Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organization Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

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Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_for_20160627.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:30am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 27, 2016

BREXIT Panics Ruling Classes

“This cannot be a happy time for those people who run stock markets, big banks, hedge funds and the political system” in the global capitalist economy, said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the noted Duboisian scholar and member of the Black Radical Organization Committee (BROC). The rulers are “panicked” because Britain’s vote to exit the European Union marks “a rebellion among the British working classes against the ruling elite and against the austerity and globalization” that pits native born workers against immigrant workers.

U.S. Jets Defend al Qaida Jihadists in Syria

The U.S. scrambled F-i8 fighters to confront Russian war planes that were bombing al Nusra, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, earlier this month. The Americans “want to protect these forces that they have armed and trained,” the same forces that are “recognized as terrorists trying to destroy Syria,” said Sara Flounders, of UNAC, the United Anti-War Coalition. “There are now 13 countries involved in bombing Syria that have not been invited in by Syria” – all allies of the U.S. “It’s a completely aggressive action, and they’re using it to destroy the infrastructure of Syria,” said Flounders.

Dred Scott and Freddie Gray

“What the system is telling us is that Black people have no rights that their police are bound to respect,” said Carl Dix, co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, speaking outside the Baltimore courthouse where a judge acquitted a cop charged with the “depraved heart” murder of Freddie Gray. “This was a modern day lynching, and they just gave us a modern day Dred Scott Decision.” The prosecution has so far failed to win convictions against any of the police officers involved. “These prosecutors must be very good at putting Black people in prison,” said Dix, since 72 percent of Maryland prison inmates are Black. “But, when a cop murders a Black man, all of a sudden they forget how to prosecute.”

Mumia: Look “Beyond Bernie”

The nation’s best known political prisoner said Democrats opposed to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid should “look beyond Bernie” Sanders for inspiration. “For millions of people, the Bernie Sanders campaign has led to a political depression” because the two major parties are led by “the least popular candidates in memory,” said Mumia Abu Jamal, serving a life term in a Pennsylvania prison. However, youthful idealism doesn’t have to die. “Why not form a new political party, a new political movement,” Mumia asked? “Don’t mourn Bernie’s failure to win. Organize!”

Temporary Work Agencies Do Employers’ Racist Bidding

Chicago’s Workers Law Office has sued six temporary employment agencies and their clients for favoring Latino workers over Blacks. “There’s a financial benefit from having a population that does not know as much about their rights in the workplace and is not as willing to fight to enforce those rights,” said Atty. Alva Ayala. One agency provided 5,000 workers to a baking company, 98 percent of whom had Latino surnames.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20160627.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:02am EDT

Dems Congressional

Dems Congressional “Sit-In” A Cynical, Hypocritical Election Year Stunt

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The so-called “sit-in” on the floor of Congress launched by House and Senate Democrats is a fraudulent and transparently cynical exercise in partisan branding and election year theater.

Brands neither mean what they say nor say what they mean. Brands are marketing devices, calculated to evoke a desired set of emotions, to call forth real or imagined memories in an audience, independent and apart from facts or logic. Atlanta congressman John Lewis and his colleagues are leveraging his rep and the “sit-in” brand for their resonance with the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 60s.

Keen observers on social media pierced the hypocrisy almost immediately.

Color me unimpressed,” wrote Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, author of from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter in a Facebook post that was shared thousands of times almost immediately.

Where was the sit-in when Congress was cutting $5 billion from food stamps? Where was the sit in where is the sit-in for affordable housing as Congress continues to cut HUD to shreds? Where is the sit-in against police brutality in our cities? Where is the sit-in against the Supreme Court ruling yesterday that guts the Fourth Amendment and revives 'stop and frisk' policing? Where is the sit in to demand equitable funding for our nation's public schools? Where is the sit-in to end racism and the criminal justice system? This smacks of election year tomfoolery...”

Worse still, the so-called “sit-in” piggybacks on the secret and arbitrary “no-fly” and “terror watch” lists, which some of those same Democrats denounced back in the Bush Cheney era. Back then they rightly pointed out the criteria for landing on those lists is secret, and once on the list there is no appeal and no way off, though the State Department does revoke your passport, also without appeal. Government places people on those lists it cannot charge with any crimes. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, the government has placed Muslims on the no-fly and terror watch list when they refused to infiltrate and inform on their neighbors, or when their names were similar to someone else's. Democrats, like California Rep. Barbara Lee once opposed hysterical and secret government blacklists noting that any sort of activist out of favor with the government could land on these lists.

But now it's election year and they have very few issues to differentiate themselves from the other capitalist party. So they want to use the secret government blacklist and the civil rights brand to score meaningless points against Republicans.

Congressional Democrats are not stupid. They know perfectly well they could be sitting in to end these secret lists. They could be sitting in to explain how the second amendment was put in the Constitution to permit armed slave patrols, and land theft and genocide against Native Americans. They could be sitting in for a living wage and universal single payer health care, or cutting the Pentagon budget by two thirds. Instead Democrats deliberately chose to sit in for this, instead of forgiving student debt, instead of addressing climate change or black unemployment or mass incarceration.

Since John Lewis and his hypocritical crew are just as much the party of the one percent as Republicans, their disputes with Republicans are confined to carefully staged food fights between meaningless brands. This is the party that wants to control Congress instead of Republicans.

This is why it's time to chuck both the one-percenter capitalist parties, and do something completely new. For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and co-chair of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon@blackagendareport.com.



Direct download: 160623_0271.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:09pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20160620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 20, 2016

POP Blasts Cuomo’s Blacklist of BDS Campaign as “Outright Reactionary”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order establishing a blacklist of companies and institutions that honor the campaign to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel is “blatantly unconstitutional,” “smacks of McCarthyism,” and “outright reactionary,” said Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based Peoples Organization for Progress. Israeli apartheid “is not just a matter of military repression,” said Hamm. “It’s the denial of rights and equality before the law for Palestinians.” POP endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Hamm is a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters to March and “Fart” Against Hillary in Philly

Cheri Honkala, of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, plans to stage “the world’s largest fart-in” to protest Hillary Clinton’s triumphal speech to the party in Philadelphia, this summer. Honkala said her group will consume large amounts of beans to prepare for the occasion. Philadelphia is eager to accommodate Democrat-sponsored marches during the convention, but has not agreed to permit Honkala’s group to march. “The city is trying to maneuver to have all of Broad Street shut down, just to keep our march from happening” at 3pm on July 25.

Hillary’s Haiti Crimes Might Come Back to Haunt Her

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was responsible for installing Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s corrupt and unpopular government in Haiti – a fact that should be embarrassing to her campaign. According to Nikolas Barry-Shaw, a voting rights associate at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Clinton’s handlers want Haiti “to stay out of the spotlight and allow Hillary Clinton’s record in Haiti to go unexamined. The reason there is an election crisis in Haiti,” said Barry-Shaw, “is a direct result of Clinton’s interventions in previous elections that put Martelly in place” in 2011.

U.S. Behaves Like Mafia in Haiti

The U.S. State Department pressured Haitians to accept the results of last year’s rigged elections that would have continued U.S.-backed factions in power. However, massive protests forced the scheduling of new elections for this October. “Basically, what you’re seeing is nothing less than if Al Capone was occupying Haiti, and he had goon squads trying to enforce the rule of the Mafia” over the country, said Pierre Labossiere, of the Haiti Action Committee. “This is how the Haitian people see the so-called ‘international community’ – the U.S., France, Canada, the European Union, and the OAS.”

Postal Service Could Put Payday Lenders Out of Business

Proposed new federal rules would make it somewhat harder for poor people to get payday loans at usurious interest rates. However, the exploitative lenders could be put out of business altogether if the U.S. Postal Service was allowed to provide alternative financial services to the poor “at a fraction of the interest,” said Matt Stannard, policy director of Commonomics USA. “They already have the infrastructure to do that, they have huge economies of scale,” and other countries have successfully provided such services, he said. Instead, bipartisan forces in Washington seem intent on putting the Postal Service out of business.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_20160620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

4 out of 5 Prisoners Would Have to be Released to Reduce U.S. Incarceration to 1972 Levels

Mass Black incarceration knows no bounds in the United States of America.”

A new report shows that New Jersey has the nation’s highest racial disparity in incarceration rates, with Blacks in the state 12 times more likely to go to prison than whites. The report is titled, The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons, compiled by The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based prison reform group. Right behind New Jersey in racially disparate imprisonment are Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Vermont – all states with relatively small Black populations, but where African Americans are 10 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Mass Black incarceration knows no bounds in the United States of America,the world champion of incarceration, with 2.3 million men and women behind bars.

Some states are worse than others, but all of them are much worse for Black people than for whites. Blacks don’t make up a majority of any state in the country, but they are the majority of the prison population in 12 states: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

In terms of the proportion of the Black male population that is incarcerated at any given time, the prize goes to Oklahoma, where 1 out of every 15 Black men, age 18 or older, is currently living behind bars. In 11 other states, 1 out of every 20 Black males has been snatched from his communities.

“Don’t expect any late term prisoner release surprises from Barack Obama.”

New Jersey stands out for high rates of racial disparity in incarceration and for having a Black majority in the prison system, but in recent years its one of three states that have substantially reduced their prison populations. New York and California have also scaled down their gulags. According to The Sentencing Project, the key to shrinking the prison population lies in the intake valves of a criminal justice system that arrests far too many people, especially Black people, and then locks them up for way too long. Project executive director Marc Mauer told Black Agenda Report that President Obama and his successors should consider clemency for whole categories of prisoners, similar to President Gerald Ford’s amnesty for draft resisters back in 1974. But, don’t expect any late term prisoner release surprises from Barack Obama, who went to court to keep about 5,000 federal crack cocaine prisoners behind bars, even after the racist legislation under which they were convicted was repealed and replaced.

Without fundamental changes at every stage of the criminal justice process, Black Americans will continue to make up something approaching 1 out of every 8 prison inmates in the world. Indeed, accounting for growth in U.S. population, by my calculations the nation’s jailers and prison wardens would have to set 4 out of every 5 of their prisoners free just to get incarceration rates down to the levels of 1972, when the effects of the national mass Black incarceration regime were just starting to be felt. Of the 2.3 million current prison inmates, fully 80 percent, totaling 1,850,000 men and women would have to be let go – and even then, the United States would still be a high incarceration nation. 1972 was one year after the Attica Rebellion – not a great time for Black people in the criminal justice system. If only we had known that, 44 years later, things would be far, far worse.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20160615_gf_PrisonStats.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantation for generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20160608_gf_RevPinkney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31am EDT

Political Prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney Fears for His Life

“He fears the government is out to do him harm.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney, the imprisoned community activist from the mostly Black town of Benton Harbor, Michigan, believes his life is in danger. Pinkney is serving a sentence of two and a half to ten years following his conviction by an all-white jury on the flimsiest of charges of tampering with an election recall petition. He told Kenneth Rhoades, a supporter on the outside, that he’s not afraid of the inmates, but fears the government is out to do him harm – and that they might get away with it because, in his words, “they cover everything up” at Marquette Branch Prison, located on the thinly populated and very, very white Upper Peninsula of Michigan, almost 500 miles from Benton Harbor.

Pinkney, who is 67 years old, has witnessed numerous assaults on inmates by prison guards, and has spent long stretches in isolation. For six months he was deprived of phone and visitation privileges because the authorities believed he was behind a mass inmate food protest – another bogus charge, since inmates at prisons on the Upper Peninsula have been protesting the food since before Pinkney arrived.

This is the second time that Pinkney has been railroaded to prison for trying to bring change to deeply impoverished Benton Harbor through the vote. Back in 2007, after two trials, an all-white jury from the surrounding county convicted him of tampering with a ballot petition. He was sentenced to house arrest, but was then thrown in prison for a year when he quoted Bible verses to the judge – something of a first in American legal history. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned on appeal.

Crushing Voting Rights Activism with SWAT and Prison

Rev. Pinkney’s lawyers believe his current conviction on similar bogus charges will ultimately also be reversed – but that could take years, and anything can happen to a political activist in the American prison gulag.

Mary Neal, who calls Rev. Pinkney her “online minister,” believes the people of Flint, Michigan, would have responded to the poisoning of their water sooner if Pinkney hadn’t been incarcerated at the time. The Reverend has had more experience than most other activists in dealing with state appointed emergency financial managers like the one that switched the water supply in Flint. Benton Harbor was put under state dictatorship in 2010. Governor Rick Snyder then quickly expanded the emergency financial manager regime to all of the state’s heavily Black cities, effectively disenfranchising more than half of Michigan’s Black citizens. But, Rev. Pinkney and his Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, or BANCO, pressed on, refusing to accept the loss of their local voting rights, either to the State of Michigan, or at the hands of the giant Whirlpool Corporation, which has ruled Benton Harbor like a plantation for generations. Finally, they sent a SWAT team to arrest Rev. Pinkney at his home in April, 2014, and now he sits in cell in the American equivalent of Siberia, a 67 year old soldier in the African liberation struggle.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20160608_gf_RevPinkney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of June 6, 2016

McKinney: Duopoly is Imploding, But What Comes Next?

The 2016 election is going to be “written about and studied for a very long time,” said six-term former Georgia Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party’s 2008 presidential candidate. “Black voters don’t have any stake at all in the continuation of either the Democratic or Republican Parties, as presently constituted,” said McKinney, who last year earned her doctorate in Leadership and Change. “The implosion of the duopoly is of great political import to the Black community,” she said. “The problem is, however, that we have to be organized in order to have an imprint on the outcome.”

2016 “Most Consequential” Election in a Century

“The two-party duopoly is at an end,” said Dr. Anthony Monteiro, the Dubosian scholar and Black Radical Organizing Committee activist who helped put together a national conference on the Black Radical Tradition, in Philadelphia, in January. Monteiro believes that 2016 will go down as “the most consequential election, certainly, in 100 years.” Monteiro noted that Donald Trump told Bloomberg News he would turn the Republican Party into a workers party. “This is huge, said Monteiro. “He has broken every Republican orthodoxy.” Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, “is challenging the elite and the power brokers and the moneybags within the Democratic Party, but he has not gone as far as Trump to challenge American hegemony and American empire.”

Free Rev. Edward Pinkney, Political Prisoner

“The system is rigged and corrupt,” said Rev. Edward Pinkney, the Benton Harbor, Michigan, community activist serving 30 months to 10 years on bogus election tampering charges that he believes stem from his defiance of the Whirlpool Corporations domination of the mostly Black town. “We must stand and demand the government serve the interests of the people, and not the corporations,” said Pinkney, who fears he will be assassinated at the Marquette Branch Prison in the upper peninsula of Michigan. “The attack on democracy in Benton Harbor and around the country shows that the corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone that stands in its way,” he said.

Schools Annually Eject Huge Numbers of Black Girls

Education Week magazine called on experts to explore why Black girls are expelled or suspended from public school six times as often as white girls. It’s “misguided” to think that “low income kids and kids of color need to be heavily disciplined and heavily surveiled,” said Adrienne Dixson, professor of Critical Race Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “Schools should recognize that these behaviors aren’t just because kids want to be bad, but that they are responding to an environment that doesn’t help them feel free.”

Horne: U.S. Subversion has Venezuela on the Ropes

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is clearly in trouble, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. “With government offices being shut down three days out of the week; with electricity blackouts; with shortages of consumer goods, including toilet paper, this is obviously a reflection of that fact that, number one, the elite of Venezuela have turned against the Maduro regime” and, secondly, the United States is backing the effort to bring down the socialist government.

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.

Direct download: BlackAgendaRadio_GlenNellie_20160606.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

Freddie Gray Case Judge Rules it is Unreasonable to Expect Cops to Obey the Law

“If you’re going to go back and charge every police officer whose arrest was determined to be illegal with assault, you’re going to indict the entire police force.”

The cops charged in the death of Freddie Gray had another good day in a Baltimore courtroom, on Monday, when one of the six officers was found not guilty of second degree assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment. Officer Edward Nero had opted not to undergo a trial by jury, so the case was decided by a Black circuit court judge, Barry Williams. The trial of another cop, William Porter, ended in a mistrial back in December when the jury deadlocked on all four counts. If Officer Porter is tried again, it will be after the trials of all the other cops are completed.

But Officer Nero is home free, because Judge Williams ruled that there was “no evidence that the cop intended for a crime to occur.” Judge Williams was affirming the triple legal standard that exists in American law: one standard for cops, another for civilians in general, and no reliable expectation of justice at all for Black people.

Officer Nero was one of the cops that arrested Freddie Gray, dragged his limping body to a police transport wagon, and then failed to secure him with a seatbelt. Gray was given a wild ride through the streets of Baltimore, his handcuffed body crashing into the sides and front of the vehicle, fatally severing his spine.

Lawlessness Begins with the Lawmen

Freddie Gray’s only offense was to run away after making eye contact with a police supervisor – which is not a crime in anybody’s law book. But, as my colleague Bruce Dixon often says, cops are like hounds, and Black people are treated like rabbits, and when a rabbit runs away from the hounds they will chase it down and tear it apart.

So, the hounds are on trial in Baltimore. The prosecution maintains that the cops had no right to arrest and move Freddie Gray – that this amounted to second degree assault on his person. In her closing arguments, deputy state’s attorney Janice Bledsoe said “people get jacked up in the city all the time” by cops, and such behavior must be punished. But, the judge seemed to think it would be ridiculous to treat every arrest as criminal just because there were no grounds for arrest. Officer Nero’s lawyer agreed, saying it didn’t make any difference if the cops acted illegally in arresting Freddie Gray. “Wrong or right isn’t the standard,” said the cop’s attorney. “The standard is, were they so wrong that it was unreasonable?”

So, cops have to be more than just guilty of breaking the law; they must be “unreasonably” guilty – whatever that is.

Warren Brown, a defense lawyer who observed the proceedings, said: “If you’re going to go back and charge every police officer whose arrest was determined to be illegal with assault, or every search that’s deemed to be absent probable cause, [then] you’re going to indict the entire police force.”

Sounds good to me. Indict them all, and empower the people to form a security force that respects, and is answerable to, the community it serves. But, of course, it would be “unreasonable” for Black people to expect anything that smacks of justice in America.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

Direct download: 20160525_gf_BaltCopAcquitted.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:11am EDT