16 October 2013 — Black Agenda Report
This week in Black Agenda Report
Most things have two prices — the price you pay outright, and the opportunity cost, the negative value of what you gave up in order to do what you did. Were the “opportunity costs of the Affordable Care Act, the options we threw away to get it, actually worth more than the Affordable Care Act itself? What if we had pursued single payer instead? Would Republicans be able to block its implementation, and millions remained uncovered, as is happening now?
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Many, if not most, Americans are eager to believe that what’s wrong with Detroit and other troubled cities is the fault of the inhabitants. “The irresponsible, profligate, corruption-prone Blacks, with their ghetto pathologies, are the problem.” But, the true source of urban instability can be found in lower Manhattan and the City of London.
The historic stand of African America is that of a people forged in struggle against privilege and injustice, asking for and receiving the solidarity of humanity in our continued struggle. How does that square with the current stand of our ostensible black leaders, addicted to celebrity and delirious at the mere proximity to power? How can supposed black leaders celebrate at the corporate funded monument to Dr. King one week and clamor for unjust, unconstitutional war out of loyalty to the black president the next? Whose shoulders do they stand on? Fannie Lou Hamer’s? Or Condoleezza Rice’s? Whose legacy do they uphold? Martin Luther King’s? Or Colin Powell’s?
Join Black Agenda Report, along with Cornel West, Ajamu Baraka and other guests for a fascinating exploration into the Black Misleadership Class, and what their rise to power and prominence mean for the rest of us, at Harlem’s Riverside Church Friday Oct. 18…. For tickets and further information click here.
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
If you think the SNAP food stamps debate is about poor people’s need to eat, you’re wrong. It’s about big corporations’ need to profit. “Xerox, JPMorgan Chase and eFunds Corporation have all successfully turned poverty into a profit center.” So have Coca Cola, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Kelloggs and a large slice of the rest of the Fortune 500 corporations.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
The African Union is moving towards a break with the International Criminal Court, a tribunal that only indicts Africans who get on the wrong side of the United States. Desmond Tutu and others claim the ICC needs to be there, to defend “the victims.” But its brand of justice is highly selective. “The ICC is a tool of U.S. foreign policy, an instrument of neocolonialism.”
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
When the Obama administration changed college loan rules in 2011, 28,000 students dropped out of HBCUs due to economic stress. The institutions themselves are facing fiscal doomsday unless something changes. The black misleadership class has led them into a corner, in which they can die or be auctioned off to corporate sponsors. Shamefully, some want Condoleeza Rice to be the next president at Howard.
by Margaret Flowers, MD
President Obama’s market-based health care plan got off to a very shaky start, but the entire developed world already knows that private markets cannot deliver quality health care for all. “A single payer health system, also called Medicare for all, would both resolve the fundamental failings of our current system and is the solution favored by most Americans.”
by Pascal Robert
Every “brother” ain’t a brother – and that goes for the sisters, too. “The ultimate idiocy of racial kinship politics is that it empowers an elite Black Misleadership Class that protects its own class interests to the detriment of the majority of the Black masses.”
by Colin Jenkins
The year 1492 marks the beginning of by far the greatest genocide in human history, and the inauguration of a global system of slavery. “The perpetrators of these crimes against humanity are magically transformed from conquerors to ‘explorers,’ from murderers to ‘adventurers,’ and from slave masters to ‘patriots’ and ‘founding fathers.’”
Next April 27 marks the 20th anniversary of the first majority rule elections in South Africa. Many will be wondering what all the celebration is about, and what martyred Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko’s guidance would be. “We must locate Biko in the struggle against the state under the ANC, which has adopted an increasingly anti-black stance, in pursuance of its neo-liberal agenda.”
by Raymond Nat Turner
For “po an’ wurkin’ folk,” the real shutdown begins when the two corporate parties come together for the Grand Bargain Feast.
by Kevin Berends
At the Environmental Protection Agency, protection of the hierarchy is the prime directive and whistleblowing is the cardinal sin. Dissenters risk loss of livelihood, reputation, freedom and health. Take a walk through the corridors of a racist, corporate-dominated government agency: TheShadow EPA.
Cancel Detroit’s Debt
Predatory bank lending policies destroyed the tax base of Detroit, and now these same Wall Street institutions want to confiscate the city’s public assets through forced bankruptcy. The debt should be cancelled, said Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer of the First International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity, held in Detroit last week. “It’s illegitimate. It’s based on the systematic destruction of the city,” said Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire. “We believe that people in other cities have to adopt a similar strategy.”
Leave Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Alone
Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP chief Ben Jealous and broadcaster Tom Joyner should halt their attacks on scholar/activist Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley, said Rev. Anthony Evans, director of the National Black Church Initiative. “Take your hands off these brothers. They are defending the integrity and worthiness of the Black community,” said Evans. Prominent Obama supporters, he said, have told the White House: “You don’t have to worry about Black folks getting out of line; we will keep them in line for you.”
A Socialist Win in Minneapolis?
Even the corporate media admit that Socialist Alternative candidate Ty Moore has a chance of winning a seat on the city council, this November. “If we win this race, it’s not because a majority of working class residents of Ward 9, South Minneapolis, are socialists, but because they are angry at the system and they see that the people who are running this city are clearly sided with the rich and big business,” said Moore. “Our organization has built roots in this community, by fighting back.” Another Socialist Alternative city council candidate is running well in Seattle.
UN Sued Over Haiti Cholera
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed suit in federal court, demanding the United Nations take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed at least 8,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands more. The world body claims it is immune from legal action, although it is widely accepted that UN ‘peacekeepers’ were the nexus of the disease. “The UN’s refusal to accept the rule of law in this case obviously undermines its ability to promote the rule of law, elsewhere,” said Institute director Brian Concannon. He notes that the UN, which claims lack of funds to eradicate cholera in Haiti, spent $500 million last year for ‘peacekeeping’ soldiers “in a country that has not had a recognized war in our lifetime.”
US Finances Congo Carnage
Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni told a UN Security Council delegation that bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo is not their responsibility. Maurice Carney, of Washington-based Friends of Congo, agrees. “Kagame and Museveni can never be responsible for peace,” said Carney. “What they can be responsible for is stopping the war of aggression that they have been waging against the Congolese people, with U.S. financial and military support and training, and U.S. diplomatic and political cover.” Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich eastern region of the Congo 17 years ago, resulting in the deaths of six million people – and counting.
American peace activists recently returned from a visit to Syria, where they met with President Bashir Al-Assad. Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, said it was important to counter U.S. government and media attempts to “demonize” the Syrian leader, as an excuse for arming thousands of jihadist “rebels.” “It was Syria that proposed making the whole region into a nuclear-free and chemical-free weapons zone,” said Flounders. “It was the U.S. who refused.”
China as U.S. Banker
Washington is “pivoting” to confront China militarily in Asia, while at the same time Beijing holds the largest share of Washington’s huge foreign debt. “It is quite ironic that the United States is seeking to escalate tensions with its bankers,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. “I’m not sure that’s a sound strategy. With an impending debt default,” said Horne, the dollar “as the principal world reserve currency comes into question.”
Philadelphia Declaration: War = Poverty
Grassroots activists held a Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “Our declaration of the rights of our people must demand an end to war, threats of war, and preparations for war,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. “You cannot answer the pressing social problems of this country, uppermost being poverty, without dismantling the warfare state,” he told the gathering at Philadelphia’s historic Church of the Advocate.
Herman Wallace: A Free Man
Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and the country’s best known political prisoner, saluted Herman Wallace, who was released from prison after 41 years of solitary confinement, earlier this month, only to die two days later of liver cancer. Wallace and two other inmates established a Black Panther Party chapter at Louisiana’s infamous Angola Prison. “He remained a soldier for the people and an opponent to the system,” said Abu Jamal. “Herman Wall truly died free.”