Freedomways Magazine and the Roots of the Fight for Rights

Veteran activist, intellect and writer Jean Carey Bond was a presenter at a recent symposium on James and Esther Jackson, The American Left, and the Origins of the Modern Civil Rights Movement at New York University. Dr. Bond's remarks explored the history of Freedomways and Esther Jackson's role in establishing the groundbreaking magazine.


The Black-Latino Future

by BAR Executive Editor Glen Ford

When as many as two million immigrants and their supporters, most of them Latino, turned out for demonstrations against draconian undocumented worker legislation in cities across the nation this spring, everywhere the question was raised: Is this the new civil rights movement? By all appearances, some kind of great awakening had indeed occurred which, if sustained, would transform the participants and, eventually, the society at-large.

The People of Chicago VS Wal-Mart

by Paul Street

Big box retailing giant Wal-Mart has saturated the market in rural and suburban America.  The only ground left for expansion is inner cities like New York and Chicago.  Paul Street recounts the promises and machinations of Wal-Mart and the part local leaders, politicians and community activists have played up till the article's publication in October of 2006.

CBC Fall 2006 Report Card: The Good, Bad & Ugly of the Congressional Black Caucus

by Leutisha Stills

 "This year’s capitulation to corporate power was an even greater retreat from the CBC’s legacy than the debacle of April, 2005."
CBC Fall 2006 Report Card:
The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
of the Congressional Black
by Leutisha Stills

Click here view or download the current CBC Monitor report card in .PDF format.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which held its annual political-social gala in Washington, September 6 - 9 under the heading "Changing Course, Confronting Crises, Continuing the Legacy, - nevertheless continues as a body to squander its 35-year legacy of progressive legislative action.

Israeli Apartheid

by Bruce A. Dixon

Originally published in Black Commentator on June 20, 2006 

"The ugly and racist realities of Israeli society and life under Israeli occupation are rarely discussed." 

Imagine, if you will, a modern apartheid state with first, second and eleventh class citizens, all required to carry identification specifying their ethnic origin.  First class citizens are obliged to serve in the armed forces, kept on ready reserve status until in their forties, and accorded an impressive array of housing, medical, social security, educational and related benefits denied all others.

Black Caucus Caves to Corporate Power

In response to a flood of cable and phone company propaganda and millions in campaign and charitable donations, two thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus vote to redline broadband deployment in their own communities and kill the relatively open and free internet.  Is it time to re-evaluate the Black Caucus?

Freedom Rider: Phony Terror and Black America

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Bush men's scheme to conquer the world, starting with Iraq, is dead in the water, having been thwarted by the Iraqi resistance. However, the domestic component of the offensive continues to roll up a body count of hapless "terror" suspects who, in fact, have hatched no real "plots" nor have any capability of carrying out actual attacks. Entrapment and sting operations, utilizing criminals as agentFRterrorplotLogo provocateurs, are designed to make the U.S. a "State of Fear." True to historical form, the feds ensnare the "usual suspects" - Blacks and Muslims - while leaving Timothy McVeigh's white conspiratorial brethren free to pursue their murderous missions.

Why Is Tavis Smiling -- And Why Are We Watching?

by Leutisha Stills
How do you explain the career of Tavis Smiley?  Is he a journalist?  Some new kind of black leader?  A celebrity?  A marketer?  BAR correspondent Leutisha Stills reports from the 2006 State of the Black Union, the annual event put on by Tavis Smiley and his commercial sponsors, and broadcast annually on C-Span.

Where The Left Lives


How to Make Mass Incarceration a Political Issue

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

This article was originally published in Black Commentator July 21, 2005 


“A great force of suffering accumulated between the basement of heaven and the roof of hell...”

Zora Neale Hurston wrote those words almost seventy years ago at the beginning of her great allegorical work on black America, Moses, Man of the Mountain. She could have been speaking about African America today. As black activists ponder how best to build a mass movement to transform America, a mass movement that must start in but not be confined to our communities, one single low-hanging fruit of organizing opportunity is hard to miss.  That opportunity lies in the manifest unfairness and hypocrisy of America’s system of racially selective policing, prosecution and mass imprisonment.  These awful public policies are inviting targets for electoral and other mobilizations in black communities and beyond.

It's Time To Build A Mass Movement

Originally published in Black Commentator on June 30, 2005 
A mass movement is an assertion of popular leadership by the people themselves.

 It's Time To Build A Mass Movement

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon 

“Democracy… does not come from the government, from on high, it comes from people getting together and struggling for justice.”Howard Zinn, Spelman College commencement address, Atlanta, 2005.

Politicians are elected and selected, but mass movements transform societies.  Judges uphold, strike down, or invent brand new law, but mass movements drag the courts, laws and officeholders all in their wake.  Progressive and even partially successful mass movements can alter the political calculus for decades to come, thus improving the lives of millions.  Social Security, the New Deal, and employer-provided medical care didn’t come from the pen of FDR.  The end of “separate but equal” didn’t come from the lips of any judge, and voting rights were not simply granted by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  All these were hard-won outcomes of protracted struggle by progressive mass movements, every one of which operated outside the law and none of which looked to elected officials or the corporate media of those days for blessings or legitimacy.  It’s time to re-learn those lessons and build a new progressive mass movement in the United States.

2005's Ten Worst Places to be Black

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

This article was originally published in Black Commentator on July 14, 2005 

"It's high time to begin constructing useful indices with which to measure the quality of life, not for just a fortunate few, but for the broad masses of our people." 

The pervasive corporate media bubble, which grossly distorts the views most Americans have of the world beyond their shores, and of life in America’s black one-eighth, operates to fool African Americans, too.  While a fortunate few of us are doing very well indeed, and many more are hanging on as best we can, the conditions of life for a substantial chunk of black America are not substantially improving, and appear to be getting much worse.  This is a truth which can’t be found anywhere in the corporate media, but it is nevertheless one with which we must familiarize ourselves in preparation for the upcoming national black dialogue.  It is high time to begin constructing useful indices with which to measure the quality of life, not just for a fortunate few, but for the broad masses of our people in America’s black one-eighth.

Corporate Biopiracy and the Terminator Seed

by Bruce Dixon

Originally published in Black Commentator on April 28, 2005 

It is arguably the most fiendish product yet devised by corporate genetic engineers

Ever since humans started farming about ten thousand years ago, farmers have saved the seed from one year’s crop to produce the next, and freely exchanged seed with neighbors and friends.  If the Bush administration and its friends at Monsanto and other “life-sciences” corporations get their way it will soon be illegal in much of the world.


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