Friday, July 17, 2015

Obama and Freedom Riders

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by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Barack Obama attempts to create a phony legacy as the prison "reform" president by extending clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders – not all that many, by presidential standards. Yet, he went to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep 5,000 non-violent crack-cocaine offenders locked up. Obama's "sudden desire to look like the Great Emancipator is an ongoing publicity junket."

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

South Africa's most militant labor leaders are pressing forward with plans to build a real socialist party to challenge the ANC government's capitulation to global capitalism. ANC loyalists this week locked the country's largest union and the labor federation's former general secretary out of a COSATU special Congress. The two traveled to the U.S., last week, seeking help from activists that supported the "Free South Africa" movement in the 80s.

 

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The consequences of the Great Recession "and the Obama administration's response to it" have fallen most heavily on Black children, who have been plunged into poverty at the highest levels ever recorded. Poverty rates have gone down for all children except Blacks – an example of actual American "exceptionalism."

 
 
 

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

Piecemeal and wholesale privatization of public schools has been the bipartisan agenda of Republicans and Democrats. Now top school districts are outsourcing teacher hiring to be sure they get the Wal-Mart style disposable temps to man the positions once held by experienced teachers connected with their students and communities.

 
 
 

by Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, editor and columnist

Eric Holder has been praised as a "civil rights"-oriented attorney general, but the only rights he has championed are those of the bankers, white vigilantes and killer cops. "Holder refused to press charges against millionaire banking executives who, he assured Wall Street, 'were too big to jail.'" Blacks have to make do with their Miranda warning rights – if they are lucky enough to survive an encounter with the police.

 

By Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist Blog, and Diane Ravitch

Last week the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, without consulting more than a token slice of the union's membership. It's hard not to know that AFT leaders have turned their backs on teachers and thrown in with the privatizing politicians and consultants. Hillary too has her own family ties to school privatizers.

 

by Paul Street

The Confederate flag comes down at the capital of South Carolina, and smug white smiles go up all over America. "Meanwhile," writes the author, "savage racial disparities persist and even deepen thanks to the underlying societal, institutional, historical, and political-economic racism that churns on behind the curtain of an officially color blind and, yes, politically correct media and politics culture."

 

by John Pilger

The Greek people said "No" to the bankers in Brussels, but their supposedly "radical" Syriza leaders immediately said "Yes." What is the true political nature of Syriza? "Tsipras and his impressively-educated comrades were not radical in any sense of that cliched label, neither were they 'anti austerity.'" The consequence of their false leftism "is not resistance, but subservience."

 

by Theogene Rudasingwa

President Paul Kagame threw a mighty tantrum following the arrest in the UK of his spy chief, Gen. Emmanuel Karenzi Karake. But the exiled opposition party Rwanda National Congress has welcomed the arrest, applauding the new efforts by some Western nations to demand accountability from the brutal tyranny in Kigali.

 

Austerity Rendering Detroit Unfit for Habitation

A serious fire raged out control due to chronic low water pressure in Detroit, despite the majority Black city's location in one of the world's major fresh water regions. "The whole process of so-called rebuilding of Detroit has not been clearly thought out," said Abayomi Azikiwe, veteran activist and editor of the Pan African News Wire. "How can you rebuild a city when you don't have fundamental infrastructure, such as fire services, public safety, education, emergency services, simple things like being able to go to a supermarket?" The economic elite are "doing everything possible to drive out the African American population," he said, but poor infrastructure discourages white resettlement. "What you have is the anarchy of capitalism."

Big Business Tries to Roll Back Socialist Alternative in Seattle

Corporate contributions are pouring into Seattle Urban League chief Pamela Banks' campaign to unseat Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative councilwoman who championed the city's $15 an hour minimum wage law. "It's not so much about my opponent's qualities," said Sawant, "It's because corporations, billionaires, the people who have an incentive to uphold the status quo, recognize that if we win re-election this year, then it really confirms to working people in Seattle and everywhere that we can prevail against the full might of big business and the political establishment."

Mumia: "Flags and Rags"

The heritage of the Confederate battle flag is "one of terror and violence in support of a system of organized theft of Black labor, in the name of white supremacy and Black subjugation," said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation's best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. "Dylan 'Dumb and Dumber' Roof knew, instinctively, what the flag stood for."

Justices OK Painful Death Drug

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term by allowing states to continue lethal injections with a cocktail that can cause horrific pain for condemned persons. "Prisoners remain less than human" in the High Court's eyes, said Kenneth A. Hartman, a writer and prison activist serving life in California. "How else can a decision that allows for deliberate torture be explained?"

Fear of Blacks Triggered 1776 War of Independence

White settlers turned against the their mother country partly in fear that the British Crown would put guns in the hands of Blacks, according to Dr. Gerald Horne, chairman of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of more than 30 books, including The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. In 1775, the British colonial governor of Virginia established an "Ethiopian Regiment" to counter rebellious white settlers. "One of the factors that caused formerly patriotic British subjects to revolt against British rule was this 'Black scare' that, I argue, led to the formation of the United States of America," said Dr. Horne, in a lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

 
 
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