July 31, 2015

Valuing all oppressed groups equally

GUEST: Susan Smith, who hosts a weekly program on WVKR called From Ferguson to Palestine, talks about the violent racism that is the common denominator between Israel's abuse of the Palestinians and The United States' murderous war on its own people of color.

This was the first show without my cohost, Gary. Sorry to see him leave and go back to North Carolina. However, all thinks do pass, and I was lucky enough to find another excellent cohost in Eli, who has pitched right in where he was needed.

Susan Smith was about as easy a person to interview as I have ever had. She is so committed and unshakable in her devotion to human rights that my question about someone possibly calling her an anti-Semite got very little response at first. No one had ever called her that because she simply values all oppressed groups equally. Human rights in Ferguson means the same thing as human rights in Palestine. She opposes violent racism wherever it manifests itself, and Susan's many trips around the globe have been to all the right places. 

I look forward to listening to her show on WVKR, 91.3 FM, from 12 - 1 pm every Wednesday. Tune in; you won't be disappointed.
From Ferguson To Palestine is a weekly talk show concerning issues of social justice and racial equity in the United States and abroad. Hosted by Susan Smith and Daniel Aguilar, and incorporating interviews and discussions from grassroots activists.

July 24, 2015

Subjugated to the propaganda needs of empire

GUEST: Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network, and an organizer of the Rasmea Defense Committee, talks about the selective prosecution of Palestinian activists in the US.

Hatem covered the facts of Rasmea's case very thoroughly. The legal question revolves around Rasmea's failure to put her arrest by Israeli authorities on her request for US citizenship. Her defense claims that she was tortured and raped in custody and that her treatment in jail forced her into a false confession. Sound familiar? How many Blacks in America have spent decades in prison after such coerced confessions?

Rasmea's trial judge would not allow any evidence of torture of rape to be introduced at her first trail. Rasmea's obvious PTSD was similarly dismissed. She should get another trial, with her defense given the right to introduce this type of testimony.

I asked why Rasmea and other Palestinian activists have been harassed by the FBI over the last decade. With Rasmea, what made the FBI review her citizenship documents in the first place; she had committed no crime in the US? Hatem responded that our criminal justice system is being used to repress political dissent, something we have seen repeatedly in the history of the FBI. Perhaps a review of COINTELPRO will show how this was done in the 1960's. Our government's phony "War on Terror" has led to the same types of abuses today, with our Constitutional rights are being subjugated to the propaganda needs of empire. 

On another note, this was Gary's last day on Activist Radio. He is moving back to North Carolina, and we will miss his radio skills, his commitment to social change, and his ready wit. He has promised to be Activist Radio's roving reporter in North Carolina, and we will be calling on him for some on the ground reporting on issues like racial justice and labor rights. But it won't be the same. Time moves on. 

July 10, 2015

Awareness of the lunacy

GUEST: Leah Penniman, educator and food justice coordinator for the Soul Fire Farm, a sustainable farm near Albany, NY, talks to us about how radical farmers are using food to fight racial injustice and the New Jim Crow.

Leah was such an interesting guest, with connections to indigenous resistance groups in Mexico and Haiti. 

Yes, food production is an important part of the resistance against Neoliberalism in the Third World. What isn't clearly understood is that farming can effectively expose the evils of Neoliberalism in the belly of the beast, the very epicenter of the American Empire. 

We can produce our own food without poisonous chemicals and untested genetic modification of seeds. We can open access to homegrown products and give consumers freedom of choice for themselves and their families. We can work together to increase awareness of the lunacy of our corporate dominated power structure, hell-bent as it is to destroy life on earth through global warming and nuclear conflagration. 

Leah is an articulate and creative activist, dedicated to restoring democracy in America, one plant at a time. Just think if Obama had gone in a different direction. If he hadn't gone to Harvard to learn how to be an elite, privileged, white male. If he hadn't done the Daily Machine's dirty work in running against black progressives in Chicago. If he hadn't privatized public housing in the city, throwing blacks out to gain favors from white real estate developers. If he hadn't quoted Martin Luther King's words to cover up his warmongering and betrayal of working people. If he done anything other during his president than serving the military industrial complex.

Some liberals are even defending Obama today, based on the color of his skin. Scoundrels come in all colors. We are what we try to accomplish for peace and justice in the world. The rest is racial stereotyping that preserves the status quo.