Archive for February 2016

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective with host Glen Ford and his co-host, Nellie Bailey.

– There is turmoil this presidential primacy season, in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Dubois Scholar and veteran activist who helped put together a national conference on the Black Radical Tradition, this January, in Philadelphia, says the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump campaigns reveal a crisis in the duopoly political system.

- Students, teachers, parents and community members in Detroit are gearing up for a city-wide strike to defend the public schools, which have been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy after 17 years of management by the state. Among the leaders of the protests is Steven Conn, the elected president of the Detroit teachers’ union, who was deprived of his seat by the union’s national leadership. Conn says Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency financial managers are hell-bent on destroying public education. Their current plan is to divide the Detroit school system in two.

- A new study shows that Teach for America, or TFA, which has been a leading force in the charterization of the nation’s public schools, enjoys a special relationship with school systems in Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and New York. The lead researcher for the study is Jameson Brewer. He says Teach for America collects finders fees to provide school systems with novice teachers, and protects them against lay-offs, while traditional teachers are pushed out of the profession.

- The Alliance for a Just Society has released a new report titled “Jobs After Jail.” The problem is, there AREN’T many employment opportunities for ex-offenders, partly because former prison inmates are prohibited by law from working at literally hundreds of jobs. Allyson Fredericksen was one of the authors of the report.

- As a lifelong activist, and a veteran journalist and educator, Dr. Charles Simmons takes the long view. Simmons spoke last week to a meeting on Black Men in Unions, at the Institute for Labor and Community Studies, in Detroit.

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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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Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

- Michigan Governor Rick Synder has agreed to testify before a House committee investigating the poisoning of Flint, Michigan. The committee will also hear from Flint’s former emergency financial manager; the regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and, Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA. We spoke with Black Agenda Report editor Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, who blew the whistle on the EPA’s complicity in the poisoning of South African vanadium miners. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo said Michigan’s Governor and the rest of the officials should be asked the “Watergate question.”

- The assault against the people of Flint began with a crime against democracy, when Michigan’s governor appointed emergency financial managers to run all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising half of Michigan’s African American population. In Newark, New Jersey, the People’s Organization for Progress, POP, demonstrated in solidarity with the people of Flint. POP chairman Larry Hamm says the people of Flint need their clean water and their democratic rights restored.

- In May of this year, Janine, Debbie and Janet Africa will once again be eligible for parole, after serving 37 years in prison for allegedly killing a Philadelphia policeman. The three women are part of the Move 9. The other Move members face even more time in prison. The draconian sentences stem, not from the 1985 bombing of the Move house by Philadelphia police, but a 1978 confrontation in which a cop was fatally shot. Move spokesperson Ramona Africa recounts the events.

- Alicia Garza, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network, has joined forces with advocates for Black women’s reproductive rights. Garza held a joint press conference with La’Tasha Mayes, founder of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, and Monica Simpson, director of the Trust Black Women Partnership. They denounced anti-abortionist forces for trying to co-op the language of the Black movement. Alicia Garza spoke first, followed by Ms. Mayes and Ms. Simpson.

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Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

- DeRay McKesson, the Twitter communicator who was a charter school supporter in Minneapolis before he joined the movement for justice, in Ferguson, Missouri, is running for mayor of Baltimore, as a Democrat. McKesson’s Campaign Zero organization met twice with Hillary Clinton, and he has developed a close relationship with the national Democratic Party. Black Maryland state lawmaker Jill Scott, who once ran for mayor herself and is considered the most radical politician in Baltimore, calls DeRay McKesson’s campaign “ridiculous,” and explains why she’s not going to run for City Hall, this year.

- Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer who served 28 months in federal prison for the crime of zealously defending her client, and her husband Ralph Poynter, the veteran human rights activist and educator, want to make sure that the incipient new movement for justice keep up the fight to free all political prisoners. We spoke with the couple, in Brooklyn, New York.

- A congressional committee has been holding hearings on the catastrophe in Flint, Michigan, the majority Black city whose water was poisoned under the control of an appointed emergency financial manager. Dr. Cynthia McKinney, the former six term congresswoman from Georgia and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate, was active in congressional hearings on the Katrina disaster back in 2005. McKinney is now in Bengladesh, teaching a course in political science and leadership, the discipline in which she earned her PhD. We asked Dr. McKinney if she thinks the current hearings will succeed in holding powerful people and government agencies accountable for what happened in Flint.

- Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, who became president of Haiti in an election racked with fraud and foreign interference in 2010, left office this past weekend, when his term expired. He’s being replaced by a transitional government appointed by the country’s Parliament, which came into office in elections in August that were also fraudulent, in the eyes of most Haitians. These were followed by presidential elections in October that were widely believed to be rigged, and the cancellation of a run-off election that had been scheduled for last month, due to massive protests. Jerome Franz is a Haitian community activist, now living in Miami. He says most Haitians still support the Fanmi Lavalas party of former president Jean Bertrand-Aristide, who was ousted in a U.S.-backed coup in 2004. We spoke to Jerome Franz shortly before the new interim Haiti government was announced.

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Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– The U.S. Supreme Court has given hope to thousands of prison inmates who were sentenced to life without possibility of parole for crimes committed when they were juveniles. The High Court ruled that such sentences are unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. One of those who might win release from prison is Kerry Shakaboona Marshall, a Pennsylvania inmate who was sentenced to life more than 25 years ago, at age 17. Marshall is a contributor to Prison Radio and editor of a magazine. He was interviewed by Prison radio’s Noelle Hanrahan.

Teams of experts from the United Nations held hearings last week on human rights violations against Black people in the United States. Testimony was heard in Jackson, Mississippi, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City. Efia Wangaza, a people’s lawyer and director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina, has been taking Black grievances to the United Nations for years. We asked Wangaza what the UN human rights officials wanted to talk about?

- A People’s Tribunal has convicted Michigan governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and two state appointed emergency financial managers, of crimes against humanity. The officials were charged with poisoning Flint’s water supply and cutting off water to tens of thousands of poor people in Detroit, among other crimes.

What you will hear is, a juror, Claire McClinton, rendering the guilty verdict; the judge, Rev. Bill Wylie Kellermann, whose church served as the courthouse, handing down the sentence against the official wrongdoers; and Monica Lewis-Patrick, a co-founder of We the People of Detroit, on how to follow up on the convictions. First, Ms. McClinton,

- Noted Black public intellectual Adolph Reed, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, is supporting Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination, and he is not too happy about writer Ta-Nehisi Coates recent criticism of Sanders for opposing Reparations for Black Americans. Dr. Reed recently appeared on Doug Henwood’s WBAI Radio program, in New York.

- Representatives of the various warring parties in Syria are gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, for what some people are wishfully calling “peace talks.” Black Agenda Report editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka doesn’t expect much to come out of the talks.

- Much of the population of Haiti is celebrating the cancellation of elections that were scheduled for last week. The previous attempt at presidential elections, in October, was so blatantly crooked, that no one but the U.S. backed regime believed the results, and the number two candidate refused to take part in a run-off. Negotiations are now taking place on who will make up a transition government until honest elections can be held. The last time there was an honest vote in Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide was elected president. However, Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas Party were overthrown by a U.S.-backed coup in 2004. Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee, says the people are determined to have a say in the next government in Haiti.

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