US Politics

Black Agenda Radio Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

Black Agenda Radio for Week of January 23, 2017

Irrationality Reigns: After All the Lies, Some Folks Still Believe the CIA

Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s vice 2016 presidential candidate, said he is appalled at the spectacle of “progressives” and even self-styled radicals “parroting the Democratic line that the Russians are a threat” to U.S. democracy.  This new McCarthyism is “a strange diversion” and “a demonstration of the irrationality of politics in the U.S,” said Baraka, who is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. It represents “the complete abandonment of critical thought, embracing the State and propping up the intelligence agencies as authoritative sources even after the years of deception, disinformation, and psychological operations that we know is the modus operandi of the CIA. It is absolutely bizarre.”

Blacks Should Stop ‘Hitch-Hiking’ with the Democrats

Black people made political alliances “with whoever came along -- like a hitchhiker,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “When you catch a ride as a hitchhiker, you’ve got to go wherever the driver is going. That’s what being with the Democratic Party was about, and we are determined that that mess is over.” The Black is Back Coalition makes alliances based on the principles of Black self-determination and opposition to imperialism – which is why it has held together since the first year of the Obama administration. “Trump is president because of the crisis in the imperialist system,” said Yeshitela.

Poor People’s Campaign Tackles MLK’s Unfinished Work

The scourge of poverty has increased since the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 was interrupted by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said Willie Baptist, a veteran of the welfare and homeless movements, and now an organizer of the 21st century version of the campaign. “Poverty has gotten worse, with huge sections of the middle strata being rendered homeless and a good section of the poor rendered superfluous,” said Baptist, now based in New York City at the Union Theological Seminary’s Kairos Center. Changes in technology are “not just saving labor, it’s actually eliminating labor,” he said. “The world’s productive capacity totally outweighs its purchasing capacity. As a result, you have poverty in the midst of plenty.”

Afro-Colombian Leader Beheaded

Rightwing paramilitaries are suspected in the murder of Emilsen Manyoma, a leader of a network of Black and indigenous community organizations. “Her assassination was a response to the work she was doing, defending the rights of Black people,” said Charo Mina-Rojas, an Afro-Colombian political activist who reports that over 200 Black and indigenous leaders were killed last year, despite a peace agreement between the government and FARC guerillas. Blacks and natives in Ms. Manyoma’s region are under pressure from coca producers and illegal mine operators and their gunmen.

Where Did All the Black and Latino Teachers Go?

Back in 2002, 27.2 percent of the teachers hired by the New York City public schools were Black or Latino. By 2012, the proportion had shrunk to 11.6 percent. What happened? “When you look at what’s been going on for the past 15 years, you see a picture that requires people to point to the real causes of the disappearances, and to change those policies,” said Sean Ahern, a political activist who teaches juvenile prisoners at the giant Rikers Island jail. Ahern blames the drop in minority teachers on “mayoral control” of the schools, “high stakes testing, school closings, charter school push-ins” -- essentially, the whole program of so-called “reform” that was pushed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and championed by the Obama administration.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
 
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Is It Time To Revoke John Lewis’s Lifetime Civil Rights Hero Pass?

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

John Lewis was a hero 52 years ago. What’s he doing nowadays with his Lifetime Civil Rights Hero pass? He’s a 14 term Atlanta congressman with nary a word to say on gentrification or the privatization of schools, roads, nature and the commons. He’s a pacifist with a US Navy ship named after him who votes for the NSA, Pentagon budgets, and re-arming apartheid Israel. Now his sainthood is useful again. But to whom and for what?

 
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Black Agenda Radio for Week of Nov 28, 2016

GOP Plans Stealth Attack on Medicare

Republicans in Congress have “never really liked Social Security or Medicare” because the programs “work and they completely go against the ideology that the private sector is always better,” said Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works. The GOP will act “in the dead of night, so the people don’t know what’s happening,” and sneak a privatization bill into a “reconciliation” measure that “the Democrats can’t filibuster,” Altman predicted. “They want to give seniors and people with disabilities a check and say, ‘Good luck, go out and get private insurance.’”

What Do You Mean by Identity Politics?

Lots of people talk about how “identity politics affected the election, but the term is never specifically defined,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. “As you tease out the rhetoric, it appears to suggest that organizations like Black Lives Matter is identity politics, and people protesting against being shot down in the streets by officers of the state is identity politics.” The only good news to come out of the election, said Horne, “is that Donald J. Trump will probably prove to be the Gorbachev of the United States of America” by accelerating the decline of U.S. imperialism and white supremacy.

2016 was Bound to be a Bad Year

The “panic and hysteria” of some Hillary Clinton supporters “is really very childish,” said Diana Johnstone, author of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. “The fact is, there wasn’t going to be a good outcome to that election, anyway; you had two terrible candidates, so you should have been prepared for that.” The Democrats crazily search for Russians behind every web site. “The idea that Russia interfered with the election is absolutely absurd,” said Johnstone, speaking from her home in Paris. “It sounds to me like they’ve decided they’re going to make war against Russia -- and they’re all into that,” including the media.

President Obama’s Hollow Legacy

Barack Obama was “beloved” by large numbers of Black people, but it was a one-way affair. “Politicians score points with white people by assuring them they’re not going to do anything for Black people, and Obama was no exception,” said Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “In order to win, Black people have to be thrown under the bus.” Obama “gave white people a message that he would not in any way upset the status quo,” said Kimberley, speaking on the Taylor Report on CUIT radio, in Toronto, Canada. “His is a hollow legacy.” Hillary Clinton lost because “you can’t transfer one person’s popularity to another.”

Peltier on Standing Rock Protests

One thousand people took part in the 47th annual Native American National Day of Mourning, last Thursday, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Placards declared “We Are Not Vanishing” and “We Are Not Conquered,” as an Elder read a message from political prisoner Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement activist who has been locked up for the past 41 years. The Standing Rock protests “are the greatest gathering of our people in history, and has made us more connected than every before,” said Peltier. “Water is life, and we cannot leave this issue to our children and grandchildren.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
 
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Black Agenda Radio for Week of May 30, 2016

Jill Stein: U.S. Electoral “House of Cards” Coming Down

Presidential candidate Jill Stein has an answer tor those Democrats that accuse the Greens of offering themselves as “spoilers” who would throw the election to Donald Trump. “I will be horrified if Donald Trump gets elected, and I will be horrified if Hillary Clinton gets elected,” Stein told a panel at the Left Forum conference, in New York City. “I’m most horrified by a political system that gives us two lethal choices and says, ‘Pick between them, and that’s it.’” The two-party duopoly electoral arrangement is in trouble because of the “inherent disfunction of the system, and the fact that the house of cards really is coming down.”

Blacks Will Be Slow to Abandon Democrats

Bernie Sanders has no interest in creating a new political party to the left of the Democrats, because he “wants to strengthen the leftish faction within the Democratic Party,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford, speaking at the same Left Forum panel as Jill Stein. However, Ford predicted that millions of Sanders’ followers will choose to join or help form such a party. Although Blacks are the most left-leaning constituency in the country, they will be slow to support any new, “social democratic” political formation, for fear of helping the “White Man’s Party” – the GOP. Blacks will only break out of the Democratic “trap” in large numbers, said Ford, when they perceive that the Republicans are no longer “a kind of monolithic threat” to Black America.

Charter Schools Take Chicanery Online

Charter school companies are now operating so-called “virtual schools” that have no physical classrooms, but only exist on the Internet. David Cohen, executive director of the advocacy group In The Public Interest, said California Virtual Academies, run by K-12 Inc., graduates less than half its students and is accused of counting pupils as “present” if they log online for as little as one minute a day. The charter’s teachers are paid only about $30,000, said Cohen. The company “needs to make a profit, they need to pay their CEOs, they also need to do whatever they need to do for their shareholders on the stock exchange,” he said. The profits are produced by paying teachers less, hiring fewer administration people, and squeezing every way they can,” he said.

Rich Countries Drain Trillions from Developing World

Global banking expert James Henry said rich countries siphon more than $12 trillion a year from China, Russia and other developing nations. “Collectively speaking, the world has to worry about this because it means that, oddly enough, the developing world is actually a net creditor of western Europe and the United States.” Much of the huge cash outflow is diverted to secretive offshore banking outlets, but soon finds it way back into rich western portfolios. The loss of wealth is disastrous for the developing world, said Henry. “It’s a tremendous opportunity cost for developing countries.”

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Freedom Rider: Americans are Poor

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

If Americans understood how poor they actually are – on a par with Latvians and Romanians, according to newly released data – they would dump the Democratic Party. With “more black children in poverty than white children,” it’s past time for African Americans to rid themselves “once and for all of their useless political party” which only pretends to fight for working people in election years.

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.”

#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.

Feds Rediscover Police Brutality In City of Brotherly Love…er…Beat City

by Linn Washington, Jr.

The U.S. Justice Department’s latest report on police brutality in Philadelphia reveals much the same pattern of excessive use of lethal force as charged in a 1979 lawsuit and confirmed by a Human Rights Watch study in 1998. The city registered “an average of one citizen shot by police per week between 2007 and 2013” – five times the rate of their counterparts in New York City.

Feds Rediscover Police Brutality In City of Brotherly Love…er…Beat City

by Linn Washington, Jr.

The U.S. Justice Department’s latest report on police brutality in Philadelphia reveals much the same pattern of excessive use of lethal force as charged in a 1979 lawsuit and confirmed by a Human Rights Watch study in 1998. The city registered “an average of one citizen shot by police per week between 2007 and 2013” – five times the rate of their counterparts in New York City.

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