Black Agenda Report for January 18, 2017: Revoking John Lewis’s Hero Status, The Obama Legacy, No Tears For John Lewis”
18 January 2017 — Black Agenda Report
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?
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
When Barack Obama’s legacy is fully measured, it must include his role in eroding Black America’s historical position as the nation’s most anti-war constituency. He was a Pied Piper of war, and most of Black political leadership, as well as a portion of the Black public at large, followed him into the abyss. However, “we can expect this gross deformity to be corrected once the artificial aura of “Blackness” is removed from the White House.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
John Lewis has parlayed his 1965 beating at the hands of Alabama police into a phony sainthood, and “now exemplifies everything that is wrong with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Party and the black misleadership class.” He “parrots every word” of the CIA in blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s defeat. There are many reasons to boycott Donald Trump’s inauguration, but “Russia” is the only one mentioned by Lewis, the party hack.
by BAR editor Ajamu Baraka
The 2008 campaign t-shirts depicted Barack Obama clasping hands with MLK, as if the two men were politically joined. Yet, one was a radical opponent of militarism and the rule of the rich, while the other served Wall Street, the Pentagon and American Exceptionalism. Dr. King loved humanity, and died in its service. In contrast, “for Obama, there is a hierarchy of humanity where a peoples’ worth is directly related to their value to the empire.”
by Danny Haiphong
The furor over Donald Trump’s “legitimacy” as president presumes that the U.S. system of rule is, itself, legitimate, at home and abroad. The Democrats maintain “a legitimate President certainly cannot have peaceful relations with Russia.” They are attempting to continue the momentum of the Obama period, which “has been the highest expression of the Democratic Party’s transformation into the War Party and the most legitimate party of imperialism.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
As humanity by the hundreds of millions is forced into a Race to the Bottom, the super-rich expand their dominance of the Earth’s wealth. Eight individuals now own as much wealth as the bottom half of the planetary population. “How can a society call itself civilized, when half the value of all of humanity’s labor — which is what those fortunes actually represent — is at the disposal of eight men?”
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Mocking, protesting and ridiculing Big Cheeto before and after inauguration will be big fun. But storms of ridicule did not drive Ronald Reagan or Dubya from office. Mockery that only undermines the legitimacy of evil persons rather than the capitalist system makes us nothing more than the warm up for Corey Booker or whoever Democrats nominate next. Left messages, memes and hashtags need to eviscerate Trump but also to educate people.
Several Black organizations across the U.S. have launched a campaign to reject the mainstream image of Martin Luther King, Jr., which they call “capitalist revisionism.” Dr. King “became increasingly anti-capitalist/imperialist and was killed for it,” said the groups gathered under #ReclaimMLK. “We have conflated nonviolence with passivity, and we have forgotten that King’s legacy is meeting incredible violence with masses in the street.”
by German Lopez
The long-awaited U.S. Justice Department report on Chicago police behavior in Black and brown communities shows cops frequently abuse their monopoly on the use of lethal force, and act out their racist prejudices on the job. “Black youth told us that they are routinely called ‘nigger,’ ‘animal,’ or ‘pieces of shit’ by CPD officers.” Cops use stun guns on kids with regularity, and engage in cover-ups enveloped in a “blue code of silence.”
by Jon Swaine and Ciara McCarthy
The number of unarmed people fatally shot by police in the U.S. declined last year, according to data compiled by The Guardian newspaper, but young Black men remain far more likely than whites to die at the hands of cops. Recent moves to keep better track of lethal police use of force could be undermined by the incoming president Donald Trump, who has balked at withholding funds from local departments that fail to report killings.
by Solomon Comissiong
A mythology of lies was built around Barack Obama, even before he walked into the White House. He got a peace prize for no good reason — and then made war against at least seven countries. Obama “even joked about the use of predator drones at a White House Correspondents Dinner.” Obamites cried when he gave his last speech, “yet can find little reason to shed tears over the masses of civilians who were destroyed as a result of Obama’s policies.”