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.

For more information you can contact us at
In Struggle Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash

Puerto Rico's Economic Crisis with Rafael Bernabe, 2012 Candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico - 27:39  

Puerto Rico's Economic Crisis:
Analysis, Alternatives and Solutions

withRafael 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”

The fiscal situation in Puerto Rico is dismal. Public debt (including that of the central government and public corporations) stands around $73 billion and is roughly equal to Puerto Rico’s GNP. The government’s credit rating has been degraded to junk bond level. Any new credits seem to be available only at truly usurious rates (above 10 percent). Wall Street commentators admit that “It’s been clear for a while that Puerto Rico is going to have to default on its debt” (Bloomberg, 4/9/14). The other side of this coin is the fact that two dozen U.S. corporations  extract around $35 billion a year in profits from or through their operations in Puerto Rico. Bear in mind that the total income of the government of Puerto Rico is around $9 billion. U.S. corporations benefit from the tax-exemption measures that have been the centerpiece of the government’s development policy since 1947.  

We’ll speak with Prof. Bernabe who further details the current economic crisis affecting the island of Puerto Rico, a United States colony.  He’ll speak about the history of Puerto Rico’s economy, the federal and local laws that impact its economy, the current status of  its bonds, and the proposed bankruptcy relief and austerity measures. Prof. Bernabe explains why it’s in the interest of U.S. working people (including, needless to say, the more than four million Puerto Ricans that reside in the United States) to see that Puerto Rico acquires a 
healthy economy that no longer requires major subsidies to dampen
the poverty from which a handful of U.S. corporations profit. Prof.
Bernabe says “the struggles for radical reversal of the dominant
economic and social policies and structures in Puerto Rico and in
the US must advance together. Building alliances and common
proposals with like-minded currents and movements in the US is
indispensable … For those of us who are independentistas and
socialists, and thus, internationalists, such collaboration is essential
now and will remain so after independence. The fact that these
movements are still minority forces in both the US and Puerto Rico
makes it all the more urgent that those seeking to build them join
forces and collaborate.” 

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The Super-Exploitation of African-Americans Workers - 28:55  

The Super-Exploitation of African-Americans Workers  -
What Needs to Be Done?

William Spriggs,
chief economist of the AFL-CIO and Professor in, and 
former Chair of the Department of Economics at Howard University.  Bill was appointed by President Obama in 2009 to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy at the United States Dept. of Labor. He was vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Political Education and Leadership Institute; and, staff director for the independent, federal National Commission for Employment Policy. 

While there has been a great deal of desparately needed attention to
stagnant wages, demands for a decent minimum wage and stronger
unions in the so called economic recovery, one of the areas receiving little attention is the plight of the African- American workers whose unemployment rate has been twice that of the national rate for well over 50 years. Black workers are also disproportionally relegated to part time employment and frequently receive less pay than their white counterparts even when they have the same qualifications. Prof. Spriggs examines this persistance of employment discrimination years after the March on Washington and calls for stronger enforcement of the civil rights legislation which were won in the 1960's. And he is especially critical of the Federal Reserve Board's gearing up to increase interest rates to slow the economy which would perpertuate unemployment and underdemployment at unacceptable levels.  

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Trump, The Politics Of Resentment: Xenophobia In U.S. Electoral Races & Government Policy - 28:44  

Trump, The Politics Of Resentment:
Xenophobia In U.S. Electoral Races & Government Policy 

Journalist and Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s radio essay, Trump, the Politics of Resentment are followed by Oscar Chacon
Ex. Dir. of the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities, and Angelo Falcon, president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy commenting on it and the role xenophobia and racism have played historically in American electoral politics and now in the Trump candidacy. The discussion delves further into the positioning of both the Democrats as well as the Republican candidates on issues of immigration and the current U.S. policies on deportations, as well as the civil and economic rights of immigrant labor.  The discussants then tackle what progressive immigration reform should look like.  

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Building Bridges: New Orleans After The Flood with Gary Rivlin - 28:03  

New Orleans After The Flood:
The Anatomy of African-American Displacement
withGary Rivlin, author Katrina After the Flood, journalist

Now, there is a commemorative marker at the site where a floodwall protecting the Lower Ninth Ward collapsed, unleashing a wall of water 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina.  The resulting flood wiped out the African-American neighborhood and killed scores of its residents and now what has been left in its wake is little more than a commemorative marker at the site where the floodwall protecting the neighborhood collapsed. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana Gary Rivlin retraces the storm’s damage, the city of New Orleans’s efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting affects not just on the city’s geography and infrastructure—but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of that city, highlighting the mass dislocation of the African American residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and why the  neighborhood still hasn’t been thrown a life preserver.

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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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