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Kidnapped Girls Become Tools of U.S. Imperial Policy in Africa

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The “humanitarian” U.S. military occupation of Africa has been very successful, thus far. “The Chibok abductions have served the same U.S. foreign policy purposes as Joseph Kony sightings in central Africa.” Imagine: the superpower that financed the genocide of six million in Congo, claims to be a defender of teenage girls and human rights on the continent. If you believe that, then you are probably a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Freedom Rider: America Brings Hell to Ukraine

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Washington’s pell-mell rush to the brink of war against the giants of Eurasia is awesome in its recklessness. “The feverish pace of the Asia pivot meant to encircle China is matched only by the plan to dispatch Russia economically – and ultimately, militarily.”

Call the FCC – If Obama's FCC Doesn't Restore Network Neutrality, Black Agenda Report Will Die

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

Although Obama promised to protect internet access for everyone, rule changes proposed by his FCC chief will make the internet a toll road. Failure to restore the internet's common carrier status will let greedy corporations pretending be something they'll call “the market” to restrict access to any content that isn't theirs or doesn't pay to be seen. But it's not a done deal yet. There's still time to make your voice heard...

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Molefi Asante: Portrait of a Redbaiting Bootlicking Rat

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

As often as not, the guy in the most elaborate dashiki is the one working for The Man. At Temple University, Dr. Molefi Asante is “the narrow cultural nationalist who poses as the ultimate Race-man, but ultimately winds up as chief bootlicker, servant and agent of white corporate power.”

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From Benghazi to Boko Haram: Why I support the Benghazi Inquiry

by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

You can’t understand the threat posed to Nigeria by Boko Haram, or the ghastly destruction of Syria over the past three years, outside the context of “the vicious NATO obliteration of the state of Libya.” One huge crime begets many consequences, including the death of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. The Left should be outraged at Obama policies – in North Africa, in Syria, and in backing neo-fascists in Ukraine.

Lessons from James Boggs: Capitalist Automation in the 21st Century

by Danny Haiphong

Automation has conveyed great advantages to capital over labor, worldwide. Black American revolutionary worker James Boggs “asserted that the only effective counter offensive to automation’s assault on labor would be for workers to make ‘politics’ instead of ‘things’” – that is, to create a more humane social system.

The United States: Land of Blissful Ignorance and Blatant Hypocrisy

by Solomon Comissiong

American popular geopolitical ignorance sometimes seems infinite. Most of the world is fully aware that the U.S. government financed the Ukrainian coup “that helped bring to power a wave of neo-Nazis.” Yet, most Americans think that Russia is playing the Hitler role, and Washington is the good guys.

My Wise Country Cousin on Judas comin’ to Cali…

by BAR Poet-in-Residence Raymond Nat Turner

Molefi Asante’s brand of “Afrocentricity” means McCarthyism and race and class betrayal.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/12/14

Special Edition: The Jackson Rising Conference

This week, Black Agenda Radio focuses entirely on the recent “Jackson Rising” conference on cooperative economies, organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Organizers had hoped the event would be hosted by Chokwe Lumumba, the revolutionary Black nationalist and MXGM co-founder who was elected mayor of mostly Black Jackson, Mississippi, last June. However, Lumumba died suddenly this past February, and his son Chokwe Antar Lumumba was defeated in a special election to fill his father’s seat, in April. Despite the loss, the Jackson Rising conference proceeded as scheduled, attracting hundreds of activists from the region and around the country. BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon was on hand for all three days of the conference.

Allies and Enemies

Ed Whitfield, of the Fund for Democratic Communities, said the people need a vision. “It’s a vision of where we’re able to use our labor to provide enough for our loved ones and ourselves, as well as the very young, the old, the infirm, and those people who are caretakers of the community, producing love and caring for other people.”

Mississippi law “does not allow for the incorporation of cooperatives in any other sector within the state except agriculture, Melba Smith informed a popular workshop. The restrictions pose a hardship on low-income people, who must go out of state to form cooperatives and then apply for a license to operate in Mississippi, said Smith, of the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi.

State Sen. Jim Evans, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, told delegates “You have allies all over the world” – but plenty of adversaries in Mississippi. “These folks ain’t gonna change nothing unless we organize and build a majority, said Evans, who works closely with organized labor. “They don’t know what’s right, and neither do they care.”

A Question of Self-Determination

Iya Falola, a local Jackson MXGM activist, said people need to put the concept of solidarity at the center of economic thought. “The real model of economic uplift is taking the ‘I’ out of the concept,” she said. “Until we come together collectively, and are all able to benefit from our efforts, there is no solidarity in economy. It’s still capitalistic.”

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives has been working with small farmers for almost 50 years, and was one of the main participants in the Jackson Rising conference. “For African Americans, from a cultural and historical standpoint, cooperatives offer a way for people to embrace values of working together with others to enhance the total community,” said the Federation’s John Zippert.

Salima Muhammad represented Praxis, which also provide support for the conference. She believes people want to be self-determining in their economic activities. “If we can own it, then we can determine how it’s used. I think that’s where people are directing their energy.”

Michael Peck spoke for the Spain-based Mondragon Corporation, the world’s best-known cooperative, with 80,000 worker-owners and plants in 39 countries. A Mondragon venture in Argentina went bust, causing suffering among the local workers. “We went into that region as a financial investor, but we didn’t take our values with us,” said Peck. After a long, democratic review of the episode, “we decided that we would never again make an international investment without taking our values with us.”

Solidarity Economy: Essential to Transformation

There is nothing capitalistic about MXGM’s cooperative vision, said Adofo Minka. “Cooperation Jackson” emphasizes “placing the means of production in the hands of the people, and focusing more on creating livable wages and benefits for the people who work in these businesses, as opposed to one owner who is only interested in developing his own pockets.”

Bruce Dixon engaged MXGM’s Mikea Kambui, Akil Bakari and Von Anderson in a wide-ranging discussion of cooperative possibilities. One idea is to form an entertainment cooperative that Jacksonians could buy into for, say, $5 a month. “Over three months, we could come to the city with a public-private partnership to start a movie theater, here, or two theaters,” said the activists. Currently, not a single movie is located in Jackson, which had 11 theaters in the 1980s.

Gus Newport, the former mayor of Berkeley, California and close friend of Malcolm X, has long experience in cooperative ventures. “The cooperative model teaches us how to create what Martin Luther King called ‘The Beloved Community’ – how to work together, to learn to have concern for your fellow human being.”

The conference was “a foundational moment,” said Rose Brewer, a Minneapolis activist with the U.S. Social Forum and the Black Left Unity Network. “To reignite that communal, as well as cooperative, spirit is absolutely essential to any social transformation,” she said.

Sage Crump, of Artists 4 Change, said: “What moved me most was this idea of the solidarity economy, and how do we shift the way we think about our exchange of goods and services, from an individual model of give-and-get to What is the benefit for all people?” Crump is from New Orleans.

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Jail the Bankers? Obama Has Been Their Staunchest Defender

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

In the second half of his second term, Obama and his crew seek to rewrite the history of his administration. Attorney General Eric Holder now declares that no bank is too big to jail. But the reality is, Wall Street’s “impunity is infinite. Holder and Obama work for them.”

Jackson Rising: Black Millionaires Won't Lift Us Up, But Cooperation & the Solidarity Economy Might

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“320 activists from all over the country, including 80 or more from Jackson and surrounding parts of Mississippi converged on the campus of Jackson State University for Jackson Rising. ”

Has raising up more black millionaires been a successful economic development strategy for our communities?  Evidently not. What's the alternative to gentrification, to stadiums, to ruthless exploitation? It's the solidarity economy. It's cooperation. It's democratically owned, worker-run cooperatives for child care, retail, auto repair, factories, health care, you name it. It's already rising in Jackson Mississippi, and soon, near you.

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.”

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