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    America: Young Black Men Have No Right to Life

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

    Over the past 50 years, Black America has gone from fists in the air to arms raised in surrender; from assertion of the right to self-defense, to pleas for sensitivity from militarized police occupiers. Black America has been turned into a vast Constitution-free zone.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/04/14

    The Chosen People – for Incarceration

    “They’ve created a permanent caste from which people cannot escape,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress (POP), referring to America’s system of mass Black incarceration. POP supports the New Jersey Decarceration Act, aimed at drastically reducing prison populations. Historically, police forces and prisons have expanded to contain Black people, socially and geographically. “What they’re worried about now is there’s a potential for us to build alliances with other groups that have been economically disenfranchised in the last few decades, and that there could be an even wider societal response to the suffering that’s going on in this country,” said Hamm.

    Challenge to Arbitrary Solitary Confinement

    Prison inmate Lester Alford has hauled New Jersey into court, charging prison officials with arbitrarily locking him in solitary under appalling conditions. “They only gave him one set of clothing for three years, and didn’t let him clean his cell for three years,” said Jean Ross, a lawyer who has advised many state prisoners. The state accused Alford, now middle-aged, of being a gang leader. “There is no excuse, no defense to the fact that they placed him under isolated confinement without any kind of due process of law, and under conditions that we would not keep animals in,” said Ross, who is also an organizer with the People’s Organization for Progress.

    Former Panther Blasts Huey Newton

    Wayne Pharr, a former captain in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, has just published a book titled Nine Lives of a Black Panther: A Story of Survival. “I don’t bash anybody but Huey Newton,” the Panther co-founder who, Pharr writes, set himself up as Supreme Commander and sent hit squads against members considered disloyal. “That’s what turned me off from the whole thing, because that spoke of ego and no humility,” said Pharr, who now makes his living in real estate. The FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO played a role in the party’s demise. “We knew were under surveillance with COINTELPRO,” said Pharr, “and COINTELPRO is still working, right now.”

    U.S. Complicit in Israeli Crimes

    “Not a minute of this war would be possible without complete and total U.S. funding, political support, and diplomatic support every step of the way,” said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center. But, “the world has not been silent” to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, nearly 2,000 of whom – overwhelmingly civilians – have died at Israeli hands. What the Israeli’s want, said Flounders, “is the silence of the grave; that’s their only plan.” A huge demonstration is set for this Saturday, August 9, at the United Nations building in New York, said Flounders, who is also an organizer with UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition.

    Mumia: Zionists Lust for Land

    America’s best known political prisoner says “Israel intentionally targets civilians, which is a war crime.” Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio, called Israel “a settler colonialists state which has no use for the indigenous people of Palestine, yet lusts for its land.” President Obama claims Israel “has the right to defend itself. But, one wonders: doesn’t Palestine have that right, as well?”

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    Freedom Rider: Who Prosecutes the Prosecutors?

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    There are many tens of thousands of prisoners unjustly serving sentences “twice as long as any of the Central Park Five victims.” Mass Black incarceration is inseparable from official and societal corruption. Cops and, especially, prosecutors “are never charged when they suborn perjury, falsify evidence, threaten witnesses and use the power of the state in a myriad of ways to prevent mostly poor, black people from getting justice.

     

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/30/14

     

    Detroit Financial Dictator Uses Water as Weapon

    The water cut-offs that could soon affect 30,000 Detroit households are “an effort on the part of the Emergency Financial Manager to intimidate people, to drive even more people out of the city – but, moreover, it is aimed at privatizing and breaking up the Detroit Water and Sewage Department,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer for the Moratorium Now Coalition and editor of the Pan African News Wire. A United Nations panel of experts called the shut-offs “an affront to human rights.”

    Empower the Urban Renting Majority

    A new report on housing calls for a change in government policies that favor homeowners over renters. Titled “Renter Nation: Solutions to the Housing Affordability Crisis,” the report outlines “models of cooperative housing that allow for people to build wealth and also maintain an investment in the community they live in, and to maintain the housing that they live in as affordable for the people who come after them,” said Rachel LeForest, executive director of the Right to the City Alliance.

    Socialist Takes on Washington State Speaker of House

    “What’s lacking in state houses across the country are unambiguous fighters for working people and others who are disenfranchised,” said Jess Spear, the Socialist Alternative candidate for Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp’s seat. In 2012, Chopp won 70 percent of the vote against Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant, who went on to win a seat on the Seattle City Council and passage of a $15 an hour municipal minimum wage. Spear said Chopp has failed to move a $12 an hour state minimum wage out of committee. “It really exposes him and the rest of the Democratic Party as just grandstanding and paying lip service to what working people need and deserve,” she said.

    Mass Conspiracy Charges in Harlem

    Residents of two Harlem housing projects remain outraged over a 400-officer police raid that resulted in attempted murder, weapons and conspiracy charges against more than 100 young people. “They’re charging everybody with the crimes of a couple of people. It’s like you’re guilty by association,” said Angela Dunmore, at a press conference called by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. New York City authorities “feel threatened by two or more Black men together – and that is not fair.”

    H. Rap Brown/Jamil al-Amin Seriously Ill in Super-Max

    The former chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and revolutionary icon formerly known as H. Rap Brown, is seriously ill with a gum infection that has spread through his body. Jamil al-Amin’s “outspoken defense of self-defense earned him the eternal enmity of the government,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. Al-Amin is serving a life sentence at the federal super-max prison in Florence, Colorado, in the shooting of two Atlanta policemen.

    Why “Freedom Summer” Activists Chose Voter Registration over Direct Action

    Fifty years ago, organizers with SNCC and other civil rights organizations brought 1,000 mostly white students to Mississippi to assist in registering Black voters. On The Real News Network, former SNCC field director Bob Moses told host Paul Jay that activists considered mounting a direct action civil disobedience campaign instead of voter registration. “They were faced with whether they wanted to do the Nelson Mandela,” said Moses. “If they were going to do direct action, then they’ve got to stay in jail for a long time.”

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    The Obamas’ Race to the Bottom

    by Sikivu Hutchinson

    Michelle Obama’s recent speech on the anniversary of the Brown decision gave every indication that she understands structural racism and injustice in education. However, her husband’s Race to the Top program has “opened the floodgates to privatization, dumbed-down curricula, and a permanent regime of high stakes testing which undermines teacher creativity and guts teachers’ unions.”

    Black Like Me: Black Immigration Conference in Miami

    by Pascal Robert

    Photos by Kevin Banatte[Dream Defenders Communications

    Relentless forces, internal and external, seek to pit Black Americans and immigrants against one another. However, many immigrants are Black and subject to the same mass incarceration policies as African Americans. “Immigration is a racial justice issue that needs a progressive African American voice,” according to a just-concluded conference in Miami.

    Jail the Bankers? Obama Has Been Their Staunchest Defender

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    In the second half of his second term, Obama and his crew seek to rewrite the history of his administration. Attorney General Eric Holder now declares that no bank is too big to jail. But the reality is, Wall Street’s “impunity is infinite. Holder and Obama work for them.”

    Examining the Existence of Fascism in the United States

    by Danny Haiphong

    Is the U.S. a fascist society? It’s a classic fit – a country where “the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible,” militarism is the highest value, and demonization of the Other is the organizing principle of the ruling circles and state.

    Lynch Law: The Root of US imperialism

    by Danny Haiphong

    Domestic U.S. lynch has morphed into imperialist terrorism. “Washington uses a nexus of intelligence and military institutions to lynch the world's people of their lives and resources.”

    Decriminalizing Small Quantities of Marijuana

    by Seema Sadanandan

    In the nation’s capital, police are now forbidden to cite the smell of marijuana has the basis for a search. “It is the first decriminalization bill in the country to prohibit police from stopping, questioning, and searching people based on the alleged smell of marijuana alone.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/31/14

    Black Preachers Say Marissa Alexander Should Cop a Plea

    Calling her case a “distraction,” a group of Black ministers in Jacksonville, Florida, are urging Marissa Alexander, who has already served three years in prison for firing a gun to deter her abusive husband, to plead guilty. Prosecutor Angela Corey is threatening to put Alexander away for 60 years. Opio Sokoni, president of the local Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said Corey and the ministers make “strange bedfellows.” “Some of these pastors are the same ones that said, not too many weeks ago, that Black people should received the death penalty in greater numbers,” said Sokoni.

    Moral Mondays Move to Georgia and South Carolina

    Nearly 40 people were arrested in demonstrations demanding that southern states expand Medicaid to cover more poor people, in line with Obamacare. Moral Mondays protests, which began in North Carolina, have taken root in Georgia and South Carolina. Author and activist Kevin Alexander Gray said “the poorest of the poor” are hard to organize. “That group doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to come to a protest,” he said. “They’re not thinking about a protest, they’re thinking about survival.”

    Oil and Environmental Racism in Albany, NY

    Huge numbers of railroad oil tanker cars are parked only feet from a poor housing project in Albany, New York, prompting fears of an explosion like the one that claimed dozens of lives in Quebec, Canada, last year. “Since the expansion of fracking in North Dakota” and elsewhere, “ports have received a lot more oil,” said Vivian Kornegay, an Albany councilwoman. “We’re talking about an environmental injustice against low income people living in a housing project,” said Kornegay. “That community hasn’t been given a voice or any consideration” in the shale oil fracking boom.

    Temple University Firings Bode Ill for Black Studies

    “Temple is a pivotal institution for African American Studies, and what’s happening there may be a bellwether” for other campuses, said Dr. James Turner, founding director of the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. The recent firings of professors Anthony Monteiro and Muhammad Ahmed (also known as Max Stanford) provoked intense opposition in North Philadelphia’s Black community, which also blames the university for encouraging gentrification.

    Obama, Deporter-in-Chief

    President Obama “must be made accountable” for deporting more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history, said Jesus Iniguez, of Presente, a Latino organization that claims 300,000 members. Obama doesn’t have much time left to save his legacy, said Iniguez. “The only thing that has evolved these past six years has been more intrusive and toxic laws” targeting immigrant communities.

    Afro-Colombians Displaced

    “The main demand of Afro-Colombians is land,” said Charo Mina-Rojas, director of the Afro-Colombian Women’s Human Rights Defender Project. “We have been living for centuries on this ancestral land” but are often forced out by paramilitaries and government soldiers in service of multinational corporations, she said. Colombia has the largest population of internally displaced persons in the world, most of them Black.

    Mumia on the Mother of All Death Sentences

    In a report filed for Prison Radio from Frackville State Prison, in Pennsylvania, political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal noted the 528 bulk death sentences imposed by an Egyptian court against members of the Muslim Brotherhood, “a group that has existed longer than Egypt’s government has been independent. It seems to me the war aint’ over,” said Abu Jamal.

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    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/12/14

    U.S. Senate “Hypocrisy” Defeated Adegbile Nomination

    The U.S. Senate rejected President Obama’s nomination of NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyer Debo Adegbile to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, based on the LDF’s involvement in the defense of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. “This clear sends a chilling message in terms of who can be represented” by competent counsel in this country, said Linn Washington, a veteran Philadelphia reporter, Temple University journalism professor, and editor of the influential web site ThisCantBeHappening.net. Washington said some corporate journalists are envious of Abu Jamal, because he “knows more about what’s going on in the world than 95 percent of the journalists out there – and he doesn’t even have access to the Internet.”

    In Life or Death, You Can’t Trust Mississippi

    When the state coroner of Mississippi refused to do an autopsy on the body of Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who died February 25, the family sought and found funds for an independent examination. The state’s action was not unusual, said Akinyele Umoja, a close Lumumba family confidant and chair of African American Studies at Georgia State University, because Black “lives are not considered that valuable” in Mississippi. Even if the state were willing to perform the autopsy, “there would still be questions, because it’s a matter of how much we trust them,” said Prof. Umoja. Some Black Mississippians believe Lumumba was assassinated.

    Lynne Stewart Shut Out of Medical Care

    A “bureaucratic morass” has prevented people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart from gaining access to Medicare or Medicaid since she left federal prison on compassionate release, December 31. Her husband and comrade, Ralph Poynter, said “we have been doing all the homeopathic things we can to beat this” Stage 4 breast cancer. However, Stewart has been told she can’t sign up for federal medical programs until July. “Welcome to America,” said Poynter.

    Black Youth More Valuable in Prison

    U.S. rulers “don’t want to supply jobs and education to inner city youth,” said Bonnie Kerness, of the American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch Project. “That 15 year-old in Newark is worth nothing on the streets to the United States economy.” However, “you put him behind bars and that kid is generating $30,000 a year” in contracts and wages for the prison industrial complex, said Kerness, author of the recent article, “Race and the Politics of Isolation in U.S. Prisons.”

    Bayside is Worst Prison in New Jersey

    Jean Ross, a lawyer and activist with the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress, said some of her clients would rather be put in solitary confinement than be transferred to Bayside State Prison, in the southern part of the state. “The explicitness of racial epithets and the expression of racial hatred seems to be much more pervasive” at Bayside, where vicious beatings are routine, said Ross.

    U.S. Proposed Another Coup in Haiti in 2010

    The United States backed the 2004 coup that overthrew Jean Bertrand-Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti, and then forced him into exile in Africa. Six years later, in 2010, the U.S. attempted to depose Haitian president Rene Preval, and force him out of the country, said Dan Beeton, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington. “Preval made clear he wasn’t going to be thrown out,” said Beeton, “but it was really diplomats from Brazil and Argentina who stopped this coup from happening.”

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    How Barack Obama Killed Trayvon Martin

    Tyrone R. Simpson II

    By bowing to police power, President Obama guaranteed that official carnage against Black people would continue. If he had “commented on any of the unjust ritualized murders that took the lives of Sean Bell (New York), Oscar Grant (Oakland), Kenneth Chamberlain (New York) or Troy Davis (Georgia), he would have brought the open season on black and brown men and women to a long awaited close.”

    Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/3/14

    “Jackson Rising” Conference Still Scheduled, Despite Mayor Lumumba’s Death

    Mayor Chokwe Lumumba’s “Jackson Rising” conference on how to move towards self-determination and participatory democracy “is still on” for May 2-4, according to Kali Akuno, a close aide to Lumumba. “We need the support of progressive and radical and revolutionary people throughout the United States to support us in fulfilling this mission,” said Akuno, who is also a veteran organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, co-founded by Lumumba in 1993. “If you really believe in the ‘Jackson-Kush Plan,’ then you have to understand it is going to take more than one individual to facilitate that.” Mayor Lumumba’s funeral is this Saturday.

    Texas Sheriff Widely Suspected in Mutilation Death of Black Man

    Sabine County authorities concluded that foul play was not a factor in the death, last November, of 28 year-old Alfred Wright, whose body was found with his eyes gouged out, his tongue severed from his mouth, teeth knocked out, and part of an ear missing. Attention has since focused on Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox and state police officers. “When you start looking at consistent lies and cover-up, not only by the sheriff’s department but by the Texas Rangers – we should all be concerned about that,” said Jeffrey L. Boney, associate editor of the Houston Forward Times, which has closely followed the case. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Wright’s death.

    Political Motives Behind Anthony Monteiro Termination

    Community and campus activists in Philadelphia are pressing for reversal of Temple University’s effective firing of Dr. Anthony Monteiro, who served for ten years as an associate professor in the African American Studies Department. “As this country moves steadily to the right, the perception is that progressive forces on campuses need to be routed,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston. “To the extent that we don’t speak up for Tony Monteiro, professors like myself are only jeopardizing our own existence,” said Horne. The chair of African American Studies at Temple, Dr. Molefi Asante, was complicit in Dr. Monteiro’s termination.

    U.S. to be Confronted at UN on Torture by Solitary Confinement

    The United States will have to answer to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, next week, on its policies of mass solitary confinement of prisoners. Efia Wangaza, a member of the U.S. Human Rights Network’s delegation to Geneva, says the U.S. is not in compliance with three international treaties, including covenants against torture. This is “a follow-up to our previous work, in which we were able to challenge the United States on the existence of political prisoners,” said Wangaza, head of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, in Greenville, South Carolina. She asks that listeners help pay the cost of the delegation’s on-site work in Geneva, by going to www.wmxp955.com.

    Confederate Flags in Kiev

    Washington is engaged in a global campaign of “subversion and destabilization at every level,” said Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, in New York. The U.S. has long bankrolled protests by rightists in Venezuela, and brags of contributing $5 billion to “democracy” in Ukraine – “that’s really money for subversion,” said Flounders. “These are storm troopers” who “not only hung swastikas but also Confederate flags” in Kiev, where the U.S. is “pushing an extreme neo-Nazi, right-wing agenda.”

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    People's Benchmarks, People's Sovereignty: New Jersey’s Occupied School Districts

    by Michelle Renee Matisons and Seth Sandronsky

    New Jersey pioneered the practice of abolishing democracy in education through state takeovers of mostly minority school districts. “Not only was New Jersey the first U.S. state to implement school district takeover, it has some of the longest occupied districts in the nation.”  

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