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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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Clearing The Fog – We’re In The Midst Of A Political Realignment – 06.28.16

Decades of lesser evil voting and the failed policies that have been the result are creating a political realignment in the United States. Such a realignment has been going on in other countries recently such as Spain, Venezuela, Greece and Iceland. The two major parties in the US, the Democrats and Republicans, are shrinking and more people are joining third parties or switching to be unaffiliated. We’ll discuss this political realignment and what it means with Darcy Richardson and Ashley Smith.

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Leid Stories – Mass Murder, Mass Media and Race Politics (Part 4) – 06.16.16

It took 15 hours of pleading by Senate Democrats yesterday before Republicans agreed to consider two gun-control measures that would add controls on licenses and background checks for people buying guns. Sen. Chris Murphy, the junior senator from Connecticut, noting that almost four years after the massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state, “we have done nothing, nothing at all to reduce the likelihood that that will happen again to another family.”

But it did, just three days before Murphy’s filibuster. Forty-nine people were killed, and 53 others wounded, in a mass shooting on June 12 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Omar Mateen, 29, the alleged lone gunman, mowed down his victims with a military-style assault rifle and a high-powered handgun, even though he had been, at one point, on two federal “watch” lists.

Leid Stories discusses the quandary that plagues gun-control legislative efforts in the United States.

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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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Leid Stories – Election 2016: What We Should Have Learned By Now – 05.18.16

As Election 2016 progresses toward various parties’ nominating conventions this summer, (for Republicans, July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio; for Democrats, July 25-28 in Philadelphia, Pa.; the Green Party, Aug. 4-7 in Houston, Texas; the Libertarian Party, May 27-30 in Orlando, Fla.), presidential hopefuls are in the final stretch of the primaries, looking to claim their spots as their parties’ standard bearers in the general election. The duopoly has outdone all other major parties in the still-ongoing battle of attrition. Donald Trump is the last person standing in the Republican field of 17; Hillary Clinton is being touted as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

By all indications, Election 2016 will be a watershed moment in U.S. electoral politics—though for reasons that should alarm even a casual observer. Leid Stories has been looking at this historical moment in terms of what politics and the political process have come to mean and be for the masses of people. We continue this discussion, focusing on what we are learning, or have learned, about our relationship to the political apparatus, and ways in which we can affect political outcomes through an increased consciousness and strategic use of power.

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Black Agenda Radio – 05.09.16

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.

– Thousands of teachers went on sick-out in Detroit, last Monday and Tuesday, shutting down the city’s public schools. The sick-out was led by Steve Conn, who was elected president of the local teachers union but deposed at the urging of the national American Federation of Teachers. Steve Conn and activists from the BAMN organization, By Any Means Necessary, have been holding teacher sick-outs since November, to protest Governor Rick Snyder’s efforts to privatize the public schools, which are already more than half charter.

– The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations plans events in a number of cities, to put together a National Black Political Agenda. The project came out of a Black Is Back Coalition national conference, in Harlem, last month. Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela, explains.

– In Seattle, Washington, city councilwoman Kshama Sawant, head of the Socialist Alternative Party, has launched a petition calling on Bernie Sanders to run as an Independent candidate for president, after he fails to win the Democratic presidential nomination, in Philadelphia, this summer. Sawant says the nation needs a third party, to represent the 99 percent. But, what about the Green Party, which is already on the ballot – or will be – in a majority of states in November?

– Paul Street is an historian, an activist and author, who wrote early on that Barack Obama was a corporate politician who, as president, would side with Wall Street and the Pentagon. Paul Street’s latest book is titled, “They Rule: The One Percent Versus Democracy.” Street says Hillary Clinton will pull the Democratic Party even further to the Right, packing it with Republicans who prefer her to Donald Trump.

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Leid Stories – Election 2016: So, What Does It All Mean? – 04.07.16

The frenzied fight over delegates continues as the 2016 presidential primaries reaches its apex this month. But Democrats and Republicans already are fixing their focus on their June conventions (Philadelphia for the Democrats; Cleveland for the Republicans), where epic battles are expected over the delegate-driven nomination process.

As we have been doing since the political season began, Leid Stories “polls” listeners on their current attitudes about the presidential race and what choices they are likely to make in the general election.

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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.