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Stop-and-frisk

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    White Supremacy and the Central Park 5

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Although New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has OK’d a $40 million settlement with the Central Park 5, who were wrongfully imprisoned for brutal rape, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists the police acted in “good faith.” “In a sane, non-racist society, the fact that five innocent children had been made to confess to a horrible crime that they did not commit would be viewed as a prima facie case of police misconduct.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/5/14

    Seattle Activists Vow to Put $15 Wage on Ballot

    “We can’t wait seven years for workers to get relief,” said Jess Spear, organizing director for the campaign by 15 Now and the Socialist Alternative Party to immediately raise most wages in Seattle to $15 an hour. A counter-proposal by Mayor Ed Murray’s hand-picked committee, unveiled last week, would phase-in $15 over a 4 to 7 year period, with no cost-of-living increases until the first phase-ins are complete. Spear said the fact that the mayor had to present even a watered-down version of $15 an hour proves that “movements really get things done and change the conversation.” The Socialist Alternative Party’s Kshama Sawant won a Seattle city council seat, last year, on a $15 platform, igniting a groundswell of support for the wage hike. Spears said 15 Now will go ahead with a drive to collect 50,000 signatures to put its own, much stronger proposal on the ballot.

    Benton Harbor Activist Under House Arrest

    Back in 2008, Rev. Edward Pinkney, a longtime community leader in mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, became the first person in living memory to be imprisoned for quoting the Bible – in this case, on contempt charges in an elections law trial. Last week, 35 to 40 armed sheriff’s deputies came to arrest Rev. Pinkney on charges related to a recall petition against the city’s mayor, an ally of the giant Whirlpool Corporation. “They were losing 5 to 1, and they knew they had to do something to stop this [recall] election,” said Pinkney, who is confined to his home, forced to wear a GPS finder, and barred from working on his computer. The recall election has been called off until after adjudication of Pinkney’s case. Activists plan to protest at the Whirlpool-sponsored senior PGA tournament, in Benton Harbor, later this month. “We’re gonna have more people there, now, than ever before,” said Pinkney.

    Supreme Court Justices “Burning the House Down”

    Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to even consider an appeal of Hedges v. Obama, the suit against preventive detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial. “It’s not simply that the court is turning a blind eye to constitutional rights,” said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. “It’s also the case that the court is hamstringing itself and diminishing judicial independence and inhibiting the extent to which future courts will be able to rein in similar abuses.” By failing to curb executive and legislative branch assaults on constitutional rights, “these judges are, basically, burning the house down,” said Buttar.

    Mumia, Street: Institutional Racism is the Deeper Cut

    Billionaire Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was near-universally denounced for private, racist remarks, yet institutional racism remains as deep as ever, sanctioned by majorities of Americans. “It’s interesting that you have this incident, and the shaming of Sterling, just a week after the Supreme Court hands down another absolutely terrible decision on affirmative action,” said historian and activist Paul Street. “These dramas become kinds of rituals of white self-congratulation that feed the narrative that we’re in a post-racial society, and tend to render the deeper institutional societal racism more invisible than it already was,” said Street.

    The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, made the same point in a commentary for Prison Radio: “Which story will affect the greatest number of Black lives – the anguished insecurities of a rich old man trying to exert control over his beautiful young lover, or the tortured reasoning of a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, essentially closing the doors of college to millions? Which are more relevant? Which are more racist?

    Stop-and-Frisk Still in Effect in NYC

    New York City cops continue to racially profile and confront young Black and brown men despite the fact that Bill de Blasio has replaced Michael Bloomberg at City Hall. De Blasio brought back former police commissioner Bill Bratton, an architect of stop-and-frisk. “The political incentives changed from Bloomberg to de Blasio, but the actual effect on people’s lives did not,” said Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton. Now that stop-and-frisk is officially frowned upon, “police simply won’t write down every interaction and stop anymore.” People are getting “a false sense of reform.”

    Cornel West to Support Dr. Anthony Monteiro at Temple University

    Dr. Cornel West and others will join a student-community coalition demonstration on Thursday, May 8, to demand that Temple University reinstate Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the adjunct African American Studies professor whose contract was terminated earlier this year with the assent of department chairman Dr. Molefi Asante. Students last week staged a sit-in at the Philadelphia campus's administrative offices, and later met with the university provost and the dean of liberal arts. “They basically told us it was Dr. Asante’s decision not to bring back Dr. Monteiro,” said student activist Paul Conge, a political science major who has studied under Monteiro. Asante “wanted to move to an African cultural nationalist type of department.” Asante recently told a radio audience that Dr. Monteiro’s student supporters were all “white communists” – a charge that is both untrue and smacks of “McCarthyism,” said Conge. Asante’s version of “Afro-centricity allows him to be a proponent of capitalism – Black capitalism, Black-on-Black exploitation. He really does not care about economic exploitation.”

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    The Case Against Bill Bratton

    by Josmar Trujillo

    If Bill de Blasio is really a progressive, why did he bring back the architect of Stop-and-Frisk as his police commissioner? When it comes to aggressive policing gospel Bratton is the “pastor of the flock.” Bratton seems the least qualified to make the changes that are “desperately needed to relieve communities of color living in what many see as a racialized police state.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 2/10/14

    Obama Warps Black American Politics

    “Something has gone terribly wrong with African Americans under Barack Obama’s presidency, said former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. In Switzerland, recently, said McKinney, “diaspora Congolese asked me point-blank: ‘What’s wrong with Black people in the United States, that they are allowing this genocide in Congo to take place without saying a word?’” The 2008 Green Party presidential candidate described current Black American indifference to issues of peace and war an historical “aberration.”

    U.S. Empire of Global Destruction

    Since 9/11, U.S. foreign policy has been dedicated to the “destruction of states,” said Dr. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, at Champaign, and author of Destroying Libya and World Order. In Syria, “the agenda is more than regime change; it is to destroy Syria as a state, along the lines of what the U.S. has already done to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Somalia,” said Dr. Boyle.

    Socialism Can Feed the World

    The planet is capable of feeding all of its people, but not under capitalist relations of production, said Arun Gupta, a contributor to Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. Gupta, a co-founder of The Indypendent and the Occupied Wall Street Journal, advocates the spread of urban and smaller scale agriculture. “We have to get back to making local food systems primary, and then supplement it with larger scale production” where necessary.

    Bratton-de Blasio: Odd Couple?

    Robert Gangi, director of the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project, is “encouraged” by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to appeal a federal court ruling on stop-and-frisk, and his appointment of a Deputy Commissioner for Collaborative Policing. Nevertheless, said Gangi, “we need to be vigilant that these steps are not window dressing.” However, the mayor’s recycling of Police Commissioner William Bratton is indefensible, said New Yorkers Against Bratton spokesman Josmar Trujillo. Bratton is “widely credited with being the Godfather of stop-and-frisk” and “already has blood on his hands” from his tour as commissioner in the Nineties, said Trujillo. With his Bratton appointment, de Blasio is attempting to “put a progressive sheen on a very right-wing vision.”

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    Imagine: If Mayor DeBlasio Really Were a Socialist

    by Cliff Conner and Michael Steven Smith

    Lots of people who call themselves socialists have high hopes for Bill de Blasio, the new mayor of New York City. If de Blasio is really as “left” as some imagine, he could use his bully pulpit “to rally public support to fight for socially progressive measures.” The authors have some suggestions.

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – 11/6/13

    Stop-and-Frisk Judge Thrown Off Case

    A federal appeals court stayed Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling that stop-and-frisk, as practiced by the New York City police, is unconstitutional, and removed Scheindlin from the case for bias against cops. However, that doesn’t phase Robert Gangi, of the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project. “Our judgment is that, while litigation and legislation can be helpful, they are not the critical components to the ultimate success of the police reform movement,” said Gangi. “The politics of the issue have changed, dramatically.” Gangi is convinced that Democrat Bill de Blasio, the city’s next likely mayor, will eliminate the worst abuses of stop-and-frisk.

    A Slap in the Face

    “My immediate reaction is that the federal appeals court stopped-and-frisked Judge Scheindlin,” said Carl Dix, a co-founder of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, which launched a campaign of direct action protests at police precincts across New York, two years ago. The panel’s action is a “slap in the face of all of the people who hate stop-and-frisk,” he said. “Them finding impropriety in Judge Scheindlin’s handling of the case, but seeing no impropriety in the way stop-and-frisk demonizes and criminalizes Black and Latino youth – that’s the real story, here.”

    Don Obama and the Health Insurance Mob

    The Affordable Care Act is neither affordable nor universal, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, co-director of It’s Our Economy and one of the authors of the recent article, “Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History.” “They’re marketing the insurance products for the insurance companies, paying people to knock on doors,” said Flowers. “We’re spending billions of taxpayers dollars to subsidize the purchase of private insurance. What better deal could there possibly be for a private insurance company?”

    Caribbean Slavery Suit: Reparations or Pay-Off?

    The 12 nations of the Caribbean economic community, plus Haiti and Surinam, plan to sue Britain, France and the Netherlands for the crime of slavery. However, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are already talking about a settlement. “Reparations is an issue whose time has come,” said Omali Yeshitela, head of the African People’s Socialist Party and chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition. But, it seems that the Caribbean leaders are “asking for a kind of pay-off, and nothing that actually challenges the relationships of power and the economic relationships that exist between Europe and the oppressed nations of the world.”

    Sociologists Boycott Israel

    Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, said the Association of Humanist Sociology has joined the global boycott Israel campaign. Dr. Williams, a vice president of the association, said his colleagues demand Israel end its colonization and occupation of Palestinian lands, recognize the full citizenship rights of Palestinian Israelis, and allow Palestinian exiles to return to their homeland. The association felt compelled to join the boycott because “sociology is about transforming the human societies that we find ourselves in. It is nor merely about interpreting data.”

    Soul Summit” Recounts Legacy

    Black cultural and media practitioners gathered recently at pubic television’s WNET, in New York, to discuss the legacy of “Soul,” the 1968-73 public affairs program produced by the late Ellis Haizlip. Such programs were a response to the Black rebellions of the Sixties, said Dr. Todd Burroughs, an independent journalist and authority on African American media. Haizlip was able to convince Black artists “to talk about their art as Black people engaged in a struggle for Black liberation,” said Burroughs. Funding for the genre dried up in favor of “shows that would allow a more comfortable viewing experience.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/28/13

    Bankers and State Owe Detroit

    Instead of figuring out ways to strip Detroit of its assets to pay banks, the courts should force bankers and the state to repay the city hundreds of millions owed. “Some of the main creditors have been bogus, complicated interest rate swaps by banks who overcharged hundreds of millions of dollars of interest,” said community activist Debra Taylor. “If anything, that needs to be renegotiated.” Taylor said the city was also denied $224 million in revenue sharing funds when the state arbitrarily changed the payment formula.

    Obama Schemes to Cut Social Security

    President Obama has “enabled” the assault on Social Security and other entitlement programs since his first days in office, said independent journalist Arun Gupta, a co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. The president has long sought an austerity “Grand Bargain” with Republicans, but has been stymied by GOP reluctance to cut a deal. “The U.S. has become so dysfunctional, in terms of its political system,” said Gupta, “it seems the most you can hope for is gridlock.”

    Who Stopped Stop-and-Frisk?

    Opposition to stop-and-frisk is now all but mandatory among New York City Democrats. But, that wasn’t the case two years ago, when Carl Dix and others began a civil disobedience campaign under the Stop Stop-and-Frisk banner. “Things like stop-and-frisk were not front-burner issues” back then, said Dix. “The question of torture in prison was something hardly anyone knew anything about. We thought that waging a mass resistance movement was a key way to bring these issue front and center.”

    Hi-Tech Corporations Behind National Surveillance State

    A new study shows the high-tech industrial sector uses its campaign contributions to bolster congressional and White House support for the national surveillance state. “It’s really a giant interest-group issue,” said Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston, and an author of the report. “These are industries that we’d already identified as uniquely friendly to Obama,” based on campaign contributions.

    U.S. Facilitates Congo Genocide

    Six million Congolese have died since neighboring Rwanda and Uganda invaded the country in 1996, said Maurice Carney, director of Friends of Congo. Speaking at the 7th anniversary celebration of Black Agenda Report, at New York City’s historic Riverside Church, Carney said “these crimes could not be committed without the backing of the United States and the protection of its allies, Uganda and Rwanda.” How could Washington call for military action in Syria and Libya, where thousands were at risk, Carney asked, “when you’re not even willing to take diplomatic action in Congo, where we’re talking about millions?” It all depends on whether “one values Black life, or not.”

    Organize!” says Danny Glover

    Actor and political activist Danny Glover called for a “reinvigoration of the idea of democracy.” Speaking at a fundraiser for Benton Harbor, Michigan’s Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), the TransAfrica Forum chairman said: “It is important that people are active in the process. We need to organize!”

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    Blacks & Drones

    by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

    Two organizations that give qualified support to U.S. adventures abroad, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have issued reports critical of civilian deaths by American drone strikes. However, U.S. foreign policy is rooted in domestic practice. “U.S. Blacks have long been placed within a disposition matrix better known as ‘stop-n-frisk’ and they have long been the victims of normalized state assassination.”

    Freedom Rider: Bill Thompson Loses and Black People Win

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Bill Thompson thought he could get the Black vote simply by being the only Black candidate in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York. Thompson didn’t work hard or address the Black community, except to “caution against ‘over reacting’ to stop and frisk” – an issue that backfired on him big-time. Thompson was beaten by a somewhat progressive white guy with a Black family. Serves him right.

    Living Under the Cloud of Stop-and-Frisk in Washington DC

    by Seema Sadanandan

    Black children in poorer sections of the Nation’s Capitol grow up under constant hyper-surveillance of police. The armed occupation of their communities is anything but benign. “A community’s desire to be free from crime is not an invitation to treat all men in that community as suspects.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/28/13

    NSA Could Ensnare Anyone in National Security Trap

    “Every single person in this country owes Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning a debt of gratitude,” said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, renowned whistleblower and a founder of the No FEAR Coalition. The NSA program that tracks human networks endangers all Americans, said Coleman-Adebayo, “because everyone is only a person or two or three or four away from being implicated in some scheme that the National Security State comes up with.” She called Bradley Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for exposing government secrets an example of growing “tyranny.”

    Ray Kelly’s Rise Halted By Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

    It is highly unlikely that New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will be appointed head of Homeland Security, said Robert Gangi, of the Police Reform Organizing Project of the Urban Justice Center. A federal court found that the city’s stop-and-frisk practices routinely violate the constitutional rights of Blacks and Latinos. “There is now a big black eye on the face of New York City policing,” said Gangi. “Ray Kelly is no longer the iconic law enforcement figure he was a short two years ago.”

    Black Is Back Coalition Magnifies Grassroots Forces

    The betrayals and predations of the Black Misleadership Class can be overcome by out-organizing them. “Our objective is to replace that misleadership, not just to complain about it,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. Black is Back seeks to “provide the ability for all of these” grassroots organizations “to come together and to magnify their presence many times over,” said Yeshitela. The coalition recently held its national conference in Harlem.

    Cornel West on Obama and the New Jim Crow

    The Obama administration seems to believe it is immune from effective Black criticism. “It’s sad to see us pimped like that,” said Dr. Cornel West, the activist and academic currently based at Union Theological Seminary, in New York. “All of our suffering is rendered invisible because they know we will be highly protective of them.” The administration has “that kind of power, that kind of bully pulpit, but they can’t say a mumbling word about the New Jim Crow – and they’ve been in office for five years. That’s disgusting!” Dr. West spoke on the latest edition of Black Agenda TV.

    Nursing Students Charge Fraud in Philadelphia

    Six Black women, who call themselves the Liberation of Students Rights Group of Philadelphia, charge the now defunct St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing cheated them out of $22,000 each and a year of their lives. Sabrina Whitaker said she and her fellow students, all college graduates at the time, had heard that the school had a Black dean, and “wanted to work in an area that was African American.” But the school turned out to be unaccredited. “We had to share gloves, we had to share needles when learning how to do IVs,” said Whitaker. The women hope to prevail in court, to prove that “if you keep fighting, keep striving for what you believe in, your dream too can come true.”

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    Expect “Massive Resistance” to Stop-and-Frisk Ruling

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    A federal court ruling against New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices says, essentially: “There are to be no ‘Constitution-free zones’” where Blacks can be treated as lesser citizens. However, the entire American political establishment is committed to racial surveillance and mass Black incarceration. That’s why “the ruling will be met with massive resistance reminiscent of the official southern white reaction to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision.”

    Why the Post-Trayvon Martin “Talk" Turns Black Kids Into a Pathology

    by Pascal Robert

    Brainwashed Black folks subject their children to the sick ritual of “The Talk,” to instill in them the “the necessity to attenuate their behavior to the expectations of a racist society.” They were wrong before Trayvon Martin’s murder, and they are wrong, today. “We should give our children the intellectual armor to call out this injustice instead of kowtowing to it.”

    Obama Supports the Racial Surveillance That Killed Trayvon

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    In his effort to “put the angry Black genie back in the bottle” following George Zimmerman’s acquittal, President Obama once again claimed to oppose racial profiling. He’s lying. Obama has endorsed the most prolific racial profiler in the country as a potential head of Homeland Security. The president is a bulwark of the system that targets millions of Trayvon Martins.

    Freedom Rider: The Corporate Media’s Mass Hypnosis

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Delivery systems and platforms for information may proliferate at blinding speed, but most Americans have no access to anything resembling the truth. They may know the names of the dead – like Trayvon Martin – but have no clue why they died. “Lies and nonsense are the standard fare for the most read and watched news sources in this country.”

    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

    Freedom Rider: Et tu Bill Thompson?

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Bill Thompson, the Black candidate for mayor of New York City who endorses stop-and-frisk and has reactionary Republicans collecting money for his campaign, is betting that Black people are chumps. “The powerful lobbyists and their clients are making sure that Bloombergism will continue without Bloomberg” – with a Black face. Haven’t we seen that movie before?

    Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Danger of the Black Cultural Tour Guide

    by Pascal Robert

    How does one become rated “the best writer on race today?” By telling white people what they want to hear. Ta-Nehisi Coates is “the new favorite Black cultural tour guide of the chattering class” because he “talks about racism in a way that makes White Liberals feel good.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/25/13

    Black Michigan Under Emergency Financial Boot

    About 54 percent of the Black population in our state will not have the right to vote in local elections” because of Michigan’s imposition of emergency financial managers over cities and school districts, said John Philo, director of Sugar Law Center. “It’s an economic model that says the only way out of a fiscal crisis is to cut services to those in need, privatize public resources,” and break public sector unions, said Philo. Detroit’s new emergency manager was a partner in a law firm whose clients make up more than half the Fortune 500 corporations.

    Social Security Supporters “Disappointed” in Obama

    The president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare fired off a letter to the White House, last week. “It seems the president is determined to remind everybody that he’s willing to offer a new formula for determining the cost of living adjustment for recipients” – which is a cut, said Max Richtman. “We’re all very disappointed.”

    Brooklyn Blacks Continue Protests in Police Killing

    Police blanketed the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, as residents staged protests against the killing of 16 year-old Kimani Gray. Carl Dix, of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, who led a rally on Sunday, said: “Anybody with even an ounce of justice needs to come and stand with the people in this neighborhood, because if you don’t do that, you’re leaving them alone face all the oppression that the systems brings down.”

    Collegiate Anti-Incarceration Campaign

    Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) hold their national conference at Howard University, in Washington, April 19 and 20, under the theme, “Where Do We Go From Here: Re-Energizing the Black Student Movement.” “We hope to come out of the conference with a national plan of action,” said organizer Haji Conteh.

    Racial Disparity in Incarceration Narrows

    The gap between Black and white imprisonment rates has narrowed in recent years, according to a new study by The Sentencing Project. The trend is the result of “a declining rate of incarceration for Black men coming at the same times as a rising rate for white men,” said Project director Marc Mauer. The shrinkage of the gap among women was even more dramatic. Fewer Blacks are being sentenced to long prison terms for drugs, while larger numbers of whites are incarcerated, typically for methamphetamines.

    Civil Rights Heroine Honored

    Claudette Colvin, who was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus - nine months before Rosa Parks - will be honored by the People’s Organization for Progress, in Newark, New Jersey, March 28. Black movement leaders didn’t think Colvin and three other young women fit the image they wanted to present of Black people. “We were rejects,” Colvin laughed. But Colvin’s case was the one that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the bus segregation law. “Rosa Parks was the right person for the time,” said Colvin, but “we are disappointed that no one tells how the bus boycott came to an end, successfully.”

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    Whites Use More Drugs Than Blacks: The Great Narco Lie

    by Auset Marian Lewis

    According to some studies, whites do significantly more drugs, including crack, than Blacks. Yet, the Black man has been made the face of drug crime. “Using fear of ‘the other’ as a chisel to carve out a hidden political agenda is boilerplate American strategy and nothing new.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/11/13

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/11/13

     

    The Greatness of Chavez

    Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan president, “put the project of socialism back on the map in Latin America,” said Gregory Wilpert, co-founder of VenezuelaAnalysis.com. However, “It was only after the 2002 coup attempt that he became more radical” and “it wasn’t until 2005 that Chavez declared himself to be a socialist. The experience radicalized him.”

    Chavez “changed the world, changed Venezuela, perhaps forever, he has changed South America, and he has created conditions for a new configuration of humanity,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “He is part of the process of creating a South-South civilizational axis.

    Double Protest Against NAACP

    Protesters will stage actions at the NAACP’s Washington bureau, on April 3, and at the civil rights organization’s national headquarters, in Baltimore, the next day, said Rev. Edward Pinkney, the former head of the NAACP in Benton Harbor, Michigan. “We have given the NAACP a free pass, just like we gave Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson – because they’re Black.” Pinkney wants the NAACP’s non-profit status revoked for acting as an annex of the Democratic Party.

    Perverse Effects of New York City Police Quota System

    The Police Reform Organizing Project issued a wide-ranging report on New York City police practices, including its stop-and-frisk quotas. “Policing has been turned upside down,” said project director Robert Gangi. “We have a police force that is under pressure to engage in punitive interactions with community members,” including false arrests.

    Public Education Crisis

    There’s a destruction of public education taking place, whether it’s charter schools or corporate takeover of curriculum, all for the benefit of the wealthy, whose children do not attend public schools,” said Dr. Donald Smith, a founder of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. “Most Black educators, I’m sad to say, are at sleep at the wheel,” seemingly unaware of the crisis.

    Obama Keeps Shopping for Grand Bargain

    President Obama has tried to conclude his “grand bargain” with the GOP “over and over and over again,” said Kevin Zeese, co-director of It's Our Economy. “This is his fourth time. If you are going to raise more money, but not to meet people's needs, why are you doing it?” asked Zeese. “The bankers want it” to pay down the debt, “and that's what they'll get unless people stand up and say, No.”

    Older Workers Hard Hit

    Older Black workers face special problems in the current economy, according to a recent report of the American Association of Retired Persons. “It’s much more difficult to get a job in your 50s,” said Edna Kane-Williams, the AARP’s vice president for multicultural engagement. Almost 40 percent of those who are working “think it is very likely or somewhat likely that they will lose their jobs or have to give up working for themselves.”

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of January 7, 2013

     

    Both Parties Sabotaging Entitlement Programs

    Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid “have been set up to take the fall for the nation’s deficit,” said Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, president of Washington-based Global Policy Solutions. President Obama “views it as his legacy to rein in entitlement programs while creating this grand bargain” with the Republicans. Those who expected a more progressive Obama in his second term are mistaken. “I think that the president did not make a Freudian slip in his first debate when he said that he and Mitt Romney actually agree on Social Security.”

    EPA Chief Used Alias

    Lisa Jackson was forced to resign as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency because she conducted some of her public duties under an alias, said famed whistleblower Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, of the NO FEAR Coalition. Jackson was “extremely upset” with the Occupy Movement, which staged demonstrations against “her cowardly behavior” as guardian of the environment. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo believes Jackson used her alias to cloak her role in government spying on movement activists.

    End Stop-and-Frisk

    We feel that 2013 has to be a year of rising resistance to stop-and-frisk in the streets and in the courtrooms,” said Carl Dix, a founder of Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “We’re not talking about mending an injustice; we’re talking about ending it.” The capitalist system is incapable of providing a “future for millions and millions of young people growing up in the urban areas of the country,” said Dix. “You can put Black faces in high places, but if it’s the same system that has oppressed and exploited you, it’s not going to change. Revolution is the solution.”

    Big Brother Obama Hears All

    President Obama has shown himself to be a more aggressive foe of civil liberties than George Bush. “Absolutely, we’ve seen this to be true from the FISA authorization, to the use of drones, and with the NDAA” preventive detention bill, said Samantha Peetros, spokesperson for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Just before New Years, Obama signed a five-year extension of legislation allowing warrantless phone and email surveillance.

    Charters Crowding Out Public Schools in Philly

    I think that there is a growing movement among decision makers to shut the door on public education,” said W. Curtis Thomas, a Black state lawmaker from Philadelphia. The city has targeted 60 public schools for closing, while expanding charter schools by 5,000 seats. “The decision to move kids towards these charter schools is really an effort to resegregate a system that was never totally integrated, anyway,” said Rep. Thomas.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of November 19, 2012

     

    Big Win for Affirmative Action in Education

    Affirmative action advocates believe they have a chance to prevail at the U.S. Supreme Court, following an appeals panel ruling that struck down Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions. “We will immediately be asking the University of Michigan to reinstate” affirmative action programs, said George Washington, lead attorney for Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary. “There has been a one-third to 50 percent drop” in minority admissions since the ban took effect, he said.

    Stop-and Frisk Protesters Claim Partial Victory

    Four activists charged with serious offenses stemming from a protest at a Queens, New York City police precinct, last year, were acquitted of all but disorderly conduct charges. “We view the results of this trial as a victory, because they were going for convictions” that carry one-year jail sentences, said Stop Stop-and-Frisk organizer Carl Dix. Charges are still pending against nine others arrested in Queens, and another group of demonstrators in Brooklyn. “We are going to make these trials a part of this fight” against police abuse of power, said Dix.

    Obama Can’t Pass Buck on Extra-Judicial Killings of Blacks

    By the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s count, more than 140 African Americans have been murdered by police and others under cloak of authority since the start of 2012. President Obama is obligated to deploy the full powers of the federal government to compel law enforcement agencies to “respect the human rights of Black people,” said MXGM. “At the end of the day, they are all still held accountable by the Department of Justice, which, last time I checked, is under [the President’s] direct control,” said spokesman Kali Akuno. “We won’t let him pass the buck.”

    Whose Fiscal Cliff?

    The elevation of deficit reduction “to the be-all and end-all of policy discussion in Washington really is what’s driving some Democrats away” from their traditional defense of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, said Chris Hellman, of the National Priorities Project. By endorsing the Simpson-Bowles proposals, President Obama has “made it clear that he is at least willing to discuss some changes in those programs.” Obama is more than willing to impose sever austerity, said Kevin Zeese, of Occupy Washington DC. “He’s going to be giving away the store,” said Zeese. “Every constituency that supported Obama is going to lose in this negotiation.”

    Wal-Mart Squeezes Workers

    We have to borrow money from each other just to make it to work,” said Colby Harris, a 3-year Wal-Mart employee from Dallas, Texas. Wal-Mart workers have staged strikes and other actions to protest low wages, poor healthcare benefits, management disrespect and – the latest insult – plans to keep stores open on Thanksgiving. Labor economist and former Bennett College president Julianne Malveaux said “it’s especially egregious when Wal-Mart, the largest and richest company in our country, engages in these activities.” Workers complain they are limited to less than 30-hour weeks, to deprive them of healthcare benefits. “This is an oppressive matrix,” said Malveaux.

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    Stop-and-Frisk Should be on Trial, Not Us

     

    by Jamel Mims

    The Stop Stop-and-Frisk movement has frightened the mass incarceration apparatus in New York City, which has upped the ante on protest. The author is among four activists facing two years behind bars. “The intended effect of this prosecution is insidiously transparent: to send a chilling effect through the movement against mass incarceration, and dampen the spirit of resistance it has ignited.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 22, 2012

     

    Medicare Supporters Protest While Candidates Joke

    Medicare “is being threatened by both parties,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rosenthal, of Physicians for a National Health Care Program. The group led protests outside New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, where presidential contenders Barack Obama and Mitt Romney told jokes at an annual dinner. “Even the Democrats are talking about raising the age of eligibility for Medicare,” said Rosenthal. Both parties and the media claim Medicare is facing bankruptcy. “That’s all very misleading. It’s not in crisis, it’s not going to run out of money for a long time, and we can fix that.” Rosenthal’s organization wants Medicare expanded to cover all Americans.

    Black Is Back – in Washington

    The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, which appeared on the scene with a march on the White House in 2009, returns to DC for a rally and national conference, November 3 and 4, under the theme “Breaking the Silence.” “There are bombs being dropped in Africa, and increased militarization of our communities in the United States,” said spokesperson Ayesha Fleary. “Millions have died in the Congo over the last 10 years, but that’s never on anybody’s agenda.”

    Stop-and-Frisk Protesters Face 2+ Years in Prison

    Trial begins October 23 for four members of the Stop Stop-and-Frisk movement, charged with acting “in concert” to disrupt a police precinct in Queens, New York, last year. Prosecutors are seeking to intimidate the movement by “piling on” charges that could put the demonstrators in prison for more than two years, said defendant Carl Dix. “It is illegitimate, unjust and racist for the NYPD to racially profile Black youth…and to put us on trial for protesting it. What has be put on trial, here, is stop-and-frisk, itself.”

    Parents of Slain Oakland Youth Speak Out

    Our youth are saying, Why plan for the future when I might not live to be 18?” said Jeralyn Blueford, whose son Alan was shot to death by an Oakland, California, policeman, last May. Mrs. Blueford and her husband, Adam, will travel to New York and Philadelphia to tell how a cop chased her unarmed son for a mile before putting three bullets in his chest. Initial police claims that there had been a shootout, soon fell apart. “It was just racial profiling at its core,” said the father.

    South Africa Slum Dwellers, in U.S., Condemn Marikana Massacre

    We need to take a stand, because what the miners were fighting for is just,” said Mnikelo Ndabankulu, spokesperson for the South African grassroots organization Abahlali baseMjondolo, which means “People Who Live in Shacks” in the Zulu language. At least 34 workers were shot dead by police at the Marikana platinum mine, in August. Ndabankulu's group has also been harshly suppressed by authorities. “South Africa is a protesting state,” he said. If police were allowed to shoot everyone who protests, “the country would be left with only police and rich people.” Abahlali baseMjondolo members are on a tour of U.S. cities.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of September 17, 2012

     

    Preventive Detention Law Ruled Unconstitutional

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that the Obama administration will appeal” a Federal District Court ruling that knocked down preventive detention legislation signed into law by the Obama administration, said Professor Marjorie Cohn, of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego, California. “Keep in mind that indefinite detention without charges” also “violates a treaty the United States ratified, called the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. But the Obama administration, like the Bush administration, does not seem to feel bound by these treaties,” said Cohn, author of United States of Torture.

    Stop Stop-and-Frisk Enters New Phase

    Young Black and brown people blew whistles across New York City on September 13, to call attention to police abuse of power. The “Blow the Whistle” campaign is “a way for the people who bear the brunt of the criminal injustice system…to get involved in the resistance” without “opening the door to further arrests,” said Carl Dix, who founded Stop Stop-and-Frisk along with Prof. Cornel West, last year. Huge proportions of Black and brown youth are already under some form of criminal justice system control. “They aren’t going to be the ones that will take up a civil disobedience campaign” – but they will blow the whistle when they see police misconduct, said Dix.

    Both Major Parties Run Racist Campaigns

    At least since the Dixiecrats abandoned the Democratic Party to join the Republicans, everything they have done has been based on race,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the South Carolina activist and author. This election season, “the Democrats have responded with a platform that aims at reaching out to white working class voters, which is what racist campaigns do.” That’s where former president Bill Clinton comes in. But, at least that’s “better than Obama doing what he usually does, playing ‘kick-a-nigger’ politics when he’s felt the need to do so,” said Gray.

    Poverty Pervasive in U.S.

    While U.S. Census Bureau figures for last year show poverty hovering slightly below 1965 levels, its long term reach is far deeper, said Stephen Pimpare, associate professor of sociology at Columbia University. Twenty-eight percent of Americans were poor at some point between 2008 and 2009. During the three years between 2004 and 2007, 46 percent, “experienced poverty.” That’s “very nearly a majority of Americans,” said Pimpare, author of A People’s History of Poverty in America.

    U.S. and Israel Isolated in World

    The recent unanimous vote by the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement, affirming Iran’s rights to nuclear power technology, “proves that Iran is not isolated, but in fact it is the United States, Israel and the NATO powers that are isolated” from the rest of the world, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. The Non-Aligned Movement comprises two-thirds of the United Nations General Assembly.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – week of September 3, 2012

     

    Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk

    The police racial profiling practice known as stop-and-frisk is “wrong, it is immoral, it is racist and unconstitutional” said social activist Dr. Cornel West, announcing a “Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk” campaign starting September 13. “This struggle is going to intensify. We want to connect it to the military industrial complex,” the Wall Street complex, the prison industrial complex, and “we want to connect it to this election, where you see the farce between one oligarchic part and another.”

    Noche Diaz, an activist facing multiple trials for confronting stop-and-frisk, asked “By is that I have to look at 15 year-olds in the playgrounds of the Bronx, who tell me that if you’re not a white person in this world, you don’t matter?”

    Push for $10 Minimum Wage

    Democrats are “dialing for the same dollars” as Republicans, seeking corporate campaign contributions and “rejecting Franklin Roosevelt’s legacy,” said social activist Ralph Nader. “Polls show over 70 percent of the American people consistently want a minimum wage kept up with inflation.” Adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage would now be $10.35, rather than the current $7.25. The United States, said Nader, has “the lowest minimum wage in the western world.”

    Black Is Back Coalition Examines Electoral Strategies

    We want to take this conversation beyond an examination of Obama, to an examination of the electoral process, itself,” said Ayesha Fleary, at the recent conference of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, in Newark, New Jersey.

    Let us use the electoral process as one form of struggle,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “Our future depends on our willingness to build a real capacity to utilize every form of struggle in the quest for liberation.”

    Black people were ill-served by the “misleadership class” that arose after the collapse of the Sixties mass movements, said Glen Ford. “The same class of Black opportunists who has risen to local power through the Blackening of America’s cities, presided over the demographic reversal of fortunes, later on,” with the mounting loss of Black urban majorities.

    Corporate American and the banks have a death grip on Harlem, that will produce an even greater forced migration out of Harlem,” said Nellie Bailey, of the Harlem Tenants Council.

    U.S. rulers have placed Black and brown “neocolonialists” in positions of nominal power “to make it appear that people are making progress,” said Charles Barron, the Brooklyn city councilman. What’s needed are “African-conscious, radical, revolutionary people” elected to city councils, nationwide.

    Do we want to participate” in elections “just to raise issues…or to actually get people elected?” asked Larry Hamm, leader of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress. “We’ve got to be able to come up with candidates, and when we put people in office, we’ve got to keep them accountable.”

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    A “Silent March” Against the Police Stop-and-Frisk State

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    After ten years of escalating police aggression on the streets of New York, a broad range of political actors have combined for a Silent March Against Racial Profiling, this Sunday. Under Mayor Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk regime, “every young Black and brown man in New York is treated as if he is walking contraband, and that he is ‘too hot’ to allow to walk about freely.” In practice, the policy is little different from racist South Africa’s apartheid pass system.

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    Freedom Rider: The Lie of American Democracy

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Just as most American mistakenly believe their country has the highest living standard in the world, they also swear that the U.S. is the ultimate in democracy. They also realize that the Golden Rule applies, here: those who have the gold, rule. But the contradiction does not phase them. And, largely because Americans cling to the myth of democracy rather than face the fact of plutocracy, “we know for certain that we will end up with a corporatist president who will keep our country and the world in a perpetual state of war.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of May 21, 2012

     

    Suit Against Preventive Detention Moves Forward

    A federal judge ruled that plaintiffs attempting to overturn preventive detention without trial showed a “likelihood to prevail” in their suit. Former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges, one of the plaintiffs, said the law would allow “anyone to be swept up” by government “acts of extraordinary rendition on American soil against American citizens.” Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame, said the legislation has already had a chilling effect on reporters and activists, like himself, who don’t want to wind up in a “black hole.”

    Father’s Day NYC March Against Stop-and-Frisk

    Opponents of New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices plan a Father’s Day protest march. A new study of the nearly 700,000 individual stops, last year, shows that “wherever people of color are,” in the city, “they’re going to be stopped by police,” said Candis Tolliver, of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

    Slain Prisoner’s Family Files Complaint

    The family of John Carter, who died last month when guards at the Rockview, Pennsylvania state prison entered his solitary confinement cell firing pepper-spray and electric shock weapons, is seeking criminal charges against prison staff. Brete Grote, of the Human Rights Coalition, said “We’ve documented hundreds upon hundreds of human rights violations, many amounting to torture, in well over a dozen Pennsylvania prisons over the last five years.”

    Report on Prison Sexual Abuse

    A new study b the U.S. Justice Department shows about one in ten prison inmates is sexually assaulted during his or her term of confinement. Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International, said the survey was more accurate than previous studies because it was conducted on former prisoners “who are no longer living with the active and acute fear of retaliation” by guards or inmates.

    Housing Settlement Money Diverted

    Troubled home owners expected that a $25 billion settlement between state attorneys general and the nation’s top banks would provide some relief from imminent foreclosure. But at least 29 of the states plan to divert at least some of their share of the money to non-housing uses. Arizona wants to spend much of it on prisons. “It’s an awful idea, and I think it’s unlawful,” said Tim Hogan, executive director of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Alan Jenkins, executive director of Opportunity Agenda, in New York City, said the settlement funds were “intended to address a specific harm: an insult to the American dream and a violation of our belief in equal opportunity for all.

    New Voter Bill

    Democrats in the U.S. House have introduced a Voter Empowerment Act designed to “modernize voter registration,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, of the Brennan Center for Justice. The Brennan Center helped develop parts of the legislation, such as eliminating “voter caging” – the purging of voter rolls of people whose mail is undeliverable.

    Robin Hood Tax

    Protesters mobilized by National People’s Action and the National Domestic Workers Alliance marched to the suburban, Washington DC home of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, demanding a financial transaction tax on Wall Street trading. National People’s Action spokesperson Mary Moreno said the so-called “Robin Hood tax” would “generate a lot of revenue” to fund needed social programs.

    Death March” in Benton Harbor

    Veteran activist Rev. Edward Pinkney blames the giant Whirlpool corporation’s jobs outsourcing policies for shrinking the population of mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, down from 30,000 to less than 10,000 in recent years. Pinkney will lead a “death march” through the local PGA-affiliated golf course, this week, featuring a coffin filled with the names of dead or displaced citizens. A sign will declare, “Whirlpool Commits Genocide.”

    It’s Expensive to be Poor

    Gary Rivlin, author of Broke USA, said the added costs of poverty, such as check cashing fees and appliance rentals, amount to about $2,500 a year for a typical working poor household. The extra costs represent a “poverty tax.”

    U.S. Veers Right as World Goes Left

    Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, said “the world is moving to the left, but the U.S. is not.” Horne spoke on host Norman Richmond’s Saturday Morning Show, on Regent Radio, in Toronto, Canada. While Europe rebels against austerity, U.S. courts have drifted rightward and could conceivably rule that the remnants of America’s social safety net are unconstitutional.

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