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Black Agenda Radio – 01.15.18

Welcome to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. I’m Glen Ford, along with my co-host Nellie Bailey. Coming up: Anti-war activists from around the country gathered in Baltimore to agitate for an end to U.S. military bases around the world; Supporters of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal will converge on Philadelphia, seeking a reversal of his 36 year-old murder conviction; and, a celebration of three hundred years of Black history in New Orleans.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and work has been institutionalized, with commemorations of his birthday occurring this week in virtually every city and town in the nation. Dr. King’s anti-war views are less celebrated by the powers-that- be. King called for a movement to oppose the “triple evils” of racism, militarism and materialism, and indicted the United States as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world, today.” We spoke with Duboisian scholar Dr. Anthony Monteiro, in Philadelphia.

Like no other empire in all of human history, the United States virtually covers the world with military bases – with servicemen and women in 172 countries, by some counts. At the University of Baltimore, this past weekend, anti-war activists held a conference against U.S. foreign military bases. Among the keynote speakers was Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s 2016 vice presidential candidate and lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace.

Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, has spent the last 36 years behind bars in the death of a Philadelphia policeman. Abu Jamal’s supporters see the possibility of overturning his conviction. Ronald Castille, a former prosecutor in Mumia’s case, went on to become a judge, and then wound up ruling against Mumia’s appeal. Castille was also a great friend of the Fraternal Order of Police. Mumia’s lawyers say Castille should have recused himself from the case. A State court judge has repeatedly ordered the District Attorney’s office to turn over all of its records in Mumia’s case. Mumia’s supporters were encouraged when a progressive lawyer named Larry Krasner was elected as the new district attorney for Philadelphia. However, Krasner appointed former prosecutor Ronald Castille to his transition team. That’s not a good sign, said Gwen Debrow, of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.

The city of New Orleans is celebrating its 300 th birthday this week. A three-day conference on the Black experience in New Orleans is scheduled to begin on January 18 th , under the direction of Dr. Clyde Robertson, director of African and African American Studies at Southern University, New Orleans. The events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, are a low mark in the Black historical journey. One hundred thousand Black people were forced into exile after the storm, and Dr. Robertson remembers that much of the white power structure saw the mass removal of Blacks from the city as a good thing – a great opportunity.

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