Building Bridges Radio: Your Community & Labor Report

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


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.

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In Struggle Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash

Beyond Resistance Summit with Bernie Sanders and National Nurses United - 27:48  

Beyond Resistance: A People’s Movement for a Just World

Deborah Burger, Co-President of America's RN Union: National Nurses United, co-convener of the Beyond Resistance Summit

Sen. Bernie Sanders

At a time of tremendous turmoil and progressive opportunity, thousands gathered to participate in a historic convening committed to social, racial and economic justice. Activists came together committed to a different kind of agenda: 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.  You’ll hear a report back from the Summit, which was envisioned as deepening the relationship between participating organizations rooted in principled anti-corporate politics,
development of community leaders, direct action, and strategic organizing to build power and we’ll hear the Summit’s keynoter Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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Trash Talking Trump Dumps it on Planet - 28:25  

Trash Talking Trump Dumps it on Planet

Sean Sweeney, director and founder of the Murphy Institute’s
International Program on Labor, Climate, and the Environment

Energy is a core issue for the world and Trump’s response is more fracking, more gas and coal export terminals, and more projects like Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) as he dumps the Paris accord on climate change.  Trump is unprepared to accept the science of climate change, and unwilling to join with the effort being made across the globe through the Paris climate accord.  Trump is digging a ditch, and the only difference between a ditch and a grave is that one is normally a little deeper than the other.  As Trump seeks to bury climate justice policies we’ll talk about what are the policies we need to push for and actions to turn up the
pressure to Save The Planet, and create green jobs.  Don’t Dump on the Environment,

Dump the Trump!

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Rev. Barber Rekindling a Social Justice Movement - 28:57  

"When Silence is Not an Option" - A Message to the Nation from Rev. William J. Barber, II on Rekindling a Moral Vision for Justice, Movement Buildig and Social Change
The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP, architect of the Moral Monday protest movement, and Repairers of the Breach, his most recent  books include “Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation” and “The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.”

"Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in."  — Isaiah 58:12

William Barber, one of the nations’ leading theologians advocates
tirelessly for the rights of the poor, the imprisoned, the disenfranchised and the working class, obliterating the social, cultural, religious and political barriers in society.  Barber’s Forward Together Moral Movement gained national acclaim with its Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. These weekly actions drew tens of thousands of North Carolinians and other moral witnesses to the state legislature. More than 1,050 peaceful protesters were arrested, handcuffed and jailed, bringing attention to the actions of the legislature.

Barber’s work is about building a progressive agenda rooted in a
moral framework to counter the ultra-conservative constructs that try to dominate the public square. He helps frame public policies which are not constrained or confined by the narrow tenets of neo-conservatism.  He brings together people from different faith traditions, with people  without a spiritual practice but who share the moral principles at the heart to repair the breaches caused by centuries old systems of racial and gender inequality

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Whose Streets: The History and Future of Labor Activism - 27:52  

Whose Streets: The History and Future of Labor Activism

Sarah Jaffe, an independent journalist covering labor, economic justice, social movements, politics, gender, and pop culture. She is the co-host, with Michelle Chen, of Dissent magazine’s Belabored podcast, as well as an editorial board member at Dissent and a columnist at New Labor Forum. Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt is her first book.  She was one of the first reporters to cover Occupy Wall Street and the Fight for $15

Mark Brenner, Director of Labor Notes, a media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement since 1979.  Labor Notes also works with local unions and community
groups to organize Troublemakers Schools, bringing labor
activists together for a day of workshops on grassroots unionism and skills that officers and rank and filers need.

Sarah Jaffe  covers the class war one battle at a time.  She has criss-
crossed the country, asking people what they were angry about, and
what they were doing to take power back.  She penetrates the heart
of these movements, explaining what has made ordinary Americans
become activists. She attended a people's assembly in a church
gymnasium in Ferguson, Missouri; walked a picket line at an Atlanta Burger King; rode a bus from New York to Ohio with student organizers; and went door-to-door in Queens days after Hurricane Sandy.  From the successful fight for a 15 minimum wage in Seattle and New York to the halting of Shell's Arctic drilling program, Americans are discovering the effectiveness of making good, necessary trouble. Sarah Jaffe captures the essence of the class struggle, tells the stories of the movers and shakers in labor and community activities to empower the people towards building a just, egalitarian,  peaceful society. 

Mark Brenner knows that we don’t need a crystal ball to figure out
what a Trump presidency has in store for labor:  national “right-to-work” legislation, outsourcing and privatizing more public services, large-scale deportations, a ban on prevailing-wage laws and this is just the tip of the iceberg.   But that’s precisely when Labor Notes kicks into gear insisting, “after we mourn, we need to organize”. Mark will talk about how under Trump, labor must abandon its insider approach and concentrate on the power of the rank and file and where that’s happening.  

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South African Metalworkers Union Building a Socialist Movement - 28:45  

South African Metalworkers Union Fighting Political Corruption and Building a Socialist Movement
Irvin Jim, General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the biggest single trade union in South Africa. He is a strong critic of the ruling African National Congress, which he accuses of failing to implement the 1955 Freedom Charter. 

The Metalworkers union sees much of the leadership of the ANC as supporting a "post-Apartheid neoliberal capitalist South Africa with South African and multinational corporations and the South African white political community". Jim suggests that NUMSA is a union whose goal is the creation of a "Socialist Republic of South Africa" . The mission is to  convince society that capitalism has failed and a new worker-centered economic dispensation is required. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is planning to form a political party to fight for the abolishment of capitalism The newly launched trade union grouping in South Africa – the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) – promises to be a voice for the growing numbers of unorganized and marginalized workers in the country. 

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Dilma Rousseff on the Attack on Democracy and Human Rights in Brazil - 26:08  

Dilma Rousseff Discusses the Attack on Democracy
and Human Rights in Brazil

The parliamentary coup that forced President Dilma Rousseff out of power has resulted in mass opposition to the interim government of  Michael Temer, who has known throughout Brazil as a golpista.  The  international community will need to pay attention, and we will need solidarity with U.S. organizations like the Committee to Defend Democracy in Brazil formed in February 2016 by artists, scholars, representatives of human rights movements, women’s groups, political parties, activists of environmental movements, and sectors of health services, among many others, whose aim is to support initiatives that defend the rule of law and democracy in
Brazil. Listen to President Rousseff as she spoke before a standing
room only audience of labor activists in NY, as she decried the
impeachment proceedings as a betrayal and an injustice and how her government was the target of nonstop sabotage.  Rousseff said. "The objective was to stop her from governing and therefore allow an environment inviting the coup." Before the cheering audience President Rousseff talked about the opposing forces engulfing the media and sectors of the legislative, judiciary and executive powers, as well as a part of the Brazilian elite, who worked to destabilize the sovereignty of the people and of the Brazilian Constitution. She further insisted that only respect for the laws of the democratic State brought about by the popular vote would bring stability and prosperity to the people of Brazil, contributing to the real fight against widespread corruption and the obstruction of public policies as they are necessary to national and international growth.  

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Fighting the Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico - 26:08  

Fighting the Debt Crisis in Puerto Rico

Antonio Carmona Reis, social science professor at the University of Puerto Rico, and a militant with the Association of University Professors and a pro-independence activist.

Puerto Rico has a poverty rate approaching 50 percent, and a public debt that amounts to over $20,000 dollars per inhabitant.  With its poverty rate, more than double that of the United States’ poorest state Mississippi Puerto Rico had serious long-term economic problems that, like its current massive public debt, have been historically papered over.  Most of the media attention on Puerto Rico’s debt has focused on technical issues relating to the solvency of municipal bonds and austerity measures. Ignored is the history of how U.S. policies have resulted in more than three and a half million Puerto Ricans being affected by its colonial status.
The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is the United States’ 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.    

Meanwhile amidst the poverty and debt, the hedge fund vultures and 
Wall Street banks and lawyers are circling Puerto Rico.  They, are, sensing a fiscal death spiral they can feed off and care little about the consequences for millions of residents as they manipulate a financial system devoid of any social conscience.  The board appointed to oversee Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring is turning the island’s recession into a depression, of a magnitude seldom seen around the world.  Unemployment, already at 12.4 percent, is soaring. The plan, which puts the creditors’ interests above those of the island’s economy and people, has created a debt/death spiral and growing resistance to it by Puerto Ricans who are suffering under its yoke. 

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Angela Davis on Trump - Trying to Make America White Again - 29'  

Angela Davis on Trump -
Trying to Make America White Again

Socialist, iconic scholar, and activist Angela Davis takes on Trump in this stirring call for protest linking his victory to America’s history of racism and capitalism. She builds bridges between  numerous issues and ongoing movements for social change starting with support for Native Americans, black lives matter, ending mass incarceration and the death penalty, feminism, labor, immigration and the environment. She calls for a robust reaction not organized by the elite but based on community and workplace activism to fight not only Trump but also a system built on racism and the
capitalism. And she notes that Clinton’s enthusiasm even among women was at best tepid because she adhered to a bourgeois or middle class feminism that played down the needs of working class and women of color

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:Trumpcare Defeated - Obamacare or Medicare for All - 26:35  

Insurance coverage losses under the proposed American Health
Care Act replacement were a matter of life and death and how the defeat of Trumpcare can open the door to HEALTH CARE FOR ALL!
.  Deborah Burger, Co-President, National Nurses United and RN
.  Dr. Donald E. Moore, Physicians for a National Health Program, N.Y. Metro Chapter, and MD, MPH

As the Republicans pushed forward their abysmal replacement, the
American Heath Care  Act, much of the talk surrounding its impact
focused on insurance numbers and premium hikes. Those things are
certainly important.But this is more important: The Republican plan
would have caused unnecessary suffering and preventable death.
We’ll discuss how we know this, and how our great victory in
defeating Trumpcare opens the opportunity for the American public
to seize the time for HEALTHCARE FOR ALL, with a Single Payer System/Medicare for All!

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Trump’s Continuing War on Immigrants - 28:33  

Trump’s Continuing War on Immigrants

Justin Flores , VP, Farm Labor Organizing Committee
Andrea Cristina Mercado, Campaign Director.
National Domestic Worker Alliance
Carlos Jimenez, Executive Director,
Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO

While a Federal Appeals Panel unanimously rejected President Trump’s bid to reinstate his ban on travel into the United States from seven largely Muslim nations, a related threat now to undocumented immigrants by one of Trump's prior Executive Orders on immigrants already in the U.S. is surfacing. Guadalupe García de Rayos , a 35-year-old mother of two, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Phoenix on February 9th and  deported to Mexico, a country she left 21 years ago, because she used a false social security card in Phoenix in 2008. Trump persists in the absurd claim that America will be safe and great again only after an assault on “bad dudes” and “criminal aliens,” like Guadalupe García de Rayos whom he has promised to arrest and remove by the millions. Building Bridges talks with three union organizers who believe that immigrant rights and labor rights are interrelated and that we must fight to defend the rights of undocumented and other immigrants.

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Organizing Labor’s Left Pole - 26:50  

Organizing Labor’s Left Pole 
Chris Brooks, staff writer and organizer, 

"Labor Notes"

As their membership and resources have continued 
to dwindle the question is what are the positions of 
and what can organized labor do to advocate for 
its workers against the likely assaults by the 
Republican  juggernaut.  We’ll talk with Chris 
Brooks about whether organized labor shows 
signs of returning to class-struggle unionism — 
to a no-shortcuts approach to organizing that 
centers labor’s relevance and strength on the 
capacity of workers themselves to take collective 
action in day-to-day battles with management. 
An injury to one is an injury to all.  Chris Brooks 
argues that it’s only this approach, the tried-and-
true method of the “left pole” within the labor 
movement, that will allow for there to be 
renewed and a resurgent labor movement.

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Opal Tometi on the Black Lives Matter Movement Fighting Trump - 26:58  

Opal Tometi Speaks on the Black Lives Matter Movement

Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter is a dedicated activist working at the intersection of racial justice and immigrant rights for more than a decade, Opal Tometi was incensed by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin—and inspired to take action. Starting the Twitter hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, Tometi (with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors), prompted activism nationwide and introduced the banner under which this generation’s civil rights movement marches.  As the Executive Director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Tometi is also at the helm of the country’s leading Black organization for immigrant rights, steering initiatives which include the first Congressional briefing on Black immigrants.  Tometi reveals raw insights into the adversity inflicted by social injustice, anti-black bias and uninformed views on immigration, educating and inspiring audiences, like the thousands that she addressed recently in Brooklyn to organize and stand together to fight Trump and to transform society into a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally.

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STOP Betsy DeVos - Protect Public Education - 28:58  

Betsy DeVos Trump’s Nominee for Education 
Secretary is an Enemy of Public Schools
Carol Corbett Burris became Executive 

Director of the Network for Public Education 
Foundation in August 2015, after serving as 
principal of South Side High School in the 
Rockville Centre School District in NY since 
2000.  In 2010, she was named Educator of 
the Year by the School Administrators 
Association of NYS and in 2013, she was 
named SAANYS NYS High School Principal 
of the Year. Dr. Burris co-authored 
Detracking for Excellence and Equity and 
authored On the Same Track: How Schools 
Can Join the 21st Century Struggle against 
Re-segregation. .

DeVos has not taught or worked in public 

schools, or been a parent of public-school 
children, or  earned experience or expertise as 
leader, scholar, or teacher educator in public 
school districts. Yet to advance Trump’s call 
to deregulate and privatize, she would be ideal.

Through her family foundation (funded by the 
Amway fortune), and through her personal role 
on boards for such advocacy organizations as 
Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in 
Education, she has effectively leveraged her 
wealth to shape policy, including the expansion 
of school-choice and voucher programs, 
alongside the deregulation of charter schools. 
The research is clear: none of these 'reforms' 
will strengthen public education overall, and 
instead, have already proven to indirectly or 
even directly exacerbate inequities.

Public education should be treated as a 

centerpiece for strengthening any democratic 
nation, and what the U.S. needs now is not 
the heralding of silver bullets but instead the 
investment in systemic reforms that draw on
both a sound body of research and a 
compelling vision of the promises of public 
schools. The narrow and ill-informed vision 
and rhetoric put forth by Trump and DeVos 
take us in the wrong direction.

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Rev. William Barber II Fighting for Justice and Against Poverty & Discrimination - 28:59  

In the Prophetic Tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King,
Rev. William Barber II Talks About  the Fight for Justice and Against Poverty and Discrimination
Rev. William Barber II, a preacher who described himself as the son of a preacher, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., president of the North Carolina NAACP, a member of the organization's national board, chair of the NAACP's Legislative Political Action Committee and one of the primary organizers of Moral Mondays.

“We have witnessed the power of “moral fusion,” or organizing across racial lines …to build a coalition for progress in 21st-century America …The months and years ahead will not be easy, but right here in North Carolina we have seen a Moral Movement that can overcome Trump’s extremism. Join the Moral Movement…. Together, following the Second Reconstruction of the civil rights movement, we can look forward to a Third Reconstruction of racial justice and healing in America."

The Rev. William Barber, is one of the most important social justice leaders in the country today, who speaks in the moral tradition of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cornel West and who’ll talk to us about “The Moral Foundation of Worker Rights”. 

Rev. Barber has been prominent on the national stage calling for racial and economic justice: for immigration reform; against police brutality; and for $15 and a union.  He has been at the forefront of mighty rallies, marches and engaged in civil disobedience in his home state of North Carolina in the battle against homophobia, the suppression and
weakening of the African-American vote, attacks on Medicaid and reproductive rights and recently against the Republican’s efforts to legislate a coup that would strip the incoming Democratic Governor of political power.. 

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