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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/21/14

Seattle Conference to Kick Off $15 an Hour Ballot Initiative

So popular is the demand for a $15 an hour minimum wage, the corporate establishment and virtually the entire city council of Seattle, Washington, claim to favor the hike. To ensure that these erstwhile allies don’t water down the proposal, however, the 15 Now campaign will kick of a drive, on April 26, to collect 50,000 signatures to put the wage increase on the ballot. “We have lots of different people involved: socialists, Green Party activists, community groups, Latino organizations,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for 15 Now and also a member of the Socialist Alternative party, whose local leader, Kshama Sawant, won a seat on the council, last year. “Socialist Alternative sees the need for democratic socialism to replace capitalism so that we can really deal with all the problems that face society,” said Spear.

Supreme Court Decision Renders U.S. a “Zombie Democracy”

The U.S. electoral system has entered the realm of the living dead, said Ajamu Baraka, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. The recent McCutcheon ruling, which allows the rich to spend virtually unlimited funds on political campaigns, confirms that the “system doesn’t really function, it has no internal life – but that’s been the case from the very beginnings of the Republic,” said Baraka. “The only elements in society that were allowed to participate were white men with property. What we have now is a full circle back to that reality.”

Fusion Spy Centers Target Activists

Human rights activists in 7 cities recently protested against U.S. intelligence Fusion Centers that allow local law enforcement and contractors to share information on political dissent. “There is this guise that they’re trying to keep us safe from terrorists,” said Jamie Garcia, of Stop LAPD Spying, “but we’re finding out that they’re actively targeting social justice organizers” through these “mega spy centers.”

Black Lives Endangered in Detroit, Chicago, Congo

The crowds that come to hear about the slaughter of six million Congolese since 1996 – the biggest genocide since World War Two – “don’t make a distinction between what’s taking place on the South Side of Chicago, or in Detroit, and what’s happening in the Congo,” said Maurice Carney, executive director of Friends of Congo. “They immediately recognize that getting involved” in defending the lives and rights of Congolese “is an indication of the value they hold for Black life,” said Carney.

Blacks and “Bio-Sexual Politics”

David Austin, the Montreal-based activist, educator and author of Fear of a Black Nation, said “bio-sexual politics” is “a primeval fear of Black folks that is rooted in the recurring need to control Black bodies…a phenomenon that is intimately connected to fear of Black rebellion and the spread of Blackness as a political contagion.” Austin took part in “Black Folk in Dark Times: A Workshop on Sovereignty, Citizenship and Freedom,” at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville.

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Death, US Capitalism, and Huey Newton’s Theory of Suicide

by Danny Haiphong

Class and race oppression brings death by many means. “The person or movement partaking in revolutionary suicide has chosen to confront death by fighting for liberation.”

Why We Are REALLY Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex In the Age of Neo-liberal Monopoly Capitalism

by Danny Haiphong

The ruling class deploys ostensible do-gooders as agents of social destruction and control. “Non-profits have played a large role in channeling revolutionaries into comfortable careers that promote liberalism and collaboration with monopoly capital.” Although outfits like Teach for America aren’t on the stock exchange, they are vastly beneficial to finance capital.

Behind the Flash Mob Attack on Obama’s DOJ Attorney General Nominee Debo Adegbile

by Noelle Hanrahan and Stephen Vittoria

The U.S. Senate used hatred of Mumia Abu Jamal to defeat Debo Adegbile’s nomination as chief of civil rights at the U.S. Justice Department. “U.S. Senators and political pundits regurgitate blatant lies that seek to demonize Abu-Jamal because they face zero accountability regarding their use of the purported ‘facts.’” When it comes to Abu Jamal, they are free to lie at will.

Remembering the Politics of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Age of Obama

by Danny Haiphong

Barack Obama took his presidential oath on Dr. King’s bible, but has spent every day in office fighting against MLK’s legacy. “If King were alive today, he would be on the streets opposing each and every one of Obama’s neo-liberal economic policies and imperialist wars.”

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/20/14

IFCO Tax Exemption Imperiled

The IRS is threatening to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, IFCO, the venerable anti-poverty and human rights group. The government is investigating IFCO’s aid to Palestinians in Gaza and its assistance to U.S. students that want to avail themselves of medical scholarships in Cuba. The web site of the pro-Israel Investigative Project on Terrorism accuses IFCO of links to Hamas. “To have the IRS utilize a blog to come after a 47-year old, faith-based, non-profit organization run by people of color since its inception, is an outrage and an insult,” said IFCO co-director Gail Walker.

Health Disparities Rooted in Racist Legacy

Racial income and wealth gaps lead to racial health disparities, said Brian Miller, executive director of United for a Fair Economy, UFE. “Vast economic disparities are still with us, and these disparities, coupled with racial segregation, create a toxic soup that is brewing up health problems and shortening people’s lives,” said Biller, at a press conference to debut UFE’s 2014 State of the Dream Report, “Healthcare for Whom? Enduring Racial Disparities.”

War on Poverty was Great Success

The War on Poverty accomplished many of its goals, according to Annelise Orleck, professor of history at Dartmouth University and co-editor of The War on Poverty: A Grassroots History, 1964 – 1980. President Lyndon Johnson’s community action programs made enemies. “It shook things up when poor people demanded representation in school boards and housing boards and welfare boards,” said Orleck. The War on Poverty was attacked “not because it failed, but because it succeeded.”

White Racism Undermined Anti-Poverty Effort

“White backlash” scuttled some War on Poverty programs, including job training for minorities in the skilled trades. White workers whose union hiring halls had “for decades hired their sons, their nephews” became Reagan Democrats, said Jill Quadango, professor of sociology at Florida State University and author of The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty. White union members saw minority trainees as “a direct threat to their prerogative to choose who was hired.”

Mumia on COINTELPRO

A new book reveals the identities of three people who broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and made off with files on the bureau’s COINTELPRO campaign against Blacks and the Left. Mumia Abu Jamal, America’s best-known political prisoner, recalled learning of the revelations, shortly after he left the Black Panther Party. “To read about people who you’ve known for years, who were FBI informants, was absolutely mindblowing,” Abu Jamal told Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and host of WBAI Radio’s Law and Disorder program.

Socialism Needed – Quickly

Capitalism “is utterly irrational, it’s out of control, and unless we democratically organize and plan this economy, they’re going to kill us, literally, through climate change,” said Michael Steven Smith, co-editor of Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. The new book contains 31 essays by a wide range of Left activists and writers.

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Freedom Rider: The Burglary and COINTELPRO

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Forty three years ago, a group of brave activists clandestinely liberated documents from an FBI office that proved the existence of COINTELPRO, the government program to destroy the Freedom Movement. A new book recounts how most of the media refused to touch the story. Today, the chill is even deeper.

The Radicalization of Ray Richardson: Suspicion Still Surrounds Death of Black Activist TV Producer

by Jeffrey B. Perry and Charles V. Richardson

In January, 1971, the young producer of Boston public television’s groundbreaking program Say Brother, was found dead in a Mexican resort, along with his fiancé. Ray Richardson was the grandson of Harlem radical Hubert Harrison. The cause was listed as drowning but, as in this year’s death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, in Mexico, questions still linger.

Always “Nigger Season”

by Rev. Reynard N. Blake, Jr.

It’s 44 days for a killer to be arrested

It’s a damn “knock, knock” joke

Glib to black death

It’s white expectations of black violence

It’s Fox News jumping with glee

Malcolm X Tic-Tac-Toe in the Age of…Austerity?

by Raymond Nat Turner

Tic-Tac-Toe, X versus O

Freedom Rider: Support Assata Shakur, At Your Own Risk

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Thanks to The First Black President and The First Black Attorney General, “the only people safe in speaking of or contacting Shakur are those who mean her harm.” To speak of Black liberation, its heroes and history, is a crime of terror. “Barack Obama has made manifest his predecessor’s desire to create a truly fascist machinery in this country.”

Mutulu’s Call: Securing the Release of Our Captured Fighters

by Kwasi Anokye

How does a fractured movement fight for release of activists facing false charges, while simultaneously defending the rights of other imprisoned freedom fighters to resist oppression by any means necessary? “Standard leftist language would have us defend our freedom fighters merely as unjustly treated individuals, not as righteous insurgents.” But what about our inherent right to self-determination?

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of August 6, 2012

 

Don’t Depend on Obama

Whatever happens in November, our job doesn’t change,” said anti-racism activist Tim Wise, author of Dear White America: A Letter to a New Minority. “The symbolic value of a Black face in a high place does not necessarily translate into structural change.” A mass movement is necessary to force elected officials to address social issues, “because they are not going to do it in and of themselves.”

COINTELPRO Never Ended

The government’s Counter Intelligence Program of the Sixties was never shut down, said Larry Pinkney, former Black Panther and political prisoner. The Feds continue to plant provocateurs in activist ranks. “It’s the oldest trick in the book,” said Pinkney, “and the reason it has consistently worked is, we’ve got too many ‘sheeple’ out there who are about to find themselves in a situation where they have no Constitutional or human rights.”

Offshore Trillions

Measuring the global elite’s offshore cash stashes is “like estimating the size of a black hole,” said James Henry, author of Tax Justice Network-USA study titled “The Price of Offshore, Revisited.” Between $21 trillion to $32 trillion is hidden from tax collectors, said Henry, a former chief economist for the McKinsey consulting group. Developing nations are actually net lenders to First World countries, “to the tune of $11 trillion, which is exactly opposite the way global capital markets are supposed to function.”

Africa at Crossroads

The African Union has proven itself incapable of resolving armed conflicts” in Libya, the Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. South Africa, the sub-Saharan powerhouse, is key to continental security. “It’s either get South Africa off the sidelines or invite in the United States or some outside power – and, obviously, the latter is too ghastly to contemplate.”

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Re-Open COINTELPRO Investigation: If the Sioux Can Seek Justice, Why Can’t Blacks?

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Oglala Sioux have convinced the U.S. Justice Department to re-examine 50 possible political killings, from the mid-Seventies, some of which are surely linked to the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO. The program registered its biggest body count among African Americans, but Black Misleaders have made “no serious effort to exhume the full body of the program’s crimes, much less prosecute the guilty, or free the framed, or compensate the victims, or rewrite the lies of national history.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of December 12, 2011

 

Mumia Being Set Up for Assassination

Pennsylvania authorities intend to have Mumia Abu Jamal killed if he is transferred to the general inmate population, said Pam Africa, of International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. The Philadelphia District Attorney agreed last week to no longer pursue the death penalty in the killing of a police officer, 30 years ago. “This is a devious trick of theirs,” said Ms. Africa. “This is the same government that attempted to assassinate [American Indian Movement activist] Leonard Peltier, this is the same government that murdered [San Quentin inmate and Black Panther] George Jackson, and the list goes on.”

McKinney: Preventive Detention to Quell Dissent

Former Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney denounced congressional moves to establish indefinite preventive detention for so-called terrorism suspects, including U.S. citizens. “What happens to a group of people who want to go to Libya and report the truth?” asked the former Georgia congresswoman, who led several fact-finding delegations to Libya before and during the NATO assault on that country. “Who will they put on the terrorist list, to be detained? It could be you, it could be me, it could be the young people of Occupy, it could be anyone who dares to dissent.”

Blacks Must Return to Grass Roots Organizing

The idea that protest politics is played out, or that it doesn’t garner results, is completely ahistorical,” said Newark city councilman Ras Baraka, a speaker at a People’s Organization for Progress (POP) rally, last week. “Everything we have been able to do in this community and this country has always centered around our ability to organize to protest, to march, to sit in, to speak out,” said Councilman Baraka, a school principle whose father is the poet and activist Amiri Baraka. Since June, POP has held daily demonstrations for jobs, housing, adequate education, social justice and peace, and vows to continue for 381 days, to match the duration of the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Actions on Foreclosures

Organizations associated with the Occupy movement and The New Bottom Line launched campaigns against home foreclosures in dozens of cities. New York Communities for Change targeted properties abandoned by banks and “severely over-leveraged buildings that are not getting any repairs done,” said NYCC legal and political director Amelia Adams. In Minneapolis, Neighborhoods for Change joined with OWS to send teams to live with families in two foreclosed properties. Out-of-work householder Monique White said she believed, mistakenly, that “the Obama [home foreclosure] program was for people like myself,” while Vietnam-ear veteran Bobby Hull reported that when he tried to join the program with Bank of America, “they could never find my information, and then didn’t converse with me.”

Give the Broadcast Spectrum to the People

Members of the Georgia Green Party, local Occupiers and Atlanta community radio station WRFG demanded that the Federal Communications Commission halt auctions of the broadcast spectrum to private parties and make commercial media pay the cost of community broadcasting. “The FCC ought to give these frequencies back to the public, back to not-for-profit community broadcasters, who will be glad to provide access to local voices, local news coverage and public service that commercial broadcasters have refused to provide us,” said Bruce Dixon, a Green Party activist and managing editor of Black Agenda Report.

Congo Elections Rigged

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila engineered his own reelection by pushing through constitutional changes that eliminated a runoff vote and by appointing his own supporters as judges and elections officials, said Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of the Congo. “Kabila is supported by the United States,” he said. Despite the election theft, “We Congolese can organize to make sure that we really achieve the independence that Patrice Lumumba dreamed of in 1960.”

Jared Ball: J Edgar a “Horror Film”

In Clint Eastwood’s new film J Edgar, the infamous “Hoover returns, even in death, to remind the liberal, the affluent, the white, that their place atop the social pyramid is legitimate and must be protected by any means necessary,” says BAR columnist Jared Ball. “Black activists don’t even appear…. We get nothing of his concern over the Black Panther Party, or the surveillance and deportation of people like Claudia Jones and CLR James, or culpability in the killings of Malcolm X and Fred Hampton, to name a few.”

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