30 November 2011 — Black Agenda Report • News, commentary and analysis from the black left
Africa Lies Naked to Euro-American Military Offensive
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
As the U.S. and its NATO allies move southward to further consolidate their grip on Africa, following the seizure of Libya and its vast oil fields, most of the continent’s leadership seems to welcome re-absorption into empire. “Africa is the most vulnerable region in America’s warpath, a continent ripe for the plucking due to the multitudinous entanglements of Africa’s political and military classes with imperialism.” AFRICOM is already in the cat-bird seat, placed there by Africans, themselves.
It’s Time To Occupy The FCC!
What do we call a government agency created to manage telephony, internet, wireless, cable, and broadcasting in the public interest, but has been the captive of greedy corporations for decades? We call it the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. What can we do when corrupt authorities like the FCC utterly forfeit their legitimacy, and just aren’t listening? We can raise our voices. IWe can withdraw our consent. We can occupy their public space, which is really ours anyway.
Freedom Rider: War Criminals
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
While the United Nations toadies for NATO and the International Criminal Court behaves like an apartheid “Africans Only” prosecutor, a venue in Malaysia dares to put the real international criminals in the dock. “The Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War, found Blair and Bush guilty of ‘crimes against peace’ as a result of their plot to invade and occupy Iraq.” Naturally, the western corporate media pretended the trial never happened.
Decolonizing Our Occupations
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball
White privilege, the legacy of 500 years of European military and economic suppression of the rest of the planet, is manifest even in movements that purport to be transformational, like Occupy Wall Street. Beneath the politics of economic reordering lie notions that the “new” and overwhelmingly white movement somehow supersedes the centuries-old aspirations of Europe’s primary victims.
The Absence of a Draft Makes Americans Feel Immune to War
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The best thing for the U.S. any movement that truly wants an end to U.S. wars, would be to bring back the draft. “The all-volunteer military has made it far easier for the United States to wage unjust and illegal wars, because the vast majority of the population has no direct stake in keeping the peace.” A new study shows the disconnect between Americans and their military is deeper than ever. “This vast experiential chasm between the general population and the U.S. military has reached an all time high during the same decade that has seen ‘the longest period of sustained conflict in the nation’s history.'”
Black Grassroots Politics is Served Daily in Newark
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
White corporate media have invested huge sums of money and decades of propaganda spreading the lie that Black independent, grassroots politics is dead. But, in Newark, New Jersey, the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) “gives the lie to those that claim pulling one’s neighbors together for the mundane tasks of community building is passé, a relic of another time.”
7,200 deaths and Environmental Betrayal: A Small Price to pay for Corporate Partnership
by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
When Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddows show, the liberal host pretended that President Obama had not recently gutted EPA’s ability to combat air pollution, as if it never happened. The truth is, “The White House conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the needs of susceptible populations, e.g., children, the elderly and medically compromise individuals and its corporate sponsors. The outcome was never in doubt.” The lesson: when the Democrat in the White House obeys his corporate master’s voice, his liberal supporters dutifully airbrush history.
The Americans Take What They Want in Haiti – Even Near-Extinct Lizards
by Dady Chery
A nation whose sovereignty has been stolen has no rights that the big powers – or their scientists – are bound to respect. American zoogeographers recently snatched the rarest of Haitian reptiles, with impunity. “The animals collected on this expedition were endangered animals and possibly the last individuals of their kind.” Had the shoe been on the other foot, it would have represented an international crime, since “such comportment by scientists is criminal and would be illegal in the United States.”
Cornel West: OWS Has Changed Public Discourse
“There’s been a shift in public discourse towards truth and justice,” said Black public intellectual Cornel West, “the truth about corporate greed, the truth of escalating poverty, the truth about obscene levels of unemployment and, we hope, the truth about arbitrary military power abroad and arbitrary police power at home.” Dr. West, who recently relocated from Princeton University to New York’s Union Theological Seminary, lamented unquestioning African American allegiance to Barack Obama, despite the First Black President’s pro-corporate policies. “Our precious Black brothers and sisters are so desperate, so scared,” he said. “We’ve got lackluster, milquetoast leadership that doesn’t want to tell the people the truth.”
Stop-and-Frisk Action in Sean Bell Precinct
Twenty people were arrest at the Queens, New York precinct in the neighborhood where Sean Bell was killed in a fusillade of police bullets, five years ago. About 200 people took part in the demonstrations, according to “Stop Stop-and-Frisk” leader Carl Dix. “What’s been needed is mass resistance,” said Dix. “The New Jim Crow is meeting some new freedom fighters.” The group holds a citywide Day of Student Action Against Stop-and-Frisk on December 2, spearheaded by a contingent from Columbia University.
Uhuru Joins POP in Newark
The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement sent delegations from Philadelphia and Washington, DC, to join demonstrations for jobs, peace, equality and justice organized by the People’s Organization for Progress – or POP – in Newark, New Jersey. Uhuru Movement leader Diop Olugbala said the same tyranny of corporations and banks that exists in Newark also prevails in Philadelphia, Washington and every other major U.S. city. POP has been holding daily protests for five months.
Mass Demonstrations Planned for Chicago
The United National Anti-War Coalition, UNAC, is determined to hold mass demonstrations in May against meetings of NATO and the wealthy G-8 nations, in Chicago, despite government plans to put severe limitations on protests. UNAC spokesperson Chris Gavreau says the feds are categorizing the meetings as “National Security Events.” “I believe that means they are declaring the rules on civil liberties and the right to protest are off the table,” she said. UNAC demands the right to protest the G-8’s “austerity cutbacks and other horrors” and NATO’s “bombing of Libya, the occupation of Afghanistan and new outrages all over the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.”
Every Armed American Must Leave Iraq
Despite the Obama administration’s claims that U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will be complete by the end of the year, “the State Department seems to be planning to leave 16,000 personnel in Iraq,” including “8,000 armed military contractors, or mercenaries,” said Raed Jarrar, a Washington-base Iraqi-American journalist and political analyst. He points out that 16,000 men is the equivalent of an Army division. “There are no other examples of an embassy this size anywhere in the world.”
U.S. Public Opinion Counts for Nothing
All that the so-called congressional SuperCommittee had to do, if it really wanted to cut the deficit properly, according to University of Massachusetts political scientist Thomas Ferguson, “was listen to public opinion.” Polls show “by over 2 to 1, Americans want higher taxes on the rich, and they don’t want cuts in Social Security and Medicare.” So, what did the Democrats do? “They begin by offering cuts in Social Security and Medicare,” said Prof. Ferguson. “Popular opinion plays almost no role in what these guys decide to do.” By elevating deficits over job-creation, U.S. politicians “are discrediting the whole political system.”
California Prison Strikers Said to Commit Suicide
Three inmates who took part in hunger strikes against California’s high security confinement practices were found dead, apparent suicides. Isaac Ontiveros, of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, said the deaths point out the need to “call solitary confinement what it is: torture.” Classically, said Ontiveos “torture is used to cause despair…to create a climate of profound and disorienting uncertainty.”