22 February 2012 — Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
The African American Left’s failure to formulate a Black Agenda has made it “largely irrelevant during the greatest crisis of capitalism since at least the Great Depression, and the worst economic and social crisis for African Americans since the death of Reconstruction.” The default Black Agenda is Obamaism, which is corporatism, and the death of Black politics. “If all that matters is Obama, then there is no need for a Black political agenda – except four more years of Obama.”
One out of three Americans believes Iran is this country’s greatest enemy – testimony to the corporate media’s powers of distortion and the grotesque national worldview that results. “We are told that Iran is poised to develop nuclear weapons, kill all Israelis, launch terror attacks in the United States and perhaps create bad weather too.” U.S. media have little value “beyond predicting when they will allow a president to begin carrying out bad deeds.”
The most successful organizations for economic self-help of the last hundred fifty years have been labor unions, and in the US, African Americans have been more likely to form and join unions than any other group. So when President Obama imposed new restrictions on organizing unions, and make it easier for companies to dismiss and disregard union contracts he struck a blow first and hardest against black collective action for economic security.
Educational policy in the Obama era isn’t about education at all. It’s about replacing skilled, experienced teachers with rootless temps better suited to serve in the privatized holding tanks they wish to turn public schools in poor neighborhoods into, for a population on its way to low wage jobs and prisons.
We hear all the time about what geniuses the masters of capital, the lords of innovative technologies and global supply chains are. But are modern supply chains really that different from the transAtlantic slave trade, which brought genocide of Native American and African peoples and destruction of natural environments?
by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
Barack Obama campaigned under a banner of transparency in government, but has proven to be the most secrecy-fixated president of all time. Across the breadth of the bureaucracy, there is a mania to hide the facts from the people. “Senior leaders of the Department of Defense intentionally and consistently misled the American people and Congress about success in the Afghan War.” Public employees labor in fear. “These agencies are corrupt and we are still on the bus fighting like Rosa.”
by Kevin Alexander Gray
Jeremy Lin may be an ethnic novelty, but there’s nothing new or fresh about the way some folks have reacted to his displays of skill. “One can never underestimate the capacity of people to be ignorant or stupid.”
A Conversation with Gary S. Corseri
The former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate discusses the evolution of her worldview: her opposition to U.S. imperial wars (“the attack on Libya was an attack on Africa”); the “Israelization” of U.S. foreign policy; and her assessment of the Occupy Movement – “they’ve given us a way to self-identify.“
Washington appears to be attempting a re-run of last year’s regime change in Libya. “That’s what the drumbeats have been, all along,” said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The West puts the “opposition” together and arms it, “and then the United States claims we have to intervene to stop the very violence that we perpetrated. That is the absolute playbook for Libya.” At this point, the Syrian regime has to use violence to survive. “It doesn’t seem to me that there is a great deal of choice, here, for Syria,” said Ratner.
Single Payer Activists Ask High Court to Throw Out Individual Mandate
Fifty medical doctors have filed a brief, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down provisions of President Obama’s health care legislation that force Amerians to by private health insurance. “There’s a dire need right now to get rid of, not only the individual mandate, but to get rid of the private health insurance corporations,” said Russell Mokhiber, of Single Payer Action. Obama’s bill “wasn’t an accomplishment for the American people, it was an accomplishment for the insurance industry. They drafted this law. It kept them in the game.”
Newark Daily Protests Link Local, National Struggles
Daily demonstrations begun in June by the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), in Newark, New Jersey, “provide a real opportunity for everyday people who feel that their voices have been heard, that they’ve been drowned out by the Super Pacs,” said Jerome Harris, immediate past president of the New Jersey Black Issues Convention. POP vows to continue demonstration for jobs, education, peace and justice for at least 381 days, the duration of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Chicago Torture Commission Lacks Funds
Standish Willis, the Chicago attorney who drew up legislation that authorized a commission to gain the release of Black men imprisoned on evidence and confessions obtained by police torture, said state funds for the project have been cut in half. That’s barely enough to pay an executive director and an assistant, said Willis. “Without funding, the Commission will die,” and at least 20 torture victims will languish in prison.
Push to Ban Death Penalty in Maryland
Political prisoner Marshall Eddie Coleman, a former Black Panther incarcerated for the last 42 years, is leading a campaign to end capital punishment in the state. Maryland may be “Up South,” said Atty. James Reston, secretary of the Baltimore-Washington chapter of the Jericho Project, but “it has a Deep South mentality.” Seventy-seven percent of the state’s inmates are Black, and four Black men and a white woman sit on Death Row.
Economist Skeptical of Obama Housing Scheme
“This has a lot more to do with getting a good photo-op” for the president, than providing substantial help to homeowners, said Dr. Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst. “We are now in the third or fourth effort. None of the others succeeded. It would be strange for us to believe, now, with an election coming up,” that a $26 billion settlement will solve a $700 billion problem.
Black Power Redefined
Joanne Griffith, a British-born journalist, is on a speaking tour for her new book, Redefining Black Power: Reflections on the State of Black America. “We are looking at activism from different perspectives – from the legal perspective, from the media perspective, and from the emotional impact that the Obama presidency has had on African Americans,” she said.