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Black Panther Party

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/20/14

IFCO Tax Exemption Imperiled

The IRS is threatening to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, IFCO, the venerable anti-poverty and human rights group. The government is investigating IFCO’s aid to Palestinians in Gaza and its assistance to U.S. students that want to avail themselves of medical scholarships in Cuba. The web site of the pro-Israel Investigative Project on Terrorism accuses IFCO of links to Hamas. “To have the IRS utilize a blog to come after a 47-year old, faith-based, non-profit organization run by people of color since its inception, is an outrage and an insult,” said IFCO co-director Gail Walker.

Health Disparities Rooted in Racist Legacy

Racial income and wealth gaps lead to racial health disparities, said Brian Miller, executive director of United for a Fair Economy, UFE. “Vast economic disparities are still with us, and these disparities, coupled with racial segregation, create a toxic soup that is brewing up health problems and shortening people’s lives,” said Biller, at a press conference to debut UFE’s 2014 State of the Dream Report, “Healthcare for Whom? Enduring Racial Disparities.”

War on Poverty was Great Success

The War on Poverty accomplished many of its goals, according to Annelise Orleck, professor of history at Dartmouth University and co-editor of The War on Poverty: A Grassroots History, 1964 – 1980. President Lyndon Johnson’s community action programs made enemies. “It shook things up when poor people demanded representation in school boards and housing boards and welfare boards,” said Orleck. The War on Poverty was attacked “not because it failed, but because it succeeded.”

White Racism Undermined Anti-Poverty Effort

“White backlash” scuttled some War on Poverty programs, including job training for minorities in the skilled trades. White workers whose union hiring halls had “for decades hired their sons, their nephews” became Reagan Democrats, said Jill Quadango, professor of sociology at Florida State University and author of The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty. White union members saw minority trainees as “a direct threat to their prerogative to choose who was hired.”

Mumia on COINTELPRO

A new book reveals the identities of three people who broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and made off with files on the bureau’s COINTELPRO campaign against Blacks and the Left. Mumia Abu Jamal, America’s best-known political prisoner, recalled learning of the revelations, shortly after he left the Black Panther Party. “To read about people who you’ve known for years, who were FBI informants, was absolutely mindblowing,” Abu Jamal told Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild and host of WBAI Radio’s Law and Disorder program.

Socialism Needed – Quickly

Capitalism “is utterly irrational, it’s out of control, and unless we democratically organize and plan this economy, they’re going to kill us, literally, through climate change,” said Michael Steven Smith, co-editor of Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA. The new book contains 31 essays by a wide range of Left activists and writers.

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Freedom Rider: The Burglary and COINTELPRO

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Forty three years ago, a group of brave activists clandestinely liberated documents from an FBI office that proved the existence of COINTELPRO, the government program to destroy the Freedom Movement. A new book recounts how most of the media refused to touch the story. Today, the chill is even deeper.

A Moral Outrage: Albert Woodfox's 41 Years in Solitary Confinement – An interview with Rev. Dr. Patricia Teel Bates

by Angola 3 News

One more to go. “Albert Woodfox remains the sole Angola 3 member still in prison.” His comrade, Herman Wallace, was released in October, just a few days before dying of liver cancer. Amnesty International declared, "Herman died a free man. Let's help Albert live as one."

From the Bullet to the Ballot: An Unfavorable Review of a Work on the Black Panther Party

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Historians are supposed to help us make sense of the world, by illuminating the forces and trends that shape the lives and destinies of ordinary people. But historians in the service of power do something else. Whether carelessly or carefully, they omit and distort to come up with histories that justify today's establishment as the inheritors of a noble tradition of struggle on the part of ordinary people. It's time for more people's histories of our movement, and of the historic Black Panther Party. Regrettably, this is not one of them.

The Radicalization of Ray Richardson: Suspicion Still Surrounds Death of Black Activist TV Producer

by Jeffrey B. Perry and Charles V. Richardson

In January, 1971, the young producer of Boston public television’s groundbreaking program Say Brother, was found dead in a Mexican resort, along with his fiancé. Ray Richardson was the grandson of Harlem radical Hubert Harrison. The cause was listed as drowning but, as in this year’s death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, in Mexico, questions still linger.

Obama’s Anti-Black Rant

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Obama’s twisted view of Black people and their history was on full display at the March on Washington anniversary. The president spewed slanders and lies, conjuring up welfare queens, crazed Black militants and his old stand-by, bad Black parents. “To put it bluntly, the First Black President gave a very good standup impression of a racist white man.”

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Freedom Rider: Sex Tapes and Butlers

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Racist propaganda comes in many forms, and from many sources. Russell Simmons and Lee Daniels are well-paid Black purveyors of the anti-Black propaganda arts. Daniel’s turns history and truth on its head in The Butler, while Russell Simmons depicts Harriet Tubman as a whore who turns tricks for freedom.

Radicalized = Weaponized = Kill at Will

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

These days, a radical label can get you killed. In National Security Speech, “it is clear that to ‘radicalize’ means very much the same as to ‘weaponize’; the radicalized person has been transformed into a weapon.” Under such assumptions, the secret police feel justified in using lethal force on purely political pretexts.

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Black Agenda Radio on PRN, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/13/13

Assata, JZ and Beyonce: The Connection

Domestic law enforcement is at odds” with President Obama because of his “new approach to Latin America and the war on drugs,” said Dhoruba bin Wahad, former Black Panther and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army. According to bin Wahad, who spent 19 years in prison on political charges, Obama is seeking to “calm the shift in power to the Left in Latin America” in his second term. “JZ going to Cuba, getting a visa, was not coincidental,” he said. The recent JZ-Beyonce “trip was about opening up Cuba” to U.S. tourism, “to disrupt and undo the Cuban revolution.” Exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur’s elevation to number one domestic terrorist on the FBI list “represents the disgruntlement of U.S. law enforcement” with this process.

The Betrayal of the Black Misleadership Class

The Black political class that emerged from the tumult of the Sixties became eager partners with corporate neoliberalism, said Jay Arena, author of Driven from New Orleans: How Non-Profits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization. The first generation of the post-Sixties Black political class “emerges just at the time when the national state begins their neoliberal austerity and privatization agenda – and they embraced that,” said Arena, a veteran activist and professor of sociology at the College of Staten Island, New York. Many Black politicians and non-profit organizations collaborated in the dismantling of public housing in New Orleans and cities across the nation.

Superpower Woes in Syria
“The United States, and any other imperialist nation on earth, has no right” to interfere with the internal affairs of Syria, said Jeff Mackler, national secretary of Socialist Action. Washington’s ambitions in Syria have been frustrated because “they don’t have any forces on the ground that they can trust to defend their interests.” The U.S. faced a similar situation in Iraq, and has no reliable allies on the ground in Afghanistan, either, said Mackler.

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Why Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz Must Be Released From Solitary Confinement: An interview with Theresa Shoatz and Matt Meyer

by Angola 3 News

Former Black Panther Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz has spent 28 of the last 30 years in “control units” – solitary confinement. “The remedy is an end to all control units, the present day prison system, and freedom for Maroon and all my extended family: the political prisoners who stood on the front lines for our freedom,” says his daughter.

A Tale of Two Political Prisoners – and You Can Help Both of Them

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Two heroic political prisoners need your urgent help. Albert Woodfox, of the Angola 3, has spent four decades in solitary confinement. Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer, is fighting cancer in a Texas prison cell. “Lynne’s family and legions of supporters are asking that she be given compassionate release from prison so that she can at least have a chance at survival.”

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Goodbye Black Studies!

by Cecil Brown

Black Studies is in deep trouble, on the internal and external racial fronts. “The test of whether a Black Studies department will survive depends on how many white teachers and students they have.” Meanwhile, the absence of an African American political movement has undermined Black Studies, which has “lost the self-respect and the respect for other blacks.”

“When Other Folks Give Up Theirs…” Black Freedom and the Gun Control Debate

Akinyele Umoja

Contrary to Congressman John Lewis’ revision of history, “the notion that the Civil Rights movement was exclusively nonviolent is a popular mythology.” In fact, “Some members of Lewis’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee picked up weapons and worked with community people to defend their lives against white terrorists.”

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