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

No Justice to be Found in Louisiana

“Louisiana has the most broken public defender system of any state in the country,” said Kristen Clark, president of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which joined with the Southern Poverty Law Center to bring a class action suit charging Louisiana with depriving defendants of their constitutional rights. “They lock people up a alarmingly high rates, and then fail to provide lawyers to navigate their way through the criminal justice system,” said Clark. “Many of our clients have, literally, spent months in jail without any contact with an attorney.” Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.

“They Want to Exterminate Us”: MOVE to Hold Conference in Philly

The MOVE organization will hold a three-day conference, beginning May 5, in Philadelphia, to set the historical record straight on “what MOVE really believes in, who [founder] John Africa is, and why the government wants to exterminate us,” said the organization’s minister of communications, Ramona Africa. Ms. Africa is the sole survivor of the 1985 police bombing raid on the MOVE residence that left 11 members dead, including 5 children, and destroyed an entire city block. In 1978, 9 MOVE members were sentenced to life in prison in the death of a policeman, a confrontation that began with petty police harassment. “They said there were housing code violations,” Ms. Africa remembers. “But, since when has this government cared about Black people living in what they say is substandard housing?”

Good News: Trump Does Not Yet Have an Africa Policy

U.S. military intervention in Africa rose dramatically under President Barack Obama, who established an “Atrocity Prevention Board” at the U.S. State Department “to decide which country has the most important atrocities.” However, according to Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of the Congo, the Atrocity Prevention Board doesn’t consider the genocide in Congo to be much of an atrocity, since the main culprits are Washington’s allies, Rwanda and Uganda, which have been destabilizing the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. “Because of U.S. policy to support that invasion,” said Musavuli, “we have lost over six million Congolese.” In light of this history, Musavuli would prefer less, rather than more, attention to Africa from Washington. “What is unclear,” he said, “is whether Donald Trump will continue with the Atrocity Prevention Board, or what his Africa policy will be.”

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: black_agenda_radio_20170227.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25pm EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

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: black_agenda_radio_for_20170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 13, 2017

Trump Pursues His Vision of a Whiter USA

The ban on Muslims is a step towards regulating the ethnic mix of the population.

Sanctuary Movement to Expand Its Resistance

Rather than go on the defensive, activists seek to broaden resistance to state oppression

A Millions March for Prisoners’ Human Rights

Abolitionists to converge on Washington in August to end mass incarceration.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EDT

Black Agenda Radio for Week of February 6, 2017

Protests in Dixie Against Trump’s “White Supremacist Government”

Hundreds gathered in Columbia, South Carolina, to protest President Trump’s ban on refugees and visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries. “We’ve got to put pressure on Republican legislators who support Trump, and the business people that support this rightward movement that’s happening in this country,” said author and activist Kevin Alexander Gray. “The whole idea of having a white supremacist government -- which, in South Carolina, we now a lot about, because this is the ideological home of white supremacy in America.”

One Out of 9 U.S. Inmates Serving Life

Despite “modest” reductions of about 5 percent in the overall U.S. prison population since 2009, the number and proportion of inmates serving life sentences continues to increase. A new study by The Sentencing Project, titled “Delaying a Second Chance: The Declining Prospects for Parole on Life Sentences,” puts much of the blame on politicians and parole boards. “Legislatures have increased minimum sentence requirements that people have to serve before a parole board can even review someone for parole eligibility,” said study author Dr. Nazgol Ghandnoosh. Back in the 1980s, a person sentenced to life for murder could expect to get out in about 11 and a half years, but someone similarly sentenced in the 21st century would be likely to spend more than 23 years -- twice as long -- behind bars. “Parole boards are granting fewer paroles or refusing to increase them, even though they’re seeing people so much later in their sentence,” said Ghandnoosh. Longer actual terms for lifers results in longer sentences for everyone else, she said. More than 160,000 U.S. prison inmates are serving life sentences, 50,000 of them with no possibility of parole.

“Collective Punishment” of Prisoners

Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall is one of the thousands of lifers sentenced for crimes committed when they were juveniles. Marshall has already spent a quarter century behind bars. He edits a prison magazine and is a correspondent for Prison Radio, but could not reach his editors on the outside because of a lockdown following a fight among a few inmates at Rockview prison, in Pennsylvania. Such “collective punishment,” he told Prison Radio’s Noelle Hanrahan, cuts prisoners off from their support structures. “Without family bonds, it’s hard to return to society, and it’s hard for prisoners to maintain connection with their lawyers to present a proper defense for their legal appeals,” he said.

Mumia Interviews Eddie Africa, of Move

The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, introduced his worldwide audience to fellow inmate Eddie Africa, sentenced, along with eight other members of the Move organization, to 30 to 100 years in the 1978 death of a Philadelphia police officer. Nearing 70, Eddie Africa urges young fathers in prison to maintain close contact with their children. “Use this time to talk to them, write to them, so they don’t go the path their parents went,” running with gangs.

A Plan for Community Control of NYC Police

The Campaign for Community Control Over the Police, a coalition of 26 anti-police terror organizations, will hold the first of several “Open House Conferences” on February 18, at Manhattan’s All Souls Unitarian Church. The coalition has developed a four-tier proposal to rein in the cops, beginning with mandatory residency in the precinct in which they work. “That way, they have a vested interest in the community, their children go to the same schools, they shop in the same stores, and they will actually care about the community, rather than act as an occupying army,” said Campaign outreach chairperson, Bro. Shep Olugbala, in an interview with Black Agenda Radio producer Kyle Fraser. Precinct commanders would be elected by the neighborhood, just as “you have sheriffs who are elected by the community” in smaller towns. An elected Community Police Control Board would have subpoena powers and the right to hire and fire police, and an elected special prosecutor, “totally independent of the district attorney’s office,” would “investigate and prosecute allegations of serious criminal conduct by police officers,” said Olugbala.

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: black_agenda_radio_20170206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33pm EDT

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

#ProgressiveHypocrite of the Month for February 2017: Former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

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

Progressives” is the name Democrats call themselves when they need to draw attention away from the greedy and murderous one percenters who actually call the shots in their party.

Lazy, hypocritical progressive followers protest the unconstitutional machinations of Republican administrations like those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump while they ignore excuse the same crimes when committed by Democrats like the Clintons or Barack Obama. But Black Agenda Report does not bestow its coveted #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month award on mere followers. We pledge that each and every month our #ProgressiveHypocrite awardees will be leaders in their fields, major players whose recognized game inspires and enables the ordinary hypocrisy of countless partisan Democrats – or as they call themselves, progressives.

Thus we are proud to announce as Black Agenda Report’s very first #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month, for February 2017 is Madeleine K. Albright.

Madeleine Albright got her start as the protégé of notorious cold warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was her dissertation advisor at Columbia. As Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Z-big put Albright on as his special assistant. The next time a Democrat occupied the White House she was UN ambassador in Clinton’s first term and secretary of state in his second. Madeleine Albright famously asserted in a 1996 60 Minutes interview that although the US blockade of Iraq which she vigorously championed killed a half million Iraqi children that “...it was a hard choice but it was worth it...”

After the Clinton administration Albright founded a global consulting firm which became ASG, the Albright Stonebridge Group, representing and advising multinational corporations on six continents on how to enter and dominate local markets, how to privatize public land and public institutions like post offices and electric grids. The fixers at Albright Stonebridge help privatize water and sewer systems and chunks of the natural environment like the broadcast spectrum so outfits like Google and Facebook can own the internet in India and Africa. ASG claims credit for engineering the entry of WalMart into China and Thailand. Albright’s crew has global reach. They can make your corporation’s taxes in Mexico go away. They can rig the regs for Big Pharma in Brazil, they can prevent unfavorable laws affecting your profits in China or Japan and they can negotiate your bribe to the murderous Saudi royal family.

Albright mentored Susan Rice, the bare knuckled champion of vulture capital in Africa and of the US bomb and invade countries for their own protection. For her valued service to the one percent of the one percent, President Obama awarded Madeleine Albright the Medal of Freedom in 2012. She campaigned for Hillary alongside Cory Booker declaring there was “a special place in hell” for women who failed to support other women.

Now at the dawn of the Trump era, Madeleine Albright has been trotted out as the avatar of concern and compassion for Muslims who will be affected by the Islamaphobic policies of Donald Trump. She declared earlier this week that “...there are tears in the eyes of the Statue of Liberty...” and that she would “register as a Muslim” to protest Trump’s evil policies. We at Black Agenda Report recommend that Madeleine Albright register as an Iraqi toddler in the year 1995, when the blockade she championed killed half a million Iraqi children, mostly Muslims.

Thus for her inspirational hypocrisy in the service of Democratic – I mean progressive opposition to Donald Trump we name Madeleine K. Albright the #ProgressiveHypocrite of the month for February 2017.

This is Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Radio. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com, Black Agenda Report on Facebook and @blkagendareport on Twitter.

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

Direct download: 20170201_bd_progressive-hypocrite_feb2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:40am EDT

Democrats, Including Bernie Sanders, Won’t Fight for Medicare for All

“Because Obama had used the trick terminology ‘universal health care’ to describe his program, the public became confused and demoralized about the whole subject of government health care.”

Democrats will tell you that the Republicans are the reason the U.S. is the only industrial country in the world that does not have universal, government-provided health care. But, that’s not true. Despite their legislative majorities, the Republicans are not strong enough on their own to defeat a concerted campaign for a Medicare for All program, which is supported by overwhelming majorities of the public, including a very large percentage of Republicans. The U.S. does not have a single payer health care system because corporate Democratic leadership, most shamefully under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have confused the public about what is, and what is not, “universal” health care. They have offered counterfeit, private industry-based schemes – “Hillary-care” in 1993, Obamacare in 2009 -- and fraudulently called them universal health care, when in fact these were bait-and-switch schemes designed to prevent the successful passage of a genuine single payer health program.

The numbers tell the tale. When Bill Clinton first ran for president in 1992, two-thirds of the public – 66 percent – told pollsters they supported a “national health insurance plan financed by tax money.” The Clintons instead responded with a secretly-hatched “managed competition” plan that continued to rely on private insurers and took more than 1,300 pages to explain. “Hillary-care” died ignominiously in Congress.

“Corporate Democratic leadership have confused the public about what is, and what is not, ‘universal’ health care.”

By late 2006, an amazing 69 percent of Americans were telling pollsters they agreed with the statement that “it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have healthcare coverage.” Barack Obama was getting ready to make his run for the White House. He claimed to want something he called “universal health care.” Most people assumed he meant a single payer, Medicare for All-type program, but instead, Obama dusted off an old Republican private insurance-based plan devised by the far-right Heritage Foundation and later adopted by Republican Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Not only was Obamacare unpopular on its own merits, but because Obama had used the trick terminology “universal health care” to describe his program, the public became confused and demoralized about the whole subject of government health care. By 2016, only 44 percent of the people had a positive reaction to the term “single payer health coverage.” However, nearly two-thirds of those polled -- 64 percent -- liked the idea of Medicare-for-All, which is a form of single payer. Medicare for the elderly is probably the nation’s most popular social safety net program, and younger folks would like to be part of it, too, including lots of low-income Republicans. Even Donald Trump used to be for it.

Medicare-for-All is an idea whose time has come -- again! And, with Obamacare being dismantled and a health care emergency looming, one would think the Democrats would seize the time to push for a truly universal health care plan with such broad support. But, corporate Democratic leadership -- just like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- do not really want single payer health care, because their fat cat contributors oppose it. Therefore, they will urge the people to waste their energy on trying to salvage some aspects of Obamacare.

Bernie Sanders will help them do it, because he’s still sheep-dogging for corporate Democrats.

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: 20170201_gf_MedicareForAll.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm EDT