Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Was a Very Good Year

Exactly one year ago I began receiving emails announcing that Lynne Stewart, the people's lawyer, was awarded compassionate release from federal prison. I and many others were also asked to greet her at Laguardia airport the next day. I did, and that January 1st began an amazing year.

On February 14th I joined with other fans of Lynne to wish her a happy birthday. Here I am with Lynne and Nellie Bailey. (Photo by Tony Savino)

I was deeply honored when Vanderbilt University professors Jemima Pierre and Peter Hudson asked me to join an illustrious group (Kevin Alexander Gray, Dr. Christina Sharpe, David Austin, Dr. Maboula Soumahoro, Dr. Emira Woods, Glen Ford, Kevin Edmonds, Dr. Aaron Kamugisha, 
Dr. Naomi Beth Reed, Dr. Johnny Eric Williams, Sokari Ekine, and Dr. Rinaldo Walcott) to speak at a workshop entitled Black Folk in Dark Times.  Here I am with my fellow panelists.

Ah spring. In New York City that means Left Forum. As always, Black Agenda Report convened a panel. This year our theme was "Black America and the Empire in Crisis."

Bruce Dixon, yours truly, Dr. Anthony Monteiro, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey in front.

In September I joined my comrades at the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) as we presented the panel "War and the Climate Crisis" at the Climate Convergence Conference.

In October, Counterpunch published "Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence." Thanks to Kevin Alexander Gray, I contributed one of my Black Agenda Report columns, "Obama Dog Whistles Over Trayvon." 

I was very busy in October. On October 10th I was interviewed on Presstv to discuss my column on the ebola epidemic.

On October 10th I joined by Marty Goodman to speak after a showing of the powerful documentary Miners Shot Down at Maysles Cinema in Harlem.

October 24th the Black Agenda Report team presented our annual fundraiser at Riverside church. This year's theme, "After Ferguson."

The very next day, October 25th (yes, I got up the next morning bright and early) to join another UNAC panel, "End the U.S. Wars Around the World and At Home."

More good news came in November. Professor Johnny Eric Williams invited me to speak at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. My topic was "Black America in a System in Crisis." 

All of this hard work paid off in November. The Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia invited UNAC to speak at a conference on December 13th. I was asked to join and speak on the anti police brutality protests which began in Ferguson, Missouri. The other members of our delegation were Bill Dores, Joe Lombardo, Joe Iosbaker, and Mo Hannah. Unfortunately Mo is not in this picture. 

We were all interviewed by Russian media and I was a guest on Govorit Moskva, Moscow Speaks, for an hour long interview with call-in from listeners. These were my first experiences working with translators and it was all very exciting. 

You can read a not very good translation of my radio interview here but better to download on that page so you can hear it.

I love being a tourist.

I left before others in our group and so I missed a protest at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. One of our hosts, Alexander Ionov, is in this photo.

When I returned I got right back to work. I gave another interview on Presstv on December 20th on police violence and the ensuing protests.

There were times that I felt overwhelmed with some of my commitments and wondered if I should slow down. I have learned that sometimes biting off more than I think I can chew is a great way to make progress.

I had no idea in January that I would be going to Moscow in December, but my work made it all possible. It was a wonderful ride which happened because I kept doing what I really love, which is writing and speaking and joining with like minded people whenever possible.

Work hard at whatever you love. That is the moral of this story.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Press TV interview

I was interviewed on Press TV on the subject of police brutality and protests against it. Ironically, this interview took place just 45 minutes before two police officers were killed.

December 20, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Freedom Rider in Moscow

I was invited to attend the December 13th Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia conference as part of a United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) delegation. Black Agenda Report is a member of UNAC and I serve as a member of the Administrative Committee. I was joined by Joe Lombardo, UNAC Co-Coordinator, Bill Dores of the International Action Center, Joe Iosbaker of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and women's rights activist Mo Hannah.

The Anti-Globalization Movement is dedicated to "The rights of people to self-determination and construction of a multi-polar world." We all spoke at the conference and made ourselves available for interviews with Russian media. 

On December 15th I was fortunate to be interviewed on Govorit Moskva, which I believe is translated as Moscow Speaks. You can listen to the hour long interview here.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Glen Ford and Mumia Abu Jamal (on phone)

Sorry for the poor sound and video quality (filmed with my phone) but Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford and Mumia Abu Jamal were on the point at yesterday's The World Stands with Palestine event. Glen was on point as always when Mumia was able to call in. I can't think of a better way to spend 32 minutes.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Spread of Ebola

There I am on Iranian Press tv discussing the spread of the Ebola virus. The interview was prompted by my latest Black Agenda Report column, The Real Ebola Conspiracy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Al Sharpton, King Rat

Yesterday a black man named Eric Garner was murdered via choke hold and suffocation in broad day light on a Staten Island, NY street by the NYPD. His killing is on video for the world to see.

Al Sharpton, King Rat, has taken over the faux protesting duties, comforting the family, etc. Just remember who he is. This photo was taken in December 2013. The newly appointed NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton, Sharpton and mayor de Blasio all at the house of hoodwinkosity, I mean house of justice.

Sharpton's job is to make it look like black people are protesting. His real job, for which he is well compensated, is working with the powerful to make sure that black people don't do anything of substance.

During Bloomberg's time in office Sharpton said nothing about stop and frisk. He wasn't going to bite the hand that fed him. Now Bloomberg is gone, Obama is a lame duck (his other hustle since 2009) so he slithered back to NYC and pretended to be an activist.

If you want to protest Garner's death, bypass Sharpton. He can't be trusted.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Black America and the Empire in Criisis

Black Agenda Report panel at the recent Left Forum. Myself, Nellie Bailey, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon, Anthony Monteiro, Marsha Coleman-Adebayo on Black America and the Empire in Crisis.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Imperialism: Facts, Perspectives & Solutions - Your World News

What is imperialism? How is it manifested in 2014? Thanks to Solomon Comissiong from Your World News, I was able to discuss this topic along with Abayomi Azikiwe, Ajamu Baraka, Dahlia Wasfi, Eric Draitser, Stephen Lendman and Michael Parenti.

Well worth your time.

Modern Day Lynching

“Lynch law was never repealed.” Glen Ford

Black people are still being lynched at a rate of one every day. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement documented in a 2013 report, “Operation Ghetto Storm”, that a black person is the victim of an extra-judicial killing every 28 hours. We may hear the name of some of those individuals as in the case of Trayvon Martin, but he was joined by 300 other black people in 2012 whose names we didn’t know.

The killings are becoming more numerous and more brazen. Why else would Stand Your Ground laws exist, if not to give white racists permission to kill without fear of prosecution. Modern Day Lynching is the title of my most recent Black Agenda Report column. I wrote about the killings of brothers Carl and Garrick Hopkins in West Virginia and Mckenzie Cochran in Michigan and the brutal assaults on Darrin Manning in Pennsylvania and Charda Gregory in Michigan.

On the same day that my column appeared I learned of another horrific case. Alfred Wright was found dead in Sabine County, Texas. His throat was cut and his ear was cut off. If that is not a lynching I don’t know what is.

These murders are being committed in part because black people have stood down from their legacy of agitation and demands for justice. The crowning of a black prince/president just put the icing on the cake and silenced people who were always at the forefront of fighting for justice.

Where are the black elected officials? Where were they when Kwadir Felton was shot in the head and blinded by a cop in Jersey City, New Jersey and then convicted of assault?

To put it bluntly, they don’t give a damn. Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee made this mealy mouthed statement about Alfred Wright’s murder.

“the Department of Justice will investigate and take appropriate action and will conduct a thorough and independent investigation into all the circumstances surrounding this tragedy and to take appropriate action necessary to vindicate the federal interest, protect the civil rights of all Americans, ensure that all persons receive equal justice under law.

We are all better off when the facts are discovered, the truth is discerned and the family and the community are at peace.”

If Jackson Lee cared at all she would have personally led a protest and an investigation in Sabine. Instead she speaks jibberish about federal civil rights prosecutions which never take place.

Black people are in very grave danger and in part because we won’t even say so. The predators are winning.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Faithful Negros and Old Time Darkies

In the late 90s and early 00s I was an avid amateur genealogist. I discovered quite a lot of my family history and enjoyed it all very much.

Black people do face the 1865 brick wall but there is still a lot of information to be had. I have shared my discoveries and in turn been assisted by other family members with their information. I think of genealogy as a way of remembering and honoring my forebears.

Now thanks to digitization, searching is easier and more fun. I’m also planning to attend a family reunion in my grandfather’s hometown this summer and I’ve decided to resume my research and present it there. 

As a friend told me years ago, it is important not just to research one’s own family tree, but to learn from the history gathered along the way. In that spirit, I share with you an obituary that I discovered from 1895.

Death of Adam Prater

Adam Prater, colored, died at his home in this city on the evening of the 5th instant after a lingering sickness. Adam was a good citizen and belonged to the old time class of darkies whose number is gradually but surely diminishing. He was a hard working, honest negro, and attended strictly to his own affairs.

One by one this class of negroes is passing away. Between them and the white people there exists a peculiar bond which death alone can sever. We will never see any more like them for they belong to a different era. The affinity between those faithful old negroes and their former masters and mistresses is peculiar, for it is born of a different period and is the result of a mutual affection that can never be effaced.

Peace to his remains. Piedmont Inquirer, Saturday Morning, 7 Sep 1895, p. 1, c. 5.

I wish that we knew what Mr. Prater’s family had to say about him. I also wish we knew what he thought of his former masters.

If he was among the “old time class of darkies” he had good reason to be. Alabama in 1895 was no place to be a proud black person.  After all, being outspoken in 2014 can still be problematic. In 1895 it was just plain dangerous. Whatever else can be said of him, Adam Prater was probably a very smart man.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

A Shout Out from Glenn Greenwald

I measure success and prosperity in some very basic ways. I'm alive, in good health, and supporting myself. I have dear family and friends. By all those measures 2013 was a good year for me.

Sometimes though you get some icing on the cake, like when Glenn Greenwald retweets your work.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Lynne Stewart, Laguardia airport, January 1, 2014

Sorry about the bad sound quality, but you can feel the vibe of the moment. Powerful.

Global Research Interview

The week before Christmas I was interviewed by Michael Welch on Global Research to talk about Nelson Mandela. Listen up here. Interview begins at about 7:50.

Lynne Stewart is Free. Happy New Year!


“We learned this morning that the US Attorney’s office has made the motion for my compassionate release and that the Order was on Judge Koeltl’s desk.  Since on the last go-round he stated in Court that he would treat it “favorably”, we are now just waiting expectantly.” Lynne Stewart

Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer, shared those words with us yesterday. Today I was honored to be with some 50 other people to greet Lynne and her husband Ralph Poynter at Laguardia airport.

I did not know of this momentous change in Lynne’s status until last night. I received an email that she had been granted compassionate release and I was invited to be among those who welcomed her home.

Apparently Lynne and Ralph missed their flight, so I and others had to wait another 90 minutes or so. I came close to coming back home but when I saw friends I decided to stay. I’m glad I did. We all need reminders that we are not alone and that millions of people work for a better and more just world.

In October 2013 Black Agenda Report wished Lynne, the people’s first responder, a happy birthday. Read it here or listen here. If you need more background on Stewart’s case, Chris Hedges explains here.

Happy new year to Lynne and Ralph and to all of us.