Black Agenda Radio – 03.05.18

Welcome to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. I’m Glen Ford, along with my co-host Nellie Bailey. Coming up: A scholar and activist asks, when does support for prison and police “reform” actually amount to propping up these racist institutions; and, the mayor of New York City claims turnstile jumping has nothing to do with poverty.

Last summer, the voters in Jackson, Mississippi, elected Antar Lumumba mayor of the overwhelmlngly Black city. Antar Lumumba is the son of the late activist Chokwe Lumumba. Some folks are already describing Jackson as “the most radical city in the country” – a very premature assessment. We spoke with Kali Akuno, an activist with Cooperation Jackson, a community self-help organization that is trying to establish cooperative enterprises owned by the local workers.

People that petition and agitate for reform of the police and the mass Black incarceration system may actually be bolstering the power of those racist institutions. Dr. Dylan Rodriguez, a professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, at Riverside, says “reformers” tend to legitimize the very system they criticize – as opposed to those who would abolish prisons and reinvent the way communities are made secure. Prof. Professor Rodriguez authored an article for Black Agenda Report, titled “Mass Incarceration as Police Endorsement.” He understands that some “reformers” might be insulted at being described as allies of police and prisons.

In New York City, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance says his office will stop prosecuting people for fare beating on New York City subways. But Mayor Bill DiBlasio objects, claiming that that turnstile jumping has nothing to do with poverty. Robert Gangi is executive director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, which monitors a court system where, on any given day, 85 to 90 percent of the defendants are Black and brown – many of them charged with fare beating.


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