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

20 Years Since Pres. Clinton Shredded Welfare - 27:58  

Twenty Years of Deepening Poverty Since Pres. Clinton Shredded Welfare Safety Net 
withFelicia Kornbluh,
Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality,
and Women's Studies at the University of Vermont. Her books
include The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in
Modern America and Ensuring Poverty: Welfare Reform After
Twenty Years, (with Gwendolyn Mink), forthcoming.

August 22 marks the beginning of "welfare reform's" 20th year, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Kornbluh says: "Playing to a racist imagination and dealing in sexist double standards, Republicans and Democrats came together 19 years ago to transform income assistance for the poor into a system of regulation, deprivation and punishment. The legislation that established Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”), made limiting women's choices and ending single motherhood its goals. The nation's chief policy dedicated to impoverished families with children did not include mitigating poverty, enhancing opportunity, or attenuating inequality as its goals. As a result, while welfare rolls have declined, poverty still stalks single mothers and their children -- and extreme poverty is at crisis high levels. As we approach the 20th year of this disgraceful program, it is time to overhaul TANF principles and practices to support the family work single mothers do and open real pathways to economic security.


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Overtime Proposal a Win; Haitian Rights in Dominican Republic - 28:59  

Marching with The Coalition For Human Rights
In The Dominican Republic


 “What we are seeing today is not a Haitian crisis, it’s not a
Dominican crisis,” City Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn)
said. “It is a human rights crisis. This is injustice. This is not right.
This is discrimination.”  Councilman Eugene came together with
an expansive coalition to condemn the looming expulsions by the
Dominican Republic (“DR”) of Haitian immigrants, including
those born there as immoral and racist and a human rights crisis. 
The current crisis has its roots in a 2013 court ruling that stripped the citizenship of persons born in the DR whose parents weren’t Dominican citizens.  An estimated 460,000 Haitian migrants live in the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
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Why a New Overtime Proposal is a Win for Working Women
with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
is an Award-Winning Author, and
Co-Founder and Executive Director/CEO of MomsRising.org, a
National Online and On-The-Ground Grassroots Organization that Promotes Policies Aimed at improving Family Economic Security; Helping Families and Children, and to End Discrimination Against Women and Mothers.

For months we’ve heard that the economy is finally moving in the right direction, except for one hitch: working people’s wages, particularly those of women, are not going up. One big reason: for years, millions of workers have clocked in more and more hours without ever seeing overtime pay. That’s wrong. Too many 

workers, most of whom are women, are watching their finances be stretched to the limit because even though they work overtime, they are not compensated for the work they do.  Working women deserve better. By increasing the salary threshold to $50,444 – meaning if you make less than that, you’re guaranteed protection - 3.2 million more women will be automatically eligible for overtime. This would be a major win for working women.

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Washington Helped Create Puerto Rico’s Staggering Debt Crisis - 26:31  

Washington Helped Create Puerto Rico’s Staggering Debt Crisis
with
Nelson Denis, writer, film director, and former N.Y.S. Assemblyman. 
His award-winning films premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and screened throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.  His editorials for the NY Daily News and El Diario (over 300 of them) won awards from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is the writer of eight feature-length screenplays, writer/director of the feature film Vote For Me!, & author of the book War Against All Puerto Ricans:   Revolution and Terror in America's Colony.  

While Puerto Rico is oftentimes described as an unincorporated territory of the United States, a more accurate political and legal description is that it is a colony of the United States.  A colony that has 3.5 million US citizen residents, who do not have the right to vote for president or representation in Congress and is making headlines these days because of its inability to pay a 72 billion dollar debt owed to holders of its devalued bonds.  While there have been comparisons between Greece and Puerto Rico the reality is that they are totally distinct situations. Greece has sovereignty, Puerto Rico does not. Puerto Rico is unable to declare bankruptcy, cannot devalue its currency and cannot go to international financial institutions under the present colonial system. In fact one of the solutions offered in the United States to solve the chaotic economic crisis is to place the entire island in receivership. In other words to go back to an even more rigid colonial system so that the bonds market can protect its investment. 

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Ta-Nehisi Coates, Reads from His Block-Buster Memoir “Between the World and Me” - 28:16  

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Reads from His Block-Buster
Memoir to His Son “Between the World and Me”


Readers of his work in The Atlantic (including his June 2014 feature The Case for Reparations) and elsewhere know Ta-Nehisi Coates for his thoughtful and influential writing on race in America. Written as a series of letters to his teenaged son, his new memoir, Between the World and Me, walks us through the course of his life, from his neighborhood in Baltimore in his youth, to Howard University—which Coates dubs “The Mecca” for its revelatory community of black students and teachers —to the broader Meccas of New York and Paris. Coates describes his observations and the evolution of his thinking on race, from Malcolm X to his conclusion that race itself is a fabrication, elemental to the concept of American (white) exceptionalism. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, and South Carolina are not bumps on the road of progress and harmony, but the results of a systemized, ubiquitous threat to “black bodies” in the form of slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration.  

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Strange Fruit & the Execution of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg - 28:54  

Strange Fruit: Extra-Legal & Legal Lynching on the 62nd Anniversary of the Execution of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg
with

.  Robert Meeropol, son of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg 
.  Soffiyah Elijah, Ex. Dir. of the Correctional Association


Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for crimes neither of them committed 62 years ago and the impact of the government’s conduct in the Rosenberg trial still affects us today.  Virtually all the criticism of the lack of respect for defendant’s rights in our present conduct of loyalty and national security trials can be traced to the forced absence of the Constitution at the 1951 trial.  Continued research into the Rosenberg trial and dissemination of the documented perjuries and prosecutorial and judicial deceptions contributes to today’s efforts to reintroduce Constitutional trials into every courtroom, regardless of the politics or religion or color of the defendants.  That is why on what is now the centennial of Ethel Rosenberg’s birth date that Building Bridges continues to raise these issues and believe that we must win an official review of the Rosenbergs’ case and subsequently their exoneration.  Although nothing can change the finality of the death penalty, an acknowledgment of government wrongdoing in this historic cause would be a first step in halting the perversions of due process and human rights that continue to undermine the legal system and this country’s proclamation of democracy. Robbie Rosenberg begins his presentation by discussing the song Strange Fruit, which is about the writing of the anti-lynching song written by his adopted parent Abel Meeropool, after the execution of his parents, writing under the name Lewis Allen and its popularization by the great singer Billie Holiday, who along with Ethel Rosenberg was born 100 years earlier.  Robbie draws some creative and fascinating parallels between his birth mother and the life and death of Billie Holiday.  

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100 Year Battle to Integrate N.Y.C.'s Fire Dept - 27:16  

The Long and Victorious Fight to Integrate the N.Y.C. Fire Department
with Ginger Adams Otis , Staff Writer for the N.Y. Daily News  and author of Firefight: The Century-Long Battle to Integrate New York's Bravest


In 1919, when Wesley Williams became a NYC firefighter, he stepped into a world that was 100% white and predominantly Irish. Nearly a century later, many things in the FDNY had changed--but not the scarcity of blacks. N.Y.C. had about 300 black firefighters--roughly 3 percent of the 11,000 firefighters in a city of 2 million African Americans.. Decades earlier, women and Blacks had sued over its hiring practices and won. But the FDNY never took permanent steps to eradicate the inequities, which led to a courtroom show-down between N.Y.C.'s billionaire Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, and a determined group of black activist firefighters members of the Vulcan Society. They also faced an insular culture made up of relatives who never saw their own inclusion as favoritism. It was not until 2014 that the city settled the $98 million lawsuit. At the center of this book are stories of courage--about firefighters risking their lives in the line of duty but also risking their livelihood by battling an unjust system. Among them: FDNY Capt. Paul Washington, a second generation black firefighter, who spent his multi-decade career fighting to get equality on the job.

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Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis: Who’s To Blame And What Can Be Done? - 27:59  

Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis: Who’s To Blame And What Can Be Done?
with
. David Galarza, co-founder of SiemPReste, an organization committed
to working in the diaspora around the political/civil/economic crisis of Puerto Rico
. Michael Kink, Exec. Dir., Strong Economy for All Coalition
and Member Hedge Clippers


Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States with 3.5 million U.S. citizen residents who do not have the right to vote for President or representation in Congress-is making headlines these days because of its inability to pay a $72 billion debt owed to holders of its devalued bonds.  While there have been comparisons between Greece and Puerto Rico the reality is that they are totally distinct situations. Greece has sovereignty, Puerto Rico does not. Puerto Rico is unable to declare bankruptcy, cannot devalue its currency and cannot go to international financial institutions under
the present colonial system. In fact one of the solutions offered in the United States to solve the chaotic economic crisis is to place the entire island in receivership. In other words to go back to an even more rigid colonial system so that the bonds market can protect their investment. Building Bridges discusses how Washington helped create Puerto Rico’s staggering debt crisis and its effect on millions of what are effectively second-class U.S. citizens and what is to be done! 


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Mexican Farm Workers’ Struggle in Historical Strike in Baja California - 26:27  

Mexican Farm Workers’ Struggle in Historic Strike
with

. Al Rojas, a Founding Member of the United Farm Workers; current Pres. , Sacramento Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (AFL-CIO)
. Eduardo Rosario, Executive Board Member, NYC Chapter, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
 


Mexican farm workers in the San Quintin Valley of the state of Baja California are calling for international action to support their demands for decent wages and an end to labor abuses by international produce companies that operate throughout Mexico primarily for export to the US under the label of Driscoll’s. More than 33,000 farm workers declared a historic strike in late March which stopped work at peak harvest and have continued their protests ever since waging intermittent strikes and road blocks and mass mobilizations which have extended to workers in Washington State.  They compare their working conditions to those that existed during the colonial period with workdays of more than 15 hours . The San Quintin Valley is a major producer of fruits and vegetables that are exported primarily to the United States. The workers here pick as many as 160 kilos a day that sell for more than $2,000, while the workers make on average US$7 a day. The workers are demanding a base salary of at least $13 for every 8-hour workday as well as recognition by companies and union officials. 

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A Labor History Of Queer America; NYC Council's ‘Ban The Box’ Bill -28:08  

Out In The Union: A Labor History Of Queer America
with
Mariam Frank, author


Against the backdrop of the historic ruling of the Supreme Court that gay marriage is legal in all the states of this union and in furtherance of addressing the numerous other inequities faced by LGBTQ and gender nonconforming people Miriam Frank, Prof. of Humanities at New York University and author of Out In The Union: A Labor History of Queer America, based upon 20 years of original research brings us the stories spanning half a century of U.S. labor history and the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender unionists.  She expands our horizons both in
exposing the complex challenges queer workers face in ‘coming out’ on the job and inside their unions and gives greater dimension to and continues to fill out the profile of queer life and the activism of the working class.
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NYC Council Passes ‘Ban The Box’ Bill
Restricting Use Of Criminal Records In Hiring
with
Brandon Holmes, Community Civil Rights Organizer, VOCAL-New York, a grassroots advocacy group


Carl Stubbs, 63, stood outside New York City Council chambers in anticipation of the council’s vote on the Fair Chance Act — a bill that would delay when many of the city’s private sector employers can ask job applicants about their criminal history.  He said, “I feel [that] being Black, having a felony, you don’t get hired”. “I have had a felony for over 30 years.”  Stubbs, who’s also an activist with
the group Voices of Community Activists Leaders (VOCAL-NY), wanted the bill to pass because it could improve his chances getting a job.  Now, the Bill arrives on the desk of the Mayor June 29th and we’ll find out if he signs it into law, precisely what it purports to do and just how beneficial it could prove to be for the employment opportunities of the formerly incarcerated, who have carried that
scarlet letter around with them and suffered the Jim Crow consequences into the jobs market. 


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The Fire Next Time: The Taking of Black Life at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church -27:10  

The Fire Next Time: Response to The Taking of Black Life at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Church
with
Ed Whitfield long-term social justice organizer,  co-managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities, who speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development, on issues of education and social responses to racism and is active in the call by the Southern Grassroots Economies Project to develop a Southern Reparations Loan Fund

As Professor Charles Lawrence precisely puts it:

"Racism in America is much more complex than either the  conscious conspiracy of a power elite or the simple delusion
of a few ignorant bigots.  It is a part of our common historical
experience and, therefore, a part of our culture.  It arises from the assumptions we have learned to make about the world, ourselves, and others as well as from the patterns of our fundamental social activities. "

Ed Whitfield, long-term social justice organizer,  co-managing Director of 
the Fund for Democratic Communities, who speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development, on issues of education and social 
responses to racism and is active in the call by the Southern Grassroots Economies Project to develop a Southern Reparations Loan Fund  plows deep into the bowels of America, to ferret out and grapple with its policies and practices of white supremacy, rooted deep within its public and private structures.  He'll examine how then institutional racism filters down to the individual citizenry and becomes a material force to subjugate Black Life. Ed Whitfield asks whether we will wait for The Fire Next Time or will we and how we can endeavor to tear out the roots of the poisons weeds of white supremacy that can subsume the very nurturance of life.   
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Taxi Drivers Caravan to Albany to Protect Full-Time Jobs - 28:27  

NYC Taxi Drivers Caravan to Albany to Protect Full-Time Jobs
with
Bhairavi Desai, Ex. Dir. NY Taxi Workers Alliance 
 



A traffic jam of taxicabs circled the Capitol in Albany to put the brakes on legislation sponsored by ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, which allow people to pick up passengers in their own cars.  NYC would be required to accept drop-offs by Uber and Lyft drivers with lower standards than licensed NYC taxi and for-hire-vehicle drivers and there would be no way to enforce regulations against these drivers from cruising through NYC picking up illegal fares. The Taxi Workers Alliance says the legislation would lead to unsafe unregulated cars acting as taxis and that would lead to a decrease in collectable tax revenue. Desai says that if the legislation passes "riders will lose all kinds of protection - safety, insurance, accessibility, and a fair price. For drivers, this is the biggest threat to fulltime work in this industry because the companies depend on part-time labor and a saturation of vehicles. Already in NYC, we’re seeing incomes drop for drivers from all the segments – yellow, green, livery and black car, including Uber drivers.” 

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The Next Economic System with Gar Alperovitz and Ed Whitfield - 27:44  

Getting Serious About the Next Economic System
with
Gar Alperovitz, author, What Then Must We Do?  and The Next American Revolution: Beyond Corporate Capitalism and State Socialism

In an era when systemic critique of the economic and political institutions of the United States is poised on the edge of mainstream consciousness: the realities of a changing climate, an irrationally destructive financialized economic system, a long and steady historical trajectory concentrating political power along with wealth, are becoming impossible to ignore. How can we consciously come together around this opportunity to offer a coherent vision of what a "next system" might look like? Gar Alperovitz is a leading proponent and practician of local socialized Alternatives to the current economic system. He here summarized some of the  concrete experiments in social change happening and being proposed across the country including Worker cooperatives, municipal and state economic enterprises, state and municipal banks, land trusts, and single payer health insurance and lays out a new initiative to expand visibility and support for an alternative economic system: The Next System Project : New Political-Economic Possibilities for the 21st Century.
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The Building Blocks for a Just Economic System
with
Ed WhitfieldCo-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic 
Communities  speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development while continuing to be interested in issues of war and peace, as well as education and social responses to racism and is active in the call by the Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP) to develop a Southern Reparations Loan Fund

More and more people are disenfranchised from and disenchanted by our economic system with its long and steady historical trajectory concentrating political  power along with wealth amongst the few, and a monstrous apparatus of prisons and policing that are increasingly prevalent.  And, Ed Whitfield is one of the theoreticians/activists who offers us a coherent vision of what building a "next system" might look like.  Whitfield talks about his work in the South and beginning to build for a far for equal and justice society.

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What 75,000 Mondragon Cooperative Workers Can Teach Us - 27:05  

What 75,000 Mondragon Cooperative Workers Can Teach Us About Controlling the Means of Production
with
Prof. Frederick Freundlichis, internationally recognized leader
on building worker cooperative ecosystems



Mondragon, is a cooperative owned and operated by 75,000 workers in the Basque region of Spain.  It has become the largest employer in the region and has played a major role in restoring decent livelihoods after the Spanish civil war. Frederick Freundlichis, is a professor of cooperative enterprise and coordinator of a masters program at Mondragon, and is considered one of the world’s leading researchers, trainers and who offers technical assistance on broadening enterprise ownership with
businesses, government agencies, unions and community organizations in the Basque Country and a variety of other countries.  In a rare interview, Prof, Freundlichis provides us with a glimpse into the Mondragon cooperative model of enterprise and discusses organizing, mobilizing, and building a worker cooperative ecosystem from the ground up. 



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While Batterers Go Free, Their Victims Get Prosecuted - 26:29  

While Batterers Go Free, Their Victims Get Prosecuted
featuring

Marissa Alexander, survivor of and organizer in defense of legal rights for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse
Sumayya Coleman, lead organizer for the campaign to Free Marissa Alexander and the African-American/Black Women's Cultural Alliance .

Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother whose case became a rallying cry for anti-racism activists and survivors of domestic violence, was released recently after three years of incarceration.  Alexander, in fear for her life had faced up to 60 years behind bars for firing a single warning shot to
deter her abusive husband.  The public outcry in support of Marissa was successful in causing the sentence to be reduced, but nevertheless Marissa was forced to plead guilty to assault in exchange for credit for time served and received two years of electronic monitoring and house arrest. Marissa whose case has drawn national attention should be free and her case continues to raise larger issues of public interest and social around the state’s criminalization of victims of domestic and sexual violence. Marissa’s case has long sparked outrage about the unequal application of the law for both Black Americans and women. Marissa was prosecuted by Angela Corey, who was also the prosecutor in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the February 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin and who evoked “stand your ground” laws  in his defense, while Marissa who was in actual fear for her life was denied the right to use that defense.  Marissa granted us an exclusive interview where she and her critical supporter Sumayya Coleman speak about the plight of and in defense of legal rights for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. 

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Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa - 28:31  

Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa
featuring
Luke Sinwell, senior researcher at the University of Johannesburg
,
whose research includes radical theories and practices of participatory 
governance, social movements and housing struggles, ethnographic research methods and action research. In addition to his book on Marikana, he is co-editor of Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-First Century South Africa  

The Marikana massacre, which witnessed 34 mineworkers being gunned down by the police August 16, 2012 arguably marked a key turning point in South African history. However, we know very little about the informal networks that were created by mineworkers in order to challenge management not only at Lonmin (Marikana), but also at Amplats and Impala South African.  Luke Sinwell works closely with militant workers, especially miners, and the Left,
particularly the Democratic Left Front, and will talk about mining, capitalism and the spirit of Marikana.  Recently the Democratic Left Front acting in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. held a march on the U.S. consulate in protest against the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, linking police brutality in the U.S. to what militants face in South Africa.
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Plus
350,000 Member Strong Union Leader at Forefront of Organizing United Front Against South Africa’s Class Inequalities
with Irvin Jim, Secretary General,
National Union of Metal Workers South Africa (“NUMSA”)
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Rev. Barber Calls for a New Reconstruction in America through Grassroots Activism For Racial and Economic Justice - 27:14  

Rev. Barber calls for a New Reconstruction in America through
Grassroots Activism For Racial and Economic Justice
with
Rev. Dr. William Barber
is the President of the North Carolina NAACP, 
and leader of Moral Mondays Movement whose effectiveness of organization has lifted him into the ranks of national civil rights leadership.  He is helping transform the political landscape of North Carolina and sparking progressive grassroots activism in other states as well calling this nation to justice, equality and compassion. 

“‘We’ is the most important word in the social justice  vocabulary.  The issue 
is not what we can’t do, but what we Can do when we stand together. With an upsurge in racism/hate crimes, criminalization of young Black and Brown males, and insensitivity to the poor, we must Stand together now like never before,” says the Rev. William Barber, leader of the nationally-recognized North Carolina Moral Mondays movement.  “The problems we are dealing with are not going to be solved until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power.”

The Rev. Barber called for Grassroots Activism For Racial and Economic 
Justice and a New Reconstruction in America in this speech delivered at Union Theological Seminary in NYC.

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Baltimore: Problems And Conditions Precipitating Police Brutality - 28:24  

Baltimore: Problems And Conditions Precipitating Police 
Brutality In The Community!
with
Stephan Janis, author of You Can't Stop Murder: Truths About 
Policing in Baltimore and Beyond and Why Do We Kill?: The 
Pathology of Murder in Baltimore. Janis' recent stories include 
The True Toll of Policing in Baltimore - The Arrest of a 7-Year-Old and A Walk Through The Neighborhood Where Freddie Gray 
Lived and Died

As protesters decry Freddie Gray's death and plan more rallies in Baltimore, we speak with Stephan Janis, an award-winning investigative reporter with The Real News, who has authored two books exposing corruption and incompetence in the Baltimore police department, and we’ll examine the confluence of poverty, poor governance, and racial animus that fuels police violence in the city.  
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Voices From the Epicenter of Protest
with 
Eddie Conway, The Real News Network Correspondent and a 
veteran of the Black Panther Party recently released who was held 
as a political prisoner for four decades in a government frame-up.

Eddie Conway speaks with residents of Gilmor Homes about the charges brought against 6 Baltimore police officers

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Building Bridges: Roll Back Low Wages: Stories of New Labor Organizing with Sarah Jaffe - 27:59  

Roll Back Low Wages: Nine Stories of New Labor Organizing in the United States 
with 
Sarah Jaffe, labor journalist, author of Roll Back Low Wages Albert Scharenberg, co-Director Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, NY Office  

The Fight for $15 Campaign comes against a backdrop of the mass incarceration and other forms of state violence against people of color and immigrants, stagnating wages, chronic unemployment, underemployment and starvation pay, and Building Bridges will drill down deeper to examine the economic conditions behind the Fight for $15 Campaign and the coalescence of workers groups stimulating these campaigns and new forms of organization for interest of the working class.  If we were to select one word to best describe the most important current trend in the economy of the United States, “precarity” would be a leading candidate.  America’s middle class is shrinking and recent polls suggest that possibilities for merit-based advancement are at their lowest point ever. A growing number of people work low-wage jobs under precarious circumstances, often without long-term job security, health care, or possibilities for advancement or retirement. Many quite literally find them- selves one sick day away from being fired and replaced by another person desperate to feed her or his family.Precarity in our working lives, or in those of our neighbors, our friends, or our loved ones, has increasingly become the new norm. With inequality on the rise, the U.S. government largely beholden to corporate interests, and austerity the economic recipe du jour, the implications are significant for the future of working people

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New York Says $15 and a Union - 28:54  

New York Says $15 and a Union on 4/15

On April 15th Low-wage workers in NYC and more than 200 cities across the country  and more world wide held the biggest-yet day of action in their Fight for $15 campaign . What started with fast food workers in NYC on Nov. 2012 
has spread to home care and child care workers, retail, adjunct professors, and more, with ever-growing numbers of participants. and scattered reports of stores closed by the strike, at least temporarily. This organizing comes against a backdrop of stagnating wages, chronic unemployment. and 
underemployment. As many as half of workers in some low-wage industries are receiving some form of public assistance. Workers tell stories of struggling to pay rent and arrange child care, and even face sleep inequality. And the organizing is having an effect. Walmart and McDonald's and other major chains  recently announced wage increases are due to pressure from workers and in an effort to shut down further organizing. But workers participation on the April 15th actions proves that they are continuing  to organize in increasing numbers and arenas of struggle.
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Nobel Prize Economist Joseph Stiglitz on the Dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership - 28:30  

Nobel Prize Economist Joseph Stiglitz on 
the Dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

"The TPP proposes to freeze into a binding trade agreement many of the worst features of the worst laws in the TPP countries, making needed reforms extremely difficult if not impossible." Stiglitz highlights how this trade agreement threatens our jobs, health, communities and environment. Meanwhile, Congress is moving to "fast track" approval of the controversial TPP agreement without public hearings, no floor debate, no amendments - no civic engagement whatsoever.The stakes are too high to allow back room negotiations. If passed, the TPP would be the largest trade deal in history, covering 792 million people and about 40% of the world's economy.
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Diane Ravitch Battles for Public Education - 27:57  

Teach the Children Well: The Battle for Public Education
featuring

Diane Ravitch,
one of the foremost authorities on education in the U.S., former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire,” author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools and other notable books on education history and policy — incisive, comprehensive looks at today’s American public school system that argue against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization
movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
 

Governor Cuomo manipulated the state budget, holding up its passage, until it included the hugely unpopular and anti-worker
practice of pegging teachers tenure and evaluations to standardized tests grade results.  While  dropped from inclusion in the budget the Governors desire to see the proliferation of charter schools remains a mainstay on his educational agenda.  These issues have been  been heating up ever since Pres. Bush’s No Child Left Behind plan, but especially since the roll out of Race to The Top and the Common Core State Standards so Building Bridges decided to
tackle these issues with with Diane Ravitch, who infuses research,
about the recent history of education policy reform, the strategies used for fighting back against these policies, and who proposes solutions that work to create sustainable, equitable, anti-racist, democratic and meaningful public education.  Our conversation with Diane Ravitch is for anyone interested in an “insider’s look” and leading a resistance or forming an organization towards reclaiming our public schools and reclaiming the public narrative around education policy.
 

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Liberato Restaurant Tries To Silence Workers; Remembering the Triangle Fire - 27:57  

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Liberato Restaurant Tries To Silence Workers
With Federal Racketeering, “RICO” Suit
with
.  Omar Taveras, former Liberato worker
.  Mahoma Lopez, Laundry Workers Center representative
.  Ria Julien, workers’ attorney


Liberato Restaurant workers joined by community supporters and
workers’ rights advocates, such as the grassroots workers’ rights
organization the Laundry Workers Center continue to exercise their
right to protest against wage and hour theft, sexual harassment and
verbal abuses, despite Liberato Restaurants’ attempts to silence them.  Liberato, in an unprecedented action has brought a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) lawsuit accusing the workers of extortion.  Liberato server Maggy Andres, said  “we are here today demanding what we are owed. The RICO case is an attempt to silence us, and it will not work. Liberato stole our money and we demand what we are owed by the law and better conditions in our workplace. Until that happens, we will be out here demanding justice for ourselves, our co-workers, and all exploited workers
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Remembering the Triangle Fire
with 

Sophia Henderson Holmes

Poet Sophia Henderson Holmes reads from her epic poem
commemorating the lives of those who died at the Triangle Fire.
The poem itself serves as well as a tribute to Sophia herself, who
has since passed on but has left us her stirring words and the
challenge to organize for workers' rights.

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Reviving the Strike: How Workers Can Regain Power and Transform America - 27:59  

Strike Back ! Using the Militant Tactics of Labor's Past to Reignite Unionism Today
featuring
Joe Burns

In his books Reviving the Strike and Strike Back labor Lawyer Joe Burns argues that if the American labor movement is to rise again, it will not be as a result of electing different politicians, the passage of legislation, or improved methods of union organizing. Rather, workers will need to rediscover the power of the strike. Not the ineffectual strike of today, where employees meekly sit on picket lines waiting for scabs to take their jobs, but the type of strike capable of grinding private and public sector employers to a halt often with the solidarity of community and labor alliances. This is what happened in the strike waves when private sector unionism grew exponentially in the 1930’s – 1940’s and during the 1960s and 1970s, when  teachers, sanitation workers and more than a million public employees rose up to demand collective bargaining rights in one of the greatest upsurges in labor history.

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Wisconsin's " Right to Work" - 28'  

When Words Don't Mean What They Say: 
"Right to Work" Laws are Anything but That!
featuring
. Kevin Gundlach, Pres., South Central Labor Federation, Madison, WI
. Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Asst. Prof. of History, Loyola University, Co-author with Nelson Lichtenstein, The Right and Labor in America

Wisconsin is the latest State to fall victim  to the right wing anti-union juggernaut. "Right to work" laws destroy unions - that's their real purpose. "Right to work" legislation isn't driven by a groundswell of disgruntled union members chafing under union oppression, but by employers, industry associations and lobbyists.
"Right to work" laws drive down wages for everyone. We'll explore the history of right to work laws, who and what's driving this juggernaut in states across the nation and what is to be done to challenge this race to the bottom.

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Solitary Confinement of Youth in NY - 28:33  

The Solitary Confinement of Youth in New York - 
A Civil Rights Violation
Featuring 
Professor Alex VitaleMember, NY Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Alexandra KorryChairperson, NY Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

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For A Free Palestine with Jeff Halper - 27:53  

A Free, Free Palestine Remains The Question
featuring 
Jeff Halper, an anthropologist, author of several books on the Israeli-Palestine conflict, lecturer about Israeli politics, and political activist who has lived in Israel since 1973. He is best known as the co-founder and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.  He is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and the academic boycott of Israel, considering Israel to be engaged in a deliberate campaign of “Judaization” of the Palestinian territories.  He has created a new mode of Israeli peace activity based on nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience in the Occupied Territories, along with international advocacy

Jeff Halper, assess recent developments in Israel/Palestine and prospects for the future of a free, free Palestine, in what is one of the most intractable conflicts on the planet and the fulcrum for all politics in the Middle East. 

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Red Seas: Ferdinand Smith & Radical Black Sailors in the United States & Jamaica  

Red Seas: Ferdinand Smith and Radical Black Sailors in the United States and Jamaica 
with
Prof. Gerald Horne

During the heyday of the U.S. and international labor movements in the 1930s & 1940s,  Ferdinand Smith, the Jamaican-born co-founder and second-in-command of the National Maritime Union, stands out as one of the most "if not the most" powerful black labor leaders in the United States.  Smith's active membership in the Communist Party, however, coupled with his bold labor radicalism & shaky immigration status, brought him under continual surveillance by U.S. authorities, especially during the red Scare in the '50s.  Smith was eventually deported to his homeland of Jamaica, where he continued his radical labor & political organizing until his death in 1961.  Horne draws on Smith's life to make insightful connections between labor radicalism & the Civil Rights Movement "demonstrating that the gains of the latter were propelled by the former & undermined by anticommunism".  Moreover, Red Seas uncovers the little-known experiences of black sailors & the contribution to the struggle for labor and civil rights, the history of the Communist Party & its black members, & the significant dimension of Jamaican labor &  political radicalism.

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Teresa Ghilarducci: The Plot to Kill Pensions and a Plan to Save Them - 27:02  

The Plot to Kill Pensions and a Plan to Save Them 
Featuring
TERESA GHILARDUCCI, Prof. of Economic Policy Analysis, New School for Social Research and author of When I’m Sixty Four

A crisis is brewing for American workers' retirement, due to attack on pensions and the inadequacy of 401k accounts which were designed to replace guaranteed pensions. In response Prof. Ghilarducci is proposing a comprehensive system of reform called the Guaranteed Retirement Account 
and improvements to Social Security.

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Dr. King and the Memphis City Sanitation Workers Strike - 27:57  

The current struggles of public sector workers rights in Wisconsin and around the country has renewed interest in the battle to organize the Memphis City sanitation workers in 1968. This was part of the upsurge of the civil rights movement of the 1960's and also of the mass unionization
of public workers in that decade.

"Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign"
with
Michael K. Honey, Prof. of Ethnic, Gender, and Labor studies, University of Washington, Tacoma


Martin Luther King was in Memphis to add his voice to protests in support of striking sanitation workers - the civil rights movement paralleled with the struggles of organized labor. Professor Honey details the daily evolution of the 

strike and what it meant to Memphis and the larger civil-rights movement. He chronicles the events that led up to that fateful day at the Lorraine Motel, and to larger social change. Honey's analysis of King's role is particularly telling. "King," he writes, "had qualities that allowed him to lead a mass movement that joined working-class people to the middle class through the black church" until his Crucifixion."

Plus Taylor Rogers, a past Pres. of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Union talks about the 1968 Strike which was Dr. King's last struggle and a selection from King's speech at a strike rally.


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A Green State of the NYS State Message vs. A Culture of Corruption -27:41  

The Real Deal: A Green State of the NYS State Message 
  
Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for NY Governor, responds to Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget and State of the State address.  Hawkins will also discuss the recent arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the culture of corruption that dominates the state Capitol.  In addition to the need for ethics reform, Hawkins will discuss Cuomo’s education agenda and attacks on teachers; energy; taxes and fiscal relief for local governments, minimum wage and poverty.

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So African Union Leads United Front Against Class Inequalities - 27:46  

350,000 Member Strong Union Leader at Forefront of Organizing United Front Against South Africa’s Class Inequalities and “Colonialism of a Special Type”
with 
Irvin Jim, Secretary General, National Union of Metal Workers South Africa (“NUMSA”) 


           “NUMSA, in line with the Freedom Charter demands, has demanded that nationalization of the Reserve Bank, mines, land, strategic and monopoly industries without compensation must take place with speed, if we are to avoid sliding into anarchy and violence as a result of the cruel impact of the continuing Colonialism of a Special Type which breeds poverty, unemployment and extreme inequalities in South Africa today…,” NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim  

Jim talks about NUMSA’s advocacy for its members interests against the corporateocracy and the exciting developments with the  Preparatory Assembly of the United Front in South Africa, a possible forerunner of the formation of a workers party, socialist in its orientation, with an eye on 2016 local government elections. NUMSA leadership has criticized the ruling majority party, the African National Congress for failing to take responsibility for South Africa’s growing inequality and the fact that infrastructure, education, water resources and health systems remain unfairly distributed across the societies of South Africa.  

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Greece's Syriza Party: The Antidote to Europe's Austerity Disease - 26:56  

Greece’s Syriza Party: The Antidote to Europe’s Austerity Disease
with
Kostis Karpozilos, Dept. of History, Columbia University
and
Eric Poulos, Greek-American activist

Greece's parliament has failed to elect a president, which means it must hold a new election a little over two years since the last, which will take  place Jan. 25, with the prospect of a victory for the Syriza party, a political party formed of a coalition of hundreds of left groups, which has emerged as the country's second largest political party.   An upsurge of support for Syriza flows from the economic       turmoil in bankrupt Greece, which received emergency loans from the Troika: The European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – and under the terms of the bailout loans the Greek government has cut back on its public spending, which had propped up much of its economy.  Greece now has an unemployment rate that has surpassed 27 percent, with youth unemployment hovering at around 60 percent, and hundreds of thousands of Greeks have been forced to migrate abroad to survive.  The social state is in shambles, and the government is in the process of selling off key state industries, public lands and utilities.  Kostis Karpozilos , the leading light of a nonsectarian left-wing Greek web site, was interestingly a featured commentator in a recent movie on the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow massacre and the writer and commentator in a movie about the history of Greek American radicals and Eric Poulos, Greek-American activist joins us to talk about the destruction of the Greek economy, the Eurozone and alternative examples of economic development, with an eye towards the Greek anti-austerity Syriza party winning the upcoming general election

Plus
An update with Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza party in an interview with ch 4 reporter Paul Mason. Tspiras says he wants to renegotiate the Greek bailout and might even be prepared to pull the country out of the eurozone if push comes to shove - so usual terms of politics may not apply.

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