“Vanguard of the Revolution” is Liberal History, Strips and Omits Socialism from History of the Black Panther Party

[Bruce Dixon provides an important (but beginning) critique of the new Stanley Nelson film, which portrays the Panther’s iconic nature as helpful survival programs and electioneering.  The film shows the Panthers as beaten by police, but gives no lessons for contemporary self-defense or revolutionary systemic challenge.  The film in this sense plays a similar role as SELMA:  a superficial memorial.  The strengths and weaknesses of the film are being discussed and debated.  Reactionaries and white supremacists hate it, liberals love it, but revolutionary organizers today will not find it contributing much to the materials which could guide new efforts on the ground today. — Frontlines ed.]

Stanley Nelson’s documentary on the BPP is “history” by and for lazy American liberals. He turns the BPP into a pop culture icon a T-shirt. Nelson mentions guns hundreds of times, big naturals and swagger a few dozen times but not the word “socialism” once in 2 hours. The BPP described its Breakfast For Children and Free Medical Clinics every day as “socialism” in person and in our newspaper, to each other and to the neighborhoods we served.

“Vanguard of the Revolution” is Liberal History, Strips and Omits Socialism from History of the Black Panther Party

by Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A.Dixon, February 17, 2016
“Stanley Nelson is what Americans call a “liberal” and that’s what Vanguard of the Revolution is…. a liberal’s take on the BPP.”

I used to have a Che Guevara T-shirt. It was a pretty good shirt, but it told me nothing about the man or his life’s work. It had Che’s face on it, but by itself the face is just a pop culture icon, shorthand or short-brain for everything you want to know, or everything think you already know about it. That’s what Stanley Nelson’s film, Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution does to the Black Panther Party. He made the movement of my youth an icon. A T-shirt.

On the plus side, it’s a pretty good T-shirt. Vanguard of the Revolution contains some great interview footage from Erika Huggins, Elaine Brown, the freedom fighting Freeman brothers and Wayne Pharr, my old comrade Michael McCarty and several others. On the minus side, Nelson omits and obscures the domestic and global political context the BPP came out of and thrived in. According to Vanguard of the Revolution, the BPP arose out of black northern frustration after the passage of civil rights legislation. It caught on due to the irresistible appeal of its naturals, big guns, the murdermouthing rhetoric of Eldridge Cleaver, downright sexiness, and black is beautiful, all of which earned the BPP pop culture stardom. And pop culture stardom needs no further explanation. Cue the music, fists in the air, and power to the people…

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Semi-“Left” Debate: Defy the Electoral Disorientation, or Buy Into It?

[Throughout the history of settler colonialism and its offspring, capitalism-imperialism, the most effective tool for disorientating, fracturing, disarming, and destroying the popular opposition to the state-administered systems of class exploitation and white privilege has been the routine electoral baits and traps, every two years (local) and four years (national).  Once again the stage is set for electoral “novocaine” (as Malcolm X called it) to help people suffer “peacefully.”  Frontlines will stay on this issue as long as the suffering people are being asked to suffer “peacefully.”  We reprint the following article from 2014, published by Black Agenda Report (www.blackagendareport.com/), which is a crucial ongoing voice of opposition to deceptive electoralism.  —  Frontlines ed.]


Making the Case for an Election Boycott: Why the Left Should Refrain from US Imperialism’s Electoral Charade

Black Agenda Report 06/17/2014

Image result for what kind of choice is this? lesser evil.  boycott. burn the ballot

The left should not participate in, “and thus provide consent for, the rule of imperialism every four years.” Say “No” to the charade. “Barack Obama’s two-term presidency has been a lesson for the entire left that voting for a Wall Street politician within the imperialist state can only bring more misery and political confusion, not less.”

by Danny Haiphong

The two-party US political system more clearly than ever works exclusively in the interests of the imperialist ruling class.”

There are many dangerous trends emerging from progressive and revolutionary forces in the US. One of the most concerning is a growing focus on electoral campaigns as a tactic to achieve grassroots objectives.  The electoral victories of Kshama Sawant, Chokwe Lumumba (Rest in Power), and Ras Baracka are a clear indication of popular discontent with austerity, gentrification, and privatization in US cities under capitalist siege.  However, whatever encouragement these victories provide cannot resolve the contradictions of US capitalism. The primary purpose of US capitalism’s state machinery is to manage the affairs of the ruling class. This poses the important question of whether electing representatives into political office is a worthy tactic for the left or whether it should be abandoned all together.  Continue reading

Why Bill Clinton’s Apology and Barack Obama’s Prison Drive-By, Token Clemencies Are Cynical Election Year Posturing

[Beware, the electoral season is upon us and the masters of political deception and fraud are invading every home.  In the US, every four years, presidential elections are theatrically staged, designed to confuse and disrupt popular movements against class exploitation and racial oppression, and other democratic movements. The elections claim to be “the way democracy works”, and people “must vote” for politicians to represent their interests. Whoever wins, the people’s interests are lost in the shuffle, and their independence and political initiative and action has been suffocated or destroyed.  Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have in their Presidencies continued the mass incarceration, predominantly black and brown men and women, at world-record levels, and now they have made a dramatic last minute cosmetic relief to cleanse their legacy, at least rhetorically, so that Hillary Clinton’s campaign may not have to apologize to potential black voters for the Bill and Barack legacies.  They cannot avoid blame for things too many know.  —  Frontlines ed.] 
A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, 07/17/2015

Ten whole years ago, back in July 2005 when the Black Agenda Report crew was still at Black Commentator, I wrote that

With under 5 percent of the world’s people, the US accounts for 25 percent of the planet’s prisoners.  More than half its 2.2 million prisoners come from the one eighth of its population which is black.  Today, an astounding 3 percent of all African Americans languish in prisons and jails, and nearly as many more are on probation, parole, bail, house arrest or court supervision… Right now, the shadow of prison squats at the corners of, and often at the center of nearly every black family’s life in this nation.”

Yesterday President Obama repeated some of these same figures, and they are pretty much the same. Total US prisoners are still 2.2 or 2.3 million, and a slight drop in the black incarceration rate makes us now a little less instead of a little more than half, but the overall picture is unchanged in a decade. The president then announced the release of forty-some nonviolent federal drug offenders out of a total of about 70,000, and stopped in at a federal prison Thursday. The same day, ex-president Bill Clinton offered a half-hearted “apology” for his 1990s crime bills, which he admitted “set the stage” for state and federal governments to nearly double the US prison population.

Why? Why did President Obama wait six and a half years into his presidency to say the basic damning numbers and free a token handful of drug war prisoners? And how come Bill Clinton, fifteen years out of office chose this week to publicly admit that black mass incarceration was maybe not the best public policy?

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Democrats Hope to Bury Black Lives Matter Under Election Blitz

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Black Agenda Report, June 10, 2015

The Democrats hope the Black Lives Matter movement, like the Occupy Wall Street movement, will disappear amid the hype of the coming election season. “The Democrats have mounted a systematic cooption-repression response that will intensify as the election season – and Black cities – heat up.” The Democrats understand that, for the movement to succeed, their party’s power over Black America must be broken.

“The movement is inevitably on a collision course with the Democratic Party, although this may not yet be clear to many activists.”

The movement that is emerging under the banner Black Lives Matter is not yet one year old, but it will be dead before it reaches the age of two if the Democratic Party has anything to say about it. The movement’s greatest challenge will be to survive the impending mass mobilization of Black Democratic officeholders and operatives in a $5 billion presidential election season.The current Black-led grassroots campaign is, in very important ways, even more vulnerable to Democratic cooptation and dismantlement than was the white-led Occupy Wall Street movement, which succumbed to a combination of Democratic infiltration and repression – on top of its own contradictions – in the early months of 2012.

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Cowardly, Hypocritical, Subservient Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Israeli Apartheid and Current War Crimes in Gaza


Israeli president Shmon Peres meets with Marcia Fudge, chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus, and a delegation of the Congressional Caucus at the president's residence in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)

                                         Israeli President Shimon Peres hosts Marcia Fudge, chair of the US Congressional Black Caucus, and a delegation of the caucus at the president’s residence in Jerusalem.  (February, 2014)

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, July 30, 2014

Back in the 1970s, when the Congressional Black Caucus began calling itself “the conscience of the Congress,” that was almost literally true. CBC members could be relied upon not just to reliably vote for raising wages and expenditures on housing, health care and education, but to keep the issues of full employment and opposition to unjust war near thefront of their public agendas.

By the late 1980s, a gaggle of former CBC staffers had moved through the revolving doors of elite affirmative action to become corporate lobbyists, with the same ethics and table manners as their white colleagues, but with black faces. Thanks in large part to their efforts, by 2000 a tsunami of corporate cash began filling up the coffers of incumbent CBC members, their black replacements, or in the cases of Alabama’s Earl Hilliard and Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney, their black opponents.

Only a single member of the CBC, Rep. Barabra Lee opposed President Bush’s blank check for invading anywhere he pleased in Septermber of 2001, and by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, four CBC members, some of them swimming in donations from military contractors, raced down to the White House to have their pictures taken with Bush as the bombs were about to explode over Baghdad.

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Black Agenda Report on what happens when you believe the hype

Doing Us Proud: Black America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, 11/07/2012

When a Bush, a McCain, or a Romney condones corporate crimes against the rest of us, lies to us, tortures and imprisons at will and murders civilians at a whim, it’s a moral disaster. When a black Democrat does it, it’s nothing personal, just business. And we are soooo proud. What’s wrong with us?

Black America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

At our October 12 affair at Harlem’s Riverside Church, Black Agenda Report’s executive editor Glen Ford said that the most damning and lasting result of the Obama presidency might be that black America was losing its moral compass

Those of us, this author included, who reached adulthood in the brief eight or nine year heyday of the modern Freedom Movement got to see our elders shuck the shackles of what was proper and legal and take to the streets in defiance of evil in authority. We learned that going door to door, organizing our friends, our neighbors, our fellow workers on the job, calling meetings and demonstrations, and standing up to unjust authority, at whatever cost was the highest duty of citizenship and the only way things ever changed.

During the eight years Obama will have served in the White House, Ford observed, black youth can expect to see nothing like this. Where we learned to be skeptical of what our government, and often our elders told us, they are learning to believe, or pretend to believe whatever they’re told. Where we learned the highest goal of the struggle was improving the lives of ordinary people, they are learning that the highest goals are the big house, the prestigious career, the large lifestyle of those who serve the power and unlock the mysteries of the Market. Continue reading

Tired Old So-Called Leftists Give Same Old Excuses For Supporting Obama in 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report
Barack Obama: "Obey" --Carl Davidson and Bill Fletcher, standing by their man

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Abject and unwavering support of President Barack Obama on the part of blacks and what used to be called “the left” has made them pretty much irrelevant since Obama emerged as a viable presidential candidate back in mid-2007. After five years of the Age of Obama, four of them as president, one would imagine there are lots of new reasons to endorse him. But even his abject supporters can’t find any.

Tired Old So-Called Leftists Give Same Old Excuses For Supporting Obama in 2012

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

For more than four years now, we at Black Agenda Report have chronicled the self-silencing and growing irrelevance of black America and what calls itself “the left” in the age of Obama. Black America has arrayed itself as a veritable wall around the First Black President. But it’s not a wall that protects him from racists or Wall Street predators or Pentagon warmongers. The truth has always been that when we stifle our own tongues and circle the wagons trying to silence critics of the White House we only protect the president and his party from accountability to their supposed base: us.

Some African Americans and self-identified leftists relish their irrelevance so much they feel called to preach it. Early this week Carl Davidson and Bill Fletcher published a 5,900 word screed at Alternet.Org with the clumsy and contradictory title The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama’s Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him.

5,900 words is pretty long. Out of respect for our readers’ precious time we here summarize its tired, recycled and profoundly un-original arguments in the order they were made, as 12 one-sentence bullet points. Some are repeated in whole or in part, because that’s what Davidson and Fletcher did, for who knows what reason. Here they are: Continue reading

Top Ten Things That Have and Have Have Not Changed In the Era of Obama

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

by Bruce A. Dixon, BAR Managing Editor, Black Agenda Report

In the spirit of Bill Clinton’s 1992 “the Man From Hope” slogan, Barack Obama in 2008 declared himself the candidate of Hope and Change. So what about it? Are the real changes, if we can find them, at all what Obama voters hoped for?

10 Black America’s median household wealth, compared to that of whites, has sharply declined under Barack Obama. That’s a change. Just not a good one.This is a consequence of the foreclosure epidemic which began in 2007 and 2008 and has always been concentrated in black and poor neighborhoods. But the Obama administration has allowed the foreclosure wave to continue without any letup during its first three and a half years, rejecting demands for foreclosure moratoriums or other measures which would make it easier for large numbers of families to remain in their homes. Where the ratio of white to black household wealth four years ago was around 11 to one, today it is greater than 20 to 1.
9 African Americans still make up 12 or 13% of the nation’s population, remain more than 40% of its locked down and locked up, No change there at all.. Latinos, who make up another 13%, are about 30% of the nation’s prisoners and rising, a slight change, but distinctly for the worse. So seven of every ten US prisoners are from the one quarter of the nation that is black or brown, and that percentage is rising.
8 The fifty-year war on drugs continues. No change for the better at all there.Like every president since Nixon, Barack Obama has thwarted states that wanted to decriminalize small amounts of drugs, refuses to treat drug use as a medical problem rather than a police one. Like its predecessors, the Obama administration has expanded the frontiers of the drug war into places like Mexico and Colombia, where the US demand for illegal drugs has given birth to vast industries which may be among the largest and most lucrative, and certainly the most deadly, in those countries..
7 Too big to fail” banksters and other financial criminals are still above the law. No change here either.Not a single person responsible for crashing the economy in 2007 has seen the inside of a prison. It’s just not going to happen. Wall Street insiders give as much, and often more to Democrats than they do to Republicans. So the Obama administration has protected banks and lenders and their co-conspirators from prosecution, and shoveled more than ten trillion more at banksters, including those based outside the US, than the Bush-Cheney gang ever did.

It’s worth remembering that when Bush could not pass his own bailout bill six weeks before the 2008 election, he called Barack Obama into town to spend the week on the phone with Congressional Democrats getting them to switch their votes. So the only change here has been the party in charge. Continue reading

On the “State of the Union” address: Obama Pledges to Maintain the Empire

Glen Ford, interviewed on the Real News Network: “Obama defends Iraq war saying it made the US safer and more respected”

Bio — Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America’s Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.

Transcript:  PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington. Now joining us to talk about President Obama’s State of the Union speech is Glen Ford. Glen is the cofounder and current executive editor of the Black Agenda Report, and he joins us from New York. I—New York or New Jersey, Glen?


JAY: New Jersey. Thanks for joining us.

FORD: Thank you for the invitation.

JAY: So what’s your first take on the speech?

FORD: Well, it was all about banking and empire, because that’s what Barack Obama is all about. Most of the other stuff were con games and smoke and mirrors, not too much worth talking about. He led and he ended with his foreign policy. So here we have a president who claimed to be a peace candidate but really is showing his oats by telling people how many people he has killed and how he’s quite ready to kill again. Continue reading

US: Mass Black Incarceration Ending? Don’t Hold Your Breath

[The historic and ongoing national oppression of Black people in the US, maintained with a thousand economic, social, cultural, and political chains, and enforced through mass incarceration and “judicial” subjugation of millions, is not discussed in the “democratic” halls of Congress nor on the pages or screens of mass media deception.  There, the product is fear to fuel more oppression–NOT knowledge for the struggle against it.  But the people have voices, like the Black Agenda Report, which bring another angle on reality. — Frontlines ed.]
December 27, 2011 — Glen Ford

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

It’s been two generations since the beginning of modern mass Black incarceration. Prison populations, which only doubled from 1925 to 1972, increased more than seven-fold over the next 38 years, with Blacks accounting for ever higher proportions of inmates. The latest statistics do not indicate that white people “have reconsidered – or even acknowledged – their extraordinarily broad support for placing more Black people in captivity over the past 40 years than at any time since slavery.”

Mass Black Incarceration Ending? Don’t Hold Your Breath

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Half of the states reported decreases in their prison populations.”

For the first time since 1972, the total number of people held in U.S. prisons has gone down. And, for the second year in a row, the number of persons under supervision – such as parole – by state departments of correction, decreased.

Does this mean the beginning of the end of mass Black incarceration in the United States? Not hardly. That would require an historic reversal of a nationwide policy to find new places to put Black people who refused to stay “in their place,” in the wake of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. There is little in the current American political conversation that indicates white people have reconsidered – or even acknowledged – their extraordinarily broad support for placing more Black people in captivity over the past 40 years than at any time since slavery.

It takes the government almost a year to tabulate the past year’s prison statistics, so the latest numbers are from 2010. They show about 7.1 million people under some kind of correctional supervision – one out of every 33. That’s down 1.3 percent from 2009, the year that saw the first decrease in supervision in two generations. The total population in state and federal prisons – not counting local jails – stood at 1.6 million inmates, down six-tenths of one percent. State prison populations decreased by almost 11,000, and local jails by almost 19,000, but federal prison populations grow by eight/tenths of one percent, to almost 210,000 inmates. That was, however, the smallest percentage increase in a generation – since 1980.

Half of the states reported decreases in their prison populations, with California and Georgia shrinking the most.

Twenty-four states and the federal prison system increased their inmate populations.”

Speculation on why prison populations have, at least temporarily, peaked, centers on the financial crisis. It is true that states are experiencing unprecedented difficulties paying their bills. Some states have clearly responded to their fiscal crises by finding ways to incarcerate fewer people. Michigan reduced its prison population by 6,000 inmates in three years, mainly by decreasing the number of inmates who wind up serving more time in jail than they were originally sentenced to. California is under court order to cut its prison population by 30 percent, or 40,000 inmates. But the court order came too late to have a significant effect on 2010 prison numbers.

Only half the country has seen any decrease, at all. Twenty-four states and the federal prison system increased their inmate populations, with Illinois, Texas and Arkansas leading the pack. And states have found other ways to cut down on inmate costs without putting fewer people in prison, through wholesale privatization of prisons, and imposition of draconian fees on prisoners, probationers and parolees.

The Pew Research Center on the States cites programs that divert some offenders to probation, and accelerated release of low-risk inmates. However, studies have shown that such diversion programs tend to serve disproportionately white offenders. Therefore, it is highly premature for anyone to speculate that the era of mass Black incarceration may be ending. For the foreseeable future, one out of eight of the world’s prison inmates will continue to be African American.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.



It’s cooptation time in the Occupation Movement, with the Democrats attempting to convert the anti-Wall Street protests into political assets for Obama – even as he tries to raise a billion dollars from the filthy rich. Al Sharpton is the president’s key cooptation operative. “The goal, of course, is to keep the attentions of African Americans and unionists focused on the Republicans and their Tea Party annex, as opposed to Wall Street, with which the administration has been intimately entwined from day-one.”

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

“The cooptation offensive is in full swing, commissioned from the very top of the Democratic Party, which is determined to claim the Occupation movement as its own.”

If the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon were to collapse tomorrow, it will have already greatly advanced the struggle against the rule of finance capital, simply by virtue of having pointed out that Wall Street does, indeed, rule. For the general, white American public, from which the initiators of the movement spring, the idea that finance capital utterly dominates every mechanism of societal power, is felt as a kind of revelation. The relatively sudden intrusion, historically speaking, of this elemental fact of life under the current order, which was thrust so painfully into the collective consciousness by the meltdown of 2008 and the great “betrayals” that followed in such swift and stunning succession, threatens to detonate like a social bomb. The explosive human device has implanted itself in the very “belly of the beast” – politically, figuratively and, in the case of the New York City encampment, literally.

Like a political Andromeda Strain, the anti-Wall Street phenomenon has replicated itself in a thousand locations, a pattern of leftish activism resembling a new and successful cell-phone service map; everyone seems, potentially, connected. Continue reading

Dr. Safiya Omari on Black August and Geronimo Ji Jaga

Black Agenda Morning Shot


Monday, September 5, 2011

Dr. Safiya Omari speaking on Geronimo Ji Jaga and the legacy of Black August Resistance

at the Black August Resistance Commemoration program in Jackson, MS on Sunday, August 28, 2011,

organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

Dragging Malcolm X to Obamaland

[From Black Agenda Report, a very critical review of Manning Marable’s social-reformist distortion of the life of Malcolm X.  Glen Ford begins the struggle to return the weapon of history to the hands of those who struggle for an end to national oppression, capitalist exploitation, and imperialism.  — Frontlines ed.]

April 27, 2011

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Malcolm X's revolutionary spirit, thinking, and teachings continue to inspire and educate new generations, despite the efforts of social reformists like Manning Marable to turn Malcolm into a useless icon and tool for the renunciation of revolution

Manning Marable’s rendition of Malcolm X’s life should be read very carefully, so as not to confuse Malcolm’s evolving worldview with the late Columbia University professor’s left-reformist politics. “Marable tries to convince us that Malcolm must have contemplated a reformist political path in his mind, if not in practice.” The author’s mission is to discredit revolutionary Black nationalism as outdated and primitive. Black Democratic Party activism and support for President Obama are hyped as the new Black Power.

Dragging Malcolm X to Obamaland

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Marable grows so bold in pushing his back-to-the-future reformist fantasies, by page 333 he describes a Malcolm X who has become ‘race-neutral.’”

In packaging the life of Malcolm X for a wide audience, the late Dr. Manning Marable has presented us with an opportunity to reignite the debate over the meaning of Black self-determination, a discussion-through-struggle that effectively ended when the Black Freedom Movement became no longer worthy of the name. Unfortunately, it appears this was not Dr. Marable’s intention, since Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention is largely an attempt to render useless the vocabulary of Black struggle. Essential terms such as “self-determination,” “Black nationalism,” “revolutionary” and “empowerment” lose their meaning, abused and misused in order to portray the great Black nationalist leader as inexorably evolving into a “race-neutral” reformer on the road to Obamaland. Continue reading

The Non-Election for the Non-Government of the Non-Sovereign State of Haiti

So, what election, for what government? The exercise only has value for those who paid for it, the Americans, who spent $14 million on this fraud in hopes of disguising the fact that Haiti is a U.S. colony.

Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The Haitian people didn’t want it, even most of the candidates rejected it, so who was supposed to benefit from last Sunday’s farcical election? “The exercise only has value for those who paid for it, the Americans, who spent $14 million on this fraud in hopes of disguising the fact that Haiti is a U.S. colony.

The multitudinous assaults on Haiti’s dignity reached a crescendo with this weekend’s elections, imposed by foreigners for the benefit of foreigners against the wishes of the Haitian people and even of most of the candidates. It is as if severely wounded and sick hospital patients – make that prison hospital patients – were ordered to dance and sing for the pleasure of rich visitors. As should have been expected, most Haitians refused to perform like circus animals, on demand.


The Haitian sham elections for president and most of the legislature may go down as the most bizarre and macabre exercise in hypocrisy in the history of U.S. imperialism. Haiti’s most popular political party – no, the ONLY political party with a truly mass following – the Fanmi Lavalas organization of exiled president Jean Bertrand Aristide, was barred from running. By the time Sunday rolled around, 12 of the 19 candidates for president were denouncing the government for perpetrating a “massive fraud” on the citizenry. Turnout was probably not much more than single digits – which is actually the usual for Haitian elections in which Aristide’s party is not allowed to participate – an electoral travesty equivalent to outlawing the Democratic Party in New York City, Boston or Chicago. Continue reading

COINTELPRO 101: Black Agenda Report documentary film review

The U.S. government’s COINTELPRO assault on Black and radical political activists wasn’t just a Sixties episode: it was part of the continuity of oppression stretching from the European invasion of the Americas and the slave trade to this very day. American regimes are prepared to deploy COINTELPRO-like repression whenever popular movements threaten the established order. “Assassination, imprisonment, surveillance and encouraged internal strife [are] employed to forcibly dissolve these movements.”


by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

It is an introduction to the often omitted history of the FBI’s illegal wars of terror waged against the full spectrum of radical Left movements in this country.”

COINTELPRO 101, the latest film release from The Freedom Archives, is nothing like the all-too-common soft, liberal documentary which tells of worse and distant horrors so as to lessen the pain or awareness of those still occurring. It is not a film that imposes a happy ending by suggesting that its subject is somehow past.

It is a film that makes plain the fact that all of your problems of today, from war, to incarceration, to banking crises, joblessness and environmental catastrophe, still exist because movements to do away with them suffered and continue to suffer the greatest levels of repression from the most powerful state apparatus in world history. And worse still, as Black Panther Party veteran Kathleen Cleaver states unequivocally, unlike the official Counter Intelligence Program of previous decades, today’s version is perfectly legal.

COINTELPRO 101 is just that. It is an introduction to the often omitted history of the FBI’s illegal wars of terror waged against the full spectrum of radical Left movements in this country. The Counter Intelligence Program which emerged in the post-WWII era of international struggles for human rights and national liberation simply focused internally to the United States all that had been carried out against populations abroad. It turned so-called U.S. citizens in the 20th century into insurgent rebels to be dealt with as any foreign army or movement. Assassination, imprisonment, surveillance and encouraged internal strife were employed to forcibly dissolve these movements. But, as this film so skillfully demonstrates, this all was merely an extension of a continuing state project of enslavement, genocide, theft of land, culture and humanity that pre-dates even the official declaration of U.S. nationhood. Continue reading