BlackBox Radio

January 25, 2006

BlackBox Radio for Jan 24th, 2006

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 2:58 pm

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On this week’s show: Clara and Sigh explore the role local activists play in U of M’s secret society Michigauma and Jen brings us an update on the Zapatistas’ new campaigns in Mexico. Plus, the following local, national, and international headlines:

Local Headlines:
Civil and Housing rights violations in Detroit
privatizing Michigan state parks
MCRI update

National and International Headlines:
World Social Forum: Bamako, Mali
Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers close to death
Evo Morales: first indigenous leader of Bolivia
Police murder in Georgia


Local Headlines

The Detroit Free Press reports that two Taylor men were responsible for setting a fire meant to drive away an African American family from their neighborhood. In July of 2002, Wayland Mullins and Michael Richardson started a fire in the home just purchased by the Doster family in order to scare them and prevent them from moving in.

The men are charged with violating the Dosters’ civil and housing rights and with conspiring to lie to investigators. Each of the counts carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Richardson is currently serving a 4-year prison sentence for misleading investigators in an attempt to prevent Mullins from being charged. The investigation is still ongoing, however Mullins has been charged and was due to appear in court last Friday.

The Doster family put up with years of racial harassment, including racially charged graffiti, arson and insults. In August 2005, Reginald Doster, a computer administrator, and his wife and daughter moved out and left the neighborhood.


According to the Grand Rapids Press, the Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy has proposed to privatize 14 Michigan state parks in order to increase revenue for the state.

According to the Mackinac Center, the “liquidation of these properties would allow state park managers to focus their limited resources on protecting the state’s truly outstanding natural and historic sites.”

Thomas Bailey of Harbor Springs, the executive director of
the Little Traverse Conservancy, a land conversation nonprofit group says that the plan doesn’t make sense. “As our manufacturing takes it on the chin, it’s going to be more
important to rely on (tourism) to help get through these tough times.”


At a hearing last week called by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, about two dozen people testified that they believed the signatures gathered by Ward Connerly’s Michigan Civil Rights Initiative were collected fraudulently, reports the MetroTimes

The testimony, along with about 180 affidavits making the same claim, states that Signature gatherers asked people to sign a petition “for” civil rights or “in support” of affirmative action. However, the initiative the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative seeks to put on the November 2006 state ballot that would ban public institutions from using affirmative action practices in hiring.

Martha Cuneo, a Warren attorney and board member of the National Lawyers Guild who said she signed a petition handed to her outside a Royal Oak post office, told the commission, quote, “I was never informed that the aim of the petition was to ban affirmative action. I implore you to take my name off this petition. It’s an embarrassment to me.” Ruthie Stevenson, president of the NAACP’s Macomb County branch, told the commission she believes that institutional racism was one of the reasons the claims of petition fraud were not being looked into until now. Another hearing in the same vein is to be scheduled in the coming weeks.



National and International Headlines:

The 2006 World Social Forum opened Thursday in Bamako, Mali. The World Social Forum is an alternative to the World Economic Forum, a yearly meeting of business and political elites in Switzerland.

The World Social Forum is a space for exchanging information and experiences of fighting neo-liberalism. The past decade has seen a wide range of popular resistance in Africa. The Forum will offer an opportunity for dialogue and reflection on those fights and the alternatives they offer in the global project to build a better world based on solidarity and common struggle, not competition and war.

The themes of the Bamako WSF include: Militarization and War, the outcomes of the Hong Kong WTO meeting, UN reform, and Migration.

This year’s World Social Forum is also being held simultaneously in Caracas (Venezuela), and Karachi (Pakistan). Approximately 30,000 activists from across the region and the world are expected to attend. This is the first World Social Forum to be held in Africa


According to Sunday’s London Times, several hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay may be close to death despite force feeding by the American military,
The condition of two emaciated Yemeni hunger strikers who have been refusing solid food since August is causing particular concern. There are also fears for the life of a hospitalised Saudi prisoner.
The Yemenis, identified as Abu Bakah al-Shamrani and Abu Anas, are said by detainees to be gravely weak. Shamrani weighs only 70 pounds.
The military said last week that the number of hunger strikers had declined to 22 after a peak at Christmas and that 17 were being fed by “tube”.
The prisoners being force fed have a permanent tube in the nose, which descends to the stomach and is attached to another tube for feeding. If they do not rip it out, the US military say they are consenting to be fed even if the tube was inserted under duress.
One of the hunger strikers, Shaker Aamer , has vowed to continue his hunger strike until he is given a fair trial or released.
Aamers lawyer has commentd the “inevitable spectre of a Muslim prisoner dying on Guantanamo soil will cause greater outrage than even the desecration of the Koran”.


Evo Morales was sworn in on Sunday as the first indigenous leader of Bolivia, South America’s poorest nation.
Along with Bolivian politicians, and invited dignitaries, 11 presidents and government leaders from Latin America and Europe attended his swearing in.
Among those present at the ceremony were Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil.

In his inaugural speech, Morales declared that “the 500 years of Indian resistance have not been in vain”.
“From 500 years of resistance we pass to another 500 years in power,” he said. “We’re going to put an end to injustice, to inequality.”
Morales blamed neo-liberal economic policies of the past and the “looting of our natural resources” for the widespread poverty in the country.


According to NBC Atlanta news a group of community members in Marshallville, Georgia, attacked police officers with rocks and then looted and burned down Police Chief Stephen Stewart’s home after an African American man, Clarence Walker, was murdered by the police on Sunday.
Police claim that they only used “minimal force” to subdue Walker who was wanted on outstanding charges, but witnesses claimed otherwise. “They had him down, and kept spraying him with mace. And one of the largest ones was sitting on him,” said Walker’s brother, James Jackson. At some point, after they handcuffed Walker, he stopped breathing. After he was transported to a hospital, the watching crowd started to throw rocks at the police.
Marshallville is a small town of 1,300 people about 90 miles south of Atlanta.




  1. Beyond Davos…


    World leaders and jet-set stars gathered last week in Davos, Switzerland to hobnob about what can be done about a host of growing global conundrums from HIV-AIDS to climate change to the emergence of China and India–the former destined to displace the waning USA.

    Can informal champagne klatches of Davos big-men and women really provide solutions to burgeoning global crises? Will the world’s HIV-positive be saved by the new Red Campaign launched by Bono and his set of well coiffed über-amigos, including Giorgio Armani, Bobby Shriver and the corporate chieftans at Converse , the Gap and American Express? …

    Beyond Davos…

    Comment by The Compilers — January 29, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

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