Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
info_outline The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open 05/24/2019
The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open A century ago, Republicans and Democrats passed ballot access restrictions to prevent socialists from getting on the ballot in the US. It's time to organize to break those barriers.
info_outline The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open 05/24/2019
The Battle For Ballot Access is a Century Old. It's Time to Break it Open A century ago, Republicans and Democrats passed ballot access restrictions to prevent socialists from getting on the ballot in the US. It's time to organize to break those barriers.
info_outline Biden's Poll Balloon is Black Voters 05/02/2019
Biden's Poll Balloon is Black Voters Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president last week. You might imagine that in the age of Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, with some of the leading Democrats talking up free college tuition, the abolition of student debt, Medicare For All raising the minimum wage and taxing wealthy individuals and moonwalking even a little away from support of apartheid Israel that another frankly pro-corporate candidate would enter the race somewhere near the bottom of the polls. That would be right. You’d be imagining that. In the real world, Joe Biden announced last week and the first three polls list him at the top of the field, leading Bernie Sanders by double digits, with everybody else in single digits. Ominously, in all three polls about half the voters favoring Biden are black voters. The obvious conclusion, supported by the fact that Biden’s first two campaign videos, are race themed, and the second one prominently includes Barack Obama, is that Biden’s popularity among black voters is a hangover from the blind and unconditional support those same voters gave to the Obama administration. In the case of Barack Obama the fumes were so strong that his actual record didn’t matter. Barack could bail out and immunize the banksters and the companies that manufactured fake paperwork to take hundreds of thousands of homes away from people, and support from his base did not waver. Barack could propose commissions to privatize social security, and rescue the insurance companies instead of delivering Medicare For All and his based still lined up behind him. Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” program put more than 150,000 experienced black teachers out of work and closed thousands of public schools to make way for the privatization of education across the country, and black voters, including most of those former teachers, would have voted for him again. Biden was Obama’s vice president. But Biden is not Obama. Even if Obama openly endorses him at some point, Biden has his own record, and it’s that of a consistent corporate stooge. particularly of the real estate and banking industries, and as one of the architects of the mass incarceration state. Joe Biden didn’t just cast a vote for the 1994 , also known as the Clinton Crime bill. Joe Biden wrote the bill, including but not limited to provisions that created no less than 60 new federal death penalty offenses a ban on Pell grants for prisoners, from which states took their cues and enacted similar bans on higher education for prisoners. $9 billion in new funding for prisons sex offender registries to ensure lifelong stigmatization of the convicted 3 strikes provisions new funding for “boot camps” and juvenile prisons funding for 100,000 new police officers Biden’s bill resulted in a spike in mass incarceration which of course affected African American and Latinx communities more profoundly than any others. The damage to families and lives of course continues today. For many years, Joe Biden was known as the Senator from MBNA, the giant credit card entity that was bought by Bank of American in 2006 and re-sold to Lloyd’s Bank UK in 2016. Biden was responsible for the provisions that made it impossible to discharge student debt via bankruptcy, thus shackling millions of people with ballooning student debt that lasts till their forties and fifties. Student debt of course weighs heaviest upon black women. Joe Biden is an unwavering supporter of apartheid Israel, just like his buddy Barack, and an unrepentant warmonger like just about all of his Democrat colleagues in the House, the Senate, and among presidential candidates. Until Biden’s entrance, Bernie Sanders was the clear Democratic front runner. That’s over. The polls haven’t broken Biden’s black support by age, but it’s safe to assume that Bernie still leads among younger black voters, while Biden’s voters tend to be older. After promising for two years and failing to deliver Trump and his crew in handcuffs over imaginary collusion with the Russians, it’s hard to see how any Democrat wins in 2020. Even Bernie Sanders did his best to spread the RussiaGate nonsense. And while Bernie is likely the best candidate against Trump (my opinion – not the pollsters) the big lmoney guys from the telecoms, the military contractors, the real estate and banking and Big Pharma will surely line up behind their dependable Uncle Joe. They would rather lose with Biden than win with Bernie. The key to popping the Biden Balloon is getting past the warm and fuzzy Obama hangover, and drilling down into Biden’s actual record as a corporate stooge, a warmonger, an architect of the prison state, a foe of Medicare For All and a servant of the predatory banking industry which has saddled a generation with unpayable student debt. Most of the Democratic hopefuls though cannot do this, because they too are on the same corporate tit as Joe Biden, which is a telling indictment of the Democratic party, and why I and others are trying to build another party outside of and independent of the corporate-run Republicans and Democrats. For Black Agenda Radio Commentaries I’m Bruce Dixon. Find our audio podcasts – there are two of them, Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Libsyn or wherever you get your podcasts. Please do know that Black Agenda Report is being censored by Google and other commercial social media, and has been singled out by anonymous cowards who, accuse us of making propaganda for the Russians. So please do like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and all, but old fashioned email direct from us to you is the only way to guarantee you’re receiving the fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left that Black Agenda Report has delivered each and every week since 2006. So please visit our web site at and hit the subscribe button to receive our free weekly email newsletter containing weekly summaries of and links to all our weekly posted print, audio and video content neatly packaged for your listening and sharing convenience. To comment on our material, join the conversation on our Facebook page, or send us email to comments(at)blackagendareport.com, or you can message us on Twitter @blkagendareport. Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport. He answers email, and has also been known to answer tweets to @brucedixon.
info_outline Is the Apartheid Colonial Settler State of Israel “Reparations” For Jews? ADOS Thinks So. 04/18/2019
Is the Apartheid Colonial Settler State of Israel “Reparations” For Jews? ADOS Thinks So. When the faux reparationists of ADOS point to the colonial settler state of apartheid Israel as an example of restorative justice and reparations for Jews in support of their claim to reparations for blacks in the US they are either confused, cynical, or both.
info_outline Tulsi Gabbard is a Sheepdog; Greens' Howie Hawkins is 2020's ONly Real Peace Candidate 04/03/2019
Tulsi Gabbard is a Sheepdog; Greens' Howie Hawkins is 2020's ONly Real Peace Candidate Tulsi Gabbard uses peace rhetoric to chase us back into the war party. That's the textbook definition of a sheepdog candidate.
info_outline ADOS Shrinks Reparationist Politics to Fit the Cramped Horizon of Tribalism 03/17/2019
ADOS Shrinks Reparationist Politics to Fit the Cramped Horizon of Tribalism ADOS deprecates solidarity, ignores racist empire and capitalism. But without eliminating those, reparations will be impossible to achieve.
info_outline Reparations Now? Maybe In Order to Get the Job Done It's Time To Call It Something Else 03/07/2019
Reparations Now? Maybe In Order to Get the Job Done It's Time To Call It Something Else If we seriously want to accomplish the heasv y lifting of reparations for the descendants of Africans in the western hemisphere it miht be time to call it something else
info_outline Facing 2020 and Bernie 2.0: What the Greens Must Do 02/28/2019
Facing 2020 and Bernie 2.0: What the Greens Must Do Bernie has upped his game for 2020, forcing everybody else to do the same. The challenges are particularly steep for the Green Party, which must field a 2020 campaign aimed achieving national ballot access, and building a new kind of sustainable, viable party outside and independent of the parties of capital.
info_outline HR 1 Cuts Green Party Funding, Sics Cops on Left Dissenters 02/06/2019
HR 1 Cuts Green Party Funding, Sics Cops on Left Dissenters HR 1 pretends to be a voting rights bill, a take the money out of politics bill, but those are merely bait. Its real legislative payload are a funding cutoff to third party presidential candidates, and an institutional requirement that the Pentagon, the intel and police and prison and homeland security industry deliver an annual threat report on Americans working for change.
info_outline Some Early Lessons From the Los Angeles Teachers Strike 01/25/2019
Some Early Lessons From the Los Angeles Teachers Strike Los Angeles was not West Virginial or Oklahoma or Arizona. LA teachers followed the Chicago model, and spent many months organizing their membership, forging deep organic ties with school communities, and even advancing their vision of what they called the community school, as opposed to the market driven charter school
info_outline House Democrats’ HR 1 – Faking the Funk on Voting Rights, Spreading Fear and Gunning For the Greens in 2020 01/17/2019
House Democrats’ HR 1 – Faking the Funk on Voting Rights, Spreading Fear and Gunning For the Greens in 2020 HR 1 is a truckload of cynical promises which House Democrats have neither the ability nor the intent to keep, along with a couple deadly measures to institutionalize a new McCarthyism and prevent the Green Party from running an effective presidential campaign in 2020.
info_outline Raising the Bar on a Green New Deal 01/11/2019
Raising the Bar on a Green New Deal Our place as Greens, as leftists generally then, is not to whine about how the Democrats stole our Green New Deal slogan and slapped it onto their half-assed efforts to appear responsive to the looming crises around us. What we did is we managed to raise the bar, and we have to find ways to do that constantly and consistently, again and again.
info_outline Michelle Obama's Memoir "Becoming" -- Lots of Stories, Few Lessons 01/03/2019
Michelle Obama's Memoir "Becoming" -- Lots of Stories, Few Lessons If anybody else had written it, the first hundred pages of Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” would stand as a brief, but warm and fuzzy memoir of growing up on the black south side of Chicago. But Michelle Obama is NOT anybody else. She’s the wife of Barack Obama, the first black president, with all the weight and responsibility that carries. You’d think the former first lady would seize the opportunity presented by her best selling memoir to educate her audience not just to the fact that people growing up on the south side frequently come from loving two parent families, that they grow up in cramped apartments, that they have aunties who give piano lessons, uncles who love jazz, that some of them get good grades, attend magnet high schools, end up in ivy league universities and Harvard Law School, but educate them just a little about the political realities governing the place she grew up. Michelle Obama doesn’t do that. She tells us her loving and hard working father worked for the city’s water department, and that he was a Democratic precinct captain but she never connects the two. Every Chicagoan knows that water department employees and tens of thousands of other city and county workers, for decades before the seventies and decades afterward are obliged to walk the precincts election day and deliver assigned quotas of votes for what Chicagoans call the Machine. That’s what precinct captains and their helpers are. The captains who fail to deliver their quota lose those city jobs and are replaced with others who can deliver the vote. For forty-five out of fifty-five years Chicago was ruled by one or another mayor named Richard Daley, and deploying an army of patronage workers like Michelle’s father was how they and their stooges stayed in office. Little Michelle Robinson wouldn’t have known that, but by the time one becomes an adult in Chicago these facts are well known. The other three quarters of her book, in which she meets her husband and he pursues a political career, is pretty unremarkable. She meets her husband to be at work, they get to know each other, they marry, he settles on a political career. He spends a few years as a state senator, is elected US senator from Illinois. They have children, and Barack Obama is elected president. She describes some key members of her husband’s political team, and her own support staff. She fulfills the duties of first lady, but is relieved when it’s time to campaign for a second term. She travels, she meets lots of people. She climbs into the limo with Trump’s wife for their inauguration, and the book ends where it began, some time in 2017. Michelle Obama has lots of stories, but few if any lessons, and when it comes to her husband’s career, some of the stories aren’t even true. She depicts her husband’s path up to his run for president in 2007 as kind of aimless happenstance. She claims the notion of running for president didn’t surface till other people brought it up after Barack Obama’s “...there is no black America, there is no white America...” speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. This is wildly implausible. I was one of the three field organizers at Project VOTE Illinois in 1992, and Barack Obama was our state director. Michelle Obama devotes a couple pages to Project VOTE in her memoir. After we registered more than 100,000 new voters and chased them out to the polls that November, the talk around Barack was that he would be running for the first open state senate seat on that part of the south side, the first open congressional seat on the south side, followed by a run for statewide office and a run for national office. As political organizers who’d had a hand in multiple Chicago mayoral campaigns and voter registration drives for 15 years by then, such a career arc seemed entirely plausible to us. That was around the Xmas holiday of 1992. If I heard it, then so did Michelle Obama. It’s not exactly the sort of plan one keeps from the wife. Despite what Michelle Obama says in her book, by the time a politician is invited to deliver the keynote at the Democratic party’s national convention, as Barack was in 2004, one is firmly on the short list of that party’s prospects for the next presidential election. Michelle Obama remembers that her feelings were hurt when Congressman Bobby Rush called her husband an “educated fool” in 1999 or early 2000. But she omits entirely the political context of Barack Obama’s 2000 run for Congress against Rush, the only electoral contest he managed to lose. By then, the Daley Machine had ruled Chicago for decades despite a fairly robust, longstanding and widespread political opposition. But that opposition didn’t have a mayoral candidate for 1999. Bobby Rush stepped forward to be the opposition’s mayoral candidate that year, even though he knew he couldn’t win. Obama’s primary election run against Congressman Rush the following year was widely perceived in Chicago as payback, a gesture of Daley’s displeasure against Bobby Rush. In return for his losing run though, Barack Obama was well rewarded indeed. His state senate district was redrawn to shed most of its ghetto precincts and replace them with some of the wealthiest areas in the city, really some of the wealthiest in the nation, making it easier to raise far more money when he chose to run for higher office. The Obama memoir depicts her advocacy of healthy foods and the Obama’s “ as an unalloyed good thing for ordinary people. As I pointed out , it wasn’t. “As the White House's resident advocate for healthy eating and exercise, Ms. Obama has leveraged her image as a priceless asset to Wal-Mart, , crush competition, and gobble up even more public tax breaks and subsidies. But in the real world, more urban Wal-Marts, and giving more public subsidies and market share to the amoral company that already accounts for 27 cents of every dollar spent on groceries in this country is not so much the solution to urban “food deserts” as it is the solution to Wal-Mart's problem of how to raise that 27 cents to 30, 40 or 50 cents of every grocery dollar in its corporate coffers. That's the problem Michelle Obama is helping solve, not the problem of accessing decent food at reasonable prices.“ Michelle Obama is obviously an intelligent and well educated woman. But her education seems to have taught her faith and unquestioning acceptance of the power of elites, and how that power is wielded rather than to look for ways to put that power in the hands of the kind of ordinary people among whom she was raised. For the Michelle Obamas of this world, the sky is the limit, as far as personal ambition goes. But she freely manufactures excuses for her lack of faith in any uplift by collective effort. “Bitterness,” she says, and “cranky mistrust” of whites, are as much to blame for lack of black progress than anything which originates from above. This serves to insulate the former first lady from the world the rest of us live and struggle in. It makes her not a very interesting person, with a memoir that should have ended after the first hundred or so pages. I’d give her book one star out of four.
info_outline Was This Really The Most Important Mid-Term Election of Our Lives? Maybe Not. 11/09/2018
Was This Really The Most Important Mid-Term Election of Our Lives? Maybe Not. We hear "most important election of our lives" stuff every two years now, loudest of all from those whose careers depend on marshalling a big vote election day, and ignoring the people's will afterward in deference to their investor-contributors.
info_outline How Stupid Do Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath and Congressional Democratic candidates think we are? 10/31/2018
How Stupid Do Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath and Congressional Democratic candidates think we are? Stacey Abrams thinks all she has to do is show up unapologetically black with dreads and ride the black girl magic to the governor's mansion this year and the white house soon after, without the bother of telling voters her actual stands on issues. It's a general Democratic disease this year, with Lucy McBath and a gang of other 2018 Democrats doing the same, counting on a vote blue no matter who wave. Will it work for them? If they win, will it work for us? Probably not.
info_outline Why I'll Be At The Womens March on the Pentagon This Weekend 10/18/2018
Why I'll Be At The Womens March on the Pentagon This Weekend When Republicans are out and out warmongers the Democrats are utterly silent on war and peace, and peace parties banned from the ballot in many states, what should those who stand against empire be doing?
info_outline Maynard Jackson Movie Muddles Black Politics, Mangles Black History 09/27/2018
Maynard Jackson Movie Muddles Black Politics, Mangles Black History Sam Pollard's Maynard Jackson documentary currently on Netflix is lazy black history denuded of black politics in the service of black elites.
info_outline How the Politics of Black Unity Shields Black Politicians From Accountability 09/20/2018
How the Politics of Black Unity Shields Black Politicians From Accountability Florida's Andrew Gillum and Georgia's Stacey Abrams are within striking distance of the governors' mansions in their respective states. The black political class is demanding unity behind them, without any means of holding anyone's feet to the fire. Have we learned anything in the last decade?
info_outline Two Thirds of "Progressive" Democratic Congressional Candidates Are Silent on Foreign Policy. Why? Don't They Trust Democratic Voters? 09/13/2018
Two Thirds of "Progressive" Democratic Congressional Candidates Are Silent on Foreign Policy. Why? Don't They Trust Democratic Voters? There are serious obstacles to a Democratic sweep of the House in November. But what will we get in the event it does happen? Most of the progressives are entirely silent on foreign policy. What does that mean? We’re told there’s a blue wave coming in November that may sweep a Democratic majority into the House of Representatives. How likely is that, and if it happens what will we be getting? To achieve a Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives Democrats must overcome the result of two decades of relentless Republican gerrymandering in state legislatures. Traditionally the maps from which congressional representatives were elected were only drawn once a decade based on census results, but beginning in the 1990s Republicans asserted and won the right to re-draw legislative maps pretty much whenever they feel the need. Their technique is to concentrate Democratic voters into a relatively small number of districts where Democrats reliably win by enormous margins, while spreading out the Republican vote to a greater number of districts in which Republicans reliably win with much smaller margins. This is how Republicans are able to elect dozens more congressional representatives with a million or two fewer votes than Democrats. Democrats , in the courts, in the legislatures and the streets beginning when they still had the upper hand in the 1990s. But they did not. And so they, and we are where we are. Unlike the right to possess a gun, the right to vote is not guaranteed in the US Constitution. So any state or county city official can block or obstruct or take away your right to vote, with a new law or with an administrative decision. The omission of this right from the Constitution, the absence of any mass movement demanding voting rights, and the laziness of Democratic party honchos has allowed a veritable briar patch of laws and regulations calculated to disenfranchise Democrat leaning voters, making it harder to register, more difficult to vote, and allowing their votes under some circumstances not to be counted. Throughout the 70s, 80s and into the 90s, to introduce laws, to campaign, to generate street heat in support of voting rights, even to campaign to amend the Constitution and make local interference with voting rights impossible. They didn’t, and so again they, and we are where we are. When Republican officials threw out tens of thousands of Detroit votes, more than the margin by which Trump won Michigan, Hillary Clinton refused to fight for her own vote, refused to raise a public objection. A similar thing happened in Wisconsin. demanding recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to expose the fundamental level on which US elections are rigged and gamed. A Michigan judge eventually ruled that the public had no right to an audit of the vote. Late in the Obama era and continuing into the reign of Trump, there were selective and malicious criminal prosecution of organizations and their members conducting voter registration, early voting, and absentee ballot drives. From Mississippi to Michigan activists have been victimized by police raids and had spurious criminal cases manufactured against them for voter registration and GOTV activities which were never criminal matters before. There have also been also deliberate purges in multiple states of voter rolls designed to throw hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters off the rolls. In Georgia where I live, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is a right wing extremist named Brian Kemp who’s also Georgia’s Secretary of State has been in court this year defending an attempt to purge some 50,000 voters from the state’s rolls. So once again we are where we are, and Democrats have a far steeper uphill climb than they ought to thanks to two generations of their own laziness and misleadership. So what will we get when and if a 2018 blue wave sweeps a Democratic majority into Congress? Let’s take a look at some of the organized forces fielding and assisting Democratic candidates this year. There are the CIA Democrats backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee... The World Socialist Web Site, wsws.org, one of the web outlets which along with Black Agenda Report was deemed a tool of the Russians, and which like Black Agenda Report has been suppressed by Google ever since, published a 3 part article on March 8, 9 and 10 called The CIA Democrats. In it, Patrick Martin named more than 30 former CIA and State Department officials, military death squad and kidnapping – uhh maybe I mean “extraordinary rendition” operatives and their civilian bosses who were running in Democratic congressional primaries. The only good news in that article is that some of the spooks, military types and bloody handed civilian and military officials were running against each other. A little more than half of them lost. But 19 of those CIA Democrats named by Martin survived Democratic congressional primaries in their respective states to face Republicans in November, many of them in vulnerable districts. They have the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official deep pocket of the party through which bribes – I mean campaign contributions are funneled from corporations, wealthy individuals and anonymous sources to deserving congressional candidates. For the record, their names and districts are in the print version of this article. Some of them will certainly win, and every one that does will make the world, our world, a little worse. CIA DEMOCRATS Elissa Slotkin MI-08 Gina Ortiz Jones TX-23 Abigail Spanberger VA-07 Jesse Colvin MD-01 Dan McCready NC-09 Dan Feehan MN-01 Andy Kim NJ-03 Maura Sullivan NH-01 Jason Crow CO-06 Tom Malinowski NJ-07 Lauren Baer FL-18 Nancy Soderberg FL-06 Talley Sergent WV-02 Jessica Morse CA-04 Mary Jennings Hegar TX-31 Elaine Luria VA-02 Mikie Sherrill NJ-11 Chrissy Houlahan PA-06 Amy McGrath KY-06 And there are the allegedly progressive Democrats There are 3 national outfits providing techincal and fundraising assistance, expert personnel and endorsements to supposedly progressive Democrats. They are , , and . They had a big hand in the victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in New York, and dozens of congressional, state level and local Democratic primary campaigns. 31 congressional candidates endorsed by one or more of these progressive outfits survived the Democratic primary to face Republicans in November. Black Agenda Report took a quick look at the web sites of those 31 progressive candidates for congress. You can find the list with links to their web sites and issue positions at the end of the print version of this Black Agenda Radio commentary. All but one or two say they support Medicare For All, though it’s not clear whether they mean the straight no chaser version or the watered down one full of exceptions now pushed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Just about all say they’re refusing corporate bribes – damn I mean contributions. More than half say reforming the criminal justice to provide education and job training for inmates system is among their top priorities, and have something to say about net neutrality. Nearly all embrace more pro-active and sensible measures to address climate change, to uphold the rights of women and LBGTQ people, and immigrants, and more. Most have something to say about gun violence, but it’s a safe bet that none of them are educating anybody about the fact that the 2nd amendment of the US was enacted to facilitate slave patrolling, land stealing and the genocide of indigenous people. What stands out in the web sites of these progressive Democrats is that 21 out of 31 have absolutely NOTHING to say to voters about war or peace, about the military budget which consumes roughly a trillion dollars a year. And that’s not counting the two candidates whose sole mention of the world outside the United States was opining that we should fully fund the State Department in one case, or put more emphasis on diplomacy in another. 9 or 10 out of 31want to help the vets, respect the vets, listen to the vets and the active duty military, improve medical care and job opportunities and such, though one outlier, ER physician Matt Morgan in Michigan wants to privatize the VA into some kind of nonprofit. Only a couple of those candidates who list veterans affairs among their priorities have anything to say about the use to which veterans are put. Only one or two of the “respect the veterans” progressives come anywhere near mentioning what you can hear at the beginning of most NFL games, that there are hundreds of thousands of US troops in more than a hundred foreign countries, with aircraft, satellites, and warships over, on and beneath all the seven seas, and more than 800 military bases outside the US on every continent except Antarctica. Sometimes what you leave unsaid is more eloquent and damning than what you say. For 21 out of 31 so-called progressive Democratic candidates, the world outside the US, the American global empire, and the globally integrated capitalist economy either do not exist at all, or just don’t make their top ten or top twelve list of priority issues. How do we explain that? These are not young people trying to find their feet. They’re not running for library board or water commissioner, they’re running for Congress, the ONLY federal elected offices that exist apart from the president and vice president. Most have been in public life a good while, about a third have served as state legislators or other local elected officials. These are boys and girls who know how to ride, and this ain’t their first rodeo. They are relatively smart and savvy people with other smart and savvy people working with and for them, folks who carefully weigh and calculate and consider every word that appears on their web sites as well as everything they leave out. There are only two possibilities. Either two thirds of our progressive Democrats running for Congress this year really are true believers in the US right to make up its own facts, to declare offshore law free zones like Guantanamo, to invade other countries at will, killing millions and wreaking incalculable havoc upon their infrastructure, societies and ecologies like in Southeast Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and just don’t want to say it out loud, or our progressive Democrats don’t believe it but imagine they need to remain silent and pretend to be true believers in the US empire to get elected. Either way, two thirds of the new blue wave of progressive Dem congressional candidates believe they can get away with silence on foreign affairs. This would make the supposed progressive new wave of Democrats about as effective at opposing the empire as the old Democrats already in office. As we pointed out a month or two ago, a solid majority of House Democrats didn’t just vote for Trump’s record military budget. They raised it tens of billions above Trump’s initial proposal to show military contractors, who gave more to Hillary than they did to Trump that they, not Republicans were better friends than Trump’s party. Even a majority of the House Progressive Caucus voted for it. Ultimately the increase alone in the 2019 military budget is more the entire military budget of the Russian federation. This is also why Democrats, not the other US government party revived the century old tradition of American hostility toward Russia, adopting the evidence-free fabrication of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, and deploying the same intelligence agencies which assured us that Iraq had poison gas and nukes to tell us the Russians gamed the election. Not one of the progressive Democrat candidate supported by Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats or Our Revolution has the principles or the courage to question the cynical RussiaGate hoax. For what it’s worth, if you check out the foreign policy positions of Justice Democrats and Our Revolution they are pretty sketchy. Brand New Congress goes a bit further, actually mentioning the current intervention in Syria and the ridiculous military budget. When it comes to empire, all of three are on board or largely silent. So it’s no surprise that the candidates they bring us will have the same views. That’s what it is to be a progressive Democrat these days. Like the CIA Democrats, some of them will certainly win. But whether they will make the Congress any more productive for raising wages, protecting peoples rights to education, health care, housing and the like, to ending wars and making the world better is an open question. And most are unwilling to talk to us about war and peace. CANDIDATE DIST OUR REVOLUTN JUSTICE DEMS BRAND NEW CONGRESS VETS & THE MILITARY EMPIRE (FOREIGN POLICY) SITE ISSUES URL Eastman, Kara NE-02 YES fully fund the State Dept http://eastmanforcongress.com/issues/ Pressley, Ayanna MA-07 YES https://ayannapressley.com/issues/equity-agenda/ https://ayannapressley.com/issues/equity-agenda/ Omar, Ilhan MN-05 YES YES https://www.ilhanomar.com/vision/ https://www.ilhanomar.com/vision/ Fagan, Linsey TX-26 YES YES https://www.linseyfagan.com/platform.html https://www.linseyfagan.com/platform.html Ring, Lisa GA-01 YES YES a military spouse https://www.lisaringforcongress.com/international-policy https://www.lisaringforcongress.com/platform/ Patel, Sanjay FL-08 YES https://www.votesanjaypatel.com/issues/ https://www.votesanjaypatel.com/issues/ Smith, Sarah WA-09 YES YES https://www.votesarahsmith.com/issues/foreign-policy/ https://www.votesarahsmith.com/issues/ Raskin, Jamie MD-08 YES decency towards vets keep nukes away from Iran https://jamieraskin.com/issues Adia, Vanessa TX-12 YES YES Pay raise for active and reserve, fully fund the VA, help vets in general no mention https://www.vanessaadia.com/your-issues-are-my-issues Balter, Dana NY-24 YES no mention no mention https://electdanabalter.com/issues/ Bell, Adrienne TX-14 YES YES no mention no mention https://bell2018.com/ Bryce, Randy WI-01 YES no mention no mention https://www.randybryceforcongress.com/issues/ Burch, Lori TX-03 YES no mention no mention Cobb, Tedra NY-21 YES https://www.tedracobb.com/issues/our-military-veterans/ no mention https://www.tedracobb.com/category/issues/ Davidson, Robert MI-02 YES https://www.robdavidsonforcongress.com/veteran-s-healthcare no mention https://www.robdavidsonforcongress.com/priorities Denney, Audrey CA-01 YES YES https://www.audreyforcongress.com/veterans no mention https://www.audreyforcongress.com/issues Flaccavento, Anthony VA-09 YES no mention https://www.flacc4congress.com Geren, Mary Smith SC -03 YES no mention https://marygeren.com/issues/ King, Jess PA-11 YES care for the vets no mention https://jesskingforcongress.com/featured-issues/ Lewis, Jennifer VA-06 YES respect the vets no mention https://jenniferlewisforcongress.com/fellowship/ Messmer, Mindi NH-01 YES no mention https://www.mindiforcongress.com/news/ Mitchell, Dr. Danielle TN-03 YES justice for vets no mention https://www.mitchell4congress.com/policies-of-caring Morgan, Matt MI-01 YES no mention https://mattmorganformichigan.com/values/ Scholten, J.D. IA - 04 YES care for the vets no mention https://www.scholten4iowa.com/the-issues-2/ Spaulding, Stephanie Rose CO-05 YES care for the vets no mention https://www.stephanyroseforcongress.com/issues Talib, Rashida MI-13 YES YES no mention Thompson, James KA-04 YES YES YES help the vets no mention https://www.votejamesthompson.com/issues Walker, Paul KY-01 YES YES respect the vets no mention http://www.votepaulwalker.com/issues/ Whitmire, Marc TN-02 YES no mention no mention https://whitmire2018.com/issues Campa-Najjir, Ammar CA-50 YES YES Language is actually pretty warlike, but it’s all on the “our military” page. No page on foreign policy. see "vets and the military" Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandra NY-14 YES YES For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at where you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter delivering to your inbox all the content we publish each week. Since the Washington Post has accused us of carrying the Russian line Google has suppressed the appearance of our content in search results, and some other corporate social media have done similar things. So the only way you can guarantee you’re getting fresh news, commentary and analysis from the black left every week is via dark social media – which is what the marketing consultants call dark social media because they cannot trace it. You can find our audio podcasts, Black Agenda Radio and Black Agenda Radio Commentaries on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher and wherever else you get your podcasts. If it’s iTunes don’t forget to leave us a glowing review, because that’s how other people find out about us. Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and serves on the state committee of the GA Green Party, which is legislated off the ballot in that state by the two government parties. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
info_outline The Manufactured McCain: Lifting Up A Bloodstained Lying Venal Servant of Capitalist Empire 08/31/2018
The Manufactured McCain: Lifting Up A Bloodstained Lying Venal Servant of Capitalist Empire John McCain was a bloodstained bribe taking, lying war criminal and politician who constructed a myth of himself as outsider and war hero. Lifting him up justifies and sanctifies the empire of capital. Soon they'll be naming parks and schools after him.
info_outline Why the Blue Wave Missed St. Louis Missouri 08/27/2018
Why the Blue Wave Missed St. Louis Missouri Success has a thousand mothers, but not failure. Everybody has an explanation for why Ocasio-Cortez won in NYC. But nobody is offring reasons why Cori Bush failed in St. Louis. Here's why....
info_outline When the Resistance is Really the Assistance 08/09/2018
When the Resistance is Really the Assistance Democrats supported the record FY 2019 Pentagon budget two to one. The progressive caucus voted for it 36 to 28, and all but 8 of 44 black caucus went for it too. It's official: the resistance is really the assistance.
info_outline US Fake World War 2 History Underlies Permanent Bipartisan Hostility Toward Russia 08/07/2018
US Fake World War 2 History Underlies Permanent Bipartisan Hostility Toward Russia If you grew up in the US you were taught that Uncle Sam and the Brits defeated Nazi Germany in WW2. The fact is, the USSR took most of the casualties -- 27 million dead -- and did most of the fighting that ended the Nazi threat to humanity. There's a reason the hammer and sickle was hoisted over Berlin in May 1945, not the stars and stripes or the Union Jack.
info_outline Organizing 201: AOC's 120,000 calls a benchmark for organizing 07/26/2018
Organizing 201: AOC's 120,000 calls a benchmark for organizing Everybody claims to be an organizer nowadays. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez offered up some clarity when she explained on Daniel Denvir's The Dig podcast that her campaign was based upon shoe leather canvass and street heat to extract names and contact info, social media and SMS directed at the contacts, and 120,000 phone calls. Not robocalls. Phone calls.
info_outline As Trump Readies Concentration Camps, Where is the Green Party? 07/19/2018
As Trump Readies Concentration Camps, Where is the Green Party? At this pivotal moment in the nation's history, an opposition political party ought to be hard at work delivering its message, building and expanding its base, communicating with activists and the public. The Green Party isn't doing any of these things. They elect some new leadership this weekend. Will the Green Party save itself?
info_outline Democrats Share the Blame For Trump's Supreme Court 07/12/2018
Democrats Share the Blame For Trump's Supreme Court Since the Warren court of the 1950s Republicans have declared their intent to pack US courts with rabid right wingers. In sixty-odd years Democrats have never put forth a strategy to stop them. In 2005 and 2006 John Kerry and Barack Obama led Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They failed to meaningfully oppose the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, or to make Federalist Society influence upon judicial selection an issue. This is their court too.
info_outline On Magical Thinking VS Sober Analysis of the Ocasio-Cortez Victory in NY 07/01/2018
On Magical Thinking VS Sober Analysis of the Ocasio-Cortez Victory in NY Being the only sober guy at a victory party is isn't fun. After writing earlier this week that we can sometimes elect progressives but we can’t hold them accountable, friends and comrades are all over Facebook accusing me of negativity, saying I got no analysis and I'm a magical thinker. I dunno, let’s see. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won the NY 14th district Democratic primary earlier this week with only 16 or 17 thousand votes, a strikingly low number that wouldn’t carry most such primaries. According to Democrat chairman Tom Perez, she has no Republican opponent in November, so she's in. That's a victory for sure. At least for a while, she'll be able to put out her message which includes abolishing ICE, free tuition and Medicare For All in places that till now have rarely given a professed socialist the mic. That’s a good thing. But there are four points to look at here, which I touched on my previous piece and posts on Facebook. I’ll dive into them just a little deeper here. 1. THE OCASIO-CORTEZ NUMBERS AND WHAT THEY MEAN Historically NY authorities have rigged primary elections for low turnout. You can only vote in a NY primary if you're pre-registered a party member months in advance, so only 271,000 voters were eligible in the first place. The low in that contest was actually higher than in some neighboring NYC districts. The engineering of low turnout primary elections allows Machine politicians to monopolize their party’s nominations by getting out their relatively small and dependable vote and not getting the masses too excited over much of anything till the November general election when their numbers are needed to defeat suburban and upstate Republicans. Except for New York’s partisan registration it's the same system used by the Daley Machine in Chicago until 1980, when we broke it open to elect Harold Washington in 83. Still, 16 or 17 thousand votes in a congressional district of 750,000 is far from a socialist landslide. Winning a congressional seat with that small a vote is a rare feat made possible by some local features that seldom occur outside New York City. While the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez crew no doubt worked their asses off to get what they got, the same money and effort in most other places would not have done the trick in a congressional race. The 14 NY CD was a target well chosen by the folks at , whom Ocasio-Cortez says asked her to run. That’s running and interpreting the numbers through the lens of history, and applicability to other contests, not negativity or magical thinking. 2. JOE CROWLEY PRETTY MUCH GAVE UP THE SEAT After 10 terms in Congress and with lots of corporate friends, Joe Crowley knows he can start at seven figures, at least six to twelve times his congressional salary plus bonuses as a lobbyist. That had to be a powerful motivation not to campaign too damn hard, and another circumstance unique to this particular contest. The career path from legislator to well paid lobbyist is also not magical thinking, it's an American tradition. Ignoring this tradition and its likely effect on Crowley’s campaign might be magical thinking though. 3. DEMOGRAPHICS MATTER, MESSAGING MATTERS Ocasio-Cortez correctly portrayed Crowley as an arrogant lazy white boy deep in the pockets of corporate contributors allegedly representing a majority Latino district. That was a necessary and highly potent message needed to raise turnout enough to make the difference in a contest with historically low voter participation. A former Bernie campaign staffer, she also ran to the left of most Democrats, campaigning on free college tuition, Medicare For All, unambiguously denouncing the Gaza massacres and jumping with both feet on the massively unpopular Trump policies of tearing families apart at the border. This too is classic US left electoral strategy aimed at raising turnout among the folks who ordinarily pay little attention to elections, a tactic the electoral left has to repeat everywhere. The phenomenon of white politicians representing minority districts is not as common as it was a generation or two ago. Neoliberal black and Latino politicians have moved into most of those spaces, and are far less vulnerable to attack purely on representationalist grounds. So that part of the Ocasio-Cortez playbook is not something that leftists will often be able to duplicate. Assessing the relative importance of demographic factors and the messaging they enable is not magical thinking. Gauging the applicability of the strategy that achieved victory in the NY 14th CD to other contests across the country isn't legerdemain or sophistry either, it's the kind of common sense we must employ if we intend to achieve leftist victories elsewhere. 4. US LAW AND CUSTOM MAKE CANDIDATES ENTREPRENUERS, NOT RESPONSIBE TO ANY LEFT CONSTITUENCIES OR INSTITUTIONS I caught flack too for pointing out that under US law and custom candidates and office holders are free to do pretty much do what they like. This is true even in the Green Party, let alone the Democrats. Political campaigns are top-down affairs in which the candidate gets the final word on everything. Anybody who's actually worked a campaign knows this. While there are no institutions under US law and custom that can hold leftist candidates and officeholders accountable to left constituencies or organizations, it's a fact that there are a galaxy of institutional levers and pressures operating inside the Democratic party aimed at flipping progressive elected officials rightward. In my previous piece and Facebook posts I never touched on how socialist Ocasio-Cortez is or isn't nor on her foreign policy stands if she has any, which Berniecrats frequently don't, something that ought to make us a little uneasy. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist too, just with an imperialist foreign policy. I did say that progressive candidates and officeholders do sometimes flip, a little at a time or all at once, and when they do we have no institutions with which to punish them. "Feet to the fire" and "holding them accountable" are actually the phrases of magical thinkers because no means have yet been devised which enable the left to do those things. I got in trouble for observing that while we can elect progressives from time to time we cannot compel them to remain that way. Until we figure out how to build institutions that can, we are at the mercy of their individual moral and political compasses. The need to develop left institutions to which progressive candidates can be held responsible is an acute one, which the Nation in its slavish devotion to the Democratic party predictably ignores. Noting this truth got me accused of being a petty, lazy purist and ultraleftist. Oh well. Sober analysis may not be what some people wanna hear at a victory party where everybody’s popping champagne corks, dancing the electric slide and toasting the universal lessons of the Ocasio-Cortez victory without the bother of real analysis. Being the sober guy at a victory party kinda sucks that way. But real talk, we’re all gonna have to sober up eventually and figure out which parts of the Ocasio-Cortez playbook are peculiar to and which ones are applicable outside a majority Latino New York City district, and we have yet to devise any means of holding progressive politicians truly accountable. Those who think we don’t need critical analysis or institutions to enforce accountability are the magical thinkers. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at and on Soundcloud at , and . Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a member of the state committee of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
info_outline Sure We Can Elect The Occasional Democrat Progressive. Then What? 07/01/2018
Sure We Can Elect The Occasional Democrat Progressive. Then What? the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez victory in NYC proves once again that we CAN elect progressives to public office from time to time. But what then? The left has no institutions with whi9ch to hold them accountable.
info_outline Democrats Fight Trump, the Man, But Not His Austerity and Militarism 03/08/2017
Democrats Fight Trump, the Man, But Not His Austerity and Militarism “The Democrats cynically see the impending disaster as an opportunity to position themselves for the 2018 and 2020 elections.” At the end of last month, Donald Trump unveiled his military budget, obscenely inflated by -- a 10 percent increase that will be paid for with cuts to social programs. There was no organized denunciation from the Democrats, and a few days later, when former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear gave the to Trump’s speech before the Congress, he had not a word of criticism for Trump’s military budget, but instead charged that the president was “ignoring serious threats to our national security from Russia.” Russia, Russia, Russia. It is the great diversion, by which the Democrats pretend to lead a resistance to Trumpism, but present no serious opposition to Trump and his fellow Republicans’ gutting of poor and working people’s programs in the service of militarism. The Democrats are putting up no real fight against Trump’s domestic austerity agenda. Like Barack Obama, they would welcome a with the Republicans that freezes or shrinks the social side of the budget while continuing to fund multiple wars all over the planet. Indeed, their principal problem with Trump was that he wasn’t bellicose enough; they feared that he might not be eager to play nuclear chicken with the Russians. They are implacable in their battle with Trump, the man, but put up only the most pro forma resistance to Trump’s people-crushing budget proposals. Do not expect the Democrats to wage an honest fight for the people’s health care interests, either. The Republican plan to is, as expected, an unmitigated disaster. While Obamacare was festering in its own contradictions, the Republican replacement will likely result in 10 million more uninsured Americans and total chaos at every level of health care infrastructure, resulting in an almost instantaneous social and medical crisis -- and not just for poor people. Cynical Jockeying for Position The Democrats cynically see the impending disaster as an opportunity to position themselves for the 2018 and 2020 elections. Although Obamacare is dead, and cannot be resurrected, they will make a show of defending its various parts, one doomed element at a time, even as the private insurance markets that are available to lower income people disintegrate. The Democrats will be glad to let the crisis fester under Republican corruption and incompetence, and then, as the next election season opens, propose some reworked version of Obamacare, probably with weak provisions for a “public option.” What they will not do, as a party, is respond to the crisis with a push for single payer Medicare for All -- a solution the party’s corporate masters will not tolerate. Bernie Sanders, himself, has said he to submit his own Medicare for All bill to the Senate, this year -- part of his accommodation with the Obama-Clinton party bosses. But, that’s fine; the demand should come from masses of people in the streets, representing the super-majorities that have favored single payer for decades. This is a movement moment, and progressive activists must seize the time. The Democrats, however, anticipated that the Left might take the initiative at this critical point in history. Which is why they created the Great Russian Diversion, to distract silly minds. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com. BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at .