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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/27/14

    Detroit Marches in Solidarity with Dublin Over Water

    On November 1, the grassroots Detroit Water Brigade will lead a march in solidarity with the people of Dublin, Ireland, who recently turned out 100,000-strong to protest the first-ever imposition of water fees. Dubliners carried signs linking their struggle with the 27,000 Detroiters that have been cut off for non-payment of water bills. “Everyone has a right to fresh, clean water,” said Detroit Water Brigade spokeswoman AtPeace Makita. “This is a global issue; this is a human rights issue.”

    Bill to Silence Mumia Cannot Pass Constitutional Muster

    Pennsylvania’s attempt to suppress prison inmates’ right to free speech on the grounds that it might cause “mental anguish” to crime victims and their relatives is blatantly unconstitutional, said Bret Grote, legal director of the Abolitionist Law Center, in Pittsburgh. “It is specifically designed to target otherwise lawful speech,” including protests against prison conditions or claims of innocence, said Grote. As one Pennsylvania newspaper has noted, “for many victims, the fact that the offender is still breathing causes ‘mental anguish.’”

    Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, said the Victim Revictimization Act is simply another version of “The Mumia Rule,” which goes into effect whenever “the court or agency changes its rule or precedent to go against me.” Pennsylvania’s governor and legislators “know perfectly well that an unconstitutional law is no law, at all,” said Abu Jamal. “They have become legislative outlaws.”

    U.S. Engaged in Biowarfare Work in Africa Since 1988

    Without mentioning Ebola, President Obama announced a “temporary” halt to funding for experiments aimed at making certain diseases more dangerous – that is, making microbes into weapons of war. A Liberian newspaper charged the U.S. with responsibility for the Ebola epidemic. “I have an official Pentagon document proving that the [federal Centers for Disease Control] was doing biowarfare work in Sierra Leone as early as 1988,” said Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois. “If you look at the predicted fatalities, this will be genocidal.”

    Greens Try Create a Political Base in Harlem

    Daniel Vila, the Green Party’s candidate to unseat New York Congressman Charles Rangel, said that in the course of meeting thousands of Harlemites on the campaign trail, “not one of them had a good thing to say about Charlie Rangel. That tells me that Harlem wants a change.” Even if the Green ticket loses – which is a certainty – “it creates a base,” said Vila. “Capitalism is in crisis, and it is precisely in these periods that working people look for alternatives.”

    Cornel West: Black Leadership Gone Wrong

    “Everybody knows we’d have a different kind of Black leadership if Black middle class kids were going to jail at the same level as Black poor children,” said public intellectual Dr. Cornel West, of New York’s Union Theological Seminary. West spoke at a town hall meeting in Seattle. “We’ve got some very, very talented, smart and brilliant Black people in positions of status and prosperity and living well,” said West. “But, they’re still scared and intimidated and afraid to tell the truth, and they don’t want to reach out to the folk who are still catching hell.” West’s new book is titled Black Prophetic Fire.

    Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour. Click here to download the show.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/20/14

    Pennsylvania Enacts Bill to Silence Prisoners – Especially Mumia Abu Jamal

    A new law would curtail the speech of prisoners held by the State of Pennsylvania on the grounds that their utterances and writings might cause “mental anguish” to crime victims. “It’s a backlash, it’s a repressive law,” said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, professor of history at Baruch College and a supporter of Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner. “It suggests that authorities are feeling the heat of emerging movements against police brutality and mass incarceration.”

    Speaking from Frackville State Prison, Mumia Abu Jamal said the legislation proves Pennsylvania’s government “doesn’t give a white about their own Constitution, nor about the United States Constitution. I welcome that, because it proves that they are the outlaws.” Police organizations were outraged that Abu Jamal was allowed to give a commencement speech at Vermont’s Goddard College.

    Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration

    Police and FBI personnel have reverted to throwing around the old term “outside agitators” to describe activists that have journeyed to Ferguson, Missouri, to protest the U.S. criminal justice system. “They’re picking up the terminology of George Wallace, Bull Connor and the like,” said Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, who was arrested along with fellow co-founder Dr. Cornel West, in Ferguson, last week. The point “is to divide the movement to transform the status quo.” Nationwide actions to resist police brutality, mass incarceration and criminalization of Black people are set for October 22.

    Prop 47 Would Dramatically Reduce Incarceration in California

    The online activist outfit Color of Change has thrown its weight behind passage of Proposition 47, a ballot initiative that would reclassify some nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and redirect prison funding to programs for transition to life on the outside. “It would impact up to 10,000 people who are currently incarcerated” and spare thousands more from being “overcharged” for offenses, said Matt Nelson, organizing director for Color of Change. Moreover, said Nelson, passage would go far to “make it unacceptable to have such high rates of incarceration, which really start in a racially biased culture.”

    Next Round: Rev. Pinkney vs. Whirlpool in Benton Harbor

    Community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney goes on trial October 27 on charges of altering signatures on petitions to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor, Michigan, a mostly Black town long dominated by the giant Whirlpool Corporation. “They’re counting on an all-white jury that is motivated by something other than the truth,” said Pinkney, leader of the fight to recall Mayor James Hightower. Whirlpool and county police authorities “would do anything – I believe they would even kill – to keep him in office, because he is the corporate puppet,” said Pinkney.

    Temple University Students Supplement “Africology” with DuBois

    Students at Philadelphia’s Temple University are holding their own W.E.B. Dubois lecture series to make up for what’s missing from the new “Africology” courses instituted by Dr. Molefi Asante, chairman of the recently renamed African American Studies department. Asante refused to renew the contract of Duboisian scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro. “We feel a critical analysis, historically, politically and economically, through the vantage of African American struggle, is lacking” under the Africology regime, said student organizer Sabrina Sample. Asante’s agenda has been to “eliminate any competition with Afro-centric ideology within the department.”

    Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour. Click here to download the show.

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