Archive for September 2015
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.