Black Agenda Report February 15 2012: Black MisLeading Looter Class / Warriors for Empire / Grammy Racism

15 February 2012Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left

Giving Away the Store: The Black Political Class as Bystanders and Looters

Dr. King once expressed the belief that we might be “integrating into a burning house.” Even that might not be so bad, one supposes, if we were actually fighting the fire. But is America’s black political class even committed to fighting the fire at all, to alleviating poverty, to standing up for peace and justice? Are they only about prolonging their perks and careers? Are they firefighters? Or looters?

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“Human Rights” Warriors for Empire

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have chosen sides in the Washington-backed belligerency – the side of Empire.” Syria has no choice but to secure every square foot of its territory. “Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed attack under the guise of ‘protecting’ civilians in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, to armed rebels and foreign jihadis.”

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Freedom Rider: Greece: Your Money or Your Life

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
Greece‘s plight proves that the Lords of Capital have no more use for democratic facades, in Euroland or anywhere else. The Greeks will be allowed to survive – barely, and just for a short while – only if they surrender to “the free movement of capital” and take no actions that would “influence the management or control of companies.” For the people’s purposes, the Greek state has ceased to exist. “The sad truth is that citizens of supposedly democratic countries live in dictatorships of, for, and by the rich.”

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012 Grammy Awards, Corporate Greed and Cultural Genocide

At the same time that the Grammy Awards honored Etta James and Whitney Houston, it did away with most of their award categories, 31 in all. Most of the stricken awards were for Latin jazz and other Latin music, four R&B categories, zydeco, Hawaiian and Native American music. A large group of artists protested outside the award ceremony last weekend, and pledge to continue fighting for the restoration of recognition to to their music, to our music. When we surrender this power to greedy corporations, we are complicit in cultural genocide.

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Mass Black Incarceration: Damn Right, We Charge Genocide

A Black Agenda Report commentary by Glen Ford
The United States resisted signing the international treaty against genocide until 1988 – because it was guilty of the crime, and not necessarily finished. Mass Black incarceration, in both its past and present forms, provides much evidence of U.S. genocidal intent. The bodies have been piling up for forty years – although mainly warehoused, rather than deceased. “The criminalization of genocide was intended to be much more than a kind of legal epitaph for the dead; it was designed, like all laws, to prevent the crime.”

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South Africa Buries Its Freedom Charter

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
In refusing to even consider nationalizing the mining industry, South Africa‘s ruling party, the African National Congress, has all but repudiated its most solemn (and fundamentally socialist) document: the Freedom Charter. Created and endorsed by a people’s movement in 1955, the Charter calls for national ownership of minerals, but the ANC government vows that will never happen. Under nominal Black rule, the “ANC has transformed itself into a handmaiden of multinational capital.”

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All Praise and Revolutionary Homage to Pam Africa: Our Daughter of the Dust

by Anthony Monteiro
At last, a song for an unsung heroine of the Freedom Movement. Pam Africa is the irresistible force and immovable object of the movement to free Mumia Abu Jamal. “She fought several of Mumia’s lawyers whose liberalism and belief in the system inhibited their capacity to fight for his freedom and to see the possibilities of connecting what goes on in the courts to what goes on in the streets.” Mumia’s live exit from death row “would have been impossible without the movement and without Pam Africa herself.”

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God’s Body, God’s Plan: The Komen Foundation Furor and Abortion as Black/Latino “Genocide”

by Sikivu Hutchinson
Money and religion make strange bedfellows. The most right-wing forces in U.S. politics have cultivated Black and Latino allies to label abortion rights advocates as nothing less than enemies of God. Yet, “It is precisely because of right wing opposition to universal health care coverage that Black, Latina, Asian, and Native American women are more likely to rely on the wraparound health care services that Planned Parenthood provides.”

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Med School Classes Cancelled in Havana

by Don Fitz
Fidel Castro long ago vowed to make Cuba a “medical superpower.” The country’s healthcare system emphasizes preventive medicine and mobilization of the entire population against threats to health and safety. Medicine is more than a career. “Imagine that, at the height of the Katrina disaster, the US closed medical schools in Gulf coast states and coordinated the work of attending to medical and public health needs of the poorest in New Orleans.”

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Bank Settlement “Doesn’t Go Far Enough”
The $25 billion bank payout to homeowners announced by the Obama administration “doesn’t go far enough” to address the problem of hundreds of billions in overvalued homes, said Jordan Estavao, of the New Bottom Line coalition. Obama’s new task force on bank fraud is also open to question. “There has been a bank fraud task force set up by the Obama administration in place for the past two years, and they have done very little to bring the law to the banks,” said Estavao. “Certainly, no high level bank executives have indicted, to this point.”
Black Churches Target BB&T Bank
The National Black Church Initiative, representing 15.7 million African Americans in 34,000 churches, announced a seven-year boycott of BB&T, a regional bank centered in the Southeast. “They are not doing anything for the Black community in terms of community development,” and have “foreclosed on hundreds of Black churches,” said Initiative president Rev. Anthony Evans. He predicts BB&T will “suffer loss of at least 40 percent of their profits over the next seven years.”
Restaurant Chain Biased Against Black Workers
“Armed with data showing Blacks make $4 an hour less than whites in the restaurant industry, the Restaurant Opportunity Center United brought a class action suit against Darden Restaurants, owners of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille. Blacks and other people of color are grossly under-represented in higher paid industry jobs, such as bartenders, said Center co-director Saru Javaraman. “Whites have twice the chance of getting front-of-the-house positions.” The Center is also pushing to raise the minimum wage for (mostly female) workers who depend on tips, which has been stuck at $2.13 for over 20 years.
Contraception Controversy is a “Phony Debate”
The recent battle over who should pay for female employees’ contraceptives is “really a symptom of a dysfunctional health care system,” said Chicago-based labor activist and writer James Thindwa. “In societies where there is national health care, including Italy, which is heavily Catholic, they’re not having this debate, because the government is paying for health care,” he said. “This is an opportunity for those of us who champion single payer to point to this phony debate.”
Tim Wise: “A Perfect Storm for White Anxiety”
A combination of cultural, demographic, and economic challenges to white supremacy and privilege – plus the advent of a Black president – has created “a perfect storm for white anxiety,” said anti-racist activist and lecturer Tim Wise, author of the new book Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority. “As the economic system is crumbling,” many whites are locked into their own supremacist myths and “really don’t know how to cope.” Whites need to “take personal responsibility” to make the U.S. a better and more equal place, said Wise – and that means “fighting injustice.”
U.S. Imperial Policy Leads to War Crimes
Not a single Marine was sentenced to prison in the 2005 massacre of 24 unarmed Iraqi children, women, men and elderly, in the town of Haditha. “The lesson is that the United States government should refrain from invading other countries in illegal, imperialistic wars that then lead to the torture of prisoners and war crimes,” said Marjorie Cohn, professor at the Thomas Jefferson Law School, in San Diego, California, who has written extensively on the Haditha massacre.

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