Democracy Now

Democracy Now!
A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 1,100 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.
Updated: 4 hours 56 min ago

Socialist City Councilmember on Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai: "Socialism is the Only Answer"

Mon 06 39 AM

We speak to Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant about the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who has expressed support for socialism. In 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus, but she survived and continued to campaign for the rights of girls to go to school. While she was recovering in England, she sent a message to a meeting of Pakistani Marxists in Lahore that "I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation." "I think she’s right on the mark," Sawant responds. "All the places which have been the target of brutal imperialism from the West … where is the solution to all of this? The only solution can be on the basis of rejecting capitalism." Sawant also comments on the Indian child labor rights Kailash Satyarthi, who was jointly awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Yousafzai.

Seattle Marks Indigenous Peoples' Day Amid Calls to End Federal Holiday Celebrating Columbus

Mon 06 27 AM

Today marks Columbus Day, a federal holiday to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the so-called "New World" in 1492. But the holiday has long evoked sadness and anger among Native Americans, who object to honoring a man who opened the door to European colonization, the exploitation of native peoples, and the slave trade. Last Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to celebrate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the encouragement of indigenous activists — joining many other cities and states with non-Columbus Day holidays. "We’re making sure that we acknowledge the absolute horrors of colonization and conquering that happened in the Americas at the hands of the European so-called explorers, and Columbus was one of the primary instigators," says Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, one of the sponsors of the resolution to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. She is a member of Socialist Alternative, a nationwide organization of social and economic justice activists.

Ferguson October: Thousands March in St. Louis for Police Reform & Arrest of Officer Darren Wilson

Mon 06 11 AM

Since the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown two months ago, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, have defied a militarized crackdown and taken to the streets to call for the arrest of police officer Darren Wilson, who shot him. Their efforts have made Ferguson the ground zero for the movement against police brutality and racial bias. Democracy Now! was there this weekend when thousands of people traveled to St. Louis to take part in "Ferguson October," four days of action calling for justice in Brown’s case and the reform of police practices nationwide. “Everybody that we know and love is held accountable for breaking the law,” says activist and actor Jesse Williams, star of the TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy.” “So those who break the law, if they happen to be wearing a blue shirt with a button-up that we paid for, they should probably be held accountable also.” We hear from residents of St. Louis, and from many of the protesters who traveled to Ferguson from around the country. “Everybody here is representing a family member or someone that’s been hurt, murdered, killed, arrested, deported,” notes Richard Wallace, with the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative. Over the weekend, 17 people were arrested in a sit-in at a gas station near the St. Louis neighborhood of Shaw, where protests have broken out since last week when police fatally shot Vonderrit Myers, an 18-year-old African American. Police say Myers fired at them and that they recovered a gun at the scene. But his family claims he was unarmed, holding only a sandwich he had bought minutes before. On Sunday night, Myers’ parents led a march to Saint Louis University, where they held a four-minute moment of silence for their son. Ferguson October organizers say more nonviolent civil disobedience is planned for today.

"I Am Coming to the End of a Long Journey": Legendary Detroit Activist Grace Lee Boggs in Hospice

Fri 06 55 AM

As we broadcast from Detroit, Michigan, we get an update on Grace Lee Boggs, the 99-year-old activist, author and philosopher based in Detroit. She is considered a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America. Throughout her life, Boggs has participated in all of the 20th century’s major social movements — for civil rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights, and has inspired generations of local activists. In 1994, she co-founded Detroit Summer, "a multi-racial, inter-generational collective" that functions as a training ground for activists, attracting young people across the country each year. Boggs has been in hospice care at her Detroit home, largely bedridden after taking a bad fall last month. She recently posted a statement on her website that read in part, "I am coming to the end of a long journey — a journey that began over 70 years ago at the beginning of World War II." We broadcast an excerpt from our 2011 interview with Boggs, and speak with her longtime friend, Alice Jennings, who is one of two people in charge of her care.

Detroit Faces "Humanitarian Crisis" as City Shuts Off Water Access for Thousands of Residents

Fri 06 46 AM

We are on the road in Detroit, broadcasting from the "Great Lakes State" of Michigan, which has one of the longest freshwater coastlines in the country. But its residents are increasingly concerned about their access to affordable water. A judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy recently ruled the city can continue shutting off water to residents who have fallen behind on payments after a judge concluded there is no "enforceable right" to water. The city began cutting off water to thousands of households several months ago, prompting protests from residents and the United Nations. Today, some 350 to 400 customers reportedly continue to lose water service daily in Detroit, where poverty rate is approximately 40 percent, and people have seen their water bills increase by 119 percent within the last decade. Most of the residents are African-American. Two-thirds of those impacted by the water shutoffs involve families with children. We speak with Alice Jennings, the lead attorney for residents who have lost their water access. "What’s happening here is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis," Jennings says. "In a military way, the truck would start at one end of the street, and by the time it reached the other end maybe 50 percent of the homes were shut off."

Ferguson October: Activists Call for Nationwide Convergence to Demand Justice for Michael Brown

Fri 06 24 AM

Demonstrations over the police killing of an unarmed teenager in St. Louis, Missouri, continued for a second night ahead of a national weekend of action in nearby Ferguson over the police killing of Michael Brown two months ago. Organizers have invited the Brown family to take part. Dr. Cornel West and actor Harry Belafonte are also among those expected to attend the events, which include a mass march and a planned act of civil disobedience. They will join local activists who have been calling for the arrest of police officer Darren Wilson, who killed Mike Brown; for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case; and the firing of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. We speak with three of the organizers who have been involved in the protests since the beginning: Tef Poe, a St. Louis rapper and activist; Tory Russell, an organizer with Hands Up United; and Ashley Yates, of Millennial Activists United. "The message that we’re sending to the system is that we’re not going to stop. We are resilient," Poe says.

Pakistani Education Activist Malala Yousafzai Becomes Youngest Winner of Nobel Peace Prize

Fri 06 11 AM

Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. At age 17, Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize. In 2012, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus. She survived and continued to campaign for the rights of girls to go to school. Satyarthi, age 60, has been a leader for decades in the international movement against child slavery and the exploitation of child workers. In a statement, the Nobel committee said it "regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism." Last year on July 12, her 16th birthday, Yousafzai appeared at the United Nations and delivered her first speech since she underwent surgery, saying she was undeterred by the Taliban’s efforts to silence her voice. The event marked a global day in her honor. We broadcast an excerpt from her address. "Let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism. Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are the most powerful weapons," Yousafzai says. "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution."