Glen Ford on the Cohen and Manafort Convictions

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Much of the American oligarchy, Democratic Party, corporate media, and national security state are celebrating as President Donald Trump sinks deeper and deeper into the swamp he promised to drain. The Black Agenda Report and its Executive Editor Glen Ford do so only with grave reservations. I spoke to Glen Ford about why.
 
Ann Garrison: Glen, most people would expect a publication like the Black Agenda Report, subtitled as “News, commentary and analysis from the Black left,” to welcome the conviction of Donald Trump's longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen and his campaign manager Paul Manafort. How do you differ?
 
Glen Ford: Well, we're not sad to see any of Trump's slimy friends convicted. It's clear that Trump, before and after becoming president, has engaged in deep slime, but that's not the same as collusion with Russians and Wikileaks. That’s the predicate crime that these investigations were supposed to prove he did commit, but there's been no proof. So yes, bring on the slime, but also produce some evidence of the predicate crime. They can't because it didn't happen.
 
AG: Could you summarize your main points in quote, “How long is the shelf life of damnable racist capitalist lies?,” your recent piece in the Black Agenda Report?
 
GF: Well, we begin by stating that the US media, what we used to call the white press but now call the corporate media, has always lied. And they have specialized in lies about Black folks. Black folks understand the relationship between the power structure and the media. They are partners in our oppression. That's why we had a Black press. That's where I come from. What is now afoot, however, is what should be called a conspiracy. We don't call things conspiracies nowadays because then we're labeled conspiracy theorists, but conspiracies do exist and they occur when powerful forces combine for a common goal. Most of the corporate media and the ruling class, certainly the military industrial complex, and most certainly the national security operatives from the CIA, FBI, and NSA have combined to destroy the Trump presidency.
 
We’re not supporters of the Trump presidency, but we have been maligned and severely damaged by the tactics that these conspirators have employed to destroy Trump. They not only accuse Trump of being in active collusion with Wikileaks and the Russians, but also try to condemn the entire left. From the beginning of this campaign to destroy Trump, they have also had the goal of destroying left dissent in this country. Now they have the active collaboration of Silicon Valley, which has made its algorithms lie. So we can't be neutral about this Russiagate campaign when they are attacking us in the process of attacking Trump. We have to call the conspiracy what it is, and it is a Neo-McCarthyite, right-wing conspiracy designed to continue garnering US public support for the military and economic and political offensive that was begun in 2011 by the Obama Administration. The ruling class and its minions fear that Trump cannot be depended upon to continue that offensive.
 
AG: Why do you say 2011?
 
GF: Because 2011 was when the attack on Libya began, and that didn't stop with the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi’s government. It rolled on with Islamic jihadist fighters trained and financed by the United States and its allies all converging upon Syria, beginning that seven-year war which has taken the lives of half a million people, The Syrian war is part of a larger strategy to regain the ground that they had hoped to capture with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. That invasion was not designed just to seize control of Iraq and get rid of Saddam Hussein, but to convert Iraq into a forward base for a deep US penetration of Central Asia that would change the entire military and political balance in that region and give the United States the capacity to really strangle China, which they saw as the rising threat to US imperial rule.
 
The U.S. left Iraq beginning in 2007 and completely— at least officially—by 2011, in accordance with an agreement signed by George Bush. The Iraqis refused to sign the "standard" U.S. agreement that its troops would not be tried by Iraqi authorities for crimes against Iraqis. The Blackwater mercenaries' massacre of civilians in Baghdad is widely credited with making it impossible for the Iraqis to agree to those standard terms. The rise of ISIS and the capture of Mosul created the conditions for Iraq to agree to a U.S. troop return.
 
AG: What do you say to those who have accused the Black Agenda Report of alliance with Russia and Vladimir Putin?
 
GF: That's insane. All of us at Black Agenda Report are socialists. Russia is a capitalist country dominated by oligarchs. How could a socialist worthy of the name be in alliance with Russia and Putin?
 
Now it is the case that on the world scene today, the Russians have stood up to this US military offensive against Syria, which is totally illegal. They stood up on the grounds that the United States is acting in violation of international law, not respecting the sovereignty of nations, and thereby destabilizing the world order. And that the United States is not a force for stability in the world but is the opposite. As journalists we have to point out that's true, but that doesn't make us in alliance with Putin. That puts us in alliance with all those committed to a stable, just and lawful world order.
 
AG: Some also describe BAR writers, including myself, as “Trump leftists.” What's your response to that?
 
GF: Again, it's insane and it shows how crazy the ruling order has become. The Republican Party is the white man's party. Its organizing principle is white supremacy. It has become more so under Trump. Again, it is insane to charge good socialists like us, good Black folks like us, as being in some kind of alliance with the white man's party, but the people who make that charge live in the duopoly. They have only two sides of their minds, a Democrat side and a Republican side.
 
We have a critique of the Democratic Party as Wall Street's party, as the more aggressive war party now, and as the party whose penetration of the Black community stymies its very left-wing instincts, neutralizing it and taking it out of the struggle. If you engage in struggle for self-determination against white capitalist rule over your people, you have to engage Democrats because they are the vehicle through which Black America is controlled by Wall Street. But does that make you somehow a Trump supporter? That's nuts. And only people who think that there are only two kinds of people in the world or in the United States, Republicans and Democrats, would make such inane statements.
 
Glen Ford is the Executive Editor of the Black Agenda Report.
 
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at ann@anngarrison.com.

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