UpFront

Abolitionists respond to Derek Chauvin’s sentencing; Oakland’s city council votes to rethink police budget; John Nichols talks Biden’s infrastructure plan

Photo: Demonstrators outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minnesota prepare to hear the verdict against Derek Chauvin in April 2021. Adapted from photo by Chad Davis on Flickr, CC 2.0.

On this show:

0:08 – John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, joins us to talk about Biden’s infrastructure bill, the prospects for a Civilian Climate Corps, and how Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have worked together to water down and scuttle any prospects for Green New Deal-style or “human infrastructure” policies in the legislation.

0:34 – We take your questions on Covid with Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. On discussion today: How much immunity do Covid survivors have; should unvaccinated grandchildren hug their grandparents; the spread of the Delta variant.

1:08 – Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin has now been sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. Some say the sentence should be longer — others say that promoting longer prison time misses the point of abolition. In our weekly recurring segment called I. Can’t. Breathe. Cat Brooks speaks with two guests:

  • Taina Vargas, executive director of Initiate Justice, an organization that aims to end mass incarceration, talks about the new podcast she co-hosts called Abolition is for Everybody and discusses the sentencing, and why the “justice” system cannot deliver justice.
  • Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR MN, explains why he feels the sentence Chauvin was given was not adequate.

1:34 – Last Thursday, June 24, the Oakland City Council took a major budget vote to reduce the size of a planned increase in police spending and divert resources to non-cop emergency response alternatives, after a year of fierce organizing and public outcry for reducing funding for policing that is racist and unjust. We talk with three guests:

  • Nikki Fortunato Bas (@nikki4oakland) is Oakland City Council President and District 2 Representative
  • liz suk (@liz_suk) is Executive Director of Oakland Rising
  • James Burch is the Policy Director of the Anti-Police Terror Project and President of the National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter. He serves on Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force
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