Archive for October 2015

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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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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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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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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