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Obama wars

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/14/14

Haitians Need National Sovereignty Most of All

Framing Haiti as a charity case is insulting and wrong, said Pierre Labossiere, co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee. “The kind of support we need is to denounce the repression that has been imposed on the people of Haiti” since the U.S.-backed coup of 2004. Haiti doesn’t need handouts, said Labossiere; it needs solidarity in the struggle to resist the foreign “conspiracy to rob the country of its resources.”

Black Folk in Dark Times

Black academics and activists gathered at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, for a “Workshop on Sovereignty, Citizenship and Freedom.” Organized by Dr. Jemima Pierre, an anthropologist, and historian Dr. Peter Hudson, the event was titled “Black Folk in Dark Times.” Author and community organizer Kevin Alexander Gray, from Columbia, South Carolina, looks forward to Barack Obama’s exit from the White House, in two years. Under the First Black President, “we bought into this idea of endless war, and we bought into the idea of star chambers where people are denied due process,” said Gray, author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Dr. Christina Sharpe, a professor of English at Tufts University, spoke of “ways of seeing and imagining responses to terror in the varied and various ways that our Black lives are lived under occupation.” She is author of Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects.

Dr. Maboula Soumahoro, an English professor born in France to Ivory Coast parents, told the gathering that “Afropea, Black Europe, is in the making.” “In my view,” she said, “Arabs and Muslims, sub-Saharan Africans, Afro-descended people born in France, people from the Caribbean…Asians of all kinds, Roma communities and all people of color are all Black” in France. Soumahoro is editor of the acclaimed essay collection, Constructing Black France: A Transatlantic Dialogue.

Mumia: A Half-Century of Civil Wrongs

“For the Black bourgeoisie,” the 50 years since passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “has been a rush of opportunity and entre into doors once closed to them,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. However, “for the Black poor and working class,” mass incarceration has made “civil rights as ancient and distant as Reconstruction.”

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Freedom Rider: America vs. the World

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

President Obama has placed whole nations on his Kill List. Syria and Venezuela are to join Libya and Iraq as states that have been made to fail, while Ukraine is snatched into the NATO-EU orbit. “The neo-conservative project for a new American century has reached full fruition under a Democratic president, who now has many notches on his gun.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 2/5/14

 

Resist Obama and His Black Corporate Brethren

President Obama’s “most unmemorable” State of the Union address shows “he represents corporate America and empire,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina Black activist and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics. “We’ve got to challenge those folks who are operating for the interests of the corporations and not in the interests of the people, folks like [New Jersey Senator] Cory Booker, like [Atlanta Mayor] Kasim Reed – and like Barack Obama.”

President Stuck in Neoliberal Paradigm

“If you look at Obama’s speech, he is still stuck in a neoliberal economic paradigm that has been quite destructive for ordinary Americans,” said Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet and author of the article, “State of the Union: Obama’s Underwhelming Plan to Tackle Inequality.” Denizens of Wall Street are treated as “too big to jail,” said Parramore. “Seeing bankers walk off Scot-free when they’ve done things a thousand times worse than what most people sitting in America’s prisons have done, is damaging to the spirit of the country.”

Democratic Brand Sloganizing

“Democrats only take up the cause of the minimum wage when Republicans are in office, to reinforce their fake ‘brand’ as champions of the oppressed,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon. “When Democratic are in power, their attention drifts elsewhere,” said Dixon, noting that Obama did next to nothing to boost the minimum wage or pass union-favored “card check” legislation when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, during his first two years in office.

Mumia Astonished at Global Wealth Disparities

The nation’s best-known political prisoner seemed aghast at news that 85 people possess wealth equal to the assets of 3.5 billion people – half the world’s population. “Rome, infamous for its rich and corrupt senate, never saw such inequality as this,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a recent Prison Radio commentary. “Marx, for all of his acumen, never saw that coming.”

Only the Poor Drink the Water

West Virginia officials claim it’s now safe for the Charleston area’s 300,000 people to drink the local water, following a huge chemical spill early last month. But Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, said only folks with no other options are drinking the water. “The people in the know, the legislators, the lawyers, the doctors in Charleston, when you press them: Are you drinking the water, are you letting your family drink the water? – they say no.”

Diversity Doesn’t Come Naturally in U.S.

Robert Greenfield IV, a Black Student Union leader at the University of Michigan, said the administration is deliberately marginalizing students of color. Diversity is “something that doesn’t naturally occur in the United States,” said Greenfield. “Unfortunately, you do have to have an artificial hand to make sure that people from the marginalized societies have an equal opportunity with their white counterparts.”

Giving Clarence Thomas a Pass

Students of history should check out the new documentary Anita, the story of Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas at the 1991 Senate hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Dr. Donald Smith, professor emeritus of education at New York City’s Baruch College. “Unfortunately, many people did not support Anita Hill,” said Dr. Smith. “It’s still difficult to understand, to this day, why Clarence Thomas would have been supported by so many Black people, including Maya Angelou. A lot of Black people gave him a pass.”

27 Years in Prison Based on “Vision in a Dream” and Lost Evidence

Simple justice demands that Clarence Moses El, who has spent the last 27 years in a Colorado prison on a rape and assault conviction, deserves a new trial, said Larry Hale, of the People’s Power Assemblies. Denver police “lost” DNA evidence that might have acquitted Moses El, but a U.S. Supreme Court precedent holds that “destruction of evidence, in and of itself, does not constitute bad faith” on the part of law enforcement, said Hale. The only witness against Moses El, the victim, said she identified him after a vision in a dream, and another inmate has confessed to the crime. The People’s Power Assemblies are circulating a petition on Moses El’s behalf.

Black Bodies Keep Surfacing in Lake Michigan

“In the last four years we’ve had four Black bodies come floating up in Lake Michigan, and every time it ends up with” officials finding no evidence of “foul play,” said community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney, of mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan. Rev. Pinkney strongly suspects police involvement in the killings, and has called for mass demonstrations on March 1.

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On the Night Negroz lost their minds…

by BAR poet-in-residence Raymond Nat Turner

Since that November

Night in ’08, Negroz

Ain’t been straight…

The Tragicomedy of Black Politics in the Age of Obama

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

You know Black folks are in trouble when a Saturday Night Live skit provides more insight into African American politics than all the Black so-called political “analysts” at MSNBC. “Most African Americans are wholly unconcerned about Obama’s actual legislative and executive agenda.” The people are left defenseless, for the sake of an icon in the White House.

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Common again…

by Raymond Nat Turner

Making perpetual war,

Disposable killing machines

From Daley Plaza to Syria: Obama’s Forgotten, Fading Imperial Promise

by Paul Street

Purported progressives who claim to be shocked and appalled at President Obama’s warmongering have been willfully ignorant for a very long time. “Its’ a shame folks in leading ‘progressive’ circles didn’t look more seriously into the militantly imperial content of Obama’s speeches and publications during and before his initial presidential campaign.”

The World Needs Peace – But Not a Pax Americana

by Cynthia McKinney

“The war machine of the United States, Israel, and NATO will continue to roll until we stop it.  The Bolivarian Alliance countries of Latin America are showing us the way – that we can achieve democracy and self-determination and liberation with ballots instead of bullets.”

Black America More Pro-War Than Ever

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

During President Obama’s run-up to war with Syria, “African Americans were, for the first time in polling history, the most bellicose major ethnicity in the United States.” How could such a political role-reversal come to pass? “The progressive, peace-seeking African American worldview is out of sync with the deep imperative to support the First Black President.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/18/13

Obama Still Looking for War Excuse

The Obama administration is “thrashing everywhere to find a new excuse to rev up another war threat,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. The president’s current willingness to negotiate with the Russians over Syria “is a tactical retreat that gives the anti-war movement more time to organize.”

American Exceptionalism=White Supremacy

The American “exceptionalism” that President Obama cited in his Syria speech “is rooted in a notion of unacknowledged white supremacy,” said Ajamu Baraka, associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. For 500 years, European colonists have claimed the privilege “to determine who has the right to sovereignty, who has the right to rule, who should have the authority in certain countries,” said Baraka. “It’s nothing more than the dressed up re-articulation of the White Man’s Burden.”

Nuclear-Chemical Israel

Syria admitted possession of chemical weapons at least a year ago, according to Sam Husseini, of the Institute for Public Accuracy, citing a 2012 article from American Interest magazine. “Everything that I’ve been able to find indicates that Israel continues to build up its chemical weapons capacity,” said Husseini. “What is ironic,” however, “is that it is Israel that does not acknowledge its possession of nuclear weapons.”

When U.S. Presidents Want War, They Get War

“I can’t think of a time when a president said, ‘I want to begin bombing another country,’ and has not gotten to do it,” said Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.Org. “By hook or crook, it gets done.” However, this time around, “the militaristic center could not hold,” forcing President Obama into negotiations with the Russians. Actually, the Russians and Syrians did Obama a favor. “He needed a climb-down, somehow,” said Solomon.

Beware Obama’s Bay of Pigs Moment

“One of the frightening aspects” of the crisis over Syria, said historian and activist Paul Street, “is that Obama has taken such a black eye, here, he’s been so humiliated, that it has upped the ante of his need to escalate.” Street warns that this could be Obama’s “Bay of Pigs moment,” as when President John Kennedy pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962 after the humiliating defeat of a CIA invasion of Cuba, the year before. “All of humanity hopes this guy can be restrained,” said Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power.

Affirmative Action Again Before High Court

On October 15, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Michigan’s defense of Proposition 2, which bans affirmative action. “If we lose this case,” said Shanta Driver, the lead attorney for BAMN, By Any Means Necessary, “a white majority will have been able to end affirmative action programs in our state, permanently. That means the beginning of an era of the new Jim Crow.”

Predatory Banks Prey on Public Sector

Activists will gather in Detroit, October 5 and 6, for an International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity. “We’re asking for a complete cancellation of the debt to the banks, which is strangling the schools, the cities and the states,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, media outreach coordinator for the conference and editor of the Pan-African News Wire. “Detroit was locked into predatory lending at the municipal financing level,” he said. “That’s why they’re claiming that Detroit owes $22 billion to these financial institutions.”

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Crack Cocaine Flick

by Raymond Nat Turner

Drone Man’s

Set to do drive-bys,

With the world divided

Between “NO” and “HELL NO!”

You’ve got a friend…

by Raymond Nat Turner

Drone Man “tagged” you in a note

He wants you to get out the vote

Like tubes down a “detainee” throat

The Best Americans: Black Americans

by Reverend Reynard N. Blake, Jr.

MLK wouldn’t be smiling at him

He’d be crying

Present-day marches

In DC he would not attend

If he had to share a dais with Obama

He would defy the views of Obama

He’d pray for him

Call him a stone-cold killer

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 9/04/13

UNAC: Stop Obama’s Syria War

“There’s no basis for it, whatsoever: it’s against international law, it’s against UN conventions, it’s illegal, immoral and has to be stopped,” said Marilyn Levin, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, which has organized demonstrations against President Obama’s planned attack on Syria. “What they’re trying to do is regime change, to get a government that is compliant with the United States.”

POP Rallies Against “Re-Run” of Iraq Attack

The People’s Organization for Progress rallied against Obama’s war plans, in Newark, New Jersey. “Our opposition is in line with the Black community, which I am certain would oppose another war,” said POP chairman Larry Hamm. “But, it’s also important to note that a majority of the people in the country oppose it. This whole situation seems to be a re-run of the prelude to the war in Iraq.”

March on Washington Commemoration an “Obscenity”

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington “was a government-corporate affair, sponsored by Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola and everybody that could give Al Sharpton and the people that were organizing that march a check,” said veteran South Carolina activist and writer Kevin Alexander Gray. “It was a farce, it was an obscenity. The people were props. There was no demand on the administration,” said Gray. “Sharpton is the administration’s yard dog.”

Denied Mic, Dream Defender Says Youth are “Ready” to Challenge System

Philip Agnew, a leader of the Dream Defenders occupying Florida’s State Capital, circulated the speech he would have given to the March on Washington crowd if he and other young people had not been cut from the speakers list: “I’d tell you that millions of young people and queer people and poor people and people of color are asking, What do we do with all this anger, this fear, this disappointment? For 50 years we’ve wandered and wondered: Where are the youth? … Peace over profit, revolution over revenue, and all peace and power to the people! Just watch – we’re ready.”

Fast Food Workers Press for Living Wage

Fast food workers held job actions at 1,000 locations in 60 cities last week, demanding a $15 an hour living wage and union representation. “We think that the real people mooching off the system are the corporations,” said Kyle Kordsmeier, an organizer with the Interfaith Workers Network, in Memphis. “If we paid people a living wage, it would save us healthcare costs, welfare, food stamps. Ultimately, what we’re fight for is for them to pick up that tab. They’re the ones who are stealing our money.”

White Power, Black Pain in New Orleans

According to a report by Loyola University law professor Bill Quigley on the state of New Orleans, the city “is whiter than it was when Katrina hit, there’s more renters; there are jobs, but they’ve moved out to the suburbs,” and Teach for America instructors “have taken the jobs of primarily African American teachers whose union was broken and replaced by charter schools.” New Orleans’ city hall, city council and school board are all controlled by whites, although Blacks comprise a “technical” majority of the population, said Quigley, whose report is titled “Katrina Pain Index: New Orleans Eight Years Later.”

Will Banks be Bailed-Out, or Depositors Bailed-in?

British and American banking officials are drawing up plans to treat large depositors in U.S. banks as “investors” whose funds might be seized – “bailed-in” – in a financial crisis. Dodd-Frank legislation prohibits bailouts of banks with taxpayer money. However, Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood says: “It stretches credulity to think that this government would ever let big investors, big depositors, big bondholders take major hits in a banking crisis. I am utterly convinced they would find some way around this law and save the skins of the well-heeled.”

Tiny Eritrea Maintains Self-Reliance

Zimbabwe and Eritrea, a small country of 6 million people on the Red Sea, are the only nations in Africa that have avoided entanglement with the U.S. Africa Military Command, AFRICOM. Eritrea also refuses so-called foreign “aid” in favor of national self-reliance. “It was critical to build a self-reliant state” after 30 years of war for independence, said Simon Tesfamariam, an Eritrean-American activist and writer, speaking on Your World News. “If you look within your own resources, you’ll find a way to make it. But, all this is impossible without the unity of the Eritrean people.”

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The Dreamer With a Kill List

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The most powerful – and violent – man in the world was made the star of the commemoration of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King. “The grave-markers of the martyrs of the Black Freedom Movement – in their thousands – have been reduced to cobblestones on the road to the Obama presidency.”

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