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School privatization

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 6/16/14

Nation’s First All-Charter School System Restores Segregation

The last conventional public school in the New Orleans Recovery District closed last month, a harbinger of what may be in store in systems across the country. “Apparently, this model means taking education out of the public realm and putting it into the hands of private, non-profit boards and for-profit corporations,” said Karran Harper Royal, a parent advocate with the city’s Coalition for Community Schools, one of several groups that have filed a civil rights suit against the district and the Louisiana Board of Education. “It seems that white kids are disproportionately taking up the seats in the A- and B-rated schools,” while Black children are clustered in failing schools, said Ms. Harper Royal. “After all these years, we’re back in a segregated school system, only now it is also along class lines.”

Haiti Activists Urge Rejection of Both Congressional Candidates in Harlem

Incumbent Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel and his main challenger, State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, are both guilty of supporting “apartheid” policies against Dominicans of Haitian descent, charged demonstrators outside a televised campaign debate. Under a law passed by the Dominican Republic and endorsed by Rangel and Espaillat, less than 10 percent of 200,000-plus people with roots in Haiti will quality for Dominican citizenship, even though most have never set foot outside the country and speak only Spanish. Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist, called on Harlemites “not to vote for either of these supporters of apartheid,” and for “people of conscience around the world to boycott Dominican products and services,” including tourism.

Black Is Back Coalition: Obama “Worse Than Bush”

Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations, said Barack Obama has been “worse than Bush” for Black people, and for the cause of peace. “Bush couldn’t have gotten away with the things Obama did without some kind of response” from the Black community,” said Yeshitela. Obama “has neutralized so many forces, taken them out of action. It wasn’t understood that part of Obama’s function was to act as a cover for white power and for imperialism. He’s escalated war, he’s signed off on assassinations, and he’s done it with a neutralized Black community.” The Black Is Back Coalition holds its annual international conference in Philadelphia, August 16-17.

U.S. Pushes Russia and China into Closer Alliance

Washington’s provocations are driving Russia, the world’s top energy exporter, and China, soon to be the world’s largest economy, into a deeper economic and political alliance, said Eric Draitser, of StopImperialism.org. “It would seem a self-defeating strategy,” said the independent political analyst. “But, the reality is that the United States doesn’t have control anymore. Obama and his blundering foreign policy have provided the impetus” for closer Sino-Russian collaboration, which can only increase with development of a “New Silk Road stretching from China all the way through Turkey and into Europe.”

Mumia on the Passing of Ruby Dee

Actress and activist Ruby Dee, who died at age 91, supported many radical causes and political prisoners, including Mumia Abu Jamal. “One would be hard pressed to find a role where she played anything less than the best of Black people,” said Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. Ruby Dee and her late husband Ossie Davis’ “work was a theater of Black dignity, Black family and Black love.”

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Freedom Rider: Newark Rejects $100 million School Scam

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Sometimes, local political races have truly national repercussions. Hopefully, this will be the case in Newark, New Jersey, where Ras Baraka defeated a Cory Booker acolyte for mayor. School privatization was the big issue. Folks have figured out that “the very purpose of school privatization is to close schools and give teachers no more job security than fast food workers or Walmart greeters.”

Ras Baraka's Victory: Indicting Education Crimes

by Michelle Renee Matisons and Seth Sandronsky

Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker tried to turn the city’s public schools over to privatizers and billionaires. But, there’s a new mayor in town. Ras Baraka’s “victory is about creating the educational climate – supported by larger goals of racial/ economic justice – that is required for thriving students.”

Al Sharpton: King Rat

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The fact that Al Sharpton is the administration’s “made man” tells us a great deal about what President Obama’s team really thinks about Black people. The White House seems drawn to Sharpton’s amorality and infinite capacity for corruption – his usefulness as pit bull and King Rat.

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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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HBCUs and the United Negro College Fund: Another Grand Betrayal

by Jane Biral

If young Black minds are terrible things to waste, so is the entire infrastructure of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, now under assault like never before. Yet, the United Negro College Fund has for a generation been run by corporate-picked Black executives who have amassed personal fortunes and collaborate in the phasing out of Black educational institutions.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 8/19/13

Dr. Cornel West to March Organizers: Get Off the Obama Plantation

“If Martin Luther King Jr. were to show up” at this month’s commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, said academic and activist Dr. Cornel West, “what he would say would be so subversive that those on the Obama plantation would be revealed for who they are, which is obsessed with career, obsessed with access, and obsessed with status as opposed to being obsessed with the suffering of poor Black brothers and sisters.” Appearing on the latest edition of Black Agenda Television, Dr. West said Rev. Al Sharpton “and so many others” will not address the New Jim Crow, privatization of education and gentrification because of their ties to the White House. Preacher-educator Michael Eric Dyson and MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry have “become sycophants” of the administration, said West.

Stop-and Frisk Ruling is Blow to Bloomberg and His Top Cop

Last week’s federal court ruling puts Mayor Michael Bloomberg on notice that “you can’t just lump all Black or Latino New Yorkers together with the criminal population of the city and say, We can now stop you because members of your community may have committed crimes in the past,” said Darius Charney, the lead attorney in the class action suit. The decision should also remove Police Commissioner Ray Kelly from consideration to head the Department of Homeland Security, “given his utter disrespect and disregard for people’s fundamental constitutional rights.”

But, Court Keeps Foxes and Wolves in Charge of Henhouse

Although the judge provided a “service” by declaring the NYPD’s practices unconstitutional, said Stop Stop-and-Frisk co-founder Carl Dix, the court’s order “sets up a system through which the NYPD will reform itself with oversight from the federal government.” As Malcolm X advised, 50 years ago, said Dix, “They’re saying that the foxes are going to reform their approach to the chicken coop, and the wolves will oversee that reform in the approach to the chicken coop. What is that going to mean to the chickens?”

Black Federal Employees Blast EEOC

The Coalition for Change (C4C), an organization of minority federal employees, issued an angry rebuttal to an EEOC assessment that workplace discrimination is largely a problem of “perceptions” and “unintentional bias.” The EEOC, said C4C founder Tanya Ward Jordan, “seeks to downplay the pain, anguish, and the attacks that are going on right now under the Obama administration.” Fifty years after the March on Washington, “we still don’t have any measure to hold these managers accountable,” said Jordan. “At the end of the day, even if we are successful in proving our claim, and there is a finding against these public officials, there is no mandatory discipline.”

Huge “Regression” on the Black Education Front

“We are in a period of regression” in the educational arena, said Dr. Donald Smith, a founder of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. Black and Latinos “hardly exist” in the core curriculum being promulgated to public schools throughout the nation. “In fact, if you look at the fifth grade curricular suggestion, not a single writer of African or Hispanic descent is included,” said Dr. Smith. “The gains that we made in attempting to help our people understand our African heritage and how important that heritage is to the strengthening of our students, is being evaporated.”

Left and Secular Supporters of Egyptian Coup Do Great Harm

The military coup in Egypt is a disaster for the country’s people, said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “It’s so unfortunate to see, in Egypt and reflected here in the United States, those who because they had differences with the Muslim Brotherhood actually siding with the oppressive arms of the state,” said Flounders. “The revolutionary ferment is now in danger. And those who stood with the military have created the greatest danger, because they disoriented people in a massive way.”

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Cory Booker, the Next Black Corporate Presidential Contender

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Now that his billionaire buddies have spent his way into the U.S. Senate, “Booker will immediately start running for president, staking out a position to the right of the current occupant and of Obama’s likely successor, Hillary Clinton.” Booker and his friends in the 1% take care of each other.

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/27/13

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of 5/27/13

 

U.S. Prison Torture Protests

With California prison protests set to renew in July, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network will mark three Days of Solidarity with the 80,000 inmates in solitary confinement, nationwide, June 21 - 23. Solitary confinement, as practiced in the United States, “fits the international definition of torture,” said network spokesman Carl Dix. “In fact, they are held consciously in conditions that are driving them insane.” The network also plans a “Hoodie Day” for June 10, the start of George Zimmerman’s trial in the death of Trayvon Martin.

Obama’s Empty Rhetoric on Global War

President Obama’s speech on the future of U.S. targeted assassinations around the world contained “nothing concrete, anywhere,” said anti-war activist David Swanson, publisher of the influential website WarIsACrime.org. “By the president’s own concession, what he’s been doing for years is an unacceptable outrage,” said Swanson. “The president claims that he will respect the sovereignty of other nations, but there is no evidence that this is the case, and there is no mechanism for any of these criteria to be enforced by anyone other than himself.”

U.S. Would Make Syria a Wasteland, Like Libya

Washington and its allies and proxies are engaged “in an all-out effort at regime change in Syria,” much like the 2011 NATO war against Libya, said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition. “Libya today has no functioning government, which is really fine for the major oil corporations,” said Flounders. “They don’t have to worry about paying anybody anything, and the oil continues to pump.” Ultimately, what U.S. corporations want “is what they have in Bangladesh – a race to the bottom.”

End UN Occupation of Haiti

Delegates from across the western hemisphere will gather in Port-au-Prince, May 31 and June 1, for a Continental Conference against the 9-year United Nations occupation of Haiti. UN troops “are there to impose repression on a people that have refused to accept the violation of their sovereignty and their right to determine their own destiny,” said Alan Benjamin, a conference organizer and executive committee member of the San Francisco Bay Area Labor Council.

Attempted Land Grab in Cameroon

International protest appears to have halted a 73,000 hectare palm oil and lumber venture by the multinational Herakles Farms corporation in Cameroon. The deal had awarded Herakles a 99-year lease at only $1 per hectare a year. Studies confirm the company’s “intention to make huge profits in transfers and assets on the cheap,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. Such transactions “should serve as a reminder that the land rush that has brought investors into the African nations is not driven by philanthropy, despite claims to the contrary.” Brendan Schwartz, of Greenpeace International, said the scheme “is not a development project,” but would, in fact, create “unemployment and underdevelopment.”

Black Power vs. Capitalism

Majority Black jurisdictions across the nation have seen their local school and governing bodies “set aside, so that the governor can appoint stooges to impose massively unpopular programs of austerity; wage, pension, benefits and service cuts; and privatization,” said Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce Dixon, in a commentary on Black Agenda Television. “Quite simply, what austerity regimes do is turn local government from an entity that collects local taxes and fees, in order to pay its employees living wages and provide needed services, into a machine which collects local taxes and user fees from the poor and sends them straight to Wall Street as interest payments on an eternal, unpayable debt.”

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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of January 7, 2013

 

Both Parties Sabotaging Entitlement Programs

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid “have been set up to take the fall for the nation’s deficit,” said Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, president of Washington-based Global Policy Solutions. President Obama “views it as his legacy to rein in entitlement programs while creating this grand bargain” with the Republicans. Those who expected a more progressive Obama in his second term are mistaken. “I think that the president did not make a Freudian slip in his first debate when he said that he and Mitt Romney actually agree on Social Security.”

EPA Chief Used Alias

Lisa Jackson was forced to resign as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency because she conducted some of her public duties under an alias, said famed whistleblower Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, of the NO FEAR Coalition. Jackson was “extremely upset” with the Occupy Movement, which staged demonstrations against “her cowardly behavior” as guardian of the environment. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo believes Jackson used her alias to cloak her role in government spying on movement activists.

End Stop-and-Frisk

We feel that 2013 has to be a year of rising resistance to stop-and-frisk in the streets and in the courtrooms,” said Carl Dix, a founder of Stop Mass Incarceration Network. “We’re not talking about mending an injustice; we’re talking about ending it.” The capitalist system is incapable of providing a “future for millions and millions of young people growing up in the urban areas of the country,” said Dix. “You can put Black faces in high places, but if it’s the same system that has oppressed and exploited you, it’s not going to change. Revolution is the solution.”

Big Brother Obama Hears All

President Obama has shown himself to be a more aggressive foe of civil liberties than George Bush. “Absolutely, we’ve seen this to be true from the FISA authorization, to the use of drones, and with the NDAA” preventive detention bill, said Samantha Peetros, spokesperson for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Just before New Years, Obama signed a five-year extension of legislation allowing warrantless phone and email surveillance.

Charters Crowding Out Public Schools in Philly

I think that there is a growing movement among decision makers to shut the door on public education,” said W. Curtis Thomas, a Black state lawmaker from Philadelphia. The city has targeted 60 public schools for closing, while expanding charter schools by 5,000 seats. “The decision to move kids towards these charter schools is really an effort to resegregate a system that was never totally integrated, anyway,” said Rep. Thomas.

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