Friday, February 01, 2008



A special afternoon to free an innocent man on Pennsylvania’s death row for 26 years…
Honoring Mumia Abu-Jamal & his Friends
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008, 2:00 pm
ILWU Local 34 Hall, 4 Berry Street, San Francisco
(Near 2nd & King St. immediately to the left of AT&T baseball stadium)
Admission: $15-$10 sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds. Refreshments.
Sponsor: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 415-255-1085 or 510-268-9429

Dennis Bernstein, Producer, KPFA’s Flashpoints
Pam Africa, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Lynne Stewart, attorney, falsely convicted of conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism
Jonathan Richman, singer/songwriter
Jack Heyman,on behalf of Internat’l Longshore &Warehouse Union
Barbara Lubin, Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance
Aundre Herron, ACLU & comedienne, “Wonderwoman”
Robert R. Bryan, lead counsel for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Carlos Villarreal, Exec. Dir., National Lawyers Guild Bay Area
Alan Benjamin, Exec. Board, SF Labor Council
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10
Derrel Myers, Jo Jo White Solidarity Committee
Gloria LaRiva, International ANSWER/San Francisco
JR, POCC Block Report Radio; KPOO & KPFA Radio producer
Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., Prisoners of Conscience Committee
Noelle Hanrahan, Prison Radio
Laura Herrera & Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kiilu Nyasha, Free SF 8 activist; producer, SF Live's TV weekly, "Freedom
Is A Constant Struggle"
plus: Special video showing: NBC Today Show’s incredible coverage of Mumia’s case

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning journalist & innocent Pennsylvania 26 year death row inmate. Framed by a racist criminal “justice” system in a 1982 trial that has been repudiated by Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the California Labor Federation, SF Labor Council, AFSCME, SEIU, ILWU, NUPW, Alice Walker, E.L. Doctorow, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, Angela Davis, the past French President Jacques Chirac and the Detroit, SF, Berkeley city governments, Mumia’s case is rapidly approaching it’s legal conclusion. He has defeated repeated attempts at his execution by state authorities. After presenting to the courts and to millions around the world the irrefutable facts proving his innocence, his appeal for a new trial (that can only lead to his freedom) is pending. A decision is imminent. While the state presses for his murder by lethal injection we fight for his freedom. His struggle for fundamental human and democratic rights, for civil liberties, and freedom is the struggle of all those who cherish social justice. For additional information:
Sponsor: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal 415-255-1085 or 510-268-9429
Benefit for: Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Contributions to: P.O. Box 10328, Oakland, CA 94610-0328


2017 Mission St (@ 16th), San Francisco


Statement in Defense of Free Speech
Rights on the National Mall
Partnership for Civil Justice

Sign the Statement:

We the undersigned are supporting the emergency mobilization of the people demanding that there be no new restrictions on free speech or protest related activities on the National Mall in Washington D.C. This is the real objective of the Bush Administration’s plans for the National Mall.

Unless we take action, the Bush Administration, as one of its final acts, will leave office having dramatically altered access of the people to public lands that have been the site of the most significant mass assembly protests in U.S. history.

The National Mall has been the historic site for the people of the United States to come together to seek equality, justice, and peace. These activities are the lifeblood of a democracy. The National Mall is not an ornamental lawn. The National Mall performs its most sacrosanct and valued function when it serves as the place of assembly for political protest, dissent and free speech.

We oppose any efforts to further restrict protest on the Mall, to relegate protest to a government-designated protest pit or zone, to stage-manage or channel free speech activity to suit the government, or to stifle or abridge our rights to expression upon the public forum that is the National Mall. We call for a moratorium on further actions by the National Park Service that would in any way channel, restrict or inhibit the people's use of the National Mall in furtherance of our First Amendment rights.

Initial signers:

Howard Zinn, professor, author of People's History of the United States
Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General
Cindy Sheehan
Dennis Banks, Co-Founder, American Indian Movement
Malik Rahim, Co-Founder, Common Ground Collective, New Orleans
John Passacantando, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
Mahdi Bray, Exec. Director, Muslim American Society, Freedom Foundation
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Elias Rashmawi, National Coordinator, National Council of Arab Americans
Heidi Boghosian, Exec. Director of National Lawyers Guild
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Co-Founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Carl Messineo, Co-Founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
Jim Lafferty, Exec. Director of the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
Tina Richards, CEO, Grassroots America
Brian Becker, National Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg, killed in Iraq
Dr. Harriet Adams, Esq.
Elliot Adams, President, Veterans for Peace
Jennifer Harbury, Human Rights Attorney
Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran, author, Born on the Fourth of July
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Latino Movement USA
Blase and Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Fernando Suarez Del Solar, Guerrero Azteca, father of Jesus Del Solar, soldier killed in Iraq
Chuck Kaufman, Alliance for Global Justice
Frank Dorrel, Publisher, Addicted to War
William Blum, Author
Ed Asner, Actor
Annalisa Enrile, Mariposa Alliance
Sue Udry, Director, Defending Dissent Foundation

In this message:
· Meeting - Longest Walk 2 speaker
· Mass Mailing for March 19 Demonstration
· Mumia Event (time correction)

For more info or to volunteer with the ANSWER Coalition, call 415-821-6545.


Tues. Feb. 5, 7pm
2489 Mission St. Room 30, at 21st St. SF
near 24th St. BART, #14, #49 MUNI

ANSWER Activist Meeting
The Longest Walk 2

Come hear a representative of the Longest Walk 2, an historic 5-month grassroots journey that will start at Alcatraz Island on Feb. 11, and end in Washington DC on July 11. It is a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the original Longest Walk in 1978, when Native people and supporters marched to DC to defend their sovereignty, tribal rights and land.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition will be making a contribution to the efforts of the walkers this Tuesday, Feb. 5, and hear an exciting report on the Walk. Please come with a financial donation if you can. The Longest Walk 2 Bay Area kick-off events of Feb. 8-11 will also be announced.

For more info visit


Tues. Feb. 5, 10am-9pm
Mass Mailing for March 19 Demonstration
2489 Mission St. Room 30, at 21st St. SF

Help with a mass mailing to help spread the word about the march and rally on March 19 the 5th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq. The mailing will continue after the ANSWER Meeting.

Sun. Feb. 3, 2pm
Free Mumia Abu Jamal—Honoring Mumia and Friends
ILWU Hall, Local 34, 2 Berry St., near 2nd & King, San Francisco
Featuring Lynne Stewart, Pam Africa, Dennis Bernstein, Gloria La Riva & others.
For more information:
Sponsored by Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu Jamal.


A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545


2/23 SF Solidarity Rally For "Freightliner Five"

Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 3:00 PM
At: ILWU Local 34
801-2nd St., at Embarcadero next to the ballpark
San Francisco

Five fired union leaders of the UAW Cleveland, North Carolina Freightliner truck
plant are fighting to get their jobs back. This integrated union leadership was standing
up for decent health and safety conditions and benefits.
This meeting is also inviting other workers in struggle to participate and speak
about their struggle.

"Freightliner Five" Solidarity Tour
Solidarity Rally For UAW 3520 "Freightliner Five" Fired Workers

In April 2007, UAW 3520 workers at the Cleveland, North Carolina Freightliner truck plant went on strike over health and safety and other conditions and benefits. In retaliation, the Daimler Benz owned company fired 5 strike leaders. They are known as the Freightliner Five and have been fighting for their jobs back for nearly a year. This struggle is not just about the Freightliner workers but union organizing throughout the South.
If Freightliner can get away with this illegal firing, other workers will think twice about joining a union. Allen Bradley and Franklin Torrence, two of the Freightliner fired workers will be speaking about their struggle at this meeting and will also be meeting with other workers in Northern California.

Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 3:00 PM
At: ILWU Local 34
801-2nd St., at Embarcadero next to the ballpark, San Francisco

Initial Speakers For Meeting:
Jack Heyman, Executive Board ILWU Local 10*
Jack Rasmus, President UAW 1982 BA Chapter*
Gloria La Riva, Pres. NC MWU-CWA 39521*
Alan Bradley, Fired UAW Vice Chair Bargaining Committee & Skilled Trades Chair
Franklin Torrence, Fired UAW 3520 Civil Rights Chair and Executive Committee
* for identification only

Please come to this support meeting and learn directly about their struggle
This effort has been recently endorsed by Ken Riley, president of ILA 1422 in Charleston, South Carolina, Donna Dewitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, Labor Video Project, Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, Labor Action Coalition, Facts For Working People, Cynthia McKinney, former congress woman, ISO, Joseph Prisco, president of AMFA Local 9*, San Francisco Peace and Freedom Party (* for identification only)

To support these fired workers, you can also send checks payable to:
Justice 4 Five Solidarity Fund, P.O. Box 5144, Statesville, N.C. 28687.

N. California Freightliner Five Support Committee
For information and if you would like your union or organization to endorse call: (415)282-1908
South Carolina AFL-CIO President Urges Labor Movement Support For Freightliner 5 - 01/30/08

By Doug Cunningham

Five UAW Local 3520 bargaining committee members fired by Freightliner in April of 2007, after a one-day strike are getting some support now from the labor movement. The UAW International isn’t supporting the workers' efforts to get their jobs back because the one-day strike was authorized only by the local and not by the International UAW. South Carolina AFL-CIO President, Donna Dewitt supports these five UAW bargaining committee members fired by Freightliner and she says they deserve some solidarity from the entire labor movement.

[Dewitt]: "They weren’t happy with the contract offer, and they were standing up for their rights. And I don’t know exactly what happened with UAW, but all I know is that there are five UAW members and officers of a local that have been out of work now going on ten months. So I would appeal to everyone to reach out to help raise funds for these folks and their efforts to be rehired. They need their jobs back."

The fired UAW Freightliner workers are visiting several cities, including Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco,to tell their story and get support. To support these workers, you can go to to donate money to the Justice 4 Five Solidarity Fund.
Posted 01/29/2008 -


5th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
End the War NOW!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008, March & Rally
5 p.m. S.F. Civic Center (Polk & Grove Sts.)

Click here to Endorse:

Bring All the Troops Home Now
End Colonial Occupation--Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine
Money for Jobs, Housing, Healthcare & Schools, Not War
Stop the threats against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba . . .
No to racism & immigrant bashing

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
2489 Mission St. Rm. 24
San Francisco: 415-821-6545


March 19, 2008, will mark the 5th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in defiance of the U.S. government’s drive for war. Since March of 2003, many millions more people have turned against the war in Iraq. The will of the people of the United States has been represented in many anti-war demonstrations and actions throughout the last 5 years.

Yet, the warmakers in the White House and Congress—acting in direct contradiction to the interests of the people of the United States and the world—have continued to fund and expand the brutal occupation of the Iraqi people.

Just a week ago, Washington unleashed the largest bombing campaign of the war—terrorizing Iraqi people in a Baghdad suburb. More than a million Iraqis have been killed. The U.S. occupation has created a situation of extreme violence in the country. The Iraqi people are denied access to regular electricity, education, health care and many necessary services. Unemployment is rampant.

Four thousand U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded, injured or evacuated due to serious illness. The cost of the war is $450,000,000 per day, $5,000 every second. The war has been a success for military-industrial businesses like Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater and McDonnell-Douglas, who are making huge profits from the death and destruction. At the same time, we are told that there is no money for basic human needs housing, food, healthcare, schools and jobs.

March 19, 2008, will see many actions against the war in San Francisco and across the country, including walkouts, teach-ins and civil disobedience on a day of “No Business As Usual.” The ANSWER Coalition along with many other individuals and organizations will join those actions. The ANSWER Coalition is calling for an evening march and rally, starting at the San Francisco Civic Center at 5 p.m.

Help build the March 19th day of action!
There are many ways you can help.

1. Volunteer now to get the word out! Plug into Tues. evening and Sat. afternoon outreach teams to make sure people know about the March 19 march and rally.
This Tues. Jan. 29, 6-9pm meet at 2489 Mission St. at 21st St., (Rm. 28) SF
We will be flyering at BART stations and the Mission campus of City College, postering in different locations in SF, and banner making and alert phone calls in the office. No experience necessary.

Every Saturday, 12noon 3pm from Feb. 2 through March 19
Help with postering and outreach tabling in San Francisco and the East Bay.

SF outreach - meet 2489 Mission St. at 21st. St. (Rm. 24)
East Bay Outreach meet 636 - 9th Street at MLK, Oakland, 510-435-0844

You can also pick up flyers and posters in San Francisco at 2489 Mission St. Rm. 24. Call us at 415-821-6545. In the East Bay, call 510-435-0844

2. Organize on your campus or workplace.
The ANSWER Coalition can send you materials to poster and leaflet at your campus or workplace. Call 415-821-6545 or email to get more information about organizing on your campus or workplace.

3. Schedule a speaker for your class or organization.
Anti-war and anti-racist activists with the ANSWER coalition are available to speak about the war at home and abroad and the organizing for the Mar.19 day of action. We also have videos available on a number of different issues relating to the wars at home and abroad. Contact us to learn more about scheduling a speaker.

4. Donate to build the Mar.19 demonstration. Click here to donate now:



March 19, 2008:

* 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq,
* beginning of the 6th year of war and occupation,
* beginning of the 6th year of senseless death and massive destruction.

The presidential candidates, the Congress, the White House and the media all seem to be working hard to push Iraq off the agenda until after the elections this fall -- we can't let that happen! They may be willing to let hundreds more U.S. soldiers and thousands more Iraqis die between now and when the next president and Congress are sworn in, but we are not!

United for Peace and Justice is calling for and supporting a set of activities on and around the 5th anniversary that will manifest the intensifying opposition to the war and help strengthen and expand our movement. We urge you to join with us to ensure the success of these actions:

March 13-16, Winter Soldier: UFPJ member group Iraq Veterans Against the War is organizing historic hearings March 13-16 in Washington, DC. Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqis and Afghans, will tell the nation the real story of this war. UFPJ is helping local groups and individuals plan events that directly link to and amplify the Winter Soldier hearings, from which we hope to have a live video feed available so that communities around the country can gather to watch and listen. Visit for more info.

March 19, Mass Nonviolent Direct Action in Washington, DC: UFPJ is organizing for what we hope will be the largest day of nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience yet against the war in Iraq. We've marched, we've vigiled, we've lobbied -- it's time to put our bodies on the line in large numbers. We encourage anyone who can to join us in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, March 19th, to be part of the civil disobedience, or to assist in support work. We are working to have delegations from all 50 states take part in this massive day of action. Visit for more info and to register to join us in DC.

March 19, Local Actions Throughout the Country: While we are working hard to have a large turnout in DC on March 19, it is also necessary to be visible and vocal in our local communities on that day. Congress will not be in session and so our representatives and senators will be in their home districts/states. We encourage those who are not able to make it to Washington on March 19 to organize and participate in local actions. These events may vary in location or character, but they will all be tied to the actions in Washington and sending the same message to the policy makers: It is time to end this war and occupation! To find an event in your area (more are being posted daily, so keep checking back!) or to sign up to organize a local activity, visit

For further details and info on how to get involved, please visit

Help us make the 5th anniversary the last anniversary of this war! Making the 5 Years Too Many Actions as visible and powerful as they need to be will take substantial resources. Please make the most generous donation you can today to support this critical mobilization.

Join our efforts to build the strongest actions possible in March -- actions that will not only mark the anniversary but will also help propel our movement into the critically important work that must be done throughout the year and beyond. Together, we will end this war and turn our country toward more peaceful and just priorities!

Yours, for peace and justice,

Leslie Cagan
National Coordinator, UFPJ

Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.

To subscribe, visit


Bay Area United Against War Statement in Response to IVAW

"In response to the Iraq Veterans Against the War Open Letter to the antiwar movement: We oppose any demand on the movement to refrain from mobilizing against the war. This demand has hurt the struggle in the United States to end the war. We support all actions of the movement to end the U.S. war on, and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. We urge the whole movement to come together to organize unified protest actions."


Call for an Open U.S. National Antiwar Conference
Stop the War in Iraq! Bring the Troops Home Now!

2008 has ushered in the fifth year of the war against Iraq and an occupation
“without end” of that beleaguered country. Unfortunately, the tremendous
opposition in the U.S. to the war and occupation has not yet been fully
reflected in united mass action.

The anniversary of the invasion has been marked in the U.S. by Iraq Veterans
Against the War's (IVAW's) Winter Soldier hearings March 13-16, in
Washington, DC, providing a forum for those who have served in Iraq and
Afghanistan to expose the horrors perpetrated by the U.S. wars. A nonviolent
civil disobedience action against the war in Iraq was also called for March
19 in Washington and local actions around the country were slated during
that month as well.

These actions help to give voice and visibility to the deeply held antiwar
sentiment of this country's majority. Yet what is also urgently needed is a
massive national mobilization sponsored by a united antiwar movement capable
of bringing hundreds of thousands into the streets to demand “Out Now!”

Such a mobilization, in our opinion, commemorating the fifth anniversary of
the war -- and held on a day agreeable to the IVAW -- could have greatly
enhanced all the other activities which were part of that commemoration in
the U.S. Indeed, a call was issued in London by the World Against War
Conference on December 1, 2007 where 1,200 delegates from 43 nations,
including Iraq, voted unanimously to call on antiwar movements in every
country to mobilize mass protests against the war during the week of March
15-22 to demand that foreign troops be withdrawn immediately.

The absence of a massive united mobilization during this period in the
United States -- the nation whose weapons of terrifying mass destruction
have rained death and devastation on the Iraqi people -- when the whole
world will mobilize in the most massive protests possible to mark this fifth
year of war, should be a cause of great concern to us all.

For Mass Action to Stop the War: The independent and united mobilization of
the antiwar majority in massive peaceful demonstrations in the streets
against the war in Iraq is a critical element in forcing the U.S. government
to immediately withdraw all U.S. military forces from that country, close
all military bases, and recognize the right of the Iraqi people to determine
their own destiny.

Mass actions aimed at visibly and powerfully demonstrating the will of the
majority to stop the war now would dramatically show the world that despite
the staunch opposition to this demand by the U.S. government, the struggle
by the American people to end the slaughter goes on. And that struggle will
continue until the last of the troops are withdrawn. Such actions also help
bring the people of the United States onto the stage of history as active
players and as makers of history itself.

Indeed, the history of every successful U.S. social movement, whether it be
the elementary fight to organize trade unions to defend workers' interests,
or to bring down the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, or to end the
war in Vietnam, is in great part the history of independent and united mass
actions aimed at engaging the vast majority to collectively fight in its own
interests and therefore in the interests of all humanity.

For an Open Democratic Antiwar Conference: The most effective way to
initiate and prepare united antiwar mobilizations is through convening
democratic and open conferences that function transparently, with all who
attend the conferences having the right to vote. It is not reasonable to
expect that closed or narrow meetings of a select few, or gatherings
representing only one portion of the movement, can substitute for the full
participation of the extremely broad array of forces which today stand
opposed to the war.

We therefore invite everyone, every organization, every coalition,
everywhere in the U.S. - all who oppose the war and the occupation -- to
attend an open democratic U.S. national antiwar conference and join with us
in advancing and promoting the coming together of an antiwar movement in
this country with the power to make a mighty contribution toward ending the
war and occupation of Iraq now.

Everyone is welcome. The objective is to place on the agenda of the entire
U.S. antiwar movement a proposal for the largest possible united mass
mobilization(s) in the future to stop the war and end the occupation.

Join us in Cleveland on June 27-29 for the conference.

In a message dated 1/24/08 10:32:35 AM, writes:

Sisters and Brothers,

Attached is a statement calling for a broad, democratic antiwar conference
in Cleveland June 27-29, 2008, for which we are seeking endorsers. This is
an initiative started by a variety of folks disturbed at the state of the
movement and in particular by the failure to have called national
demonstrations to mark the fifth anniversary of the war, despite calls for
protests around the world issued by the conference in London.

Among those on the Coordinating Committee which developed this call are
Jerry Gordon, a key figure in the movement against the war in Vietnam, who
has also played a significant role in trying to forge unity in today's
antiwar movement; several leaders of New England United, the very broad
coalition formed around last year's October 27th demonstrations; activists
in local antiwar coalitions in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago,
Minneapolis and elsewhere; members of Progressive Democrats of America; a
UNITE-HERE organizer from Ohio; Lynne Stewart; Marc Rich of the United
Teachers of Los Angeles and Peace and Freedom Party; and others (the
Coordinating Committee now has about 25 members). The conference is intended
to be all-inclusive, hopefully drawing in all forces in the movement, from
UFPJ to ANSWER to independent local and national groups, student groups,
labor, Black and Latin@ groups, etc., etc.

We are currently seeking endorsements, and have already received them from
author Howard Zinn; trade unionist Steve Early; Bethlehem For Peace (PA);
Barbara Lubin, Director, Middle East Children's Alliance; Mumia Abu-Jamal;
Ohio State Labor Party; Progressive Democrats of America -- Ohio; Dallas
Sells, Director, Ohio State Council, UNITE HERE; and Michael Steven Smith,
co-producer, Law and Disorder, WBAI radio.

If you and/or your organization are interested in endorsing the statement
and/or the conference that would be great. If you have any questions or
comments let me know.

In solidarity,
Andy Pollack





A ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Mumia's case, based on the hearing in Philadelphia on May 17th 2007, is expected momentarily. Freeing Mumia immediately is what is needed, but that is not an option before this court. The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal calls on everyone who supports Mumia‚s case for freedom, to rally the day after a decision comes down. Here are Bay Area day-after details:


14th and Broadway, near the Federal Building
4:30 to 6:30 PM the day after a ruling is announced,
or on Monday if the ruling comes down on a Friday.

Oakland demonstration called by the Partisan Defense Committee and Labor Black Leagues, to be held if the Court upholds the death sentence, or denies Mumia's appeals for a new trial or a new hearing. info at (510) 839-0852 or


Federal Courthouse, 7th & Mission
5 PM the day after a ruling is announced,
or Monday if the decision comes down on a Friday

San Francisco demo called by the Mobilization To Free Mumia,
info at (415) 255-1085 or

Day-after demonstrations are also planned in:

Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver
and other cities internationally.

A National Demonstration is to be held in Philadelphia, 3rd Saturday after the decision

For more information, contact: International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal,;
Partisan Defense Committee,;
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC),;


World-renowned journalist, death-row inmate and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is completely innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. Mountains of evidence--unheard or ignored by the courts--shows this. He is a victim, like thousands of others, of the racist, corrupt criminal justice system in the US; only in his case, there is an added measure of political persecution. Jamal is a former member of the Black Panther Party, and is still an outspoken and active critic of the on-going racism and imperialism of the US. They want to silence him more than they want to kill him.

Anyone who has ever been victimized by, protested or been concerned about the racist travesties of justice meted out to blacks in the US, as well as attacks on immigrants, workers and revolutionary critics of the system, needs to take a close look at the frame-up of Mumia. He is innocent, and he needs to be free.




In 1995, mass mobilizations helped save Mumia from death.

In 1999, longshore workers shut West Coast ports to free Mumia, and teachers in Oakland and Rio de Janeiro held teach-ins and stop-works.

Mumia needs powerful support again now. Come out to free Mumia!

- The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222, Oakland CA 94610




1) Charges Dropped for 22 Arrested on Way to Wake
January 29, 2008

2) Police Shooting of Mother and Infant Exposes a City’s Racial Tension
January 30, 2008

3) Soldier Suicides at Record Level
Increase Linked to Long Wars, Lack of Army Resources
By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2008; A01

4) U.S. Commanders in Iraq Favor Pause in Troop Cuts
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2008; A01

5) U.S. Accused of Overlooking Rights Violations
January 31, 2008

6) Israeli Court Rejects Appeal to Ease Restrictions on Gaza
January 31, 2008

7) Fidel and Raúl Castro Win, of Course, but Raúl Wins Bigger
January 31, 2008

8) Mukasey Will Not Rule Out Waterboarding
January 31, 2008

9) 2 [cop and girlfriend]Accused of Keeping Girl, 13, as Prostitute
January 31, 2008

10) Consumer Spending Falls Off
January 31, 2008

11) Lilly Considers $1 Billion Fine to Settle Case
January 31, 2008

12) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
By the Editors
Socialist Viewpoint
January/February 2008

13) Autoworkers and Mass Consciousness
By the Editors
Socialist Viewpoint
January/February 2008

14) Purple Drank
By Bonnie Weinstein
Socialist Viewpoint
January/February 2008

15) Starving Haitians forced to eat dirt cookies (w/video)
January 29, 2008


1) Charges Dropped for 22 Arrested on Way to Wake
January 29, 2008

When the police were criticized last spring for arresting 32 young people in Bushwick, Brooklyn, who were on their way to a wake for a friend who had been killed, they said the youths had been threatening public safety — blocking traffic, climbing on cars, wearing T-shirts and flashing signs in homage to their friend’s status as a gang leader.

Now, however, prosecutors and the police are pressing charges against fewer than a third of them.

A prosecutor, Deanna M. Rodriguez, said on Monday that charges were dropped in 10 of the cases because the police officers who were the prosecution’s only witnesses were not able to link the defendants to unlawful assembly, a misdemeanor charge.

“There was no witness who can say, ‘I observed Person X, who was in the group, engaging in stopping traffic and other conduct which was tumultuous,’ ” said Ms. Rodriguez, the chief of the gang bureau in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. “They could not apply any specific act as to 10 of those defendants.”

The charges against those 10 youths were dropped during pretrial preparations this month, Ms. Rodriguez said.

Six other youths were issued summonses that were dismissed in August, said a lawyer who represented them. And six juveniles were immediately released after being arrested.

The 10 other people arrested still face trials, Ms. Rodriguez said.

After the arrests on May 21, many residents and parents of the mourners who had witnessed the procession said it had not been unruly. They said the police had unfairly rounded up the youths because they were mostly black or Hispanic.

Speaking of the dropped charges, Ronald L. Kuby, a civil rights lawyer, said, “It would have been better if it had been done months ago.” Mr. Kuby, whose client, Zezza Anderson, had his case dismissed on Jan. 11, added, “Unfortunately, District Attorney Hynes vilified these young men and women in public, publicly repeated false allegations against them, and then quietly slunk away from the case.” He was referring to Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney.

“If the police receive information that a funeral procession is going to be attacked, you don’t arrest the mourners,” Mr. Kuby said, adding, “ They would never treat white youth on the Upper East Side in such a fashion.”

The youths were arrested after a large group gathered in Putnam Park in Bushwick to walk together to the subway to attend a wake in Coney Island for Donnell McFarland, 18, who had been shot the week before. The police described Mr. McFarland as the leader of the Pretty Boy Family, a subdivision of the Bloods gang, and said they had been warned by community leaders that Mr. McFarland’s rivals had threatened to shoot anyone wearing a T-shirt memorializing him.

Less than a block into their journey, the group was surrounded by officers in cars and on foot. The police said that the group had taken over Putnam Avenue, stopping traffic, blocking the sidewalk and hopping onto parked cars. Many witnesses, including some who did not know the teenagers, contradicted the police’s account.

Ms. Rodriguez said that while many members of the group undoubtedly committed unlawful assembly — defined as joining with a group “for the purpose of engaging or preparing to engage with them in tumultuous and violent conduct likely to cause public alarm” — sorting out who did what proved challenging. She said that because the situation unfolded so quickly, no police video was made.

“You may believe there was probable cause to arrest somebody,” she said, “but when you look at the evidence you have, you may not have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Oona Chatterjee, the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a community rights group in Bushwick, said the dismissals showed that the authorities, including Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, had rushed to judgment.

“It’s astounding to me that the Brooklyn D.A. and Ray Kelly would come out publicly and condemn these kids and assume that they had a case when they obviously didn’t,” she said. “I think that young people in our city merit more respect than that.”


2) Police Shooting of Mother and Infant Exposes a City’s Racial Tension
January 30, 2008

LIMA, Ohio — The air of Southside is foul-smelling and thick, filled with fumes from an oil refinery and diesel smoke from a train yard, with talk of riot and recrimination, and with angry questions: Why is Tarika Wilson dead? Why did the police shoot her baby?

“This thing just stinks to high heaven, and the police know it,” said Jason Upthegrove, president of the Lima chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. “We’re not asking for answers anymore. We’re demanding them.”

Some facts are known. A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson’s rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima’s police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbors who saw the raid.

Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Beyond these scant certainties, there is mostly rumor and rage. The police refuse to give any account of the raid, pending an investigation by the Ohio attorney general.

Black people in Lima, from the poorest citizens to religious and business leaders, complain that rogue police officers regularly stop them without cause, point guns in their faces, curse them and physically abuse them. They say the shooting of Ms. Wilson is only the latest example of a long-running pattern of a few white police officers treating African-Americans as people to be feared.

“There is an evil in this town,” said C. M. Manley, 68, pastor of New Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. “The police harass me. They harass my family. But they know that if something happens to me, people will burn down this town.”

Internal investigations have uncovered no evidence of police misconduct, Chief Garlock said. Still, local officials recognize that the perception of systemic racism has opened a wide chasm.

“The situation is very tense,” Mayor David J. Berger said. “Serious threats have been made. People are starting to carry weapons to protect themselves.”

Surrounded by farm country known for its German Catholic roots and conservative politics, Lima is the only city in the immediate area with a significant African-American population. Black families, including Mr. Manley’s, came to Lima in the 1940s and ’50s for jobs at what is now the Husky Energy Lima Refinery and other factories along the city’s southern border. Blacks make up 27 percent of the city’s 38,000 people, Mr. Berger said.

Many blacks still live downwind from the refinery. Many whites on the police force commute from nearby farm towns, where a black face is about as common as a twisty road. Of Lima’s 77 police officers, two are African-American.

“If I have any frustration when I retire, it’ll be that I wasn’t able to bring more racial balance to the police force,” said Chief Garlock, who joined the force in 1971 and has been chief for 11 years.

Tarika Wilson had six children, ages 8 to 1. They were fathered by five men, all of whom dealt drugs, said Darla Jennings, Ms. Wilson’s mother. But Ms. Wilson never took drugs nor allowed them to be sold from her house, said Tania Wilson, her sister.

“She took great care of those kids, without much help from the fathers, and the community respected her for that,” said Ms. Wilson’s uncle, John Austin.

Tarika Wilson’s companion, Mr. Terry, was the subject of a long-term drug investigation, Chief Garlock said, but Ms. Wilson was never a suspect.

During the raid, Ms. Wilson’s youngest son, Sincere, was shot in the left shoulder and hand. Three weeks after the shooting, he remains in fair condition, said a spokeswoman at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Within minutes of the shooting, at around 8 p.m., 50 people gathered outside Ms. Wilson’s home and shouted obscenities at the police, neighbors said. The next day, 300 people gathered at the house and marched two miles to City Hall.

Many protesters believe they saw snipers atop police headquarters. The men on the roof were actually photographers, Chief Garlock said.

“The police can say whatever they want,” Tania Wilson said. “Even before they shot my sister, I didn’t trust them.”

Smaller marches have continued every week since the shooting. The N.A.A.C.P. will hold a public meeting on Saturday to air complaints about police brutality. The group will soon request that the Department of Justice investigate the police department and the Allen County prosecutor’s office, Mr. Upthegrove said.

Junior Cook was a neighbor of Tarika Wilson. He says that he watched from his front porch as the SWAT team raced across his front yard, and that seconds later he watched a police officer run from Ms. Wilson’s house carrying a bleeding baby in a blanket.

“The cops in Lima, they is racist like no tomorrow,” said Mr. Cook, 56. “Why else would you shoot a mother with a baby in her arms?”


3) Soldier Suicides at Record Level
Increase Linked to Long Wars, Lack of Army Resources
By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2008; A01

Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside, a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who was waiting for the Army to decide whether to court-martial her for endangering another soldier and turning a gun on herself last year in Iraq, attempted to kill herself Monday evening. In so doing, the 25-year-old Army reservist joined a record number of soldiers who have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"I'm very disappointed with the Army," Whiteside wrote in a note before swallowing dozens of antidepressants and other pills. "Hopefully this will help other soldiers." She was taken to the emergency room early Tuesday. Whiteside, who is now in stable physical condition, learned yesterday that the charges against her had been dismissed.

Whiteside's personal tragedy is part of an alarming phenomenon in the Army's ranks: Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.

At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

The Army was unprepared for the high number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress disorder among its troops, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have continued far longer than anticipated. Many Army posts still do not offer enough individual counseling and some soldiers suffering psychological problems complain that they are stigmatized by commanders. Over the past year, four high-level commissions have recommended reforms and Congress has given the military hundreds of millions of dollars to improve its mental health care, but critics charge that significant progress has not been made.

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed severe stress on the Army, caused in part by repeated and lengthened deployments. Historically, suicide rates tend to decrease when soldiers are in conflicts overseas, but that trend has reversed in recent years. From a suicide rate of 9.8 per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2001 -- the lowest rate on record -- the Army reached an all-time high of 17.5 suicides per 100,000 active-duty soldiers in 2006.

Last year, twice as many soldier suicides occurred in the United States than in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Col. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, the Army's top psychiatrist and author of the study, said that suicides and attempted suicides "are continuing to rise despite a lot of things we're doing now and have been doing." Ritchie added: "We need to improve training and education. We need to improve our capacity to provide behavioral health care."

Ritchie's team conducted more than 200 interviews in the United States and overseas, and found that the common factors in suicides and attempted suicides include failed personal relationships; legal, financial or occupational problems; and the frequency and length of overseas deployments. She said the Army must do a better job of making sure that soldiers in distress receive mental health services. "We need to know what to do when we're concerned about one of our fellows."

The study, which the Army's top personnel chief ordered six months ago, acknowledges that the Army still does not know how to adequately assess, monitor and treat soldiers with psychological problems. In fact, it says that "the current Army Suicide Prevention Program was not originally designed for a combat/deployment environment."

Staff Sgt. Gladys Santos, an Army medic who attempted suicide after three tours in Iraq, said the Army urgently needs to hire more psychiatrists and psychologists who have an understanding of war. "They gave me an 800 number to call if I needed help," she said. "When I come to feeling overwhelmed, I don't care about the 800 number. I want a one-on-one talk with a trained psychiatrist who's either been to war or understands war."

Santos, who is being treated at Walter Reed, said the only effective therapy she has received there in the past year have been the one-on-one sessions with her psychiatrist, not the group sessions in which soldiers are told "Don't hit your wife, don't hit your kids," or the other groups where they play bingo or learn how to properly set a table.

Over the past year, the Army has reinvigorated its efforts to understand mental health issues and has instituted new assessment surveys and new online videos and questionnaires to help soldiers recognize problems and become more resilient, Ritchie said. It has also hired more mental health providers. The plan calls for attaching more chaplains to deployed units and assigning "battle buddies" to improve peer support and monitoring.

Increasing suicides raise "real questions about whether you can have an Army this size with multiple deployments," said David Rudd, a former Army psychologist and chairman of the psychology department at Texas Tech University.

On Monday night, as President Bush delivered his State of the Union address and asked Congress to "improve the system of care for our wounded warriors and help them build lives of hope and promise and dignity," Whiteside was dozing off from the effects of her drug overdose. Her case highlights the Army's continuing struggles to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and to make it easier for soldiers and officers to seek psychological help.

Whiteside, the subject of a Post article in December, was a high-achieving University of Virginia graduate, and she earned top scores from her Army raters. But as a medic in charge of a small prison team in Iraq, she was repeatedly harassed by one of her commanders, which disturbed her greatly, according to an Army investigation.

On Jan. 1, 2007, weary from helping to quell riots in the prison after the execution of Saddam Hussein, Whiteside had a mental breakdown, according to an Army sanity board investigation. She pointed a gun at a superior, fired two shots into the ceiling and then turned the weapon on herself, piercing several organs. She has been at Walter Reed ever since.

Whiteside's two immediate commanders brought charges against her, but Maj. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, the only physician in her chain of command and then the commander of Walter Reed, recommended that the charges be dropped, citing her "demonstrably severe depression" and "7 years of credible and honorable service."

The case hinged in part on whether her mental illness prompted her actions, as Walter Reed psychiatrists testified last month, or whether it was "an excuse" for her actions, as her company commander wrote when he proffered the original charges in April. Those charges included assault on a superior commissioned officer, aggravated assault, kidnapping, reckless endangerment, wrongful discharge of a firearm, communication of a threat and two attempts of intentional self-injury without intent to avoid service.

An Army hearing officer cited "Army values" and the need to do "what is right, legally and morally" when he recommended last month that Whiteside not face court-martial or other administration punishment, but that she be discharged and receive the medical benefits "she will desperately need for the remainder of her life." Whiteside decided to speak publicly about her case only after a soldier she had befriended at the hospital's psychiatric ward hanged herself after she was discharged without benefits.

But the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, which has ultimate legal jurisdiction over the case, declined for weeks to tell Whiteside whether others in her chain of command have concurred or differed with the hearing officer, said Matthew MacLean, Whiteside's civilian attorney and a former military lawyer.

MacLean and Whiteside's father, Thomas Whiteside, said the uncertainty took its toll on the young officer's mental state. "I've never seen anything like this. It's just so far off the page," said Thomas Whiteside, his voice cracking with emotion. "I told her, 'If you check out of here, you're not going to be able to help other soldiers.' "

Whiteside recently had begun to take prerequisite classes for a nursing degree, and her mental stability seemed to be improving, her father said. Then late last week, she told him she was having trouble sleeping, with a possible court-martial weighing on her. On Monday night, she asked her father to take her back to her room at Walter Reed so she could study.

She swallowed her pills there. A soldier and his wife, who live next door, came to her room and, after a while, noticed that she was becoming groggy, Thomas Whiteside said. When they returned later and she would not open the door, they called hospital authorities.

Yesterday, after having spent two nights in the intensive care unit, he said, his daughter was transferred to the psychiatric ward.

Whiteside left two notes, one titled "Business," in which her top concern was the fate of her dog. "Appointment for the Vetenarian is in my blue book. Additional paperwork on Chewy is in the closet at the apartment in a folder." On her second note, she penned a postscript: "Sorry to do this to my family + friends. I love you."

Staff writer Anne Hull contributed to this report.


4) U.S. Commanders in Iraq Favor Pause in Troop Cuts
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2008; A01

BAGHDAD, Jan. 30 -- Senior U.S. military commanders here say they want to freeze troop reductions starting this summer for at least a month, making it more likely that the next administration will inherit as many troops in Iraq as there were before President Bush announced a "surge" of forces a year ago.

There are about 155,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now, with about 5,000 leaving every month; the proposed freeze would go into effect in July, when troops levels reach around 130,000. Although violence is dropping in Iraq, commanders say they want to halt withdrawals to assess whether they can control the situation with fewer troops.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, will probably argue for what the military calls an operational "pause" at his next round of congressional testimony, expected in early April, another senior U.S. military official here said. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and top military officers have said they would like to see continued withdrawals throughout this year, but Bush has indicated he is likely to be guided by Petraeus's views.

Bush trumpeted the success of his Iraq strategy during his State of the Union address this week. But if he agrees with Petraeus's expected recommendation, the administration will not be able to reduce troop levels much below what they were in early 2007, when Bush began to deploy additional forces.

Officers are still debating the length of the proposed freeze, with some arguing for 90 days and others saying it could be as short as 30. Because it can take as long as 75 days to withdraw a brigade, a freeze could result in troop levels remaining steady through most of the rest of Bush's term, deferring any continued drawdown to his successor.

Military planners fear that maintaining the current pace of withdrawals could lead to an unstable situation just as a new administration takes office in January.

"So far, so good," Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the operational commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said in an interview here earlier this week. "I feel very comfortable with where we are and our plans to reduce to 15 brigades by July."

But after that, Odierno added, "I believe there should be a period of assessment." He said such a pause will be necessary because the impact of the current U.S. troop reductions on Iraqi army and police forces, on the Iraqi government and on the overall security environment won't be immediately apparent.

At the peak of the U.S. counterinsurgency effort that began last year, commonly called "the surge," there were 20 U.S. combat brigades in Iraq, each with about 3,500 troops. Adding in other forces, about 170,000 U.S. troops were in the country.

Another officer said he advocated a freeze because there has frequently been a lag between events in Iraq and their impact on security. He noted, for example, that it took several months in 2006 to see the full effect of the February bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, which by that summer had helped push the country into a small-scale civil war.

Petraeus told CNN on Sunday that he would "need to have some time to let things settle a bit, if you will, after we complete the withdrawal of what will be over one-quarter of our combat power, one-quarter of what we had during the height of the surge."

He added, "We think it would be prudent to do some period of assessment, then to make decisions, and then, of course, to carry out further withdrawals if the conditions obtained allow us to do that."

In an interview Wednesday with radio host Rush Limbaugh, Vice President Cheney said circumstances in Iraq would dictate whether troop numbers could go below pre-buildup levels. "We had 15 brigades in Iraq when we started the surge. We added five brigades; they are now in the process of coming out, and we'll get back to pre-surge levels by this summer. But we have not made a decision to go below that," Cheney said.

Privately, White House advisers say Bush is loath to do anything that would jeopardize what he sees as hard-won security gains and predict he would be very receptive to any go-slow suggestion from Petraeus.

U.S. military officials in Baghdad say that trends in Iraq are good but that officials back home and indeed the American public may not grasp how uncertain the situation remains.

"We say, 'Violence is down, but' -- and no one hears the 'but,' " said Lt. Gen. James Dubik, who oversees the training and equipping of the Iraqi army and police. "The war is not over."

Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, a strategic adviser to Petraeus, said that Iraq is "kind of normalizing" but that "it is still tenuous."

Such warnings are driven by a sense that the U.S. success in improving security in 2007 surprised the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, Shiite extremists and other factions. U.S. officials say Iranian agents especially were knocked off their stride by how effectively U.S. Special Operations forces targeted their operations.

These officials say they expect that in 2008 some adversaries will try out new ways to undermine or attack U.S. and Iraqi efforts. In addition, there is concern that some groups simply have been biding their time, waiting for the U.S. counteroffensive to end.

Also, while Baghdad has been surprisingly quiet this winter, violence has increased in Mosul, the northern city that officials say has become a new hub for al-Qaeda in Iraq, and internecine fighting among Shiites has made parts of southern Iraq unstable.

At the same time, the U.S. government is encouraging the Iraqi government to hire more members of "Concerned Local Citizens" groups -- armed organizations that often include former Sunni insurgents -- into the police or army. The Shiite-dominated Baghdad government has never been comfortable with the groups, which have received about $120 million in U.S. funding over the past year. The Iraqi government is supposed to begin making those payments this summer, but it is unclear if that will happen.

Finally, Iraq could begin preparing for provincial elections in the summer, which U.S. officials worry might spur an increase in violence.

Asked if he considers Iraq fragile, Odierno said, "I think if we move forward with operational patience, it isn't that fragile." But he continued, "I think if we leave tomorrow, it would be very fragile."

In terms of the size of the U.S. presence, he said, "I am not saying that we must stay here at the current levels, but I believe we must remain for some time in the future, assessing conditions to determine the appropriate force levels."

Staff writer Michael Abramowitz in Torrance, Calif., contributed to this report.


5) U.S. Accused of Overlooking Rights Violations
January 31, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is giving lip service to promoting democracy by endorsing suspect elections in Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan while allowing human rights violations in those countries to go unchecked, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

In a scathing report, the organization blamed the United States and Europe for undermining human rights around the world by allowing autocrats to pretend they are democratic simply by holding rigged elections.

The group also said Russia and Jordan were pretending that using the word democracy is enough to claim real democratic credentials, and added that “even China has gotten into the game” as President Hu Jintao of China has called for more democracy within the Communist Party. “Yet that has not stopped him from barring independent political parties, blocking legal efforts to uphold basic rights, and shutting down countless civil society organizations, media outlets and Websites,” the group’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, wrote in the report’s introduction.

In an interview, Mr. Roth blamed much of this on the Bush administration’s touting of democracy while still accepting the results of dubious elections. “The Bush administration has chosen democracy instead of human rights,” Mr. Roth said. “They’ve abandoned democratic standards and reduced its requirements to just holding an election.”

The State Department spokesman, Sean D. McCormack, disputed the allegations in the report. “We’ve seen progress in the Middle East,” he said. “Is it always as fast as we would like to see? No. But, then again, you’re not going to get to the point where we all want to be if we attempt, or others attempt, to try to impose a solution or some cookie-cutter approach to every country around the world.”

Human Rights Watch specifically mentioned Pakistan, where President Pervez Musharraf, one of President Bush’s key allies in the region, dismissed members of the independent judiciary and put them under house arrest and installed his own allies on the Pakistani Supreme Court to make sure that he remains president. While the Bush administration has publicly called on Mr. Musharraf to hold elections, it has been noticeably less vocal in calling for Mr. Musharraf to reinstate the independent judiciary.

The assassination in December of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was expected to be Mr. Musharraf’s chief opponent in the coming elections, has intensified questions about whether Pakistan’s elections, rescheduled for Feb. 17, will be fair.

“It’s now too easy for autocrats to get away with mounting a sham democracy,” Mr. Roth said. “That’s because too many Western governments insist on elections and leave it at that. They don’t press governments on the key human rights issues that make democracy function — a free press, peaceful assembly and a functioning civil society that can really challenge power.”

Human Rights Watch said the Bush administration might have allowed the Kenyan government to believe it could get away with rigging elections in December by accepting the results of Nigeria’s elections in February 2007. Those results were marred by accusations from international organizations of rigging and electoral violence. “It’s no wonder Kenya’s president felt able to rig his re-election,” Mr. Roth said.

He did credit the Bush administration for expressing concern about the Kenyan vote tally.


6) Israeli Court Rejects Appeal to Ease Restrictions on Gaza
January 31, 2008

JERUSALEM — The Israeli Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal to block Israel from further reducing supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli government had argued that the more limited amount of fuel it intended to allow through met the basic needs of Gaza’s population while exacting a widely felt price among Gazans for the continual firing of rockets and mortars into Israel by Palestinian militants.

Israel hopes such a policy will create popular pressure to force the Hamas rulers of Gaza and other militant groups to stop the rocket fire.

A group of 10 human rights groups had together petitioned the court to prevent the fuel cuts, arguing that Israel had a legal obligation under international law to supply the citizens of Gaza. The group contended that the cuts “deliberately violate the rights of civilians in Gaza” and constituted “collective punishment” in violation of international law by “deliberately targeting civilians.”

But the court president, Dorit Beinisch, said in a ruling that “the Gaza Strip is controlled by a murderous terror group that operates incessantly to strike the State of Israel and its citizens, and violates every precept of international law with its violent actions.”

She described Israel as a state of law that sometimes harms civilians accidentally.

“In the case of the attacks against Israel, the damage is not accidental, but rather a result of deliberate and frequent assaults on civilian populations which are aimed at harming innocent civilians,” she ruled. “This is the difference between Israel — a democracy fighting for its life within the confines of the law — and the terrorist organizations trying to destroy it.”

Sari Bashi, director of an Israeli advocacy group, Gisha, one of the petitioners, said, “The court ruling relies on unsubstantiated declarations by the military and ignores indisputable and well-documented evidence of harm to civilians caused by the fuel and electricity cuts — with no legally valid justification.”

The ruling allows the state to order a reduction in the electricity sold directly to Gaza by Israel’s electric company; to cut supplies of gasoline to Gaza to 75,400 liters a week, compared with the 400,000 liters a week that were delivered in October; and to cut supplies of diesel fuel to 800,000 liters a week, compared with 1.4 million in October.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Jan. 21 that as far as he was concerned, Gazans without gasoline for their cars could walk.


7) Fidel and Raúl Castro Win, of Course, but Raúl Wins Bigger
January 31, 2008

HAVANA (AP) — Acting President Raúl Castro was the top vote-getter in Cuban parliamentary elections, winning by one percentage point over his older brother, Fidel, according to official results issued Wednesday.

The brothers easily won re-election to the legislature, the National Assembly of People’s Power, as did all of the candidates presented to the more than eight million voters. The election was held Jan. 20.

Bespectacled, camera-shy and far less charismatic than Cuba’s ailing longtime leader, Raúl Castro, 76, received 99.4 percent of votes cast in Santiago de Cuba, the family’s base in the country’s east.

Mr. Castro, who is also defense minister, bested his brother in the 2005 parliamentary vote, too, getting 99.75 percent, compared with Fidel’s 99.01.

The 614 unopposed candidates needed to get at least half the votes cast in their districts, and all received more than enough. The lowest figure, 73 percent, went to Bárbaro Osmani Lago, from Pinar del Río Province.

Officials said 95 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, though about 4.5 percent turned in blank or invalid ballots. While voting is not mandatory, failing to vote can draw unwanted attention from pro-government neighborhood organizations.

There was only one choice for each office, and organized campaigning was forbidden.

While far less prominent globally than his brother, Raúl Castro has long been popular in eastern Cuba, playing up his rural roots and down-home sense of humor. Some Cubans consider him more pragmatic than his visionary brother.

The younger Castro has been governing Cuba since his brother underwent emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006 and provisionally ceded power.

Despite his illness, the elder Castro, 81, remains head of the Council of State, Cuba’s supreme governing body. The new Parliament convenes Feb. 24 and will choose a new council from its members. The council will then select the president. Fidel Castro has not said whether he wants to remain head of state.

In an essay published Wednesday, the elder Castro said President Bush reached a low point in “demagoguery, lies and total lack of ethics” in his State of the Union address on Monday.

“For a population that knows how to read, write and think, nobody can offer a more elegant criticism of the empire than Bush himself,” Mr. Castro wrote. “Empire” is a term Cuban officials often use for the United States.

Mr. Castro wrote that the war in Afghanistan “was the same thing that the U.S.S.R. wanted to do, occupy the country with its powerful armed forces that were ultimately defeated when they ran into its customs, religion and cultural differences.”

He also said that Mr. Bush had used the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as an excuse to invade Iraq, and that “no one in the world doubts the objective was to occupy oil installations.” The war “has cost that country’s people hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions displaced from their homes.”


8) Mukasey Will Not Rule Out Waterboarding
January 31, 2008

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said Wednesday that while he would consider it torture if he underwent the harsh Central Intelligence Agency interrogation technique known as waterboarding, the practice was not necessarily illegal, and he would not rule out its use in the future.

Under sometimes angry questioning from Democrats at his first oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Mukasey found himself caught in the debate that nearly derailed his confirmation last fall: whether waterboarding is torture.

“Would waterboarding be torture if it were done to you?” asked Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, glowering at Mr. Mukasey.

“I would feel that it was,” Mr. Mukasey acknowledged in the low monotone that he uses in virtually all public settings.

But the attorney general, a retired federal judge, would not be drawn into a larger conversation with Senator Kennedy or other Democrats over whether waterboarding might amount to torture if it was carried out on others, including American citizens held abroad.

Congressional Democrats, as well as some Republicans and many human rights groups, have suggested that the Bush administration’s refusal to call for a ban on waterboarding might lead other governments to feel they could legally subject Americans to the practice.

“Under what facts and circumstances exactly would it be lawful to waterboard a prisoner?” Mr. Kennedy asked.

Mr. Mukasey said he could not answer the question because it might be “telling our enemies exactly what they can expect in those eventualities” and “those eventualities might never occur.”

The legality of waterboarding, in which a prisoner experiences a sensation of drowning, has been come under fierce debate since the acknowledgment by Bush administration officials that a small number of prisoners who were members of Al Qaeda had been subjected to it after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Mr. Mukasey said in a letter delivered to the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday night that he had been authorized by the White House to reveal that waterboarding was no longer being carried out and, for now, was considered an unapproved interrogation technique within the C.I.A. He repeated that assurance in his testimony Wednesday.

The issue has threatened to dominate Mr. Mukasey’s early dealings with Democrats in Congress, who voted in large numbers to oppose his nomination to replace Alberto R. Gonzales.

Mr. Mukasey was approved in November on a Senate vote of 53 to 40, the narrowest amount of support for any attorney general in more than half a century.

At the hearing Wednesday, several senators from both parties praised Mr. Mukasey for some of his management changes at the Justice Department, including his creation of new internal rules to limit contacts between political figures and prosecutors.

When the subject returned to waterboarding, there was especially tough questioning by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who had initially championed Mr. Mukasey’s nomination and has sometimes defended his performance when other Democrats have not.

The senator appeared exasperated by Mr. Mukasey’s refusal to say whether waterboarding was torture and should be outlawed, despite the attorney general’s statement during his confirmation hearings that he found the technique “repugnant.”

“I find it hard to understand how you personally, when asked for advice, would not be able to say that something that’s repugnant should be outlawed,” Mr. Schumer said. “You said it’s repugnant. I don’t understand how you can now say, Well, I have to ask a whole lot of other people.”


9) 2 [cop and girlfriend]Accused of Keeping Girl, 13, as Prostitute
January 31, 2008

A police detective and his female companion kidnapped a 13-year-old runaway girl and forced her into prostitution with 20 men at private parties, the authorities said on Wednesday.

The detective, Wayne Taylor, 35, and his companion, Zalika Brown, 29, of 173-37 Vaswani Avenue in Jamaica, were charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and promoting prostitution, said the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown. They were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday night and pleaded not guilty.

The girl left her home in Brooklyn on Jan. 10 and encountered someone identified only as Drama who offered to find her a job dancing at parties and introduced her to Ms. Brown, the police said.

Ms. Brown told the girl that she had been “purchased” for $500 for use as a prostitute and introduced Detective Taylor as her husband, the police said, although they described the couple as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Detective Taylor, a 14-year-member of the Police Department assigned to the Housing Bureau, who was suspended without pay upon his arrest, set prices of $40 for oral sex and $80 for intercourse and instructed the girl to give her age as 19, investigators said.

The girl was taken to a party in a barbershop, where she was forced to have sex for money that was then turned over to the suspects, the police said. That routine was repeated in the following days as the couple drove her and other prostitutes to other parties in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, investigators said.

At one point, the suspects complained that the girl was not earning enough money, the police said, and Ms. Brown slammed the girl’s head to the floor and other prostitutes hit her. Detective Taylor threatened the girl that if she did not earn more, he would force her into streetwalking, the police said.

The girl escaped from the couple a few days ago and went to a police station, investigators said. She was able to provide the address where she said she was held, they added. She has since returned to her family, they said.


10) Consumer Spending Falls Off
January 31, 2008

Consumer spending slowed in December and inflation continued to rise, the government said Thursday, leaving the Federal Reserve little leeway as it ponders policy decisions in the months ahead.

Spending by consumers, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s economic growth, rose by an anemic 0.2 percent in December after jumping 1 percent in November. Adjusted for inflation, spending was flat for the month.

Economists have predicted a significant downturn in spending as consumers grapple with record-high oil and food prices. The report from the Commerce Department reinforces the disappointing holiday sales figures that leading retail chains released in the last few weeks.

“With the labor market weakening and housing remaining a huge weight, the pace of consumer spending growth ought to remain painfully slow in the months ahead,” wrote Joshua Shapiro, an economist at MFR, a research firm.

As spending slows, prices continue to rise, a combination that has some economists suggesting the United States could face a period of stagflation. A closely watched gauge of inflation ticked up last month, to a 2.2 percent annual rate; that figure, the core personal consumption expenditures deflator, excludes prices of food and energy.

Over all, prices in December were 3.5 percent higher than they were a year ago, far above the Fed’s so-called “comfort zone” of 1 percent to 2 percent.

High inflation puts the Fed in a difficult situation. The central bank primarily sets monetary policy by changing a key interest rate. Lowering the rate stimulates growth, but also causes prices to rise, creating an increased inflation risk.

In its most recent policy statement, released Wednesday, Fed officials said they expect inflation “to moderate in coming quarters, but it will be necessary to continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.”

The Commerce Department report also showed that personal income levels rose 0.5 percent in December. Disposable income — after-tax salary adjusted for inflation — rose 2.1 percent since December 2006.A separate report from the Labor Department showed that new unemployment claims, a leading indicator of the labor market, increased by 69,000, to 375,000, in the week ended Jan. 26. It was the highest level since October 2005.

Meanwhile, a Chicago-based barometer of business activity fell in January. New orders dropped sharply to the lowest level since May 2003, and the price of production rose, underscoring the impact of high inflation on business owners.

“These numbers are not at recession levels, but they are only one bad month away,” wrote Ian Shepherdson, a London-based economist at High Frequency Economics, in a note to clients. “The manufacturing sector is coming under increasing pressure.”

The report, issued by the Chicago arm of the National Association of Purchasing Management, may not bode well for the ISM manufacturing index, a closely watched indicator of United States business activity. The index for December will be released on Friday.

Employment at Chicago-area businesses also fell this month. Over all, the index dropped to 51.5 from 56.4 in December.


11) Lilly Considers $1 Billion Fine to Settle Case
January 31, 2008

Eli Lilly and federal prosecutors are discussing a settlement of a civil and criminal investigation into the company’s marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa that could result in Lilly’s paying more than $1 billion to federal and state governments.

If a deal is reached, the fine would be the largest ever paid by a drug company for breaking the federal laws that govern how drug makers can promote their medicines.

Several people involved in the investigation confirmed the settlement discussions, which began last year and took on new urgency this month. The people insisted on anonymity because they have not been authorized to talk about the negotiations.

Zyprexa has serious side effects and is approved only to treat people with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. But documents from Eli Lilly show that from 2000 to 2003 the company encouraged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa to people with age-related dementia, as well as people with mild bipolar disorder who had previously had a diagnosis of depression.

Although doctors can prescribe drugs for any use once they are on the market, it is illegal for drug makers to promote their medicines for any uses not formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Lilly may also plead guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge as part of the agreement, the people involved with the investigation said. But the company would be allowed to keep selling Zyprexa to Medicare and Medicaid, the government programs that are the biggest customers of the drug.

Zyprexa is Lilly’s most profitable product and among the world’s best-selling medicines, with 2007 sales of $4.8 billion, about half in the United States.

Lilly would neither confirm nor deny the settlement talks.

“We have been and are continuing to cooperate in state and federal investigations related to Zyprexa, including providing a broad range of documents and information,” Lilly said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “As part of that cooperation we regularly have discussions with the government. However, we have no intention of sharing those discussions with the news media and it would be speculative and irresponsible for anyone to do so.”

Lilly also said that it had always followed state and federal laws when promoting Zyprexa.

The Lilly fine would be distributed among federal and state governments, which spend about $1.5 billion on Zyprexa each year through Medicare and Medicaid.

The fine would be in addition to $1.2 billion that Lilly has already paid to settle 30,000 lawsuits from people who claim that Zyprexa caused them to develop diabetes or other diseases. Zyprexa can cause severe weight gain in many patients and has been linked to diabetes by the American Diabetes Association.

Prescriptions for Zyprexa have skidded since 2003 over concerns about those side effects. But the drug continues to be widely used, especially among severely mentally ill patients. Many psychiatrists say that it works better than other medicines at calming patients who are psychotic and hallucinating. About four million Zyprexa prescriptions were written in the United States last year.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia are leading the settlement talks for the government, in consultation with the Justice Department in Washington. State attorneys general’s offices are also involved. Lawyers at Pepper Hamilton, a firm based in Philadelphia, and Sidley Austin, a firm based in Chicago, are negotiating for Lilly.

Nina Gussack, a lawyer at Pepper Hamilton who is representing Lilly, said she could not comment on the case. Joseph Trautwein, an assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, also declined to comment.

While a settlement has not been concluded and the negotiations could collapse, both sides want to reach an agreement, according to the people involved in the investigation.

Besides the escalating pressure of the federal criminal inquiry, Lilly faces a civil trial scheduled for March in Anchorage, in a lawsuit brought by the state of Alaska to recover money the state has spent on Zyprexa prescriptions. A loss in that lawsuit would damage Lilly’s bargaining position in the Philadelphia talks.

While expensive for Lilly, the settlement would end a four-year federal investigation and remove a cloud over Zyprexa. While Zyprexa prescriptions are falling, its dollar volume of sales is rising because Lilly has raised Zyprexa’s price about 40 percent since 2003.

Federal prosecutors have been investigating Lilly for its marketing of Zyprexa since 2004, and state attorneys general have been doing so since 2005. The people involved in the investigations said the inquiries gained momentum after December 2006, when The New York Times published articles describing Lilly’s years-long efforts to play down Zyprexa’s side effects and to promote the drug for conditions other than schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder — a practice called off-label marketing.

Internal Lilly marketing documents and e-mail messages showed that Lilly wanted to persuade doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for patients with age-related dementia or relatively mild bipolar disorder.

In one document, an unidentified Lilly marketing executive wrote that primary care doctors “do treat dementia” but leave schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to psychiatrists. As a result, sales representatives should discuss dementia with primary care doctors, according to the document, which appears to be part of a larger marketing presentation but is not marked more specifically. Later, the same document says that some primary care doctors “might prescribe outside of label.”

In late 2000, Lilly began a marketing campaign called Viva Zyprexa and told sales representatives to suggest that doctors prescribe Zyprexa to older patients with symptoms of dementia.

The documents were under federal court seal when The Times published the articles, and Judge Jack B. Weinstein of United States District Court in Brooklyn rebuked The Times for publishing them.

The settlement negotiations in Philadelphia began several months ago, according to the people involved in the investigation.

Last fall, the two sides were close to a deal in which Lilly would have paid less than $1 billion to settle the case, which at the time consisted only of a civil complaint.

Then Justice Department lawyers in Washington pressed for a grand jury investigation to examine whether Lilly should be charged criminally for its promotional activities, according to the people involved in the negotiations. A few days ago, facing the possibility of both civil and criminal charges, Lilly opened new discussions with the prosecutors in Philadelphia.


12) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
By the Editors
Socialist Viewpoint
January/February 2008

First, the bad:

The wars of aggression the United States Government is waging against the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq. Also the wars the U.S. is threatening against Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and elsewhere. Also, propping up and supporting the countries waging wars and occupations such as Israel. And the perpetual war against the poor and working peoples of the world, the theft of their resources, the exploitation of their labor.

The majority of the world’s people oppose these wars. A majority of the people in the United States oppose the war on Iraq and are looking for ways to end it.

Second, the good:

Resistance and opposition to war and social injustice. A World Against War Conference held in the UK December 2007, called for international demonstrations March 15-22, 2008. This is a very important call to action by delegates numbering over 1200 from 26 countries.

See call for international demonstrations:

The date set for the demonstrations falls on the 5th anniversary of a war waged by the U.S., Britain, and a few other puppet governments, against Iraq and the people of the world, ten million of whom demonstrated their opposition on Feb. 15, 2003, one month before the invasion began on March 19, 2003.

Third, the ugly:

Somehow, the plans of the ruling class to co-opt and derail the U.S. antiwar movement have succeeded, and the call from the UK international conference will not be carried out in the U.S. The largest national antiwar groups here have prevented united efforts in the United States for mass protest demonstrations here to end the war and pull out all troops immediately.

See Open Letters to the Antiwar movement:

This is a tragedy for the people of Iraq, but also for the American people. Sure, small local demonstrations will take place here, but the plan to unite disparate groups around a common call to action—to get the U.S. out of Iraq—has been thwarted and opposed by United for Peace and Justice, the largest U.S. antiwar coalition. Their opposition to united action has caused the other large national antiwar group, International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), to call off the plans for a national antiwar protest demonstration in Washington, D.C. originally set for March 15.

How do we know that this shameful default on the part of the U.S. antiwar movement is a result of the plans of the ruling class? It makes sense when you consider what the ruling class is doing to convince the American people that the war can be ended through the electoral process.

The “debate” of the Democratic Party Presidential candidates, on the eve of the New Hampshire primaries, is a lesson in obfuscation. Clinton, Richardson, Obama, and Edwards all tried to appear as strongly antiwar. Richardson is a Governor, but the others have all voted for the war in the form of voting for war spending! Clinton even exposed Obama for that despite her own support for the war until the American people started to oppose it. Kucinich, the most “antiwar” of all the Democratic contenders threw his support to Obama in the Iowa caucuses. All of the debaters listed above gave reasons to continue the war (by not calling for immediate withdrawal of troops). All had slightly different proposals: redeployment, begin to withdraw in 6 months, one year, begin 60 days after elected, etc. In other words, all are working hard to convince the antiwar majority that a vote for one of them is a vote against war when this is clearly false given their actual voting records.

The ruling class is on a full court press, media in tow, including “alternative” media like “Democracy Now,” to convince the American people that the road to peace is through the electoral machinations of the ruling class. “Democracy Now” after running a powerful expose on the policy advisors of all the candidates (one and all with ruling class credentials of the CIA, FBI, and other counter-revolutionary institutions), Republicans and Democrats, ran a whole show of the speeches of the winners in the Iowa caucuses (Obama, Edwards, Clinton, Huckabee, and Romney), allowing one minute (exactly, no joke!) for the antiwar protests of the candidates that took place in Iowa on the caucus day.

The lower levels of the state, all run by the political parties of the ruling class are part of the plan to derail and deflect all protest and independence. They did this by moving up the primary votes in many states in order to give the illusion that the people actually have some say about the basic political decisions of war and peace, social services and rights (like health care, housing and education), and economics, by voting for one representative of the corporate ruling class or another. Voting for one multi-millionaire or another. But the deck is entirely stacked against any demo-cracy, any real decision making, by the working class, the majority of the people.

That is why political movements that represent the interests of the working people, movements for peace and social justice, economic power and democratic rights must be organized completely independently from the ruling class political parties. Such independent action is expressed in mass street demonstrations against the war. Now, such actions are more important than ever.


13) Autoworkers and Mass Consciousness
By the Editors
Socialist Viewpoint
January/February 2008

United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger instructed his dues-paying members that they must do what no self-respecting union had ever done before: help their employers compete more successfully with their non-union competitors. How? By agreeing to a massive reduction in autoworkers’ wages and benefits!

Even more self-destructive is the new contract’s division of the union into three groups—first-tier, second-tier, and temporary workers—directly violating the union principle that is the only source of workers’ power: class solidarity.

Nevertheless, by November 15, autoworkers employed by the Big Three U.S. auto giants, General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, voted to accept a contract that by the time it expires in 2011 will have reduced wages and benefits by half—providing it holds up until then.

The explanation provided by employers and widely reported in the mass media was that they voted “yes” in order to save jobs. But since such trade-offs of wages, benefits, and a little bit of union power has been going on for decades, autoworkers already knew it would really contribute further to the decline in UAW membership from the 1.5 million-strong it was in 1979 to the half-million it is today. One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see that such a trade-off is an exchange of something for nothing.

In fact, so contemptuous of autoworkers and their union have the Big Three become that no sooner had workers at GM, Chrysler, and Ford each voted to accept the new contract than their respective employers announced new plant shutdowns and layoffs!

So, if it was not to save jobs, why did autoworkers vote “yes”? The beginning of the answer to this question is as plain as the nose on Gettelfinger’s face. It was the treasonous role played by the UAW leadership, without which a vote in favor of the biggest-ever giveback contract in labor history would have been impossible. More precisely, it was the last several decades of setbacks and givebacks that have led most autoworkers to the conclusion that either strikes don’t work anymore or, with the likes of Gettelfinger in control of the union apparatus, a strike would be lost before it began.

Thus, it becomes perfectly understandable—however wrongheaded—why many of the most experienced and class-conscious trade unionists decided to just take the money and run.

Also contributing significantly to the “yes” vote was the “buyout”—an offer of as much as $140,000 to all UAW members with at least 10 years of continuous service; and $70,000 for those with less than 10 years if they give up their healthcare coverage. In addition to increasing the vote for the contract, the most damaging effect of the buyout was the fact that it took many of the most experienced, union-conscious trade union activists out of the picture—seriously weakening the growing opposition by rank-and-file militants to the union-busting contract foisted on autoworkers by bosses and bureaucrats.

Being determines consciousness

The philosophers, who study the question of why people do what they do, have summed it up in the three words: “Being determines consciousness.”

This is a key to understanding why the poorest and hungriest workers are often among the first to take the risks involved in strikes and other forms of class confrontation. But it’s far from the only factor determining how masses of people consciously respond to the ups and downs of the class struggle. A no less important factor is the matter of which direction living standards are moving—especially when it changes suddenly.

Thus, because demand for jobs far exceeded demand for workers there were no successful strikes for the first three-and-a-half years after the stock-market crash of 1929. In fact, in strict accord with the aforementioned relation between being and consciousness, the greatest-ever worker uprising in American history was set in motion by a modest revival of the stagnant economy. Thus, the three big citywide strike victories of 1934 were triggered by the greater demand for workers, which in turn set in motion the labor upsurge of the 1930s.

Although objective conditions had not changed qualitatively, the modest increase in hiring that had begun put a little wind in the sails of the class-struggle left-wing leaders of the labor movement and their coworkers. By the beginning of 1934, militant trade-union activists and their leaders in three American cities led three victorious citywide strikes, which in turn detonated the explosion of class struggle of the 1930s.1

But workers who are not hungry are no less likely to struggle to defend and advance their class interests. Thus, immediately after the end of the Second World War the biggest and longest wave of strikes in American history began on November 21, 1945, when some 225,000 autoworkers poured out of General Motors’s 92 plants in 50 cities and conducted a successful 113-day strike.

Labor historian Art Preis, the author of Labor’s Giant Step: Twenty Years of the CIO, presents a graphic account of that historical period. We get the flavor of that experience from the following short description of the potential power to change the world in the hands of working people. Preis writes:

“In the 12 months following V-J Day more than 5,000,000 workers engaged in strikes. For the number of strikers, their weight in industry and the duration of the struggle, the 1945-46 strike wave in the U.S. surpassed anything of its kind in any capitalist county, including the British General Strike of 1926. Before its ebb it was to include the whole coal, railroad, maritime and communications industries, although not simultaneously.

“It is clear, in retrospect, that the American monopolies stood helpless before this awesome display of labor power. The corporations used their usual devices of trying to break picket lines with force and violence, police terror and injunctions. In Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, even Detroit, the cops beat up strikers, and workers were sentenced to jail terms for “contempt” of injunctions. But the forces of corporate power and political reaction were met by stiff mass resistance.

“The American industrial workers had learned a thing or two since their first great awakening in the Thirties. In 1946 there were few would-be scabs—and very few of them got through picket lines.”2

Background to the postwar strike wave

A little background will help put this event in its proper context. This biggest-ever strike wave, which is a long story in itself,3 was the result of the wartime policy of wage and price controls—capitalist-style. That is, wages were strictly frozen during the war, but while prices, for the most part, remained nominally unchanged, commodities like 5-cent candy bars, breakfast foods, and most other packaged and canned goods and the weight of their contents got progressively smaller and lighter. A similar, but readily apparent violation of price controls took place in the black market for meat kept in a back room to be sold to the highest bidder.

Thus, by the time the war ended, the purchasing power of wages had fallen significantly, but prices had risen just as fast and as far. That’s what triggered the massive outpouring of a fighting working class in the year-long series of strikes beginning within weeks of the end of the Second World War.

So, it can be seen that both the impact of mass unemployment and full employment, as well as both falling and rising living standards, can qualitatively alter the course of the class struggle. But in the end, it’s the struggle for a better life and a better world by the great majority of the exploited and oppressed that can and will change the world.

The most important lesson of those days is simply that none of it could have happened without a mass upsurge led on the ground by militant rank-and-file activists, who always serve as the labor movement’s driving force.

This takes us to the only fully positive consequence of the 2007-11 UAW contract—otherwise the biggest blow suffered by autoworkers and their union at the hands of bosses and bureaucrats.

Sometimes, the darkest clouds do have silver linings

Starting immediately after the Big Three’s campaign to cut autoworkers’ wages and benefits by more than half, a rank-and-file leadership movement erupted, made up of groups with names like Soldiers of Solidarity, Future of the Union, and Factory Rats Unite!

These groupings are in many ways like the union caucuses that have always competed with each other in union elections—much like political parties in electoral politics. But in this case they are not in competition with each other with rival programs of action. Rather, all three are united against Gettelfinger’s leadership caucus, which they have all dubbed the “concessions caucus.” Thus, it would be more accurate to say they are really the local websites of a movement known as Soldiers of Solidarity (SOS). Their interrelationship is much more like the relation between local unions in the UAW, which are in principle all united in their common need to defend and advance their class interests, than it is to rival caucuses.

Such websites and blogs are a welcome product of the Internet revolution. The proliferation of computers in the U.S.A. and the other advanced industrial countries has opened the door to a major new medium of communication between workers and, by the same token, an expansion of union democracy and rank-and-file activism. That is, it provides a way for rank-and-filers, so inclined, to play a far greater role in the internal life of their union.

How mass union consciousness was changed for the worse

This is where an understanding of the gradual undermining of union democracy comes into the picture. A substantial portion of the American working class today, don’t know what unions were like in the 1930s and ’40s. Unions throughout American history had met weekly—not monthly as is the case today. The change from weekly to monthly meetings was introduced shortly after the enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act—more popularly known in 1947 in all sections of the labor movement by leaders and members alike, as the “slave-labor” law.

Another innovation introduced around the same time was the extension of the time between the elections of union officers, from one year to three years. These changes, which put greater distance between rank-and-file workers and control over their unions, were an integral part of transforming the American unions from highly democratic institutions into bureaucratically deformed caricatures of genuine worker’s democracy.

The erosion of union democracy, however, didn’t come from below. It was engineered from the top by the most conservative wing of the labor bureaucracy, who would much rather play golf with the big shots of corporate America than go bowling with the rank-and-file of their union.

The question arises: Given the high level of union and class-consciousness of the labor movement in 1946, how could the labor bureaucracy get away with this crippling of union democracy?

There’s the rub. The American working class and their unions up until the end of 1946 and most of 1947 were one thing. But Taft-Hartley not only changed the rules of class war, it also radically changed mass consciousness as well from what it was at the beginning of 1947 to what it became at the end. Here’s how it was done.
The true story behind the Taft-Hartley ‘slave-labor’ law

The key provision in the slave-labor Taft-Hartley Act was the one requiring all elected union officers to sign a “Loyalty Oath,” that read, “I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of a subversive communist-controlled organization.”

After all, when class-consciousness was at its height, as it was throughout the period between 1934 and the end of 1947 there were literally millions of workers who were at least tolerant, if not necessarily supporters of socialist and communist ideas.

This was simply the result of the fact that it was often socialist-minded rank-and-filers and leaders who tended to spark and lead many of the biggest and most militant strike victories of the 1930s and ’40s. Thus, it was because of what they did that they tended to have the respect and at least the fraternal support of most trade unionists. Moreover, while most worker militants in the unions in those days might have disagreed with socialists over political questions, what proved to be more important was the fact that they more often than not tended to agree with them on tactics and strategy in the unions.

But it was the endorsement of the Loyalty Oath—the key ingredient of the slave-labor law—by the dominant wing of the labor bureaucracy that helped the bosses and their bipartisan capitalist government divide the labor movement on the purely diversionary and false question: are you for communism or for your country. One’s country, and one’s government are, after all, two entirely different things—at least according to Thomas Jefferson and other leaders of the first American Revolution—1776-1783.

The loyalty oath was the bait the ruling class put on the hook that the dominant wing of the labor bureaucracy greedily swallowed along with line and sinker. Knowing that such an oath was not directed at them but rather at militants in the unions, the most reactionary wing of the labor bureaucracy saw it as an opportunity for them to deal a blow to militant union activists who tended to form union caucuses to fight for democratic control over their union. In fact, by subordinating union solidarity to advance their own self-serving interests they violated the labor principle of union solidarity—“an injury to one is an injury to all.” That destruction of this time-honored labor principle and Taft-Hartley’s restrictions on the right to strike is why it was called a slave-labor law by both workers and bureaucrats.

Taft-Hartley served another purpose for capitalist America. It also divided the labor movement on the question of how to fight the slave labor law. The militant wing of the union officialdom headed by United Mine Workers’ President John L. Lewis wanted to fight the slave-labor law in the streets and factories of the nation where workers’ power is greatest—beginning with a refusal to sign the Loyalty Oath.

But the supporters of the Loyalty Oath were opposed to that kind of fight. That is, they were opposed to the kind of fight that built American unions into the world’s most powerful despite essentially the same kind of laws in effect before and during the great labor upsurge that began in 1934. Instead, the class-collaborationist bureaucrats put their faith in the Democratic Party.

However, while President Truman had vetoed Taft-Hartley, as it turned out it was only an unprincipled political maneuver. In the first place, he had twice tried to push such a law through Congress and failed. And in the second place, while Republicans held only the slimmest majority in both Houses of Congress, they did not have enough votes to override Truman’s veto. That’s where Truman and his Democrats revealed the cynical hypocrisy of his veto by providing more than enough votes to help their Republican confederates override their president’s veto.

And if that’s not enough, the proof of the pudding came after Truman was reelected based on his having vetoed and then promised to repeal Taft Hartley. In the four more years he served as president he did what capitalist politicians always do, especially when decisive issues vital to capitalist interests are at stake. He simply failed to keep his promise to the American workers.

Even so, and despite a trailer-truck-load of un-kept promises ever since, bureaucrats continue lining up votes for Democrats and from time to time, equally anti-labor Republicans as well.

However, there was another force at work that helped shift the relation of class forces to the right. This, too, is a manifestation of the three words outlining what makes people think what they think and do what they do—being determining consciousness.

Thus, it’s both ironical and paradoxical that the militant strike victories led by the class-conscious militants of the 1930s so improved the living standards of some of the best of them, that they began spending more of their spare time after a hard day’s work enjoying the better things of life that their well-deserved, higher-than-average wages made possible.

In other words, they relied much more than before on their leaders’ guarding the chicken coop, but the guardians of their union were also enjoying an even better and far-richer lifestyle by raising their pay from union wages to the level of salaries capitalists pay their CEOs and other corporate foxes. Thus, as many autoworkers now know, their official leaders had learned to become more concerned with the welfare of the foxes, who must eat chickens in order to live, than with the welfare of those who pay them to guard the chicken coop.

What makes Soldiers of Solidarity different?

Let’s take a closer look at what makes the leading activists of the Soldiers of Solidarity movement different. They not only “talk the talk and walk the walk” of class-struggle strategy and tactics, no less importantly they have shown they have a pretty good idea of what must be done next at each stage of the struggle—and they have done it. That’s something we have seen only rarely in the trade-union movement since the 1930s and ’40s.

Consequently, even though their attempt to stop the biggest bureaucratic giveback in American labor history did not succeed, a substantial nucleus of a new fighting union leadership in the UAW has been born.

Moreover, based on their performance thus far, there’s good reason to expect that they will also know how to survive, grow, and turn their defensive struggle into an offensive campaign when the opportunity arises.

In other words, the principal leaders and organizers of Soldiers of Solidarity have shown a deep understanding of the art and science of class struggle. Such understanding can only come from their years of experience on factory assembly lines and workbenches, as well as from the lessons and other conclusion drawn from their study of the history of class struggle in America and the world.

One of the most important lessons of this history is the need to carefully judge the relation of forces among workers, capitalists, and the bureaucrats who interpose themselves between workers and bosses—as mediators, not as leaders of workers under attack. That is, just as it’s not a good idea for anyone to bite off more than he or she can chew, it’s an even bigger mistake for the most well-intentioned workers’ leaders to target goals beyond what is possible given the existing relation of forces between workers and bosses, even if every iffy factor in the equation of class struggle turns out as planned.

One of the principal leaders of this emerging rank-and-file movement is an autoworker and long-time UAW activist named Gregg Shotwell. The reason we have tended to focus on his role in building this movement is because of his unusual ability to figure out what needs to be done next, explain why it’s the best way to go and thereby help pass on what he has learned to his coworkers.

This, it seems to us, is because Shotwell and other leaders of this movement have shown a deep understanding of labor history and its lessons, which evidently serve as their guide to effective mass working-class action.

By setting their sights on practical in-plant action, rather than proposing or discussing strike action in the period leading up to the vote on the contract and explaining why and how it served the interests of the bosses, they posed the immediate task as being the defeat of this extremely pro-employer contract. At the same time they laid the basis for effective strike action if it was defeated.

Unfortunately, as we had noted earlier, the decades of bureaucratic misleadership and the absurdity of strikes that were supposedly victories for both workers and bosses had convinced most workers that the strike is no longer the most decisive weapon in the hands of workers and their unions. Thus, SOS leaders understood that it was necessary to re-educate their coworkers in the real meaning of union solidarity. That’s the meaning of the slogan “Workers will rule when they work to rule!”

We focus our analysis on the contribution made by Brother Shotwell, because he appears to be as good with his pen as he is with his sword. Here is a sample of what Shotwell had to say and how thoughtfully he said it. It’s an extract from one of the first of his reports to autoworkers, reprinted in the January/February 2006 edition of this magazine, and titled, “Workers Will Rule When They Work to Rule.”

“The slogan ‘work to rule’ has a double meaning. Work to rule is a method of slowing production by following every rule to the letter. The aim is to leverage negotiations. Work to rule is also an invocation for workers to govern collectively, to control the conditions of their labor. Work to rule means power to the people.

“Work to rule is an in-plant strategy, a method of influencing negotiations without going on strike. Workers follow the boss’s orders but do nothing on their own initiative. They keep their knowledge and experience to themselves, defer all decisions to the straw boss, and let the pieces fall where they may. . . .

“In the 1930s union members occupied factories. The sit-down strikes were illegal, but there is a higher authority than the bossing class. When workers work to rule, human rights take precedence over property rights. In the 1930s workers claimed ownership of their jobs and stared down the barrel of a gun to win union recognition. . . .

“Management thinks they control the plant with their clipboards, portable phones, and panties twisted in a knot. But when workers work to rule the bosses find out who really runs the plant, who keeps machines humming, production flowing, and the money coming in. . . .

“Workers are not saboteurs. Workers want to build, not destroy. Work to rule simply means: to rigorously adhere to Process Control Instructions and strive to meet the stated goals of high quality, lean inventory, and just-in-time delivery in order to compel ‘cooperation’ from the boss. Working to rule is like keeping kosher a strict code of law.’”

The reader will see how real leaders lead. This includes a heavy dose of explaining the laws that determine the outcome of strikes and other confrontations between labor and capital. But no less important, it shows a deep understanding of the transitional method that has been applied by some of the best class-struggle leaders in labor history.

SOS building a new movement ‘On the Ashes of the old’

Even though SOS’s attempt to stop the biggest bureaucratic giveback in American labor history did not succeed, a substantial nucleus of a new fighting union leadership in the UAW has been born.

Moreover, rather than having been demoralized by their unsuccessful campaign against the biggest giveback contract in labor history engineered by Big Three bosses and UAW bureaucrats, they have set about the task of building a broader movement of militant trade-union activists.

That is, SOS and its component formations Future of the Union, Factory Rats Unite, in conjunction with “Labor Notes and numerous rank and-file committees of resistance will sponsor a one-day meeting for all autoworker activists on the recent concessionary Big Three Auto Contracts. The session will be an opportunity to analyze the economic and structural impact of the negotiations, to share experiences from the effort to mobilize opposition, and explore strategies and tactics for reclaiming unionism’s direction and rebuilding rank & file solidarity.4”

Though it is directed exclusively at autoworkers, the inclusion of a number of sponsors of this one-day affair beginning with Labor Notes, which is an existing movement of trade-union activists from many unions, gives the upcoming conference an all-union character. (See the leaflet announcing “Autoworker Activists Gathering” on page 10.)

We look forward in the spirit of revolutionary working-class optimism to a successful outcome to this important gathering in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, January 26, 2008.

1Labor’s Giant Step: Twenty Years of the CIO, by Art Preis, Pioneer Publishers, New York, 1964. The author was also a participant in the first big strike by autoworkers at the very beginning of 1934—the Toledo Electric Auto-Lite strike. See “Three Strikes That Paved the Way,” pages 19 to 33.

2 Ibid

3 Ibid.

4 Autoworker Activists Gathering leaflet (see next page.)


14) Purple Drank
By Bonnie Weinstein
Socialist Viewpoint
January/February 2008

When I was a teenager in the late 1950s and early ’60s, kids got after-school, part-time, or summer jobs at soda fountains and ice cream parlors where all the kids hung out. Moms took part-time jobs for extra spending money and dads worked at union jobs they would eventually retire from. But in our times, things are different. For our children today prison is a rite of passage, and their job is likely to be selling “Purple Drank”—a mixture of codeine cough syrup cut with soda—out in the streets, mostly to other kids just like themselves. And both Mom and Dad are working more than full-time—in hours, at least, if they’re working at all—even if it means they each have to have more than one job.

Today, not only is there a light-speed increase in the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor, and a massive and diabolical increase in the prison population—the largest in the world, virtually 100 percent of whom are from the ranks of the most impoverished—but the administration of “justice” has never before been so blatantly corrupt and unjust.

There has been an ongoing debate regarding the long sentences of those who smoked crack cocaine vs. the much shorter sentences, if any, given to those who snorted the more fashionable among the rich-and-famous, and much more expensive, powder cocaine. The billion-dollar drug dealer, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, received a slap on the wrist for falsely claiming their product was safer and less addictive than other, less potent painkillers. This lie resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of addictions. The message is clear: the poor who fell victim to Purdue Pharma and became addicted go to jail and the wealthy profiteers who pushed the drug on them go free.

The drug-and-prison cycle

Indeed, the vast majority of young people are left with a very different set of circumstances than in their parents’ youth, both in their economic prospects for their future and their chances of staying out of jail.

An article appeared in the November 23, 2007, New York Times about the plight of youth reentering their drug-infested communities after spending time in jail themselves for drug-related offences. It was entitled “Trying to Break Cycle of Prison at Street Level,” by Solomon Moore, who wrote:

“The Fifth Ward, an east Houston neighborhood, has one of the city’s highest concentrations of former prisoners. At least 125 state parolees resettled in the neighborhood in 2006, according to the mapping studies. Their prison terms cost Texas $9 million. Mark Wright, 31, stood outside a house in the Fifth Ward recently selling drugs just weeks after completing a prison term for drug possession. Altogether, Mr. Wright said he had served 10 years for four drug-related convictions and one parole violation. ‘I was bred into this life,’ said Mr. Wright, who said he still made his living selling drugs. ‘It’s survival of the fittest out here.’ Mr. Wright said that ‘damn near 99 percent’ of his friends had served prison terms, mostly for drug possession, including his younger brother, who is currently in prison. ‘Half these dudes dropped out of junior high,’ he said. . . . ‘Some of them dropped out of elementary school. All they got is this hustle. They got no backup.’ . . .”

“Neighborhoods like Sunnyside can be found in virtually every big city in the nation. Even as violent crime statistics trend downward, incarceration rates throughout the country remain at a historic high of 750 per 100,000 residents. Each year about 650,000 prisoners are released on parole, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.”

Masses of our youth have been plunged into a virtually inescapable cycle of drug use and sales to barely keep from starving and to pay for their acquired addiction. This results in long years of incarceration without rehabilitation—an entirely different story than that of the multibillion-dollar drug pushers like Purdue Pharma. In a May 11, 2007, Times article, “Narcotic Maker Guilty of Deceit Over Marketing,” Barry Meier wrote:

“The company, Purdue Pharma, agreed to pay $600 million in fines and other payments to resolve the criminal charge of ‘misbranding’ the product, one of the largest amounts ever paid by a drug company in such a case. The three executives, including its president and its top lawyer, also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of misbranding the drug. Together, they agreed to pay $34.5 million in fines . . ..

“Purdue Pharma, based in Stamford, Conn., heavily promoted OxyContin to doctors like general practitioners, who often had little training in treating serious pain or in recognizing signs of drug abuse. But experienced drug abusers and novices, including teenagers, soon discovered that chewing an OxyContin tablet—or crushing one and then snorting the powder, or injecting it with a needle—produced a high as powerful as heroin . . .. By the year 2000, parts of the United States, particularly rural areas, began to see soaring rates of addiction and crime related to use of the drug.”
How billionaire drug pushers get out of jail time

The executives from Perdue Pharma got no jail time at all. The $634.5 million they paid in fines and payments was a drop in the bucket for a company whose revenue tops a billion dollars a year. Meanwhile, the average seller of Purple Drank or marijuana will be appointed an insanely busy public defender in charge of hundreds of cases, and will almost certainly end up with a plea bargain resulting in both jail time and years of probation or parole.

Things go differently for billion-dollar corporate executives who make really big bucks pushing drugs. In fact, The Timesof December 28, 2007, featured an article entitled “Under Attack, Drug Maker Turned to Giuliani for Help,” by Barry Meier and Eric Lipton. According to the writers, not only could the Purdue executives afford to hire high-powered attorneys, but they also hired presidential hopeful, attorney, and self-proclaimed 9/11 hero Rudolph Giuliani to help make sure they wouldn’t get any jail time.

“A former top federal prosecutor, Mr. Giuliani participated in two meetings between Purdue officials and the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency investigating the company. Giuliani Partners took on the job of monitoring security improvements at company facilities making OxyContin, an issue of concern to the D.E.A.

“As a celebrity, Mr. Giuliani helped the company win several public relations battles, playing a role in an effort by Purdue to persuade an influential Pennsylvania congressman, Curt Weldon, not to blame it for OxyContin abuse.

“Giuliani Partners would not say how much Purdue had paid it, but one consultant to the drug maker estimated that Mr. Giuliani’s firm had, in some years, earned several million dollars from the account . . ..

“Giuliani Partners became involved in every aspect of the company’s problems, from the ballooning investigation by Mr. Brownlee [of the D.E.A.] to repairing its battered image. Mr. Giuliani personally took on some tasks, but a half-dozen members of his firm, including Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, were also involved.”

But as hard as Giuliani tried, according to the same article,

“Early last year . . . Mr. Brownlee told Purdue that he was prepared to indict it and three top executives, including Mr. Udell, the lawyer. The company then handed Mr. Giuliani his most crucial assignment, to talk Mr. Brownlee down . . .. Between June and October 2006, Mr. Giuliani met or spoke with the prosecutor on six occasions. During those conversations, Mr. Giuliani was cordial but pointed in arguing against what he felt were flaws in the case . . .. In October 2006, Mr. Brownlee told Mr. Giuliani and Purdue that he expected to ask for a grand jury indictment by the end of the month. Plea discussions ensued and Mr. Brownlee ultimately agreed that the three executives would not have to do jail time.”

So, Purdue Pharma, thanks to Giuliani, pays a relatively small fee (out of the billions it has and continues to earn from sales of OxyContin) for the deaths and addictions it has caused and still causes, and their top executives remain free and richly employed while those who became addicted to OxyContin are in many cases still rotting in jail. Or they have been returned to the dismal streets, without rehabilitation programs, with not just the monkey of drug addiction on their backs but the stigma of “crime convictions” and prison time attached to their names forever! What great credentials for job hunting!
The capitalist future is stacked against the young and the poor

Drug rehabilitation programs for the poor—all around the country—are being slashed to bits and replaced with more and longer jail sentences. Our youth are trying to survive in occupied, poverty- and crime-ridden police territory. Their communities and schools not only have deteriorated, becoming polluted and decrepit, but also are police occupied. Gang injunctions prohibit freedom of movement of suspected “gang members” whether they are traveling to their jobs or to their homes during certain hours. Some communities have a feeling of lockdown after midnight, when the only people on the streets are the police.

The police routinely keep lists and photos of those they suspect of gang membership—or of anything—up on the walls of the precinct so that they can keep track of them and catch them when and as often as they can. To those in the community under scrutiny, it seems everyone who is about to come of age automatically becomes suspect. Piled upon that, even when, with great diligence, one is fortunate enough to get a job—it will certainly be a second- or third-tier-level job because that is all our modern times has to offer.

If you’re poor, you get one chance—if you’re lucky

When I say that drug rehabilitation programs are being slashed, I mean the ones that are free to the victims of both addiction and poverty. There are plenty of rehab programs available for a price—an extremely high price, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Some employer healthcare plans cover such treatment to a greater or (more often) lesser extent.

A friend who is alcoholic and worked for a big supermarket here in San Francisco was sent to a three-month rehab program away in the countryside twice, when caught drinking on the job. His stay and all medications were completely covered and would have cost close to $30,000 were they not covered. Many of these benefits have been lost since my friend took advantage of his rehab opportunity and the chance to keep his job. His company gave him two chances. In the world of free residential treatment you are a very lucky exception to get even one chance at an in-house recovery program, and only a little more likely to get into a day-treatment program—also on the budget chopping block.

Very few of those addicted to OxyContin or other drugs have jobs, let alone jobs with drug-rehab benefits. Also, there are drug dealers who do not use drugs themselves, yet still end up in jail, with a police record, doomed to continue selling drugs to survive. They deal because, like those who have become addicted, there are no other viable, life-supporting jobs out there for them. Those who sell but don’t use are the rare exceptions, and statistics show that eventually even they succumb.
Adult workers also stuck in an ever-tightening bind

And this problem is getting worse. Some kids are seeing their own parents succumb to drug addiction. Some parents are even forced to compete for the same low-paying jobs—just ask the thousands of un- and-underemployed former autoworkers in Detroit! Detroit now has a 28 percent poverty rate—the highest of any city in the country! And drug use is rising among adults. According to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report, “Youth Drug Use Continues Downward Slide Older Adult Rates of Use Increase,” “Among adults aged 50 to 59, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 2.7 percent to 4.4 percent between 2002 and 2005, reflecting the aging into this age group—the baby boom cohort.”

Instead of expanding drug rehabilitation programs and making them available to everyone who needs them free of charge; instead of preventing the conditions that lead our children to choose hopeless and harmful solutions to their problems; instead of pouring money into our schools, into our children’s housing, into healthcare—our government and its corporate rulers and political hacks are plunging the world into never-ending war and chaos just to further their economic hegemony over the planet. And now they’re even stooping to push addictive drugs directly, as in the case of Purdue Pharma, Mr. Giuliani, and their very profitable drug. They legitimize anything—drug pushing, war, torture, mass incarceration—that will aid them in raking in huge windfall profits. This is the conscience of the capitalist, private-profit-driven system.

The income gap exposing the myth of the middle class

The statistics are astounding. According to another Times article that appeared December 15, 2007, entitled, “Report Says That the Rich Are Getting Richer Faster, Much Faster,” by David Cay Johnston:

“The increase in incomes of the top one percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows.

“The poorest fifth of households had total income of $383.4 billion in 2005, while just the increase in income for the top 1 percent came to $524.8 billion, a figure 37 percent higher.

“The total income of the top 1.1 million households was $1.8 trillion, or 18.1 percent of the total income of all Americans, up from 14.3 percent of all income in 2003. The total 2005 income of the three million individual Americans at the top was roughly equal to that of the bottom 166 million Americans, analysis of the report showed.”

This is not going unnoticed! The problem is, people don’t know what to do about it. After all, this report, according to the article, “is the latest to document the growing concentration of income at the top, a trend that President Bush said last January had been under way for more than 25 years.” And, all during this time, the working class has seen its union representation diminish from around 38 percent of the workforce to around seven percent today. The real squeeze is just beginning to affect workers who were led to believe they were part of the “middle class.”

Even my generation of workers, who had paid off their home loans, was convinced to take out new loans to pay for renovation and repair based on the optimistic prediction of an ever-increasing real estate market and a never-ending supply of easy credit. Now they are faced with shrinking housing prices that will not cover the costs of the new loans they are now stuck with.
Youth and poverty

But the worst victims are the young. In an Op-Ed article for The Times of December 22, 2007, entitled “Nightmare Before Christmas,” columnist Bob Herbert wrote:

“A study released last month by the Pew Charitable Trusts noted that ‘for most Americans, seeing that one’s children are better off than oneself is the essence of living the American dream.’ But for the past 40 years, men in their 30s, prime family-raising age, have found it difficult to outdistance their dads economically.

“As the Pew study put it: ‘Earnings of men in their 30s have remained surprisingly flat over the past four decades.’ Family incomes have improved during that time largely because of the wholesale entrance of women into the work force.

“For the very wealthy, of course, it’s been a different story. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the after-tax income of the top 1 percent rose 228 percent from 1979 through 2005.

“What seems to be happening now is that working Americans, and that includes the middle class, have exhausted much of their capacity to tread water. Wives and mothers are already working. Mortgages have been refinanced and tremendous amounts of home equity drained. And families have taken on debt loads—for cars, for college tuition, for medical treatment—that would buckle the knees of the strongest pack animals.

“According to Demos, a policy research group in New York, ‘American families are using credit cards to bridge the gaps created by stagnant wages and higher costs of living.’ Americans owe nearly $900 billion on their credit cards.

“We’re running out of smoke and mirrors. The fundamental problem, the problem that is destroying the dream, is the extreme inequality pounded into the system by the corporate crowd and its handmaidens in government.”

And for black youth, the problems are even worse. According to another Herbert piece in The Times of March 15, 2007, entitled, “The Danger Zone,”

“...most black men do not go to college. In big cities, more than half do not even finish high school.

“Their employment histories are gruesome. Over the past few years, the percentage of black male high school graduates in their 20s who were jobless (including those who abandoned all efforts to find a job) has ranged from well over a third to roughly 50 percent. Those are the kinds of statistics you get during a depression.

“For dropouts, the rates of joblessness are staggering. For black males who left high school without a diploma, the real jobless rate at various times over the past few years has ranged from 59 percent to a breathtaking 72 percent.

“‘Seventy-two percent jobless!’ said Senator Charles Schumer, chairman of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, which held a hearing last week on joblessness among black men. ‘This compares to 29 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts.’”

Ingredients for change

So, what we have is a tinderbox ready to explode. These young people do not have homes with equity, nor savings accounts, nor even credit cards. They must fly by the seat of their pants—either they have the cash or they don’t. Their parents are a paycheck away from being in the same predicament themselves. Very few working people with children and grandchildren are debt-free or have savings accounts with anything substantial in them.

At the same time, there have been virtually no victories for the working class. Union bureaucrats have been notoriously in bed with the bosses. And workers are hanging onto their jobs like there’s no tomorrow—and there isn’t! This reality will hit home sooner than later.

When it does, the whole playing field will change. And the working class will have their chance to come up to bat. The questions that must be answered in the affirmative are: Will team United Working Class realize how strong it can be? Will the players be able to develop real team loyalty? Will each team member dedicate him/herself to the well being of the team and every other member? Will they be led by leaders of their own democratic choosing and from their own ranks who understand that their power lies in unity and solidarity with one another? Will they let nothing divide them or lead them astray from their goal of victory for the whole team?

If we can answer yes to these questions we’ll see a ballgame as has never been played before. Team United Working Class will have billions of hitters coming up to bat and team Capitalist Despotism will have just one-tenth of one percent of that. I sure like those odds!


15) Starving Haitians forced to eat dirt cookies (w/video)
January 29, 2008

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI ˜ It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums,
and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily
plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional
Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from
the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an
antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the
oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby,
five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt
and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times
a day," Charlene said.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies
also give her stomach pains. "When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems
colicky too," she said.

Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices,
needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic
ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the
increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as

The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations
depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60
cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Even
the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost
$1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to
food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2
a day.

A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and
sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the

Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly
parasitess, but can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb
to certain diseases, said Gerald Callahan, an immunology professor at
Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name
for dirt-eating.

Brought to you by the




Halliburton Profit Rises
HOUSTON (AP) — Halliburton, the oil field services company, said Monday that its emphasis on Middle Eastern markets had contributed to a nearly 5 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit.
The company has been adding people and equipment to the Middle East and elsewhere — even moving its top executive overseas — which it says helped Eastern Hemisphere sales grow 27 percent in the fourth quarter versus a year ago.
Halliburton said results were squeezed by higher costs and lower pricing in North America, a trend that also hindered a rival, Schlumberger, and could persist.
Net income in the fourth quarter rose to $690 million, or 75 cents a share, compared with $658 million, or 64 cents a share, in the period a year ago.
January 29, 2008

Colombia: Guerrilla Leader Is Sentenced
Ricardo Palmera, a top leader of the Marxist-inspired Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was sentenced by a federal court in Washington to 60 years in prison for taking part in the kidnapping of three American military contractors in 2003. Mr. Palmera, 57, the most senior Colombian guerrilla leader extradited to the United States, had justified the abductions as a tactic of war by the FARC, Latin America’s largest rebel group. At the courtroom where he was sentenced, Mr. Palmera, known by the nom de guerre Simón Trinidad, accused the United States of improperly intervening in Colombia’s affairs and shouted, “Long live the FARC!”
January 29, 2008
World Briefing | The Americas

Mining Agency Finds Penalties Lapse
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The federal agency that regulates the nation’s mining industry says that it has failed to issue penalties for hundreds of citations issued since 2000 and that the problem could extend back beyond 1995.
Matthew Faraci, a spokesman for the agency, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, said Sunday, “We would guess it goes back far beyond 1995, but because of a lack of electronic records before that year, I can’t verify that.”
Preliminary data showed that penalties had not been assessed against companies that received about 4,000 citations issued by the agency from January 2000 to July 2006, The Sunday Gazette-Mail of Charleston reported.
The agency’s director, Richard E. Stickler, told the newspaper that a review also showed that penalties had never been assessed for a few hundred citations issued in 1996.
The agency recently discovered the problem after it checked into whether a Kentucky coal operator had been assessed a penalty after a an accident in 2005 in which a miner bled to death after not receiving proper first aid.
January 28, 2008

National Briefing | ROCKIES
Montana: Bad News for Gray Wolves
A new federal rule would allow state game agencies to kill endangered gray wolves that prey on wildlife in the Northern Rockies. An estimated 1,545 wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are scheduled to come off the endangered species list in coming weeks, but the rule is a separate action that would give the three states more latitude to kill wolves even if their removal from the list was delayed. The rule would empower state wildlife agents to kill packs of wolves if they could prove that the animals were having a “major impact” on big-game herds.
January 25, 2008

Wolfowitz to Lead State Dept. Panel
WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul D. Wolfowitz, former president of the World Bank, will lead a high-level advisory panel on arms control and disarmament, the State Department said Thursday.
Mr. Wolfowitz, who has close ties to the White House, will become chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, which reports to the secretary of state. The panel is charged with giving independent advice on disarmament, nonproliferation and related subjects.
The portfolio includes commentary on several high-profile issues, including pending nuclear deals with India and North Korea and an offer to negotiate with Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Mr. Wolfowitz was replaced as World Bank chief last June after a stormy two-year tenure. He is now a defense and foreign policy studies expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington research organization.
January 25, 2008

World Briefing | The Americas
Cuba: No Surprises, No Losers
Officials said that more than 95 percent of registered voters turned out at the polls on Sunday to endorse a slate of parliamentary candidates, including Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl. Of the 8.2 million voters, 3.7 percent submitted blank ballots and 1 percent voided their ballots in some way. Election officials called the results a success; critics called it a farce. As in past elections in the one-party state, nobody lost. There were 614 candidates and the same number of seats being chosen in the National Assembly.
January 22, 2008

World Briefing | Asia
India: Bird Flu Spread ‘Alarming’
India’s third outbreak of avian flu among poultry is the worst it has faced, the World Health Organization said. The chief minister of West Bengal State, which is trying to cull 400,000 birds, called the virus’s spread “alarming.” Uncooperative villagers, angry at being offered only 75 cents a chicken by the government, have been selling off their flocks and throwing dead birds into waterways, increasing the risk. New outbreaks were also reported this week in Iran and Ukraine.
January 19, 2008

National Briefing | West
California: Thermostat Plan
After an outcry of objections, the California Energy Commission withdrew its proposal to require new buildings in the state to have radio-controlled thermostats that, in a power emergency, could be used to override customers’ temperature settings. Instead of making the proposal part of new state building requirements, the commissioners will discuss the use of the “programmable communicating thermostats” when considering how to manage electrical loads — with the understanding that customers would have the right to refuse to allow the state to override their wishes.
January 16, 2008

PDC Fact Sheet
Murdered by Mumia: Big Lies in the Service of Legal Lynching
Mumia is Innocent! Free Him Now!

Britain: Lethal Bird Flu at Famed Swan Reserve
World Briefing | Europe
The deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu has reached one of England’s most famous swan breeding grounds, the Abbotsbury Swannery on the Dorset coast. Tests on three dead mute swans confirmed the virus, spread by wild birds. The manager said he was working to determine how many swans might be affected.
January 11, 2008

Utah: Cholera Suspected in Bird Deaths
National Briefing | Rockies
About 1,500 dead birds that washed up on the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake may have been killed by avian cholera, an expert said. Dead grebes, ducks and gulls were being sent to the National Wildlife Health Center of the United States Geological Survey in Madison, Wis., for examination. “If I was a betting man,” said the expert, Tom Aldrich of the State Division of Wildlife Resources, “I would bet it was cholera.” The disease, which poisons the blood, spreads when birds are overcrowded and food supplies are short. It does not affect humans. [Doesn't affect humans? How does the death of birds not affect humans?]
January 5, 2008

United Nations: Assembly Calls for Freeze on Death Penalty
In a vote that made for unusual alliances, the General Assembly passed, 104 to 54 with 29 abstentions, a nonbinding resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. Among the countries joining the United States in opposition to the European-led measure were Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Opponents argued that the resolution undermined their national sovereignty. Two similar moves in the 1990s failed, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the new vote was “evidence of a trend toward ultimately abolishing the death penalty.”
December 19, 2007

Carbon Dioxide Threatens Reefs, Report Says
National Briefing | Science and Health
Carbon dioxide in the air is turning the oceans acidic, and without a reduction in emissions, coral reefs may die away by the end of the century, researchers warn in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. Carbon dioxide dissolves into ocean water, changes to carbonic acid, and carbonic acid dissolves the calcium carbonate in the skeletons of corals. Laboratory experiments have shown that corals possess some ability to adapt to warmer waters but no ability to adapt to the higher acidity. “Unless we reverse our actions very quickly, by the end of the century, reefs could be a thing of the past,” said Ken Caldeira, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology and an author of the Science paper.
December 14, 2007

Iraq: Marine Discharged Over Killing
World Briefing | Middle East
A Marine reservist, Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes, 22, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to a bad-conduct discharge and reduced in rank to private, a day after being convicted at Camp Pendleton, Calif., of negligent homicide in the 2006 stabbing death of an Iraqi soldier he stood watch with at a guard post in Falluja. He has served 10 months in a military prison and will not spend any more time in custody. The lance corporal’s lawyer has said that the killing was in self-defense. Prosecutors contended that he killed the Iraqi and then set up the scene to support his story. He was also found guilty of making a false official statement.
December 15, 2007

Canada: Mounties Urged to Restrict Taser Use
In a report, the watchdog commission that oversees the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recommended that Taser stun guns be used only on people who are “combative or posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm,” much like a conventional firearm rather than a nightstick or pepper spray. The report was ordered by the government after a confused and angry Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, left, died at the airport in Vancouver after being stunned at least twice by Mounties. The report found that Tasers were increasingly being used against people who were merely resistant rather than dangerous.
December 13, 2007

Greece: Tens of Thousands March in Strike
A one-day strike by unions representing 2.5 million workers brought Athens to a standstill. Protesting planned government changes to the state-financed pension system, an estimated 80,000 people marched through central Athens. In Thessaloniki, 30,000 people rallied, the police said. The strike shut down hospitals, banks, schools, courts and all public services. Flights were canceled, and public transportation, including boats connecting the mainland with the islands, ground to a halt. More strikes are expected next week.
December 13, 2007




Russell Means Speaking at the Transform Columbus Day Rally
"If voting could do anything it would be illegal!"


Stop the Termination or the Cherokee Nation


We Didn't Start the Fire

I Can't Take it No More

The Art of Mental Warfare

http://video. videoplay? docid=-905047436 2583451279




Port of Olympia Anti-Militarization Action Nov. 2007


"They have a new gimmick every year. They're going to take one of their boys, black boys, and put him in the cabinet so he can walk around Washington with a cigar. Fire on one end and fool on the other end. And because his immediate personal problem will have been solved he will be the one to tell our people: 'Look how much progress we're making. I'm in Washington, D.C., I can have tea in the White House. I'm your spokesman, I'm your leader.' While our people are still living in Harlem in the slums. Still receiving the worst form of education.

"But how many sitting here right now feel that they could [laughs] truly identify with a struggle that was designed to eliminate the basic causes that create the conditions that exist? Not very many. They can jive, but when it comes to identifying yourself with a struggle that is not endorsed by the power structure, that is not acceptable, that the ground rules are not laid down by the society in which you live, in which you are struggling against, you can't identify with that, you step back.

"It's easy to become a satellite today without even realizing it. This country can seduce God. Yes, it has that seductive power of economic dollarism. You can cut out colonialism, imperialism and all other kind of ism, but it's hard for you to cut that dollarism. When they drop those dollars on you, you'll fold though."

—MALCOLM X, 1965


A little gem:
Michael Moore Faces Off With Stephen Colbert [VIDEO]


LAPD vs. Immigrants (Video)


Dr. Julia Hare at the SOBA 2007


"We are far from that stage today in our era of the absolute
lie; the complete and totalitarian lie, spread by the
monopolies of press and radio to imprison social
consciousness." December 1936, "In 'Socialist' Norway,"
by Leon Trotsky: “Leon Trotsky in Norway” was transcribed
for the Internet by Per I. Matheson [References from
original translation removed]


Wealth Inequality Charts


MALCOLM X: Oxford University Debate


"There comes a times when silence is betrayal."
--Martin Luther King


YouTube clip of Che before the UN in 1964


The Wealthiest Americans Ever
NYT Interactive chart
JULY 15, 2007


New Orleans After the Flood -- A Photo Gallery
This email was sent to you as a service, by Roland Sheppard.
Visit my website at:


[For some levity...Hans Groiner plays Monk]


Which country should we invade next?


My Favorite Mutiny, The Coup


Michael Moore- The Awful Truth


Morse v. Frederick Supreme Court arguments


Free Speech 4 Students Rally - Media Montage


'My son lived a worthwhile life'
In April 2003, 21-year old Tom Hurndall was shot in the head
in Gaza by an Israeli soldier as he tried to save the lives of three
small children. Nine months later, he died, having never
recovered consciousness. Emine Saner talks to his mother
Jocelyn about her grief, her fight to make the Israeli army
accountable for his death and the book she has written
in his memory.
Monday March 26, 2007
The Guardian,,2042968,00.html


Introducing...................the Apple iRack


"A War Budget Leaves Every Child Behind."
[A T-shirt worn by some teachers at Roosevelt High School
in L.A. as part of their campaign to rid the school of military
recruiters and JROTC--see Article in Full item number 4,]




George Takai responds to Tim Hardaway's homophobic remarks




Another view of the war. A link from Amer Jubran


A Girl Like Me
7:08 min
Youth Documentary
Kiri Davis, Director, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, Producer
Winner of the Diversity Award
Sponsored by Third Millennium Foundation


Film/Song about Angola


"200 million children in the world sleep in the streets today.
Not one of them is Cuban."
(A sign in Havana)
View sign at bottom of page at:
[Thanks to Norma Harrison for sending]



"Cheyenne and Arapaho oral histories hammer history's account of the
Sand Creek Massacre"

CENTENNIAL, CO -- A new documentary film based on an award-winning
documentary short film, "The Sand Creek Massacre", and driven by
Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people who tell their version about
what happened during the Sand Creek Massacre via their oral
histories, has been released by Olympus Films+, LLC, a Centennial,
Colorado film company.

"You have done an extraordinary job" said Margie Small, Tobient
Entertainment, " on the Colorado PBS episode, the library videos for
public schools and libraries, the trailer, etc...and getting the
story told and giving honor to those ancestors who had to witness
this tragic and brutal is one of the best ways."

"The images shown in the film were selected for native awareness
value" said Donald L. Vasicek, award-winning writer/filmmaker, "we
also focused on preserving American history on film because tribal
elders are dying and taking their oral histories with them. The film
shows a non-violent solution to problem-solving and 19th century
Colorado history, so it's multi-dimensional in that sense. "

Chief Eugene Blackbear, Sr., Cheyenne, who starred as Chief Black
Kettle in "The Last of the Dogmen" also starring Tom Berenger and
Barbara Hershey and "Dr. Colorado", Tom Noel, University of Colorado
history professor, are featured.

The trailer can be viewed and the film can be ordered for $24.95 plus
$4.95 for shipping and handling at

Vasicek's web site,, provides detailed
information about the Sand Creek Massacre including various still
images particularly on the Sand Creek Massacre home page and on the
proposal page.

Olympus Films+, LLC is dedicated to writing and producing quality
products that serve to educate others about the human condition.


Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
7078 South Fairfax Street
Centennial, CO 80122,+Don


Join us in a campaign to expose and stop the use
of these illegal weapons


You may enjoy watching these.
In struggle


FIGHTBACK! A Collection of Socialist Essays
By Sylvia Weinstein


[The Scab
"After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad,
and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with
which he made a scab."
"A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul,
a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten
principles." "When a scab comes down the street,
men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and
the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out."
"No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there
is a pool of water to drown his carcass in,
or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.
For betraying his master, he had character enough
to hang himself." A scab has not.
"Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of
a commision in the british army."
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife,
his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled
promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor
to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country;
a scab is a traitor to his God, his country,
his family and his class."
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)...Roland Sheppard]


Stop funding Israel's war against Palestine
Complete the form at the website listed below with your information.


Sand Creek Massacre
(scroll down when you get there])

On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado troops savagely slaughtered
over 450 Cheyenne children, disabled, elders, and women in the
southeastern Colorado Territory under its protection. This act
became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This film project
("The Sand Creek Massacre" documentary film project) is an
examination of an open wound in the souls of the Cheyenne
people as told from their perspective. This project chronicles
that horrific 19th century event and its affect on the 21st century
struggle for respectful coexistence between white and native
plains cultures in the United States of America.

Listed below are links on which you can click to get the latest news,
products, and view, free, "THE SAND CREEK MASSACRE" award-
winning documentary short. In order to create more native
awareness, particularly to save the roots of America's history,
please read the following:

Some people in America are trying to save the world. Bless
them. In the meantime, the roots of America are dying.
What happens to a plant when the roots die? The plant dies
according to my biology teacher in high school. American's
roots are its native people. Many of America's native people
are dying from drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, hunger,
and disease, which was introduced to them by the Caucasian
male. Tribal elders are dying. When they die, their oral
histories go with them. Our native's oral histories are the
essence of the roots of America, what took place before
our ancestors came over to America, what is taking place,
and what will be taking place. It is time we replenish
America's roots with native awareness, else America
continues its decaying, and ultimately, its death.

READY FOR PURCHASE! (pass the word about this powerful
educational tool to friends, family, schools, parents, teachers,
and other related people and organizations to contact
me (, 303-903-2103) for information
about how they can purchase the DVD and have me come
to their children's school to show the film and to interact
in a questions and answers discussion about the Sand
Creek Massacre.

Happy Holidays!

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC,+Don

(scroll down when you get there])

SHOP: Articles at">

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