We Need a Black-Led Movement for Peace, Not a Phony ‘Prize’

By Glen Ford

President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is as phony as the plastic prize in a Cracker Jack box, full of empty rhetorical calories and poisonous substances. The Norwegian Nobel Committee completed its nominations process only eleven days after Obama took office, and chose him based on their own wishful assumptions of what he might do as president. In the real world, among his first acts was to present to Congress the biggest military budget in the history of the world, to fund a U.S. armed forces that is more lethal and costly than all the rest of the militaries on the planet, combined.

A previous Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lamented back in 1967 that the United States was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” President Obama has expanded on that legacy of death and destruction. He now “owns” the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which has justifiably been dubbed “Obama’s War.” He refuses to renounce the use of nuclear arms against Iran, and presses relentlessly forward with the militarization of Africa through the steady buildup of the U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM. The United States remains complicit in the ongoing genocide in the Congo, where at least five million people have perished in the corporate scramble for the region’s natural resources. The Obama administration mercilessly hammers the people of Somalia, menacing that nation’s sovereignty from the U.S. military base in Djibouti and enflaming tensions throughout the Horn of Africa.

When Barack Obama declares he is presiding over “necessary” wars, then those who seek peace must organize the necessary resistance to his wars. The world has waited long enough—no, too long!—for President Obama to live up to the expectations of the five members of the Nobel Prize for Peace Committee, in Norway. The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations has taken on the responsibility to reignite a Black-led movement to confront this administration’s war policies, at home and abroad.

It requires that the U.S. join the International Criminal Court, and face the music for its own crimes against humanity. But peace and social justice also require an end to a nationwide U.S. public policy of police containment of Black communities. That’s why the Black is Back Coalition demands an end to mass Black incarceration and the release of political prisoners. Peace requires economic security for the people, and an end to bailouts for the banks. On November 7, the Black is Back Coalition will rally in Washington, DC’s Malcolm X Park, and then march on the White House. On November 7, Black America begins to reassume its historic place in the forefront of struggle. On November 7, the Black is Back Coalition serves notice that a Black president gets no free pass when it comes to issues of social justice, peace and reparations. For information on the rally in Washington, go to

Forget what Barack Obama said at the 2004 Democratic convention. There IS a Black America. And Black is Back.

Black Agenda Report Radio Commentary by Glen Ford, BAR executive editor., October 13, 2009