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Black Agenda Radio – 11.16.15

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

– A bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats is backing a bill that would shorten some mandatory minimum prison sentences. The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform organization, held a teleconference. Glen Ford attended the teleconference. He challenged the idea that President Obama has been an ally of prison reform. That was the voice of political consultant Bob Craemer answering.

– Sentencing Project executive director Marc Mauer said much more needs to be done to re-integrate former prison inmates back into society.

– Also in Washington, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations gathered at Howard University for a national conference under the theme “Black Power Matters.” Black Is Back Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela said Russia did the right thing by helping Syria defend itself from U.S.-backed jihadists.

– Black Agenda Report senior columnist Margaret Kimberley also addressed the Black Is Back conference. Kimberley says Black people need to build a political movement with a global perspective.

– BAR executive editor Glen Ford is a founding member of the Black Is Back Coalition. He talked about the critical importance of making demands of Power – like Coalition’s demand for Black Community Control of the Police

– Herdosia Benton is straight-outa-Ferguson, Missouri, and a key organizer in the Uhuru Movement, part of the Black Is Back Coalition.

– Bruce Dixon, the Managing Editor of Black Agenda Report, is glad to see that there’s a whole new crop of Black activists out there. The problem is, many of them can’t seem to figure out how to formulate demands, of power.

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Black Agenda Radio – 11.09.15

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

– A conference on the Black radical tradition is scheduled for January 8th through 10th at Philadelphia’s Temple University. Dr. Anthony Monteiro, who was until recently a professor of African American Studies at Temple, is one of the conference organizers. Dr. Monteiro says it’s time for the Black liberation movement to get focused.

– Dr. Gerald Horne, the professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, is one of the most prolific Black scholars of modern times. Much of his recent work has focused on the origins of the United States as a bulwark of slavery and racist reaction. Dr. Horne’s news book is titled, “Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic.” Horne sees his book as an update on the late, great C.L.R. James’s 1938 classic, “The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution.”

– Two Black farmers organizations, one in the U.S. Deep South, the other in Central America, have been awarded the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize. But, what is food sovereignty? We asked Beverly Bell, coordinator of Other Worlds and an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, in Washington.

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Black Agenda Radio – 11.02.15

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

– Outrage continues to build Richland County, South Carolina, where a white policeman was caught on video manhandling a Black female high school student. Efia Wangaza is a people’s lawyer and director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina. She’s part of a coalition of citizens and parents that have launched a series of actions against in-school violence, especially against Black girls.

– The school-to-prison pipeline starts before Black and brown students even set foot in kindergarten, according to a new study by the Center for American Progress and the National Black Child Development Institute. Researcher Maryam Adamu says the study shows that lasting harm is inflicted on Black and brown children in pre-school, where they suffer disproportionate suspensions and expulsions.

– Activists in Newark, New Jersey, turned out for a forum organized to prepare for the installation of a new Civilian Complaint Review Board, appointed by Mayor Ras Baraka. The Black-led People’s Organization for Progress , P.O.P, will be represented on the board, along with other community groups. Larry Adams is vice-chairman of POP. He says the Review Board MUST the power to subpoena witnesses and police records.

– The nation Haiti held a second round of elections on October 25th, this time for president. Back in August, legislative elections were marred by massive voter suppression by allies of the current government. The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti set up a hot-line to report irregularities in both elections. The first tallies from October’s presidential ballots should be released, later this week. But, Institute director Brian Concannon says the U.S.-backed Haitian regime has tampered with that election, too.

– The Haiti Action Committee, based in the San Fransisco Bay Area, was part of a human rights and labor fact-finding delegation to the island nation. Haiti Action’s Pierre Labossiere and his colleagues believe the turnout of voters was NOT low, but that the vote was suppressed by the ruling party. He disputes that only 20 to 30 percent of Haitians attempted to vote.

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Black Agenda Radio – 10.26.15

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

– Thousands of protesters from around the country descended on New York City for three days of protests against police lawlessness. The Rise Up October demonstrations were called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, founded by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West. At Brooklyn’s Borough Hall and Manhattan’s Times Square, activists remembered the lives and the names of those snuffed out by the police.

– While Rise Up October activists were demonstrating in New York, families of victims of police violence were testifying before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in Washington. The Commission is an investigatory arm of the Organization of American States. Officials from the U.S. State Department and the Department of Justice were also on hand, as Martinez Sutton recounted the day the cops killed his sister.

– Attorney Justin Hansford also testified before the Organization of American States commission. Hansford is a professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, who was involved in a Black citizens’ suit against police departments in St. Louis County. He said the U.S. criminal justice system is soaked in blood, and needs to be dismantled.

– The Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations holds its annual rally and march on the White House, November 7, followed the next day by a conference at Howard University. The Coalition is demanding Black Community Control of the Police, and will march under the banner “Black Power Matters.” But, there has been no real discussion of the MEANING of Black Power, in many years. We spoke with Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela.

– Black congregations around the country are on alert, in the wake of arson attacks on seven Black churches in St. Louis, Missouri. Rev. Anthony Evans is president of the National Black Church Initiative, in Washington. He says the U.S. Justice Department appears “impotent” in the face of seven church burnings in St. Louis and “systematic” attacks against Blacks by racist police.

– In St. Louis, Faizan Syed, director of the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, expressed solidarity with the Black Christian community.

– Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, is still being denied treatment for Hepatitis-C, the underlying cause of his near-death health crisis, earlier this year. Mumia isn’t alone. Tens of thousands of inmates suffering from the infection are left untreated in Pennsylvania and other prison systems around the country. At a press conference, last week, Dr. Melissa Barber, of IFCO, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, charged the U.S. with violating the human rights of prisoners. Dr. Barber runs a program that sends U.S. students to Cuba for free medical school.

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Black Agenda Radio – 10.19.15

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

– A broad coalition of activist organizations is gearing up for three days of Rise Up October protests against police lawlessness, in New York City, this weekend. Organizers plan to bring in 100 family members of victims of police violence from around the country. Newark, New Jersey’s People’s Organization for Progress is part of the Rise Up October campaign. Chairman Larry Hamm says POP has been fighting police brutality in northern New Jersey for 35 years. POP sent several busloads to Washington, DC for the recent anniversary of the Million Man March.

– Cynthia McKinney, the former six-term congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 presidential candidate on the Green Party ticket, recently earned her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. For her dissertation, McKinney explored the challenges faced by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. She’s now exploring ways to deploy more “non-traditional” Black candidates for Congress. But, that’s easier said than done.

– Mustapha Hefny was born in Egypt and immigrated to the United States more than three decades ago. The U.S. government granted him citizenship, but it refuses to acknowledge that he’s a Black man. Mr. Hefny is a Nubian, an ancient, unmistakably Black people who were part of the Egyptian Empire, sometimes ruling as Pharoahs. Nubians have always lived in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. But the United States classifies Nubian immigrants from southern Egypt as white, and Nubians from northern Sudan as Black, under Directive 15 of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. So, for almost 30 years, Mostapha Hefny has been demanding that United States recognize him as a Black man.

– Dr. Gerald Horne, the professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, has written yet another book. Horne is one of the most prolific and influential Black political thinkers of our time. His most recent work is titled “Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During the Slavery and Jim Crow.” His new book, on the Haitian Revolution, should be out this week. And after that, Dr. Horne plans on turning out books on Paul Robeson and Black majority rule in South Africa. He was recently interviewed on WFHB Community Radio, in Bloomington, Indiana.

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Black Agenda Radio – 10.12.15

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.

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Black Agenda Radio – 10.05.15

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!”

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Black Agenda Radio – 09.28.15

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.

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Black Agenda Radio – 09.21.15

– 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.”

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Black Agenda Radio – 09.14.15

– 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.