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Black Agenda Radio – 7.04.16

This is Black Agenda Radio, the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. Your hosts are Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, here they are with a weekly hour of African American political thought and action.

– In two three weeks, Philadelphia will host the Democratic National Convention and thousands of protesters who would like to shut the whole thing down. We spoke with Erica Mimes, of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice, part of the People of Color DNC Resistance Against Police Terrorism and State Repression. They’ve teamed up with “Shut Down DNC” for a march at the height of the convention, on Tuesday, July 26th. But Philadelphia officials have not yet granted them a parade permit. Mimes doesn’t expect fairness of the city.

– MONEY makes the world of the Democrats and the Republicans go round, according to Dr. Thomas Ferguson, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, at Boston. Dr. Ferguson is author of the book, “The Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money Driven Politics.” He says says this election season has been quite unusual, on both sides of the two-party system. Bernie Sanders mounted a challenge to the Democratic establishment with mostly small campaign contributions, and Donald Trump used his personal fortune to raise issues that Republicans hardly ever talk about. Does that mean Donald Trump marches to a different drummer?

– Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, is among the speakers who will address a mass meeting on “The Politics of Incarceration in Palestine and the United States,” on July 15th, at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Educational Center, in New York City. Nyle Forte, a young minister and Phad candidate from Newark, New Jersey, is also a speaker, along with others who recently traveled to Palestine. We asked Nyle Forte what Israeli treatment of Palestinians has to do with mass Black incarceration in the United States.

– On the 4th of July in the year 1852, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “There is not a nation on earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour.” We spoke with Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist, and asked her if Frederick Douglass’s assessment sounds familiar, in the present day.

– Holidays like the 4th of July don’t mean much to the 2.2 million people locked up in this country’s prisons. Political prison Yan Lahman has for months been denied direct communication with the outside world. His commentary, for Prison Radio, is titled “Prisoners’ Voices Blocked and Censorship of U.S. Prisons.” It’s read by Lynn Stewar, the people’s lawyer who has also been a political prisoner, herself.

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Black Agenda Radio – 05.30.16

Welcome to Black Agenda Radio, 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 and this is a weekly hour of African American political thought and action.

– Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein took her cause to the annual Left Forum conference, in New York City. Stein and her party still have to contend with Democrats who claim third parties are spoilers that only help the Republicans.

– Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford appeared on the same panel with Dr. Stein. The event was titled “Can Bernie Sanders Build Left and Black Power?” Ford said Sanders is a Franklin Roosevelt New Deal-type politician who thinks the bankers are necessary to society. So, Sanders doesn’t really want to hurt the bankers too much. Most importantly, said Ford, Sanders is a Democrat.

– Charter school companies are now operating so-called “virtual schools” that have no classrooms or buildings, but only exist on the Internet. However, the charter operators are paid public money for each student, just like conventional public schools. David Cohen is executive director of the advocacy group, In The Public Interest. He says an outfit called California Virtual Academies graduates less than half of its students, and is accused of inflating its online attendance to collect thousands of dollars from the state. According to the San Jose Mercury newspaper, the Virtual Academies count students as “present” if they log on for as little as one minute during the school day. David Cohen says the online charter is run by a for-profit company called K-12 Inc.

– Most people think that the developing world is short of money, and that cash flows from the rich countries of Western Europe and the United States. But the opposite is true. According to James Henry, an expert on global banking, the rich countries are extracting fantastic amounts of cash from the developing world, including from Russia and China. Henry says the flow of money to the rich countries amounts to about $12 trillion a year.

Be sure to visit us at BlackAgendaReport.com, where you’ll find a new and provocative issue, each Wednesday. It’s the place for news, commentary and analysis, from the Black Left.

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Black Agenda Radio – 05.16.16

Welcome to the radio magazine, that gives you a weekly hour of African American political thought and action, news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with your host Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– Dilma Rousseff, of the Brazilian Workers Party, was removed from her office as president, last week, and put on trial by the nation’s Senate on charges of manipulating the budget. Rousseff is not accused of any acts of personal corruption, but about 60 percent of the Senators that will be judging her DO face corruption charges. Rousseffs Worker’s Party says the impeachment proceedings amount to a “soft coup,” and they will fight it out in streets. Dr. Gerald Horne is a prolific author and professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. He says the right-wing move against Rousseff must be understood in a global context.

– Socialist Alternative Party leader Kshama Sawant is circulating a petition asking Bernie Sanders to run as an independent if his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is unsuccessful. Sawant says Sanders should either run on the Green Party ticket or pave the way for a new party of the 99 percent. The Green Party will choose its presidential candidate in August, and the nominee is expected to be Dr. Jill Stein. We asked Dr. Stein, Aren’t the Greens already a Party of the 99%?

– A statewide work stoppage by inmates at Alabama prisons seems to be winding down. The protest was organized by inmates of the Free Alabama Movement. Pastor Kenneth Glascow has been negotiating on behalf of the prisoners. Glascow has himself served a term in prison. He now head a prison reform group called TOPS, which stands for “The Ordinary People Society.” Glascow is the half-brother of Rev. Al Sharpton. Pastor Glascow talked to us about the prisoners’ grievances.

– Inside the prison walls, the work stoppage was organized by inmate activists like Bennu Hannibal, a leader of the Free Alabama Movement. Hannibal spoke to Prison Radio, from the St. Clair Correctional Facility.

Be sure to visit us at BlackAgendaReport.com, where you’ll find a new and provocative issue, each Wednesday.

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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.

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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.

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Black Agenda Radio – 02.22.16

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.

– Dr. Gerald Horne, the prolific author and professor of political science at the University of Houston, has another book out. It’s titled, “Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary.” Paul Robeson was an NFL-class athlete, spoke 12 languages, a movie star who was one of the biggest draws in the American musical theater, and was probably the best-known American in the world at the height of his popularity, in the early 1940s. Yet, no more than 20 years later, the crusading artist and social activists’ name had been all but erased from public discourse in the United States. How could that happen? We asked Dr. Horne.

– An analysis of employment statistics shows the Black jobless rate in Virginia, the state with the lowest Black unemployment rate in the nation, is the same as the white jobless rate in West Virginia, the state with the highest white unemployment rate, at 6.7 percent. What does this tell us about the so-called economic recovery? We spoke with Dr. Valerie Wilson, of the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute.

– Turkey is threatening to invade neighboring Syria, creating a direct confrontation with Russian military forces. Political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of StopImperialism.com, appeared recently on Russia Today’s “Cross Talk” program. Draitser says Turkish President Erdogan is playing with fire.

– Hillary Clinton is one step closer to becoming Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, with her victory in Nevada. That’s a scary thought, as far as Dr. Stephen Zunes, is concerned. Zunes is Professor of Politics and International Studies, at San Francisco University. He says Hillary Clinton stoked the flames of war while Secretary of State.

– Ticket sales are soaring for Beyonce’s world tour. The Superstar seems to have profited from the controversy over her Black Panther-flavored performance at the Superbowl. Black Agenda Report editor Ajama Baraka, a co-founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network, says there’s nothing oppositional, much less revolutionary, about Beyonce’s “Formation” album. He also maintains that neither Bernie Sanders nor Ta-Nehisi Coates represents a challenge to the U.S. imperial order.

– Public television last week showed the acclaimed Stanley Nelson film, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” which previously had been playing in selected theaters. Former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver was honored at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, in Detroit. Cleaver recounted how she became involved with the Black Panther Party.

– The nation’s best-known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, is also a renowned author. Abu Jamal gives a boost to a former political prisoner’s latest book.

– Khalil Bennet is also imprisoned in Pennsylvania. Bennet is what inmates call “a child-lifer” – a person given a life sentence for a crime committed while he was a juvenile. The Supreme Court recently ruled that such sentences are cruel and unusual, setting the stage for the release of thousands of prisoners. Khalil Bennet says, when these former child-lifers are let loose, they can become the cadre of a new movement.

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Black Agenda Radio – 07.13.15

Austerity Rendering Detroit Unfit for Habitation

A serious fire raged out control due to chronic low water pressure in Detroit, despite the majority Black city’s location in one of the world’s major fresh water regions. “The whole process of so-called rebuilding of Detroit has not been clearly thought out,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, veteran activist and editor of the Pan African News Wire. “How can you rebuild a city when you don’t have fundamental infrastructure, such as fire services, public safety, education, emergency services, simple things like being able to go to a supermarket?” The economic elite are “doing everything possible to drive out the African American population,” he said, but poor infrastructure discourages white resettlement. “What you have is the anarchy of capitalism.”

Big Business Tries to Roll Back Socialist Alternative in Seattle

Corporate contributions are pouring into Seattle Urban League chief Pamela Banks’ campaign to unseat Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative councilwoman who championed the city’s $15 an hour minimum wage law. “It’s not so much about my opponent’s qualities,” said Sawant, “It’s because corporations, billionaires, the people who have an incentive to uphold the status quo, recognize that if we win re-election this year, then it really confirms to working people in Seattle and everywhere that we can prevail against the full might of big business and the political establishment.”

Mumia: “Flags and Rags”

The heritage of the Confederate battle flag is “one of terror and violence in support of a system of organized theft of Black labor, in the name of white supremacy and Black subjugation,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “Dylan ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Roof knew, instinctively, what the flag stood for.”

Justices OK Painful Death Drug

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term by allowing states to continue lethal injections with a cocktail that can cause horrific pain for condemned persons. “Prisoners remain less than human” in the High Court’s eyes, said Kenneth A. Hartman, a writer and prison activist serving life in California. “How else can a decision that allows for deliberate torture be explained?”

Fear of Blacks Triggered 1776 War of Independence

White settlers turned against the their mother country partly in fear that the British Crown would put guns in the hands of Blacks, according to Dr. Gerald Horne, chairman of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston and author of more than 30 books, including The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. In 1775, the British colonial governor of Virginia established an “Ethiopian Regiment” to counter rebellious white settlers. “One of the factors that caused formerly patriotic British subjects to revolt against British rule was this ‘Black scare’ that, I argue, led to the formation of the United States of America,” said Dr. Horne, in a lecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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Black Agenda Radio – 04.20.15

The Empire of “Humanitarian” Foreign Wars and World’s Largest Gulag President Obama’s signature foreign policy of “humanitarian” military intervention is “imperialism,” pure and simple, said Margaret Kimberley, a spokesperson for United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC). Obama “can use the ‘humanitarian’ commitment to wreak havoc all over the world – perhaps more than any conservative Republican,” said Kimberley, a BAR editor …