Black Agenda Report 31 January 2013: Melissa Harris-Perry Hides Cause of School Closings, Job Discrimination, Mali

31 January 2013 — Black Agenda Report

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

When print or broadcast news outlets grab a compelling story, only to distract attention away from what the public needs to know, that’s called “burying the lead.” That’s what Melissa Harris-Perry did in her Jan. 26 segment on whether the nationwide wave of public school closings were “racist” or not.

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

For the masses of Black people, progress against job discrimination ground to halt decades ago. Even at the supervisory level, apartheid is the order of the day. “Black men and women are rarely hired to supervise white people. Black men supervise black men, black women supervise black women, and white men are in positions to manage everyone else.”


by Omali Yeshitela

At last: a revolutionary African analysis of Django, a movie that “does not have the ability to criticize the institution of slavery.” Jamie Foxx’s character “does not enlist his captive brothers and sisters in the enterprise of ending slavery or their own enslavement.” And, he is disconnected, choosing only “to free his wife and to exact revenge for wrongs done to her.”


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Europeans are pouring into northwest Africa in such volume, the huge U.S. airlift capacity may soon be necessary to keep the “Crusaders” supplied. African militaries are being assembled to do the white man’s bidding. The U.S. hopes to establish a Somalia-like operation on the near side of Africa – with Americans in overall charge.

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Teachers in Seattle are standing up to the high stakes testing regime and refusing to administer an unnecessary test. Students and parents have lined up to support them, and the boycott has already spread to a second Seattle high school. President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union said teachers shouldn’t have to “teach to the test”. Will be commend the efforts of Seattle teachers? Don’t hold your breath.


A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Republicans tend to concentrate African Americans in majority Black voting districts, while Democrats like to scatter Blacks around to help white candidates win office. “Both parties are playing plantation politics with Black voters, for their own purposes.” Coalitions are fine, but African Americans need to address their own problems, on their own terms.


by Pepe Escobar

The imperialial juggernaut is once again on a roll in North Africa, with France in the lead. Secular-run Algeria had “better get its US$50 billion in reserves out of Western banks as soon as possible.” But overwhelming arms do not guarantee victory. “The French are on their way to meet the American fate in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”


by A. Akbar Muhammad

Western actions in Mali indicates a new phase of imperialism, domination and plundering.” France has taken the point position in the armed intervention. However, “because of what African raw material wealth means to their futures, Britain and America couldn’t be left out.”


by Kwasi Anokye

How does a fractured movement fight for release of activists facing false charges, while simultaneously defending the rights of other imprisoned freedom fighters to resist oppression by any means necessary? “Standard leftist language would have us defend our freedom fighters merely as unjustly treated individuals, not as righteous insurgents.” But what about our inherent right to self-determination?


by Sundiata Acoli

What can social justice movements do to resist and, ultimately, topple a state that is built on mass incarceration? The author, a political prisoner, says “at this moment it seems very possible for social movements to succeed in reducing prison populations. But any reductions under the present policy would only postpone the next incarceration binge to some more cost-efficient time.”


by Raymond Nat Turner

Illegal forward Pass: $16 trillion plus and spiraling to Wall
Street wideouts from the offal office’s drop back pocket-passing



Housing is for People – Not Banks

Housing policy at its core should have as its primary end providing housing” for people, rather than as a national wealth-building mechanism, said Tim Sullivan, of Boston-based United for a Fair Economy. Sullivan is author of the group’ annual report, 013: A Long Way Home. Black families possess only a small fraction of the wealth of whites, and housing makes up a much greater share of the small Black slice. Seventeen million homes are vacant, yet millions are homeless, said Sullivan. “First and foremost, housing should be seen as a human right.”

Obama’s inaugural speech showed him to be:

“…as big a war criminal as many of us on the Left consider George Bush,” said author and activist Kevin Alexander Gray, in Columbia, South Carolina. “I think the idea of a president giving a speech while simultaneously giving orders to kill people through the use of drones – of that being some kind of powerful, progressive speech, is absolutely ridiculous.” In suggesting that the age of retirement be raised for Social Security, Gray said Obama “is willing to say to Black people: you work till you die.”

inventor of drone wars. Thousands of troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. “Meanwhile, President Obama has invented a brand new kind of war called the drone wars, and taken that new kind of war into new nations,” said activist and author David Swanson, publisher of the influential website War Is A “It’s an expansion of war,” not an ending of it.

a climate change double-talker. Obama “talks out of both sides of his mouth on climate change,” said Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, former Environmental Protection Agency official turned whistleblower and a founder of the No Fear Coalition. “He says we have to protect future generations, but at the same time he’s most likely going to approve the Keystone pipeline, which is another assault on the atmospheric life of this planet. So there’s this constant double-talk.”

the same old neo-liberal Obama. “It’s kind if surprising to see how willing folks that describe themselves as being of the Left are, after four years of a presidency that proceeded to be a monument to the unelected dictatorship of money and empire, to give credence to his words,” said Paul Street, activist and author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. If you read the speech closely, “it’s the same old deeply conservative, state capitalist, neo-liberal Obama.”

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