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Mumia abu Jamal

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 3/24/14

CIA Losing Friends in Congress

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s recent denunciation of CIA spying on her Intelligence Committee “suggests that criticism of the national security state has reached such a fever pitch that even its entrenched allies in Congress are starting to peel off,” said Shahid Buttar, of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Feinstein’s committee is considering whether to release a report on CIA torture and detention programs. “It’s up to us to force the institutional actors to grapple with these issues,” said Buttar.

Omnivorous Banks Seek to Devour Detroit

Activists are encouraging Detroiters to send a bankruptcy court their formal objections to state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr’s plans to restructure the city. Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman, pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and a key member of D-REM, Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, said the banks are Detroit’s ultimate nemesis. “They’re eating out the city from below, at the base,” through predatory home lending, and “extracting wealth from above, as well,” through derivatives deals that bury the municipality in debt,” he said.

Booker T. Obama’s Black Bourgeois Song

The My Brother’s Keeper initiative, President Obama’s project for young Black males, is mainly concerned with “Black behavior, about the need to make good choices, the need of teenagers not to have children, to stay in school,” said historian and activist Paul Street, author of the new book They Rule: The 1% vs. Democracy. “I don’t see any real call for significant resources to seriously tackle” the material conditions that afflict young Blacks, said Street. Obama’s approach resembles “the longstanding conservative Black bourgeoisie’s ‘politics of respectability’ that was trotted out to great white approval by Booker T. Washington and the early Urban League” at the start of the 20th century.

Book is “Hatchet Job” Against Carmichael/Ture

Dr. Peniel Joseph’s book on Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, leader of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, is “part of a continuing COINTELPRO and disinformation mission against Kwame Ture and our wing of the movement,” said Bob Brown, a close confident of the Black Freedom Movement activist. Brown said Joseph wrongly “condemns” Ture “for having left the country” to live in Guinea, West Africa, where he died in 1998 – although W.E.B. Dubois also left the U.S. for Ghana, where he died in 1963. Brown unsuccessfully tried to halt publication of Stokely: A Life, charging Joseph falsely claimed to have interviewed him for book.

Mumia: Hypocrisy on Venezuela

In a report for Prison Radio, political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal blasted congressional supporters of “rightwing and corporate-backed forces” that are “trying to stir up a popular revolt” against the socialist government of Venezuela. Abu Jamal notes that the U.S. Congress was largely silent when police, “corporate greed and the brutality of the One Percent” shut down the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the U.S.

Cuba’s Role in African Liberation

“For Fidel Castro, the struggle against apartheid was ‘the most beautiful cause of mankind,’” said Dr. Peiro Gleijeses, professor of U.S. foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. Cuba’s early intervention in Angola’s liberation struggle, in 1975-76, allowed South African and Namibian revolutionaries to open training camps in Angola, said Gleijeses, author of Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the Struggle for Southern Africa. He was interviewed for Your World News by host Solomon Comissiong.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 3/19/14

U.S. Guilty in Haiti Cholera Epidemic

The United States “is as responsible, if not more,” than the United Nations for the cholera outbreak in Haiti, since “it’s because of the military occupation that we have cholera,” said Dr. Jemima Pierre, professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. The U.S. backed a coup against the democratically elected government of Haiti, in 2004, and then invaded the country. “ Later, the U.S. brought in the UN “to cover this dirty work and make it legitimate,” said Dr. Pierre. UN “peacekeepers” were the vectors of the disease.

Crimea Deserves Self-Determination

Dr. John Quigley, professor of international law at Ohio State University with decades of experience in Russia and its neighbors, said Crimean “sentiment for separation” from Ukraine ”has been very strong for a very long time” and the referendum on secession was not taken “under the gun” of Russia. The U.S. and its allies claim all of Ukraine should have been allowed to vote. But, “the essence of self-determination is that a particular people” – such as the Crimeans – “has that right.”

U.S. Billions for Ukrainian Fascists, Cuts for Hungry American Children

Washington is offering $10 billion in loan guarantees to the partly-fascist government of Ukraine, while cutting $8 billion in food stamp benefits to Americans, said Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC). “That is literally stealing food from the mouths of children,” she said. UNAC held demonstrations in 18 cities last week, to protest U.S. support for the coup in Ukraine. “The encirclement of Russia – and China – is what it’s all about,” said Flounders.

Mumia: Police Still Spreading Anti-MOVE Propaganda

The Fraternal Order of Police has orchestrated a renewed campaign of hatred and disinformation against the MOVE organization in order to prevent imprisoned members from winning parole, said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best-known political prisoner. MOVE members convicted in the death of a policeman during a 1978 raid have served their minimum sentences and are up for parole, and many Black Philadelphians have never gotten over the 1985 police bombing of a MOVE house that killed 11 people, including five children. A recent Philadelphia Magazine article was “full of innuendo and suggestion that MOVE folks beat and attacked their children,” said Abu Jamal – a ploy designed to focus public anger on MOVE rather than the police who actually killed so many children.

Monteiro Supporters Blast Temple University and Molefi Asante

Hundreds of community, student and labor activists demanded reinstatement with tenure for Dr. Anthony Monteiro, an associate professor in the African American Studies Department. “I’m troubled by the fact that all of the people who understand what justice looks like are out here,” instead of in Sullivan Hall, where the university’s board of trustees was meeting, said Henry Nicholas, president of Local 1199C of the Hospital and Health Care Employees Union. Anti-hunger activist Sacaree Rhodes led a few dozen demonstrations into the building, where Temple’s president confirmed that Dr. Molefi Asante, chairman of African American Studies, had collaborated in terminating Monteiro’s contract. Dr. Monteiro told the crowd: “If you are telling me that you can have a department of African American studies without teaching the radical tradition, and the traditions of socialism,” then “you are telling me that you want a department built on a lie.”

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Reinistate Dr. Anthony Monteiro, and Reinvent U.S. Higher Education

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

It’s not so easy to fire an associate professor of African American Studies who has forged strong ties with the surround Black community. Philadelphia’s Temple University is finding that out, in the case of Dr. Tony Monteiro. Protesters converged on campus, this week, and their anger was directed as much at “Afro-centrist” Prof. Molefi Asante as at Teresa Soufas, the Dean of Liberal Arts who fired Monteiro.

 

Behind the Flash Mob Attack on Obama’s DOJ Attorney General Nominee Debo Adegbile

by Noelle Hanrahan and Stephen Vittoria

The U.S. Senate used hatred of Mumia Abu Jamal to defeat Debo Adegbile’s nomination as chief of civil rights at the U.S. Justice Department. “U.S. Senators and political pundits regurgitate blatant lies that seek to demonize Abu-Jamal because they face zero accountability regarding their use of the purported ‘facts.’” When it comes to Abu Jamal, they are free to lie at will.

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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Quit haunting me, Amiriman

by BAR poet-in-Residence Raymond Nat Turner

Put an APB out, forthwith, posthaste on

Dem Nuremberg Negroz, assets in alligator combat boots,

Armani flak jackets, suede suicide vests and Louis Vuitton

Saddlebags packed with C-4, impostors posing as peoples’ servants,

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 2/17/14

White Shooter Beats Murder Charge in Death of Black Florida Youth

A Jacksonville, Florida, jury deadlocked on murder charges against 47 year-old Michael Dunn, in the killing of 17 year-old Jordan Davis. The jury of ten whites and 2 Black women found Dunn guilty of the lesser charge of conspiracy to murder Davis and his three companions. “It was ill will, it was hatred, it was spite, it was an evil intent, it was indifference to human life,” said Aleta Alston-Toure, of the New Jim Crow Movement, who closely followed the trial.

Remember Trayvon

February 26 marks two years since George Zimmerman snuffed out the life of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida. Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, says activists in cities across the country will hold a “Day of Outrage and Remembrance.” “It’s been two years, but what was at issue in the murder of Trayvon Martin is still very much with us: Do Black youth have to go through their lives with a target on their backs?”

American Criminal Injustice System

A recent survey by the Emerson College Polling Society, of Boston, found that 69 percent of African Americans believe the U.S. criminal justice system is biased against minorities. Only 28 percent of whites feel that way, said Felix Chen, the poll’s chief analyst. “Clearly, people from different racial groups view justice and equality very differently” in the United States, said Chen.

Supporters Rally to Dr. Antony Monteiro

“This is nothing less than a retaliatory and revenge firing,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, whose contract as a professor of African American Studies was not renewed under the orders of Temple University dean of liberal arts Teresa Soufas. “It is her getting back at me for standing up to her bullying and pointing fingers at Black men; her authoritarian attempt to take over the African American Studies department; and my taking the struggle for the life and integrity of our department to the Black community, to whom we are ultimately accountable,” said Monteiro, at a press conference at the Philadelphia headquarters of the Hospital Workers Union.

Dr. Monteiro’s supporters took their turns at the mic. “Because you took advantage of his history, his skills and his vision for the African American Studies department, doesn’t mean that he’s going to be your ‘yes man,’” said State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, who represents North Philadelphia.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Cornel West, of Union Theological Seminary, described Dr. Monteiro as “one of our grand intellectual freedom fighters, who works in the tradition of W.E.B. Dubois and C.L.R. James. I’m in his corner 120 percent,” said Dr. West. “I’m so glad to see both his students, as well as the community, rise up and support Dr. Monteiro.”

Mumia: The South Won the Civil War

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, sent an audio lecture to Dr. Johanna Fernandez’s history class at Baruch College, in New York City. The subject was post-Civil War Reconstruction. “Because the U.S. government ceded the issue of state’s rights, or local power and control, for all intents and purposes the South won the war to treat Black people as slaves in everything but name,” said Mumia, in a Prison Radio-produced recording. “It would take a century to rebuild movements of the 1960s for voting rights, for so-called freedom. The South had won the war, politically, which they lost on the fields of Gettysburg.”

Cuba Shed Its Blood, Took Nothing from Africa

More than two thousand Cuban soldiers died defending Angola against the army of apartheid South Africa, said Cuba’s ambassador to the United Nations at a tribute to Nelson Mandela at New York City’s historic Riverside Church. Ambassador Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, who was himself wounded in the fighting, said: “We never took any natural resources. We never took any salary, because in no way were we to be perceived to be mercenaries or on any kind of military adventure.” The Cuban volunteers made their sacrifices in solidarity with Africa, “taking into account the important role that Cubans of African descent took in the establishment of the Cuban nation and the fight for our independence.”

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Reinstate Anthony Monteiro – Shun and Denounce the Betrayer, Molefi Asante

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Only months after community and student activists saved Temple University’s African American Studies department and Dr. Molefi Asante’s job, chairman Asante has collaborated in the firing of his colleague, Dr. Anthony Monteiro. “Dr. Asante may have earned the gratitude of his masters at Temple University, but his tenure as a person of respect in Black America, is over.” He is beneath contempt.

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12th Man

by Raymond Nat Turner

Where’s The 12th Man

All 137.6 decibels—

For Mumia and Maroon?

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 2/5/14

 

Resist Obama and His Black Corporate Brethren

President Obama’s “most unmemorable” State of the Union address shows “he represents corporate America and empire,” said Kevin Alexander Gray, the Columbia, South Carolina Black activist and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics. “We’ve got to challenge those folks who are operating for the interests of the corporations and not in the interests of the people, folks like [New Jersey Senator] Cory Booker, like [Atlanta Mayor] Kasim Reed – and like Barack Obama.”

President Stuck in Neoliberal Paradigm

“If you look at Obama’s speech, he is still stuck in a neoliberal economic paradigm that has been quite destructive for ordinary Americans,” said Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet and author of the article, “State of the Union: Obama’s Underwhelming Plan to Tackle Inequality.” Denizens of Wall Street are treated as “too big to jail,” said Parramore. “Seeing bankers walk off Scot-free when they’ve done things a thousand times worse than what most people sitting in America’s prisons have done, is damaging to the spirit of the country.”

Democratic Brand Sloganizing

“Democrats only take up the cause of the minimum wage when Republicans are in office, to reinforce their fake ‘brand’ as champions of the oppressed,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon. “When Democratic are in power, their attention drifts elsewhere,” said Dixon, noting that Obama did next to nothing to boost the minimum wage or pass union-favored “card check” legislation when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, during his first two years in office.

Mumia Astonished at Global Wealth Disparities

The nation’s best-known political prisoner seemed aghast at news that 85 people possess wealth equal to the assets of 3.5 billion people – half the world’s population. “Rome, infamous for its rich and corrupt senate, never saw such inequality as this,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, in a recent Prison Radio commentary. “Marx, for all of his acumen, never saw that coming.”

Only the Poor Drink the Water

West Virginia officials claim it’s now safe for the Charleston area’s 300,000 people to drink the local water, following a huge chemical spill early last month. But Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, said only folks with no other options are drinking the water. “The people in the know, the legislators, the lawyers, the doctors in Charleston, when you press them: Are you drinking the water, are you letting your family drink the water? – they say no.”

Diversity Doesn’t Come Naturally in U.S.

Robert Greenfield IV, a Black Student Union leader at the University of Michigan, said the administration is deliberately marginalizing students of color. Diversity is “something that doesn’t naturally occur in the United States,” said Greenfield. “Unfortunately, you do have to have an artificial hand to make sure that people from the marginalized societies have an equal opportunity with their white counterparts.”

Giving Clarence Thomas a Pass

Students of history should check out the new documentary Anita, the story of Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas at the 1991 Senate hearings on his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Dr. Donald Smith, professor emeritus of education at New York City’s Baruch College. “Unfortunately, many people did not support Anita Hill,” said Dr. Smith. “It’s still difficult to understand, to this day, why Clarence Thomas would have been supported by so many Black people, including Maya Angelou. A lot of Black people gave him a pass.”

27 Years in Prison Based on “Vision in a Dream” and Lost Evidence

Simple justice demands that Clarence Moses El, who has spent the last 27 years in a Colorado prison on a rape and assault conviction, deserves a new trial, said Larry Hale, of the People’s Power Assemblies. Denver police “lost” DNA evidence that might have acquitted Moses El, but a U.S. Supreme Court precedent holds that “destruction of evidence, in and of itself, does not constitute bad faith” on the part of law enforcement, said Hale. The only witness against Moses El, the victim, said she identified him after a vision in a dream, and another inmate has confessed to the crime. The People’s Power Assemblies are circulating a petition on Moses El’s behalf.

Black Bodies Keep Surfacing in Lake Michigan

“In the last four years we’ve had four Black bodies come floating up in Lake Michigan, and every time it ends up with” officials finding no evidence of “foul play,” said community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney, of mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan. Rev. Pinkney strongly suspects police involvement in the killings, and has called for mass demonstrations on March 1.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/29/14

A Black-Green Alliance in Libya?

Reports of intense fighting in southern Libya against the NATO-installed regime indicate that “Green” supporters of the former Gaddafi government could form an alliance with Black Libyans, who have been subjected to murderous ethnic cleansing, said political analyst Eric Draitser, of StopImperialism.com. “As these two forces begin to fight back against these racist and imperialist puppets that run the country, we’re beginning to see a form of mass resistance. What form that ends up taking still remains to be seen,” said Draitser.

NSA is Like J. Edgar Hoover on Steroids

The recent report of the federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which described the omnibus NSA spy program as unconstitutional, will make Congress “more responsive to the public outcry” against the Surveillance State, said Carl Messineo, legal director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. “Public opinion polls are clear that a majority of Americans recognize that there has been an unacceptable loss of civil liberties in the so-called pursuit of anti-terrorism,” said Messineo. “This is J. Edgar Hoover’s intelligence program on steroids.”

Sexual Abuse Rampant in U.S. Prisons

A Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows continued high rates of sexual misconduct against inmates in the nations federal, state and local prisons and jails. However, only a very small proportion of cases lead to prosecutions of prison staff, said Chris Daley, deputy executive director of Just Detention International, a watchdog group. Most sexual abuse victims get no medical care, despite the fact that “the vast majority of facilities have medical folks on staff who, within about a 12-hour period, could easily provide both emergency care and collect evidence needed for prosecution” – but that rarely happens in U.S. prisons, said Daley.

NYC Police Commissioner Bratton is “War Criminal of Our Communities”

A father recently took his two daughters to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to hear Angela Davis and watch a film on political prisoners. Instead, the place was packed with “establishment Democratic Party speakers backslapping each other about [Mayor Bill] de Blasio’s election,” including Bill Bratton, de Blasio’s new police commissioner and an architect of stop-and-frisk. “I was aghast that this type of forum” during MLK week “would give a voice to this war criminal of our communities,” said Greg Butterfield, of New Yorkers Against Bratton.

Bring Mumia Home Campaign

The Fraternal Order of Police is spearheading a drive against former NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyer Debo Adegbile’s nomination as head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The LDF helped overturn the death sentence against Mumia Abu Jamal, in the killing of a Philadelphia policeman in 1981. Dr. Johanna Fernandez, professor of history at Baruch College and a member of Mumia’s defense team, said the FOP “distorts race to delegitimize the claims of Mumia Abu Jamal and all people who have been wrongly incarcerated by the state.”

Anthony Monteiro spoke in support of the Bring Mumia Home Campaign. “At some point, white America has to confront itself and its own contradictions,” he said. “It is not Mumia that they fear; it is the truth that Mumia represents.” Temple University has refused to renew Dr. Monteiro’s contract as a professor of African American Studies – in retaliation, many believe, for his political activism.

Amiri Baraka Eulogized by His Son

“My father was – IS – a revolutionary,” said Ras Baraka, in his eulogy for famed poet/activist Amiri Baraka, who died at age 79 in Newark, New Jersey. City councilman Ras Baraka is running for mayor of Newark.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 1/13/14

The Friends and Foes of Amiri Baraka

Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, wants there to be no mistake: His friend and mentor Amiri Baraka, the activist/poet/public intellectual who died last week at age 79, “was a revolutionary. In the days ahead, until he’s buried, everybody is going to look back upon him with fond remembrances. But, for some of those people, if Amiri Baraka was coming down the street, they would cross to the other side.” Baraka’s funeral will be held on Saturday, in Newark.

War on Poverty was Underfunded and Restrained

From the very beginning of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, launched 50 years ago, “there was a push to keep the lid on new spending on anti-poverty programs – and that only got worse with the funneling of money to Vietnam,” said Alice O’Connor, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara and author of Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy and the Poor in Twentieth Century U.S. History. Although newly created federal agencies were mandated to give the poor a voice in anti-poverty efforts, “there was pressure from the localities to keep that money out of the hands of groups that were going to challenge the status quo,” said O’Connor.

From Many Struggles, One

Progressive forces can achieve victory by building a “movement of movements,” said Margaret Flowers, co-author with Kevin Zeese of the article “Task of a People-Powered Movement for 2014.” Flowers and Zeese, directors of It’s Our Economy, have identified ten “fronts of struggle,” ranging from health care to jobs to peace. “Our task is to help connect these individual struggles to the broader struggle,” said Flowers.

Worthless Democrats

President Obama’s recent promises about combating economic inequality are meaningless rhetoric,” said Doug Henwood, editor of the Left Business Observer. “The problem is, the Democrats are now so thoroughly a Wall Street party, that they can’t do anything serious” to help poor and working people. “I expect nothing out of the Democratic Party, nationally or locally.” Real social progress will require grassroots mobilization, said Henwood.

The Washington Post as a CIA Asset

RootsAction.Org co-founder Norman Solomon will this week present a petition to editors of the Washington Post, demanding the newspaper inform its readers of owner Jeff Bezos’ intimate business relationship with the CIA. Bezos is also the billionaire owner of Amazon, which last year concluded a $600 million contract with the CIA. “The responsibility of the CIA is to keep secrets, and the responsibility of journalism is to expose secrets,” said Solomon. Post journalists should be worried that it become commonly known as “being in bed with the CIA.”

Tutu Wrong About ICC, Says Herman

Edward Herman, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, takes issue with former South African archbishop Desmond Tutu’s contention that the International Criminal Court is a force for justice in Africa. The ICC only indicts Africans, and only those Africans that are not allied with the United States, said Herman, co-author of The Politics of Genocide. “The bias has been blatant.” U.S. allies Uganda and Rwanda invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo and “killed literally millions of people,” with no response from the ICC, said Herman.

Mumia: Support the Dallas Five

On January 21, trial begins for five Pennsylvania inmates charged with riot and incitement stemming from a 2010 protest against violence by guards at a prison in the town of Dallas. The Dallas Five “are fighting for their lives,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, reporting for Prison Radio.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 12/2/13

LA Schools Overrun by Cops

The Los Angeles Unified School District is among the most heavily policed in the nation, with Black students 29 times more likely than white students to be charged with disturbing the peace. “Are they trying to set students up for success and education, or are they trying to set them up to go to prison?” asked Ashley Franklin, an organizer with the Labor Community Strategy Center and one of the authors of a report titled “Black, Brown and Over-Policed in LA Schools.” Despite the heavy hand of the law, students have organized throughout the district. “Our youth have read their history and they’re fighting back,” said Franklin.

Charter Schools Increase Segregation

Studies show the spread of charter schools exacerbates economic and racial segregation, said Stan Karp, of New Jersey’s Education Law Center. “Systematically, if you look at the demographics of the charter experiment, this is where you’re finding the increase in segregation, higher attrition rates, and the different populations that are being served,” said Karp, author of the recent Rethinking Schools article “How Charter Schools are Undermining Public Education.” The privatizers are deceiving inner city parents. “Investors and business interests have been able to attach their agenda for market reform in education to the urgent needs of communities that have not been well served by the existing system.”

African People’s Socialist Party Holds 6th Congress

The struggles – and defeats – of the Sixties must be put in context in order to chart a course towards liberation in the future, said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, which holds its 6th Congress in St. Petersburg, Florida, December 7 – 11. “We had a movement that was crushed” by state repression and assassinations, and “we’re seeing the consequences of that defeat” in the corrupt Black leadership that has emerged over the past 40-plus years. “Occasional spontaneous outbreaks” of protest after incidents like the Trayvon Martin killing cannot “substitute for real revolutionary work,” said Yeshitela.

Mumia: Where is Justice for the Living?

Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, who is serving a life term in the 1981 death of a Philadelphia policeman, noted that the State of Alabama recently granted posthumous pardons to the 9 Scottsboro Boys, convicted in a 1931 “rape that never happened.” Meanwhile, the four Black women and five men of the Move 9 are in the 35th year of prison sentences in the death of a Philadelphia policeman. “In 2058, will a future governor declare them pardoned, and grant them symbolic justice?” asked Abu Jamal, with deep sarcasm. “Justice delayed is still justice denied.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 10/14/13

Cancel Detroit’s Debt

Predatory bank lending policies destroyed the tax base of Detroit, and now these same Wall Street institutions want to confiscate the city’s public assets through forced bankruptcy. The debt should be cancelled, said Abayomi Azikiwe, an organizer of the First International People’s Assembly Against Banks and Against Austerity, held in Detroit last week. “It’s illegitimate. It’s based on the systematic destruction of the city,” said Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African News Wire. “We believe that people in other cities have to adopt a similar strategy.”

Leave Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Alone

Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP chief Ben Jealous and broadcaster Tom Joyner should halt their attacks on scholar/activist Cornel West and broadcaster Tavis Smiley, said Rev. Anthony Evans, director of the National Black Church Initiative. “Take your hands off these brothers. They are defending the integrity and worthiness of the Black community,” said Evans. Prominent Obama supporters, he said, have told the White House: “You don’t have to worry about Black folks getting out of line; we will keep them in line for you.”

A Socialist Win in Minneapolis?

Even the corporate media admit that Socialist Alternative candidate Ty Moore has a chance of winning a seat on the city council, this November. “If we win this race, it’s not because a majority of working class residents of Ward 9, South Minneapolis, are socialists, but because they are angry at the system and they see that the people who are running this city are clearly sided with the rich and big business,” said Moore. “Our organization has built roots in this community, by fighting back.” Another Socialist Alternative city council candidate is running well in Seattle.

UN Sued Over Haiti Cholera

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti filed suit in federal court, demanding the United Nations take responsibility for the cholera epidemic that has killed at least 8,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands more. The world body claims it is immune from legal action, although it is widely accepted that UN ‘peacekeepers’ were the nexus of the disease. “The UN’s refusal to accept the rule of law in this case obviously undermines its ability to promote the rule of law, elsewhere,” said Institute director Brian Concannon. He notes that the UN, which claims lack of funds to eradicate cholera in Haiti, spent $500 million last year for ‘peacekeeping’ soldiers “in a country that has not had a recognized war in our lifetime.”

US Finances Congo Carnage

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni told a UN Security Council delegation that bringing peace to the Democratic Republic of Congo is not their responsibility. Maurice Carney, of Washington-based Friends of Congo, agrees. “Kagame and Museveni can never be responsible for peace,” said Carney. “What they can be responsible for is stopping the war of aggression that they have been waging against the Congolese people, with U.S. financial and military support and training, and U.S. diplomatic and political cover.” Rwanda and Uganda invaded the mineral-rich eastern region of the Congo 17 years ago, resulting in the deaths of six million people – and counting.

Demonizing Assad

American peace activists recently returned from a visit to Syria, where they met with President Bashir Al-Assad. Sara Flounders, of the International Action Center, said it was important to counter U.S. government and media attempts to “demonize” the Syrian leader, as an excuse for arming thousands of jihadist “rebels.” “It was Syria that proposed making the whole region into a nuclear-free and chemical-free weapons zone,” said Flounders. “It was the U.S. who refused.”

China as U.S. Banker

Washington is “pivoting” to confront China militarily in Asia, while at the same time Beijing holds the largest share of Washington’s huge foreign debt. “It is quite ironic that the United States is seeking to escalate tensions with its bankers,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. “I’m not sure that’s a sound strategy. With an impending debt default,” said Horne, the dollar “as the principal world reserve currency comes into question.”

Philadelphia Declaration: War = Poverty

Grassroots activists held a Conference to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “Our declaration of the rights of our people must demand an end to war, threats of war, and preparations for war,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, professor of African American Studies at Temple University. “You cannot answer the pressing social problems of this country, uppermost being poverty, without dismantling the warfare state,” he told the gathering at Philadelphia’s historic Church of the Advocate.

Herman Wallace: A Free Man

Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther and the country’s best known political prisoner, saluted Herman Wallace, who was released from prison after 41 years of solitary confinement, earlier this month, only to die two days later of liver cancer. Wallace and two other inmates established a Black Panther Party chapter at Louisiana’s infamous Angola Prison. “He remained a soldier for the people and an opponent to the system,” said Abu Jamal. “Herman Wall truly died free.”

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