6 July 2011 — Black Agenda Report
Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Not only is Obama keeping the country in a perpetual state of war,” but he abandons core Democratic programs “at the first sign of Republican resistance.” As a consequence the GOP, which has fought and schemed for decades to “starve the beast” by cutting social programs while fattening the military and the wealthy, “are closer than ever to seeing their dream realized.” No longer can it be said that the Democrats are the “lesser of two evils,” since they are the party in charge that is making the evils possible.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball
National Public Radio gave new meaning to the term “whitewash” when it portrayed the merciless beating of a Black Boston cop by white officers as a case of “inattentional blindness.” Any fool could see it was a violent case of racist profiling – but not the white fools or their Black proxies at NPR. It takes hip-hop perceptions and skills to illuminate the willful national “blindness” that everyone sees through except the perpetrators.
The nation’s largest union, the NEA just endorsed President Obama’s re-election campaign, despite the fact that under its Race To The Top program, the Obama administration has waged a relentless jihad to purge organized teachers from their workplaces. Does the NEA suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, in which the abused sympathize with their abusers instead of themselves? What does this say about the real relationship between Democrats and organized labor?
African Union Says ‘Up Yours’ to International Criminal Court
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The African Union found the spine to reject execution of an arrest warrant against Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi issued by the International Criminal Court, which appears to have an “Africans only” indictment policy. The AU’s chairman calls the court’s prosecutions “discriminatory” because they ignore the West’s crimes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. China has hosted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, another ICC arrest target.
A review by Lawrence Grandpre
Dr. Jared Ball’s provocative book, “I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto” proposes, among other things, that “the mixtape can circumvent the corporate media machine and create a form of communication that can reach people in the streets.” Clearly, the circumvention is necessary, since “the image of Black youth created through mainstream hip hop” is that of “criminals and prisoners in the making.”
by Paul Street
Although President Obama “has had little to offer the nation’s truly disadvantaged people of color,” polls show that “nearly two-thirds of black respondents said the government was doing ‘about the right amount’ in terms of serving Black interests.” There exists a vast gap between the realities of Black life and false Black perceptions of progress. “The mind-blowing Obama ascendancy has pacified, blinded, deluded, distracted, and bamboozled the nation’s most historically progressive thinking, voting, and acting bloc to no small degree – a problem not just for the black community but for progressive prospects across the national board.”
by Andy Kroll
Except for a few brief periods, Blacks have been twice as likely as whites to be out of work for three generations. Race-neutral theories to the contrary, the gap is not based on education, it’s not primarily about deindustrialization, and it persists in good times as well as bad. It’s about racism, institutional and unrelenting – just as most Black folks have been saying all the time.
by Dr. Mark Naison
Notice all those young, suburban-looking teachers staffing newly-chartered schools in Black and brown communities? They’re likely from outfits like Teach for America (TFA), many of them on a ghetto stopover on the way to careers in much higher paying professions. The inner city experience, says TFA, makes good “padding” for their resumes. TFA, says the author, “has done little to win my confidence that it is seriously committed to recruiting people willing to make a lifetime commitment to teaching and administering schools in high poverty areas.”
by Alvaro Huerta
When it comes to hounding people of color, Dixie has it down to a science. Alabama has joined the growing anti-immigrant confederacy, with the harshest law yet, and “it doesn’t take a scientific study to predict that those most likely to be targeted will be brown-skinned individuals.” The law creates another layer of police state controls designed to consign undocumented people – and those whom Alabamians perceive might be undocumented – to a peculiar and terrifying state of total vulnerability broadly reminiscent of Jim Crow.
by Bill Quigley and Jocelyn Brooks
One horror after another has descended on Haiti, each disaster either precipitated by, or made vastly more painful due to, the relentless persecution of the nation’s poor majority by a venal elite allied with foreigners. One quarter of the 700,000 people still homeless after last year’s earthquake face ouster from their squalid camps by the elite-allied government. This, “despite rulings by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ directing the Haitian government to place a moratorium on evictions and create adequate measures to protect the displaced population from unlawful forced evictions.”
Newburgh 4 Sentenced for Following FBI Terror Directions
“There’s almost no question that” the Newburgh 4 – Black men from upstate New York who were sentenced to 25 years in prison for plotting to blow up synagogues and shoot down a military jet – would never have engaged in the scheme “without the role of the government’s informant.” So says Amna Akbar, of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University Law School and an author of the report, “Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the ‘Homegrown Threat’ in the U.S.” The study showed “a pattern of government practices which seem aimed at creating or encouraging terrorist plots among disaffected or vulnerable Muslim men so that they can later be prosecuted and then touted as victories in the war on terrorism.” These prosecutions “are very reminiscent of the way that the civil rights movement and Black freedom struggles were criminalized back in the Sixties and Seventies,” says Akbar.
Mass Black Incarceration is a Counter-Insurgency Strategy
For more than 40 years, the United States has waged a “counter-insurgency” war against African Americans through mass Black incarceration, with the result that one out of every eight prisoners on planet Earth is a Black American. In addition, “the U.S. has well over 100 political prisoners and prisoners of war” and “close to 50 or 60 of our people who are still in exile,” says Kali Akuno, co-director of the U.S. Human Rights Network. “There is this perception of ‘We have overcome,’ which is a blatant denial of reality,” says Akuno. Blacks must come to grips with the fact that “Obama is fully a partner in this neoliberal and imperial project.”
U.S. Intransigent on Crimes of Slavery
Dr. Conrad Worril, chairman emeritus of the National Black United Front, says the U.S. government has opposed all attempts to brand slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity, since the “We Charge Genocide” campaign of the early Fifties. Most recently, “the Obama administration has indicated that they’re not going to participate in the Durban Review process” on racism “on September 22, when the United Nations opens,” says Worril. “So, it’s the same policies that are entrenched.”
McKinney: Attack on Libya is a Shame and Insult to Blacks
Decrying the “leasing of Black faces” in service of anti-Black policies, former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney took her “Eyewitness to Libya” tour to Harlem, in conjunction with the ANSWER anti-war coalition. As an example of Black collaboration with imperialism, McKinney cited Condoleezza Rice, who “becomes the role model for our young people,” and “Colin Powell, who lied to the world, becomes a role model” for the young. “The ultimate insult to my integrity is that we have a Black man bombing Africa,” said the former Green Party presidential candidate.
If He’s Talking, He’s Lying
McKinney later led a press conference outside outside the offices of Atlanta Black congressman John Lewis, who voted to fund Obama’s war against Libya. Lucy Grider-Bradley, a McKinney confidant who accompanied her to Libya, was also at the press conference. Asked about President Obama’s claim that the U.S. is not at war with Libya, Ms. Grider-Bradley replied: “I think about him like I think about President Bush: if his mouth is moving, he’s probably lying.”
Quitting Afghanistan Would Solve the State’s Problems
The National Priorities Project calculates that the fiscal crisis afflicting 41 of the 50 states could be entirely eliminated if the U.S. simply withdrew from Afghanistan. The Afghan war costs about $120 billion a year – more than the shortfall of the states. “When you look at cities that are having to eliminate entire police forces, when you’re looking at proposals to cut, at the federal level, aid programs that serve some of the neediest constituencies in the country, you’ve got to wonder where our priorities are,” says Christopher Hellman, the Project’s senior research analyst.