In this episode, Clearing the FOG brings back excerpts of a discussion from November 2018 with the now-deceased Glen Ford, the co-founder and Senior Editor of Black Agenda Report, and Kevin Zeese, the co-director of Popular Resistance, about fascism in the United States. This interview covers the origin of fascism in the United States and how it was emulated by European Nations and brought to Latin America through US intervention as well as how fascism is manifest today with support by some who would consider themselves on the Left. Ford and Zeese talk about the rise of fascism in Brazil and how consent for war with Russia and aggression toward China was manufactured. They end with suggestions for what we need to do now that is just as true today as it was four years ago.
Of the traditional US holidays, Thanksgiving was by far my favorite. I can do without the excessive commercialization of Xmas with its cheesy music that broadcasts for weeks on end. Cancel the forced festiveness of New Years and the sloppy drunks it generates; ditto for the militarism of July 4th. So, what’s not good about coming together with friends and family and sharing a home cooked feast? I don’t want to ruin the party, but before you carve up the turkey, read the opening essay in Glen Ford’s The Black Agenda. His critique of the holiday is that the mythology surrounding Thanksgiving serves as a justification for our nation’s founding genocide of its native peoples and a validation of white supremacy.
It has been one year since the death of Black Agenda Report Executive Editor, Glen Ford. The turbulence of the past year has been as intense as Glen Ford’s loss to the movement. President Joe Biden is facing a crisis of legitimacy. Inflation and recession loom over a flailing U.S. capitalist system. A U.S.-led imperialist war with Russia and China is closer than it has ever been and Black America is no better off with a Democrat controlling the White House. Such conditions demand that we remember and emulate Glen Ford’s tireless contributions to the Black liberation, peace, and socialist movement. Ford was a student of revolution. Every word written and spoken by Ford was done in the name of developing a movement capable of bringing about the end of the American Empire.
In the best sense of the word a journalist is someone who brings to the public sphere accurate, well sourced information, and rigorous analysis. Those individuals speak for the marginalized, who can’t speak for themselves, and they expose the privileged, who are always given opportunities for expression. They point out the faults of those deemed too authoritative to be questioned. If an outlet claims to write all the news that is fit to print or declares that democracy dies in darkness, their work should be given more scrutiny than credibility. The journalist should be truly independent and skeptical of official narratives. Glen Ford was such a person. His decades of work provide a blueprint for anyone who wants that word to have real meaning and integrity.
As 2021 comes to an end, and the U.S. approaches the one-million mark of American lives lost to Covid-19, I would think holiday celebrations should include more somber notes than usual. Instead of seeing street behavior that would acknowledge grieving over 800,000 people in the U.S. who have died of Covid-19, we witness the convulsions for survival in a society and nation that is imploding as the wealth gap stretches far beyond our imaginations. In a nation inundated with death, whether from school shootings, the up-tick in crime rampages, fentanyl overdoses, alongside Covid-19 deaths, those who have passed may or may not have received the deserved attention due to their lives and legacies.
Glen Ford, who died in the summer of 2021, was one of the country’s most insightful political commentators and radical journalists. He appeared several times on this show. He spoke for the marginalized and excoriated the elites. Glen was the co-publisher of the radical Black Commentator. He co-founded Black Agenda Report with Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley in 2006. Glen repeatedly called out the Black political elites, exposing for example New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s close ties with right-wing organizations such as the Manhattan Institute and the Bradley Foundation and Booker’s advocacy of neoliberalism, austerity programs, school privatization, and other initiatives that are at the forefront of the war on the poor, especially poor Blacks.
Glen Ford, a brilliant and powerful force in the media throughout his life, died recently at the age of 71. In this century, Glen was the founder of the Black Commentator in 2002 and then Black Agenda Report in 2006. He was an activist as well on a range of issues, part of the Black is Back Coalition. In this program, Clearing the FOG compiles a few previous conversations with Glen about the state of Black America, systemic racial injustice, how power is organized and how to confront power. In the final interview, from November of 2018, Glen describes fascism in the United States and the lack of resistance to it. The interviews were conducted prior to the death of Clearing the FOG co-host Kevin Zeese. Clearing the FOG extends its condolences to the family and friends of Glen Ford. His wit and wisdom are deeply missed.
Glen was a man whose voice thundered with the passion of justice, his keen eyes intensified by those round glasses that sat on the bridge of his strong nose right in front of his daunting intelligence, his word mastery and their unveiling of perceptions he gleaned from having been wounded by a culture bent against his people, against him personally, as when it deployed hitmen against his life’s work. It was a confirmation that he was on the right track when he and the Black Agenda Report family made the government’s blacklist of subversive publications. So there was anger. And clarity. And passion that combined to make Glen more than a little intimidating. There was his work ethic. His unrelenting discipline. His body of work. His insistence on excellence.
It's easy to run with the herd, especially when it can bring possible career advancements and even significant monetary gain. That is why, for so many, making decisions to find a way into the mix, to play the game in order to advance one’s individual objectives, does not present any internal moral debate. It is just common sense. But for the oppressed and their radical intellectuals and activists, accommodationism is not an option without surrendering one’s soul. Glen Ford and many of our generation refused to do that. Glen made the decision to devote himself to being a truth teller on the side of the people back in the 1970s, at a historic moment when it was very easy to be an opportunist.
Glen Ford, a veteran broadcast, print and digital journalist who hosted the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on TV before going on to found the Black Agenda Report website, has died, according to reports. He was 71 years old. Ford’s cause of death was not immediately reported. Several sources announced his death late Wednesday morning, including Margaret Kimberley, an editor and columnist at Black Agenda Report, the weekly news magazine that offers commentary and analysis from a Black perspective which Ford launched and served as its executive editor. Condolences began pouring in on social media once news of Ford’s death broke.