Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.
- Attorney General Loretta Lynch outraged Black activists when she backed off her predecessor’s verbal commitment to require that local police send reports to Washington when they kill civilians. Former Attorney General Eric Holder said police failure to keep data on lethal use of force is “unacceptable.” But his replacement, Loretta Lynch, said she would rather not get involved in such “minutia” – as she called it. We spoke with Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report and renowned whistleblower who has led demonstrations against the Department of Justice.
- Activists from around the country are gearing up for three days of protests in New York City, October 22nd through 24th. The Rise Up October campaign will also bring one hundred family members of victims of police violence to Manhattan. Hundreds gathered at Columbia University for a rally, last week. Among the speakers: Dr. Cornel West, a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
- The Columbia University crowd gave huge applause to Noche Diaz, a key organizer with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, who has been repeatedly jailed for protesting police lawlessness.
- The infamous Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade deal has been finalized by the U.S. and 11 other nations, but it can still be stopped by the U.S. Congress. Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance, is a key organizer of the opposition.
- It’s widely understood that the TPP treaty is really designed to counter the rising power of China. Joseph Gerson is director of programs for the American Friends Service Committee, in New England, and author of the book, “The U.S. ‘Pivot’ to Asia and the Pacific.” Gerson says TPP represents a “Great Wall of China” in reverse – a wall to keep China’s influence in Asia contained.
- The next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education will be a Black and Puerto Rican educator who’s entire teaching career has revolved around charter schools. Glen Ford has this commentary.
Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.
– Lots of Black people in Selma, Alabama, want to rename the Edmund Pettis Bridge after Amelia Boynton Robinson, the Founding Mother of the city’s civil rights movement, who died in August at the age of 110. Ms. Boynton Robinson was a voting rights activist in the 1920s, registered to vote in 1934, invited both Dr. Martin Luther King and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee into Selma, and ran for Congress in 1964, a year before the historic march across the Edmund Pettis bridge, where she was beaten by Alabama police and left for dead. However, the area’s Black Congresswoman, Terri Sewell, and Georgia Congressman John Lewis are said to have collaborated to prevent renaming the bridge for Ms. Boynton Robinson. State Sen. Hank Sanders is part of the effort to honor the matriarch of the Movement in Selma.
- Thousands of protesters from across the country are expected to converge on New York City, October 22nd through 24th, for demonstrations against police violence. The RIseup October campaign is organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, founded by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West, four years ago. Rev. Jerome McCorry heads up The Adam Project, which deals with prison-related issues in Dayton, Ohio. Rev. McCorry is also the Faith and Social Justice Advocate for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
- Pennsylvania prison officials continue to withhold adequate medical care to Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, who is suffering from the complications of Hepatitis C. The disease brought Abu Jamal to the brink of death, earlier this year, and left him with a painful and disfiguring skin condition. Dr. Johanna Fernandez is a professor of History and Black and Latino Studies, at Baruch College, in New York City, and a close confidant of Abu Jamal. She brings us up date on his condition.
- Later this month, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to dramatically lower the rates that private phone monopolies can charge for calls made by the nation’s 2.4 million prison inmates. Many families wind up paying as much as $14 a minute to stay in touch with their incarcerated loves ones, with the phone companies sharing the profits with the prisons and jails. The Human Rights Defense Center argued on behalf of the inmates. The FCC’s proposed rules would lower the phone rate to between 11 and 22 cents a minute. But, that wouldn’t break up the private companies’ stranglehold on prison phone calls. We spoke with the Center’s director, Alex Friedman.
- The crusading People’s Lawyer Liz Fink died last month, in New York City. Attorney Fink represented survivors of the Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and helped win a $12 million settlement for the victims of the massacre of inmates that followed the uprising. Fink also represented former Black Panther political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahhad, who said that he would never have been released from prison had it not been for Liz Fink. Lots of freedom fighters are in mourning for Fink, including Zayid Muhammad, the press officer for the Malcolm X Commemorations Committee.
- On the heels of a viral video of last month’s brutal and mistaken police takedown of Black former tennis pro James Blake, the New York City police department has issued new guidelines on reporting the non-lethal use of force against civilians. Cops would be required to document whenever they strike, mace, or take down people. We spoke with Robert Gangi, director of the watchdog Police Reform Organizing Project. He doesn’t think much of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s press releases.
- Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford says the pace of gentrification appears to be accelerating in America’s cities. Ford calls this commentary, “The Whites Are Coming, The Whites Are Coming!”
Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.
- The Oakland, California-based Ella Baker Center for Human Right conducted a survey of 1,000 former prison inmates and their family members. The study found that the burden of mass incarceration is borne, not ust by the 2.4 million people that are locked up in the United States, but also by their families, with women carrying a disproportionate share of the financial weight. Darris Young is a local organizer for the Ella Baker Center, and a former prison inmate, himself. He conducted some of the surveys, and explained why it’s necessary to look at how mass incarceration affects families.
- Activists are kicking off the Autumn season with a Rise Up October campaign against police killings in the Black community, culminating in protests in New York City, October 22nd through the 24th. Carl Dix is a co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
- The flood of refugees into Europe continues, with most fleeing the war against Syria by Islamic jihadists backed by the U.S. and its allies. The Russians have speeded up military aid to the Syrian government. President Obama claims that Russian help will only make the situation worse. But Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, says that’s insane.
- The flood of refugees into Europe continues, with most fleeing the war against Syria by Islamic jihadists backed by the U.S. and its allies. The Russians have speeded up military aid to the Syrian government. President Obama claims that Russian help will only make the situation worse. But Sara Flounders says that’s insance.
- James Paul, author of the book “Syria Unmasked,” agrees that most of the people fleeing to Europe from the Middle East and Africa are “regime change” refugees whose countries have been destabilized by western military intervention. Paul is the former executive director of the Global Policy Forum and the Middle East Research and Information Project.
– A researcher at the University of Connecticut has come up with a price tag for reparations for Black people for slavery in the United States. Professor Thomas Craemer puts the cost at between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion, depending on how you do the calculations.
- Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report, a renowned whistleblower, and an activist with the Hands Up Coalition-DC. She’s also become a close friend and comrade with the mother of Emanuel Okutuga, a Nigerian American college senior who was shot dead by a cop in suburban Washington, in 2011. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo says her Nigerian friend’s American dream has turned into a nightmare.
- A new book reveals U.S. efforts to undermine and overthrow governments in Latin America during the Bush and early Obama administrations. The book is titled “The WikiLeaks Files,” and it’s co-authored by Dan Beeton and two other researchers from the Center for Economic Policy and Research. The team examined diplomatic cables detailing U.S. subversion of the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Honduras. The United States claims that it is a good neighbor to nations in Latin America, but Dan Beeton says the evidence tells a very different story.
- There will soon be a new film on the aftermath of Katrina, in New Orleans. Kimberly Rivers-Roberts produced her first film, “Trouble the Water” shortly after the 2005 catastrophe in her hometown. The film was nominated for an Oscar and won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival. Ms. Rivers-Roberts is also known by her Hip Hop artist name, Queen Kold Madina, Her new film looks at what has happened to New Orleans in the ten years since Katrina. It’s titled “Fear No Gumbo.”
– U.S. Justice Department announced that it will begin to focus on prosecuting individual corporate executives for crimes, rather than just fining their companies. But, Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, says the Obama administration is just blowing hot air, and nothing has changed. Big banks and other corporations, and their top officers, are still too big to jail.
- The mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, says she will not run for re-election next year. Last week her administration announced it will pay the family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million as a settlement for his death in police custody. Also last week, a judge rejected a bid by lawyers for the six police officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death that their trial be moved to another jurisdiction. We spoke with Jill Carter, a young Baltimore lawyer who is widely considered to be the most radical member of the Maryland State legislature. Delegate Carter is from an activist family. She has run unsuccessfully for mayor of Baltimore, and may run again. Carter believes the rebellion over Freddie Gray’s death, and constant pressures from protesters, finally broke the current mayor’s will to continue in office.
- Jill Carter, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, speaking from Baltimore.
- Black Agenda Report contributing writer Danny Haiphong draws moral and political inspiration from the late George Jackson, the San Quentin prison inmate who became a member of the Black Panther Party, and was killed by prison guards in August of 1971. Haiphong is author of an article in this week’s issue of BAR titled, “Why George Jackson Matters.” Haiphong is an activist with FIST – Fight Imperialism, Stand Together – in Boston, and has worked closely with local members of the Black Lives Matter organization.
- The Uhuru movement will soon have its own radio station. The African People’s Socialist Party, commonly known as the Uhuru Movement, won permission to operate a low-power FM radio station in St. Petersburg, Florida, the site of their party headquarters. Chairman Omali Yeshitela says a fundraiser will begin this weekend to raise money to put the station in opertion. We asked Yeshitela what the Uhuru Movement will bring to the airwaves.
- Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, commonly known as the Uhuru Movement, based in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Party’s African People’s Education and Defense Fund has won permission to operate a low-power FM radio station in the city, and will hold a marathon fund-raiser this Sunday to raise money to build the station’s transmitter and tower. We asked Yeshitela what the Uhuru Movement will bring to the airwaves.
– The number of inmates in solitary confinement in California’s prisons should be sharply reduced following settlement of a suit brought by prisoners. California leads the nation in the number of inmates held in solitary confinement, with nearly 3,000 prisoners languishing in isolation. The Center for Constitutional Rights represented the inmates in court. We spoke with the Center’s deputy legal director, Alexi Agathocleous.
- Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was shouted down by protesters when she announced draconian proposals that would target each of the city’s 10,000 people on parole or probation for surprise searches by police, on the street or in their homes, night or day. Ex-offender found to be in violation of any of a long list of rules, could be detained for 72 hours, and then put on a path back to prison. Mayor Bowser claims she’s just responding to a rising homicide rate.
- Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is an activist with the Hands Up Coalition-DC and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. She calls Mayor Bowser’s plan The Fugitive Slave Act of 2015.
- Ajamu Baraka is also an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. Baraka is a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network. He currently lives in Colombia, South America, where he recently took part in a conference of the principal Afro-Colombian self-determinationist organization, the Black Communities Process, or PCN. Colombia is the United States’ closest ally in the region, and holds the world’s record for killing labor organizers. It is second only to Syria in the number of internally displaced persons, most of them Afro-Colombians driven from their traditional lands. Ajamu Baraka says Colombia is one of the most important countries in the African diaspora.
- An independent, Black-produced film on the Ferguson rebellion is making the rounds, this summer. We spoke with producer and director Ralph L. Crowder the Third about his latest documentary, titled, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot Our Youth Movement.”
- Resistance to standardized testing in the public schools is growing by leaps and bounds. Much of the momentum is centered in mostly white suburban districts, but more Black and brown parents are deciding to OPT their children OUT of the high-stakes testing regime. About 20 percent of New York state public school students opted out, in the past school year. Peter Farruggio is on the faculty of the University of Texas, Pan American campus. He’s a long-time educator and anti-privatization activist. We asked Dr. Farruggio if the Opt-Out campaign has gotten big enough to be called a movement.
- Black people all across the country are effectively being disenfranchised by state takeovers of their public schools. So says KE-RON BLAIR, executive director of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, a coalition of nine organizations representing more than seven million students, educators and community members. Blair says state takeovers have accelerated across the country, almost exclusively in heavily Black and brown districts.
- The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, co-founded by Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix, is gearing up for three days of protests in New York City, October 22 through 24. The Rise Up October campaign held a rally at the First Corinthian Baptist Church, in Harlem, last Thursday, under the heading, “What We Must Do to Stop Police Terror and Murder.” The most effective testimony of the evening came from relatives of people killed by cops, like Juanita Young, the mother of Malcolm Ferguson.
- The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held its national conference, in Philadelphia. The theme was “Black Power Matters,” and the demand put forward was Black Community Control of the Police. The conference occurred not long after members of the HASHTAG Black Lives Matter organization failed to make any demands during their encounter with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford told the Black Is Back conference that the leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization are trying to drag the Black people’s movement into the clutches of the Democratic Party, where progressive movements go to die.
- In Philadelphia, Her-DOE-jah Benton, of the Uhuru Movement, in St. Louis, Missouri, spoke to the Black Is Back Coalition conference.
- Philadelphia is notorious for the brutality of its police. But, the family of 22 year old Tyree Carrol is fighting back against a police culture of violence. The young man was beaten by dozens of cops on the street in front of his home. A neighbor recorded the beating on video tape, and activists have been mobilized. Asantawaa Nkrumah Ture is a spokesperson for Justice for Tyree Carrol.
- Baltimore community organizer Tre Murphy helped raise half a million dollars bail for Allen Bullock, the 18-year-old who smashed the window of a police car during the rebellion over the cop killing of Freddie Gray. Allen Bullock’s bail was higher than that set for any of the six cops charged in Freddie Gray’s death. Community organizer Tre Murphy says high bail is just another weapon of oppression against Black and poor people.
- Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is on the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is usually associated with anti-war positions. But, the New Hampshire senator, who claims he’s a socialist, seems to be encouraging the Saudi Arabian regime in its war against Yemen. According to Sam Husseini, of the Institute for Public Accuracy, in Washington, Bernie Sanders appears to get excited about the Saudis waging war against their neighbors.
- One thousand Black activists, scholars and artists have signed a petition in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. The petition endorses the call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the apartheid Israeli regime. Kristian Davis Bailey is part of the team that gathered the signatures. Bailey notes that there is a price to be paid when Black Americans take a stand for Palestine.
- Activists from Ferguson, Missouri and Greater Black St. Louis called a press conference to denounce police assaults on demonstrators protesting the killing of a Black teenager, last week, as well as the re-opening of 1,000 misdemeanor cases against demonstrators arrested during the past year of protests against the police killing of Michael Brown. Eighteen-year-old Mansur Bey was shot to death by St. Louis police, who claimed he pointed a gun at them. The neighborhood didn’t believe the cops story. When hundreds took to the streets, they were tear-gassed, with nine arrested. Activists with the Organization for Black Struggle say the police are deliberately provoking the community and trashing people’s constitutional rights. They were joined at the press conference by Attorney Denise Lieberman, of the Advancement Project, and Brendan Roediger, a professor at St. Louis University School of Law. Montague Simmons, of the Organization for Black Struggle, said the community is fed up with the cops and the local power structure.
- Dhoruba Bin Wahad, the former Black Panther Party member and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army, who served 19 years as a political prisoner, was severely beaten, earlier this month, by members of the so-called New Black Panther Party. The 71-year old Wahad and five other men were attacked by 25 to 30 people at a New Black Panther Party event at an Atlanta Hotel. A video shows the mob acting on party leader Malik Zulu Shabazz’s orders. Kalonji Jama Changa, of the Free the People Movement, was one of the men assaulted along with Dhoruba Bin Wahad. Wahad and Changa held a press conference, but Changa did all the talking, because Wahad’s jaw was wired shut.
- It’s almost time for the new school term to start. But public school teacher Marilyn Zuniga won’t be returning to class in Orange, New Jersey. She was fired after her third grade students sent get-well letters to political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, when they learned that he had become ill. Ms. Zuniga hasn’t been able to line up another public school job, but she’s putting her time to good use.
- Supporters of Dr. Anthony Monteiro rallied near Philadelphia’s Temple University, last week, demanding his reinstatement. Monteiro is a Philadelphia native and lifelong activist. He was fired, with the university’s complicity, by Dr. Molefi Asante, who then changed the name of African American Studies to the Department of Africology. Temple University is also in turmoil because of its close ties to comedian Bill Cosby, who used to sit on the university’s board of trustees.. Cosby’s lawyer is chairman of the board. Amid all this scandal and gentrification, Dr. Monteiro says nobody at Temple University is speaking up for Black people’s interests.
The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds its national conference in Philadelphia, this weekend, under the theme, “Black Power Matters: Black Community Control of the Police.” The Milwaukee chapter of the Black National Defenders is part of the Black Is Back Coalition. Organizer Amerikus Luvene says the Black National Defenders, or BND, envision one day replacing the police, altogether.
Demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, mark a year of intense struggle since the death of Michael Brown, but, what is the State of the Movement?
A U.S. Embassy opens in Havana, Cuba.
Haiti holds its first elections in four years.
Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, has been confirmed to be suffering from hepatitis C, a serious liver disease that doctors believe played a part in his near-death, earlier this year, from diabetic shock. But, the State of Pennsylvania doesn’t provide adequate treatment for prison inmates with Hepatitus C. Attorney Brete Grote says the state’s inaction has caused Abu Jamal’s legal team to file papers in court.
Despite his medical problems, Mumia continues to write regular essays for Prison Radio. Here’s his latest, entitled, “Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment.”