Black Agenda Radio – 05.02.16

Welcome to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– The Black American condition, especially Black people’s relations with the police, is more of an issue in the 2016 election campaign than it was in the two previous presidential races, when a Black man was running for president. Minister Louis Farrakhan, of the Nation of Islam, has said there are some things he likes about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. But Carl Dix, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, says that Minister Farrakhan should be taken to task for those remarks.

– Six million Congolese have died since 1996, when the Rwandan regime led by Paul Kagame invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three U.S. presidential administrations have been deeply involved in the genocides in the Congo, Rwanda and elsewhere in the Great Lakes region of Africa, but no one is more deeply implicated in the bloodbath than Bill and Hillary Clinton. Both Clintons are strong supporters of Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who opponents say is the man most responsible for the Rwandan and Congolese genocides. Kagame’s minority Tutsi rebel forces overthrew the government of Rwanda in 1994, which led to the deaths of millions. Claude Gatebuke is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, and co-founder of the African Great Lakes Network. He says Paul Kagame’s crimes predate the events of 1994.

– Thousands of Blacks in the South American nation of Colombia blocked the Pan American highway, the major trade route that links North and South America, to protest threats to their ancestral land holdings in the country. Blacks make up the majority of Colombians that have been displaced by the decades-long guerilla war, which may soon be coming to an end. Both the guerillas and multinational corporations have eyes on the land that Afro-Colombians have occupied for more than 400 years. Charo Mina-Rojas is an Afro-Colombian activist. She says the Colombian government has broken its promises to respect Black people’s right to self-determination and to land.

– Prison activists gathered, recently, at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, for a discussion of solitary confinement. The panel was organized by the Abolitionist Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights. It focused on the harm and the suffering caused by solitary confinement in prison, from the inmates’ perspective. Albert Woodfox spent 44 years in Louisiana’s Angola Prison, most of it in solitary confinement, until he was finally released earlier this year.


Black Agenda Radio – 04.25.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– The number of charter schools has grown by leaps and bounds under President Obama and his so-called “Race to the Top” program. A new book is out, called the “Charter School Report Card,” authored by Dr. Shawgi Tell, a professor of Education at Nazareth College, in Rochester, New York. He says charter schools “lower the quality of education through privatization and marketization of schools.” Charter school boosters claim they provide better educational results. But Dr. Tell says there’s little evidence to support that.

– The number of young people put behind bars in the United States has gone down by 50 percent in the past decade. However, despite the overall decline, the disparity in Black youth incarceration has gone UP 15 percent over the past ten years. Josh Rovner, of The Sentencing Project, is author of a new report titled “Racial Disparities in Youth Arrests and Commitments.” We asked Rovner why the general rate of youth incarceration has gone down so dramatically.

– Skyrocketing student debt has emerged as a big campaign issue this presidential election season. Darletta Scruggs, of the Socialist Alternative Party, is helping put together plans for a Million Student March. Scruggs was recently interviewed on Your World News, by host Solomon Commisiong.

– A huge cache of leaked documents from a Panama bank showed that many world leaders, their families and associates are hiding billions of dollars in offshore banks. Wealthy Americans were not prominent on list, but that’s because it’s easy to hide money right here in the U.S., in states like Delaware. Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, in Washington. He wrote an article titled, “Panama Papers Expose the Hidden Wealth of the World’s Super-Rich.” Collins says different kinds of millionaires and criminals have different kinds of illicit banking needs.

– Mark Weisbrot is co-director of another progressive Washington think tank, the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Weisbrot keeps a keen eye on Latin American developments. He says that, back in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that the military overthrow of the elected president of Honduras was, somehow, NOT a coup.


Black Agenda Radio – 04.18.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. I’m Glen Ford with my co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– Half of this summer’s political drama will play out in Philadelphia, where the Democrats are holding their national convention. Bill Clinton launched into a political tirade, earlier this month, when activists from the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice denounced the former president’s mass Black incarceration and anti-poor peoples policies. Bill Clinton ranted and raved for 13 minutes, and then issued a back-handed, non-apology the next morning. We asked Megan Malachi, spokesperson for the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice, if they were surprised at the venomousness of Clinton’s response.

– Dr. Anthony Monteiro is a Duboisian scholar and veteran activist who was one of the founders of the Black Radical Organizing Committee, which held a national conference on the Black Radical Tradition, earlier this year. We asked Dr. Monteiro what kind of reception Black Philadelphia will give the Democrats when they hold their national convention, in July.

– St. Mary’s Church, in New York’s Harlem, was packed, this month, for a national conference on the 2016 Elections and Black Self-Determination. The event was organized by the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations. Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela said the electoral process is not the only means of struggle. In fact, it’s not even the most important means of political struggle.

– Diop Olugbala is an African Socialist Party activist, based in Philadelphia. He spoke on one of the Black Is Back Coalition’s principal demands: Black community control of the police.

– Our own Nellie Bailey, co-host of Black Agenda Radio, addressed the Black Is Back Coalition national conference. Bailey is a veteran Harlem tenants organizer. She spoke on the demand for Black self-determination and the centrality of the housing issue.


Black Agenda Radio – 04.11.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with your host Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– Mississippi’s Republican state government is trying to strip its mostly Black capital city, Jackson, of control over its airports and other revenue producing properties. The state also seems eager to seize the city’s water system. We spoke with Kali Akuno, of Cooperation Jackson, the political organization that elected Chokwe Lumumba as, arguably, the most radical Black mayor in the country, back in 2013. But Mayor Lumumba died the next year, and now his supporters are fighting from outside. Kali Akuno says the Mississippi Republican Party is determined to crush all possibility of Black political and economic power in Jackson. He calls it, “the Confederate Spring.”

– In New York City’s Harlem, this weekend, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held a national conference on the elections and Black self-determination. The conference explored whether this election season has opened up new possibilities for a radical, independent Black politics. Margaret Kimberley, a Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist, was one of the speakers.

– Boston-based writer and activist Danny Haiphong is a regular contributor to BAR. In a recent article, Haiphong said the fractures in the Republican and Democratic parties are reflections of the general crisis in the system of capitalism.


Black Agenda Radio – 04.04.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– The city of Greenville, South Carolina, has witnessed two large funerals in recent days: one for a white cop, the other, for a young Black man who the police claimed killed the officer, and then committed suicide. Black young people in Greenville don’t buy the police version of Deontaye Perry Mackey’s death, and neither does Efia Nwangaza, director of Greenville’s Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination.

– Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Chicago-based minister who ran for president as a Democrat in 1984 and 1988, came to Columbia University in New York for a conversation on the current election with Dr. Cornel West, who is supporting Bernie Sanders for president. Rev. Jackson was asked if he’s endorsed anyone in the Democratic primaries.

– Dr. Cornel West, the Sanders supporter, is based at Union Theological Seminary, just across the street from Columbia University. Dr. West said he understands that Rev. Jackson might want to stand “above the fray.”

– Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, the Black Agenda Report editor and columnist, attended three of the recent congressional hearings on the poisoning of the water system in Flint, Michigan. Adebayo used to work for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. She successfully sued the agency, and was the key actor in passage of legislation to protect whistle blowers from government retaliation. Adebayo said the poisoning of Flint was a deliberate act.

– Umi Saleh, the leader of the Florida-based Dream Defenders, who was formerly known as Phillip Agnew, spoke recently with Pascal Robert, a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report. Saleh talked about Movement politics and the limitations – and dangers – of over-dependence on social media.


Black Agenda Radio – 03.28.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– The Belgians, who killed at least twelve million Congolese when they colonized that country, now play the role of global victim, in the wake of an attack by the Islamic State. We spoke with Arun Kundnani, author of the book, “The Muslims are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror.” Kundnani is a British citizen of Indian extraction, who lecturers at New York University. He says Europe and the United States have earned their enemies.

– Black Agenda Report editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, recently returned from Europe where he attended the 15th anniversary of the United Nations World Conference Against Racial Discrimination, which was first held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. Baraka was also on hand for the UN’s Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Atlantic Slave Trade.

– The City Council of Newark, New Jersey, unanimously voted into law Mayor Ras Baraka’s Civilian Police Review Board. The People’s Organization for Progress, POP, is one of the community groups that will have a seat on the board. POP chairman Larry Hamm was pleasantly surprised at the city council’s action.

– President Obama’s team is busy polishing up his legacy, which means there will be lots of white-washing of the First Black President 8-year record in office. Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon says, Obama should be remembered for the huge damage he has done to public education.

– Host Glen Ford with a commentary on President Obama going to Cuba and him having a White House reporter ask President Raul Castro about political prisoners.


Glen Ford – The Democratic Road to Black Ruin – From The Black Agenda Radio Show (Monday @ 11am EST)

Democratic Party operatives claim that Blacks are voting “strategically” when they support the corporate warmonger Hillary Clinton for president. The reality is, Blacks believe only Clinton has the money and organization to beat the White Man’s Party – the GOP. But, only two outcomes are possible from such a “strategy”: “either the triumph of the White Man’s Party, or electoral victory for Black people’s worst enemies among the Democrats.”


Black Agenda Radio – 03.21.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with Glen Ford and co-host Nellie Bailey.

– the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will hold a national conference on the presidential elections and Black self-determination, on April 9th, in New York’s Harlem. Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela says the electoral arena is only one aspect of politics, and has historically been the LEAST useful for Black people.

– Veteran activist and historian Paul Street last week published an article titled, “Bernie, Black and Blue: Reflections on Race in the Democratic Primaries.” This month, large numbers of Black, brown and white demonstrators – some of them Bernie Sanders supporters – went to a Donald Trump rally in Chicago and shut it down. Sanders was not pleased. Although the Vermont senator claims to want to start a political revolution, he doesn’t like the idea of disruption.

– One of those who testified, last week, at congressional hearings on the poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply was Prof. Marc Edwards, of Virginia Tech University. Edwards slammed the federal Environmental Protection Agency for “creating the climate” in which the Flint poisoning occurred. He has these other choice words for the leadership of the EPA.

– Political prisoner Mondo Welanga, from Omaha, Nebraska, died in his cell at the Nebraska State penitentiary, this month, at the age of 68. Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, mourns the passing of a fighter and a poet.

– Last year, Mondo Welanga recorded one of his poems for Prison Radio. It’s titled, “When It Gets to This Point.”


Black Agenda Radio – 03.14.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– A national poll commissioned by In The Public Interest has found broad support for reining in the spread of charter schools and for making them conform to the same standards as traditional public schools. The poll also shows majorities oppose an over-emphasis on standardized testing in the classroom. David Cohen, executive director of the In the Public Interest, said the survey shows Americans continues to have a high regard for public schools and teachers, despite the propaganda put out by school privatizers.

– Parents, teachers and activists gathered recently, in Philadelphia, for a national conference of the Opt Out movement, which seeks to end excessive standardized testing in the public schools. We spoke with Dr. Denisha Jones, a board member of United Opt Out, and an assistant professor of Early Childhood Education at Washington DC’s Howard University. The organization demands ““an equitably-funded, democratically based, anti-racist, desegregated public school system for all Americans – one that prepares students to exercise compassionate and critical decision making.” Dr. Jones says none of this can happen if kids are spending all their time taking tests.

– Robert Gangi, executive director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, in New York, has been monitoring courtroom activity around the city. Gangi reports that the courts are busy prosecuting Black and brown men on minor offenses, an indication that the “broken windows” philosophy of policing is alive and well in New York.

– Earlier this month, a death squad assassinated Honduran indigenous people’s leader Berta Caceres. Caceres was at the top of the hit list for the Honduran regime that was installed in a U.S.-backed coup, in 2009. She fought countless battles against land grabs by multinational corporations. Her friend, Beverly Bell, a co-founder of the group Other Worlds, says the regime and its backers in Washington, killed Berta Caceres.

– President Obama will visit Cuba later this month. The President claims his trip is designed to further normalization of relations and peace in the region. But political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of, says Obama has scaled back tensions with Cuba while escalating Washington’s war against Venezuela.


Black Agenda Radio – 03.07.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with your host Glen Ford and co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– The FBI has issued new guidelines for advising teachers who to look out for in terms of political dissent in the classroom. The FBI’s guidelines are mainly targeted at Muslims, but, according to Michael German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, the language could also be used to persecute almost any person or group that a teacher did not like or understand.

– In Inglewood, California, community members protested yet another police killing. 31 year-old Kisha Michael, a mother of three sons, and 32 year old Marquintan Sandlin, a father of four daughters, were shot dead by a police SWAT team, apparently while they were asleep in a car. Keith Jackson is an organizer with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. He assisted the victim’s families in organizing this weekend’s protest.

– Virginia Sewell is the aunt of Kisha Michael, the mother of three who was killed by the Inglewood, California police. Ms. Sewell says the community is outraged.

– Donald Trump has caused sheer panic among establishment Republicans, many of whom claim they’ll leave the party if Trump wins the presidential nomination. But, how should the Black Left view the Trump campaign? We asked Dr. Anthony Monteiro, a member of the Black Radical Organizing Committee, which put together a conference on the Black Radical Tradition, in Philadelphia, back in January. Monteiro says both political parties are in trouble, and Trump’s rise is just a symptom of the crisis.

– This month marks the 15th anniversary of the historic United Nations conference Against Racial Discrimination, Xenomphobia and Related Intolerance, in Durban, South Africa. BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, attended the Durban conference back in 2001. Later this month, Baraka will be in The Netherlands to lead a panel discussion at on the Durban process.