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Black Agenda Report - January 19, 2022

Roberto Sirvent: The Black Agenda Report is taking a look back at the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency. What are some of your takeaways as to how his policies have impacted Black communities both home and abroad?

Kamau Franklin: Well simply put I think his policies, as predicted by any serious left analysis, have continued the terrible predicament of Black life in america. Biden by his own admission was a moderate and was not destined to do anything particularly helpful for the larger collective Black community. His inability to direct his own party to pass his signature legislation, Build Back Better, is a clear indication of how weak he is politically. His refusal to challenge to do anything on voting rights, to extend the housing moratorium to expand healthcare, to cancel student loans, and lastly to have a coherent national policy on fighting the COVID pandemic shows that his loyalties were always to just keep capitalist markets chugging along without the bombast of a Trump-like figure. That is what both the white political and economic elite wanted and the Black political elite wanted.

As far as an international context, Biden is now the point person for the American empire. One that is eager to shift focus on “containing” China but one that also is looking to strengthen the western international order which always means keeping a weak and compliant Africa. I think what's happening in Ethiopia is a good case in point where America seeks to destabilize Ethiopia by supporting an insurgent war against the national government by supporting the TPLF which once governed Ethiopia as a dictatorship. Although Ethiopia is no bastion of left politics it has become a more open society, it recently became the number two economy in Africa, it is challenging Egypt for control of the Nile, and is open to ore trade with China to balance it off against the west, and has a history of supporting Pan African thought and institutions to escape western dominance. These factors make Ethiopia a target of the US because any strong African state that is not captured by the west will be targeted and Biden is doing that as the current leader of the American and western hegemony.

Can you please share a little about the history of Community Movement Builders, including how it got started, its founding principles, and the various programs you organize?

Community Movement Builders was founded in 2015 as a member-based collective of community residents and activists dedicated to creating sustainable, self-determining Black communities through cooperative economic advancement and community organizing. Through the purchase of a house in one of the last entact Black poor/working-class communities in Atlanta named Pittsburgh, which was founded in 1883 by formerly enslaved Africans, we settled in as an organization to do place-based organizing. ...
Read full interview at Black Agenda Report