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

Close Rikers Island NYC Jail Now Rally - 28:56  

Attend the rally to close the notorious jail marked by violence and
corruption and impervious to substantive reform: Close Rikers Island!


We’ll bring you highlights of the rally to Shut Rikers Down!  Johnny Perez, a member of the Jails Action Coalition who experienced solitary confinement himself, Akeem Browder the brother of Kalief Brower, who tragically became the face of everything wrong with Rikers when he committed suicide after spending three years there--two of them in solitary--because his family couldn't afford the bail when he was charged with  allegedly stealing a backpack say SHUT IT DOWN!

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The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy - 28:48  

Attica, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy! 
with
Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood In The Water


Although much has been written about the take over and ensuing assault on the Attica prison by state police and national guard troops some four days later which resulted in the murder of forty three individuals, including ten hostages, one statement by a 21 year old spokesperson for the inmates, himself later executed by police after they retook the prison, rings no less true or powerful today, some 45 years later:

Forty-five years after the rebellion at Attica, one of the greatest civil rights uprisings of that century stunned the nation, millions of Americans mostly men and women of color are locked away in prisons often for decades. But, Attica continues to serve as the inspiration, most recently for the largest prison strike in the history of this country and as Eddie Ellis, our 
recently deceased WBAI radio journalist, prisoner reform advocate and former Attica prisoner who was locked in one of the secured areas of the prison during the uprising said: “the bloodshed at Attica did something important it exposed what was being done to people and it also showed what men were able to do in a few short days when we work together. That history will serve us, one way or another. The choice, as it has always been, is up to us to dismantle the system of mass incarceration”. 

Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood In The Water, draws from more 
than a decade of extensive research and sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.

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People Get Ready for a New Economy - 27:16  

People Get Ready for a New Economy
with

Robert W. McChesney, Professor at the University of Illinois  

Join Robert W. McChesney as he posits that the U.S. needs a new economy whose revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, McChesney proposes a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny—before it’s too late—and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity. 

Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour—or its greatest moment. The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining or stagnant wages , expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of the economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress. The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are 
employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. 

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Indigenous Mindanao People in Philippines Fight for Food, Land & Justice - 28:59  

Indigenous Lumad Leaders from Mindanao, in Their Fight for Food, Land, and Justice Take Aim at US Funding Philippino Militarization 

On April 1, 2016, the Philippine National Police opened fire on an estimated 6,000 peasant and indigenous farmers who had barricaded a national highway in the southern Philippines.  Three were killed, more than 100 wounded, and at least 70 detained. The farmers were demanding the distribution of food relief after more than 7-months of drought had caused widespread famine.  Since 2010, at least 70 indigenous people from the southern island of Mindanao (collectively known as Lumad) have been killed for their outspoken stand to defend their ancestral domains from economic and ecological plunder. The Philippines has the world’s second largest gold deposits, more than half are
in Mindanao. Even indigenous community schools have

come under attack through military occupation and vilification. Currently, there are nearly 3,000 indigenous individuals who have been displaced from their communities
due to military occupation in an effort to clear the land for mining operations.  Indigenous people of the Philippines are increasingly being vilified, harassed, and murdered for defending their ancestral land from foreign corporate interests. 


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Prisoners Strike, Say No To Slave Labor - 27:32  

Prisoners, Say No To Being Used As Slave Labor and
Withhold Their Labor Power In Nationwide Strike

with
Cole Dorsey and Michael Forest, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, Industrial Workers of the World


Prisons can’t run without inmates, in more ways than one. Prisoners wash floors, work in the laundries and kitchens, and provide a large amount of the labor that keeps their facilities running. In return, they earn pennies per hour
or even no pay at all.  That’s sparking what may have been the largest prison strike yet as inmates across the country stopped working on Sept. 9. The strikers are calling for an end to forced labor and what they call “prison slavery”. And, it’s no coincidence that they picked Sept. 9 as the strike date: It was the 45th anniversary of the Attica rebellion, when prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York demanded their rights in one of the most significant civil rights occurrences of the century. 

"I'M BEGINNING TO BELIEVE THAT `U.S.A.' STANDS FOR THE UNDERPRIVILEGED SLAVES OF AMERICA" wrote a 20th-century prisoner from Mississippi in a letter detailing 

the daily violence he witnessed behind prison walls. His statement resounds with a long tradition of prisoners, and particularly African-American prisoners, who have used the
language and narrative of slavery to describe the conditions of their imprisonment. In the year 2000, as the punishment industry becomes a leading employer and producer for the U.S. "state," and as private prison and "security" corporations bargain to control the profits of this traffic in
human degradation, the analogies between slavery and prison abound. 


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The Racial Wealth Divide - 27:55  

The Country’s Racial Wealth Divide
with
Dedrick Asante-Muhammed, Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the Corporation for Enterprise Development


Racial and economic inequality are the most pressing social issues of our time. In the last decade, we have seen the catastrophic economic impact of the Great Recession and an ensuing recovery that has bypassed millions of Americans,
especially households of color.  A new report looks at the country’s racial wealth gap, finding that if current public policies stay the same, it will take more than two centuries for black families to accumulate the same amount of wealth that white families have today.  For the average Latino family, it’ll take 84 years. Building Bridges will focus on the essential role that wealth plays in achieving financial
security and opportunity.


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Standing Rock Sioux Fight Dakota Oil Pipeline - 28:18  

“Like A Tree That Standing By The Water We Will Not Be Moved”: Fighting on All Fronts Lawyers Declare Victory In Defense of the Camp Sacred Stone Water Protectors as Federal Judge Dissolves Injunction
with
Jeff Haas, National Lawyers Guild attorney


Even before the Dakota Access’s pipeline security turned violent activists faced harsh responses as Governor Dalrymple, who declared a state of emergency, removing water and sanitation resources from the reservation, and the police have set up roadblocks around the reservation. Dozens of protesters have already been arrested, and police have spread false rumors of violence from the peaceful protectors.  But, as the struggle continues there’s been an important victory on the legal front as U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland dissolved a temporary restraining order against Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II and other participants in the protests against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).  “Although the judge went out of his way to show his disdain for many of the water protectors, he also became aware that this was a political controversy that he likely could not control and the mechanism of an injunction was unwieldy and likely ineffective in light of the determination of those resisting the pipeline construction over sacred sites and threatening the water supply,” said attorney Jeff Haas.  Attorney Hass discusses the lifting of federal court prohibition on protests against the pipeline and  the legal challenges as local authorities and the criminal courts are now charging as felonies, nonviolent actions of protesters including peacefully locking themselves to stationary earth movers
*****************************

Who's Banking on the Dakota Access Pipeline?
with
Hugh MacMillan, senior researcher on water, energy and climate issues at Food & Water Watch. 

Hugh recently wrote the report which states: "Powerful oil and gas companies are taking appalling steps to override the Sioux’s Indians objections, using their immense financial resources to push for building the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will further line their pockets.  Behind the companies building the pipeline is a set of even more powerful Wall Street corporations that might give you flashbacks to the 2007 financial crisis." Among the companies funding the project are Citibank, Wells Fargo, UBS, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, SunTrust, Credit Suisse and TD Securities. We’ll discuss the financial institutions that are fostering widespread drilling and fracking to increase our disastrous dependence on fossil fuels.

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African American Unemployment Still Double White Rate; FCP Home Attendants Fight Back - 28:14  

Institutional Racism in the U.S. labor market - What is to be done?
with
William Spriggs, Chief Economist to the AFL-CIO and professor in, and former chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University. Bill is also former assistant secretary for the Office of Policy at the
United States Department of Labor


The so-called recovery of the US economy has not been equally kind to everyone. Even as the unemployment rate has decreased, the unemployment rate for African Americans, is currently more than twice as high as that for white Americans. Indeed, nationwide in 2015, 9.6% of African-Americans were unemployed compared with 4.6% of whites. This 2 to 1 ratio of African American to white unemployment has persisted for at least the last 50 years.
This unemployment gap is not one of skill or education , it is because of the very real and persistent discrimination prevalent in the U.S. labor market. And, did you know that it would take 228 years for African-American families to
amass the wealth of white families ?
****************

FCP workers invite all home attendants to join them in demanding stolen wages, and ending mandatory 24-hour shifts 
with 
National Mobilization Against Sweatshops(NMASS)
Aint't I A Woman Campaign



Home attendants who have worked as many as two decades for First Chinese Presbyterian Community Affairs Home Attendant Corp. (FCP) caring for elderly and ill patients in their homes, were forced to work 24-hour shifts for as many as seven days a week, but paid for only 12 or 13 of these hours. The workers were also denied overtime pay.  But, they’re not taking this lying down.  Joined by workers from Chinese American Planning Council and workers from other
agencies, the FCP home attendants are demanding  that FCP resolve their case immediately by paying the workers their owed wages, and they’re headed 


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Building Bridges: Rev. Dr. Barber's #FightFor15 Convention Speech - 28:08  

Rev. Dr. Barber's #FightFor15 Convention Speech Reverend Dr. William Barber II is the architect and leader of the Moral Modays movement which has rallied a broad coaltion of North Carolinians to protest outside the state capital building demanding that the legislature restore full voting rights

Recently, thousands of low-wage workers from across the country marched on Richmond, VA, the former capitol of the Confederacy to fight for racial and economic justice at the #FightFor15 National Convention. Barber , founding member of Repairers of the Breach and architect of the Moral Monday movement, delivered the address at the culmination of the march in sweltering temperatures, He proclaimed "We won't stop fighting until we win"to 8,000 people marching to oppose the racial, social and
economic inequalities that plague our nation, which are all linked and so too must be the fights to address them.

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20 Years Since Pres. Clinton Shredded Welfare - 27:07  

Ain’t I A Woman:  how twenty-years after Bill Clinton pulled the safety net from under predominantly poor women and children they’re left to sink to deeper destitution
with

Felicia Kornbluh is associate professor of history and gender, sexuality and women’s studies at the University of Vermont and president of the faculty union, United Academics. She’s author of "The Battle for Welfare Rights" and, with Gwendolyn Mink, of the forthcoming "Ensuring Poverty: The History and Politics of Welfare Reform".

April McCray thought she had finally caught a break in late 2005. That’s when the state of Louisiana granted cash assistance to the single mother through the Temporary Assistance of Needy Families (TANF) program. It was her first experience with America's welfare program.  McCray, who had been in and out of work, struggled to make ends meet. This, she hoped, would at least help soften the
burden.  But a month later, the state stripped her of the benefits without a clear explanation, she said. Since then, she says Louisiana, which controls state and federally allocated TANF dollars, has denied her requests for assistance several times. "It gets depressing," said McCray, who in 2016, is still struggling. With three kids and rarely more than a part-time job, she says she needs help she can’t seem to get from a welfare system that was overhauled 20 years ago.  “As far as whether people are better off, I do think they are, in some cases, worse off.”

Twenty years ago on August 22, then President Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, that imposed work requirements and term limits on public assistance into effect and people like April McCray across the country have been left destitute.

Now, while there are advocates who in the wake of the shredding of the social safety net, such as in New York are demanding an end to the Work Experience Program (WEP), increased allowances to reflect the cost of living, and more humane treatment at public assistance centers, for the millions of poor, predominantly woman and 
children across the nation like April McCray they’re left to wonder why across the spectrum those seeking electoral office and with a national platform have failed to meaningfully address poverty and put together a platform to reverse twenty-years of
the harmful legacies of the 1990s “Welfare Reform and Destruction Act”.  

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Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck - 28:17  

“Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics,
and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck” 
with
Adam Cohen, former member of the NY Times Editorial Board 

One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land.  Bestselling author Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles of
one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition: the Supreme Court’s decision to champion eugenic sterilization for the greater good of the country. In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an “imbecile.”  Adam Cohen sets the context for the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck and thousands of others: a panic, fed by the pseudoscience of eugenics, that so-called feebleminded people constituted a threat to public safety and the nation’s gene pool.  The book serves as a cautionary tale about what may happen when those who have, or obtain, power use the institutions of government and the law
to advance their own interests at the expense of those who are poor, disadvantaged, or of different ‘hereditary’ stock.

Plus
Donald Trump's Fascist Week - The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Donald Trump comes under fire for unknowingly tweeting a Benito Mussolini quote, 
and he may have more in common with the fascism founder than he realizes.

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Building Bridges: A Democratic Convention Special part 1  

Building Bridges, Not Walls!  
A Building Bridges Democratic Convention Special
With
Deborah Burger Co-President, National Nurses United
and
Larry Hamm, veteran activist, Chairman the Peopleâs Organization 
for Progress 


With her selection of Gov. Tim Kaine as her running mate Hillary Clinton reinforced her determination to run a traditional political campaign in a year noted for mass upsurges from the left and right. 

Join Building Bridges as we highlight issues in the host city's working class communities, and from behind the barricades the protests as activists from around the country converge on the DNC. Then we'll analyze the nature of the Democratic Party and what it says about the state of U.S. politics and the impact and future of the movement initiated by Bernie Sanders.


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Protesting the Republican Convention - 28:24  

Building Bridges Not Walls –
Protesting the Republican Convention
with

Car Dix, Stop Mass Incarceration Network
and

Abbas Hamideh, Cleveland Palestinian Activist,
Co-Founder Al-Awda
 


Parallel idiocies in the Republican camp between Donald Trump and conservative Republican "political correctness" now enshrined in their platform and embodied in the person of Trump’s VP nominee Indiana Gov. Pence, have come together to form a full blown war against  We the People!

Join Building Bridges for a Presidential Election Special high-lighting the events on the ground around ongoing issues in Cleveland working class communities and as thousands came to protest from around the US to respond to the charcade of pomp and circumstances masking the truth and the intrigue of the Republican Party in its Convention as it 
unfolded in Cleveland, Ohio. 

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Striking Mexican Teachers Killed by Police Assault - 26:28  

Deadly Assault by Mexican Police on Striking Teachers Leaves 10 Dead, Dozens More Injured and 22 Disappeared.
with 

Laura Carlsen, Americas Program, Center for International Policy

There is an urgent situation facing teachers and their union, the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE/SNTE), in Mexico.  On June 19, teachers in the town of Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, were fired upon with live ammunition by the Federal Police as part of the effort by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to break the nationwide strike by teachers against the
government's privatizing "education reform" program.  The peaceful demonstration in Nochixtlán was also held to demand the immediate release from prison of the three top elected union officers of Section 22 of the CNTE/SNTE, the union representing the teachers in the state of Oaxaca. These union leaders had been jailed and sent to a federal prison more than 1,000 miles away by the government on trumped-up charges. Ten people in Nochixtlán were killed by the Federal Police, with dozens more wounded, and 22 disappeared. Protest organizers also informed the Deputy Counsel of Mexico that labor and community activists across the United States are demanding that the U.S. government halt all military aid to Mexico, as the weapons made available to the Mexican Federal Police to repress the teachers have all been sent by the United States under the Plan Mérida. The anti-union repression against striking teachers in Mexico -- following on the heels of the so-called "reforms" imposed by the international financial institutions (IMF, OECD, World Bank, etc.) -- concerns all workers and trade unions the world over.  


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US Imposing Junta to Rule Puerto Rico - 28:46  

US Imposing Junta to Rule Puerto Rico
with

Rafael Bernabe, candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico for
the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador (PPT) 2012; professor and
director of the Federico de Onís Hispanic Studies Center at
the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras; economist; and
who has  published three books including “Puerto Rico: Crisis y Alternativas”


Just in time to celebrate the Declaration of Independence by the 13 colonies which came together to form the USA,, Congress passed and Pres Obama signed  The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, or PROMESA, which established an independent control board or Junta de Control Fiscal, as it is locally known. It will be responsible for managing Puerto Rico’s spending and debt recovery with sweeping powers to run Puerto Rico’s economy. It also imposes a retroactive stay on litigation from the territory’s creditors against Puerto Rico’s government and includes a provision that could lower Puerto Rico’s minimum wage for workers 25 and younger below the current federal minimum of 
$7.25. The bill was opposed by progressives including Senator Bernie Sanders, who said “[W]e are taking away virtually all of the political and democratic rights of the people of Puerto Rico. We are treating them as an absolute colony.” While supporters of the legislation say it will help the island cope with its debt crisis by allowing an orderly restructuring of its $72 billion debt, critics say it is a reversion to old-style colonialism that removes democratic control from the people of Puerto Rico. They say that this colonial junta is nothing but a glorified collection agency for the hedge funds and the vulture funds and will call for further austerity in an economy reeling from a long term depression rather than ways
to fix the broken economy which led to the debt in the first place. In Puerto Rico, students, union members, politicians and environmentalists have launched a series of protests against the bill, including marches and a protest camp outside the U.S. Federal Court in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.

Plus
Bernie Sanders speech against "colonial" Puerto Rico bill PROMESA
Sen. Bernie Sanders harshly condemned what he called the "colonial" Puerto Rico bill PROMESA on the Senate floor on 
June 29



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From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet? - 28:50  

From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?
with

Gil Caldwell – Methodist Minister, activist and a self-described foot soldier in the civil rights movement.  He marched on Washington; called for voting rights in the heat of the Mississippi summer; and walked from Selma to Montgomery. He later broadened his demand for equality, advocating for gay rights. In 2000, he was arrested twice for protesting the United Methodist Church’s policy that the “practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Co-Executive Producer From Selma to Stonewall.
and

Marilyn Bennett - a lesbian author and activist, developed the Truth in Progress, a multi-media project focused on race, sexual orientation, and religion. The project pays homage to historic events and people of the civil rights and gay rights movements. Director & Co-Executive Producer From Selma to Stonewall.

Discussion of the powerful new documentary that begins by looking at the Civil Rights Movement in Selma and the LGBTQ Rights Movement that was galvanized at the Stonewall rebellion.  The film delves into some of today’s most explosive and discussed subjects: racial injustice, police brutality, transgender discrimination, LGBTQ homelessness, and where those issues intersect. The film takes on heightened importance in this month of gay pride recognition and celebration and most particularly after the horror of the massacre of gay, primarily Latinos In Orlando. 


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The People's Summit: A Way Forward for Peoples Power - 28:59  

The People's Summit: A Way Forward for Peoples Power
with

RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director, National Nurses United
and

Winnie Wong, Founder, People for Bernie & A People’s Summit Organizer

So you couldn’t attend the Peoples Summit, well we’ll provide a report back on the historic convening of organizations and individuals committed to social, racial and economic justice June 17-19, in Chicago to bring together activists committed to a People’s Agenda that can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality and freedom. The Summit envisioned as deepening the relationship between participating organizations rooted in principled anti-corporate politics, development of community leaders, direct action not based on partisan identification, and strategic organizing to build power. The Summit was devoted to key issues such as the Fight for 15, mass incarceration and criminal justice reform, voting rights and expanding democratic participation, a tax on Wall Street speculation to fund human needs and jobs, climate justice toward a sustainable economy, improved Medicare for All, the fight for free and debt-free higher education, secure retirement through expanding social security, ending HIV/AIDS, achieving Constitutional pay equity for women, and ending deportations and support for DREAMers, among others. WOW, that’s a heck of an agenda and aspiration and we’ll find out how it turned out! 

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Orlando : I See Your "True Colors" Shining Through - 28:55  

Orlando: I See Your "True Colors" Shining Through

         
Saturday was Latin night. More than 350 revelers
          flocked to Orlando’s Pulse nightclub for reggaeton, salsa
          and Puerto Rican drag queens. “Calling all our Latinos,
          Latinas and everyone that loves a little Latin flavor!”
          read a Saturday evening post on the club's Facebook                   page. “It's time to party!” We’ll continue to probe how               the  merriment ended with the deadliest mass shooting of             LGBTQs in U.S. 
history.

With
 .  Brian Epps, an African-American activist and Executive Director of
    the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center
    in NY
.   Gil Caldwell, Co-Executive Producer of the newly released film
   "From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet?" He’s a retired
    United Methodist Minister, active in the Civil Rights Movement, and
    a long-time ally/advocate of gay rights
 .  Michael Adams, a Latino elder, CEO of SAGE, which provides
    services and advocacy for the GLBTQ elder’s. 

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Building Bridges: Equality for NY Farmworkers - 28:37  

Farmworkers Declare, We Put the Food on Your Table
Isn’t It Time We Got to Share in the Bounty?
featuring

. Pablo Cruz and Heriberto Gonzalez NYS farm workers
. Rev. Richard Witt, Executive Director Rural & Migrant Ministry
. State Senator Adriano Espaillat
. NYS Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan
. Cardinal Timothy Dolan
. Kerry Kennedy, Pres., Robert Kennedy Center for Human Rights
. Jose Calderon, President, Hispanic Federation


Hey, what about the fact that those who grow the food that feeds us, farmworkers don’t get even one day a week off to rest after from their toil? And, they don’t have the right to organize and bargain collectively; nor are there basic standards under the Sanitary Code for farmworkers living quarters; nor do farmworkers get unemployment pay when they’re laid off or terminated; and they’re not entitled to workers’ compensation if they’re injured on the job; nor can they receive disability benefits when they are unable to work due to illness or injury.  And, they sure don’t receive overtime pay when they’re forced to work more than an eight hour day.  Why is this?  Well, in the 1930s, farmworkers and domestic workers were left out of the New Deal due to pressure from the descendants of slaveholders.  Eighty years later,
farmworkers remain excluded for fundamental labor protections and benefits in New York and now they’re marching throughout NYS with the Rural and Migrant Ministry to end this injustice and demand that the state senate and Gov. Cuomo bring the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act to the floor for a vote to be included in basic labor rights afforded other workers.


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NYS Medicare for All, A Better Prescription for a Health Care Solution -27:47  

Medicare for All, A Better Prescription for a Health Care Solution
with

Richard Gottfried, Chair NYS Assembly Health Committee

Bernie Sanders is at the forefront over a national debate on improving our health care system, with his proposal for a “single payer” structure shorthand for “Medicare for All”. Meanwhile, in NYS, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried‘s single payer legislation has  passed the Assembly, with wide support from organized labor as well as multiple community advocacy and healthcare professional organizations.  While discontent arises under Obamacare, as insurance companies increase our out-of-pocket expenses the Gottfried plan would provide a comprehensive universal insurance program for all NYers, without deductibles, co-pays and would eliminate restrictive provider networks. Gottfried’s plan would begin a march to “Medicare for All” nationwide, the same state by state way the Canadians began their successful single payer system.  “Health care reform has done a lot of good, but it still leaves us in the hands of insurance companies.  Single Payer would save the billions of dollars that we now spend on insurance company administrative costs…You and your doctor would work to keep you healthy. New York Health would pay the bill with funding
from broad-based revenue based on ability to pay”. 

Plus Lily Tomlin Comedian/actress Lily Tomlin appeared as her character 
Ernestine to lambaste the insurance companies at a California rally in support of a Medicare for all single payer system

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Workers Intensify Call for $15 and a Union - 27:07  

Following $15/Hour Victories in CA, NY, PA, Underpaid Workers Intensify Call for $15, and Union Rights Nationwide with Record 300 City Strike and Protests!

Fast-food, home care, child care, airport, higher education, hospital and other underpaid workers in the Biggest-ever day of global strikes and protests demanded 15 dollars and hour and union rights for workers everywhere.  The workers and their supporters swept the country in protest to demand corporations pay workers’ wages they can live on and that giant companies 
like McDonald’s pay their fair share of taxes. The workers zeroed in on McDonald’s, the world’s second largest employer and industry leader, as a symbol of what is wrong with the economy. 

In New York and California, where workers already won $15, the protest was focused on the demand for union rights and on supporting the call for $15 by workers all across the country.  Around the world, workers rallied in more than 40 countries on six continents, including a blockade at the McDonald’s in Disneyland Paris; protests in the United Kingdom against “zero-hou contracts,”
which fail to guarantee workers a minimum number of hours; protests in Korea against unpaid hours and unsafe working conditions; and a series of marches against unfair labor practices in Brazil.

In New York City, the rally for $15 and a union was capped off by thousands marching from McDonald’s, where the Fight for $15 started more than three years ago, across town to a $1,000/plate GOP gala, protesting against 
Donald Trump's opposition to raising minimum wages.

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Immigration and the American Economy - 27:30  

Immigration and the American Economy
with

Dave Dyssegaard Kallick, with the Fiscal Policy Institute’s  Immigration Research Initiative that examines the role of immigrants in the New York State economy and beyond
and
Cal Soto, National Rights Coordinator with the National Day Laborers 
Organizing Network (NDLON) committed to improve the lives of day laborers in the United States - to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. 

Few government policies can have so profound an impact on a nation as 
immigration. Large numbers of immigrants and their descendants have a significant impact on the cultural, political, and economic situation in their new country. Over the last 3 decades, socio-economic conditions, and the scourge of war and terror campaigns against the population have caused 25 million people to leave their homelands and emigrate legally to the United States.  Additionally, it’s estimated that the undocumented population grows by 400,000 to 500,000 each year.  

As in the past, immigration has sparked an intense debate over the costs 
and benefits of such a large number of people entering the country. One of the central aspects of the immigration debate is its impact on the American economy.  Presently the debate has been controlled by the white nationalist rants of Donald Trump and others in the Republican Party. But, we’re here to debunk the myths, counter the lies, repudiate the vitriol  and reset the
discussion 

There is a poster that’s stayed in my mind’s eye for years – it’s a portrait of a 
Native American, which says “if your so against immigration, splendid when do you leave?”

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Time for A New Economy Creating Good Jobs for All - 26:46  

Time for A New Economy Creating Good Jobs for All

And yes, another world is possible! There are alternatives!  It's time for a new economy! Two of the nation’s leading activists talk about creating jobs, jobs and more jobs and creating new economic models to realize another world is possible. 
with
Ed Whitfeld is a co-founder and co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC) a private foundation that aims to promote economic democracy and cooperative economics in the U.S. South. In his work with F4DC, Ed helped initiate the formation of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP) and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.  Whitfield has been at the forefront of not just envisioning, but actively building a new economy grounded in justice, democracy, and sustainability. 
and  
Steven Pitts, Associate Chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education focuses on issues of job quality and Black workers. In this arena, he has published reports on employment issues in the Black community, initiated a Black union leadership school, and shaped projects designed to build solidarity between Black and Latino immigrant workers. Currently, a major area of his work involves providing technical assistance to efforts in developing Black worker centers around the country.

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NYC UFT Elections - MORE/New Action Challenges Unity Caucus - 28:47  

Why MORE/New Action Candidates Contest Unity Caucus Seats for  UFT Leadership In Union Elections
with 

Jia Lee, candidate for President

Jia is currently a 4th/5th grade special education teacher and is chapter leader at the Earth School in District 1 and a public school parent. As chapter leader, she supported staff consultation committees on issues from micromanagement and professional conciliation and fostered mediation to support a democratic culture. She testified before the U.S. HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Senate Committee, on the reauthorization of ESEA. She is an opt out organizer with Change the Stakes and NYC Opt Out,
a member of the Stronger Together Caucus and a national network of social justice caucuses.
and

Camille Eterno, candidate for Secretary 
Camille has been an English teacher since 1996. She was elected to chapter leader at the Queens Gateway to Health Sciences and won grievances that were said to be unwinnable and organized her chapter into a force at many union rallies. As a leader in the Independent Community of Educators, she was instrumental in
the battle against the giveback laden 2005 contract. She is now a delegate from Humanities and the Arts High School in Queens.
and 

Jonathan Halabi, High School Division Candidate for Executive Board
Jonathan is a UFT Chapter leader and a math teacher at the H.S. of American Studies at Lehman College.  He’s been on the UFT Ex. Board 2009 to the present. Jonathan has said “Teaching is an honorable career. We help kids learn and grow. Their success is our reward. But not if we are mistreated. Not if our voices are ignored. Not if decisions that affect our schools are made out of incompetence and malice. We are running to ensure all our voices are heard in our union”.

Building Bridges brings to the airwaves the voices of MORE/New Action Caucus candidates for the UFT’s seats in the union’s upcoming election.  MORE/New Action says “if you’re tired of the attacks against teachers and public education; if you’re tired that our students’ education has been hijacked by a “test” prep curriculum focusing our time on “data” instead of teaching then
we need something different. A union that fights for the rights of students, teachers and communities. A union that fights for racial and economic justice inside and outside our schools. “We help kids learn and grow. Their success is our reward. But not if we are mistreated”. 


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Puerto Rico Drowning in Debt  

Vulture Hedge Funds Circle on Higher Ground
as Puerto Rico Drowns in Debt
with 

University of Puerto Rico Prof. Rafael Bernabe Riefkohl, Working People's Party spokesperson and candidate for the Governor of Puerto Rico, and noted co-author of  Puerto Rico in the American Century A History since 1898

Puerto Rico’s fiscal perils are currently in the news.  It is an island with a poverty rate approaching 50 percent, a public debt that amounts to over $20,000 per inhabitant (more than its median income of $19,518). While most of the attention in Puerto Rico’s case focuses on technical issues relating to the solvency of municipal bonds and austerity measures, the history of U.S. policies have resulted in more than three and a half million Puerto Ricans being treated as second class citizens.  With a poverty rate of more than 45 percent (more than double that of Mississippi), Puerto
Rico has had serious long-term economic problems that, like its current massive public debt, have been historically papered over.  Meanwhile, the hedge fund vultures and Wall Street banks and lawyers charging over $1.4 billion in a seven-year period for charges like swap termination fees are circling Puerto Rico. They are sensing a fiscal death spiral they can feed off and caring little about the consequences for nearly four million residents as they manipulate a financial system largely devoid of any social conscience.  The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is the United States’ largest colony that it decided to take by force 117 years ago and has since treated like a resented orphan it has consistently undernourished politically and economically. Puerto Rico’s current fiscal crisis is, in this sense, really a crisis of American colonial policies and will the United States accept responsibility for the negative consequences of its imperialist past?  Prof. Barnabe Riefkohl, candidate for Gov. of Puerto Rico talks about this and  approaches for the Island’s recovery and more long term solutions for Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems.


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Workers Strike Against Verizon’s War On Union Rights & Protections - 28:32  

Workers Say Hell No To Verizon’s War On Union Rights & Protections
with

Pete Sikora, Strike Coordinator, CWA Region 1

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers have hit the picket lines, in what would be one of the largest strikes in the U.S. in recent years. The workers, members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), are fighting aggressive attacks on their compensation, job security and more--carried out by a corporation that has made $39 billion in profits over the past three years, but won't be satisfied until it breaks the power of their unions.  Verizon is attacking the workers medical, pensions, disability, overtime and is attempting to rescind “Article 8”, which protects the workers’ right to show up to work in the same place, every day, a reasonable distance from where they live.  Verizon’s proposed contract would also allow for closing more call centers and transferring the workers up to 80
miles from their current job sites, as well as opening the door to increased international outsourcing.  And, while there is already a two-tier system for job security the proposed contract would eliminate job security no matter how long you’ve been with the company.  Verizon is seeking to transform the company to be more oriented to Wireless and modeled more on the workplace culture of
Wireless, which is overwhelmingly nonunion.  But, the workers say you can’t break our backs and assert the power of the union to protect against the bosses voracious drive for profits and control.  


Plus, a special message from Bernie Sanders from the union picket line and discussion on why CWA supports Sanders for President. 

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Peoples Organization for Progress Endorses Bernie Sanders  

New Jersey’s Powerful Grassroots Peoples Organization for Progress Takes Bernie Sanders to Heart
with

Larry Hamm, veteran activist, Chairman the People’s Organization for Progress

POP has rarely departed from a long-standing policy of not supporting candidates for office and engaged in a rigorous debate and careful consideration before reaching its position on how to relate to the 2016 presidential election.  POP’s Chairman Larry Hamm acknowledged the struggle of Bernie Sanders to date to build support in urban communities, specifically with Black and Latino voters.  “It did come up and it will continue to come up, but the fact remains that many of his basic positions will benefit black people,” said the activist. “Single payer healthcare, raising the minimum wage, affordable college, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure. Although those specific  platform planks may not be addressed specifically to African-Americans, black people know that they will benefit from those things.”  Sanders, who had a campaign rally stopped by young Black Lives Matter activists, has by far, the most left leaning stance on all of the issues, especially the economic and racial justice issues that matter most to the organization. “Bernie Sanders is the first self-described socialist to ever have gotten this
close to the Presidency of the United States,” said founder and chairman Lawrence Hamm.  “While we should be deeply concerned by how Republican candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have taken the Republican Party so far to the right, we, on the left, should be just as active as they are and should give serious consideration to how the Sanders campaign could possibly take the Democratic Party from the center right to the left,” said Hamm.
PlusFormer Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
Six Responses to Bernie Skeptics


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The Panama Papers - Cracking Open Kleptocrats and Plutocracts Piggy Banks  

Cracking Open Kleptocrats and Plutocracts Piggy Banks:
The Panama Papers
with James Henry
,
who has written extensively about global banking, debt crises, tax havens and economic development.  Henry is former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. and is now a  senior fellow at the Columbia University Center for Sustainable  International Investment  and senior adviser with the Tax Justice Network, which has estimated in their study, “The Price of Offshore Revisited,” that total wealth in tax havens was between $21 trillion and $32 trillion.  James Henry's books include The Blood Bankers: Tales from the Global Underground Economy, and the forthcoming The Pirate Bankers. 


Attorney, James Henry takes us through one of the biggest leaks in journalistic history, 11.5 million documents  to reveal  the secretive offshore companies used to hide wealth, evade taxes and commit fraud by the world's dictators, business tycoons and criminals.  This massive leak of documents has blown open a window on the vast, murky world of shell companies, providing an extraordinary look at how the wealthy and powerful conceal their money. The  data breach occurred at a little-known but powerful Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which has an office in Las Vegas, a representative in Miami and a presence in more than 35 other places around the world.  The firm is one of the world’s top five creators of shell companies, which can have legitimate business uses, but can also be used to dodge taxes and launder money.  

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