Black Agenda 27 March 2013: Is the Prison Industrial Complex Real? Throwing BRICS at US Empire, Obama Turns Right

27 March 2013 — Black Agenda Report

This week in Black Agenda Report

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book “New Jim Crow” provided a language to talk about the prison state that we never had before. But is it entirely accurate? Is the prison industrial complex real? What’s the difference between fighting against racism or a “new jim crow” or a “prison industrial complex” and confronting the reality of the prison state?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

History has placed the BRICS nations on the path of confrontation with a superpower in decline. Washington is prepared to strangle the world into submission, or drown it in chaos. “Objectively, the United States has positioned itself as the great and implacable impediment to global development.”

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Republicans have stripped down their constituency to only “the worst of the worst” Americans: “white supremacists, misogynists and other dead enders.” Obama’s Democrats have absorbed the rest of the GOP, to become the New Republican Party of austerity and war.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Corporate conspirators have Detroit in their clutches. “Lawyers for Jones Day will be handling the sale of Detroit’s property and the cancelling of its contracts as ordered by another Jones Day lawyer, Kevyn Orr” – which means that “the same law firm is effectively serving as attorney, client, and local government in Detroit.” Democracy abolished, corporate rule installed.

A Black Agenda Radio Commentarby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For the black political class, the question “is it racist?” has become a substitute for inquiry into causes and cures, not least because so many of them are complicit in austerity and privatization schemes themselves. Circling the racial wagons is something we’ve done many times before, and poverty, the prison state and privatization are still all around us. Isn’t it time to ask some new questions.

by Friends of Congo

Bosco Ntaganda is “the third high-profile veteran of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Rwanda-backed militia leader in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to have fled to Rwanda after having committed heinous crimes in the Congo.” He did not act alone, but as a proxy of Rwanda, a U.S. ally.

by Auset Marian Lewis

The world-famous Black brain surgeon from Baltimore is nothing but a “Samuel L. Jackson-Django turncoat,” says the author. If the great Ida B. Wells encountered Ben Carson, “she probably would shoot him with her Winchester.”

by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

Ben Carson, the brain doctor, has joined the ranks of the Right’s favorite Negroes. “The likes of a Wardell Connerly, Shelby Steele, or Clarence Thomas stand before conservatives and argue that we no longer need Affirmative Action, Head Start, and other social programs.”

by Pascal Robert

When the oppressed seek to “redeem” themselves in the eyes of their oppressors, the struggle for liberation is lost before it begins. “The Black community must wake up out of the ‘hope and change’ induced stupor in order to mobilize effective oppositional politics.”

by Solomon Comissiong

White supremacy is a killer of plague-like dimensions, “responsible for well over 100 million deaths” of Africans and Native Americans, alone. For centuries, white supremacists have waged war on the non-white world. “In 2008 they selected their newest weapon – Barack Obama.”

 

by Raymond Nat Turner

The “Leo” of this poem is the legendary Black longshore union activist Leo Robinson, who died this past January. “The deep, dark chocolate brown, booming / Baritone brother sportin’ black, Lenin-like / Greek Fisherman’s cap / comin’ Coltranish…

Black Michigan Under Emergency Financial Boot

About 54 percent of the Black population in our state will not have the right to vote in local elections” because of Michigan’s imposition of emergency financial managers over cities and school districts, said John Philo, director of Sugar Law Center. “It’s an economic model that says the only way out of a fiscal crisis is to cut services to those in need, privatize public resources,” and break public sector unions, said Philo. Detroit’s new emergency manager was a partner in a law firm whose clients make up more than half the Fortune 500 corporations.

Social Security Supporters “Disappointed” in Obama

The president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare fired off a letter to the White House, last week. “It seems the president is determined to remind everybody that he’s willing to offer a new formula for determining the cost of living adjustment for recipients” – which is a cut, said Max Richtman. “We’re all very disappointed.”

Brooklyn Blacks Continue Protests in Police Killing

Police blanketed the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, as residents staged protests against the killing of 16 year-old Kimani Gray. Carl Dix, of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, who led a rally on Sunday, said: “Anybody with even an ounce of justice needs to come and stand with the people in this neighborhood, because if you don’t do that, you’re leaving them alone face all the oppression that the systems brings down.”

Collegiate Anti-Incarceration Campaign

Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) hold their national conference at Howard University, in Washington, April 19 and 20, under the theme, “Where Do We Go From Here: Re-Energizing the Black Student Movement.” “We hope to come out of the conference with a national plan of action,” said organizer Haji Conteh.

Racial Disparity in Incarceration Narrows

The gap between Black and white imprisonment rates has narrowed in recent years, according to a new study by The Sentencing Project. The trend is the result of “a declining rate of incarceration for Black men coming at the same times as a rising rate for white men,” said Project director Marc Mauer. The shrinkage of the gap among women was even more dramatic. Fewer Blacks are being sentenced to long prison terms for drugs, while larger numbers of whites are incarcerated, typically for methamphetamines.

Civil Rights Heroine Honored

Claudette Colvin, who was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus – nine months before Rosa Parks – will be honored by the People’s Organization for Progress, in Newark, New Jersey, March 28. Black movement leaders didn’t think Colvin and three other young women fit the image they wanted to present of Black people. “We were rejects,” Colvin laughed. But Colvin’s case was the one that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the bus segregation law. “Rosa Parks was the right person for the time,” said Colvin, but “we are disappointed that no one tells how the bus boycott came to an end, successfully.”