3 August 2011 — Black Agenda Report News, commentary and analysis from the black left
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
After two and a half years of waging war against the Left half of his own party, while seeking a “Grand Consensus” with the GOP, President Obama has finally set “in motion a rolling implosion of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society.” The final vote on the debt ceiling measure – actually a ruse to impose savage cuts in social spending – saw a substantial portion of the Congressional Black Caucus put the president’s prestige above their constituents’ vital interests. Ninety-five House Democrats, including 15 Black Caucus members, “voted for the certainty of losing trillions of dollars for tens of millions of needy citizens, rather than risk the possibility of unknown financial dislocations.”
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Left to their own devices, the Tea Party and the rest of the Republicans could not possibly have done such damage to the legacies of the New Deal and Great Society as was wrought, this week. The Black Democrat in the White House tipped the scales, catastrophically. “Neither Ronald Reagan, George Bush nor George W. Bush dared to move as much to the right as Barack Obama.”
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR editor and columnist Jared Ball
The military and economic superpower attempting to bend the world to its will, is also a communications superpower bent on drowning out all worldviews at variance with its own. “An ability to be sovereign requires an ability to communicate that need, to make it a popular idea among a given community, and to protect against the psychological assaults from hostile entities.” The colonized, including Africans in America, find their representations of sovereignty smothered.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Historically, it has been very difficult for Blacks to find jobs in the firehouses of many major cities. But in New York, a good ole boy network apparently helps white ex-offenders become first responders, “thus perpetuating the extreme racial imbalance.” The FDNY even welcomed into its ranks two of the cops that mowed down Amadou Diallo, in 1999.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Forty-six years after the assassination of Malcolm X, a large segment of Black America believes the FBI played a part in the Black leader’s death. But the first Black U.S. attorney general refuses to reopen the case, and the FBI has claimed for 30 years – amazingly – that it never investigated Malcolm’s murder. If the FBI is to be believed, “there can be only one reasonable conclusion: that they knew exactly what happened at the Audubon Ballroom, and either facilitated it or criminally failed to prevent a capital crime from occurring.”
In retrospect, we should have seen it all coming: the Black corporate politician wreaking havoc on the progressive legacy through a working alliance with the GOP. In fact, some of us did see it coming, including the author, who had Obama’s number, early on. “The deeply conservative Obama governed from the big business-friendly, Teapublican-accommodating center-right,” and pushed forward in his quest to savage entitlements at a time when “Republicans weren’t even suggesting cuts to Social Security: this was something Obama apparently desired for its own sake.”
by Thomas Mountain
To hear the corporate media tell it, the Shabab resistance in Somalia is to blame for the drought and famine. But ten million people are threatened in the neighboring Ogaden region of Ethiopia, largely populated by ethnic Somalis, many of whom are at war with the Ethiopian dictatorship. Ethiopia restricts the movements of foreigners in the Odaden, yet the World Food Program continues to operate there, as a partner with the regime.
Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of August 1, 2011
McKinney: NATO Bombs Libya Water Facilities
NATO has “bombed the facility that supplies 70 percent of the drinking water for Libya,” Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney told a capacity crowd at the Church of the Black Madonna, in Atlanta. “They did the same thing in Iraq, and this is a war crime.” McKinney’s “Eyewitness Libya” tour has been visiting cities around the country. She recalled how, when she was running for re-election in 2006, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said she was not a team player. “I’m happy to not be on the team of more crimes against humanity and crimes against the people of this country,” said McKinney. “I will never be on the team of war. I am on the peace team.”
August 20 Action on “Other Wars”
The “traditional white Left and labor movements” in Europe and North American have failed to respond to or even recognize as wars, conflicts that threaten people of African descent around the globe, says Kinshasa Luwezi, the London-based chairman of the African Socialist International. Luwezi cited the U.S. war in Somalia, the six million dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “the Africans who are jailed in the U.S.” by the millions, “the Mexicans who are foreigners in their own land…the war that has displaced Africans in Colombia, the Africans who are dying under the occupation in Haiti.” The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds actions on “The Other Wars” on August 20 in cities across the United States and in London, Toronto and Nassau, Bahamas.
De-Professionalizing Teachers Through Charter Schools
James Thindwa, of the American Federation of Teachers. In Chicago, warns that corporations are “bringing some of the worst practices of the private sector into the educational realm” through charter schools. Thindwa’s job is to organize charter school teachers. He says two charter schools, in Chicago and Philadelphia, claim they don’t have to recognize their teachers’ choices to unionize “because they are private employers not subject to state authority.” One goal of privatization through charters is to “de-skill and de-professionalize teaching…the casualization of teaching that is underway.”
Prison Hunger Strike Raised Consciousness
The three-week hunger strike that began at California’s infamous Pelican Bay high security prison succeeded in raising the public’s awareness “that security housing units exist…how bad conditions are, and that it really does constitute torture,” says Lauri Magnani, of the American Friends Service Committee. Magnani was part of a five-person team that mediated with prison officials on behalf of inmates.
Mass Incarceration Not Driven By Crime
Crime has very little to do with the 350 percent increase in the U.S. prison population during the past 30 years, says John Schmitt, one of the authors of a report titled, “The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration,” produced by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington. The real causes of the explosion in incarceration are the War on Drugs, which has been “a disaster on its own terms, particularly for African Americans,” and economic inequality, which has “created enormous social pressure…that demands keeping control over people who are suffering in this economy.”