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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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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 4/01/13

    Chokwe Lumumba Makes Bid for Mayor of Jackson

    Human rights lawyer and former Republic of New Afrika official Chokwe Lumumba has his sights set on the top job in Mississippi’s biggest city. “It give us an opportunity to demonstrate that we are great in terms of administration of human rights – something that would Martin Luther King proud,” said Lumumba, who is a city councilman. Jackson, the state capital, is 80 percent Black. Back in 1971, when the Republic of New Afrika came to town, “there was only one Black on the police force, and he could only arrest other Black people,” said Lumumba.

    Rally for Temple University African American Studies

    There has never been an educational institution in America that truly wanted to educate Black people properly,” said Dr. Molefi Asante, speaking to a student rally in support of Temple University’s beleaguered African American Studies program. Asante is credited with establishing Temple’s doctoral program in African American studies, in 1988. Since then, “every successive administration has sought to destroy the program,” he said.

    Blacks Saddled with Obama for Eternity

    President Obama’s “Kill List” and preventive detention legislation “have created conditions for people of color in this country that makes our survival very tenuous, indeed,” said Dhoruba bin Wahad, a former leader in the Black Panther Party and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army who spent 19 years in prison for his political activities. Speaking at a rally for political prisoners. bin Wahad said: “The sad part is, we’re going to be saddled with Obama for the rest of our lives, as the senior, elder statesman of Black politics in America.”

    Double-Barreled Protest Against NAACP

    Demonstrators will gather at the Washington offices and Baltimore headquarters of the NAACP, on April 3 and 4, respectively. Organizer Rev. Edward Pinkney, the former chief of the Benton Harbor, Michigan, NAACP, the civil rights organization has sold out its legacy to corporations. “The people on the top are being paid, and yet they don’t do anything” for the membership or the masses of Black people, said Pinkney.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of December 10, 2012

     

    Wal-Mart-Free Newark

    As “the leader in the retail industry in paying its workers the lowest wages,” Wal-Mart should be barred from doing business in Newark, New Jersey, said Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress. “We need living wage jobs,” said Hamm. “The minimum wage is a slave wage.”

    Wal-Mart Exploits Obamacare

    President Obama’s health care legislation has been a special boon to Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest corporation. “What changes with Obamacare is that anybody making up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level now qualifies for Medicaid,” said journalist Mary Wheeler. In recent months, Wal-Mart has cut the hours of large numbers of workers. “There’s a big incentive for Wal-Mart to make sure that as many of their employees are below the federal poverty level” as possible, said Wheeler.

    Multinationals Super-Exploit Third World Workers

    Labor unions, elected officials and grassroots activists in New York demanded that multinational corporations be made accountable for working conditions at factories in the developing world. “We must push them to sign the international Fire Safety Act and follow international labor laws,” said Fazi Foezia, a member of DRUM – Desis Rising Up and Moving – and a Bengladesh national. “They exploit our workers and don’t pay taxes to our governments.” Garment factory fires in Bengladesh and Pakistan have killed hundreds in recent months.

    Raising Retail Wages Would Boost Economy

    A study by Demos finds that “raising wages in the retails sector at the largest employers to a threshold of $25,000 a year for full-time, year-round workers would bring a million and a half people out of poverty, generate between $11 and $15 billion in GDP, and create between 100,000 and 132,000 new jobs.” Corporations would benefit, too, from a more loyal work force and greater consumer spending power.

    Disaster Officials Offer Loans, Not Aid

    Federal officials are more concerned with generating loans to fatten the $1 billion a year disaster loan service industry, than in providing direct aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, according to a study by Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy Movement. Credit-worthiness, rather than need, becomes the watchword, said Strike Debt spokesperson Pamela Brown. “By using the lens of debt, they are exacerbating any kinds of inequalities that are already existing” in disaster-struck areas, “putting renters and minority communities” in additional jeopardy.

    No Charge, No Trial, No Justice

    Civil and human rights activists gathered at Central Connecticut State University, at New Britain, for a conference on preventive detention, last weekend. President Obama’s preventive detention law, part of the National Defense Authorization Act, was designed to target “those who are engage in dissent,” said conference organizer Daniel Adams. Activists should also oppose more recent legislation that might exempt U.S. citizens from detention without charge or trial. “It’s got to be all of us or none of us,” said Adams.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of October 8, 2012

     

    College Admissions Must Consider Race

    The U.S. Supreme Court should reject a challenge to affirmative action at the University of Texas, at Austin. “Removing race from consideration in admissions is impractical,” said Inimai Chettiar, of the Brennan Center for Justice, at the New York University School of Law. “I don’t see how you can divorce race from who a person is.” The University of Texas “has followed the Supreme Court’s mandate in previous cases to the letter.”

    Myth of Black Progress

    The exclusion of incarcerated persons from many data sources “calls into question claims about Black progress” over the past 35 years, said Becky Pettit, author of Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress. For example, there has been “no improvement in the high school dropout rate among young Black men since at least the 1990s,” and “young Black males dropouts are more likely to be in jail or prison than to be employed.” Dr. Pettit is a sociologist at the University of Washington.

    Two Parties: One Vision

    What the debate showed is how similar the two parties are,” said Arun Gupta, co-founder of The Occupied Wall Street Journal and The Indypendent. “We heard nothing about the most important issues.” President Obama “could not commit himself to stand for one thing that the vast majority of the people of this country need,” said Gupta, who is covering the campaign for Alternet, Truthout and The Guardian.

    ObamaRomneyCare

    President Obama made the most honest statement of the debate, when he said “Romneycare and Obamacare are, effectively, the same” and a “Republican idea,” said Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. Another gem: Romney, trying to act like a populist, challenged “corporatist Obama” on his support for too-big-to-fail banks. “And, because Obama is taking cash from the same sources, he’s not able to respond.”

    NDAA May Lead to Mass Lockups

    The assault on civil liberties by the Obama administration has been worse than under Bush,” said veteran reporter Chris Hedges, a plaintiff in a suit against the preventive detention bill signed into law by Obama, last New Year’s Eve. A federal judge this summer declared the law unconstitutional, but an appeals panel put it back in effect, pending a final ruling. “This opens the ability of the state to classify an entire group of people – and, probably, American Muslims will be the first one – who can be just rounded up,” said Hedges.

    Wal-Mart Walkouts

    Workers walked off the job at Wal-Mart stores in Los Angeles, while employees from Europe, Latin America and Africa flew into the city under the banner of the Wal-Mart Global Union Alliance. The retail giant’s prices are low “because they’re taking from us,” said Wal-Mart “associate” Dan Hindman. “We’re paying for these low prices.” Alke Boessinger, a union organizer from Switzerland, said: “Unless workers unite as one, Wal-Mart will do whatever it can to silence people.”

    Detroit Water Strike

    AFSCME Local 207, in Detroit, claimed victory in a brief strike by water workers. Union official John Reihl said Michigan’s governor is determined to seize the mostly Black city’s water resources through “a combination of suburban control and privatization.”

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    What Obama Has Wrought

     

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    The meticulously scripted spectacles of the two corporate party conventions are very poor backdrops for clear thinking – but luckily, the ordeals are almost over. What remains after the tents are folded, are the crimes of this administration and its predecessor: both horrifically evil in their own ways. History will mark Obama as the more effective evil, mainly because of the lack of opposition.

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of May 28, 2012

     

    Obama Asked to Veto a “Poison Pill” Whistleblower Bill

    A bill purporting to protect whistleblowers contains a “poison pill” that would effectively abolish federal workers’ rights to access to the courts, said Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, a founder of the NO FEAR Coalition and herself a noted whistleblower. The so-called Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which has passed the Senate, would allow a board of federal employees acting as judges to pass final summary judgments on workers’ discrimination complaints – a reversal of guarantees to due process provided by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, said Coleman-Adebayo. Historically, she said, the board has turned thumbs down on all but 2 percent of discrimination complaints. If the House passes the measure, Coleman-Adebayo urges President Obama to veto it. “You do not want to be the president who overturned the 1964 Civil Rights Act.”

    Roots of Police Killings of Blacks in New Orleans

    New Orleans has always been “a very violent city with a particularly toxic racial environment,” said Dr. Jeffrey Adler, professor of history and criminology at the University of Florida and author of “The Killer Behind the Badge: Race and Police Homicide in New Orleans, 1925-1945,” an article recently published in the prestigious Law and History Review. “The low level of training, the lack of professional standards, the corruption of politics, were more powerful and more deeply entrenched in New Orleans than in many other southern cities,” said Adler. “If police officers believed that social stability was bound up in rendering African Americans submissive and compliant, then they understood resistance as a threat…and they could shoot.”

    Hunger Strike at Virginia’s Prison

    A number of inmates at Virginia’s infamous Red Onion maximum security prison refused to eat in protest of harsh conditions, including mass solitary confinement. “The racial dynamic that exists there, it’s out of control,” said Max Gaskins, who spent four years behind bars at Red Onion and is a founding member of SPARC, Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change. “I saw men get their eyes shot out, me were shot in the back and paralyzed,” he said. Prison officials now claim the hunger strike has ended.

    Black Middle Class “Largely Cut Ties” With Black Poor

    The African American middle class has partly been successfully integrated into the American mainstream and has, maybe to the greatest extent in its history, cut ties with the Black and working class,” said Dr. Gary Peller, a professor of law at Georgetown University, in Washington. Peller is author of the new book, Critical Race Consciousness: Rethinking American Ideologies of Racial Justice. Integrationism “helps to apologize for the basic distribution of wealth, power and prestige in American society.” Dr. Peller said “Black nationalism achieved its real pinnacle of theoretic sophistication in the late 1960s and early Seventies, with Malcolm X and his followers, the Black Panther ideologists, and others.” The Panthers, in particular, “not only had programs for Black liberation, but also had a critique of American involvement around the world.”

    POP Protest in Newark Only 43 Days from Goal

    The People’s Organization for Progress (POP) has passed the 338-day point in its daily demonstrations in Newark, New Jersey – just 43 days from matching the 381-day longevity of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, Bus Boycott. Nearly 200 local organizations have endorsed POP’s marathon action for jobs, housing, education, peace and justice. “The only avenue we have is to do what POP has done, to be out there and demonstrate and let people know that we’re not satisfied,” said Jerry Owens, vice president of the local long shore workers union and president of the area’s A. Philip Randolph Institute.

    Cory Booker and Obama Beholden to Vulture Capitalists

    The Black Misleadership Class, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker and President Barack Obama, “must deliver the votes of their people to the campaign contributors who made their careers possible,” said Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report. However, they “must pose as at least half-hearted opponents of the blood-sucking model of parasitic vulture capitalism practiced by Bain Capital, JP Morgan, Citibank and other players.” Obama’s “heart belongs to JP Morgan.”

    Preventive Detention Gone Wild

    It’s come down to the point where some guy riding a bike down a street in New Delhi is a threat to the United States and we’ve got to know where he’s going, what his name is, who his family is and who his friends are, so we can round him up and put him under surveillance so that he can’t communicate with some guy who’s riding a bike in Malaysia,” said Doug Valentine, co-author of a paper, “The Dangerous World of Indefinite Detention.”

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    Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Like no other president in modern times, Barack Obama is determined to criminalize the Left opposition through relentless reshaping of Constitutional notions of law. Whistleblowers are domestic public enemy number one. “Having knowledge of government wrongdoing is criminal, in the eyes of this administration.”

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    Freedom Rider: Protesting NATO

     

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    The NATO summit meeting later this month, in Chicago, will be the place “where new Obama administration restrictions on civil liberties will be put into full effect.” Nevertheless, it is necessary to protest NATO’s role as “the armed wing for European and American elites who control the destiny not only of the capitalist nations they represent but of people around the world.” NATO is a club for killers.

    Not Voting for Obama: We're Not Even Buying a Voting Ticket to the Show

     

    by Ezili Dantò

    The author supported Obama in 2008, for the sake of Haiti, the U.S. and the world. But no more. “Under the Obama tenure, indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens is lawful in the land of the free and the brave and Haitians are saddled with George Bush and Bill Clinton.” When a duopoly rules, voting is a sham. Susan Rice takes over the role Colin Powell played for the Bushes while Cheryl Mills is out there pushing the Duvalierist agenda in Haiti previously championed by Bill Clinton's commerce secretary, the late Ron Brown.”

    When It Looks and Feels Like Totalitarianism…

     

    by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

    The Obama administration has spent the last three years building the infrastructure of a totalitarian police state, that “has surpassed the Bush administration’s attempts to expand executive power by crushing the civil liberties of US citizens.” At the center of the repressive edifice is preventive detention without trial, buttressed by various measures that, effectively, criminalize dissent. Clearly, and methodically, “the US government is preparing for domestic insurrection.”

    Eric Holder Tortures the Constitution

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made the Constitution scream, in an effort to justify his president’s claim to “the power of life and death over any inhabitant of the planet, including citizens of the United States.” Discovering presidential powers never before revealed, Holder severed citizens’ rights to “due process” from the “judicial process.” Access to the courts is not required, when the president is judge, jury and executioner.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of January 23, 2012

     

    Hundreds Protest Obama in Harlem

    About 400 people gathered in Harlem to protest President Obama’s foreign and domestic policies. “We’re here to send a clear message to President Obama that he cannot come to Harlem without receiving a scathing message about his service to the 1%,” said Nellie Bailey, of Occupy Harlem, which called for the demonstration. Preventive detention was high on the list of grievances. “Without a doubt, it’s the rise of a police state,” said Bailey. Occupy Wall Street, MoveOn, and Stop Stop-and-Frisk sent delegations to the protest outside of the Apollo Theater, where the President held a fundraiser. “I never thought he would sell out like this,” said Jose LaSalle, of Stop Stop-and-Frisk,” to the point he would sign a bill like this and know how it affects minorities and people who are fighting for justice.”

    Mothers Against Stop-and-Frisk

    Mary Black’s teenage son was stopped five times in five months for no good reason by New York City police – all within a two-block radius of his family’s Harlem apartment. Ms. Black and other mothers have joined with Stop Stop-and-Frisk to protest a policy that saw 700,000 New Yorkers accosted by police, last year, most of them young Black and brown men. “People don’t deserve for their children to be treated this way,” said Ms. Black.

    Preventive Detention Suit

    Journalist and author Chris Hedges and other plaintiffs sued President Obama for his New Year’s Eve signing of a preventive detention bill. “The way this law is written is really terrifying,” said Hedges. “It’s the whim of the security and surveillance state, whoever they want to go after, they can pretty much do so under this legislation.” The former New York Times correspondent believes “there has been a clear effort on the part of the security state to try to tar the Occupy movement as an enemy of American democracy.”

    Punish Police Torture

    It’s time to recognize torture under federal law as the crime against humanity it is,” said Taylor Flint, of Chicago’s People’s Law Office, at a Capital Hill briefing. Illinois Rep. Danny Davis has introduced legislation to punish police torture of suspects. Over a 20-year period, a police squad under detective John Burg tortured at least 200 suspects into giving false confessions. One of them, Darrell Cannon, spoke at the briefing. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Cannon, who served 26 years in prison. “I can never forgive, I can never forget.” Congressman Davis’ bill would also eliminate the statue of limitations on police torture.

    Handwriting on the Wall” in Nigeria

    The gasoline price hike “was the straw that broke the camel’s back” and led to a general strike in Nigeria, earlier this month, said Aniedi Okure, of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, in Washington. The Nigerian government first doubled, then reluctantly reduced, prices for gasoline, causing instant inflation in a whole range of other prices. Although a major oil exporter, Nigeria imports most of its gasoline. Mr. Okure blames the Nigerian elite – “the .0001%,” as he called them – for vast economic disparities. “I’m praying that this awakening does not die out,” he said. “The politicians saw the writing on the wall. We might have had a French-style revolution on our hands.”

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    What to Do When Your AZZ Gets Locked Up: A Review

     

    by The G-Man

    With the U.S. in its fifth decade of mass Black incarceration, and preventive detention for American citizens now codified into law, it’s way past time for every person of color or political dissident to get prepared to “meet The Man.” A crusading legal analyst and activist has written a book that could serve as a first line of defense. Her advice: “Never feel that you can negotiate with the police. Keep your mouth shut!”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, on the Progressive Radio Network – Week of January 2, 2012

     

    U.S. Waging Two-Prong War of Repression

    With the signing of preventive detention legislation, Washington is “upping the stakes, where the United States homeland is now part of this so-called global war on terror,” said Tony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University, in Philadelphia. “All of us who are in one way or another in solidarity with the Cuban revolution, with 21st Century socialism in Venezuela, are now at the top of a hit list of ‘terrorist supporters’ who could be arrested an detained indefinitely.” He expects the emergence of a “great global movement that has to oppose this international thrust of finance capital and the Obama administration and the other NATO countries. They have to crush the rising class conflict in the United States and in other western capitalist countries,” said Prof. Monteiro. “So you have this two-sided project What they are proposing is a regime of domestic and global repression, of fascism.”

    Blacks Will Vote for Obama, But Without Enthusiasm

    Most Blacks will still vote for President Obama this year, “but it will be different, this time,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. “Before, people thought they had a real champion who was going to make a difference in the lives of Black people, but it didn’t happen. We’re not going to see the same kind of enthusiasm for Obama this time around.” In 2008, “we heard many of our Black leftist friends and many nationalists who were predicting that if Obama didn’t get elected, we would see a police state – but people have experienced that with Obama. We were told there would be economic catastrophe, but that has occurred even with Obama there.” In a lot of ways, said the Black Is Back chairman, “Obama has outdone Bush,” including “the declaration of the right to kill even U.S. citizens any time he wants to.”

    UNAC Conference Against Preventive Detention

    Preventive detention without trial “is the most serious blow to the Bill of Rights that we have experienced, and it’s no accident that it is occurring while” the U.S. is ”expanding military adventures abroad,” said Chris Gavreau, a spokesperson for UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “The language is so broad, they will use these laws against anyone that they seriously think is a threat to their ability to implement foreign policy.” UNAC will hold a conference March 23-25 in Stanford, Connecticut, to plan “a broad campaign to fight around indefinite detention” and other civil liberties violations.

    For Whom The Whistle Blows

    While there is still a myth of freedom of speech, journalists’ voices worldwide are being drowned out” by imprisonment of those “that speak truth to power,” said veteran whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. “We have a state-run media in this country – what we call the corporate media – that is influenced more by corporate pressures and by money and politics, than by a search for truth,” said the former Environmental Protection Agency official whose battle with the agency led to landmark protections for federal employees that speak out. “Journalists as whistleblowers, whistleblowers as journalists – at some point it would be lovely to see those communities merge.”

    UN Force Should Leave Haiti

    The United Nations has failed to acknowledge its responsibility for the cholera deaths of 6,000 Haitians and the sickening a half a million others, despite the fact that the world body’s “own report is the most persuasive evidence of the UN’s culpability,” said Fran Quigley, director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Indiana Law School. Quigley recently returned from a fact-find trip to Haiti, where “a lot of people think its long past time for the peacekeepers to leave, even before this deadly cholera outbreak.” Haitians should have their rights protected, including from the United Nations,” said the law professor.

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    Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of December 26, 2011

     

    Preventive Detention Threatens Occupiers, All Dissidents

    The recently passed preventive detention measure poses a direct threat to the Occupation movement, said Dr. Margaret Flowers, an organizer with the encampment at Washington DC’s Freedom Plaza. People in power would like to paint dissenters as allies of terrorism. “Occupy London was actually determined by London police to be a terrorist organization,” said Flowers. Had she even imagined, back in 2008, that Barack Obama would be leading the preventive detention charge? “It doesn’t matter who is put into the system, it only works for the top one percent,” she said.

    The Democrats’ “Killing Embrace”

    The Occupy movement is constantly “being invited into the killing embrace of the Democratic Party,” which is ”just another face of the enemy,” said Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Dix, a founder of “Stop Stop-and-Frisk,” harkened back to 2008, when virtually the entire Left “got swept up in Obamamania.” “The guy who says he is the best leader for the empire isn’t going to represent your interests,” he said.

    NATO Committed War Crimes Against Libyan Civilians

    NATO’s refusal to investigate civilian deaths in its seven-month bombing campaign against Libya is in violation of Article 15 of the Geneva Convention on the Wounded and Sick, Francis Boyle, the world-renowned University of Illinois professor of international law. The Article states that combatants are obligated “to go out and search for the wounded and sick, also the dead,” said Boyle, “but it doesn’t look like NATO really cares.” In fact, NATO policy was not to investigate civilian deaths in Libya – a practice that guaranteed the official death toll would be zero. “To violate the Geneva Conventions is a war crime, there is no doubt about it,” said Boyle.

    Christmas in Newark is for Demonstrations

    For the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), Christmas was simply day-182 of its marathon of demonstrations for jobs, housing, education, justice and peace. POP and its many allies spent the holiday at their usual places of protest in downtown Newark, New Jersey, keeping a promise to demonstrate for 381 consecutive days – the duration of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott. Min. Thomas Ellis, of the anti-violence Enough is Enough Coalition, said “fighting for jobs for people in the community is one of the issues that we stand with POP on…. POP stood up against the war before the war started in Iraq, and the Enough is Enough Coalition stood with them on the corners of Broad and Market Streets, in March, 2003.”

    American Revolution was a Racist Revolt

    Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, said, the American revolt of 1776 against British rule “was basically a successful revolt of racist settlers. It was akin to Rhodesia, in 1965, assuming that Ian Smith and his cabal had triumphed. It was akin to the revolt of the French settlers in Algeria, in the 1950s and 1960s, assuming those French settlers had triumphed.” Dr. Horne explores the racist roots on the American Revolution in his new book, Negroes of the Crown. “It was very difficult to construct a progressive republic in North America after what was basically a racist revolt,” said Horne. “The revolt was motivated in no small part by the fact that abolitionism was growing in London…. This is one of the many reasons more Africans by an order of magnitude fought against the rebels in 1776, than fought alongside them.”

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    The Racist Roots of Obama’s Preventive Detention

     

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    With his claim to the right to kill and indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial, President Obama “has crossed a Constitutional Rubicon that would have been beyond the capacity of George Bush or any white Republican.” The groundwork for Obama’s nullification of the rule of law was laid through federal “prosecutions whose sole purpose has been to establish that there exists an ‘enemy within’ U.S. borders, that it is largely Black as well as Muslim, and which requires a greatly expanded police state with extraordinary powers.”

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

     

    Mumia Being Set Up for Assassination

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

    McKinney: Preventive Detention to Quell Dissent

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

    Blacks Must Return to Grass Roots Organizing

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

    Actions on Foreclosures

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

    Give the Broadcast Spectrum to the People

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

    Congo Elections Rigged

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

    Jared Ball: J Edgar a “Horror Film”

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

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    Obama Out-Bushes Bush on Preventive Detention

     

    gitmoA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
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    Constitutionality aside, Barack Obama's preventive detention proposal is "damn near criminally irresponsible" and "like lighting a match in a room full of gasoline." The United States was founded on the principle that "lesser" or "dangerous" peoples should be "detained" for the good of the nation - on reservations or in slavery. Were it not for "rampant race hatred directed against Arabs and spilling over to all Muslims...there would be no serious discussion of preventive detention in the United States, today." The nation's first Black president is provoking a racial whirlwind.

     

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