Black Agenda Report 23 November 2011: Van Jones Is Not OWS / Black Income Segregation / Brazil Death Squads

23 November 2011 — Black Agenda Report • News, commentary and analysis from the black left

Gridlock is a Blessing: To Hell With Obama and His Van Joneses
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
As BAR predicted, gridlock – which has finished off the congressional SuperCommittee – was the last, best hope to prevent Barack Obama from consummating his marriage with the Republicans over the past year. In the interim, a new social movement has arisen. But it, too, is threatened by Obamite cooptation. Van Jones, says an organizer of Occupy DC, “is doing the dirty work of a Democratic operative and while he and other Dem front groups pretend to support Occupiers, their real mission is to co-opt it.” Gridlock has bought time for the overarching mission: “The Sword of Damocles that hovers over the planet, is Wall Street’s $600 trillion-plus derivatives, financial nuclear bombs invented by Wall Street.”
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Freedom Rider: Propagandized America
by editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
The United States is a nation of lies: corporate media lies in the service of State Department, Pentagon and White House lies – a congealed, fictional mass that only Americans believe. The most mundane facts of economy are corrupted beyond recognition. “The court scribes who tell us that a statistical blip is proof of economic recovery or that the president had no choice but to accept the ‘Satan sandwich’ budget deal are no better than propagandists in dictatorial states.” Actual journalism is largely extinct. “The press corps in Libya, who actively assisted NATO in destroying that nation, committed international war crimes in the process.”
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20 Arrested in Stop Stop-and-Frisk Campaign in Sean Bell’s NYC Neighborhood
Demonstrators gathered shortly before confrontation with police at the 103rd Precinct in Queens, New York. Sean Bell was killed by cops from this area in a fusillade of bullets on November 25, 2006. This was the third such direct action by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
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Barack “Money Bags” Obama Can’t Run on the 99 Percent Ticket
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Remember 2004, when the cash-poor Democratic candidates were evicted from the campaign like vagabonds by ABC News? One measure of the impact of the Occupy Wall Street movement is that candidates will be compelled to explain to voters why they are so popular with Wall Street. This poses a special quandary for President Obama, who got the lion’s share of finance industry dollars in 2008 and is determined to raise $1 billion for next year’s campaign. “How can Obama claim to be ready to stand up to the 1 percent, when he’s weighted down with a billion dollars of their money?”
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Massive Growth of Segregation by Income Among Blacks
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Over the past 40 years, income inequality and housing segregation within the Black community has bee far more pronounced than in white America. A new study paints a picture of volatile Black neighborhoods pushed and pulled by income inequalities that have also wreaked vast changes on the larger American landscape, as “affluent people cluster in gentrified areas where lower income people cannot live, and poor people also become more concentrated.”
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Police Death Squads Haunt Brazil’s Favelas
by Giovanni Dubon
“Brazil has begun to teeter on the brink of human rights violations” as it begins to clear 1.5 million poor citizens from their neighborhoods in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Killings of favela residents far exceed police violence, even in the United States. “Everyone knows the police here in Rio de Janeiro… nearly all of them abuse their authority…. The shooting cases you hear about, most of them are executions…It’s all premeditated-very cold-blooded and calculated”
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Obama Silent, Bloomberg Wrong on Constitutional Rights
by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
New York City’s billionaire mayor polluted the moral and factual environment when he claimed concerns for public health motivated his police assault on Zuccotti Park. “If Mayor Bloomberg has suddenly developed an interest in the health of New York residents, that would surprise many advocates for the homeless and the uninsured.” The mayor’s men in blue convey his true message of political repression and the whittling away of Constitutional rights.
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Blacks/Latinos Hit Particularly Hard As Mortgage Crisis Lingers
by Doug Miller
The home foreclosure crisis isn’t even halfway over, according to a new report. Ethnically targeted mortgaging practices between 2004 and 2008 have left one quarter of all Latinos and African Americans either without their homes, in foreclosure, or seriously delinquent. “Blacks and Latinos were much more likely to receive high-interest subprime loans and mortgages with prepayment penalties.”
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Then End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The Thanksgiving story is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated and eminently human…. The Mayflower’s cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their own depravity, and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans.”
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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of November 21, 2011

Derivatives at Root of Banking Problem
The very existence of $600 trillion-plus in derivatives, most of them held by “about six banks,” represents a grave threat to the global financial system, said Karanja Gacuca, a member of the People of Color Working Group of the Occupy Wall Street movement, in New York City. Banks are hoarding money, refusing to make job-producing investments, because “if any of these six banks defaulted, the effects to the economy would be catastrophic,” said Gacuca, whose background is in finance. The entire world’s gross annual product is only about $64 trillion. “Some of those banks have to fail. I really don’t see how we get out of this.”
Occupy Movement is Making Clear Demands
“I’ve been to 16 occupations and at every one I’ve heard the same thing: get money out of politics,” said Arun Gupta, who helped found The Occupy Wall Street Journal and is covering the national occupation story for Salon and Alternet. “It is a message about extreme concentration of wealth and power, and that wealth is used to dominate the political system. There is a very clear demand of what people do want.” Gupta concedes that many Occupiers still think in “moralistic terms, like greed,” despite the fact that “the laws of capitalism impel the corporations towards buying the system…. It’s probably the greatest return on investment you can get.”
Wealth, Not Deficit, is the Problem
“The truth is, we don’t have a deficit problem,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers, an organizer with Occupy DC, encamped at Washington’s Freedom Plaza. “We have the wealth in this country to meet our needs, but our government is not willing to take that revenue from the rich and major corporations.” Occupy DC held hearings on the so-called congressional SuperCommittee’s mandate to make vast cuts in federal spending. Of the ten biggest contributors to the 12 senators and representatives on the panel, six are mega-banks, one is Microsoft, and the other is the huge corporate law firm Skadden, Arps.
Black Chicago Gears Up for Housing Push and NATO/G-8 Meetings
Under the umbrella of Occupy the Hood, Chicago Black activists are “focusing on tasks in our communities that have been neglected for so long,” said veteran organizer Pat Hill. She acknowledged that, these days, corporate media tend to pay more attention to Black activism when the “Occupy” label is attached. The next community offensive is called “Homes for the Holidays,” to tackle the housing crisis in Black neighborhoods. Then, in the spring, local activists will join with national organizations to confront simultaneous Chicago meetings of NATO and G-8, the organization of the world’s wealthiest nations. “We are actively involved in that, and intend to exercise our First Amendment rights” in the face of heavy security measures.
The Hood and Occupy Boston Didn’t Mix Well
Some Black activists who attempted to collaborate with Boston’s OWS outfit came away less than satisfied. Jamal Crawford, of the city’s Occupy The Hood umbrella, cited the Boston OWS’s “leaderless structure,” “lack of foundational principles,” and “lack of organization” – as well as “abundant” white privilege and instances of racism – for failure to forge a working relationship. “The question has never been, Can Black people navigate in a white world, because that’s something we’ve been doing,” said Crawford. “The real question has been, Can white people navigate in a Black world – and that remains to be seen.” Crawford, however, credits OWS headquarters in New York with having been “very supportive of Occupy The Hood.”
Occupation Has Energized Oakland Black and Brown Movement
“This current moment has opened up a lot of opportunities for us to get more resources, in terms of new people who are really motivated,” said Robbie Clark, a housing activist with the Oakland-based non-profit Just Cause. “A lot of organizations are willing to come together about how to win some concrete demands, especially around bank accountability, workers rights and immigrant rights.” Clark said “people are learning from how the Occupiers have been able to engage masses of people” – even if those masses are not necessarily Black and brown. The Occupiers have also learned from local activists of color, said Clark. “This movement around economic equality can be traced back to Reconstruction: 40 acres and a mule.”
Under Obama, Rule of Law Crumbles
“The president can commit murder whenever he wants,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, citing the string of U.S. and allied assassinations that have marked the past year of Barack Obama’s presidency. “This is the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and now he believes he can launch drones all over the world,” said Ratner. “This [Libya] is about the sixth war that Obama is involved in, and it looks like he is more of a warlike president than almost anybody we’ve ever had.” In the current era, all U.S. ware are waged in pursuit of global hegemony – and, specifically, to corner oil supplies. “We have to end our support for militarism, just as Dr. (Martin Luther] King said.”
BAR’s Dr. Jared Ball explores the cooptation of Hip Hop, not just by media moguls and commercial marketers, but by the U.S. State Department – “a situation where hip-hop is turned against itself and, indeed, the world.”
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