Archive for November 2015

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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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.

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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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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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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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