21 March 2012 — Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
What are the people who tell us President Obama hasn’t got a “magic wand” really saying? That we have no right to expect a president to use the power of his office to address mass incarceration, the housing, foreclosure, student and consumer debt crises, or end our murderous colonial wars around the world? That we’re immature and unsophisticated to demand or expect much of anything more than his pretty black face in that big white house?
The global spotlight is shining on Sanford, Florida, where a white vigilante ended the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But publicity also draws its own kind of flies. Obama apologist Al Sharpton will appear at a rally for justice for Trayvon, as will the radio huckster Michael Baisden. “Baisden must be ignored and Sharpton must be watched.”
No matter how much evil Barack Obama actually accomplishes during his presidency, people that call themselves leftists insist on dubbing him the Lesser Evil. Not only is Obama not given proper credit for out-evil-ing George Bush, domestically and internationally, but the First Black President is awarded positive grades for his intentions versus the presumed intentions of Republicans. As the author says, this “is psycho-babble, not analysis. No real Left would engage in it.”
Ten years ago, iImam Jamil Al Amin, the former H. Rap Brown was falsely convicted and sentenced to life in Georgia. When black, white, brown prisoners, Muslim and non-Muslim Georgia inmates openly acknowledged him as a leader and political prisoner, and public pressure mounted for a new trial and his removal from solitary, Georgia officials transferred him in the dead of night to the man-made supermax hell of Florence, Colorado, a federal prison some say is worse than Bagram or Guantanamo.
The Kandahar, Afghanistan and Sanford, Florida killers are anything but freaks. Both acted on racist impulses shared by huge numbers of their fellow citizens, and encouraged by the policies of national and local governments. U.S. policy conveys immunity from other nations’ laws on U.S. soldiers, while state laws are rewritten to do the same for murderous-minded whites. “Evocation of white fear now provides the same justification for summary murder as claims of rape of white women did for mob lynchings, back in the day.”
In their own inimitably depraved ways, the French and American governments insulted two million dead Algerians and Iraqis, without ever mentioning their deaths. France was largely silent on its defeat in Algeria, 50 years ago, while the U.S. president told fantastic lies about the Iraq war without acknowledging U.S. defeat or Iraqi dead. “There is no word that can describe the absolute moral turpitude of imperialists….”
The rule of law is everywhere in retreat. Racist vigilante justice trumps Blacks’ right to life in Florida and a growing number of “shoot first” states, while the U.S. president claims the right to kill at will, internationally. “The Florida laws are the local articulation of a US foreign policy that deploys murder and mayhem at any sign of a threat.” Eric Holder, the nation’s top lawman, condones assassination without trial, yet “is now tasked to investigate Trayvon Martin‘s murder.”
We are excited to present to our readers this demonstration version of BATV, the video program that will become part of the Black Agenda Report team’s regular schedule, later this year. BATV is a work in progress, and this demo is by no means the final version. We do hope it conveys the spirit of how we plan to bring “news, commentary and analysis from the black left” to video.
Whistleblowers achieved their greatest legislative victory in modern times in a fight against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Now headed by a Black woman, Lisa Jackson, the EPA continues to put corporate interests over people’s health and welfare. “Women whistleblowers in general and Black women whistleblowers in particular seem to fall under the knife of the black woman leading the EPA.”
From it beginnings last year, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been dominated by whites and embroiled in questions of white privilege. Activists of color insist that issues of corporate greed cannot be tackled in a vacuum, but must be “connected to racism, to patriarchy, to oppression generally.” As Angela Davis says, “We have to recognize that the 99 per cent is hierarchically developed by itself.”
012, Past is Prologue
Republican voter suppression could negate the votes of five million Americans, and potentially sway the 2012 election. “The very people who claim they want to ‘take their country back’; want to ‘restore America to its original ideals’; and ‘protect liberty for all Americans” are working insidiously to deny the franchise to a significant number of American citizens.” Mass disenfranchisement proceeds apace, even though “there is almost no voting fraud in America.”
Lords’ Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony “looks like a kindergarten student compared to the crimes” of the man he has been fighting for decades, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, said Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of the Congo. President Museveni has been a U.S. ally and client since seizing power in 1986 with a guerilla force largely comprised of child soldiers. “Rather than holding the American government accountable for supporting a dictator who has committed more crimes than Kony and is still committing crimes as we speak, they are calling for military support for Museveni’s army and sending U.S. troops there,” said Musavuli. Uganda has been implicated by both the United Nations and the World Court in the deaths of some of the six million Congolese who have been killed since the mid-Nineties.
McKinney on “Build People’s Power Tour”
Former Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has teamed with the International Action Center for a “Build People’s Power” campaign. “You can’t build a movement if people aren’t talking to each other,” said the former Green Party presidential candidate. “There is a kind of balkanization of the areas of protest.” The idea behind the tour, which has so far visited New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Los Angeles, is to bring various organizations into the same space to “plan an agenda, a calendar of actions that we’re going to do, and everybody participates,” said the former Georgia congresswoman.
Obama Not a Lesser Evil
“The Black Left cannot be rebuilt on the delusion of some ‘lesser of two evils,'” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “We have to fight to rebuild the historical Black political consensus and a Black Left that is based on principle.” President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are “like twins. We have to call for a boycott” of the presidential election,” said Monteiro.
EEOC a “Cesspool of Racism and Corruption”
“If they can only find reasonable cause in racial complaints from African Americans and foreign born Blacks 3.5% of the time, that alone tells you what’s going on,” said Ricardo Jones, Sr., a former senior New York investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “The perception at the EEOC is that all Black people lie,” said Jones. “Things got worse under Obama than Bush,” when “President Obama appointed his wife’s Harvard Law School girlfriend,” Jacqueline A. Berrien, as chairperson. “Because I wouldn’t take bribes and wouldn’t go along with the corruption, they fired me.”
Newark Protests Gain Momentum
Daily demonstrations for jobs, housing, education and justice have passed the nine-month mark, with the goal of matching the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott’s 381 days of protest. “Each day it seems the momentum picks up,” said Lee Herbert, political and human rights adviser to the local Utility Workers union. His members “see there’s somebody out there fighting on their behalf. I see a movement coming out of this, because you can’t stop after 381 days.”
Mumia Live from Outside Death Row
Political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal made his first live radio appearance since his release from Pennsylvania’s prison death row into the general prison population. Speaking on Atty. Michael Coard’s program on radio station WURD, in Philadelphia, Abu Jamal recounted how “the police beat me right into the Panther Party” as a teenager in 1968.