16 May 2012 — Black Agenda Report – News, commentary and analysis from the black left
The president’s announcement favoring the right of same sex couples to marry is long overdue and better than nothing. But it doesn’t make him a fearless warrior for human rights, any more than Henry Kissinger’s Nobel Peace Prize makes him Mahatma Gandhi.
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The liberal reformers are once again talking about tinkering with Wall Street’s economic and political stranglehold on society. “The reformist debate accepts the inevitability of private capital as the engine of economic – and, therefore, social – development.” The truth is, Wall Street needs derivatives to generate the “windfalls and mega-scores to keep the decaying system going.” But, does society need Wall Street? Hell no!
The biggest bank in the nation loses billions betting on derivatives, but the media are more concerned to report “which celebrities support gay marriage and which do not.” A symbolic comment on gays rates higher than issues of war and peace. “Capitalism has reached its inevitable crisis, but because there is little acknowledgement of this fact, there has been almost no discussion of what that means.”
The administration imposed the most draconian police state legal structures in U.S. history summoning the heads of NATO to Chicago. The pact accounts for 70 percent of military spending on the planet – combining the capacities of yesterday’s imperialists and the current superpower. “The Black man in the White House is seen, ironically, as the last best hope of the old colonial racial order and the rule of capital.”
“The Palestinian cry for dignity especially demands Black support” – today, as thousands of Palestinian prisoners emerge from a long hunger strike, just as in the late Sixties, during the Black Freedom Movement. Under an apartheid legal system, the “Palestinians have been subjected to an arbitrary system of military law.”
When Europeans resist corporate austerity measures, they are struggling to avoid “being forced to live like most Americans, at the total mercy of the rich.” The U.S. safety net hardly exists. The “American way of life” is a state of profound insecurity and social disconnectedness.
The second of three major Stop Stop-and-Frisk trials resulted in one brave defendant being sentenced to ten days in jail for calling the judge a “white racist pig.” Christina Gonzalez had reason to form that opinion, since the judge once wrote a hate book on immigration for children.
While methodically mobilizing the Democratic Party’s left wing to politically co-opt the movement, the Obama administration simultaneously schemed with law enforcement to “disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.” Heavily redacted documents from the Department of Homeland Security show the broad outlines of “a national campaign of spying, disruption and repression against Occupy activists.”
The United States is engaged in assassination and war crimes by drones in at least five nations around the globe, in violation of both U.S. and international law. It is a campaign of “extrajudicial ultimate death for people who have not been convicted of anything.” Barbarically, “the US also frequently fires drones again at people who show up at the scene of an attack, thus deliberately targeting rescuers and mourners.”
This week’s NATO summit meeting, in Chicago, “will be full of aggressive activities: plans for energy wars around the world, new decisions about how the U.S will maintain hegemony in the oil-rich Middle East and Afghanistan,” said Chris Gavreau, spokesperson for UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. Thousands of demonstrators are expected to converge on the city.
Boycott the Two Major Parties
“We know him as a war president, we know him as an anti-civil liberties president, we know him as an austerity president – that’s the record,” said Dr. Tony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia, speaking of Barack Obama. “The same goes for Mitt Romney.” Progressives and the Black Left should “boycott the two major parties” this election cycle.
Obama the Militarist
The president proclaims his militarism “proudly, with repeated references to ‘taking out’ al Qaida operatives through the most illegal methods imaginable,” said political analyst Paul Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. Street noted that Obama called his own health care program “centrist,” while admitting that it is modeled on a plan developed by the rightwing Heritage Foundation in the Nineties.
Derivatives Wreak Havoc at Banks
JP Morgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, gambled away billions because neither party made any real “effort to crack down on derivatives in general,” said Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer. “It’s remarkable how little has changed since the financial crisis” of 2008, said Henwood. “This is precisely the sort of thing that was supposed to be stopped.”
Cap Earnings of Rich
The U.S. should return to President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1942 proposal to use tax policy to cap wages at $25,000 a year – $364,000 in current money – said Johnny E. Williams, associate professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. Prof. Williams recently authored the article “Toward a Maximum Wage,” published in Counterpunch. A maximum wage should be linked to the minimum wage, he said. If the max goes up, so would the minimum, creating “a sense of community.”
President Obama‘s “policies are similar to the Bush administration but, in my opinion, are far worse, because he presented himself in 2008 as a change agent,” said Abayomi Azikewe, editor of the Pan African Newswire. Today, people see Obama as he really is, “a representative of the banks, the transnational corporations and the Pentagon – pure and simple.” Azikewe spoke with host Solomon Commissiong on Your World News, broadcast on WPWC Radio, in Washington, DC.