Black Agenda Report for June 15, 2016: Setting Up For Another Regime Change in Africa, Nationwide Prison Strike in September

15 June 2016 — Black Agenda Report 

U.S. Sets Stage for Libya-Like Regime Change in Eritrea, “Africa’s Cuba”

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. is moving towards war against Eritrea, a fiercely independent African nation of only six million people. Washington has deployed its UN “human rights” proxies to justify another “humanitarian” military intervention, remarkably like the UN-sanctioned aggression against Libya, in 2011. The UN panel charges Eritrea with “enslaving” and murdering its own people – a pack of imperial lies. Obama is set to add another war to his bloody legacy.

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Prison inmates around the country have organized to resist the world’s largest and most profitable system of human bondage. Mass Black incarceration marks the U.S. as a racist police state. “When we stand up to these authorities,” say the prisoners, “they come down on us, and the only protection we have is solidarity from the outside.” All decent men and women must answer the call to action from the belly of the gulag in September.

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

The massacre in Orlando was not the largest mass killing in U.S. history, and the United States has been responsible for the massacre of millions around the planet. We should all be mindful of “the nexus between US foreign policy adventures that plunder and violate countries in search of natural resources and US domestic racist actions.” U.S. crimes against humanity stretch from My Lai to Ferguson.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The U.S. prison system is the true measure of how America regards its Blacks citizens. In a country that is till two-thirds white and only one-sixth Black, African Americans make up majorities of the prison population in 12 states. To bring U.S. incarceration rates down to 1972 levels, fully 80 percent of the 2.3 million current prison inmates – a total of 1,850,000 men and women – would have to be let go.

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by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka

In the space of a week, Muhammad Ali was eulogized by “the rapist and petty opportunist politician” Bill Clinton, and the U.S. government announced it would pursue the death penalty for the Charleston shooter. Nothing in America is innocent. The first event represents the rulers’ attempt to “Americanize” Black icons. The second cynically seeks to undermine opposition to the death penalty among Blacks, the group most opposed to capital punishment. 

by Danny Haiphong

Airheaded commentators compare Beyonce’s media products and Kanye West’s off-hand quips to Muhammad Ali’s heroic political struggle and genuine sacrifice in the Sixties. That’s nonsense. “Beyonce can dress up in Black Panther dress and subsequently fail to use her platform to educate others about the Black Panther Party precisely because she is selling a product, not building a moveme
nt. The same goes for Kanye West and all corporate artists.”

by Neal Shirley

When people claim they have a plan to abolish prisons, make sure they are not hawking some techno-analytic, biometric, genetic mapping, computer-based or electronic ankle bracelet alternative designed to ensnare us all. Rather than abolishing incarceration, they would democratize it. When it comes to phony prison “abolition” schemes, “the president and his opposition all sound an awful lot like Angela Davis.”

by Solomon Comissiong

Lesser evils” are still evil – and, who says Hillary Clinton is the “lesser” in a contest with Donald Trump? “If you wish to vote for someone evil who adores war and destroying human life, by way of wars of aggression, then Hillary Clinton is your candidate.” Trump’s evil is also manifest in his nostalgia for Jim Crow and his crude and contemptible xenophobia.

by Ann Garrison

The two major parties maintain their duopoly, not just on the strength of corporate money, but by making it so hard for independent parties to get on the ballot. The author spoke to New Mexico activist and Stein campaign staffer Rick Lass about efforts to get the Green Party on the ballot in all 50 states. He reminded her that it also “takes an inspiring candidate with an organization to raise the funds and attract the volunteers needed to get on the ballot.”   

FBI Widens Sting Operations Against Dissidents

The FBI appears to have widened its web of sting operations to entrap American dissidents in so-called “terrorist plots,” said Sue Udry, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Udry cited a study that analyzed about 400 alleged terror plots prosecuted by the FBI between 2003 and 2010, only four of which “did not have a component of FBI entrapment of the people who were eventually convicted.” Most were against poor, unsophisticated Muslim Americans. In more recent years, said Udry, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department have used “these entrapment stings against environmental and peace activists” and have been “monitoring and infiltrating Black Lives Matter, the Occupy Movement” and “groups that are fighting fracking.” The Committee is demanding Congress launch an investigation to find out “what other groups the FBI has been focused on.”

Black Is Back Coalition to Help Develop an Agenda for Self-Determination

Black America in recent decades has put forward “no basic political demand” of its own, but instead hopes and prays “that the Democratic Party will treat us well and the Republican Party will not treat us badly,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. On August 13 and 14 the Coalition will hold a conference on a national Black political agenda for self-determination, in Philadelphia. In the Sixties, said Yeshitela, “the drive was for self-determination, and that’s been a missing element in the political discussion up until now.”

Broad Clemency Needed to Reverse Mass Incarceration

The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform organization, is calling for a broader, categorical approach to presidential clemency, like President Gerald Ford’s 1974 amnesty for war resisters. However, even comprehensive clemencies would not alter U.S. status as the world’s premier incarceration state, said executive director Marc Mauer. “We need to have more rational sentencing policies, we need more diversion from prison, and we need more public health approaches” to social problems,” said Mauer. “If we really want to address mass incarceration, it’s going to take much more on the front end than just rectifying some of these problems five or ten years after the initial sentence has taken place.”

Death Squads and Corporate Greed Prey on Black Colombians

Afro-Colombians and indigenous groups have been blocking roads in protest of violations of their land rights by multinational corporations and intimidation by paramilitary death squads. “You have a particular kind of predatory capitalism” in Colombia and other parts of Latin America, “where you have a relationship between corporations and the government, and paramilitary forces that do the bidding of these corporations in terms of cleaning people from land and terrorizing and murdering local organizers,” said Ajamu Baraka, a member of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network. “In Colombia, paramilitarism has been taken to an art form.” Baraka is a BAR editor and columnist and a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network.

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