Day US Capitalism

by Danny Haiphong​

Capitalists hoodwink the masses into belief in an ideal of individualism, which “places sole blame for the misery of capitalism on the individual person experiencing it.” The U.S. Founding Fathers – a group of very rich white men – created a political infrastructure in which “the oppressed are coerced into competing among themselves for the crumbs the capitalist class has stolen from them.”

Nigeria: Africa’s Number One Economy, for Wealth Evaporation

by Patrick Bond

Based on new calculations, Nigeria no ranks as Africa’s biggest economy. Actually, it is losing wealth a a frightening pace. In addition to the sheer volume of theft that drains the Nigerian people of their national patrimony, the biggest drain “is the depletion of natural resources, which when mined or drilled out are only counted as GDP credits on the income accounts, but not as debits.”

Shangri-La re-zoned…

by Raymond Nat Turner

Must each generation’s Shangri-La turn into… ?

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

Seattle Activists Vow to Put $15 Wage on Ballot

“We can’t wait seven years for workers to get relief,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for the campaign by 15 Now and the Socialist Alternative Party to immediately raise most wages in Seattle to $15 an hour. A counter-proposal by Mayor Ed Murray’s hand-picked committee, unveiled last week, would phase-in $15 over a 4 to 7 year period, with no cost-of-living increases until the first phase-ins are complete. Spear said the fact that the mayor had to present even a watered-down version of $15 an hour proves that “movements really get things done and change the conversation.” The Socialist Alternative Party’s Kshama Sawant won a Seattle city council seat, last year, on a $15 platform, igniting a groundswell of support for the wage hike. Spears said 15 Now will go ahead with a drive to collect 50,000 signatures to put its own, much stronger proposal on the ballot.

Benton Harbor Activist Under House Arrest

Back in 2008, Rev. Edward Pinkney, a longtime community leader in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, became the first person in living memory to be imprisoned for quoting the Bible – in this case, on contempt charges in an elections law trial. Last week, 35 to 40 armed sheriff’s deputies came to arrest Rev. Pinkney on charges related to a recall petition against the city’s mayor, an ally of the giant Whirlpool Corporation. “They were losing 5 to 1, and they knew they had to do something to stop this [recall] election,” said Pinkney, who is confined to his home, forced to wear a GPS finder, and barred from working on his computer. The recall election has been called off until after adjudication of Pinkney’s case. Activists plan to protest at the Whirlpool-sponsored senior PGA tournament, in Benton Harbor, later this month. “We’re gonna have more people there, now, than ever before,” said Pinkney.

Supreme Court Justices “Burning the House Down”

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even consider an appeal of Hedges v. Obama, the suit against preventive detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial. “It’s not simply that the court is turning a blind eye to constitutional rights,” said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. “It’s also the case that the court is hamstringing itself and diminishing judicial independence and inhibiting the extent to which future courts will be able to rein in similar abuses.” By failing to curb executive and legislative branch assaults on constitutional rights, “these judges are, basically, burning the house down,” said Buttar.

Mumia, Street: Institutional Racism is the Deeper Cut

Billionaire Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was near-universally denounced for private, racist remarks, yet institutional racism remains as deep as ever, sanctioned by majorities of Americans. “It’s interesting that you have this incident, and the shaming of Sterling, just a week after the Supreme Court hands down another absolutely terrible decision on affirmative action,” said historian and activist Paul Street. “These dramas become kinds of rituals of white self-congratulation that feed the narrative that we’re in a post-racial society, and tend to render the deeper institutional societal racism more invisible than it already was,” said Street.

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, made the same point in a commentary for Prison Radio: “Which story will affect the greatest number of Black lives – the anguished insecurities of a rich old man trying to exert control over his beautiful young lover, or the tortured reasoning of a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, essentially closing the doors of college to millions? Which are more relevant? Which are more racist?

Stop-and-Frisk Still in Effect in NYC

New York City cops continue to racially profile and confront young Black and brown men despite the fact that Bill de Blasio has replaced Michael Bloomberg at City Hall. De Blasio brought back former police commissioner Bill Bratton, an architect of stop-and-frisk. “The political incentives changed from Bloomberg to de Blasio, but the actual effect on people’s lives did not,” said Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton. Now that stop-and-frisk is officially frowned upon, “police simply won’t write down every interaction and stop anymore.” People are getting “a false sense of reform.”

Cornel West to Support Dr. Anthony Monteiro at Temple University

Dr. Cornel West and others will join a student-community coalition demonstration on Thursday, May 8, to demand that Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the adjunct African American Studies professor whose contract was terminated earlier this year with the assent of department chairman Dr. Molefi Asante. Students last week staged a sit-in at the Philadelphia campus's administrative offices, and later met with the university provost and the dean of liberal arts. “They basically told us it was Dr. Asante’s decision not to bring back Dr. Monteiro,” said student activist Paul Conge, a political science major who has studied under Monteiro. Asante “wanted to move to an African cultural nationalist type of department.” Asante recently told a radio audience that Dr. Monteiro’s student supporters were all “white communists” – a charge that is both untrue and smacks of “McCarthyism,” said Conge. Asante’s version of “Afro-centricity allows him to be a proponent of capitalism – Black capitalism, Black-on-Black exploitation. He really does not care about economic exploitation.”

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Donald Sterling Thinks He Owns Basketball Players, But He Really DOES Own the NAACP

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

Billionaire racists will be billionaire racists. Not much we can do about that. But the fact that our so-called civil rights organizations depend on the deep pockets of Wal-Mart, Comcast, and the David Sterlings of this world even though they pretend to represent the interests of ordinary black people is not something we have to live with.

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USA: Bad Jobs Country

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Researchers confirm what desperate workers have sensed: most of the good jobs lost in the Great Recession have been replaced with bad jobs. That’ fine with Wall Street, since “capital’s global plan is to reduce all workers to a state of absolute insecurity, so that they will accept those bad jobs without complaint.”

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Freedom Rider: The Lessons of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Two arch racists were are on national display this week, reminding folks that a post-racial America is a myth. Cliven Bundy did a further service by showing federal reluctance to confront White Terror, while Donald Sterling’s case outed the Los Angeles NAACP as a hangout for worthless Black misleaders.

Corporate Oligarchy or People’s Democracy: Countering the Elite Agenda

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

Even the tepid and formulaic kind of democracy previously permitted in the United States is too constraining for the Lords of Capital. “In its arrogance, the oligarchy is exposing the class character of the state and providing left forces a potent weapon for building oppositional consciousness.” For the Left, “it is absolutely necessary to maintain whatever democratic space still exists while struggling to expand those spaces and rights.“

 

Obama’s “No Tolerance” for Freedom of Speech Policy (or Lament for Sunshine Week)

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

President Obama runs the most secrecy-obsessed administration in U.S. history. “The president talks the talk, whistleblowers walk the plank—while the authors, administrators and implementers of torture and felonious activities walk—under the protection of absolute immunity.”

The Sterling Shuffle: Unpacking White Jewish Racism

by Sikivu Hutchinson

For the moment, a Jewish sports franchise owner is the most prominent racist in the United States. Donald Sterling’s conduct serves are a reminder that “the illusion of lockstep black-Jewish solidarity on liberal political coalition-building has long masked the reality of white Jewish privilege and investment in white supremacy.”

The Reaction to Donald Sterling, Double Standards in the Midst of a Racial Hierarchy

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

It seems obvious that the NAACP is willing to give a pass to the vilest bigots in return for a monetary contribution. “Prior to Sterling’s recent comments coming to light, he was scheduled to receive his second NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder enjoys similar impunity.

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