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Black Agenda Radio – 02.08.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– DeRay McKesson, the Twitter communicator who was a charter school supporter in Minneapolis before he joined the movement for justice, in Ferguson, Missouri, is running for mayor of Baltimore, as a Democrat. McKesson’s Campaign Zero organization met twice with Hillary Clinton, and he has developed a close relationship with the national Democratic Party. Black Maryland state lawmaker Jill Scott, who once ran for mayor herself and is considered the most radical politician in Baltimore, calls DeRay McKesson’s campaign “ridiculous,” and explains why she’s not going to run for City Hall, this year.

– Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer who served 28 months in federal prison for the crime of zealously defending her client, and her husband Ralph Poynter, the veteran human rights activist and educator, want to make sure that the incipient new movement for justice keep up the fight to free all political prisoners. We spoke with the couple, in Brooklyn, New York.

– A congressional committee has been holding hearings on the catastrophe in Flint, Michigan, the majority Black city whose water was poisoned under the control of an appointed emergency financial manager. Dr. Cynthia McKinney, the former six term congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate, was active in congressional hearings on the Katrina disaster back in 2005. McKinney is now in Bengladesh, teaching a course in political science and leadership, the discipline in which she earned her PhD. We asked Dr. McKinney if she thinks the current hearings will succeed in holding powerful people and government agencies accountable for what happened in Flint.

– Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, who became president of Haiti in an election racked with fraud and foreign interference in 2010, left office this past weekend, when his term expired. He’s being replaced by a transitional government appointed by the country’s Parliament, which came into office in elections in August that were also fraudulent, in the eyes of most Haitians. These were followed by presidential elections in October that were widely believed to be rigged, and the cancellation of a run-off election that had been scheduled for last month, due to massive protests. Jerome Franz is a Haitian community activist, now living in Miami. He says most Haitians still support the Fanmi Lavalas party of former president Jean Bertrand-Aristide, who was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup in 2004. We spoke to Jerome Franz shortly before the new interim Haiti government was announced.

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Black Agenda Radio – 02.01.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– The U.S. Supreme Court has given hope to thousands of prison inmates who were sentenced to life without possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were juveniles. The High Court ruled that such sentences are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. One of those who might win release from prison is Kerry Shakaboona Marshall, a Pennsylvania inmate who was sentenced to life more than 25 years ago, at age 17. Marshall is a contributor to Prison Radio and editor of a magazine. He was interviewed by Prison radio’s Noelle Hanrahan.

– Teams of experts from the United Nations held hearings last week on human rights violations against Black people in the United States. Testimony was heard in Jackson, Mississippi, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City. Efia Wangaza, a people’s lawyer and director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina, has been taking Black grievances to the United Nations for years. We asked Wangaza what the UN human rights officials wanted to talk about?

– A People’s Tribunal has convicted Michigan governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and two state appointed emergency financial managers, of crimes against humanity. The officials were charged with poisoning Flint’s water supply and cutting off water to tens of thousands of poor people in Detroit, among other crimes.

What you will hear is, a juror, Claire McClinton, rendering the guilty verdict; the judge, Rev. Bill Wylie Kellermann, whose church served as the courthouse, handing down the sentence against the official wrongdoers; and Monica Lewis-Patrick, a co-founder of We the People of Detroit, on how to follow up on the convictions. First, Ms. McClinton,

– Noted Black public intellectual Adolph Reed, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, is supporting Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he is not too happy about writer Ta-Nehisi Coates recent criticism of Sanders for opposing Reparations for Black Americans. Dr. Reed recently appeared on Doug Henwood’s WBAI Radio program, in New York.

– Representatives of the various warring parties in Syria are gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, for what some people are wishfully calling “peace talks.” Black Agenda Report editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka doesn’t expect much to come out of the talks.

– Much of the population of Haiti is celebrating the cancellation of elections that were scheduled for last week. The previous attempt at presidential elections, in October, was so blatantly crooked, that no one but the U.S. backed regime believed the results, and the number two candidate refused to take part in a run-off. Negotiations are now taking place on who will make up a transition government until honest elections can be held. The last time there was an honest vote in Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide was elected president. However, Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas Party were overthrown by a U.S.-backed coup in 2004. Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee, says the people are determined to have a say in the next government in Haiti.

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Black Agenda Radio – 01.25.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– Dr. Anthony Monteiro was one of the organizers of a conference on the Black Radical Tradition, earlier this month, at Philadelphia’s Temple University, the school were Dr. Monteiro taught African American studies until he was fired for his radical activities. We asked Monteiro if the conference accomplished what the organizers expected?

– Who is ultimately responsible for poisoning the water in majority Black Flint, Michigan? Black Agenda Report editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo says the blame stretches all the way to the White House. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo blew the whistle on racism and corporate corruption when she worked for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. She says what happened to Flint, Michigan, goes far beyond environmental racism.

– Flint, Michigan’s water problems began when the State seized power from the local government. Atlantic City, New Jersey, is also facing a State takeover and the privatization of its water supply. BAR executive editor Glen Ford reports.

– The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement is circulating a petition, charging the United States with genocide against Black people. Movement president Herdosia Bentum says the petitions will be presented to the United Nations, which is holding hearings in Jackson, Mississippi, Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC. The Uhuru movement has set up encampments in each of the cities. Herdosia Bentum explains.

– Five years ago, Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West co-founded the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, which has been confronting the Mass Black Incarceration State, ever since. Dix says the Network is holding conferences in key cities to map out plans for the next phase of struggle.

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Black Agenda Radio – 01.18.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– President Obama’s State of the Union address, last week, marked the start of the Twilight of his presidency. We spoke with South Carolina activist and author Kevin Alexander Gray, editor of the book, “Killing Trayvons: An Anthologoy of American Violence.” Gray says Obama is still a skilled performer.

– In his State of the Union Address, Obama said that no country in the world dares to threaten the United States. But, if nobody is threatening the U.S., then why is America making war against so many people. We put that question to Margaret Kimberley, editor and senior columnist for Black Agenda Report.

– Cynthia McKinney ran against President Obama on the Green Party ticket in 2008. The former six-term congresswoman from Georgia recently earned her Phd for Leadership and Change, from Antioch College. McKinney wrote her dissertation on the late Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez. She appeared recently on peace activist David Swanson’s Talk Nation radio program, and was asked if there was any real difference between Obama and George Bush’s policies towards Venezuela.

– The poor island nation of Haiti is scheduled to hold another round of elections on January 24th. The problem is, almost nobody wants the vote to happen except the candidate for the ruling party, backed by the United States. The first round of elections, held last year, were widely viewed as rigged. However, the United States is demanding that the presidential vote go ahead, without fixing the process. Jake Johnston, a researcher for the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, says Haitians refuse to tolerate another fraudulent election.

– The Democratic Republic of Congo will hold elections, later this year, although it is not clear if President Joseph Kabila will run for a third term. At least six million Congolese have died as a result of invasions of the country by U.S. allies Uganda and Rwanda, and now the U.S. is fomenting regime change in neighboring Burundi. According to Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo, the U.S. has conspired against the Congo for more than a century.

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Black Agenda Radio – 01.11.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– What may be remembered as an historic conference on the Black Radical Tradition was held at Temple University, in Philadelphia, this past weekend, from January 8 through the 10th. Many hundreds of activists from all across the country gathered to review the experiences of the current grassroots mobilization against police violence, and to put it in perspective with past Black movements in the United States and the fight against predatory capitalism, worldwide. The conference was titled “Reclaiming Our Future: The Black Radical Tradition in Our Time.” It was put together, largely, by students, activists and organizers from Philadelphia, and keynoted by speakers including Angela Davis, Cornel West, and Anthony Monteiro.

– An extraordinary panel discussion unfolded under the title, “Challenging White Supremacy: The Black Radical View.” Umi Saleh, formerly known as Phillip Agnew, of the Florida-based Dream Defenders presented a devastating critique of those whose claim to leadership is based on the size of their Twitter followings, most notably DeRay McKesson, of Campaign Zero. Saleh called Social Media an “asylum for neoliberal values” and described McKesson’s political leanings as “counter-revolutionary and anti-movement.”

– Jamala Rogers is a veteran organizer based in Missouri, and author of the new book, “Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion.”

– Robin DG Kelly rounded out the panel on Challenging White Supremacy at the conference on the Black Radical Tradition. Kelly is a veteran activist and public intellectual, who teaches history at UCLA.

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Black Agenda Radio – 01.04.16

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– Activists from around the country will gather at Temple University, in Philadelphia, on January 8th, for a conference on the Black Radical Tradition. Dr. Cornel West, the nation’s best-known Black public intellectual, is one of the keynote speakers. We asked Dr. West if we are witnessing the birth of a real mass Black movement, after all these years.

– Everybody knows that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in trouble with Black folks, who are outraged at the lawlessness and violence of the city’s police. But political analyst, author and activist Paul Street says Mayor Emanuel has also lost the confidence of the rich white people who really call the shots in Chicago. Paul Street’s latest book is titled “They Rule: The 1% Versus Democracy.”

– Last year, President Obama succeeded in putting his Trans Pacific Partnership corporate trade treaty on a “fast track” towards ratification by Congress. But opponents of TPP think they have a good chance of defeating the treaty in the New Year. Kevin Zeese is with Popular Resistance,

– Talks are scheduled to begin on January 25th between the U.S. and its allies and their jihadist proxies seeking to oust the government of Syria, and the Syrian government and its Russian allies. The Americans, Saudis and Turks like to describe their Islamist proxies as “moderate rebels,” but Syria and the Russians say the western-backed fighters are terrorists, just like ISIS and al-Qaida. We spoke with Sara Flounders, the United National Anti-War Coalition.

– Black America may, or may not, be in the process of creating a new political movement. However, building a movement based on people’s power is difficult when the political geography of Black America is so heavily influenced by non-profit organizations that are not accountable to the people. Black Agenda Report Managing Editor Bruce Dixon has this commentary.

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Black Agenda Radio – 12.28.15

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– A conference on the Black Radical Tradition will be held at Temple University, in Philadelphia, January 8th through the 10th. Dr. Anthony Monteiro is one of the organizers, and a keynote speaker for the event. We asked Dr. Monteiro, How alive is the Black Radical Tradition, today?

– Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, is wishing a very unhappy New Year to Wall Street and U.S. Imperialism. The consensus among the corporate media and the ruling circles in the United States is that the economy is doing fine, that the U.S. is nearing full employment, and that means the government will end its policy of giving trillions of dollars in interest-free money to the banks. But Omali Yeshitela says, the system is in deep crisis.

– Earlier this year, a 27 year old teacher from Southeast Washington, DC, died at the hands of two Special Police officers. The recently formed Pan African Community Action group, or PACA, wants to take the case before the United Nations. PACA organizer Netfa Freeman explains.

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Black Agenda Radio – 12.21.15

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– The mayor of majority Black Flint, Michigan declared a state of emergency, last week, after health officials discovered a “toxic soup” of pollutants in the city’s water – including a high risk of lead poisoning. The health crisis was created when an appointed emergency financial manager forced Flint to switch from Detroit’s water system, to Flint River water. Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder has appointed Emergency Financial Managers to dictate the affairs of virtually every majority Black city in the state, denying local populations control of their own institutions. In Detroit, water has been shut off to tens of thousands of poor people. We spoke with Thomas Stephens, a people’s lawyer who’s been active in the resistance to state and corporate takeovers in Michigan.

– On January 8th through the 10th, Philadelphia’s Temple University will host a conference on the Black Radical Tradition. Keynote speakers include Angela Davis, Robin D.G. Kelly, Cornel West, V.J. Prashad, Anthony Monteiro, and Charlene Carruthers, of Chicago’s Black Youth Project 100. The title of the conference is “Reclaiming our Future: the Black Radical Tradition In Our Time.” Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, will take part in one of the conference panels. There has not been a mass movement in Black America for a very long time. We asked Larry Hamm if the Black Radical Tradition is more than just an academic subject.

– More than one hundred supporters of Mumia Abu Jamal gathered outside a Scranton, Pennsylvania, courtroom, as a federal judge heard arguments about why state prison authorities should be forced to treat Mumia for Hepatitis C. The nation’s best-known political prisoner came close to death, earlier this year, from complications of the disease. Joe Piette is a member of the Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. He says Mumia isn’t just fighting for himself.

– New York based writer and political analyst Eric Draitser recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Venezuela, where the Socialist Party founded by the late Hugo Chavez lost badly to the rightwing opposition in legislative elections. The opposition won two-thirds of the seats in the national legislature. Draitser’s latest article on Venezuela is titled, “The Revolution That Will Not Die.” Although the Socialist project in Venezuela is not yet dead, Draitser agrees that it has suffered a major setback.

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Black Agenda Radio – 11.30.15

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– A bill is moving through the U.S. House and Senate that would retroactively shorten sentences for crack cocaine possession and, its backers claim, substantially roll back mandatory minimum sentences for other crimes. The Sentencing Act is supported by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. However, the National Urban League and Families Against Mandatory Minimums have refused to sign off on the legislation, which actually expands the list of crimes subject to mandatory minimum sentencing, including gun possession and crimes of domestic violence. Listen to Julie Stewart, who is President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

– Funds are being raised for a new documentary film on the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, with a focus on the late Panther leader, Huey P. Newton, and other Party founders, in Oakland, California. The project is headed up by David Hilliard, a former Panther chief of staff. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Dante James will direct the movie. Both James and Hilliard have been critical of the film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” directed by Stanley Nelson Jr. and distributed by PBS. Dante talked to us about the difference between the two films.

– Trial has begun for the first of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, last April, a homicide that set off a rebellion in the majority Black city. Baltimore is also the headquarters for the Real News Network, which held a fascinating discussion of the legal ramifications of the trial. Real News host Stephen Janis interviewed former Baltimore homicide detective Stephen Tabeling, who has a history of investigating cases of police use of deadly force, and Maryland Delegate Jill Carter, the most radical member of the state legislature, who hails from a civil rights family, and is also a defense attorney. Carter told the Real News why she’s worried about getting justice for Freddie Gray.

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Black Agenda Radio – 11.23.15

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– The corporate media’s fixation with the attack on Paris seems insatiable, as if no place else in the world has suffered from terrorist attacks. Could it be because Paris is mostly white? Ajamu Baraka is a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. Baraka’s current article is titled, “The Paris Attacks and the White Lives Matter Movement.” Baraka points out that the world capitals of death by terror are Nigeria, Iraq and Syria. Yet massacres in those places are not considered big news.

– Environmental activists were planning to hold a huge demonstration in Paris later this month, to influence United Nations negotiations about climate change. However, French authorities have put the country under a state of emergency. Among those who planned to be in Paris is Kali Akuno, whose Malcolm X Grassroots Movement colleagues are promoting a plan for sustainable development in predominantly Black Jackson, Mississippi. It’s called the Jackson Just Transition Plan. Akuno says his delegation has held on to their plane tickets.

– The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, co-founded by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West, followed up three days of protests in New York with demonstrations, this weekend, in several cities to refocus attention on Tamir Rice, the 12 year-old killed by Cleveland police. The local district attorney accused Tamir’s mother of having “economic motives” for demanding justice for her son. Carl Dix says the DA’s behavior is proof enough that the system is rigged. Carl Dix says nationwide protests are planned for December 3rd, the one-year anniversary of the exoneration of the cop that choked Eric Garner to death, in Staten Island, New York.

– Investigative reporter Ken Silverstein says the Clinton Foundation’s newly released tax returns should land Bill, Hillary and daughter Chelsea Clinton in prison. In an article for Harper’s Magazine, Silverstein writes that the former – and possibly future – First Couple are implicated in massive money laundering and other High Crimes.

– Kenia Serrano, the president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship of the People, spends lots of time greeting delegations of visitors to her island. But, this month Serrano and other Cuban officials were on a tour of U.S. cities, starting in New York. Speaking at John Jay College, Serrano said Cubans are proud of the changes the Revolution has made in the lives of the people.