Government & Organizations
Black Agenda Radio - 09.05.16
It’s been 20 years since President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress destroyed “welfare as we knew it” by replacing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the “workfare” regime called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The result, saidMaureen Taylor, chairperson of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, is growing poverty in the United States. Taylor says TANF should be changed to DANF, standing for “Disappearing Aid for Needy Families.” Residents of Michigan are only eligible for cash assistance for five years in their lifetimes. It’s a shame, said Taylor, how the political class is “turning, not against poverty, but trying to turn the nation against poor folks.”
A federal judge agreed that it is unconstitutional for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to deny curative medical treatment to Mumia Abu Jamal and thousands of other prisoners suffering from Hepatitis C. However, the court then ruled that Abu Jamal’s suit was technically flawed. Noelle Hanrahan, a director of Prison Radio who works closely with Mumia, was outraged that the state has condemned thousands of prisoners to early and unnecessary deaths. “You can’t construct a situation that is more grossly inhumane,” she said.
Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, was more upbeat about the ruling. “It’s a good beginning that a federal judge recognizes that what the Commonwealth is doing, and has been doing for years, is not only unjust but unconstitutional, a violation of fundamental fairness and the human right to life,” he said.
“Our view is that if you have the potential for 270 Electoral College votes -- if you are on enough ballots to achieve that -- then you should be in the debate,” said Kevin Zeese, the veteran activist recently named as senior advisor to the Green Party’s Jill Stein-Ajamu Baraka presidential ticket. Zeese notes that polls show half the American public wants the televised debates open to Stein and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate. However, the debates are a joint venture of the Democratic and Republican parties, who call the shots. “It’s a disgrace to democracy,” said Zeese, “that they can choose who they will debate.”
Barack Obama’s presidency has been “the highest expression” of the U.S. government’s long campaign to “neutralize the Black liberation movement,” said BAR regular contributor Danny Haiphong, who this week posted the ninth in his ten-part series on the Obama legacy. “It really wasn’t until 2014, when Obama was in his last years, that any semblance of a movement against issues like police brutality and racism began to come back to the fore,” said Haiphong. Black liberationist politics has been suppressed for two generations, said Haiphong, “with the help of a Black misleadership class that has diluted, sanitized and almost destroyed, up until recently, the Black Radical Tradition.”
A recent article by Terry Burke in the leftish magazine In These Times attacked a broad range of anti-war activists and groups for opposing the U.S. war against Syria. Burke claims U.S. activists aren’t listening to “the Syrian people.” In response, Sara Flounders, of the United National Anti-War Coalition, said the U.S. insists on regime change in Syria, and “anyone who has any confusion as to where that leads has only to look at Libya and at Iraq and see the howling wasteland that has been created” by U.S. intervention.
It is Free