Building Bridges Radio: Your Community & Labor Report

Produced and Hosted by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash over WBAI,99.5FM in the NYC Metro Area

WHO WE ARE

WORKERS OF THE WORLD TUNE IN! Introducing "Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report"

Our beat is the labor front, broadly defined, both geographically and conceptually. We examine the world of work and workers on the job as well as where they live. We examine the issues that affect their everyday lives, with a particular sensitivity towards human rights abuses, environmental concerns and the U.S. drive for global domination. We record their global struggles and provide analysis of their efforts to empower themselves and transform society to provide greater democratic, human, social, political and economic rights. Each program consists of feature stories, generally interviews, within a historical context, often accompanied by sound from demonstrations, rallies or conferences, and complemented and enhanced by poetry and instrumental or vocal -- people's culture.

Over the years Building Bridges has produced a weekly one hour program, Mondays from 7-8 PM EST, covering local, national and international labor and community issues over radio WBAI-Pacifica 99.5 FM in New York. We also produce half hour version, Building Bridges National, which is distribtued to over 40 broadcast and internet radio stations.


For more information you can contact us at knash@igc.org
In Struggle Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash

CNN Bows to Israeli Lobby Firing Palestinian Advocate Marc Lamont Hill -28:59  

CNN Shamefully Bows to Right-Wing Mob in Firing of Analyst Marc Lamont Hill, After His UN Speech Calling for Equal Rights for Palestinians  
with
Ali Abunimah, Founder of The Electronic Intifada, whose books include One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, and The Battle for Justice in Palestine. He has been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years.
 

   "I called for a single democratic state where everyone votes.
    Jews, Muslims, Christians and everyone else deserve to live
    in peace and safety. And with self-determination. No one’s
    freedom should come at the expense of others."
Dr. Marc
    Lamont Hill

"This is precisely the message Israel and its lobby are most terrified of -- because it resonates with ordinary people. This is why they smear and defame people who call for justice and equality.”  Ali Abunimah wrote this after CNN abruptly fired Temple University professor, political commentator, and Black Lives activist Dr. Marc Lamont Hill after he was falsely smeared as anti-Semitic for his testimony at the United Nations, where he eloquently discussed Israeli apartheid, intersectionality between the Black and Palestinian freedom struggles, and a one-state solution of justice and equality for all people throughout historic Palestine.  

Wrote Abunimah: "The accusations against Marc Lamont Hill are outright lies promoted by high-level operatives of the Israel lobby in their latest effort to silence and punish anyone who dares speak out in support of Palestinian equality and freedom from Israel’s brutal regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
They perfectly match the kind of smear and sabotage tactics revealed in the censored Al Jazeera documentary on the U.S. Israel lobby that was recently published in full by The Electronic Intifada."

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California Should Take OverCommercial Utility PG&E for Climate Justice - 29'  

How California’s Fire Weary Public by Taking Over the Commercial Utility Behemoth PG&E Could Cast a Vote for Climate Justice
with
Johanna Bozuwa is a Research Associate at the Democracy Collaborative which works to carry out a vision of a new economic system where shared ownership and control creates more equitable and inclusive outcomes, fosters ecological sustainability, and promotes flourishing democratic and community life.  Her  research focuses on energy democracy and the just transition away from the fossil fuel economy.


A long-awaited report of the federal government, notwithstanding the climate destructionist policies and practices of Trump, has delivered an unmistakable message on climate-fueled disasters: The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening and poses a severe threat to Americans' health and pocketbooks, as well as to the country’s infrastructure and natural resources. However the report avoids policy recommendations despite its sense of urgency and alarm. 

Now, amidst the potential bankruptcy of the California utility PG&E, whose negligence is believed to have played a role in California’s most recent devastating fire, along with three other wildfires across the state in 2017, there is an opportunity for the public to take control of the state’s energy destiny.  California’s takeover could serve as a model for other states fed up with the predatory practices of investor-owned utilities and jumpstart a wider shift across the country toward democratically controlled renewable energy.


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Amazon HQ2 Plan To Turn NY's Long Island City Into a Company Town - 28'  

Queens Residents Are Outraged Over Amazon HQ2 Plan To Turn LIC Into a Company Town
with
Maritza Silva-Farrell is Executive Director of ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York)
and
Greg LeRoy is executive director for Good Jobs First and is quoted in the New York Times recently as saying “as we documented in a study last April, the Crystal City and Long Island City subsidy offers are among the many HQ2 bids that remain completely hidden. Citizens have no idea what their elected officials have promised to a company headed by the richest person on earth.


Community organizations representing more than 200,000 members across New York City and State are concerned that NY is rolling out the red carpet for Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.  Why are the Mayor and Governor handing the keys to the city to Amazon, whose market value, which surpassed Microsoft's in February 2018, making Amazon the world's third most valuable company?  Bezos holds 78.9 million shares of Amazon stock. He is now the richest man of all time, with an estimated net worth of $105 billion dollars. 

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Rev. Barber - The Struggle for Voting Rights & the Poor People’s Campaign - 28:58  

Conversations in Black Freedom Studies: The Struggle for Voting Rights & the Poor People’s Campaign
with
Rev. William Barber, a passionate preacher, anti-poverty activist, and civil rights leader. Barber has emerged as perhaps the most important figure in progressive U.S. Christianity. Prof. Cornel West, in a blurb for Barber's book The Third Reconstruction, said he was "the closest person we have to Martin Luther King, Jr. in our midst."



In 1968 Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King championed the Poor People’s Campaign to unite people of all backgrounds against oppressive government policies. Today, Rev. William Barber is leading a modern resurgence of the effort, challenging racism, voter suppression, poverty, militarism, and environmental devastation issues that continue to be at stake in the 2018 midterm elections. 

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#MeToo: McDonald’s Workers Strike to End Sexual Harassment - 28:57  

"Fight for $15 " Embraces #MeToo Movement in Striking McDonald’s  
with
Annelise Orleck, Professor of History, Dartmouth College and author of  “WE ARE ALL FAST-FOOD WORKERS NOW: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages"                                    


Emboldened by the #MeToo movement, McDonald’s workers staged a one-day strike at restaurants in 10 cities to pressure management to take stronger steps against sexual harassment in the workplace. Organizers say it was the first multistate strike in the U.S. specifically targeting sexual harassment. Orleck will analyze the significance of this development in the context of the #MeToo movement, women’s labor history, and the growing activism and unionism of low wage women workers in the U.S. and around the world

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Kavanaugh's Anti-Labor Track Record -26:58  

Kavanaugh's Anti-Labor Track Record
with
Sharon Block,  Executive Director of Harvard's Labor and Worklife Program

The AFL-CIO’s President, Richard Trumka described Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh for his second pick to the Supreme Ct. as having a “dangerous track record protecting the privileges of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working people.”  The Service Employees International Union, one of the country’s largest just tweeted that “confirming Kavanaugh would tip the scales of justice against working people.” To ready us for the battle at hand Sharon Block, Executive Director of Harvard's Labor and Worklife Program makes the case that Kavanaugh’s record reflects a sustained and, at times, aggressive hostility to the role of the law in protecting the vulnerable and less powerful.

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Supporting Immigrant Labor, Fighting For Their Rights - 27'  

Supporting Immigrant Labor, Fighting For Their Rights
with

Pablo Alvarado, executive director, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON)
and

Kent Wong, Director of the UCLA Labor Center and founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance


Whether immigrants workers, documented or undocumented seek to hold crooked and exploitative bosses accountable for wage theft, and pay that is below the prevailing wage or  work just too many hours for too little pay and benefits and are subject to abusive treatment to their personage, such as sexual harassment or want the freedom to push for decent jobs and organize unions without risking arrest, they deserve legal protections.  Now with Trump threatening to bring a reign of lawlessness to American cities, the most precarious workers are subjected to more militarized and extensive workplace raids, mass arrests, family separation and expedited deportations.  

Then there is the all-too-familiar story of scape-goating immigrant workers and deliberately pitting them against American workers as big corporations cut wages as they seek to reap bigger profits. They replace one set of workers with another—from other regions or other countries—or by automating work. Meanwhile, CEO pay and bonuses continue to rise while workers’ wages fall. When you are scrambling to find work or getting beat out for a job by someone willing to work for less, there’s an allure to an anti-immigrant stance. But taking that bait doesn’t get us very far.

The issue may not come up in contract talks, but a safe, fair workplace regardless of immigration status is key to social inclusion, promoting economic fairness, and helping communities exercise the rights they do have—especially those without a say in who gets elected to office.

Migrants seeking asylum and immigrant workers aren’t pulling the strings of our rigged economy. Those making the decisions that cause economic hardship can more likely be found at Mar-a-Lago, not at the border. If we don’t focus on holding the ultra-rich and greedy corporations accountable, workers will continue losing. All the raids in the world will not help native-born and documented workers with job security.

This false notion that we are in competition with immigrants limits our ability to see each other, even when the collateral damage is children. At this moment, wealthy corporations and billionaires, not immigrant children and their parents, are sacrificing workers for profits. We should see this as a warning. When people are so dehumanized that forcing kids to sleep in kennels becomes acceptable, the value of life for everyone goes down.   Instead of scapegoating children, mothers and fathers, we should reconnect with our humanity and demand change from the true source of our hardship: an out-of-control corporate class. Let’s be clear: We have found the culprit, and it’s not our fellow workers and certainly not children.

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Delegation Supports Central American Migrants & TPS Holders - 27:44  

Delegation Builds Legal, Legislative Supports for Central American Migrants and TPS Holders 
with
Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, who is driving the landmark Centro Presente vs. Trump lawsuit challenging the termination of TPS



A high-profile delegation of federal and local elected officials, immigrant advocates, and legal experts just completed their travel to Honduras and El Salvador to bolster ongoing fact-finding efforts to build legal defense and legislative supports for  Central American asylum seekers and migrants, including Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, in the US.  Delegation participants toured San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and San Salvador, cities wracked by escalating violence, poverty, and impunity that has driven unprecedented levels of migration from Central America since the 1980s. Iván Espinoza-Madrigal will talk about the delegation’s findings and raise awareness of the conditions driving migration from the region—and the negative consequences that await an estimated 250,000 TPS holders.

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The Supreme Court Doesn't Have to Overturn Roe to Decimate Abortion Rights - 28:59  

The Supreme Court Doesn't Have to Overturn Roe to Decimate
Abortion Rights
with

Talcott Camp, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project


Now that President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, it will be up to the Senate to fully vet him so that the American people can determine whether he will uphold the basic civil rights and liberties relied on by everyone in this country. This is particularly true when it comes to abortion rights, where Kavanaugh’s prior opinions on the subject, coupled with the fact that Donald Trump vowed to only
nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, give rise to serious concern about women’s continued ability to access abortion if Kavanaugh is confirmed. A new Supreme Court Justice could effectively decimate women’s access to abortion, even without overturning Roe outright. Overturning Roe would be catastrophic, but it is not the only scenario in which politicians would be able to
shut down abortion care. The court can give them back the power to do so by simply upholding whatever obstacles they throw in a woman’s path.


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Right Takes Over Supreme Court: Democracy in Chains - 28:03  

Right Wing Takeover of the Supreme Court: Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
with
Nancy MacLean, Author and Professor, History & Public Policy at Duke University


The Janus Supreme Court decision in June and our current struggle over Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court vacancy, are only the most recent manifestations of the Right’s decades long game plan to not only unravel the New Deal of the 1930's and the civil rights revolution of the 1960' but beyond that to establish property rights over democratic rights as the basis for our government..

Prof. MacLean traces this counter revolution's 60 year plan to eliminate unions, suppress voting rights, privatize public education, and stop action on climate change.  Their agenda is not just to alter specific legislation or court decisions or who gets elected but to fundamentally  alter the rules of democratic governance by voter suppression and gerrymandering along with instituting Constitutional and judicial changes.

Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. Billionaires launched this movement with the aid of an academic and intellectual elite. And leading this charge was multi-billionaire Charles Koch and Professor James McGill Buchanan who forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the Southern white elite’s power.

Prof. Buchanan and Charles Koch developed a diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us. Now their strategy is bearing a poisonous fruit. which we must understand to effectively fight back. 


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"Killing Gaza” - 28:58  

"Killing Gaza”
with
Max Blumenthal, director and writer of the new film “Killing Gaza”, senior 
editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and award-winning author of "Goliath, Republican Gomorrah,

and the 51 Day War"
and
Dan Cohen, journalist, cinematographer and editor of “Killing Gaza”  

On May 14th the Israeli military slaughtered at least 60 unarmed Palestinians and wounded 2,700, of whom 200 were children, as some 60,000 massed at Gaza's enclosure fence demanding their Right to Return to their homelands. But this isn’t the first time Israel has murdered unarmed Gazan civilians.  Independent journalists Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen, in a film just released to coincide with the Nakba, the Arabic word for “catastrophe”, which commemorates the 1948 war that uprooted 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, creating a refugee crisis that is
still not resolved talk about documenting Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza beginning with the 2014 aerial bombings of what is oftentimes described as the largest open-air prison in the world.  

Blumenthal and Cohen talk about chronicling the “Killing of Gaza”, beginning in 
2014 and give us the context for and sadly recount their expectation of this latest murderous attack on Palestinians by Israel supported by US tax dollars. They give us a chilling accounts of war crimes committed by the Israeli military, and recount
the experiences of the survivors just days after escaping indiscriminate shelling, bombings and summary executions.  They talk about walking through the rubble of Gaza’s devastated landscape and their discussions with the survivors of the slaughter who offer them their testimony of the war crimes they experienced, which they long for the world to recognize and prosecute their torturers.  

Our documentarians, talk about their recordation of the daily struggles of the 
people of Gaza, as they endure, freezing winters, where babies freeze and sweltering summers without shelter.  While Blumenthal and Cohen give voice to the pain of a people under constant siege, they also give voice to the Gazans’ acts of creative resistance and their reaffirmation of life by artistic expression
with the brush, and through literary works to youth’s break-dancing and rapping their resilience, their potential and resolve to break the occupation.  Blumenthal and Cohen explain that the people of Gaza collectively will continue to channel their pain, their anger and energy to the maintenance of their history, the preservation of their culture and the reclamation of their land and for a free, free
Palestinian. 

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The South African Revolution Continues Parts 1 and 2  

The South African Revolution Continues: First dismantling the Racialist State and Now Dismantling the Capitalist State that Fostered Apartheid 
featuring in a two-part exclusive an expanded conversation with Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of SAFTU, the South African Federation of Trade
Unions.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (“SAFTU”) is the voice of the workers in the struggle for a socialist society. It was formed by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the largest union in South Africa, with more than 350,000 workers and numerous other unions, as an alternative to the Coalition of
South African Trade Unions, which has capitulated to state capital, including defending the South African government's role in the Marikana massacre of 34 striking miners in August 2012.  Cyril Ramaphosa who is currently the President of South Africa was a member of the Board of Lonmin plc, formerly the mining division of Lonrho plc, a British producer of platinum group metals operating in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa, which owns the Marikana mine.

We asked SAFTU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi about the history of the 
South African freedom struggle which overthrew apartheid, but left in place the capitalist economic system, which has continued the exploitation of the working class and fostered mass economic inequality, and whose corruption has been rife under each of the successors to President Mandela.  Vavi talks about these issues and how the now Ramaphosa administration new developments are reaching a crisis: mass unemployment; heightened inequality; and new proposals restricting the rights of unions; and proposals that would gut minimum wages.  He also relates the upsurge amongst the masses, with youth in the

forefront of the protests was led to the general strike in April. 

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Building Bridges:Teachers Strike and Protest in Colorado and Arizona -  

Teachers Take the Lessons of the Classrooms to the Streets
from West Virginia to Arizona and now Colorado
with
.  Joselyn Palomino, Denver High School Teacher of Mexican-
   American Literature
.   Cat Berrett, English teacher at Phoenix Union High School District


The victorious wildcat strike in W. Virginia ushered in a new wave of teacher and state worker activism and strikes organized by the rank and file with their unions racing to catch up.  Teachers without bargaining rights in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona and where striking is illegal and their unions weak summoned their courage and walked off the job.  The most recent addition to this calvalcade of militancy is the Colorado teachers who with their union the Colorado Education Association shut down the statewide school
system for two days last week. At the same time Arizona teachers went on strike after weeks of militant demonstrations. . The strikes and mass protests often been led by the workers themselves forming new organizations often based on face book sites which host full-throttle conversations of what to do next such as Arizona’s face book group that organized the #RedForEd campaign and Kentucky’s KY120 United. They are fighting years of budget
cuts which translate into low wages and benefits and as importantly for these workers reduced school budgets meaning overcrowded classrooms, lacking basic supplies, updated books and educational materials. They are fighting for themselves and their students and have rejected deals to separate the issues.

Workers have been under brutal attack and unionization has been in decline for over 40 years. The employer offensive against unions has included all-out war against militant action and especially strikes. Yet it has only been in the periods of struggle and strikes for the private sector in the 1930’s and late 40’s and the public sector in the 1960’s that unions have grown and workers prospered. Now
the West Virginia workers have sparked workers across the land to embrace their rekindled militancy. 

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Huge Tragedy:Tennessee Workplace ICE Raid = 27:16  

Morristown, Tennessee subjected to the largest workplace raid by immigration authorities in over a decade.
with
Camila Fyler, Integration Director, The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition who has been stationed in Morristown since the raid to help coordinate financial Assistance to the families and secure legal representation for immigrant detainees.
and
Beatrice who has experienced the loss of many of her family member in the raids.in which hundreds of families have been impacted


Federal agents, with the assistance of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, stormed into Southeastern Provision, a meat-processing plant in Bean Station, TN. As helicopters circled above the factory and agents blocked doors, around 100 workers were rounded up and filed into buses without any opportunity to explain who they were, how long they had been there, or whether they were subject to federal immigration law at all. 54 community members living in East Tennessee for decades, some of whom had devoted over ten years of labor to that factory, were shipped out of the state without even a chance to say goodbye to their spouses and children. Their families were told nothing, and were left to wonder what had happened to loved ones who never came home.

This is a humanitarian crisis.  At least 160 children are missing a parent, nearly 600 students in a single school district have stayed home out of fear, and participation in the economy and community has been chilled.  Hundreds of
families whose lives have been torn apart.

It's hard to imagine another kind of crisis that would cause 5% of the district's children to stay home that wouldn't trigger some kind of intervention or at least public response.  We’ll talk with the people in Morristown and its surrounding
communities about the human costs of this unconscionable abuse of power on the children devastated by this assault on their families, and on the  thousands who are rightly afraid to go to work, take their kids to school, or even leave their
homes. The disaster stemming from the recent immigration raid continues to unfold. But, we know from similar raids in previous decades that the impact on children's health, on the school system, and on the local economy can last for
years to come.  This is no time for silence! 


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International Labor Offensive to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal - 28:56  

A coalition for an “International Labor Offensive to Free
Mumia Abu-Jamal and All Political Prisoners” is gaining momentum.

with
Jacky Hortaut, union organizer, member of the CGT in France; an
American studies Professor in Tours and Clermont-Ferrand
Universities and author of a book about women in prison dedicated to
the “Move” sisters and chair of Collectif Libérons Mumia, and organizer
of a local chapter of Just Justice Tours Le Collectif, which represents
roughly 10 cities, unions, human rights associations, and political
parties in France.

and
Dr. Claude Gillaumaud Pujot, a professor in France who wrote the
2007 Abu-Jamal biography, “A Free Man on Death Row”, who says
“Mumia is an example to all of us because he remains an activist even
after spending 30-plus years in hell.”  
 

A call for freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners is picking
up steam, with solidarity actions on his status hearing on in Philadelphia,
plus a court hearing on April 30, which could eventually lead to his freedom.
After years of global community meetings, protests, petitions and legal
challenges, the people’s movement succeeded in taking Mumia off death
row in 2011 and elevating Mumia to internationally recognized stature. 

Mumia now has name recognition rivaling top-tier athletes and entertainers and
is considered a hero to all people seeking liberation - having inspired millions
around the world, from Berlin to Brazil, Georgia to Ghana, who rally regularly on
his behalf demanding he receive release or a new trial.  In France Mumia is
considered a freedom fighter because of his advocacy for the oppressed
everywhere.  Mumia is the “voice of the voiceless,” who chronicles the legacies
of people’s struggles worldwide and one of the greatest threats to U.S.
imperialism is the uprising of “young Mumias” from the streets of Philadelphia
to the streets of Paris. We’ll talk with French activists about their understanding
and concerns that our courts in rejecting all challenges to evidence of Mumia’s
guilt have fueled questions worldwide about the fundamental fairness about the
U.S. court system and demand that the freedom fighter Mumia, advocate for the
oppressed everywhere be released or receive a new trial.

Twenty-five French cities have made Mumia Abu-Jamal an honorary citizen
including Paris and two streets have been named after him in Saint Denis and
Bobigny. And, one-hundred and twenty European representatives have
mobilized for medical care for the now ailing Mumia, as he approaches his
64th  birthday.  Mumia has wrongly spent more than half his life in prison, most
of which time was on death row and in solitary confinement, before the Supreme
Court held that application of the death penalty to Mumia was unconstitutional
and instead shackled him with a life-sentence for a crime, the killing of a police
officer that he did not commit.  


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Women Farm Workers Protest Wendy's Sexual Violence in the Fields - 58:59  

Farm Workers fast and march in their "Boot the Braids" campaign against fast-food giant Wendy's to stop sexual violence in the fields
with
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers and allies
 


For years, farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their allies have called on Wendy’s to join all of its major competitors in the Fair Food Program, a uniquely successful approach to eliminating human rights abuses in the agricultural industry. Instead of joining the Program, Wendy’s has taken its
tomato purchases to Mexico, where workers continue to confront wage theft, gender-based violence, child labor, and even slavery without access to protections.  Now tens of thousands strong, and endorsed by over a hundred organizations the CIW is asking you to join a boycott against Wendy's, until it does the right thing.

The struggle against poverty and for freedom must be led from the ground up, and the farmworkers of the CIW have been some of our bravest leaders these many years.Building Bridges brings you voices of the shero farm workers who have been Fasting for Freedom because they believe we need a fundamental shift in our nation’s moral narrative which places the lives of workers and the
dispossessed at the center.  The CIW’s Fair Food Program has given workers a real voice in the decisions that affect their lives.  And, with that voice they are transforming the agricultural industry where they work – eliminating slavery, violence, and sexual harassment in fields — where these abuses have persisted for generations. But, the fast food giant Wendy’s has refused to
support the Fair Food Program — and worse yet, it abandons growers who are doing the right thing to instead buy from an industry in Mexico — where they know sexual assault to slavery continue to thrive with impunity — is the very definition of amoral and unacceptable.”
**************************
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Oscar López Rivera on U.S. Colonialism After Hurricane Maria - 28:03  

Oscar López Rivera on U.S. Colonialism After Hurricane Maria

Oscar López Rivera has been called the Nelson Mandela of Puerto Rico. Indeed, like the South African legend, Rivera was imprisoned for his anti-colonial activism and spent decades in prison. But in January 2017, after serving 35 years of his 70-year sentence, President Barack Obama, as one of his last acts in office,
commuted Rivera’s sentence. In May 2017 Oscar López Rivera was a free man.

Oscar López Rivera has become a symbol of resistance to people the world over and became one of the longest serving political prisoners in the world. Among those who spoke out for his release were Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Francis, Senator Bernie Sanders, playwright Lin Manuel Miranda and others. Organizers of the 2017 National Puerto Rican Day Parade designated him as
the National Freedom Hero.  Recently Lopez Rivera sat down with Building Bridges’ Mimi Rosenberg, to discuss his frustration and anger with the American government, detailing how Puerto Ricans have been treated since the Caribbean island became an unincorporated territory of the United States in 1898. He
lamented that Puerto Ricans “are still a colonized people 120 years later,” Lopez Rivera said, “Puerto Ricans didn’t ask for citizenship; we didn’t want it. Since being colonized, Puerto Ricans haven’t been treated as humans; we have been marginalized, exploited and used by the United States who wanted our sugar cane and to create military bases.”  Lopez Rivera said there are two things he knows how to do best- struggle and work. He stated multiple times that he has never advocated any form of violence and this “fight for independence” must be an act of love. “People who love freedom and justice should care about Puerto Rico,” Lopez Rivera emphasized. “We have the potential to be a free nation, but it’s up to us. We will struggle and do what needs to be done.”  Lopez Rivera also spoke at length about Hurricane Maria and the humanitarian crisis taking place. Although it struck September 20, 2017, there are still more than 400,000 people without power. More than 550 residents were killed, and others are still missing. Maria is considered the worst natural disaster to ever strike the area.

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Did the "Two Sate Solution" Ever Mean More Than Israel Ruling Over a Palestinian Bantustan? -28:02  

The ‘two-state solution - did it ever mean more than an expanding colonial state, Israel ruling over a Palestinian Bantustan?
with

Jeff Halper Coordinator of the Israeli Committee against House
Demolitions and author of War Against the People: Israel, the
Palestinians and Global Pacification 



Jeff Halper provides a powerful indictment of the Israeli state’s “securocratic” war in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, drawing on firsthand research to show the pernicious effects of the sub-liminal form of unending warfare that was conducted by Israel, an approach that relies on sustaining fear among the populace, fear that is stoked by suggestions that the enemy is inside the city limits, leaving no place truly safe & justifying intensification of military action and militarization in everyday life. Halper shows, the integration of militarized systems—including databases tracking civilian activity, automated targeting systems, unmanned drones, and more—becomes seamless with everyday life. The Occupied Territories, Halper argues, is a veritable laboratory for that approach.  Halper goes on to show how this method of war is rapidly globalizing, as the major capitalist powers and corporations transform militaries, security agencies, and police forces into an effective instrument of global pacification.  


Halper is a supporter of the Boycott Divestment and Sanction Movement and the academic boycott of Israel, and considers Israel to be guilty of “apartheid” and of a deliberate campaign to “judaize” the occupied Palestinian territories.  He critiques the political and territorial viability of a ‘two-state solution’ and raises the mainly nonviolent strategies to solve the Israeli-Palestinian within one state.


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How California Unions Resist Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Raids - 27:29  

While ICE Raided Nearly 100 7-Eleven Stores in Pre-Dawn Nationwide Sweeps, California Unions Resists Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Actions
with

Rusty Hicks, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor

California unions are moving to protect undocumented workers and immigrants against attacks from the Trump regime.  They are vigorously supporting AB450, a bill introduced by state Rep. David Chiu, D-San Francisco, which gives undocumented immigrants “affirmative protections” against indiscriminate raids by agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). 
And then they darned their armor, after learning agents from the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be visiting a 7-Eleven store in Koreatown to conduct interviews and an audit, and decided to stage a protest outside of the store, holding signs that read, “Immigrants are welcome here.”  ICE raided close to one hundred 7-Eleven stores nation-wide, including five in Los Angeles.  While people were arrested in other states, none were arrested in Southern California, however ICE issued a statement
saying there were would be more raids to come. 


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Puerto Rico Unions Fight Privatization of Schools and Public Power Company - 28:56  

Teacher and Utility Unions on the State of the Puerto Rican Labor Movement After Maria and Governor Rossello's Plans to Privatize the Public Power Company and Schools
with 

Fredyson Martinez Estevez, Vice- President of the Irrigation & Electrical Workers Union, Unión de Trabajadores de la Industria Eléctrica y Riego,
and
Mercedes Martínez Padilla, President of the Teachers' Federation of Puerto Rico/Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico


In Puerto Rico, hundreds of thousands of people are still reeling from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. In a time of such dire need, the Trump administration has failed to provide the support needed to restore water to 7% of Puerto Rican residents and power to the nearly one in three residents, paving the way for a catastrophic announcement. The decision to privatize Puerto Rico’s state-owned power company which follows the same dangerous path mapped out in the Trump administration’s draft infrastructure
plan.

Whether it’s water or energy, privatization helps Wall Street at the expense of the well being and health of communities, particularly low-income families and people of color. Trump's leaked infrastructure plan similarly provides a blueprint for handing over public land and public water to Wall Street. It seeks to privatize local water systems and other critical public services, prioritizing
limited federal dollars to Wall Street and corporate investors. This scheme would also sell off federal assets and create a new infrastructure fund by opening up federal lands and waters to mineral and energy development benefiting the oil and gas industry.

We’ll speak with representatives of public sector unions in Puerto Rico representing teachers and utility workers about Governor Rossello's plans to privatize their services, and about challenges faced by the labor movement and workers following hurricane Maria and they’ll discuss labor issues affecting those unions under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA)


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Trump’s Sneaky Tips Theft - 26:10  

Say No to Trump’s Sneaky Tip Theft
with 

Saru Jayaraman, President, Restaurant Opportunities Centers
(ROC) United


The Trump Department of Labor, backed by the National Restaurant Association, is moving quickly to push a new rule that will make tips the property of restaurant owners rather than workers. It recently proposed rolling back a rule that protects workers in tipped industries, including restaurant servers and bartenders, from having their tips taken away by their employers. Under the proposal, federal law would allow restaurant owners who pay their wait staff and bartenders as little as $7.25/hour to pofcket
and confiscate all of the tips left by customers, without having to disclose to patrons what happens to the tips. Tips account for over half of these workers’ income which even together still adds up to poverty wages. More than $5.8 billion dollars will be transferred from workers to bosses under this proposal. Nearly 80 percent of the tips that would be stolen by employers would come from female tipped workers. Many women who work for tips already face harassment and discrimination at work, and this rule adds insult to injury


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NY Immigrant Rights Activists Ravi Ragbir & Jean Montrevil Targeted by ICE for Deportation 26:18  

New York Immigrant Rights Activists, Ravi Ragbir & Jean Montrevil Targeted by ICE for Deportation
with
immigration attorney, Amy Gottlieb, the Associate Regional Director for the Northeast Region of the American Friends Service Committee, who is responsible for supporting programs in the Northeast Region that focus on immigrant rights and the spouse of activist Ravi Ragbir.

An escalating legal battle is playing out in the case of Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition, a prominent immigrant rights activist whose detention by federal immigration authorities sparked protests that led to the arrest of 18 people, including elected officials of The New York City Council. Ravi Ragbir, showed up for his regularly scheduled “check-in” with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Manhattan and was then detained, as had been the co-founder, Jean Montrevil of the New Sanctuary Coalition weeks earlier.  Both were immediately transported to the notorious Krome Detention Center in Florida.  Clearly the two immigrants’ rights champions were targeted by ICE and Jean Montrevil
has already been deported to Haiti while Ravi Ragbir remains in detention. We’ll examine the cases of these two immigrant rights activists, to put a human face of the growing numbers of immigrants facing, repression, detention and deportations under the racist/xenophobic immigration policies of Trump/Kelley, one two punch Republican juggernaut!  

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"Harvest Without Violence", Women Farmworkers Protest - 29'  

Farmworker women launch their "Harvest Without Violence"
campaign to end sexual violence in Wendy’s fast food supply chain
featuringThe Coalition of Immokalee Workers



Now, amidst the stories that are surfacing about sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape against woman, too often low-wage woman workers have been subjected to sexual violence against their person in their work place, but their voices have oftentimes been eclipsed.  And, we barely think about the workers who are responsible for the bounty of food on our tables.  So, Building Bridges is off to join the formidable farmworker women leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (“CIW”) for a major "Harvest without
Violence" march.  The CIW Women’s Group traveled to the Big Apple to demand a meeting with Wendy's Board Chairman and major shareholder Nelson Peltz to share their powerful stories and demand Wendy’s do its part to end sexual violence in the fields. Join the farmworkers in their Boycott Wendy’s march through Midtown Manhattan to Trian Partners, the multi-billion dollar asset management firm founded by Nelson Peltz, the chairman of The Wendy’s Company, based in New York. Declare that farmworker women should not have to surrender their dignity for the right to put food on their families’ tables!

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Billionaires Feast on $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut Threatening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - 28:51  

Billionaires Feast on $1.5 Trillion Trump Tax Cut Leaves 99% with Scraps from their Table and Threatens Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
featuring

Dean Baker,  formerly was an assistant professor of economics at Bucknell University. He is currently a co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C.
and

Alex Lawson, Executive Director, Social Security Works

Only the Billionaires will win bigly with this tax cut for the rich which offers a sugar coated poisoned pill of benefits for the working class with threats to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid down the road to pay for their party. The massive cut to Corporate Taxes will be permanent while decreases in the individual rates will be eroded by inflation and then end in 8 years. The final bill also limits deductions of state and local taxes only to $10,000/yr while exempting more millionaires from paying the Estate Tax. According to all credible estimates, Republican claims that the $1.5 Trillion deficit over 10 years will covered by increased economic growth are overblown. It will leave a $1 Trillion deficit which will give the Republicans an excuse to attack Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

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Trump Tax Plan -A Con Game Against Working People - 27:41  

Chief economist of the AFL-CIO declares Trump tax plan a con game against working people 
with
Dr. William Spriggs,  Chief economist of the AFL-CIO 

and professor of Economics at Howard University

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka responded to the Trump tax plan saying “it is nothing but a con game, and working people are the ones they’re trying to con. Here we go again. First comes the promise that tax giveaways for the wealthy and big corporations will trickle down to the rest of us. Then comes the promise that tax cuts will pay for themselves. Then comes the promise that they want to stop offshoring. And finally, we find out none of these things are true, and the people responsible for wasting trillions of dollars on tax giveaways to the rich tell us we have no choice but to cut Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, education and infrastructure”.  Dr. Williams Spriggs tells us why the tax plan is little more than an across-the-board tax cut for America’s
millionaires and billionaires and wealthiest corporations at a time of massive wealth and income inequality – and that’s morally repugnant and bad economic policy to boot! 

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Trump Yanks Haitians' Temporary Protective Status - 27:13  

Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) 
yanks Temporary Protective Status (“TPS”) from Haitians –
more than 50,000 face deportation!
featuring 

Steve Forester, Immigration Policy Coordinator,
with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
and

Kim Ives, journalist and co-founder of the international weekly
newspaper Haiti Liberté

We condemn the Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for Haitians, and deport the more than 50,000 Haitians who currently live in the United States with that status. These vulnerable people will be forcibly returned to a country not yet recovered from the devastating 2010 earthquake, and the massive hurricanes and cholera epidemics that followed and where the country’s political turmoil further places these refugees lives at risk.  Haiti is in no condition right now to accept deportees.  Attorney Steve Forester,
Immigration Policy Coordinator, with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and Kim Ives, journalist and co-founder of the international weekly newspaper Haiti Liberté discuss DHS’s saying get back and how we can fight back.

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: The Trumpian Tax Plan! with Dean Baker  

As the saying goes, “some thing's rotten in Denmark” & we’ve figured out what it is, why it’s the Trumpian tax plan!
featuring

Dean Baker,  formerly was an assistant professor of economics at Bucknell University. He is currently a co-director of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C.

When Trump said that “the biggest winners” under his new tax plan “will be the everyday American workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor and as wages start going up at levels that you haven’t seen in many years,” you might’ve suspected he was lying, because, well, his lips were moving. But some corporate media give credence to the idea that this GOP tax plan is one for the little guy. We’ll talk taxes with economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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PR Crisis, Luis Rosa Perez, former political prisoner & Prof. Rafael Bernabe - 28:08  

“The Storms have ripped the clothes off colonialism's devastation of Puerto Rico” says Luis Rosa Perez!
featuring
Luis Rosa Perez
,
is a former U..S. held Puerto Rican political prisoner of war. He served almost 20 years in U.S. prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from the colonial relationship it’s had with the U.S. since 1898. In 1999 he and a group of Puerto Rican prisoners of war were given clemency by President Clinton. Luis Rosa Perez's commitment to his people is described as "Sacrifice without hesitation".
and
Rafael Bernabe
is a researcher and professor at the University of Puerto Rico. He is the author, with César Ayala, of Puerto Rico in the American Century:A History Since 1898 (2007).

Hurricane Irma and Maria's passing and aftermath have once again brought to light Puerto Rico’s primordial conundrum: colonialism.  Together they have left The Island in shambles.  Luis Rosa Perez and Rafael Bernabe, two of the Island’s most prominent social change agents survey the damage on the ground wrought by the storms, whose devastating path through the Island was paved by Puerto Rico’s status as a US colony.  Luis and Rafael take
stock of The Island’s needs and urge us to build support for the Puerto Rican communities Unity March for Puerto Rico, Sunday, November 19, in D.C., – One People – One Voice – against unjust laws that have been systematically oppressive and exploited the people and resources of Puerto Rico and prevented its socio-economic growth and the sustainability of The Island. 

Luis and Rafael discuss the peoples reconstruction efforts on the ground and their organizing for self-determination, while they encourage us to create forceful, sustained political pressure on our leaders until they act for Puerto Rico – for a commitment to sustain rebuilding efforts; for transparency and accountability in the delivery of aid; and for the elimination of the Jones Act and the cancellation of Puerto Rico’s debt which is crippling The Island’s
recovery.  


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Rev Barber on Creating a Fusion Movement to Defeat Trump and Move Forward Together - 54:14  

Rev Barber on Creating a Fusion Movement
to Defeat Trump and Move Forward Together
with
The Rev. Dr. William Barber
is Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, in 
Goldsboro, North Carolina and architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement that gained national acclaim with its Moral Monday protests which drew tens of thousands of North Carolinians and other moral witnesses to the state legislature.  He has served as president of the North Carolina NAACP, the largest state conference in the South.  His two most recent books include Forward Together (Chalice Press) and The Third
Reconstruction (Beacon Press).

And, Dr. William Barber is the founder and president of Repairers of the 
Breach, an organization that seeks to build a progressive agenda rooted in a moral framework to counter the ultra-conservative constructs that try to dominate the public square. Rev. Barber one of the most influential, progressive religious figures in the country.

Tens of thousands of men and women rose up in Chicago and cities from 
coast to coast to demanding that everyone in America have the right to organize and join a union and the Rev. William Barber said “I’m proud to stand with them, because their fight is central to the battle against poverty, racism, and inequality”. 

Earlier this year Rev. Barber announced an effort by faith and moral leaders 
to carry forward Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a Poor People’s Campaign, working across twenty-five states to alleviate the triad forces of poverty, militarism, and racism that Dr. King knew were poisoning our country then and still threaten us today.

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Spectrum Cable Strikers Demonstrate for a Fair Contract & Against Union Busting - 27:50  

On Strike, Six Months & Counting: Spectrum Cable workers headed from the picket line crossing the Brooklyn Bridges to a massive Rally in Foley Square drawing thousands of supporters from the labor and community movements for social change. They built support  amongst the public for their fight for a fair contract and to save their union, amidst a media whiteout of their historic labor struggle!  
with
IBEW Local 3 strikers and supporters


Some 1,800 members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 have been on strike at Spectrum/Time Warner Cable in New York and New Jersey since March 28, more than six months ago. Since then, only a fraction of the workforce has crossed picket lines, but the company is trying hard to keep up normal operations by using scabs and subcontractors to break the strike and the workers' union..

Spectrum is part of Charter Communications, the second largest cable provider in the U.S. and a telecommunications giant, providing services to roughly 25 million customers in 41 states, two and a half million of which reside in New York. The CEO, Tom Rutledge, who made $98.5 million last year met with Donald Trump in the White House earlier this year, and the company is touted by Trump as a job creator investing in its U.S. workforce. Meanwhile Rutledge’s Charter Communications has hung its workers out to dry:
 
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