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Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 15, 2015

Broken Windows Policing Criminalizes Communities

The Police Reform Organization Project, or PROP, has released a report on damage done to ordinary people by New York City’s “Broken Windows” policing policy. Titled “That’s How They Get You,” the document provides 117 examples of how lives are ruined and communities embittered under a torrent of fines and jail terms for minor offenses. Broken Windows “actually criminalizes people, and gets them caught up the criminal justice system,” said PROP director Robert Gangi.

Another “Black” U.S. President?

Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, said Democratic presidential politics has become repetitive and predictable. “What we have is simply a continuation of the [Bill] Clinton regime, through Obama, and now I guess Hillary is about to become the third Black president,” said Yeshitela. The Black Is Back Coalition, founded in 2009 in part to show that not all Blacks supported Obama’s corporatist, imperial policies, is gearing up for its national conference, in August.

Newark is the Destination on July 25

The People’s Organization for Progress is expecting huge crowds to gather in Newark, New Jersey, for POP’s Millions March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice, and Economic Inequality, July 25. The march has been endorsed by scores of organizations and individuals, including Dr. Cornel West and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who is establishing a civilian police review board complete with subpoena powers. Community organizations, including POP, will hold a majority of seats on the board. However, POP chairman Larry Hamm is “under no illusion” that the review board will solve the problem. “I say categorically, that the greatest antidote to police brutality is the mass movement of the people,” said Hamm. “That’s more powerful than any governmental structure that can be put into place.”

Obama’s TPP Sinking

President Obama’s secret Trans Pacific Partnership treaty suffered a big setback on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks largely to activists like Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance. “If you don’t like crony capitalism or rigged trade for big business, you’ve got to be against TPP,” said Zeese. The treaty would make it almost impossible to reverse privatizations of government services, or for the public sector to take any action that might adversely affect corporate expectations of profits.

 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of May 19, 2015

“Corinthian 100” Reject For-Profit School Debt

Former students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges are on debt strike, despite pressures from the U.S. Department of Education to continue repaying loans. “These students were systematically defrauded, preyed upon, and lied to” by the for-profit college enterprise, said Laura Hanna, of the Debt Collective, an Occupy Wall Street outgrowth that represents the Corinthian 100. “They’ve already paid: once, in the form of their own tax dollars, and again by spending years going through a fraudulent system, and the idea that they would have to pay monthly for this disservice is just baffling,” said Hanna. Half a million students, disproportionately Black and brown, have attended Corinthian Colleges, and could claim billions of dollars in any bankruptcy settlement.

Marchers Mark 1985 Police Bombing of MOVE

Thirty years ago, under the watch of Wilson Goode, Philadelphia’s first Black mayor, police bombed a house occupied by the MOVE organization, killing six adults and five children and burning down two blocks of the neighborhood. Pastor Pamela K. Williams, of the Ark of Refuge Tabernacle, spoke at a march and rally marking the May 13th anniversary of the mass killing. Williams and her mother were witnesses: “We saw the police officers hoisting up the canisters of heavy artillery on their shoulders.... We were there when they decided to kill members of our neighborhood.” Williams’ mother had to identify some of the burned bodies. Today, “We must identify everybody that is affected by the atrocities that are perpetrated against us,” she said.

Mumia: Why the Bombing Matters

What happened 30 years ago in West Philadelphia was a “harbinger” of police killings to come, said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, who covered MOVE-police confrontations as a young radio reporter. “The visceral hatreds and violent contempt once held for MOVE is now visited upon average people – not just radicals and revolutionaries,” he said, in a commentary for Prison Radio. “When many people stood in silence, or worse, to the bombing, shooting and carnage of May 13th, 1985, they opened the door to the ugliness of today’s police terrorism.”

Abu Jamal is himself deathly ill, held incommunicado at a medical center in Danville, Pennsylvania. “The Department of Corrections is releasing no information about his whereabouts, or his condition, and they’re not letting his lawyer talk to him, his wife see him,” or allowing his doctor to speak with prison doctors, said Prison Radio’s Noelle Hanrahan. Abu Jamal almost died from complications of untreated and undiagnosed diabetes. Prison doctors continue “doing things that are not adequate or correct, so we need to have all our eyes on his care,” said Hanrahan.

Youthful Leaders Emerge from Baltimore and Ferguson

The ongoing struggle in Ferguson “is the second-longest resistance in modern history, second only to the Montgomery bus boycott,” said Rev. Osagyefu Sekou, speaking before a crowd of 1,000 at Baltimore’s Metropolitan United Methodist Church. “This new generation of leadership” represents “all of our children, even when they’re throwing stones at police officers,” said Rev. Sekou, who until recently pastured in Massachusetts. The mass meeting was convened by Baltimore United for Change.

UNAC Conference: Free All Political Prisoners

Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer and former political prisoner who was released from federal custody on compassionate medical parole, in January of last year, addressed a national conference of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition, in Secaucus, New Jersey. “The fact that there are so many political prisoners betrays the weakness and ineffectiveness of our movement,” said Stewart, who told the gathering that her cancer is no longer advancing. She called on doctors and lawyers to lend their “pro bono” services to the movement.

Peace activist Johnny Achi, of Arab Americans for Syria, said the U.S. proxy war is buttressed by “the vicious media campaign against Syria,” which circulates stories that are “the reverses of facts.” If the Syrian army falls, said Achi, “then you will have a true genocide in Syria” at the hands of U.S.-supported jihadists and mercenaries.

Good News: TPP in Trouble

President Obama’s forces in the U.S. Senate were first beaten, then regrouped, in his bid to “fast track” the still-secret Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress. Most Democrats oppose TPP. Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance, a key organizer against TPP, believes the scheme can be stopped in the U.S. House. “We already have about 60 to 75 Republicans on our side,” he said. “If we can add 10 or 15 to that, it becomes almost insurmountable.”

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.
 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of May 20, 2015

States and Cities Turn Criminal Justice Screws on the Poor

“Since the recession, states and municipalities are trying to regroup their deficits in the easiest way possible, and poor people are an easy target,” said Karen Dolan, lead author of the Institute for Policy Studies report, “The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty.” The proliferation of fees and fines for minor infractions is occurring “in high poverty, low income areas all across the country,” said Dolan. A recent Justice Department study showed that the Ferguson, Missouri, police department and municipal courts “were in the service of collecting money to shore up shrunken budgets.”

Running Left in America

Bernie Saunders, the nominally socialist Vermont senator, is acting as “a left sheep dog, who herds people back into the fold” of the Democratic Party, said Bruce Dixon, co-chair of the Georgia Green Party and managing editor of Black Agenda Report. Dixon was part of a conference on the Future of Left and Independent Politics, in Chicago. “We’ve seen the Bernie Sanders show before, we know how it ends,” said Dixon. “He will fold his tent and endorse Hillary, and whatever you do for Bernie will either benefit Hillary directly, or vanish in a puff of air.”

Angela Walker, who ran for sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, as a socialist and got 67,000 votes against a pistol-packing incumbent, also addressed the conference. She ran “the grassiest of grassroots campaigns” in which “race, gender and class issues were centered.”

Courageous Young Teacher Awaits Board Decision

On May 12th, the Orange, New Jersey, school board will decide whether or not to fire Marilyn Zuniga, a young teacher they suspended for helping her 3rd grade students write get-well cards to political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, who is seriously ill. Zuniga believes the board is “under pressure by the state.” Her own teachers union has also been less than supportive, perhaps due to their fraternal ties to police unions. “I really do believe that we need more teachers who are socially conscious, who are willing to take risks in the classroom,” said Zuniga.

Cuba Will Never Turn Its Back on Assata

“You can be assured that Assata Shakur will never be abandoned by us,” said Ricardo Alarcon, the former foreign minister and president of the Cuban national assembly, speaking in Havana to a U.S. visitors group organized by Code Pink. Alarcon said the former Black Panther’s political asylum status will not be a pawn in negotiations to normalize relations with the U.S. The U.S. and the state of New Jersey put bounties on Shakur’s head. “You have a lot of people in New Jersey who deserve to be in jail, beginning with [U.S. Senator] Bob Menendez,” said Alarcon. “It’s a state that has plenty of criminals, even in the highest offices.”

Kenia Serrano, a member of the Cuban Congress and president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, countered U.S. critics of Cuba’s racial policies. “The U.S. government has no moral authority to criticize any other country in the world, because the capitalist society, the imperialist society, is based on racism, discrimination and the lack of equality.”

U.S. Co-Opts Congolese Youth

The U.S. Agency for International Development is funding certain youth groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo to manipulate that country’s politics, said Kambale Musavuli, of the Washington-based Friends of Congo. “There are real, vibrant youth groups on the African continent,” he said. “But, little by little, they are being co-opted” by a U.S. “pro-democracy” campaign. “They are supporting some youth leaders, because they want to make sure that, no matter what happens, the U.S. will continue to control the Congo” and its vast resources.

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.admin

 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 22, 2015

The Empire of “Humanitarian” Foreign Wars and World’s Largest Gulag

President Obama’s signature foreign policy of “humanitarian” military intervention is “imperialism,” pure and simple, said Margaret Kimberley, a spokesperson for United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC). Obama “can use the ‘humanitarian’ commitment to wreak havoc all over the world – perhaps more than any conservative Republican,” said Kimberley, a BAR editor and senior columnist. UNAC is holding its national conference May 8 to 10 in Secaucus, New Jersey, just outside New York City, under the banner “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad.” “This country has the largest number of people in prison, and a greater percentage of people in prison, than any other country in the world,” she said, yet “we look down on or attack other nations that don’t lock up as many people as Americans do.”

Black Party Seeks Statewide Role in Maryland

The Ujima People’s Progress Party, which is attempting to gather the 10,000 signatures necessary to appear on the statewide ballot next election day, will hold a conference at Coppin State University, in Baltimore, May 2. The conference “will look at issues and work together to change the conditions that affect Black and working people in Maryland,” said Dr. Ken Morgan, whose Urban Studies program is co-sponsor of the event. Maryland is the 4th Blackest state in the nation, right behind Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. Most Blacks self-identify as Democrats, but Dr. Morgan said “all are welcome to the conference. This is not an adversarial kind of interaction.” He expects “the ongoing issue of police brutality” will loom large at the event.

New York Mayor Threatens Anti-Brutality Protesters

Police arrested 42 people and sent two to the hospital during the National Action to Stop Murder by Police, near the Brooklyn Bridge, April 14. Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to prosecute the demonstrators to the full extent of the law. That’s the same as saying “Our police can brutalize you, they can murder you, but if you come out and protest, we’re gonna go after you,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Dix vowed to continue to protest against “business as usual in America, because business as usual means police getting away with murder.” Atty. Kenneth Montgomery told a press conference: “We have millions of people incarcerated. But, right down the block, we have Wall Street, one of the biggest crime scenes in the world.”

CopWatch Units Flip the Script on Police

“We use their maps and statistics to be able to know where there’s gonna be more police activity, and we hit those areas,” said Jose LaSalle, co-founder of the CopWatch Patrol Unit, which operates in all five boroughs of New York City. Police were “very aggressive” when the citizens’ patrols were first organized, said LaSalle, but now “they’re getting accustomed to our presence out there.” Recording the police “is becoming a part of the culture within the community of color.”

Shaming Dixie with the Truth: the Scottsboro Boys Museum

In 1931, nine Black males, age 12 to 19, were falsely charged with raping two white girls on a freight train that passed through Scottsboro, Alabama. Their trials and ordeals illuminated the true nature of American apartheid. Today, Sheila Washington runs the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center, housed in a 136 year-old Black church. “The powers that be in this town don’t want the museum here,” said Washington, speaking to Norman Richmond, of CKLN Radio, in Toronto, Canada. “They don’t want the town known for the Scottsboro case. It’s still a fight to keep the doors open, because the city doesn’t recognize the museum, nor does the county commission. They’d like to let it die.”

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.
 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 13, 2015

End the “Army of Occupation” in Black America

The Black Is Back Coalition will hold a national conference on Black Community Control of Police, in St. Louis, Missouri, April 18 and 19. “Our recognition that Black lives matter means taking matters into our own hands,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “The Sharptons and government representatives want to convince Black people that an election will solve the problem, or body cameras will solve the problem,” instead of confronting “the essence of the system, which is anti-Black and anti-freedom. That’s why the fight for community control of police is so important.”

Mumia Targeted for “Execution by Medical Neglect”

Mumia Abu Jamal’s near-fatal diabetic emergency was either a case of medical neglect “or an attempt at execution through medical neglect,” said Prof. Johanna Fernandez, a member of the political prisoner’s legal team. His supporters are demanding that Abu Jamal be examined by doctors of his choice, and that all prisoners over age 55 be immediately released. “According to the Bureau of Prisons, 40 percent of prisoners have chronic illnesses that can lead to death,” said Fernandez. “Day after day, they are neglected in a systematic way by health contractors that put profit before the health of prisoners.”

Is Killer Cop a “Punk, Predator or Pig?”

Abu Jamal is back at the same Pennsylvania prison that failed to diagnose his illness. Despite his weakened condition, Mumia submitted a commentary to Prison Radio asking, rhetorically, how one should address Michael Slager, the South Carolina cop who shot Walter Scott in the back eight times. Should he be referred to as “Mr. Slager, or Officer Slager? Is he a punk, a predator, or what Huey P. Newton used to call, a pig?”

Plenty of Black Faces in High Places, But No Justice

“We’ve got a Black president, a Black attorney general, a Black cabinet secretary of Homeland Security, but we haven’t had one federal prosecution of a policeman for killing” a Black civilian, said activist and educator Dr. Cornel West, at a rally on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Four years ago, West and Carl Dix co-founded the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, which has organized protests against police murders in cities around the country, April 14.

Somalis Can Defeat al-Shabaab

The western governments that finance the foreign occupation of Somalia should “train and raise the quality of Somali security forces so that they can do their own fighting against al-Shabaab,” said Dr. Abdi Ismail Samatar, chair of the Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota, and a native of Somalia. “It doesn’t seem that there is the good will on the part of the U.S. government to help Somalis help themselves.” Al-Shabaab recently massacred nearly 150 students in neighboring Kenya, whose troops invaded Somalia three years ago. The Kenyans should “withdraw their forces to the border,” said Samatar.

U.S. Backs Saudi Bombing of Yemen

Saudi Arabia may be the nominal leader of the coalition of Muslim nations that has been bombing neighboring Yemen for the last three weeks, but the United States is the superpower at the heart of the operation, BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka told Press TV. “The fact that the targeting, the logistics, and the equipment are all provided by the U.S. translates, for me, into a U.S. operation,” said Baraka, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. He called the assault on Yemen “an ongoing international crime.”

Reparations Summit: “They Stole Us, They Sold Us, They Owe Us”

Advocates of reparations for slavery and the African slave trade gathered in New York City last weekend for an International Reparations Summit, organized by the Institute for the Black World. “The success of this gathering will be measured by what we do when we leave here to take the idea of reparations and tie it to the economic realities facing our people, so that the mass of our community takes it up as a demand which we can no longer ignore,” said Atty. Roger Wareham, whose December 12 Movement has been pressuring the United Nations on reparations-related issues since 1989.

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
 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 8 2015

Attempted Murder of Mumia Through Medical Malpractice

Pennsylvania prison officials allowed the political prisoner’s condition to worsen until he was in horrific pain and on the brink of a diabetic coma, said Pam Africa, of International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. His supporters are demanding that “specialists be allowed to go in and see Mumia,” who is back in prison after being released from a hospital that had no specialists in diabetes. The State of Pennsylvania is trying to torture and kill the world renowned former death row inmate, said Ms. Africa. “Can you imagine your body burning from head to toe, your skin erupting, and you’ve blown up to the point that your skin starts bursting open?” Supporters of Mumia should telephone their concerns to prison officials listed at FreeMumia.com.

Democrats Gang up on Seattle Socialist

Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative Party leader whose campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage won her a seat on the Seattle city council, now faces three Democratic challengers, including the head of the local Urban League. Sawant has earned broad support, but must still contend with the popular mindset that Democrats are the “lesser evils” of politics. “The problem with the logic of ‘lesser evil-ism’ is that it’s ad infinitum,” she said. If we accept that logic, “there’s never going to be a point when we can say: ‘At this moment we have to make a clean break to make sure that we build a movement independent of the two business parties.’”

Obama’s TPP Trade Pact Empowers Global Corporations

Documents recently released by Wikileaks reveal that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty would rig international law to the decisive advantage of multinational corporations. “It confirms the worst of our fears,” said Patrick Woodall, research director of Food and Water Watch. “It includes language that grants powerful new avenues for corporations to attack common sense public health, environmental and consumer protections” – all to protect anticipated corporate profits. Other language would keep the contents of the treaty secret for four years, even if it is rejected by the U.S. Congress. President Obama wants Congress to pass TPP with no amendments or effective debate.

Charter Schools are for Black and Brown Kids, Only

Union County, New Jersey, has 21 municipalities, but all five of its charter schools are located in the majority Black city of Plainfield. “There’s a pattern in New Jersey, and in the country, of taking local control away from majority Black and brown cities, said David Rutherford, a member of the Plainfield board of education. State officials constantly override Black and brown school boards and encourage charter school companies to set up shop. “As a board of education, we have no say on whether there will be charter schools in our city, how many there will be, or who will run them,” said Rutherford. “Our only obligation is to pay these charter schools, per student.” If charter schools are so beneficial, he asks, why don’t white communities want them?

UNAC to Hold National Conference May 8 – 10

The United National Anti-War Coalition will hold a national conference in Secaucus, New Jersey – just outside New York City – under the banner “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad.” UNAC used the same slogan at its founding conference, said spokesman Joe Lombardo. “It’s become more and more clear as time went on that there’s been militarization of the police, more heavy-handed intervention into the Black and brown communities, more people deported, more austerity, more assaults on civil liberties. So, these wars have had a real impact on the people of the United States.”

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.
 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 1, 2015

Bottom Line: Fire Some Cops

A U.S. Justice Department report shows Philadelphia police are five times as trigger happy as cops in New York City. The report contains 49 findings and 91 recommendations on better training and community relations, but Linn Washington Jr., a professor of journalism at Temple University, isn’t impressed. Over the past 25 years, the city’s police department has been the subject of “two dozen reports, federal consent decrees and executive orders,” said Washington. “The issue is not the ideas, the issue is implementation and enforcement. The bottom line is, you have to make police accountable. The police who engage in misconduct need to be fired.” But, that seldom happens in Philadelphia.

The Limits of Criminal Justice Reform

Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka held a third public hearing on his proposal to create a Civilian Complaint Review Board with subpoena powers. Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, which would be empowered to appoint one member to the board, has no illusions that the board will compel cops to respect Black people’s rights. “We fight for reforms in the hope that these reforms will ameliorate the suffering of the people,” said Hamm. “But, we also fight for reforms because we believe that people have to go through the reform process to deepen their understanding of the need for more fundamental, structural social change.”

Black Martyrs, Old and New

Cinque S. Djahspora, a 20 year-old online MIT student shot in the back by a policeman last November, is among the many victims of racist violence who will be honored on April 4, in Jackson, Tennessee. The town is near the site of Fort Pillow where, on April 12, 1864, hundreds of Black soldiers and civilians were massacred by Confederates under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who went on to become the first Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. “What we want folks to understand is that the killing of one person, based on his membership in a group, is genocide,” said Dr. Randy Short, one of the organizers of Black Martyrs’ Day, in Jackson.

“Black Lives Matter” Resonates in Johannesburg

South African labor and social activists marched on the American embassy in Johannesburg in solidarity with the U.S.-based Black Lives Matter mobilization. United Front organizer John Manana said South African Blacks are all too familiar with police brutality. “Our protesters everywhere in South Africa continue to suffer the same way from the capitalist regime.” Police killed 34 striking miners at Marikana in the summer of 2012, accelerating a split between leftists and the ruling African National Congress regime.

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.

 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of March 25, 2015

Black Agenda Radio, week of March 25, 2015

“Liberal” Israeli Zionists Hoped to Prolong the Farce of Negotiations

Had the “liberal” Zionist Union defeated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last week’s elections, they hoped to “force the Palestinians back to the table for some more endless negotiations” and thus “reverse the shift in public opinion that has emerged from the last few years of Netanyahu,” said BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka. Netanyahu’s declaration that he will never agree to a Palestinian state lays bare Israel’s colonialist intentions and long history of duplicity.

Hillary’s Missing Emails Hide Her and Bill’s Haiti Corruption

Protesters from the Committee to Mobilize Against Dictatorship in Haiti demonstrated at Clinton family headquarters, in Manhattan, last Thursday. The former Secretary of State kept her emails under a private server – and deleted tens of thousands of them – to hide details of the Clintons’ corrupt financial dealings in Haiti, said organizer Dahoud Andre. “We see that the Obama administration is covering up for Hillary, but the more they try to protect Hillary, the more they get themselves covered in that stuff.” Sec. Clinton’s brother was named a board member of a corporation prospecting for gold in Haiti.

In Johannesburg and Ferguson, Black Lives Matter

The United Front and Democratic Left Front of South Africa and the nation’s largest trade union marched on the U.S. consulate in Johannesburg in solidarity with the Black Lives Movement. “After 50 years of apartheid system racism, we understand fully what it means to be on the receiving end of racist police brutality,” said Trevor Ngwane, national secretary of the Democratic Left Front. Blacks have also suffered brutality under the Black-led African National Congress government, which was complicit in the 2012 massacre of 34 mine workers at Marikana. “The present government is actually dancing to the tune of the big capitalists,” said Ngwane.

Mumia: “Homicides of Black People are Always “Justifiable”

Speaking from Frackville State Prison, in Pennsylvania, political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal recalled the night in 1969 when Chicago police, aided by the FBI, killed 21 year-old Panther leader Fred Hampton in his sleep. A grand jury called it “justifiable homicide” – just as grand juries would rule the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner justifiable, 45 years later.

Prison Radio Targeted

Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania’s Rockview State Prison, said prison authorities are disrupting inmate telephone access to Prison Radio, where he – like Mumia – is a correspondent. “What the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is doing is effectively preventing 54,999 prisoners from calling Prison Radio to express their views” – a violation of their freedom of speech.

Tivoli Gardens Victims Demand Reparations

In May of 2010, Jamaican security forces killed at least 73 people in a siege of Tivoli Gardens, and then looted the Kingston apartment complex. Journalist Lloyd Aguilar has directed a video of survivors’ demands for reparations. Two of Nadine Sutherland’s nephews were gunned down after soldiers ordered them to run from her apartment. “I never saw them again until I identified [their bodies] on the computer,” she said.

Daughter of Hit Squad Victim Blames Rwanda’s Paul Kagame

Rwandan exile leader Col. Patrick Karegeya, a former high official in Paul Kagame’s Rwandan military dictatorship, was gunned down on New Years Eve, 2013, in South Africa – one of many dissidents to meet a similar fate. His daughter, Portia Karegeya, told Phil Taylor, of CIUT radio, in Toronto, Canada: “Once he and his colleagues formed a formal opposition party, it was pretty much written in stone that your life is under threat.”

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.
 
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Black Agenda Radio Week of March 16, 2015

Rand Paul is Ally in Fight to Repeal Patriot Act

Congress will consider a bill to completely repeal the Patriot Act, which is up for renewal, this spring. President Obama campaigned on a platform to rein in U.S. intelligence agencies, but “will soon leave Washington in even worse shape than he found it” in terms of civil liberties, said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Buttar said GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul and elements of the Tea Party are more willing than most Democrats to stand up to the CIA and NSA.

A Multi-Generational Movement

“We need to create an intergenerational dialogue between those who represent the older movement and those who are representing the newer movement,” said Nyle Fort, a young minister from Newark, New Jersey, and contributor to the latest issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy. The journal is sponsor of a public forum on “Mass Incarceration, Police Violence and Political Imprisonment” at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center in New York City, March 20.

Mumia: What Was “Unsaid In Selma”

“Selma is a vivid example of an evil that still lives with us: that of police immunity for their violence,” said Mumia Abu Jamal. President Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary ceremonies in Selma was a “masterwork” of oratory, said the nation’s best known political prisoner. The president “could have addressed police immunity, but that would have shattered his ‘we’re all better’” off than we used to be speech.

A 20-Year Cap on Prison Terms

No one should serve more than 20 years in prison, no matter what the crime, said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project. About 3,000 people sit on death rows in the U.S., while 160,000 are serving life sentences – comprising one out of every nine inmates, said Mauer. Sentences are a lot shorter in Europe, where “some countries have found life sentences to be unconstitutional, and those that still maintain it generally have only a few dozen people serving those kind of terms,” he said.

Obama goes Reagan on Venezuela

President Obama last week invoked the same language against Venezuela that President Ronald Reagan deployed against Nicaragua, in the Eighties, when the U.S. waged a proxy war against that country. In imposing economic sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, Obama declared the country an “extraordinary threat” to the national security of the United States. Obama is attempting, like President George Bush, “to inoculate Latin America from the contagion that Venezuela represents in terms of social and political change,” said Miguel Tinker Sala, professor of history and Latin American Studies at Pomona College, in Claremont, California. However, all of Latin America has denounced U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said the U.S. foreign policy establishment doesn’t under “that the hemisphere has changed drastically in the last 15 years, and is truly independent of the United States for the first time in 150 years.”

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. Click here to download the show. Length: One hour.
 
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Black Agenda Radio, Week of March 11, 2015

 

Ferguson Activist: Holder Should “Go Quietly Into the Dark”

A U.S. Justice Department report accepts the St. Louis County prosecutor’s conclusion that Michael Brown didn’t put his hands up before officer Darren Wilson put a bullet in Brown’s brain – and, therefore, Wilson cannot be indicted on civil rights charges. Only a “perfect murder” would convince Holder to act, said Taurean Russell, a leader of Hands Up United, in Ferguson, Missouri. “They want a perfect victim. His hands have to be all the way up – a perfect death, a perfect killing, and you’re never gonna get that,” said Russell. What about outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s legacy? “He should go quietly off into the dark.”

New Yorkers Need Less Law Enforcement

Bill Bratton, New York City’s police commissioner, wants to hire 1,000 more officers. But there are already too many cops busying themselves arresting Black and brown people for minor offenses, said Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton, which favors redirecting resources to improving conditions in poor neighborhoods. Police are “harassing and ticketing us, they’re criminalizing us en masse,” said Trujillo, “We don’t want more copse, we want to move away from law enforcement” under the slogan, “Strong Communities Make Police Obsolete.”

Robert Gangi, of New York’s Police Reform Organizing Project, called Bratton’s “Broken Windows” policing philosophy “a brazenly racist practice.” Individual rogue cops are not the problem, he said: “It’s the system.”

Voices from the Gulag

Lawyers for Mumia Abu Jamal and other Pennsylvania prison inmates won the right to pursue their challenge to the state’s so-called Revictimization Relief Act, which would effectively silence the voices of those who make crime victims feel “mental anguish.” If allowed to prevail, the law could shut down Prison Radio and its roster of inmate correspondents. “We cannot cover the prison story, which is one of the biggest stories in America, without those first-person, on-the-ground voices,” said Prison Radio director Noelle Hanrahan.

Mumia: Americans “Feed on Fear”

Since 9/ll, “a kind of madness erupted in the country,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, in a commentary for Prison Radio. “Newscasts have become fearcasts, as government and media converge to sow dragons’ teeth of fear into the minds of millions. It grows, eating us, as we eat it – and we are still not full.”

Dubois Blacklisted at Temple African American Studies

The model for liberatory Black Studies was created by W.E.B. Dubois at the turn of the 20th century, said Duboisian scholar and activist Dr. Tony Monteiro. However, under chairman Molefi Asante, Temple University’s African American Studies Department no longer teaches Dubois’ works, on the grounds that “he was not Afro-centric, he was a Marxist,” said Monteiro. Asante fired Monteiro last year, and wants to change the program’s name to Department of Africology.

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.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 12/16/13

Newark Rallies for Mandela

“We marched because we wanted to highlight the revolutionary dimension of his personality, rather than an anemic and eviscerated Mandela,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of POP, the People’s Organization for Progress, following a demonstration in downtown Newark, New Jersey, last week, in honor of the deceased South African leader. “Believe it or not,” said Hamm, “there are still people who don’t know about Mandela.” Founded in 1983, POP’s first buttons demanded “Free Nelson Mandela!”

America’s Mostly War Budget

Peace and social justice activists gathered on Capitol Hill to mark International Human Rights Day and demand that Congress reject a budget that allocates more than 50 percent of resources to war-making. David Swanson, publisher of the influential website WarIsACrime.Org, noted that some lawmakers were away in South Africa. “You can’t celebrate nonviolence and then come back and dump over 50 percent of your money into so-called ‘defense,’” said Swanson. “It’s offensive, in every sense of the word.”

De Blasio Picks Giuliani “Retread” for Top Cop

According to Stop Stop-and-Frisk activist Carl Dix, New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s choice of William Bratton as his police commissioner is designed to send a message: “Guess what? There will still be two cities, and the city that I represent, the city of the power brokers, of the elite, of the capitalist class, will continue to clamp down on the rest of you.” Bratton deployed the much-feared street crime units under law and order mayor Rudy Giuliani in the mid-Nineties.

Slavery + Genocide + Vast Theft = Capitalist Genesis

“The capitalist state was an imperialist state from its inception,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, at the party’s 6th Congress in St. Petersburg, Florida. The wealth necessary to launch capitalism was accumulated through slavery, extermination and land theft. “Our material condition has its origin in the attack on Africa,” said Yeshitela.

Obama Mouth Runs Amok with Double-Talk

Rhetorically speaking, President Obama has once again positioned himself as a “populist,” declaring that income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” “Obama is quite practiced in double-talk,” said Paul Street, historian and author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. “As if he hasn’t been attacking Social Security and Medicare; as if he hasn’t pushed deficit reduction, in some ways, even more dramatically than the Republicans have.”

Lynne Stewart “Home for the Holidays” Campaign

Federal prison officials pretend that people’s lawyer and political prisoner Lynne Stewart, who suffers from Stage Four breast cancer, “is getting better, but she is not,” said her husband and fellow activist Ralph Poynter. Supporters should sign a petition asking the Bureau of Prisons, President Obama and Attorney General Holder to grant Stewart compassionate release from prison in time for the holidays. The administration is “stalling and stonewalling, and the clock is running out,” said Poynter.

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