8 June 2011 — Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
What Fake Reform of the Prison State Looks Like: Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform Commission
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
In Georgia, where prisoners staged a brief and courageous strike for their human rights last December, the state’s new governor is talking “prison reform.” But the vision of Georgia’s new commission on criminal justice reform seems to be less about healing the wounds caused by racist hyper-incarceration than saving the state money. What kind of “prison reform” does that lead to?
by Deborah Dupre
The corporate media, unable to freely manufacture fake “facts” from their Tripoli hotel rooms, direct their energies toward denying the real facts of massive NATO bombardment. The deliberately oblivious corporate press somehow believe that tons of bombs can fall on a city of 2.5 million and yet harm no civilians. Fact finding missions, like the one led by former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, must fill the void left by a “see no NATO evil, hear no NATO evil” media.
by Nathaniel X. Turner, in Tripoli, Libya
The Great White Fathers of Europe and the United States excel in lies, lies and damnable lies. “’Humanitarian intervention’ by Europeans in Africa is always a subterfuge for theft, mass murder, and sadism” – Europe’s main export to the world. “This is a new scramble for the African Continent.”
by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
Even as entire Black communities – “even entire cities – have been engulfed in what seems to be spiraling cycles of misery and hopelessness,” African Americans are urged to keep their tongues in check so as not to embarrass the First Black President. An insidious “combination of race loyalty and postracialism effectively banishes black suffering from public view,” while all other American groups feel free to make their own demands. “Black people are suffering, and we need to engage that suffering publicly and directly.”
by Sadiki Kambon
Obama supporters are busy building a “Black Wall” around the president, as the 2012 campaign begins. These unquestioning loyalists “feel the need to worship at the feet of President Obama because they like the idea of feeling they have access to the Whitehouse.” But it’s not the kind of access that results in benefits for the whole community or even the Black political class, since Obama even “treats the Congressional Black Caucus like ‘step children.’” For the sake of the larger Black community, “there needs to be a clear and open dialogue to discuss the Obama policies whether pro or con.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball
Journalist Ellis Cose styles himself the top reporter on the Black bourgeois beat – a landscape of delusion. Cose’s new book “concludes that the youngest generation included in the study, the ‘Gen 3s’ or those born after 1970, feel that while racism is still alive it is not a serious barrier to success.” Which is, of course, clear evidence of the deep damage done to Black Harvard Business School graduates. Neither they nor Cose ever learned that the depths of societal “racism cannot be judged on an individual basis, it has to be judged institutionally.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Western reporters in Tripoli dismiss the casualties inflicted by their own countries’ bombs on Libyan civilians, but are careful to alert NATO when they themselves venture outside their hotels. The war criminals and their corporate media are morally – and probably legally – indistinguishable. “As facilitators of those crimes – through ceaseless propaganda, lies and demonization of those targeted by the United States – the corporate media are just as guilty of the grossest human rights violations as the government they serve.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
It was the unkindest cut of all. A U.S. Agency for International Development report claims Haiti, the United Nations and the Red Cross all conspired to exaggerate the death and displacement toll from last year’s earthquake. In doing so, it “calls into question both Haiti’s financial needs and the trustworthiness of its government.” There are plenty of Americans who are predisposed to believe the slander – a libel written in oceans of blood.
U.S. Report Defames Haitians
A USAID report that challenges estimates of Haitians killed and displaced by last year’s earthquake attempts to “turn the Haitian state and the Haitian people into the classic racist model of welfare queens, or people who are just sitting around begging for aid,” says Peter Hudson, a Nashville-based historian and writer. The USAID document puts the death toll at around 66,000 people, rather than the more than 300,000 figure provided by the Haitian government and supported by the United Nations International Organization for Migration and the Red Cross. The U.S. report, says Hudson, reveals a “deeply racist, anti-black undercurrent” among its authors.
Obama Seeks Greater Powers to Wage War
President Obama’s studied avoidance of consulting with Congress on the war against Libya is “a pretty clear message that he wants more and more power and more and more wars,” says activist and author David Swanson, publisher of the influential web site War Is A Crime. If Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s measure to end the war in Libya were to pass next week, “it would be the biggest step forward by Congress to assert its desire to exist as a branch of government” with authority over matters of war and peace.
California Prisoners to Go on Hunger Strike
On Juy 1, inmates at California’s high security prison facility at Pelican Bay plan to go on “indefinite hunger strike” to protest conditions, according to Ed Mead, editor of the magazine Prison Focus. Mead, who is a former prisoner, calls incarceration at Pelican Bay “a civil death,” and equates American-style incarceration to slavery. “We have 2.3 million slaves in the United States and nobody seems to care.”
Florida Persecutes Welfare Recipients
Governor Rick Scott, who recently signed a bill requiring welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, is trying to “punish poor people to score cheap political points,” says Baylor Johnson, a lawyer for the Florida Civil Liberties Union. The FCLU is suing the state, charging the drug tests are a form of unconstitutional search and seizure.
Old-Line Black Organizations Ineffective
African Americans need to form and support “new groups, different from the existing ones like the Urban League and the NAACP, to take on the challenges” of a worsening political and economic environment, says veteran South Carolina activist Kevin Alexander Gray. President Obama’s re-election strategy is: “Vote for me or it could get worse.” Gray predicts the president “is going to pull the wool over people’s eyes one more time.”
Obi Egbuna, Washington-based pan-African activist, has written a play titled, “African Liberation Day for Children,” to be performed June 15.