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 Rican Teachers Union Fights Austerity - 26:59  

Massive Demonstrations in Puerto Rico
as Teachers Union Fights Austerity

Mercedes Martinez, Pres., Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico

With the rejection by Congress of any meaningful measure for debt relief despite the current deadline for almost $1 billion in debt payment due on January 1st, and amidst wealthy investors squeezing the cash-starved Island, unions in Puerto Rican are bracing for any eventuality, from massive layoffs to and including the possibly of a government shutdown.  A general strike is one of the responses being discussed by the FMPR, one of the most militant unions in Puerto Rico.  On November 17, 2015 the FMPR led a highly successful one day strike against the colonial government's brutal austerity program, and escalating attacks on hard earned workers’ rights, including pensions and retiree medical benefits and efforts to privatize the school system. The FMPR’s most recent action, just thus this past week was a civil disobedience activity at the Department of Treasury, against a pay cut in the form of denial of a Christmas bonus due to all public workers. While the colonial government says Cut Back the FMPR says Fight Back!


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

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” 

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Runaway Inequality; Haitian Election bodes ill for the people! - 27:16  

Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide To Economic Justice
withLes Leopold, award-winning author; cofounded and directs the
Labor Institute in NYC; conducts and shares economic educational programs to help fight runaway inequality

“There is nothing in the economic universe that will automatically rescue us from runaway inequality.  There is no pendulum, no invisible political force that “naturally” will swing back towards economic fairness…Either we wage a large-scale battle for economic, social and environmental justice or we will witness the continued deterioration of the world we inhabit.  The arc of
capitalism does not bend towards justice .  We must bend it.”  Leopold’s Runaway Inequality puts the facts in our hands so we can grasp what is really going on in our economy – and what we can do about it.
Election that bodes ill for the Haitian people!
withKim Ives, An Editor of
Haïti Liberté

To prevent the Haitian people from celebrating the Bicentennial of the country’s 1804 independence, the International Community unleashed a vast media campaign of propaganda against the then government.  The end result was not only the landing of a group of mercenaries from the neighboring Dominican Republic, under the control of the CIA, but also a brutal, and bloody coup.  Since then, France, the United States and Canada have occupied Haiti under the flag of the United Nations and one current manifestation of imperialist domination was these governments without consulting the Haitian people deciding that there would be an election. Huge sums of money have been freed up for this event, while the victims of the earthquake are still housed under makeshift tents and tarps with little or no protection against heavy rains, not to mention hurricanes. Kim Ives an editor of  Haiti Liberte the largest Haitian weekly newspaper, distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Haiti talks about the political situation on the ground in Haiti and the upcoming elections, as the campaign season for the final round of Haiti's elections is concluding and as of yet the second-place finisher in the presidential vote still hasn't decided whether he will participate in a runoff or continue to press for a
recount in an election that has already been shown to have been patently fraudulent

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Grassroots Alliance Challenges Paris Climate Conference; Walmart Worker Surveillance - 28:58  

It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm: the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Challenges COP21 Climate Conference in Paris
Kali Akuno, is a founder and co-director of Cooperation Jacksonan emerging network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions in Jackson, Mississippi and the South. Kali also served as the Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network, and as the Executive Director of the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund based in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. Some of Kali s most noted works include, most recently Casting Shadows: Chokwe Lumumba and the Struggle for Racial Justice and Economic Democracy in Jackson, Mississippi ; Revolutionary Nationalism
for the 21st Century , and Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era . Kali has authored many articles and pamphlets on international and working class politics, with a focus on how government counterinsurgency, state violence, the drug war, mass incarceration and neoliberalism impact Black communities, and issues of zero waste, food sovereignty, solidarity economies, and worker cooperatives. 

Kali, discusses "an agenda for power for working and poor people and communities of color," for climate justice advocated by the "It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation of over 100 frontline leaders from climate-impacted communities across the U.S. and Canada, including the Arctic, united under the slogan: 'No War, No Warming -- Build an Economy for People and Planet.' ... Climate justice seeks to address much more than greenhouse gas emissions, but the root systemic causes of climate change itself. Climate justice is about social and economic justice, and how democratic, peaceful and equitable solutions, not military violence, best serve the interests of humanity. The fossil fuel economy is a driver of these multi-faceted crises facing the world: causing resource wars; polluting our air, water and land; creating illness and death to people and of ecosystems; privatization of nature ..."
Walmart Engages FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and Lockheed Martin To Surveil Workers Calling for $15 an Hour and Full-Time Work
Dan Schlademan, Co-Director, Our Walmart

OUR Walmart has uncovered testimony revealing Walmart’s surveillance of their workers fighting for $15 an hour and full-time work in the wake of Black Friday strikes in 2012 and the “Ride for Respect” in 2013. In addition to  closely monitoring the lawful labor rights activism of its associates on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as the company faced a wave of bad publicity and negative same store sales, Walmart enlisted military industrial giant Lockheed Martin to spy on its workers and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to gather intelligence on protests.  “We are fighting for
all workers to be paid a fair wage and enough hours to put food on the table and provide for our families," said Mary Pat Tifft, a Walmart worker of 27 years in Wisconsin. "To think that Walmart found us such a threat that they had to hire a defense contractor and engage the FBI is a mind-blowing abuse of power. 

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NY Protesters Rally Over Deadly Chicago, Minneapolis and NYC Police Shootings - 28:50  

Multiple Arrests As NY Protesters Rally
Over Deadly Chicago, Minneapolis Police Shootings

Millions March NYC and NYC Shut It Down – both of which are part of the Black Lives Matter movement held a rally in Washington Square Park decrying police violence against African-Americans.  Protesters rallied and marched over recent deadly police shootings in Chicago of Laquan McDonald in October 2014, and Minneapolis.  Protesters were also marching in solidarity with five activists who were shot while protesting the Minneapolis incident.  The five activists were shot by white supremacists who targeted those demonstrating near the 4th Precinct police station in Minneapolis, in the aftermath of the death of Jamar Clark – who was shot in the head and killed, while handcuffed by a local police officer.  At one point, a group went into Macy’s at Herald Square, and at another point, a group tried blocking the Lincoln Tunnel.   

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Prescribing Medicare for All; Immigration: Exploiting the Politics of Resentmen - 28:58  

As Jan. 31st Deadline for Open Enrollment Under ObamaCare Looms, Doctor Finds Better Presciption Medicare for All
Dr. Donald E. Moore, MD, MPH,  Past President, Medical Society of the County of Kings and Board Member of Physicians for a National Health Program, NY Metro Chapter

While millions of Americans now scrambling to re-enroll in health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act  are frustrated by the limitations of the private insurance marketplace, Dr. Moore, while noting the gains made under OmamaCare sees it's defects play out in his efforts to  provide good medical care to  patients.  In addition to often increasing out of pocket expenses,the insurance companies dictate which specialists he can refer patients to and he is pressured to shorten patient visits and bill them more. In response he has in effect gone “single payer,” or advocates Medicare for
all, refusing to work with private insurers and now mainly accepting patients under Medicare and Medicaid. He is urging all doctors to join the movement for Medicare for All (Single Payer) to reform the health care system based on inefficent private health care insurance with its high administrative overhead and profit margins. He has joined with other doctors in the Physicians for a National Health Program in lobbying the NYS Legislature to institute a Single Payer System in NYS, or Medicare for all, and the NYS Assembly recently overwhelming passed such a bill.    
The Presidential Candidates On Immigration:
Exploiting the Politics of Resentment
withOscar Chacon, Executive Director, Alianza Americas 

When New York billionaire and GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump launched into his anti-immigrant tirade against Mexicans crossing the border, he was using a long known political technique of plugging into the live wire of American resentment of the other – most recently Latinos; more precisely, those from the Southern borders: Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans,Hondurans, and the like.  And, no doubt the recent tragedies in France will be exploited to promote a new wave of fear and antagonism towards
immigrants and migrants of Arab descent. But, since the 19th century, politicians have used currents of fear, often fueled by economic downturns for the working class to crank up movements
against those who came from abroad.  Oscar Chacon discusses how US immigration policy is rooted in a narrative that paints immigrants as a criminal threat to order and progress and that the  political dilemma extends across party lines and is threaded through the positions of all the Presidential candidates to some degree.  Given that underlying assumption Chacon discusses how US immigration policy can truly be fixed, which he contends depends on how quickly and effectively organized immigrant communities—
and those who wish to make common cause with them—can build the political muscle necessary to ensure that their needs and demands can be neither co-opted nor ignored.

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