Hiding in Plain Sight: The History of the War on Drugs

by Paul Bermanzohn

    The War on Drugs was a direct response to the African American uprisings of the 1960s. Three hundred cities rose in Black rebellion. A a fervor for change spread across the land. Richard Nixon “emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.” The mass Black incarceration regime was set in motion.

    Non-Profits and the Pacification of the Black Lives Matter Movement

    by Brendan McQuade

    It takes many actors to pacify a rebellion. Police repression is only one tool, and often counterproductive. In Chicago, the ACLU hijacked local legislation that would have enhanced the Black community’s power over the police, in favor of an agreement that papers over the contradictions between the cops and the people.

    Black Children’s Dreams Crushed on a Field of Nightmares

    by Mark P. Fancher

    Organized Little League baseball last year stripped Chicago’s champion Jackie Robinson West team of their World Series title. The injustice blends their anguished voices “with those of today’s young black scholars who are unfairly suspended or expelled and then shoved through a school-to-prison pipeline.” Dreams can be great motivators, but “at a certain point a dream can become dangerous self-delusion.”

    Color Blind or Just Blind

    by Dr. T.P. Wilkinson

    Liberals, the Phony Left, and the supine Black Misleadership Class spread the false gospel that, as bad as things are, they are far better than they used to be. But what could be uglier than summary police murder of Black people, mass Black incarceration, or the dispossession of thousands of Blacks from their homes? The arc of in-justice is also long. “By the time Martin Luther King had finally realized that Malcolm X was right, he too was dead.”

    Black Agenda Radio for Week of August 24, 2015

    Black U.S. Movers and Shakers in Solidarity with Palestine

    One thousand Black American activists, artists and academics have signed a petition backing the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Israeli apartheid regime. In addition to garnering support from scholars and artists, “it’s a really important moment to have Blacks activists that represent movements from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s signing on with people who are just cutting their teeth” in social justice politics, said petition coordinator Kristian Davis Bailey. The petition makes the connection between the conditions of life for Blacks in the U.S. and Palestinians under Israeli rule. “Black people definitely have the experience of suffering under a regime of legal violence apartheid, state violence in terms of mass incarceration and police brutality, and just the everyday insidiousness of living in a society that views their very existence as threatening or criminal,” said Bailey.

    St. Louis Police Create “War Zone” in Black Community

    Police last week used tear gas and riot equipment to suppress protests against the killing of teenager Mansur Bey, whom cops claimed pulled a gun on officers. Nine demonstrators were arrested. The cops “doubled down” on their old tactics and “deployed aggressive, militarized crowd control responses that brutalized peaceful protesters and transformed portions of our community into war zone,” said Montague Simmons, of the Organization of Black Struggle. “This is the stuff of a police state. It demands large scale structural action to transform – not reform – our society,” he told a press conference. St. Louis County also reopened misdemeanor cases against about 1,000 demonstrators, bystanders and journalists arrested during a year of protests since police killed Michael Brown.

    Dhoruba Bin Wahad Assaulted by “New” Black Panther Party Members

    Former Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a co-founder of the Black Liberation Army who spent 19 years as a political prisoner, was attacked and seriously injured in an Atlanta hotel, earlier this month, under the orders of New Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz. Among the five men accompanying Wahad was Kalonji Jama Changa, of the Free the People Movement. “We have our disagreements” with the ‘New’ Black Panthers, said Changa, explaining the men’s decision to go to the hotel. “We recognize their contradictions, but our intention was definitely not to cause harm to them, and certainly not to kill them based on politics.” Dhoruba Bin Wahad also attended the press conference, but could not speak because his jaw was wired shut. A commemoration of the original Black Panther Party is set for October, in Atlanta.

    Education of Black Students is Under Attack

    Marilyn Zuniga, the young teacher that was fired this year by the Orange, New Jersey, school board after her third grade students sent get-well letters to political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, plans to speak on campuses “about, not only my case, but the broader aspects of our educational system and how it’s affecting Black and brown students – everything from the school-to-prison pipeline to how teachers are being marginalized for teaching history to the children. Black schools are under attack, education of Black students is under attack.” Asked if she has been black-listed from employment, Zuniga replied that lot’s of principals in New Jersey have said they would like to hire someone like her. However, most urban districts are controlled by the state, “and so, when it comes to hiring practices, the districts are extremely limited in what they can do and who they can employ.”

    Rally to Reinstate African American Studies Professor

    Supporters of Dr. Anthony Monteiro rallied to demand that Philadelphia’s Temple University rehire the Duboisian scholar and social activist. Monteiro was fired last year by African American Studies chairman Molefi Asante, who then dubbed it the Department of Africology. “Wearing a dashiki and taking on an African name doesn’t make you a freedom fighter,” said Monteiro. He recalled being told by Temple’s dean of liberal arts that it was not important to study the works of W.E.B. Dubois. “If you don’t need Dubois,” Monteiro asked the crowd, “who do you need? If you don’t need James Baldwin, who do you need? If you don’t need Toni Morrison, if you don’t need Cornel West, who do you need?” The Black radical tradition, said Monteiro, expresses the dominant historical worldview among African Americans.


    #BlackLivesMatter Performs a Self-Humiliation at Hillary Clinton’s Hands

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Hillary Clinton found it easy to reduce a #BlackLivesMatter delegation to “school children at an elementary civics class,” when they met with her last week. Clinton lectured the activists on the need to make demands on politicians, when all they wanted to do was talk about “what in your heart has changed that’s gonna change the direction of this country?” The #BLM set out on a path that leads inevitably to cooptation, and quickly arrived at public humiliation.

    Black College Households Lost Half Their Wealth Despite Degrees

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Black households headed by college graduates have been steadily losing ground to their white collegiate peers over the past two decades. Indeed, Black college families lost a much higher proportion of their net worth during this period than did Black families whose heads did not graduate from college – who didn’t have much to lose.


    Freedom Rider: Katrina in the White Imagination

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan could not contain his gratitude to Hurricane Katrina, which killed or permanently displaced much of New Orleans’ Black residents. Other whites “wondered why they could not have been fortunate enough to have a black population swept out of town in a matter of days.” Katrina was welcomed by millions of whites as an opportunity for economic and ethnic “renewal” – a rationale that would justify genocide.

    Luci Murphy: Cultural Warrior for the Movement

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

    Luci Murphy is a “cultural warrior” from Washington DC whose insights are informed by the movements and folkways of people across the globe. “Black people are constantly creating attractive new musical forms, then white people learn them and stop hiring Black people to play the same music, so the Black people go on to develop something else that white people cannot play.”

    Haiti: An Occupation in Blackface

    by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Jemima Pierre

    The U.S. invaded and occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, and again occupied the country in 2004 after overthrowing the democratically elected government. The United Nations then partnered with the aggression, installing MINUSTAH, a largely Black and brown military force that brought a cholera epidemic, looting of mineral resources, rape, assassinations and a criminally corrupt puppet regime.

    Why Bernie Sanders is No Great White Hope for Black America

    by Paul Street

    It should not be surprising that Blacks are uninspired by Bernie Sanders. He has been “remarkably slow to put racial justice anywhere near the center of his campaign,” or to articulate “the very specific racial oppression experienced by Black Americans.” Like many other “liberals,” the Vermont senator is deeply implicated in mass Black incarceration, imperial foreign policy, and a “trickle-down” approach to Black economic misery.

    Black Lives Matter as Much as Syrian Lives Do: The Geopolitical Dimension of White Supremacy and the State

    by Danny Haiphong

    U.S. foreign and domestic policy both serve the same corporate master, whose primary pursuit is profits. “The same trillion dollar military apparatus that Washington utilizes against Syria also militarizes the police to occupy the streets of Ferguson, Baltimore, and Black cities all over the US.”

    Why is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution

    by Jackie Miller

    The Whirlpool Corporation, with the collaboration of local government, is engaged in ethnic cleansing and massive land piracy in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan. “We call it fascism,” writes community leader Rev. Edward Pinkney, now serving 2 ½ to 10 years in prison for resisting the racist corporate onslaught. “It is part of the process underway across America in various forms.”

    America, Race and the Economics of the Precipice

    by ROB URIE

    In neoliberal America, race, class and the naked greed of ruling elites intent on reducing ever-increasing numbers to permanent debt and penury have brought us to the brink of ruin...

    Black Agenda Radio for Week of August 17, 2015

    Black People Should ‘Police’ Themselves

    The Milwaukee chapter of BND, the Black National Defenders, hold rallies every Saturday and knock on doors in neighborhoods to engage young people in political struggle, rather than fighting among themselves. “We’ve created a hot-line that people can call” to get the BND to intercede in disputes, said organizer Amerikus Luvene. The BND has chapters in Detroit and Baltimore, and is a member of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which holds its national conference August 22 and 23, in Philadelphia, under the theme, “Black Power Matters: Black Community Control of the Police.” Ultimately, said Luvene, “we’d like to replace the police” in our communities.

    Money CAN Change a Movement

    “We’ve watched how easily movements can be co-opted, can be bought,” said Phillip Agnew, of the Dream Defenders, the youthful activist group that came together during the outrage over Trayvon Martin’s death, in Sanford, Florida, in 2012. “Something that began very organically, very raw and unaffiliated, unbought and unbossed, can become just the opposite in a short matter of time.” In the year since Michael Brown was shot down by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, the Dream Defenders have witnessed how “different elements have been able to flourish, that have been smart and strategic,” said Agnew, while others have “been elevated to support a reactionary, separatist view, a sectarian view of liberation for poor people and Black people in this country.”

    The Change is in US

    “We seen little change in terms of public policy” over the past year, said Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, at a demonstration over the arrest of Millennial Activists United leaders, in Ferguson, Missouri, last week. “Everything we’ve seen has been cosmetic. But, we’ve changed,” said Sekou, who was also arrested in protests commemorating the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. “We’re going to support our young people and defend them at all costs.”

    Father Mike Kinman, dean of the Christ Church Cathedral, in St. Louis, provided a haven for protesters who were later arrested fro speaking out against police violence. “This is criminalization of the First Amendment, and it is being done only to our Black and brown brothers and sisters,” said Kinman.

    Eyes on Justice

    Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s best known public activist-intellectual, was among those arrested in Ferguson, where he spoke at a church rally. “The challenge of every generation is whether you are willing to channel your righteous anger and your moral outrage into love of justice or hatred and vengeance,” he told the crowd. President Obama took seven years “before he could find his voice to go to a prison,” said West. “Black faces in high places don’t always translate into justice for poor people.”

    Washington Still Has Designs on Cuba

    After more than half a century, the U.S. embassy in Havana formally reopened, last week. But, that doesn’t mean U.S. subversion against Cuba will end any time soon, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of many books, including Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. Horne noted that the U.S. became even more aggressive against Haiti after Washington finally recognized the Black republic, 58 years after the triumph of the Haitian revolution. “At best, you can expect Washington to simply change its strategy to destabilize the Cuban revolution,” said Horne.

    Haiti Votes – Four Years Late

    For the first time in four years, Haiti held elections for its national legislature, earlier this month. “The election had many serious problems,” especially the lack of voting sites in poor neighborhoods, said Brian Concannon, of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. This was also the first time since the U.S.-backed coup and occupation of 2004 that the Lavalas party, which used to command huge majorities at the polls, has been allowed to field candidates. The ballot counting has been slow, but Concannon expects “that Lavalas is probably the most popular party,” despite the damage done by 11 years of repression.


    #BlackLivesMatter and the Democrats: How Disruption Can Lead to Collaboration

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    The #Black Lives Matter organization may believe that it is confronting, rather than collaborating with, the Democratic Party, by disrupting candidates’ speeches. However, the tactic inevitably leads to “either a direct or indirect, implicit endorsement of the more responsive candidate(s).” In the absence of radical #BLM demands, “all that is left are the petty reform promises that can be squeezed out of Democrats.” That's not movement politics.

    How To Hold Prominent Movement Figures Accountable – With A Private Phone Call or a Public Discussion?

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    I've been asked why I didn't pick up the phone to talk personally to #BlackLivesMatter leaders before critiquing their published statements. Last year I was asked the same about Jesse Jackson, and years before I was asked repeatedly why I didn't contact President Obama and find out what he really meant before publicly examining his public statements. The question is always the same, and so is the answer.

    Freedom Rider: Steven Salaita, Palestine and Free Speech

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Zionist power engenders “fear, silence and acquiescence” in every sphere of U.S. political life, making a mockery of freedom of speech and hallowed notions of professional ethics. Just ask Steven Salaita, a renowned Palestinian academic who discovered that, in U.S. academia, anti-Zionists have no rights that universities are bound to respect.


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