Wednesday, March 28, 2012



MAY DAY 2012







Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:




FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 4:00 P.M.

Called for by Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Revolution Books; and Revolution Club, Bay Area.


Subject: From code pink: Occupy Oakland ENDORSES our NO WAR ON IRAN
April 17th Action!!!

We're happy to bring you GREAT news! The awesome Occupy Oakland folks voted UNANIMOUSLY to endorse our proposal for a NO WAR ON IRAN action to coincide with the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending, April 17th, from noon-5 at the Oakland Federal Building.

This is what we've been hoping for and working towards: getting the anti-war message front and center with the Occupy movement!!! So let's BE THERE!

So PLEASE mark your calendars, call in PINK, and join us in front of the Oakland Federal Building Tuesday, April 17th, the final day our U.S. income taxes - to pay for wars - are due!

Come bring your ideas & resources & help us plan this action on Saturday, March 24th, 11am-1pm at Mudrakers Cafe, 2801 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley! Thus far we are working on a press conference, maybe a march to/from the Post Office, visual timeline of US. military aggression, street theater, FOOD, music, banner drops, and???

PROPOSAL: Endorse Global Day of Action Against Military Spending NO WAR ON IRAN with CodePINK, anti-war groups, Tuesday, April 17th noon-5pm, Oakland Federal Building

HELLO, we are here as part of CodePINK:Women4Peace, WAK:Women Against Killing, Grandmothers Against War & other activist anti-war groups.

We in CodePINK & WAK work to enable, value and project specifically women's voices, womenâ€(tm)s ideas, womenâ€(tm)s actions, womenâ€(tm)s leadership, as we work to end all forms of violence, especially the violence of “warâ€ and military occupation.

The imminent threat of a new war against Iran carries with it the real danger of yet another horrendous global, human, environmental (not to mention political,etc) catastrophe, while the present wars continue that same horrendous devastation.

The voice of the U.S. people needs to be heard to STOP this from happening, and we would like to work especially with Occupy, with individuals, communities, and working groups to amplify and direct our tactics, actions, and solutions.

As part of our NO WAR ON IRAN actions, NO NEW WARS, END ALL WARS, we are calling for a protest & occupation in front of the Oakland Federal Building in conjunction with the Global Day of Action AGAINST MILITARY SPENDING. And on the day our income taxes - that pay for wars & occupations ââ€" are due.

Also, Help clarify what wars ‘abroadâ€(tm) have to do with wars at home: foreclosures, racism, budget cuts, misogyny, homelessness, military & prison industrial complex

We hope Occupy will vote to endorse this NO WAR ON IRAN Action as a joint action with CodePINK & other anti-war groups & individuals. We also hope that as a result of this Action together, we can begin an occupy working group or committee that will have regular report-backs to the G.A.

The protest thus far will include banner drops, visuals: timeline of US military aggression, especially against Iran, FOOD, educational exercises, music, group discussions, die-ins, teach-ins, and other ACTIONS.
NO WAR ON IRAN ACTION: Occupy & War(s)
April 17th, Tuesday, 12:00 noon - 5pm
Oakland Federal Building

War and the Military & Prison Industrial Complex are and have always been integral to forming and building of our politics, our economy, our culture and our very country.

In 2011, we spent TWO BILLION dollars a DAY on wars, military occupations, attacks against other nations, primarily peoples of color.

In the U.S., we have 4-5% of the worldâ€(tm)s people while we consume 25-60% of the worldâ€(tm)s resources. We are able to secure so many resources because of our military and our willingness to engage our military might in the conquering, capturing, destroying of people, their lands, their resources - people with miinimal weaponry and military technology.

We spend more on our military than every other country in the world combined.

The U.S. military is the largest single consumer of fossil fuels.

Everything we have obtained in this country, from the very land we stand on to all our ‘richesâ€(tm), we have gotten through genocide, enslaving, torturing, and/or killing someone: from the first time Europeans set foot on this soil to commit genocide against Indigenous Peoples, to enslaving African peoples, to declaring wars against Mexicans, to sending troops off this continent to protect U.S. business interest, steal resources, & occupy the lands of others - mostlly peoples of color - beginning in 1801 when the marines occupied Libya for 4 years, until this very day.

We have over 1000 military bases (that we know about) in over 150 countries in our world of about 192 countries.

In 2011, 52% of our federal discretionary budget supplied by income taxes, went to the military; 7% to education; 5% to health care.

War profiteers, as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Atomics, make much more profits then Goldman Sucks and/or banks.

We invite individuals and working groups from Occupy to come and participate with us in this Global Day of Action against Military Spending, END WARS, NO NEW WARS specifically NO WAR ON IRAN, Tuesday, April 17th, noon â€" 5pm.

Again we are asking at this G.A. if you will endorse this Global Day of Action Against Military Spending, Tuesday, April 17th & join us at the Oakland Federal Building, noon - 5pm.

This action will be taking place on: APRIL 17th, Tuesday, from 12 noon until 5PM at the Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland

You are invited to participate in any way, pass out flyers, spread the word. PLEASE come to our next organizing meeting every Saturday, 11-1pm at Mudrakerâ€(tm)s cafÃ(c) - on the flyer. All are invited.

In solidarity and action,
Xan Sam Joi
work for peace; hold all life sacred; eliminate violence


Stand with Bradley Manning during the April 24-26 hearing

Events in the Washington DC area and internationally in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning's next appearance in court will take place April 24-26 at Ft. Meade, MD. At the previous hearing on March 15th, Bradley's lawyer filed a motion to dismiss all charges based on the government's failure to present evidence as requested. Additionally, a broad coalition of media groups filed a complaint because documents from the court proceedings have been mostly shielded from the public's view. (Read more about the failures of the military to provide due process in this case here.)

We are calling for conscientious citizens everywhere to organize in support of Bradley Manning during his next hearing. Our demands include the following: drop all charges against Bradley Manning, and punish the war criminals, not the whistle-blowers. Join us in the Washington DC area if you can. Otherwise, host or attend a solidarity event in your community. Ideas for local events include: town square vigils, community forums, concerts, and house party fund-raisers.

Write to Bradley Manning at:
Bradley Manning #89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
Bradley Manning Support Network:
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610


6 Ways to Get Ready for the May 1st GENERAL STRIKE

Posted 2 days ago on March 11, 2012, 7:57 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Yesterday, 60,000 marched on Madison to mark the one-year anniversary of the passage of Governor Scott Walker's drastic dismantling of collective bargaining rights for public employees. Last year, Walker's attacks on labor rights sparked massive protests that saw hundreds of thousands occupy the Wisconsin capital building. Their actions prefigured Occupy Wall Street and inspired countless others to take a stand against economic inequality, political injustice, and the tyranny of the 1% enforced through politicians and banksters alike.

This is just one example that people across the globe are actively resisting attacks on the 99%. This year has already seen the largest-ever strike on record in India, hundreds of thousands marching for democracy in Bahrain, general strikes in Montreal and Spain where students once again occupied public space in protest of the austerity measures and spending cuts being enforced by the European banking elite, massive uprisings in the streets of Moscow, and more. Even in the United States, the movement grows. The corporate media claims that Occupy's strength is waning, but they are merely in denial. During the coldest months of this year, the United States has already seen more revolutionary momentum than it has in decades.

This winter, we refocused our energies on fostering ties with local communities, saving homes from corrupt banks and jobs from greedy corporations, and building and expanding our horizontal infrastructure. This #GlobalSpring, we will take the streets again. On May 1st, Occupy Wall Street has called for a General Strike. We are calling on everyone who supports the cause of economic justice and true democracy to take part: No Work, No School, No Housework, No Shopping, No Banking - and most importantly, TAKE THE STREETS!

We are getting ready. Planning is already underway in dozens of cities. Labor organizers, immigrants' rights groups, artists, Occupiers, faith leaders, and more have all joined in the discussion to get ready. Now, all we need is you. Keep reading to find out how you can get involved!

May 1st, also known as International Workers' Day, is the annual commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a General Strike for the eight-hour workday. In many countries, May 1st is observed as a holiday. But in the United States, despite the eventual success of the eight-hour-workday campaign, the holiday is not officially recognized. In spite of this, May Day is already a powerful date in the U.S. In 2006, immigrant's rights groups took to the streets in unprecedented numbers in a national "Day Without An Immigrant" - a general strike aimed at proving the economic power of immigrants in the U.S. At least one million people marched in Chicago and Los Angeles alone. Hundreds of thousands more marched throughout cities across the U.S.

Now, in response to call-outs from Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Chicago, Occupy Oakland, and other General Assemblies and affinity groups, the Occupy Movement is preparing to mobilize a General Strike this May 1st in solidarity with struggles already underway to defend the rights of workers, immigrants, and other communities who are resisting oppression. Dozens of Occupations in cities and towns throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia have already endorsed May Day. Here is just a taste of events in the works for New York City:

* 8am-4pm: Midtown action staging zone in Bryant Park.
* Disruptive actions in midtown all day! Hit the 1% where they live and prevent them from getting to work. Let's make this a Day Without the 1%, as well!
* Family friendly, free food, a really, REALLY free market, skillshares, workshops, lectures, art, fun and more!
* 4pm: March to Union Square for solidarity march
* 5:30pm: Solidarity march from Union Square to Wall St.
* 7pm: March to staging area for evening actions

And this is just the beginning. To quote the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, a major Spanish union, who recently called for a national General Strike in Spain on March 29th to protest labor reforms:

For the CNT, the strike on March 29 must be only the beginning of a growing and sustained process of mobilization, one which includes the entire working class and the sectors that are most disadvantaged and affected by the capitalist crisis. This mobilization must put the brakes on the dynamic of constant assaults on our rights, while laying the bases for the recovery and conquest of new social rights with the goal of a deep social transformation.

None of this would be possible without the grassroots support of everyday organizers who volunteer their time to grow the movement against Wall Street greed and political corruption. Here are eight simple things you can do to help advance the cause of equity for all:

[1] Work With Your Local Occupy: There are hundreds of Occupy groups still holding regular meetings and events. Chances are, there's one nearby. (And if there isn't yet - it's easy to start one!) General Assemblies are open to everyone, and everyone has a voice in the consensus planning process. So find your nearest Occupation and go to a GA! If they haven't already endorsed the General Strike, propose it to the group and start planning marches, distributing fliers, and forming direct action groups.

[2] Spread the Word On Social Media: Follow #M1GS, @OWSMayDay, @OccupyWallSt, and @OccupyGenStrike on Twitter. Also be sure to RSVP on Facebook and follow You can also look for city-specific events, like these from Chicago and Detroit.

[3] Start an Affinity Group: You can take action on your own. All you need are a few friends. Affinity groups are groups of people who know each other and come together autonomously for a particular action. Find a few people who are interested in helping you out on a project you have in mind - whether it's making fliers and literature to distribute, or shutting down a Wall Street bank in your hometown. Get creative, and get to work! (Here's a hint: OccuPrint collects, prints, and distributes posters from the worldwide Occupy movement, and they have a ton of amazing General Strike posters!)

[4] Join the General Strike Conference Calls: InterOccupy hosts regular calls to organize May 1st activities. Check out their schedule and join in the conversation!

[5] Talk to Labor: Due to federal laws, most unions are forbidden from organizing strikes for political reasons. However, unions and labor groups are still some of our strongest allies. During last year's General Strike in Oakland, many unions encouraged their workers to take the day off or attend demonstrations after work. Not long after Occupy Oakland shut down ports in solidarity with striking Longshoreman, their employers caved to the union's demands in a new contract. Get in touch with local unions and labor organizations, let them know about the plans for a General Strike, find out what they're working on and how you can help, and encourage them to let their members know about May 1st and get involved in organizing directly.

[6] Organize Your Workplace, Campus, or Community: If you're a unionized worker, encourage your union to support the General Strike. Whether your workplace is union or not, you can encourage co-workers to take a sick day on May 1st. If you can't afford to lose out on pay, that's okay - there will be plenty of celebrations, marches, and direct actions throughout all hours of the day. Invite your community to attend. If you're a student at a high school or college, spread the word to walk-out of class on May 1st. If you're not a worker or student, organize your friends!

More information: [] | [] | [] | [NYC General Assembly - May Day]


Occupy Oakland Call for Participation in a May 1, 2012
Global General Strike

Occupy Oakland decides to participate in the Global General Strike on May Day!!!

The Occupy Oakland General Assembly passed the proposal today!

Occupy Oakland Call for Participation in a May 1, 2012
Global General Strike

The general strike is back, retooled for an era of deep budget cuts, extreme anti-immigrant racism, and massive predatory financial speculation. In 2011, the number of unionized workers in the US stood at 11.8%, or approximately 14.8 million people.

What these figures leave out are the growing millions of people in this country who are unemployed and underemployed. The numbers leave out the undocumented, and domestic and manual workers drawn largely from immigrant communities. The numbers leave out workers whose workplace is the home and a whole invisible economy of unwaged reproductive labor. The numbers leave out students who have taken on nearly $1 trillion dollars in debt, and typically work multiple jobs, in order to afford skyrocketing college tuition. The numbers leave out the huge percentage of black Americans that are locked up in prisons or locked out of stable or secure employment because of our racist society.

In December of 2011,Oakland's official unemployment rate was a devastating 14.1%. As cities like Oakland are ground into the dust by austerity, every last public dollar will be fed to corrupt, militarized police departments in order to contain social unrest. On November 2 of last year, Occupy Oakland carried out the first general strike in the US since the 1946 Oakland general strike,shutting down the center of the city and blockading the Port of Oakland. We must re-imagine a general strike for an age where most workers do not belong to labor unions, and where most of us are fighting for the privilege to work rather than for marginal improvements in working conditions. We must take the struggle into the streets, schools, and offices of corrupt local city governments. A re-imagined general strike means finding immediate solutions for communities impacted by budget cuts and constant police harassment beyond changing government representatives. Occupy Oakland calls for and will participate in a new direction for the Occupy movement based on the recognition that we must not only find new ways to provide for our needs beyond thestate we must also attack the institutions that lock us into an increasingly miserable life of exploitation, debt, and deepening poverty everywhere.

May Day is an international holiday that commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, when Chicago police defending, as always, the interests of the 1% attacked and murdered workers participating in a general strike and demanding an 8-hour workday. In the 21st century, despite what politicians tell us, class war is alive and well against workers (rank-and-file and non-unionized), students, people of color, un- and underemployed, immigrants, homeless, women, queer/trans folks, prisoners. Instead of finding common ground with monsters, it's time we fight them. And it's time we make fighting back an everyday reality in the Bay Area and beyond.

On May Day 2012, Occupy Oakland will join with people from all walks of life in all parts of the world around the world in a global general strike to shut down the global circulation of capital that every day serves to enrich the ruling classes and impoverish the rest of us. There will be no victory but that which we make for ourselves, reclaiming the means of existence from which we have been and continue to be dispossessed every day.



Occupy the PGA in Benton Harbor, MI May 23-27, 2012

A personal invitation from the President of the NAACP , Benton Harbor

It is our distinct honor and privilege to invite you on behalf of the
NAACP-BH , the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO)
and Stop The Take Over in Benton Harbor, Michigan to an event
scheduled for May 23-27, 2012 .

Occupy the PGA
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Senior PGA Golf Tournament

We are committed to escalating the Occupy Movement to support human
rights in housing in addition to the push back against bailouts for
fraudulent banks. They are stealing our homes and lives. Democracy is
non-existent here in Benton Harbor. Joseph Harris, the Emergency
Manager must go! With pride, he called himself a "dictator."

The PGA will be played on a $750 million dollar, 530-acre resort near
the lakeshore with $500,000 condominiums. We can not forget the three
golf holes inside Jean Klock Park that were taken from the Benton
Harbor residents.

If your schedule does not permit your attendance on May 26, 2012,
alternative action dates are May 23-25, 2012. Please let me know if
you can accept the invitation to participate in Occupy the PGA. We
eagerly await your response. If you have any questions or concerns,
feel free to contact me directly at (269-925-0001). Allow me to thank
you in advance.We the residents of Benton Harbor love you!

& Stop The Take Over
Benton Harbor
Rev. Edward Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI


[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website: or]



Watch Lawrence O'Donnell and Guests Make Epic Mincemeat Out of George Zimmerman Defender

Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell continued his barnstorming trip through the Trayvon Martin case by having (Martin's shooter) George Zimmerman "friend" Joe Oliver on the show. He questioned him along with journalists Charles M. Blow and Jonathan Capeheart.

Oliver, a friend of Zimmerman's in-laws, has been engaging in an impromptu defense tour "standing up for George," and O'Donnell and company felt that Oliver has been getting the softball treatment from the mainstream media.

So they proceeded questioning him in detail about Zimmerman's history, including arrests for fighting with a police officer and domestic violence, giving Oliver a verbal drubbing. Eventually, Oliver admitted that he wasn't a close friend of Zimmerman's and that "my role in this just doesn't make sense."

It's quite the epic television smackdown. But let us not forget that a young boy is dead, and his killer remains free. Fortunately, with a new set of investigatory and a grand jury planned, justice may be on the way.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Private prisons,
a recession resistant investment opportunity


Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With "Thought Crimes"


Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors


Organizing & Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman


Rep News 12: Yes We Kony


The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video

In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called "The New Black". The song is taken from The Mavrix' upcoming album,"Pura Vida", due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book "Mornings in Jenin", authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, "Mornings in Jenin", he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of "Mornings in Jenin", the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid

In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called "The New Black". The song is taken from The Mavrix' upcoming album,"Pura Vida", due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book "Mornings in Jenin", authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, "Mornings in Jenin", he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of "Mornings in Jenin", the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid


Japan One Year Later presents Japan One Year Later Japan One Year Later


The CIA's Heart Attack Gun


Channel 2 investigation highlights racial discrepancies in marijuana arrests


Occupy The PGA
May 23-27 (big day: Sat. May 26) - Benton Harbor, Michigan
Demonstrate in protest of land stolen by Whirlpool Corporation Twitter HashTag #OccupyThePGA

This is the keynote address by Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan, at "Let Freedom Ring! Michigan's P.A. 4 Emergency Manager Act Forum" in East Lansing on Saturday, February 18, 2012. The event was organized by the Edgewood United Church of Christ Justice and Peace Task Force and recorded by the Peace Education Center. Jim Anderson of Edgewood United Church introduces Rev. Pinkney.

From: Pinkney Freddie
To: rev pinkney
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 5:21 PM
Subject: Re: Michigan Emergency Manager act - speech by Pinkney

Subject: Michigan Emergency Manager act - speech by Pinkney

please forward widely

A seminar on PA4, the Emergency Manager act, was held last Saturday
in East Lansing. It was an afternoon panel discussion which began with
keynote speaker Rev. Edward Pinkney, resident of the first Michigan
town to feel the unconstitutional brunt of this new law - Benton Harbor.

This is his speech.
Rev. Edward Pinkney 269-925-0001

Occupy The PGA
May 23-27 (big day: Sat. May 26) - Benton Harbor, Michigan
Demonstrate in protest of land stolen by Whirlpool Corporation Twitter HashTag #OccupyThePGA Facebook Event Page


The Invisible American Workforce


Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

This video shows the early stages of the growing Chicago movement against the newly minted extraordinary police powers ordinance (dubbed the "sit down and shut up" laws). We go to one of the many actions around the city directed at Chicago aldermen who were about to vote on these new laws (designed by Democratic Party Mayor Emanuel to crush any dissent against the NATO/G8 summits he is hosting here in May). Richard de Vries, Union Representative for IBT 705, tells a story about when he and Danny Solis were students at University of Illinois-Chicago campus back in the early 70s and they both participated in a student protest/occupation of the campus. If the ordinance under consideration (which now Alderman Solis finally approved of) were in effect then, "we wouldn't even be on the street today." We also visit the press conference at City Hall given by an impressive coalition of neighborhood and labor organizations on the eve of City Council committee meetings and final vote. The draconian measures, only marginally tweaked, passed overwhelmingly by the all-Democratic Party Council. The video is also a useful primer on what NATO is and some of its criminal record, from the bombings of civilians in Yugoslavia in the late 90s to NATO's recent killings of civilians in Libya and Afghanistan. In January of this year the Arab Organisation for Human Rights together with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights announced that there is evidence that NATO has committed war crimes. "My estimate: it's Military Murder Inc.," states Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO web site, as he provides extensive background information. Includes interviews and comments from numerous labor and community leaders. Length 25:37. Produced by Labor Beat. Labor Beat is a CAN TV Community Partner. Labor Beat is a non-profit 501(c)(3) member of IBEW 1220. Views are those of the producer Labor Beat. For info:, 312-226-3330. For other Labor Beat videos, visit YouTube and search "Labor Beat". On Chicago CAN TV Channel 19, Thursdays 9:30 pm; Fridays 4:30 pm. Labor Beat has regular cable slots in Chicago, Evanston, Rockford, Urbana, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Princeton, NJ; and Rochester, NY. For more detailed information, send us a request at


Anti-War Demonstrators Storm Pentagon 1967/10/24


Liberal Hypocrisy on Obama Vs Bush - Poll


Greek trade unionists and black bloc October 2011!


The Battle of Oakland
by brandon jourdan plus

On January 28th, 2012, Occupy Oakland moved to take a vacant building to use as a social center and a new place to continue organizing. This is the story of what happened that day as told by those who were a part of it. it features rare footage and interviews with Boots Riley, David Graeber, Maria Lewis, and several other witnesses to key events.

The Battle of Oakland from brandon jourdan on Vimeo.


Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces
February 1, 2012, 10:56 am


On Obama's SOTU:GM is a Terrible Model for US Manufacturing
Frank Hammer: GM was rebuilt by lowering wages and banning the right to strike

More at The Real News


Defending The People's Mic
by Pham Binh of Occupy Wall Street
The North Star
January 20, 2012
Grand Central Terminal Arrests - MIRROR
Two protesters mic check about the loss of freedom brought about by the passage of the NDAA and both are promptly arrested and whisked out of public sight.


"Welcome to Chicago! You're under arrest!"

"Under the new ordinance: Every sign has to be described in particularity on the parade permit. ...If there are signs not on the parade permit, police can issue an ordinance violation. What does that ordinance violation allow? It allows for every sign, the organizer ... can face $1000.00 fine--that's for every un-permitted sign--plus up to ten days in jail...."

Chicago City Hall Press Conference Against NATO/G8 Ordinance


An impressive coalition of organizations -- unions, anti-war, human rights, churches and neighborhood groups -- held a press conference today (Jan. 17, 2012) at Chicago's City Hall. They were protesting the proposed new ordinances against demonstrations targeting the upcoming spring NATO/G8 meetings here, but now possibly to become permanent laws. The press conference took place right before two key City Council committees were to meet to consider whether to endorse the proposed new ordinances, prior to their going to a vote before the full City Council tomorrow. In this excerpt from the press conference, speakers include Eric Ruder, Coalition Against NATO/G8's War & Poverty Agenda; Erek Slater, ATU 241 member speaking for ATU International Vice Presidents; Talisa Hardin, National Nurses United; Wayne Lindwal, SEIU 73 Chicago Division Director; Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union.

For more info on fight against ordinance: (


This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!
Michelle Alexander, Author of The New Jim Crow, speaks about the political strategy behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people in the United States.

If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing voters.

This speech took place at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on January 12, 2012.


NATO, G8 In Chicago: More Details Released, City Grants First Protest Permit
January 12, 2012


Release Bradley Manning
Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)
Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)

Locked up in a white room, underneath a glaring light
Every 5 minutes, they're asking me if I'm alright
Locked up in a white room naked as the day I was born
24 bright light, 24 all alone

What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began

Tell the truth and it will set you free
That's what they taught me as a child
But I can't be silent after all I've seen and done
24 bright light I'm almost gone, almost gone

Locked up in a white room, dying to communicate
Trying to hang in there underneath a crushing wait
Locked up in a white room I'm always facing time
24 bright light, 24 down the line

What I did was show some truth to the working man
What I did was blow the whistle and the games began

But I did my duty to my country first
That's what they taught me as a man
But I can't be silent after all I've seen and done
24 bright light I'm almost gone, almost gone
(Treat me like a human, Treat me like a man )

Read more on Nash's blog -


FREEDOM ROAD - A Tribute to Mumia sung by Renn Lee


(written by Samuel Légitimus- adapted in english, sung and arranged by Paris-Sydney)

They've taken all you had away
And what's left, still they can't bend
To find you guilty was their way
Yet here I am and you're my friend.

Your writing's proof enough for me, Mumia,
You place honor and law
Above all, till the end.

Thirty years gone by
On death row, we never knew
Anything of the weight
You had to carry while you grew.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.


Like Jimmy (1) and Bob (2) you've lived to see the light:
Believing that all men
Can stand up for their rights.

Accusing you of crime
From behind their scales they hide
It makes them scared deep down inside
To know that truth is on your side.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no,
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.


Those thirty years gone by
On death row, we never knew
Anything of the weight
You had to carry while you grew.

We've named a street for you, Mumia
A lovely rue in Saint-Denis
By joining hands we're showing you
Proof of our strength and peace.

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no,
We won't let them ever win
Won't let you bear such a heavy load
While walking down the Freedom Road.X2

But they won't get you, no, Mumia, no
We won't let them ever win
Won't let them block you from getting in,
Into your home on Freedom Road.

But they won't get you no Mumia,
We will win, we'll never bend
For thirty years you've shown us all
Just how to fight until the end.


School police increasingly arresting American students?

Uploaded by RTAmerica on Dec 29, 2011

A new study shows that by age 23, 41 percent of young Americans were arrested from the years 1997-2008. The survey questioned 7,000 people but didn't disclose the crimes committed. Many believe the arrests are related to the increase of police presence in schools across America. Amanda Petteruti from the Justice Policy Institute joins us to examine these numbers.


"The mine owners did not find the gold, they did not mine the gold, they did not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belonged to them!" -- Big Bill Haywood


1293. Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All (Original) - with Marco Acca on guitar

This song is a tribute to Charles Scott Howard, from Southeastern Kentucky, a tireless fighter for miners' rights, especially with regard to safety, and to his lawyer, Tony Oppegard, who sent me this newspaper article on which I based the song:

The melody is partly based on a tune used by Woody Guthrie, who wrote many songs in support of working men, including miners.

My thanks to Marco Acca for his great guitar accompaniment at very short notice (less than an hour).

To see the complete lyrics and chords please click here:

You can see a playlist of my mining songs here:

You can hear a playlist of my original songs (in alphabetical order) here:

For lyrics and chords of all my songs, please see my website:


Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are plotted visually and audibly on a world map.


We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?


Drop All Charges on the 'Occupy Wall Street' Arrestees!
Stop Police Attacks & Arrests! Support 'Occupy Wall Street'!

SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AT: to send email messages to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC City Council, NYPD, the NY Congressional Delegation, Congressional Leaders, the NY Legislature, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, members of the media YOU WANT ALL CHARGES DROPPED ON THE 'OCCUPY WALL STREET ARRESTEES!


We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools


This video begins with Professor of Education Pauline Lipman (University of Illinois-Chicago) briefly recapping the plans hatched a decade ago in Chicago to replace public schools with private charter schools. Then Chicago Public Schools head Arne Duncan implemented those plans (Renaissance 2010) so obediently that President Obama picked him to do the same thing to every school system in the country. So Chicago's growing uprising against these deepening attacks against public education has national importance. Here is a battalion of voices from the communities and the teachers union, all exposing the constantly changing, Kafkaesque rules for evaluating school turn-arounds and closings. The counter-attack from the working people in the city is energized and spreading, and is on a collision course with the 1% who want to take away their children's futures. Includes comments from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, teachers and parents from targeted school communities. Length - 24:40


The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: Documentary Footage (1963)


In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story' - Flint Sit-Down Strike

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the strike was really won!

'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike


Busby: Fukushima 'criminal event' calls for investigation
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Dec 27, 2011!

A newly released report on the Fukushima nuclear crisis says it was down to the plant's operators being ill-prepared and not responding properly to the earthquake and tsunami disaster. A major government inquiry said some engineers abandoned the plant as the trouble started and other staff delayed reporting significant radiation leaks. Professor Christopher Busby, scientific secretary to the European Committee on Radiation Risks, says health damage after contamination will be more serious than Japan announced.


HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov




ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

For more information on the ILWU Local 21 Longview EGT struggle go to
For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:
Production of Labor Video Project


Lifting the Veil
"Our democracy is but a name...We choose between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee" --Helen Keller, 1911

"It is naive to expect the initiative for reform of the state to issue from the political process that serves theinterests of political capitalism. This structure can only be reduced if citizens withdraw and direct their energies and civic commitment to finding new life forms...The old citizenship must be replaced by a fuller and wider notion of being whose politicalness will be expressed not in one or two modes of actibity--voting or protesting--but in many." --Sheldon Wolin

This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the graveyard of social movements, the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.

Lifting the Veil is the long overdue film that powerfully, definitively, and finally exposes the deadly 21st century hypocrisy of U.S. internal and external policies, even as it imbues the viewer with a sense of urgency and an actualized hope to bring about real systemic change while there is yet time for humanity and this planet.

Noble is brilliantly pioneering the new film-making - incisive analysis, compelling sound and footage, fearless and independent reporting, and the aggregation of the best information out there into powerful, educational and free online feature films - all on a shoestring budget.

Viewer discretion advised - Video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war.

Lifting the Veil from S DN on Vimeo.


Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera y Trotsky Video Original


UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
19 November 11

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed


Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis


UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed




Rafeef Ziadah - 'Shades of anger', London, 12.11.11


News: Massive anti-nuclear demonstration in Fukuoka Nov. 12, 2011


Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland


Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs


Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets


Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest


Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail



Occupy Oakland Protest

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like


Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share


Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II


#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!


#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street
By adele pham

@OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street from adele pham on Vimeo.


Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change




The Preacher and the Slave - Joe Hill


Visualizing a Trillion: Just How Big That Number Is?
"1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years."
Digital Inspiration

How Much Is $1 Trillion?

Courtesy the credit crisis and big bailout packages, the figure "trillion" has suddenly become part of our everyday conversations. One trillion dollars, or 1 followed by 12 zeros, is lots of money but have you ever tried visualizing how big that number actually is?

For people who can visualize one million dollars, the comparison made on CNN should give you an idea about a trillion - "if you start spending a million dollars every single day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn't have spend a trillion dollars".

Another mathematician puts it like this: "1 million seconds is about 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is about 32 years while a trillion seconds is equal to 32,000 years".

Now if the above comparisons weren't really helpful, check another illustration that compares the built of an average human being against a stack of $100 currency notes bundles.

A bundle of $100 notes is equivalent to $10,000 and that can easily fit in your pocket. 1 million dollars will probably fit inside a standard shopping bag while a billion dollars would occupy a small room of your house.

With this background in mind, 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) is 1000 times bigger than 1 billion and would therefore take up an entire football field - the man is still standing in the bottom-left corner. (See visuals -- including a video -- at website:


One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." Thomas Jefferson


Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)
Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am



I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the specific case raised in this petition...

"This email was sent to
Manage Subscriptions for
Sign Up for Updates from the White House
Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House

"The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111"

That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about Bradley:


"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political action:


Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.
"If trouble is not at your door. It's on it's way, or it just left."
"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse Sharkey, Vice President, Chicago Teachers Union


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks


Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale




Antiwar/Social Justice Activist Arrested
Support Joe Callahan

On July 31, 2011, after two Salvadoran immigrants went to Canada to apply for asylum, long-time Twin Cities activist Joe Callahan was arrested by Canadian police at the Pigeon River border station. At the time Joe was alone in his car. The Canadian police used a backpack, maps and other items found in Joe's car as the grounds for his arrest.

Joe was charged with "aiding and abetting an immigration without a visa," and "providing false and misleading information." As a result of these charges, Joe was locked up in the Thunder Bay District Jail in cramped, crowded conditions where inmates are frequently forced to sleep on the floor, as Joe did for the first several days he was there. While Joe was in custody, the authorities added the charge of "smuggling" or "human trafficking." This charge is much more serious and carries a maximum sentence of ten years.

After one month Joe was released on bail and was allowed to return to the Minneapolis area, pending trial. He is restricted to the Twin Cities area as a condition of his release. Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney, or "Crown Attorney," as they are called in Canada, informed Joe's defense attorneys that he is seeking a sentence of three or four years. The trial will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The date has not yet been set. Joe is being represented by Mary Bird and Francis Thatcher, a prominent attorney in the Aboriginal rights struggle.

Over the last thirty years Joe has been active in solidarity work for Central America and Cuba. He has been an active defender of immigration rights. He was also active against an attempt to reinstate the death penalty in Minnesota. His record in the fight for justice goes back to his youth. As a student he was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement.

For four and a half years Joe worked for the Metro Transit System as a bus driver, and was a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union. He has spent his working life in blue collar, unionized jobs. Now, because of his legal difficulties, he has been forced to take a lower-paying position as a driver for a small bus company.

Joe Callahan is NOT a human trafficker! Joe is NOT a smuggler! These charges against him are unfounded and they should be dropped. Joe is a political activist concerned about the rights of immigrants. He needs the help of all supporters of democratic rights.

You can aid in Joe's defense:

--Send donations to: Joe Callahan Support Committee, 2919 Polk St. NE, Minneapolis, Mn 55418

--Circulate this letter and urge others to sign. New signers can sign via email to:

--Attend Joe's trial in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For more information contact: or

In solidarity,

Michael Rattner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights; Michael Steven Smith, Esq. Co-host, Law and Disorder; Jeff Mackler, Dir., Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu Jamal; Roger Sheppard, Member, Local 105 IBEW (retired); Barbara Mutnick, activist, Queens, New York; Cliff Conner, author, "A People's History of Science"; Marv Gandall, activist, Ottawa Canada; Walker Jones, activist, Ottawa Canada; Bruce Scheff, Chicago, IL; -Continued on page 2-; Support Joe Callahan, page 2; Dianne Feeley, Editor, Against the Current; Alan Wald, Editor, Against the Current; Malik Miah, Editor, Against the Current; John Riddell, Toronto; Suzanne Weiss, Toronto; Art Young, Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly; Linda Meissenheimer, Toronto; Brad Sigal, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition; Marie Braun, Twin Cities Peace Campaign; Dave Bicking, Green Party; Alan Dale, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition; Tracy Molm, Students for a Democratic Society; Eric Angell, co-producer, "Our World in "Depth"; Colleen McGilp, AFSCME (retired); Jess Sundin, Anti-War Committee; Bruce Nestor, Past President, National Lawyers Guild; Linden Gawboy, Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Tim O'Brien, Hands Off Honduras; Anh Pham, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition; Timothy Jordan, architect, Minneapolis; Kay Pitney, activist, Minneapolis; Jennie Eisert, Anti-War Committee; Beth Shapiro, Women Against Military Madness; Joel Greenberg, Chicago, Il.; Mark Satinoff, shop steward, IAM Local Lodge 1894, Queens, NY; Carol Hayse, LCSW
Note: Organizations for Identification Purposes Only

This letter has been approved by the Joe Callahan Support Committee.
Please circulate this letter as widely as possible to potential supporters.



Free-Speech Argument in Appeal of Disbarred Lawyer's Sentence
February 29, 2012

Throughout her long career, the disbarred lawyer Lynne F. Stewart has rarely minced words or stood mute. But her propensity for speaking her mind is now at the crux of an appeal of her 10-year sentence in federal prison.

Ms. Stewart, known for defending unpopular clients and causes, was convicted in 2005 on five counts of providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government. A jury found that she had broken the rules to help her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, communicate with his followers in the Islamic Group, an Egyptian organization with a history of terrorist violence.

Judge John G. Koeltl of Federal District Court in Manhattan originally sentenced Ms. Stewart to 28 months in prison. But federal prosecutors appealed and pushed for a new sentence, claiming that Ms. Stewart had made public statements indicating a lack of remorse; she was then resentenced to 10 years in prison.

"One of the most cherished policies of this nation is that everybody should be allowed to speak freely," a lawyer for Ms. Stewart, Herald Price Fahringer, told a three-judge panel in United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Wednesday morning. "This case puts that principle to a very great test."

Mr. Fahringer said it had been "highly hazardous" for Judge Koeltl to consider Ms. Stewart's statements outside of court in his sentencing decision.

But he was interrupted by Judge Robert D. Sack, who said, "I'm not sure that freedom of speech means absolute immunity from the consequences of what you say."

A few minutes later, another judge, John M. Walker Jr., asked, "How else do you get a window into the character of the defendant?"

The first of Ms. Stewart's comments that are at issue came shortly after she received the 28-month sentence in 2006. Appearing before a throng of supporters in front of a courthouse in Lower Manhattan, she called the sentence "fair and right," but then declared, "I can do that standing on my head."

A few days later, while appearing on the radio show "Democracy Now," Ms. Stewart was asked by a reporter, Amy Goodman, if she regretted her conduct, and she replied, "I might handle it a little differently, but I would do it again."

The appeals panel sent the case back to Judge Koeltl for resentencing, citing the comments as well as assertions by federal prosecutors that Ms. Stewart had committed perjury and abused her position as a lawyer.

In 2010, Judge Koeltl sentenced Ms. Stewart to 10 years in prison, ruling that she had lied and abused her position and writing that her statements indicated she viewed her 28-month sentence as trivial and that the sentence, therefore, did not "provide adequate deterrence."

Ms. Stewart's lawyers argued that her reference to standing on her head was simply an expression of relief. And, they added, when she used the phrase "I would do it again," she meant only that she would again represent Mr. Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 of plotting to blow up buildings and tunnels in New York City.

But prosecutors wrote in a brief that Judge Koeltl had interpreted Ms. Stewart's comments accurately, adding that he had "observed a defiant and energized Stewart lecturing the government about its purported overreaching and mocking the sentence imposed."

WBAI newscast (quotes Cliff Connor, Barbara Mutnick and Carole Seligman) it's the first item on the newscast:

Lynne Stewart Speaks from Carswell Medical Prison
February 29, 2012

Prevented from attending her own court appeal Lynne Stewart prepared this message for her friends, supporters and comrades in attendance:

My dear friends, supporters, comrades!

My purpose here is to rally all of us to the continuation of struggle, of resistance. I am committed to all the unfinished freedom business that still confronts us-much more difficult and contentious than supporting me. I'm easy-the righteousness of my situation, the extreme overreaching of the government and the obvious effects on the way in which lawyers and particularly movement lawyers carry out their obligations to their clients. Our issues-free speech from the courthouse steps, which, we assumed, was and is, included in the First Amendment. Our repugnancy at the changing of the ground rules after the game is afoot when the higher court directs the lower court Judge to increase the sentence and he complies five-times over.

We are demanding that the Court acknowledge the wrongfulness of my ten-year sentence as it is based on a foundation of sand. Of course, we also know that Courts are capable of creating rock out of sand just as they can create "persons" out of corporations! With that understanding, while hoping for the best, we need to commit ourselves to all the ongoing issues-Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks; the obscene vaudevillian charade of democracy that is the current presidential election; the cause of our political prisoners, Leonard. Mumia, Sundiata, Jaan, Brianna, Dr. Dhafir and all the prisoners on death row and those being tortured and killed worldwide and in solitary confinement; The right to choose for women steadily being eroded by elderly men interested in controlling younger women. You know the causes, we fight every day in every way and we are committed. We are not sunshine soldiers or summer patriots. The misery we fight against is caused by a super-terror, the USA one percent, intent on keeping people mentally subjugated by convincing them that they need to surrender in fear to the government.

I believe in fighting back-it's liberating, and you meet the finest people, who have also enlisted. A movement has to be a living, growing organism dedicated to change that "moves!" We will move and we will reclaim our beloved country from those who would blind and subjugate our people. Onward ever-Backward Never!

Lynne Stewart #53504-054
Unit 2N, Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Write to Lynne Stewart Defense Committee at:
Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information: 718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759


Write to Lynne Stewart at:

Lynne Stewart #53504 - 054
Unit 2N
Federal Medical Center, Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TEXAS 76127

Visiting Lynne:

Visiting is very liberal but first she has to get people on her visiting list; wait til she or the lawyers let you know. The visits are FRI, SAT, SUN AND MON for 4 hours and on weekends 8 to 3. Bring clear plastic change purse with lots of change to buy from the machines. Brief Kiss upon arrival and departure, no touching or holding during visit (!!) On visiting forms it may be required that you knew me before I came to prison. Not a problem for most of you.

Commissary Money:

Commissary Money is always welcome It is how Lynne pay for the phone and for email. Also for a lot that prison doesn't supply in terms of food and "sundries" (pens!) (A very big list that includes Raisins, Salad Dressing, ankle sox, mozzarella (definitely not from Antonys--more like a white cheddar, Sanitas Corn Chips but no Salsa, etc. To add money, you do this by using Western Union and a credit card by phone or you can send a USPO money order or Business or Govt Check. The negotiable instruments (PAPER!) need to be sent to Federal Bureau of Prisons, 53504-054, Lynne Stewart, PO Box 474701, Des Moines Iowa 50947-001 (Payable to Lynne Stewart, 53504-054) They hold the mo or checks for 15 days. Western Union costs $10 but is within 2 hours. If you mail, your return address must be on the envelope. Unnecessarily complicated? Of course, it's the BOP !)

The address of her Defense Committee is:

Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
1070 Dean Street
Brooklyn, New York 11216
For further information:
718-789-0558 or 917-853-9759

Please make a generous contribution to her defense.


Mumia Abu-Jamal Transferred Out of Solitary Confinement, Into General Population
Posted on January 27, 2012

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections tells Democracy Now! it has transferred Mumia Abu-Jamal out of solitary confinement and into general population. The move comes seven weeks after Philadelphia prosecutor Seth Williams announced he would not pursue the death penalty against the imprisoned journalist. Abu-Jamal's legal team confirmed the move in an email from attorney, Judy Ritter. "This is a very important moment for him, his family and all of his supporters," Ritter wrote.

Supporters of Abu-Jamal note prison officials just received more than 5,000 petitions calling for his transfer and release. Superintendent John Kerestes has previously said Abu-Jamal would have to cut short his dreadlocks, and meet several other conditions, before a transfer would be allowed.

While on death row at SCI Green, Abu-Jamal made regular phone calls to Prison Radio in order to record his columns and essays, but prison officials revoked his phone privileges after he was moved to SCI Mahanoy, the Frackville, PA prison in which he's currently being held. Prison Radio has since announced it will continue to record and distribute Abu-Jamal's essays as read by his well-known supporters.

Write to Mumia

Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI Mahanoy
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

From: ""
Sent: Fri, February 3, 2012 6:39:49 PM
Subject: !*Mumia Photo off Death Row/Mega Bus Update from Sis. Ramona Africa

from sis Marpessa

Thank you all, FREE MUMIA!!!!

From Sis. Ramona at - 2/3/2012 5:27:24 P.M. - Subj: Mega Bus

ONA MOVE! This is to inform folks that if there is not a chartered bus leaving from your area going to the "occupy for Mumia" action in DC. on April 24th, you should check out Mega Bus at .
They have very reasonable fares and the sooner you reserve a seat, the cheaper it is, so don't delay. The fares have gone up a bit just today. Hope to see you in DC on the 24th---Ramona (more info at

From: National Lawyers Guild

SCI Mahanoy, February 2, 2012. Mumia Abu-Jamal celebrates his move off of death row with Heidi Boghosian and Professor Johanna Fernandez. This was Mumia's second contact visit in 30 years. His transfer to general population comes after a federal court ruled that instructions to jurors during his trial influenced them to choose death. A broad people's movement secured this victory, and it can now refocus on the goal of freedom. Join us on April 24, Mumia's birthday, as we Occupy the Justice Department in Washington, DC!

DREAD TIMES - Dedicated to the free flow of information -

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: ""
Sent: Fri, February 3, 2012 6:54:13 PM
Subject: Our Contact Visit w Mumia

from sis Johanna Fernandez

Comrades, Brothers and Sisters:

Heidi Boghosian and I just returned from a very moving visit with Mumia. We visited yesterday, Thursday, February 2. This was Mumia's second contact visit in over 30 years, since his transfer to General Population last Friday, Jan 27. His first contact visit was with his wife, Wadiya, on Monday, January 30.

Unlike our previous visits to Death Row at SCI Greene and to solitary confinement at SCI Mahanoy, our visit yesterday took place in a large visitor's area, amidst numerous circles of families and spouses who were visiting other inmates. Compared to the intense and focused conversations we had had with Mumia in a small, isolated visiting cell on Death Row, behind sterile plexiglass, this exchange was more relaxed and informal and more unpredictably interactive with the people around was more human. There were so many scenes of affection around us, of children jumping on top of and pulling at their fathers, of entire families talking intimately around small tables, of couples sitting and quietly holding each other, and of girlfriends and wives stealing a forbidden kiss from the men they were there to visit (kisses are only allowed at the start and at the end of visits). These scenes were touching and beautiful, and markedly different from the images of prisoners presented to us by those in power. Our collective work could benefit greatly from these humane, intimate images.

When we entered, we immediately saw Mumia standing across the room. We walked toward each other and he hugged both of us simultaneously. We were both stunned that he would embrace us so warmly and share his personal space so generously after so many years in isolation.

He looked young, and we told him as much. He responded, "Black don't crack!" We laughed.

He talked to us about the newness of every step he has taken since his release to general population a week ago. So much of what we take for granted daily is new to him, from the microwave in the visiting room to the tremor he felt when, for the first time in 30 years, he kissed his wife. As he said in his own words, "the only thing more drastically different than what I'm experiencing now would be freedom." He also noted that everyone in the room was watching him.

The experience of breaking bread with our friend and comrade was emotional. It was wonderful to be able to talk and share grilled cheese sandwiches, apple danishes, cookies and hot chocolate from the visiting room vending machines.

One of the highlights of the visit came with the opportunity to take a photo. This was one of the first such opportunities for Mumia in decades, and we had a ball! Primping the hair, making sure that we didn't have food in our teeth, and nervously getting ready for the big photo moment was such a laugh! And Mumia was openly tickled by every second of it.

When the time came to leave, we all hugged and were promptly instructed to line up against the wall and walk out with the other visitors. As we were exiting the prison, one sister pulled us aside and told us that she couldn't stop singing Kelly Clarkson's line "some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this." She shared that she and her parents had followed Mumia's case since 1981 and that she was overjoyed that Mumia was alive and in general population despite Pennsylvania's bloodthirsty pursuit of his execution. We told her that on April 24 we were going to launch the fight that would win Mumia's release: that on that day we were going to Occupy the Justice Department in Washington DC. She told us that because she recently survived cancer she now believed in possibility, and that since Mumia was now in general population she could see how we could win. She sent us off with the line from Laverne and Shirley's theme song - "never heard the word impossible!"- gave us her number, and asked us to sign her up for the fight.

We're still taking it all in. The journey has been humbling and humanizing, and we are re-energized and re-inspired!!

In the words of City Lights editor, Greg Ruggiero:"

"Long Term Goal: End Mass Incarceration.

Short Term Goal: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!"

--Johanna Fernandez

Facebook Link to Photo



He signed it. We'll fight it.

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. It contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision.

The dangerous new law can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. He signed it. Now, we have to fight it wherever we can and for as long as it takes.

Sign the ACLU's pledge to fight worldwide indefinite detention for as long as it takes.

The Petition:

I'm outraged that the statute President Obama signed into law authorizes worldwide military detention without charge or trial. I pledge to stand with the ACLU in seeking the reversal of indefinite military detention authority for as long as it takes.

And I will support the ACLU as it actively opposes this new law in court, in Congress, and internationally.

[your name]


Urgent Appeal to Occupy and All Social Justice Movements: Mobilize to Defend the Egyptian Revolution
Endorse the statement here:

In recent days, protesters demanding civilian rule in Egypt have again been murdered, maimed and tortured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Interior Security Forces (ISF).

The conspiracy, being brutally implemented in Egypt, is part of a global conspiracy to suffocate mass movements for socio-economic justice and is being done with direct assistance of the American government and the private interests which direct that government. We have word from friends in Egypt that SCAF, ISF and their hired thugs - armed by ongoing shipments of $1.3 billion in weapons from the U.S. government - plan to execute one by one all the leaders of the revolution, and as many activists as they can.

Accordingly, we need to ensure that people and organizers in the US and internationally are involved in closely monitoring the events unraveling in Egypt. By keeping track of the atrocities committed by SCAF and ISF, keeping track of those detained, tortured or targeted, and continuously contacting officials in Egypt and the US to demand accountability, cessation of the atrocities and justice, we can add pressure on SCAF, ISF and the forces they represent. In this way we may be able to play a role in helping save the lives of our Egyptian brothers and sisters.

Evidence of the conspiracy to execute the leaders and participants of Egyptian freedom movement, includes in very small part the following:

* Sheikh Emad of Al Azhar was killed by a bullet entering his right side from short range. This was seen at first hand by witnesses known to members of our coalition. Sheikh Emad was one of a small number of Azhar Imams issuing decrees in support of the revolution. His murder was no accident.
* Sally Tooma, Mona Seif, Ahdaf Soueif, and Sanaa Seif, all female friends and relatives of imprisoned blogger and activist Alaa abd El Fattah, and all known internationally for their political and/or literary work, were detained, and beaten in the Cabinet building.
* A woman protesting against General Tantawi, head of SCAF, was detained and then tortured by having the letter "T" in English carved into her scalp with knives.
* Detainees are being tortured while in courtroom holding pens. Two men (Mohammad Muhiy Hussein is one of them) were killed in those pens.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.These are only a small number of the horror stories we are hearing. And we continue to receive reports from Cairo about a massive army presence in Tahrir Square and the constant sound of gunshots.

In every way, Egypt's fight is our fight. Just like us, Egyptians are the 99%, fighting for social, political and economic justice.

The same 1% that arms the Egyptian dictatorship commits systematic violence in this country against the Occupy movement; antiwar and solidarity activists; and Arabs, Muslims, and other communities of color.

As the US Palestinian Community Network recently observed, "the same US-made tear gas rains down on us in the streets of Oakland, Cairo and Bil`in."

Because of Egypt's key strategic location, the fate of its revolution echoes across the world. Its success will bring us all closer to achieving economic and social justice. But its defeat would be a major blow to social justice movements everywhere, including Occupy.

In short, Egypt is key to the continued success of the Arab Revolution, and movements she has inspired.

For all these reasons, we ask Occupy and all U.S. social justice activists to join us in mobilizing to defend our Egyptian brothers and sisters by immediately organizing mass convergences on Egyptian embassies, missions, consulates, and at U.S. government offices, to demand:

* Cancel all US aid and shipment of military and police materiel to Egypt!
* Stop the murders, tortures and detentions!
* Release all detainees and political prisoners!
* Immediate end to military rule in Egypt!

Please endorse and circulate this appeal widely. Please send statements with these demands to the bodies listed below. By endorsing, your organization commits to making these phone calls and following up continuously for the next week. and


Tarek Mehanna - another victim of the U.S. War to Terrorize Everyone. He was targeted because he would not spy on his Muslim community for the FBI. Under the new NDAA indefinite military detention provision, Tarek is someone who likely would never come to a trial, although an American citizen. His sentencing is on April 12. There will be an appeal. Another right we may kiss goodbye. We should not accept the verdict and continue to fight for his release, just as we do for hero Bradley Manning, and all the many others unjustly persecuted by our government until it is the war criminals on trial, prosecuted by the people, and not the other way around.

Marilyn Levin

Official defense website:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Free Tarek
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 3:41 PM
Subject: [Tarek Mehanna Support] Today's verdict

All who have followed Tarek's trial with a belief in the possibility of justice through the court system will be shocked to learn that today the jury found him guilty on all seven counts of the indictment. In the six weeks that the prosecution used to present its case, it presented no evidence linking Tarek to an illegal action. Instead, it amassed a large and repetitive collection of videos, e-mails, translated documents, recorded telephone conversations and informant testimony aimed at demonstrating Tarek's political beliefs. The core belief under scrutiny was one that neither Tarek nor his defense team ever denied: Muslims have a right to defend their countries when invaded.

The prosecution relied upon coercion, prejudice, and ignorance to present their case; the defense relied upon truth, reason and responsibility. The government relied upon mounds of "evidence" showing that Tarek held political beliefs supporting the right to armed resistance against invading force; they mentioned Al-Qaeda and its leadership as often as possible while pointing at Tarek. It is clear they coerced Tarek's former friends and pressured them to lie, and many of them admitted to such. There is a long list of ways this trial proceeded unjustly, to which we will devote an entire post. The government's cynical calculation is that American juries, psychologically conditioned by a constant stream of propaganda in the "war on terrorism," will convict on the mere suggestion of terrorism, without regard for the law. Unfortunately, this strategy has proved successful in case after case.

Tarek's case will continue under appeal. We urge supporters to write to Tarek, stay informed, and continue supporting Tarek in his fight for justice. Sentencing will be April 12th, 2012. We will be sending out more information soon.

A beacon of hope and strength throughout this ordeal has been Tarek's strength and the amount of support he has received. Tarek has remained strong from day one, and even today he walked in with his head held high, stood unwavering as the verdict was read to him, and left the courtroom just as unbowed as ever. His body may be in prison now, but certainly this is a man whose spirit can never be caged. His strength must be an inspiration to us all, even in the face of grave circumstances. Before he left the courtroom, he turned to the crowd of supporters that was there for him, paused, and said, "Thank you, so much." We thank you too. Your support means the world to him.

You are here: Home » ACLU | "Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security" by Christopher Ott

ACLU | "Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security" by Christopher Ott

Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security

Submitted by Online Coordinator on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 14:31 First Amendment National Security

Decision today threatens writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322,

BOSTON - The following statement on the conviction today of Tarek Mehanna may be attributed to American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose:

"The ACLU of Massachusetts is gravely concerned that today's verdict against Tarek Mehanna undermines the First Amendment and threatens national security.

"Under the government's theory of the case, ordinary people-including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers-could be prosecuted for researching or translating controversial and unpopular ideas. If the verdict is not overturned on appeal, the First Amendment will be seriously compromised.

"The government's prosecution does not make us safer. Speech about even the most unpopular ideas serves as a safety valve for the expression of dissent while government suppression of speech only drives ideas underground, where they cannot be openly debated or refuted.

"The ACLU believes that we can remain both safe and free, and, indeed, that our safety and our freedom go hand in hand."

The ACLU of Massachusetts has condemned the use of conspiracy and material support charges where the charges are based largely on First Amendment-protected expression.

In Mr. Mehanna's case, the charges against him have been based on allegations of such activity, such as watching videos about "jihad", discussing views about suicide bombings, translating texts available on the Internet, and looking for information about the 9/11 attackers. Historically, government prosecutors have used conspiracy charges as a vehicle for the suppression of unpopular ideas, contrary to the dictates of the First Amendment and fundamental American values.

After the ACLU of Massachusetts submitted a memorandum of law in support of Mehanna's motion to dismiss the parts of the indictment against him that were based on protected expression, U.S. District Court Judge George O'Toole denied permission for the memorandum to be filed with the court. A copy of the memorandum is available here.

For more information, go to:

via Mehanna verdict compromises First Amendment, undermines national security | ACLU of Massachusetts.



The Petition

To President Obama and Secretary Clinton:

At no time since the Iranian people rose up against the hated U.S-installed Shah has a U.S./Israeli military attack against Iran seemed more possible. Following three decades of unrelenting hostility, the last few months have seen a steady escalation of charges, threats, sanctions and actual preparations for an attack.

We, the undersigned demand No War, No Sanctions, no Internal Interference in Iran.

(For a complete analysis of the prospects of war, click here)


"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship" book

A Child's View from GazaA collection of drawings by children in the Gaza Strip, art that was censored by a museum in Oakland, California.

With a special forward by Alice Walker, this beautiful, full-color 80-page book from Pacific View Press features drawings by children like Asil, a ten-year-old girl from Rafah refugee camp, who drew a picture of herself in jail, with Arabic phrases in the spaces between the bars: "I have a right to live in peace," "I have a right to live this life," and "I have a right to play."

For international or bulk orders, please email:, or call: 510-548-0542

A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against Censorship [ISBN: 978-1-881896-35-7]


It's time to tell the White House that "We the People" support PFC Bradley Manning's freedom and the UN's investigation into alleged torture in Quantico, VA

We petition the obama administration to:
Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower.!/petition/free-pfc-bradley-manning-accused-wikileaks-whistleblower/kX1GJKsD?


Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests

The CSFR Signs Letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The CSFR is working with the United National Antiwar Committee and many other anti-war groups to organize mass rallies and protests on May 15 and May 19, 2012. We will protest the powerful and wealthy war-makers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Group of 8. Mobilize your groups, unions, and houses of worship. Bring your children, friends, and community. Demand jobs, healthcare, housing and education, not war!

Office of the Mayor
City of Chicago
To: Mayor Rahm Emanuel

We, the undersigned, demand that your administration grant us permits for protests on May 15 and 19, 2012, including appropriate rally gathering locations and march routes to the venue for the NATO/G8 summit taking place that week. We come to you because your administration has already spoken to us through Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. He has threatened mass arrests and violence against protestors.

[Read the full text of the letter here:]

For the 10s of thousands of people from Chicago, around the country and across the world who will gather here to protest against NATO and the G8, we demand that the City of Chicago:

1. Grant us permits to rally and march to the NATO/G8 summit
2. Guarantee our civil liberties
3. Guarantee us there will be no spying, infiltration of organizations or other attacks by the FBI or partner law enforcement agencies.


Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana state prisons must end
Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:




Hundreds march, rally at Fort Meade for Bradley

Courage to Resist, January 5, 2012

December 16-22, the world turned its eyes to a small courtroom on Fort Meade, MD, where accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Army PFC Bradley Manning made his first public appearance after 18 months in pre-trial confinement. The "Article 32" pre-trial hearing is normally a quick process shortly after one is arrested to determine whether and what kind of court martial is appropriate. Bradley's hearing was unusual, happening 18 months after his arrest and lasting seven days.

Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network organized two public rallies at Fort Meade to coincide with the beginning of the hearing, and there were about 50 solidarity rallies across the globe. We also sent representatives into the courtroom during all seven days of the hearing to provide minute-by-minute coverage via, Facebook, and Twitter.

"No harm in transparency: Wrap-up from the Bradley Manning pretrial hearing" includes our collection of courtroom notes
"Statement on closed hearing decisions" covers how even this hearing was far from "open"

Article and photos by John Grant
A message from Bradley and his family

"I want you to know how much Bradley and his family appreciate the continuing support of so many, especially during the recent Article 32 hearing. I visited Bradley the day after Christmas-he is doing well and his spirits are high."
-Bradley's Aunt Debra

Write to Bradley

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:
I am Bradley Manning

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610

"A Fort Leavenworth mailing address has been released for Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

This is also a Facebook event!/event.php?eid=207100509321891

Courage to Resist needs your support
Please donate today:

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning has been defending and supporting our Constitution."
-Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson
Project Director, Courage to Resist
First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq
Please donate today.

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might
also be interested in supporting GI resisters.


Drop the Charges Against Carlos Montes, Stop the FBI Attack on the Chicano and Immigrant Rights Movement, and Stop FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!Call Off the Expanding Grand Jury Witchhunt and FBI Repression of Anti-War Activists NOW!

Cancel the Subpoenas! Cancel the Grand Juries!
Condemn the FBI Raids and Harassment of Chicano, Immigrant Rights, Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists!

Initiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Contact the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
to Fitzgerald, Holder and Obama

The Grand Jury is still on its witch hunt and the FBI is still
harassing activists. This must stop.
Please make these calls:
1. Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300 . Then dial 0
(zero) for operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk.
2. Call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder 202-353-1555
3. Call President Obama at 202-456-1111

FFI: Visit or email or call
612-379-3585 .
Copyright (c) 2011 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Please make a donation today at (PayPal) on the right side of your screen. Also you can write to:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
P.O. Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

This is a critical time for us to stand together, defend free speech, and defend those who help to organize for peace and justice, both at home and abroad!

Thank you for your generosity! Tom Burke


The Battle Is Still On To
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610


Call for EMERGENCY RESPONSE Action if Assange Indicted,

Dear Friends:

We write in haste, trying to reach as many of you as possible although the holiday break has begun.......This plan for an urgent "The Day After" demonstration is one we hope you and many, many more organizations will take up as your own, and mobilize for. World Can't Wait asks you to do all you can to spread it through list serves, Facebook, twitter, holiday gatherings.

Our proposal is very very simple, and you can use the following announcement to mobilize - or write your own....


An emergency public demonstration THE DAY AFTER any U.S. criminal indictment is announced against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Spread the word and call people to come out, across the whole range of movements and groups: anti-war, human rights, freedom of information/freedom of the press, peace, anti-torture, environmental, students and youth, radicals and revolutionaries, religious, civil liberties, teachers and educators, journalists, anti-imperialists, anti-censorship, anti-police state......

At the Federal Building in San Francisco, we'll form ourselves into a human chain "surrounding" the government that meets the Wikileaked truth with repression and wants to imprison and silence leakers, whistleblowers and truthtellers - when, in fact, these people are heroes. We'll say:


New Federal Building, 7th and Mission, San Francisco (nearest BART: Civic Center)
4:00-6:00 PM on The Day FOLLOWING U.S. indictment of Assange

Bring all your friends - signs and banners - bullhorns.

Those who dare at great risk to themselves to put the truth in the hands of the people - and others who might at this moment be thinking about doing more of this themselves -- need to see how much they are supported, and that despite harsh repression from the government and total spin by the mainstream media, the people do want the truth told.

Brad Manning's Christmas Eve statement was just released by his lawyer: "Pvt. Bradley Manning, the lone soldier who stands accused of stealing millions of pages secret US government documents and handing them over to secrets outlet WikiLeaks, wants his supporters to know that they've meant a lot to him. 'I greatly appreciate everyone's support and well wishes during this time,' he said in a Christmas Eve statement released by his lawyer...." Read more here:

Demonstrations defending Wikileaks and Assange, and Brad Manning, have already been flowering around the world. Make it happen here too.
Especially here . . .

To join into this action plan, or with questions, contact World Can't Wait or whichever organization or listserve you received this message from.

World Can't Wait, SF Bay



Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper
Chronicle Editorial
Monday, December 13, 2010

Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's death row!

- From Amnesty International USA
17 December 2010
Click here to take action online:

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):


Short Video About Al-Awda's Work
The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected over the past nine years.
Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!


D. ARTICLES IN FULL (Unless otherwise noted)


1) Suicides Highlight Failures of Veterans' Support System
"Noting that an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote, 'No more veterans should be compelled to agonize and perish while the government fails to perform its obligations.'"
March 24, 2012

2) Prosecute the killer of our son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin
From: Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton
Date: Thu, Mar 22, 2012
Subject: Our son Trayvon

3) Officer in Bell Killing Is Fired; 3 Others to Be Forced Out
March 23, 2012

4) Both Coasts Watch Closely as San Francisco Faces Erosion
March 24, 2012

5) Maine: Governor Wins Case on Mural
March 24, 2012

6) Occupy Your Workplaces
By Gregg Shotwell
Soldiers of Solidarity
March 24, 2012

7) A Mother's Grace and Grieving
March 25, 2012

8) Israel, Occupy Wall Street, and Anti-Zionism
By Brian Kwoba
March 2012

9) Taking the High Road
By Bonnie Weinstein
March 2012

10) For Martin's Case, a Long Route to National Attention
March 25, 2012

11) The Rich Get Even Richer
"The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income. ...As a result, the top 1 percent has done progressively better in each economic recovery of the past two decades. In the Clinton era expansion, 45 percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent; in the Bush recovery, the figure was 65 percent; now it is 93 percent."
March 25, 2012

12) The real target of 'The Hunger Games'
Why Americans young and old are so hungry for this story
Sunday, March 25, 2012, 4:00 AM

13) Lobbyists, Guns and Money
March 25, 2012

14) United States 5th on Global List for Number of Executions
The Inquisitr
March 27, 2012

15) Support in U.S. for Afghan War Drops Sharply, Poll Finds
"The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled - 69 percent - thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan."
March 26, 2012

16) Elementary Students in Large Classes Tripled, Report Shows
By Anna M. Phillips
March 26, 2012, 3:02 p.m.

17) Occupy Spring
The protests are back and building to a May Day to remember
Nick Pinto Wednesday, Mar 28 2012

18) Occupy May Day: Not Your Usual General Strike
Based on a talk by Jeremy Brecher to Occupy University, Zuccotti Park
by Jeremy Brecher
Published on Monday, March 26, 2012 by Common Dreams

19) Reports indicate Toulouse gunman was French intelligence asset
By Alex Lantier
28 March 2012

20) Suit Accuses Police of Violating Rights of Residents in Private Buildings
March 28, 2012, 11:29 am

21) Judge Bars Imported Drugs in Executions
March 27, 2012

22) How Far We Haven't Come] One in Five Pharmacies Lie to Teens About the Morning After Pill
by Kim LaCapria, examining the sorry state of women’s issues in America in the current political climate.
March 28, 2012


1) Suicides Highlight Failures of Veterans' Support System
"Noting that an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote, 'No more veterans should be compelled to agonize and perish while the government fails to perform its obligations.'"
March 24, 2012

Francis Guilfoyle, a 55-year-old homeless veteran, drove his 1985 Toyota Camry to the Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Menlo Park early in the morning of Dec. 3, took a stepladder and a rope out of the car, threw the rope over a tree limb and hanged himself.

It was an hour before his body was cut down, according to the county coroner's report.

"When I saw him, my heart just sank," said Dennis Robinson, 51, a formerly homeless Army veteran who discovered Mr. Guilfoyle's body. "This is supposed to be a safe place where a vet can get help. Something failed him."

Mr. Guilfoyle's death is one of a series of recent suicides by veterans who live in the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. The Palo Alto V.A. is one of the agency's elite campuses, home to the Congressionally chartered National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The poor record of the Department of Veterans Affairs in decreasing the high suicide rate of veterans has already emerged as a major issue for policy makers and the judiciary.

On Wednesday, the V.A. Inspector General in Washington released the results of a nine-month investigation into the May 2010 death of another veteran, William Hamilton. The report said social workers at the department in Palo Alto made "no attempt" to ensure that Hamilton, a mentally ill 26-year-old who served in Iraq, was hospitalized at a department facility in the days before he killed himself by stepping in front of a train in Modesto.

The Bay Area was also shocked by the March 14 death of Abel Gutierrez, a 27-year-old Iraq war veteran, who the police said killed his mother and his 11-year-old sister before shooting himself. Two weeks earlier the Gilroy Police Department intervened to ask the V.A. to help Mr. Gutierrez.

An examination of each case reveals faulty communication inside the V.A. system, which missed opportunities to help the veterans.

"I know people at the V.A. care a lot and work hard, but it's a pattern that's disturbing," said Representative Jerry McNerney, a Democrat from Pleasanton who serves on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. "It doesn't look good."

Last May, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit accused the department of "unchecked incompetence" and ordered it to overhaul the way it provides mental health care and disability benefits.

Noting that an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote, "No more veterans should be compelled to agonize and perish while the government fails to perform its obligations." The department appealed, and Judge Reinhardt's opinion has been temporarily vacated, pending a ruling from a an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

Gordon Erspamer, a San Francisco lawyer representing the two groups that brought the suit, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth, said it was "incredible that this sorry record of ineptitude and lack of procedures for emergency cases continues even under the watchful eye of the Ninth Circuit."

Two weeks before Mr. Gutierrez's death, his family called the Gilroy Police Department and asked for officers to come to their home "to get him some help," according to Sgt. Chad Gallacinao, a spokesman for the police department. Sergeant Gallacinao said a police officer who was also a military veteran was dispatched to the house and took notes.

Two days later, Sergeant Gallacinao said, the officer returned to the Gutierrez home with a representative of the Community Veterans Project, a nonprofit organization that trains law enforcement officials in interaction with psychologically wounded veterans.

"They made contact with the V.A. specifically to obtain services for Mr. Gutierrez," Sergeant Gallacinao said.

Dave Bayard, a V.A. spokesman in Los Angeles, confirmed that a call had been placed to the Vet Center in Santa Cruz, but said the request was mild. "It wasn't like 'This guy is really in need of mental health,' " Mr. Bayard said.

The V.A. said Mr. Gutierrez had briefly received care at a department facility in Washington State, where he was a National Guardsman, but never visited a department campus in California.

In an e-mail, Kerri Childress, spokeswoman for the V.A. Palo Alto Health Care System, said that despite the intervention of the Gilroy Police Department in Mr. Gutierrez's case, "We had no way of knowing he was even in the area."

Shad Meshad, a Vietnam War veteran and former combat medic who heads the National Veterans Foundation, was unpersuaded. "It's about time that they don't make excuses," Mr. Meshad said. "Why would you say it's not serious when the police called?"

Mr. Meshad said the responses of Mr. Bayard and Ms. Childress were typical of the "finger-pointing" exhibited by the department when tragedy strikes.

Before Mr. Hamilton killed himself, he said he saw demon women and regularly talked to a man he had killed in Iraq. He had been admitted to the Palo Alto V.A.'s psychiatric ward before on nine separate occasions. Three days before he died, Mr. Hamilton's father brought him to a community hospital in Calaveras County, which, according to hospital records obtained by The Bay Citizen, tried to transfer him to three V.A. hospitals, including the one in Palo Alto. But at 4:39 p.m., a department social worker wrote that day in his notes, the Palo Alto facilities "would not accept a transfer of a veteran for admittance this late in the day."

Later that night, Mr. Hamilton was admitted to David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force base in Fairfield. That Sunday, the medical center discharged Mr. Hamilton. Within hours, he was dead.

V.A. officials have said they have no record of Mr. Hamilton being denied care and that their records do not show any telephone calls between the Calaveras County hospital and the Palo Alto V.A. But the inspector general's report revealed that the Palo Alto hospital had no method of tracking incoming calls and that "no outgoing calls were recorded" from any Veterans Affairs Medical Center extension.

During the investigation into Mr. Hamilton's death, the inspector general learned of yet another incident, in May 2011, when the doctor on duty refused to accept a veteran for treatment. According to the report, the psychiatrist said, "We don't accept patients for transfer at night."

In an e-mailed response to questions, Dr. Stephen Ezeji-Okoye, deputy chief of staff of the Palo Alto V.A., said that since Mr. Hamilton's death his network had "revised our tracking mechanism so we are better able to analyze the disposition of any cases referred to the V.A. Palo Alto Health Care System." Dr. Ezeji-Okoye said the Palo Alto V.A. had always accepted psychiatric patients 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Ms. Childress, the agency spokeswoman, said the Palo Alto V.A. was committed to improving the quality and availability of mental health care. The hospital is building a new 80-bed inpatient mental health center, she said, which is scheduled to open in June. It will have "patient access to enclosed, landscaped gardens" and "ample use of natural light to all internal patients," she said, with a color scheme "specifically selected to support the healing process."


2) Prosecute the killer of our son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin
From: Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton
Date: Thu, Mar 22, 2012
Subject: Our son Trayvon

Why This Is Important

On February 26, our son Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked to a family member's home from a convenience store where he had just bought some candy. He was only 17 years-old.

Trayvon's killer, George Zimmerman, admitted to police that he shot Trayvon in the chest. Zimmerman, the community's self appointed "neighborhood watch leader," called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Travyon, a young black man, walking from the store. But Zimmerman still hasn't been charged for murdering our son.

Trayvon was our hero. At the age 9, Trayvon pulled his father from a burning kitchen, saving his life. He loved sports and horseback riding. At only 17 he had a bright future ahead of him with dreams of attending college and becoming an aviation mechanic. Now that's all gone.

When Zimmerman reported Trayvon to the police, they told him not to confront him. But he did anyway. All we know about what happened next is that our 17 year-old son, who was completely unarmed, was shot and killed.

It's been nearly two weeks and the Sanford Police have refused to arrest George Zimmerman. In their public statements, they even go so far as to stand up for the killer - saying he's "a college grad" who took a class in criminal justice.

Please join us in calling on Angela Corey, Florida's 4th District State's Attorney, to investigate my son's murder and prosecute George Zimmerman for the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin.


3) Officer in Bell Killing Is Fired; 3 Others to Be Forced Out
March 23, 2012

The New York City police detective who fired the first shots in the 50-bullet barrage that killed Sean Bell in 2006 has been fired, and three others involved in the shooting are being forced to resign, law enforcement officials said on Friday.

The decision came after a Police Department administrative trial in the fall found that the detective, Gescard F. Isnora, had acted improperly in the shooting that killed Mr. Bell on what was supposed to have been his wedding day and that he should be fired.

"There was nothing in the record to warrant overturning the decision of the department's trial judge," Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said on Friday night.

Law enforcement officials said word of Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly's decision came late Friday. Detective Isnora, an 11-year veteran, will not collect a pension, one official said. "He loses everything," the official said.

Three other officers - Detectives Marc Cooper and Michael Oliver, who fired shots at Mr. Bell; and Lt. Gary Napoli, a supervisor who was at the scene but did not fire any shots - are being forced to resign.

Detectives Isnora, Cooper and Oliver were acquitted in a criminal trial in 2008 on charges of manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment.

A fourth officer who fired his gun during the episode, Detective Paul Headley, has already left the department, and a fifth, Officer Michael Carey, was exonerated in the department's administrative trial.

Detective Cooper and Lieutenant Napoli, who worked in the department for more than 20 years, will receive their pensions, a law enforcement official said. Detective Oliver, who has served for 18 years, may collect on a pension on the 20th anniversary of his start date, the official said.

The shooting of Mr. Bell, 23, who did not have a gun, occurred in the early morning on Nov. 25, 2006, as Mr. Bell and two friends were leaving a strip club in Jamaica, Queens, where they had been celebrating. The case drew widespread scrutiny of undercover police tactics.

Prosecutors questioned the judgment of the officers, with one arguing in the department's trial that Detective Isnora overreacted, leading to "contagious firing" from those who followed his cue.

Detective Isnora testified that he thought Mr. Bell and a friend were about to take part in a drive-by shooting. He has said he believed, after overhearing a heated argument in front of the strip club, that the friend had a gun.

In July 2010, the city agreed to pay more than $7 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by Mr. Bell's family and two of his friends.

Sanford A. Rubenstein, a lawyer who has represented the Bell estate and the two men wounded along with Mr. Bell, said, regarding Detective Isnora, "The police commissioner followed the trial judge's ruling, which was clearly appropriate based on the evidence." Of the other disciplined officers, Mr. Rubenstein said, "I think the fact that they're no longer on the police force is appropriate."

Mr. Isnora's lawyer, Philip E. Karasyk, said, "The commissioner's decision to terminate Detective Isnora is extremely disheartening and callous and sends an uncaring message to the hard-working officers of the New York Police Department who put their lives on the line every day."

Michael J. Palladino, the president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, called Detective Isnora's firing "disgraceful, excessive, and unprecedented."

He continued: "Stripping a police officer of his livelihood and his opportunity for retirement is a punishment reserved for a cop who has turned to a life of crime and disgraces the shield. It is not for someone who has acted within the law and was justified in a court of law and exonerated by the U.S. Department of Justice."

Many detectives were bracing for the decision after Deputy Commissioner Martin G. Karopkin, acting as the trial judge, recommended the punishment in November.

One law enforcement official said that, as the reality of the decisions sink in, they could have a drastic impact on how detectives view their work, particularly in the department's undercover programs.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.


4) Both Coasts Watch Closely as San Francisco Faces Erosion
March 24, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO - The explosive waves of Ocean Beach, a 3.5-mile stretch separating the city from the gray edge of the Pacific Ocean, have long been a draw for tourists, local families and an international tribe of surfers.

But every few years, stormy surf driven by the weather pattern known as El Niño grinds away at a thinning section of beach, pulling sand out to sea. Some comes back, but two years ago, bluffs collapsed and massive amounts of sand disappeared for good.

Holding back the sea here seems as impossible as holding back the fog. But planners see Ocean Beach as a top priority in a long roster of Bay Area sites threatened by inundation because of what lies on its landward side: the Great Highway, a $220 million wastewater treatment plant and a 14-foot-wide underground pipe that keeps sewage-tainted storm water away from the ocean.

The question facing at least eight local, state and federal agencies boils down to this: With California officials expecting climate change to raise sea levels here by 14 inches by 2050, should herculean efforts be made to preserve the beach, the pipe and the plant, or should the community simply bow to nature?

"We are in some ways the tip of the spear for this issue," said Benjamin Grant, a city planner who is leading a study of the problem for the nonprofit San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, or SPUR.

Mr. Grant describes the beach's south end as "an erosion hot spot." But, he said, all coastal communities will have to grapple with rising seas.

A disruptive rate of sea-level rise is one of the most daunting potential consequences of climate change. Recently, researchers warned in two new studies that severe coastal flooding could occur regularly in the United States by the middle of the century and that California would be among the states most affected. Previous studies have suggested that the rise in sea levels is poised to accelerate globally, although the evidence that this is happening is not yet definitive.

"Communities will be forced to respond in one way or another to the increased erosion and coastal storm damage," economists at San Francisco State University concluded in a recent study. Communities can either plan for the long term or improvise, storm by storm, until ad hoc solutions are inadequate, they warned.

Officials in cities across the United States and Canada are staying in close touch with San Francisco planners. "People often wait to see what California does" about environmental hazards, said Gary B. Griggs, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "So we have a chance to have a big impact."

Locally, hundreds of millions of dollars ride on the Ocean Beach decision. The San Francisco State study projects that sea-level rise there could impose costs of more than $650 million by 2100 if nothing is done. The big-ticket items are the components of the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant and related structures, which were completed in 1993 to meet Environmental Protection Agency demands for cleaner wastewater.

Erosion, of course, is a perennial issue for beachfront communities, and Ocean Beach, artificially expanded more than a century ago, has always been vulnerable. But as the planet warms, the problem is expected to become far more severe all along the northern Pacific Coast. Sand bluffs in the Bay Area, which for decades have eroded by an average of more than a foot a year, are expected to collapse at an ever-faster clip.

The options are to keep installing hard structures in front of vulnerable areas, replenish the sand or simply retreat and let the shoreline move where it will.

Each has a cost. Building walls or piling up riprap protects infrastructure. But it amplifies wave action as water ricochets off the hard surface with enough energy in its retreat to scour the sand. The scouring hastens the disappearance of bluffs and beach.

"The pros of riprap are that it can be long term," said John R. Dingler, an oceanographer with the Army Corps of Engineers. The cons, he said, are that "there will be no beach at high tide."

The armoring of the coastline interferes with beachgoers, infuriates environmentalists and surfers and disturbs vegetation and bird habitats. But after destructive storms, it has been San Francisco's solution of choice in recent years, with city bulldozers dumping thousands of tons of rock and chunks of concrete, granite and brick sidewalks into new breaches.

Two years ago, after fierce storms tore at the underpinnings of the Great Highway, the city created a revetment, or free-form wall, out of 12,000 tons of boulders. Yet last summer, the California Coastal Commission denied the city permission to install more armor and refused to issue retroactive permits for two existing structures. The city sued; the case is pending.

Mark Massara, a local lawyer and an avid surfer who has spent two decades lobbying and litigating over coastal disputes, is fiercely critical of the piles of stone. "No one is willing to move or adapt - they think we can armor everything," he said. "Guess what? Not everything can be defended."

Environmentalists tend to prefer the second solution: replenishing the shore with some of the tons of sand regularly dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that the waters are deep enough for cargo ships rumbling away from the Golden Gate Bridge. With enough sand, dunes could be rebuilt to mimic those that once covered the area, they say; areas on or near the beach are critical to the survival of species like the bank swallow, which nests in burrows inside sandy bluffs on the beach's southern edge and is listed as threatened in California.

The corps is considering an infusion of sand that could cost $10 million. It would last perhaps three or four years, Mr. Dingler estimated. "Our economists said, given the value of the infrastructure, it's a worthwhile endeavor to try it once and see what really happens," he said. Still, one bad El Niño storm could undo everything, he added.

After severe storms in early 2010, repair work left the southern section of the Great Highway closed for much of the year.

The draft plan prepared by SPUR calls for reducing the northern part of the highway to two lanes from four, closing the southern section, and rerouting traffic inland, at an estimated cost of $30 million.

That "enables us to do significant retreat - removing the road and taking advantage of that space," said Mr. Grant, the planner. (The idea has not been welcomed by all the commuters or neighborhoods involved.)

The overflow pipe would no longer be protected by the Great Highway; instead, workers would build a low wall scarcely higher than the pipe itself, topped by a cobblestone berm that would slope down toward the surf. (Estimated cost: $60 million.) New sand dunes would protect the waste treatment complex itself.

When SPUR's final draft is ready next month, all of the agencies involved must agree on the plan. Michael Carlin, the chief operating officer of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said that each agency receives constant updates and that they "are all being brought along."

When the proposed solution is ready, he said, "I believe there will be buy-in from all."

Mr. Grant predicted that far more coastal communities would face hard choices like these before long. "Especially around beaches," he said, "because they are so dynamic and they are so beloved."


5) Maine: Governor Wins Case on Mural
March 24, 2012

Gov. Paul R. LePage was within his rights last year when he removed a mural depicting the history of the labor movement from a state office building, a federal judge ruled Friday. The judge, John A. Woodcock Jr. of Federal District Court, dismissed a lawsuit contending that Mr. LePage, a Republican, violated the Constitution and the state's contract with the artist when he removed the mural. The judge agreed that the governor, who said the mural bowed to organized labor, is entitled to engage in "government speech," a doctrine that says the government is free to express itself.


6) Occupy Your Workplaces
By Gregg Shotwell
Soldiers of Solidarity
March 24, 2012

We the People are at war.

We need to develop soldiers, not career opportunists.

It will take time and patience.

There will be set backs and victories.

Given time and effort,

the law of multiplication will prevail.

If one goes out and trains two soldiers,

and they go out and do the same,

and this continues, we will have our army.

We the People are the Union. -Miguel X. Chavarria

The Occupy Movement has a genuine desire to connect to the Labor Movement. The trouble is the Labor Movement is lying on a gurney in an alley waiting for Democrats to wheel it into ER.

The Occupy Movement can't afford to wait for moribund union officials to wake up, or Democrats to come to the rescue and apologize for NAFTA; apologize for deserting Single Payer Healthcare; apologize for abandoning the Employee Free Choice Act; apologize for the absence of trade laws that protect jobs rather than the slobs who live off unearned income; apologize for the deliberate avoidance of an anti-striker replacement law and the long overdue repeal of Taft-Hartley.

Likewise, the Occupy Movement can't wait for Obama to order the National Guard to protect citizens exercising their Constitutional rights of assembly and free speech.

The counsel of a lesser evil is to vote for despair. We need activists, not lobbyists. We need soldiers of solidarity, not celebrity liberals and union officials.

Unions have shown support for the Occupy Movement, but unions are not anti-capitalist. They don't want to change the system so much as modify it. The dearth of social movement unionism today is largely the result of narrow interest bargaining: what's in it for my little corner of the labor market, rather than the movement.

Unions spend more time and money campaigning for Democrats than organizing workers. It's no surprise that union bureaucrats are on a mission to hitch the Occupy Movement to the Democrat's wagon and Obama's re-election.

I believe the goal of the Occupy Movement is to empower rank-and-file citizens rather than one of the plutocratic parties. I believe there are no short-term solutions. I believe when workers take power into their own hands, we have the possibility of a solution that works for everyone rather than the One Percent who live off unearned income.

Workers' rights are defined and enforced by struggle. We can't vote our way to power, and if the Occupy Movement isn't committed to the redistribution of power, we may as well fold up the tents (of verbal protest) and go live beneath the overpass (of plutocratic government).

If we want to win like sitdowners won in the thirties, we will have to occupy the seat of Capital's power, which isn't Wall Street, but rather the workplace.

Wall Street is the bleachers. Wall Street is a front for bookies. The real game is on the gridiron of work where wealth is created. The real players aren't brokers, politicians, and bankers. The real players are workers. When workers stop, the game is over.

Workers' power is the strike, not the vote. A strike leverages workers' power because it curtails profit and profit is all the One Percent care about.

I believe Occupy is right to recognize the power of labor. A General Strike is not only what's needed, it is something many workers believe in. But it is not going to happen. It is not going to happen because it would require the cooperation of union officials, and union officials, ideologically bankrupt and strategically bereft, are busy collaborating with the bossing class.

Union bureaucrats don't want to change the system, they want to plea bargain. We have documented evidence, called union contracts, which prove that union officials are willing to cut wages and benefits and eliminate pensions. What they object to is laws that limit their power to make concessions for workers on behalf of their business partners.

The partnership between business and union officials has led to the social decadence of two-tier wages, whereby new hires are paid as much as 50 percent less, and then told to save for their own damn retirement.

Why would a young Occupier want to join the UAW? A new hire at General Motors today makes less than I make in retirement and doesn't have a pension to look forward to. The union management partnership is an LLC, a Limited Liability Collaboration. We can't trust it.

Union officials do not have an alternative to capitalism and corporate dominance. They suffer from a sort of Stockholm Syndrome. They identify with their captors. They want to be partners in the business of exploiting workers for profit.

Union officials were eager to redirect the Wisconsin Uprising away from direct action and core-to-core class conflict and toward electoral procedures because they were frightened by workers growing consciousness of their own power.

Union officials are reluctant to support even a one day symbolic General Strike, not because they fear legal repercussions, but because they fear what would happen if workers sensed their authentic power and the sleeping giant awakened.

The Occupy Movement does not need to rely on bureaucrats or celebrity liberals to thrive and grow. Occupy is a rank and file movement, and its leaders are the genuine citizens united against the One Percent who control the economy, the government, the unions, the television, the consumer culture, and both plutocratic parties.

I believe the Occupy Movement should appeal directly to workers in the trenches rather than union officials safely ensconced in offices with their six figure salaries, their Hummer style health plans, their guaranteed pensions, and their addictions to corporate subservience.

If we want to appeal to union and non-union workers, we must first recognize their needs. Workers are not idealists. They may have ideals, they may pursue ideals, but the job is a means to an end: bills.

Workers are, for good reasons, practical strategists. When workers take risks, their families are in jeopardy. That's why U.S. corporations prefer health insurance controlled by employers. It gives them excessive power especially in the event of a strike. That's why soldiers of solidarity, like the Wobblies of old, say, "Strike on the inside."

Work to Rule, or what Elizabeth Gurley Flynn called Sabotage, may be a viable option for the Occupy Movement to engage and advocate. In 1916 Flynn wrote, "Sabotage is not physical violence; sabotage is an internal industrial process."

One hundred years ago in the IWW newspaper, Solidarity, Frank Bohn wrote, "Sabotage means strike and stay in the shop. Striking workers thus are enabled to draw pay and keep out scabs while fighting capitalists."

The bossing class has perverted the traditional meaning of sabotage into malicious destruction of property. They must have looked into their own souls for the new definition.

When Ford designs vehicles that roll over or blow up on impact, it's sabotage. When GM sells out, shuts down, spins off, and thereby guts the city of Flint, it's sabotage. When Delphi builds all its new plants outside the U.S. while closing American factories, it's sabotage. When CEOs lay off thousands of workers and reward themselves with multi million dollar perks, it's sabotage. When the President of the United States commits soldiers to war under false pretenses, bankrupts the treasury with lavish rewards to his cronies, and encourages a trade policy that exports American jobs, it's not patriotism, it's sabotage.

Workers are not saboteurs. Labor creates wealth, bosses exploit it. Labor builds community. Bosses prey upon it. (Excerpts from Autoworkers Under the Gun)

Work to Rule or Strike on the Inside is viable for three reasons:

1. Because profit is all the bosses care about. Until you shut off the profit faucet, the bossing class won't listen. They'll throw job applications to McDonalds at you.

2. Because production of goods and services is the true source of workers' power.

3. Because Work to Rule puts power in the hands of rank-and-file workers rather than bureaucrats.

The prevalence of lockouts, scabs, and outsourcing coupled with the scantiness of legal protection makes strikes a high-risk occupation. Work to Rule is a lower risk because it stifles efficiency and cuts profit by following the boss's orders.

How can following the boss's orders obstruct work? When the boss makes all the decisions, the result is more lethal than sabotage.

In strict adherence to Murphy's Law the boss is the dullest blade in the toolbox promoted to the highest level of his or her incompetence. The higher you go up the ladder, the less anyone knows about how goods and services are actually produced and delivered.

So, the stated objective of Work to Rule is to kick every decision up to the highest level of incompetence.

The unstated objective is to sabotage the production of goods and the delivery of services by withholding workers' knowledge and skill from the boss.

Here's a simple and common example of industrial sabotage. The machine stops. The boss says, "What's wrong?" I shrug and say, "I don't know." He asks the job setter, who shrugs, "I don't know." He asks an electrician, who shrugs, "I don't know." Then we all look at the boss, and he starts sweating because he knows that we know that he is the only one who really doesn't know.

Now who's boss?

When the production or delivery of goods and services drops, cost punches profit out. Which explains why Work to Rule can be an effective way to leverage rank-and-file power while protecting workers from retaliation.

If you follow the bosses' orders, you can't be disciplined. If you strike on the inside, you can't be replaced by scabs. If you don't give your knowledge to the boss for free, then he or she will have to make all the decisions, and we all know where that leads.

Ayn Rand had it all wrong. When the boss shrugs, no one gives a shit. When workers shrug, production stops and profit grinds to a halt.

Transit workers in New York City could shrug their shoulders and shut down the city for an afternoon. If trucks at west coast ports stalled, drivers could shrug and clog the docks till the sun went down. Teamsters like longshore workers don't have to cross picket lines. If Occupy throws up a picket, Teamsters or longshore workers can just shrug. A single supplier can shut down multiple factories. If production workers and trades shrug together, output would tumble like dominoes.

Work to Rule at isolated work sites will not shut down Wall Street, but if Strike on the Inside goes viral, the impact could be more effective than an officially sanctioned strike.

More effective because courts couldn't impose injunctions; because union officials couldn't aid and abet their business partners by calling it off prematurely; because Work to Rule is more than an internal industrial process, it's an invocation for workers to govern collectively.

The Association of Flight Attendants used a strategy they coined CHAOS: Create Havoc Around Our System. CHAOS maximized the impact of the job action while minimizing the risk to workers. Surprise strikes and random actions rendered the airline unmanageable.

The UAW used to employ a tactic called Rolling Strikes. One plant would go on strike for a day and then go back to work. Then another plant would go on strike for a day and then call it off. Then another plant would disrupt production. As soon as one plant went back to work another plant would shut down. The corporation became ungovernable and eventually willing to negotiate.

If CHAOS, goes viral, it could impede production and the delivery of services on a large scale in much the same fashion as Rolling Strikes. And it could protect workers from retaliation because it's a guerrilla tactic. And the liberals in the union or the government couldn't rein it in because CHAOS is a dog without a leash.

Protests can express objection, but "There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious . . . you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop . . . And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all." (Mario Savio)

Yes, it will take time and patience, but appealing directly to rank and file workers is a short cut compared to working with union bureaucrats who are determined to detour the energy and enthusiasm of Occupy into the drainage ditch of the Democratic Party where all good movements go to die.

Work to Rule relies on the wit and wisdom of workers. Asking workers to use their own creativity to fight the bossing class, and to determine their own level of involvement and risk, shows respect for workers' personal lives, respect for workers' intelligence, respect for the power inherent in the working class.

There are no short-term solutions.

"It will take time and patience.

There will be set backs and victories.

Given time and effort,

the law of multiplication will prevail.

If one goes out and trains two soldiers,

and they go out and do the same,

and this continues, we will have our army.

We the People are the Union."

Occupy your workplaces. Occupy your hospitals.

Occupy your unions, your agencies, your schools.

We the People are the solution.


7) A Mother's Grace and Grieving
March 25, 2012

Miami Gardens, Fla.

"They called him Slimm."

That is what Sybrina Fulton, the mother of the slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, told me people called her son because he was so thin.

I talked with her Saturday in a restaurant near her home, four weeks to the day after George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., shot Trayvon in the chest and killed him. Trayvon was unarmed, carrying nothing more than candy and a drink.

Ms. Fulton brought her own mother with her, Trayvon's grandmother, and we talked for nearly an hour over iced tea and lukewarm coffee.

His mother lights up when she shows me pictures of Trayvon on her phone, even managing an occasional smile that lifts the shadow of grief and brightens her face. He was a gangly boy, all arms and legs but little weight, nearly six feet three inches tall but only 140 pounds and with the cherubic face of a boy years younger.

She grows distant when she talks about her loss, occasionally, seemingly involuntarily, wrapping her hands gently around her mother's arm and resting her head on her mother's shoulder like a young girl in need of comfort. The sorrow seems to come in waves.

She and her mother paint a portrait of an all-American boy, one anyone would be proud to call his or her own. He liked sports - playing and watching - and going to the mall with his friends. The meal his mother made that he liked most was hamburgers and French fries. "And brownies," his grandmother chimed in, "with lots of nuts."

He was a smart boy who had taken advanced English and math classes, and he planned to go to college.

He was a hard worker who earned extra money by painting houses, and washing cars and working in the concession of the Pee Wee football league on the weekends. He also baby-sat for his younger cousins, two adorable little girls ages 3 and 7, whom the family called the bunnies, and when he watched the girls he baked them cookies.

The only fight his mother could ever recall his having was with his own brother when Trayvon was about 4 and the brother was 8. They were fighting for her attention, and it wasn't even a real fight. "They were wrestling. It was so funny," she said with a smile.

This hardly fits the profile of a menacing teen who would attack a grown man unprovoked, but that is exactly what Zimmerman contends.

Zimmerman's statement, as related by police, says he was following the boy but "he had lost sight of Trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by Trayvon."

Trayvon's personal account of who initiated the physical encounter is forever lost to the grave, but the initiation is likely to be the central question in the case.

To believe Zimmerman's scenario, you have to believe that Trayvon, an unarmed boy, a boy so thin that people called him Slimm, a boy whose mother said that he had not had a fight since he was a preschooler, chose that night and that man to attack. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds and who, according to the Sanford police, was wearing his gun in a holster. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.

This is possible, but hardly sounds plausible.

The key is to determine who was standing his ground and defending himself: the boy with the candy or the man with the gun. Who was winning the fight is a secondary question.

That said, we'll have to wait for details of the investigation to be revealed to know for sure. But while we wait, it is important to not let Trayvon the person be lost to Trayvon the symbol. He was a real boy with a real family that really loved him.

And now he is gone from his mother forever, only able to stare out at her as a shining face on a cellphone. She has no home videos of Trayvon. She doesn't even have voicemail messages from him saved. The only way that she could now hear Trayvon's voice would be to call his phone and listen to his answering message, but she dare not do it. "If I hear his voice, I think I'm going to scream."

Every night she says she dreams of him. Every morning she says she thinks he's going to walk through the door and say, "Mom, I'm here. You were dreaming. It's not true. I'm not dead. I'm here," and give her a hug and a kiss.

And the bunnies - they still don't understand where he is. They're still asking for Trayvon, the cousin who came over and baked them cookies.


8) Israel, Occupy Wall Street, and Anti-Zionism
By Brian Kwoba
March 2012

The Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S. is reverberating around the world. In Tel Aviv, Israel, for example, a tens-of-thousands-strong protest on October 29 "showed influences from the Occupy Wall Street movement, including signs saying 'we are the 99 percent,' and one sign that read 'Occupy Oakland!'" (Jerusalem Post). Though much smaller in scale, this protest revives the recent memory of the summer's July 14 (J14) movement in Israel, which received much criticism from the Palestine solidarity community for its failure to condemn the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, let alone the issue of Zionism itself.

As one such activist argued, "the hypocrisy of J14 is that while it may have supposedly been about social justice, it simply refused to address the occupation of Palestine."

On this basis, many progressives and Palestine solidarity activists withheld support from the movement, instead criticizing it for its weaknesses and limitations. I think this was and is a big mistake, even though the "mainstream" of the Israeli protest movement was and still is largely silent on the oppression of Palestinians. Let me explain.

Occupy Wall Street, NOT Palestine

First of all, let's be clear: Israel is a colonial-settler and apartheid state. Internationally, it must be boycotted, sanctioned, and divested from with all the vigor we can muster until (at minimum) it ends the occupation, grants full equality to all of its citizens, and cedes the right of return to the Palestinians of the Diaspora.

Whereas with South African apartheid, the international boycott and divestment movement played a powerful role in aiding the internal struggle, in the case of Israel many of us have traditionally considered the Jewish state and its population to be so monolithic as to require even more pressure from without than South Africa did if there is to be any serious challenge to the Israeli regime.

But the protest movement in Israel raises two game-changing questions: does everyone in Israel benefit from Zionism-Israel's existence as a Jewish-supremacist state? If not, does the Palestinian struggle have any allies inside Israel?

Like Occupy Wall Street has done for the United States, Israel's summer protests showed that there is mass discontent inside Israel in many sectors. If a majority of Israelis no longer benefit from Zionism, then the Palestinian struggle may have some new and very powerful potential allies.

Who in Israel really benefits from Zionism?

One obvious group of Israeli citizens who do NOT benefit from the Zionist project are the Palestinian citizens of Israel who comprise roughly 20 percent of its population. Many of these Palestinians have been displaced from their original villages and homes and are systematically oppressed in housing, education, law, and so on, despite their Israeli citizenship. And contrary to the idea that the Israeli protests were comprised of only middle class Europeans on Rothschild Boulevard, the protests in the south of Tel-Aviv, as well as in Jaffa, Haifa and Nazareth included strong participation of the Palestinian Arab citizens. For example, Palestinians from Jaffa united themselves with Mizrahi Jews from South Tel Aviv, putting aside their differences to demonstrate together for public housing.1

These efforts came to further fruition in September, when some 20 political parties and social movements from both sides of the Green Line issued an historic declaration in support of the social protests in Israel and their necessary linkage to the struggle against Israel's occupation and colonial policies.2 This is a major development, because it demonstrates the possibility of a radical change in Israeli consciousness towards Jewish-Arab UNITY with the Palestinian struggle. As a result of having to fight for their own rights to housing, education, and dignity, at least some Israelis have opened up to the idea that Palestinians and Arabs can and should be their allies in struggle.

Another group that may not benefit from Zionism is the Mizrahim (Jews of Arab and Middle Eastern origin), who have systematically restricted access to housing, income, education, and political power compared to the Ashkenazim (Jews of European origin). Mizrahi participation in the protest movement brings a powerful new dynamic into the picture and raises anew the question of a how much they, even as Jews, have benefited from living under a Jewish state.

For example, one Mizrahi friend of mine wrote online of the Israeli protests this summer:

"Outside of rothschild avenue, many of the tent cities are led by mizrahim and have mizrahi struggles at the center. This is also problematic because there is a necessity for mizrahim to recognize our complicity in the colonization and stand explicitly with palestinians. i think this is happening in the jaffa-hatikva joint protest. out of south tel aviv, i am also seeing what looks like from far away, a lot of working together between working class mizrahim and african refugees and foreign workers, which flies in the face of the racial tensions that place is known for.

"i'm from south tel aviv (hatikva actually) and i will say that i'm completely amazed by what i'm seeing from there. in a neighborhood where people [traditionally] march against the presence of africans, and vote solidly likud, people are carrying black panthers banners. people are pitching tents and making a set of demands in alliance with the tent city in jaffa. people are housing homeless african refugees in their tents in defiance of orders from the police and holding demonstrations when they are arrested. it's beyond anything i could have ever dreamed of.

"knowing all of this, it's very frustrating to run into people's analysis which just dismisses the tent protests as being a bunch of hippies in rothschild, or a bunch of spoiled people demanding more than they already have, or a bunch of zionists. it's true that in many places the foundation of these demonstrations is zionist, but i think this is changeable, and i think there is a great potential for mizrahi communities particularly to challenge that foundation."

Historically, the largely-Ashkenazi elite have mostly been able to divert any discontent about Mizrahi oppression toward the Palestinians. This is similar to how immigrants, Blacks, and other "outsiders" have been scapegoated historically in other industrialized countries. This racism has been deliberately stoked by the government, for example, by the fact that Israeli border guards, who dispense oppression onto Palestinians on a daily basis, are disproportionately Mizrahim. For these and other reasons, mainstream Mizrahi politics have for decades had a predominantly right-wing virulence, often times more racist toward Palestinians than the average Jewish Israeli. This divide-and-rule tactic has worked well for manufacturing Mizrahi consent for Zionism, but appears to be cracking under the pressure of the recent mass protests and joint struggle in Israel.

Furthermore, it must be said that there is a progressive wing of Mizrahi politics both historically (e.g. in the Israeli Black Panthers of the 1970s), but also today. The Tarabut conference in May this year (before the J14 protests) passed a declaration of solidarity in struggle with Palestinians for liberation, including support for the right of return according to UN Resolution 194. Not bad for an organization of Arab and Jewish Israelis!3

If we look for other sources of potentially anti-Zionist opposition inside Israel, we quickly find that Ethiopian and Russian Israeli Jews are also systematically oppressed in housing, education, income, and so on. In fact, they entered the J14 process with a joint African and European demonstration against segregated (apartheid) schools, and could conceivably do the same for housing, income, and other issues.4 As usual, the younger generation is even more inclined towards universal social justice, as evidenced by the anti-Zionist organization Young Ethiopian Students, for example.5

Suffice it to say that Israel is not a monolithic society, and most of its citizens have not benefited materially from Zionism. Just look at the numbers: Palestinian citizens are 20 percent of the population inside Israel, the Mizrahim are around 37 percent (roughly half of the Jewish population) of Israel. The immigrants from Africa and Asia are 10 percent. Together that is 67 percent of the Israeli population that is potentially anti-Zionist.

What about the Ashkenazi Jews?

One of the politically-sharpest Israeli anti-Zionists, MoshÃ(c) Machover, had this to say about the question of whether the Jews of European origin in Israel benefit from Zionism:

"Since the 1980s, there has been a great structural change in Israel. Formerly, the Israeli economy was only 50 percent private. The other half was owned by the state and the Histadrut. The economy was welfare-based, with external subsidy channeled also to the working class. This is no longer the case. The economy is privatized and much of the welfare structure has been axed. The huge external subsidy [i.e. from the U.S.] is not distributed to the whole of society, but more or less bypasses the civilian economy and covers the military budget. The Israeli working class hardly benefits from Zionism, certainly much less than in the past (before the 1980s). In many ways, the expenditure on colonization of the Occupied Territories is seen as a burden on the [Ashkenazi] working class."

Even the New York Times published an op-ed about how "according to a report published by the activist group Peace Now, the Israeli government is using over 15 percent of its public construction budget to expand West Bank settlements, which house only four percent of Israeli citizens. According to the Adva Center, a research institute, Israel spends twice as much on a settlement resident as it spends on other Israelisâ€_Israel today is facing the consequences of a policy that favors sustaining the occupation and expanding settlements over protecting the interests of the broader population."6

If this is true, then the Ashkenazi workers who joined the protests of J14 ought to be placed in the category of potentially anti-Zionist political forces. As one blogger put it:

"Of course, the government will try to overcome the [housing] problem by continuing the colonization of the West Bank and encouraging more Israelis to participate. So, Israeli workers have a clear choice. They can continue to invest in Zionism, continue to uphold the chauvinism at the heart of Israeli society that validates the occupation and the repression of Palestinians, and hope to resolve their dilemmas at the expense of the [Palestinians]. Or they can make that link which they have so far refused to make, between their situation and that of the Palestinians, and begin the work of undoing the Zionism which has hitherto held them hostage."7

Whether Israeli workers do in fact make common cause with the Palestinian struggle will depend, in part, on whether we in the progressive and Palestine solidarity community reach out and work to build those links. It will be a difficult task, but one made easier if Mizrahi, Ethiopian, and Arab masses can also begin to join hands in unity for the struggle.

Eighteen families own 60 percent the Israeli economy.8 Could it be that they (and the rest of the top one percent in the government and military) are the only ones who materially benefit from Zionism and the socio-economic system that upholds it? If so, then anti-Zionists have a stronger case to make now than ever.

Moreover, the joining together in struggle of European, African, Jewish, and Palestinian masses in Israel (amidst a wave of uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa) reveals the potential for unity among working and poor people across ethnic, religious, and national divisions.

However, to expect that this confluence of social forces would immediately arrive at an instantaneous opposition to the occupation of Palestine (or of colonialism and Zionism more generally) is unreasonable. People who enter into struggle do not go from A to Z in one day or one week or one month. But an awakening and change in consciousness that has already been set in motion is easier to keep in motion. Progressives all over the world should be enthusiastic about this opportunity not only because of the potential it has to transform social inequality and oppression, but also because of the active and subjective role we can play in helping it to realize that potential.

If masses of people who come into the streets to express their discontent are not met with long-time activists who can broaden their horizons even further because we have abstained from the struggle in Israel or elsewhere, then we are missing a historic opportunity to make our case for Palestinian rights and a united struggle for social justice that transcends the boundaries that the top one percent has manipulated to divide us.

After all, we in the Palestine solidarity movement-like the Arab, Jewish, and Mediterranean masses throughout the region-are the 99 percent.

Brian Kwoba is an activist with Occupy Boston. He can be reached at

-Israeli Occupation Archive, December 2, 2011




7Richard Seymour,

8 Shir Hever: The political economy of Israel's Occupation


9) Taking the High Road
By Bonnie Weinstein
March 2012

Working people are not only battling an economic war-one which has condemned us and our children to a second-tier life-but we are also under constant assault as human beings. On the one hand, capitalism judges people by how much wealth they own, relegating the poor to worthlessness; and on the other hand, blames the individual-their character and personality-for the poverty and hardship they find themselves in.

It's our own fault say the capitalist mass media-the TV and radio shows; the magazines and newspapers. You have failed because: "You didn't make the right choices;" "You got pregnant too young;" "You didn't work hard enough in school or on the job;" "You're too fat; or too Black;" "You don't 'dress for success;'" "You are stupid and ignorant;" therefore not entitled to a good-paying job and a decent life. You simply are not worthy!

Poor women are stereotyped as sexually loose and poor men as deadbeat dads, lazy, drug dealers and/or pimps, and on and on. It permeates our culture and warps our own vision of ourselves. And it comes down hardest on the poor and the young.

'Do you want to be a millionaire?'

Meanwhile, superficial symbols of wealth are advertised as the things we "must" buy, use and own in order to succeed. The message: we must look like we're successful if we want to succeed. Little toddlers are dressed up like Vegas call girls, with fake breasts, butts, wigs and tons of makeup and are taught to parade around a stage to compete in a reality TV show called "Toddlers and Tiaras." How perverse is it to cover up the most beautiful thing in the world, youth, with artificial accoutrements designed to hide the distinguishing features of the individual child?

Our teenagers are supposed to be vying to be "The Next Top Model" or the next "American Idol." The underlying message is that you, too, can become the next millionaire if you only make the right choices and work hard enough for it. The other side of that coin, of course, is if you don't achieve these things, there's something wrong with YOU.

At the very same time, the battle of day-to-day life-its injustices, perils and hardships-are to be thought of as inevitable and, most of all, beyond our control. And that fighting for justice will only make your life more difficult!

It is a huge contradiction designed to blur the real truth. Working people have the right to all the good this Earth can offer and, we have the power to have it, too.

Criminalizing even the youngest children

Just this past January, in yet another example of the criminalization of the normal activity of young children, a six-year-old boy was suspended from school because, according to the school principal, the boy "committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault or sexual battery." What did the little boy do? He was playing tag during recess in the school playground and allegedly tagged the upper thigh, or perhaps the groin, of another child.1

The police occupation of the schools

In a TV news story that first aired on RTAmerica (RussianTelevisionAmerica) and is now available on YouTube, titled "School police increasingly arresting American students?"2 "A new study shows that by age 23, 41 percent of young Americans were arrested from the years 1997-2008." And on Brasscheck TV also linked to the same video is an article about reports on Texas' "school-to-prison pipeline" released by the public interest law center, Texas Appleseed. In the article, "Criminalizing Youthful Behavior" by Texas Appleseed,3 the report points to the growing police presence in Texas public education "coinciding with increased Class C misdemeanor ticketing and arrest of students for low-level, non-violent behavior that historically has been handled at the school level-sending more youth to court and increasing their chances of academic failure and future justice system involvement..."

The report found:

• "Most Class C misdemeanor tickets written by school police officers are for low-level, non-violent misbehavior that do not involve weapons, yet ticketing can have far-reaching financial and legal impacts. Fines and costs associated with Class C tickets...range from less than $60 to more than $500 per ticket. Failure to pay the fine, complete court-ordered community service or comply with a notice to appear in court can result in the youth's arrest at age 17. African American and Hispanic youth are disproportionately affected by this practice...

• "Ticketing has increased substantially over a two- to five-year period; and where the child attends school-and not the nature of the offense-is the greater predictor of whether a child will be ticketed at school.

• "African American and (to a lesser extent) Hispanic students are disproportionately represented in Class C misdemeanor ticketing...

• "It is not unusual for elementary school-age children, including students ten years old and younger, to receive Class C tickets at school..."

What does a child begin to think about him or her self when from the time they enter kindergarten till they graduate from college their experience is that they must endure police occupation and the harassment that goes along with it! In their schools; in their neighborhoods; the armed police are everywhere in order to "preserve order" and punish "criminals" of any age.

Obama: top police chief of the world-judge, jury and executioner

What working people are experiencing here-the police occupations and the giant prison industrial complex that accommodates it and imprisons more than all other countries put together-has an analogy to what working people the world over are experiencing at the hands of the U.S. military and it's imperialist allies, its partners in crime.

While workers here have not yet felt the depth of devastation and bloodshed the U.S. war machine is capable of-that has brutally killed millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere it targets its "War on Terror"-these actions stand as a constant reminder of the lengths to which this bi-partisan government will go to preserve the wealth, property and privilege of the one percent.

The U.S. commanders of capital have bestowed upon themselves the right to kill or indefinitely imprison anyone without due process or habeas corpus. And this is certainly not a "theoretical" situation but one that is being acted out by their bipartisan government day in and day out.

It has gone way beyond the prescience of George Orwell's 1984.

With their drones, bombs, target killings by secret forces such as the "Navy Seals," etc., they don't even have to get their hands dirty. Resorting to war, murder and assassination to preserve the wealth of the commanders of capital-the one percent-is about as low as a human being can get. No other species on the planet is as tyrannical as these vicious hoarders of wealth. It is a spit in the face of humanity and human civilization. It is the corruptor of conscience, kindness and community.

Taking the high road

The world socialist revolution, by uniting the masses of working people-the 99 percent-in defense of our basic human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the high road. It is the road of the future-the only road that will enable us to have a future.

It is a road of cooperation, not competition; of production for need and want, not for profit; of peaceful solutions to problems and conflicts that benefit everyone. It is the end of war and tyranny. It is the beginning of endless possibilities for good and the betterment of all. This is the side the working class and our allies stand upon. It is humanity's highest road to freedom.

1"A Touch During Recess, and Reaction Is Swift," By SCOTT JAMES, January 16 2012

2"School police increasingly arresting American students?"

3"Criminalizing Youthful Behavior," by Texas Appleseed


10) For Martin's Case, a Long Route to National Attention
March 25, 2012

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, was fatally shot on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. The next day his death was a top story on the Fox-affiliated television station in Orlando, the closest big city to Sanford. Within a week it was being covered by newspapers around the state.

But it took several weeks before the rest of the country found out.

It was not until mid-March, after word spread on Facebook and Twitter, that the shooting of Trayvon by George Zimmerman, 26, was widely reported by the national news media, highlighting the complex ways that news does and does not travel in the Internet age.

That Trayvon's name is known at all is a testament to his family, which hired a tenacious lawyer to pursue legal action and to persuade sympathetic members of the news media to cover the case. Just as important, family members were willing to answer the same painful questions over and over at news conferences and in TV interviews.

Notably, many of the national media figures who initially devoted time to the shooting are black, which some journalists and advocacy groups say attests to the need for diversity in newsrooms. The racial and ethnic makeup of newsrooms, where minorities tend to be underrepresented relative to the general population, has long been a source of tension for the news industry.

"On this story, there is a certain degree of understanding that comes from minorities, and particularly African-Americans, just because we've lived it," said Don Lemon, a CNN weekend anchor who has covered the case extensively for the last two weekends. He recalled that in a planning meeting for his program, one of his producers, a black mother of two teenage boys, was "almost in tears" as she said, "We've got to do something on this story."

As the case was catapulted onto the national agenda and calls for Mr. Zimmerman's arrest increased, prominent black journalists and commentators wrote about it in highly personal terms. "This is the fear that seizes me whenever my boys are out in the world: that a man with a gun and an itchy finger will find them 'suspicious,' " Charles M. Blow of The New York Times wrote on March 17.

A day later, Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post wrote of the rules he was taught as a teenager: "Don't run in public," "Don't run while carrying anything in your hands," "Don't talk back to the police."

"One of the burdens of being a black male," he wrote, "is carrying the heavy weight of other people's suspicions."

Mr. Zimmerman, a volunteer for a neighborhood watch group, has claimed self-defense and has not been charged with any crime, causing an uproar that was readily apparent on social media Web sites. But for the first 10 days after Trayvon's death, the story was covered solely by the Florida media.

The first national attention appears to have come from CBS News, on March 8, after the network's southeast bureau, based in Atlanta, was tipped off. Mark Strassmann, a correspondent, and Chris St. Peter, a producer, contacted the family's lawyer, Benjamin Crump, and then sent an e-mail suggestion to a group of "CBS This Morning" producers. "We can interview the victims' parents tomorrow," they wrote in the e-mail, promising an exclusive. Within 40 minutes, the producers had said yes.

Mr. Strassmann and Mr. St. Peter "knew a story when they saw it, they sniffed it out, and they did all the legwork," said Chris Licht, the executive producer of the morning show and vice president for programming for CBS News.

Also on March 8, The Huffington Post and, an arm of NBC News, covered the case. By the end of the week, CNN and its sister channel HLN were also on the story, as were some black radio hosts and bloggers.

National coverage increased somewhat the week of March 12, but really intensified only after March 16, when tapes of 911 calls were released, showing that Mr. Zimmerman had been told by a dispatcher that he did not need to follow Trayvon. Having the audio - which the police had previously declined to release - was critical because it gave radio and TV reporters more material for their segments and because it aroused more suspicion about Mr. Zimmerman.

Within days of the national media scrutiny, the Justice Department said it would investigate the case, and on March 23, President Obama addressed it directly, furthering the media dialogue.

Some reporters and anchors, like Mr. Lemon and Mr. Blow, said they were urged by their followers on Facebook and Twitter to find out about the shooting - evidence of the effect that the Web can have on news coverage. "People started sending me tweets saying, 'What are you going to say about this case?' " Mr. Blow recalled.

He then looked up local stories about it, contacted Mr. Crump, and arranged for an interview with Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton. "They were very open to talking, and that was very important," he said.

On television, the family spoke early and often to the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist who has radio shows and an MSNBC television show. He was made aware of the shooting by Mr. Crump, who had previously enlisted Mr. Sharpton to speak out against the death of a Florida boy at a boot camp in 2006.

"The attorney called and said, 'I need you again,' " Mr. Sharpton recalled in a telephone interview from Florida, where he staged a rally Thursday night to call for justice. He took his radio and TV shows with him, thereby amplifying his call.

Mr. Sharpton has used his shows for all manner of advocacy He analogized radio, with its hours of airtime and calls from listeners, to "ground forces" and MSNBC as "air strikes" and said, "If you have a war, you're going to need both."

Mr. Crump has publicly thanked the media for paying attention, and so, too, has the family. Trayvon's father, Tracy, told Gayle King on CBS last Friday, "The world knows Trayvon now."


11) The Rich Get Even Richer
"The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income. ...As a result, the top 1 percent has done progressively better in each economic recovery of the past two decades. In the Clinton era expansion, 45 percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent; in the Bush recovery, the figure was 65 percent; now it is 93 percent."
March 25, 2012

NEW statistics show an ever-more-startling divergence between the fortunes of the wealthy and everybody else - and the desperate need to address this wrenching problem. Even in a country that sometimes seems inured to income inequality, these takeaways are truly stunning.

In 2010, as the nation continued to recover from the recession, a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 - $288 billion - went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.

Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.

The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income.

This new data, derived by the French economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez from American tax returns, also suggests that those at the top were more likely to earn than inherit their riches. That's not completely surprising: the rapid growth of new American industries - from technology to financial services - has increased the need for highly educated and skilled workers. At the same time, old industries like manufacturing are employing fewer blue-collar workers.

The result? Pay for college graduates has risen by 15.7 percent over the past 32 years (after adjustment for inflation) while the income of a worker without a high school diploma has plummeted by 25.7 percent over the same period.

Government has also played a role, particularly the George W. Bush tax cuts, which, among other things, gave the wealthy a 15 percent tax on capital gains and dividends. That's the provision that caused Warren E. Buffett's secretary to have a higher tax rate than he does.

As a result, the top 1 percent has done progressively better in each economic recovery of the past two decades. In the Clinton era expansion, 45 percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent; in the Bush recovery, the figure was 65 percent; now it is 93 percent.

Just as the causes of the growing inequality are becoming better known, so have the contours of solving the problem: better education and training, a fairer tax system, more aid programs for the disadvantaged to encourage the social mobility needed for them escape the bottom rung, and so on.

Government, of course, can't fully address some of the challenges, like globalization, but it can help.

By the end of the year, deadlines built into several pieces of complex legislation will force a gridlocked Congress's hand. Most significantly, all of the Bush tax cuts will expire. If Congress does not act, tax rates will return to the higher, pre-2000, Clinton-era levels. In addition, $1.2 trillion of automatic spending cuts that were set in motion by the failure of the last attempt at a deficit reduction deal will take effect.

So far, the prospects for progress are at best worrisome, at worst terrifying. Earlier this week, House Republicans unveiled an unsavory stew of highly regressive tax cuts, large but unspecified reductions in discretionary spending (a category that importantly includes education, infrastructure and research and development), and an evisceration of programs devoted to lifting those at the bottom, including unemployment insurance, food stamps, earned income tax credits and many more.

Policies of this sort would exacerbate the very problem of income inequality that most needs fixing. Next week's package from House Democrats will almost certainly be more appealing. And to his credit, President Obama has spoken eloquently about the need to address this problem. But with Democrats in the minority in the House and an election looming, passage is unlikely.

The only way to redress the income imbalance is by implementing policies that are oriented toward reversing the forces that caused it. That means letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy and adding money to some of the programs that House Republicans seek to cut. Allowing this disparity to continue is both bad economic policy and bad social policy. We owe those at the bottom a fairer shot at moving up.

Steven Rattner is a contributing writer for Op-Ed and a longtime Wall Street executive.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 26, 2012

Due to a typo, an earlier version referred incorrectly to the distribution of income gains made during the Clinton expansion. Forty-five percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent, not to the top 11 percent.


12) The real target of 'The Hunger Games'
Why Americans young and old are so hungry for this story
Sunday, March 25, 2012, 4:00 AM

I'm one of those annoying people who knew about "The Hunger Games" way before you did, who read all of Suzanne Collins' mega-popular trilogy of books long before I knew they'd be a huge movie. (This is because I'm a weirdo who reads a lot of young adult novels, not because I'm a cool trendsetter.) Back then, when I would describe the plot of the books to everyone I met, I'd often get the same response: "This is a bestseller?" And always, inevitably: "This is a book for kids? "

Yes and no. "The Hunger Games" trilogy is about a dystopian future in which a capitalist dictatorship forces children to kill each other on a nationally televised reality show, and it's only hard to believe such a book is for kids if you're not a regular reader of young adult novels.

Authors of books for kids have been disemboweling and beheading their young heroes for years; all the way from the original, much bloodier Brothers Grimm fairy tales to the creepy cliffhangers and cartoonish violence in the R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike novels that were all the rage when I was in middle school.

But there's more to their appeal to tweens than their unstinting descriptions of battles and wounds and war.

Whenever you begin to investigate the sources of literary megapopularity, it's tempting to either condescend to the benighted masses - those sheep who will happily graze on anything with "Girl" or "Tiger" in the title - or to hatch complicated theories about the underlying societal neuroses the book in question taps into.

In a New Yorker roundup of dystopian teen fiction published in June of 2010, Laura Miller posited that the "Hunger Games" books appealed to teens because the daily struggle for survival in the arena that heroine Katniss Everdeen confronts in the books functions as an allegory for what happens in the halls of the average high school. Maybe this argument resonated because of our current cultural focus on the social minefield that school can be for kids who don't fit in, which has been magnified by the addition of online bullying to alpha teens' arsenals.

Dystopias for adults are didactic, the theory goes, but the ones written for teens aren't meant to warn or scold: "It's not about persuading the reader to stop something terrible from happening - it's about what's happening, right this minute, in the stormy psyche of the adolescent reader."

High school as dystopia seemed like a plausible explanation of the series' popularity to me at the time I read Miller's piece, but now I'm convinced that doesn't come close to capturing the phenomenon - especially because of its cross-over appeal among adults.

Since she wrote it, Americans have risen up in widespread protest of bank bailouts, foreclosures and mass unemployment. Coupled with horrific scenes of police violence against Occupy Wall Street protesters, it's started to come into focus: America has never been hungrier for a popular entertainment that excoriates the ultra-rich.

"The Hunger Games" is, at its core, a critique of winner-take-all capitalism - a writ-large version of the same struggle that's given us the Occupy movement and the idea that America's top 1% is ruling badly and unjustly, with disastrous consequences. Again and again, the books contrast Katniss's poor but noble hometown, full of dying miners and starving children, with her country's corrupt Capitol, a fortress city where overdressed aristocrats vomit during banquets in order to stuff themselves again.

Readers of "The Hunger Games" could be forgiven for assuming that Collins is summoning them to the barricades, or at least paving the way for Katniss to lead her fellow workers in revolt in the later books (after she's done winning the reality show, of course).

This is a complicated critique that the books are a little too ideologically incoherent to sustain, which isn't a diss - I'm not suggesting that fast-paced novels for teenagers carry the burden of being macroeconomics primers. Still, the essential ethical questions "The Hunger Games" raises are likely to stay with viewers and readers after they've forgotten which of Katniss's love interests they were rooting for.

Is it right for a small percentage of the population to utterly control access to wealth and power? Is it exploitative when we watch as members of a lower socioeconomic class scramble and fight over scraps of money and potential fame, as they do on many real reality shows and, indeed, in many real televised sports? The gladiatorial Games are a metaphor for the high-stakes games that poor people must play in America to merely survive.

And these days, they're also not a metaphor. They're just a mild exaggeration of a culture where one of the only ways for its least privileged citizens to escape their circumstances seems to be risking public pain and humiliation as cameras record their every move.

Readers I've talked to, adult and young-adult, tend to express strong dissatisfaction with the second two books in the trilogy. (Spoilers ahead!) Instead of leading her own rebellion, Katniss is mostly used as a pawn by a splinter colony, where everyone wears identical uniforms and daily schedules are temporarily tattooed on everyone's forearms each morning. These citizens have been there all along, plotting the revolution on their own terms, and they want to use Katniss as a pawn.

These dour revolutionaries are the only alternative to the existing government, but they're a lot less fun; they might not kill children for sport on TV, but they're willing to do whatever it takes to advance their agenda.

Maybe the movies will tweak the series' unsatisfying conclusion; I'm certainly not alone in hoping this will be the case. I found it irksome that Collins went from vilifying the ultra-rich, who feast while the vast majority of their fellow citizens starve, to vilifying the revolutionaries, in their individuality-quashing matching outfits.

Then again, maybe it's informative, in and of itself, that Collins couldn't manage to portray an alternative to either vast economic inequality or communism in its most fascistic form. Even for one of the most successful fantasists of our time, it seems, it was impossible to imagine a future where the odds are ever in the non-ruling class's favor.


13) Lobbyists, Guns and Money
March 25, 2012

Florida's now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy - and it is. And it's tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida's law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC's activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin's killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society - and our democracy.

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it's nonpartisan, it's very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn't just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization - that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC's claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn't so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn't in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we're getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it's the same old story - the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It's neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along.

And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren't just about generating immediate benefits to the organization's corporate sponsors; they're about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.

Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?

Yet that's not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex - prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its "life preserver.") This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it's exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona's draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim.

Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn't just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

Now, ALEC isn't single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters - a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda - is one good way to highlight what's going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back.


14) United States 5th on Global List for Number of Executions
The Inquisitr
March 27, 2012

New York City, NY. - Amnesty International announced Monday that The United States was the only Western democracy that executed prisoners last year. The report noted that several States had moved to abolish capital punishment.

America's 43 executions in 2011 ranked it fifth in the world in capital punishment. Amnesty compiles a yearly report on the state of the death penalty world wide.

Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, told The Associated Press,

"If you look at the company we're in globally, it's not the company we want to be in: China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq. Our government has made a very strong point of trying to reassert its position as a standard-bearer on human rights globally. When other countries look at the United States, the use of the death penalty really stands out a lot in the mind of Europeans and others around the world. We're in such incongruous company."

The United States seems deeply divided on the issue.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was cheered at a Republican presidential candidates' debate last September when he defended his signature on 234 execution warrants over more than 10 years as being the "ultimate justice."

Yet people turn out by the thousands to protest executions where the evidence seems to be thin or witnesses recant.

Nossell said,

"I think the debate on the issue may be nearing a tipping point in this country I think we're seeing momentum at the state level, in the direction of waning support for the death penalty."

Illinois banned the death penalty last year, and Oregon adopted a moratorium on executions. Maryland and Connecticut are close to banning executions, Amnesty said. And more than 800,000 Californians signed petitions to put a referendum on the state ballot in November that would abolish the death penalty.

34 States still have the death penalty on the books (although most of them do not use it).


15) Support in U.S. for Afghan War Drops Sharply, Poll Finds
"The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled - 69 percent - thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan."
March 26, 2012

WASHINGTON - After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among both Republicans and Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled - 69 percent - thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.

The increased disillusionment was even more pronounced when respondents were asked their impressions of how the war was going. The poll found that 68 percent thought the fighting was going "somewhat badly" or "very badly," compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November.

The latest poll was conducted by telephone from March 21 to 25 with 986 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The Times/CBS News poll was consistent with other surveys this month that showed a drop in support for the war. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 60 percent of respondents said the war in Afghanistan had not been worth the fighting, while 57 percent in a Pew Research Center poll said that the United States should bring home American troops as soon as possible. In a Gallup/USA Today poll, 50 percent of respondents said the United States should speed up the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Negative impressions of the war have grown among Republicans as well as Democrats, according to the Times/CBS News poll. Among Republicans, 60 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 40 percent in November. Among Democrats, 68 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 38 percent in November. But the poll found that Republicans were more likely to want to stay in Afghanistan for as long as it would take to stabilize the situation: 3 in 10 said the United States should stay, compared with 2 in 10 independents and 1 in 10 Democrats.

Republicans themselves are divided, however, over when to leave, with a plurality, 40 percent, saying the United States should withdraw earlier than the end of 2014, when under an agreement with the Afghan government all American troops are to be out of the country.

The poll comes as the White House is weighing options for speeding up troop withdrawals and in the wake of bad news from the battlefield, including accusations that a United States Army staff sergeant killed 17 Afghan civilians and violence set off by the burning last month of Korans by American troops.

The poll also follows a number of high-profile killings of American troops by their Afghan partners - a trend that the top American commander in Afghanistan suggested on Monday was likely to continue.

"It is a characteristic of this kind of warfare," Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. He said that in a counterinsurgency conflict like the one in Afghanistan, where American forces are fighting insurgents while training Afghan security forces, "the enemy's going to do all that they can to disrupt both the counterinsurgency operation, but also disrupt the integrity of the indigenous forces." American commanders say that the Taliban have in some cases infiltrated Afghan security forces to attack Americans, but that most cases are a result of personal disputes between Afghans and their American trainers.

In follow-up interviews, a number of poll respondents said they were weary after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, and impatient with the slow progress of Afghan security forces. "I think we should speed up when we're bringing our troops home," said Melisa Clemmons, 52, a Republican and a coordinator for a wireless carrier system from Summerville, S.C. "If we've been there as many years as we've been there, what's another two years going to get us?" she asked, adding, "These Afghanistan people are turning around and shooting our people. Why is it taking this long for the Afghan troops to be policing themselves?"

Paul Fisher, 53, a Republican from Grapevine, Tex., who works in the pharmaceutical business, said the United States should no longer be involved in the war, although he opposed setting a specific timetable. "After a while enough is enough, and we need to get out and move on and let Afghanistan stand on its own merits," he said.

Peter Feaver of Duke University, who has long studied public opinion about war and worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, said that in his view there would be more support for the war if President Obama talked more about it. "He has not expended much political capital in defense of his policy," Mr. Feaver said. "He doesn't talk about winning in 2014; he talks about leaving in 2014. In a sense that protects him from an attack from the left, but I would think it has the pernicious effect of softening political support for the existing policy."

The drop in support for the war among Republican poll respondents mirrors reassessments of the war among the party's presidential candidates, traditionally more hawkish than Democrats. Newt Gingrich declared this month that it was time to leave Afghanistan, while Rick Santorum said that one option would be to withdraw even earlier than the Obama administration's timeline. Mitt Romney has been more equivocal, although he said last summer that it was "time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, as soon as our generals think it's O.K."

Michael E. O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution who is close to American commanders in Afghanistan, said that the opinion polls reflected a lack of awareness of the current policy, which calls for slowly turning over portions of the country to Afghan security forces, like the southern provinces, where American troops have tamped down the violence.

"I honestly believe if more people understood that there is a strategy and intended sequence of events with an end in sight, they would be tolerant," Mr. O'Hanlon said. "The overall image of this war is of U.S. troops mired in quicksand and getting blown up and arbitrarily waiting until 2014 to come home. Of course you'd be against it."

Among poll respondents, 44 percent said that the United States should withdraw sooner than 2014, while 33 percent said the administration should stick to the current timetable, 17 percent said the United States should stay as long as it would take to stabilize the current situation and 3 percent said the United States should withdraw now.

Elisabeth Bumiller reported from Washington, and Allison Kopicki from New York. Marjorie Connelly and Marina Stefan contributed reporting from New York.


16) Elementary Students in Large Classes Tripled, Report Shows
By Anna M. Phillips
March 26, 2012, 3:02 p.m.

The number of elementary school students in classes of 30 or more has tripled in the last three years because of teacher attrition and budget cuts to public schools, according to a report released on Monday by a city councilman.

Using data from the city's Department of Education, the report found that 31,079 students in first through fifth grade were now in large classes, compared with 9,756 in the 2008-9 school year.
Fourth graders and fifth graders are most likely to be in large classes, according to the report, released by Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn.

Of current fourth graders, about 14 percent are in classes of 30 or more students, compared with 5.5 percent during the 2008-9 school year. Of fifth graders, about 17 percent were in large classes, compared with 6.5 percent three years ago. The class-size limit for both grades, set by the city and the teachers' union, is 32 students.

Class-size numbers are normally reported twice a year as citywide averages, showing small increases spread out over many classrooms and over many years. For example, from 2009 to the current school year, the average fourth-grade class grew from 23.4 students to 25.3 students.

However, that data does not reveal how many students are in large classes and whether their numbers are increasing.

"Both the data and common sense tell you that having a kid in a class of 30-plus means the teachers can't possibly focus on them," Mr. Lander said in an interview.

Two years ago, when his son was in fifth grade at a Brooklyn public school, the boy's class size rose to 30 as the school's financing dropped, he said.

"I loved the teacher, but there's no doubt in my mind that my son got a lot less attention," Mr. Lander said.

The report emphasized that there was class-size growth in the fourth grade, a year when students are under pressure to excel on standardized exams used for middle school admissions, but it also found that there were class-size increases for younger students.

There are 11,630 students in first through third grade in classes of 30 or more students, up from 1,162 students in large classes in 2008-9.

These increases could continue in the next school year, according to the report, which quotes from the mayor's preliminary budget for next year, noting that a $184.7 million cut to general education could lead to the loss of 1,117 teachers through attrition.

City education officials, who did not dispute the report's findings, said that by the time the budgeting process was over, they expected school financing levels to remain flat.

"We are at the early stages of budget negotiations, but we do not foresee reductions to school budgets next year and we anticipate that schools will be able to maintain their current staffing levels," a Department of Education spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan, wrote in an e-mail.

Schools in the 39th Council District, which Mr. Lander represents and which includes Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, are in much better shape when it comes to crowded classrooms than are schools in other parts of the city.

In Staten Island, 20 percent of all elementary school students were in classes of at least 30 students. In District 21, which includes Coney Island and Brighton Beach, 19 percent were in large classes. And in District 24 in Queens, which includes Corona, Maspeth, Middle Village and other neighborhoods, 18 percent were in such classes.

Despite a 2007 commitment the city made to reduce class size across all grades, in exchange for more state funding, class sizes have increased in recent years, erasing early gains made during the Bloomberg administration.

Over the last three years, the city has lost 5,300 teachers to attrition and five consecutive rounds of cuts to schools' budgets, a result of the national recession and decreases in state funding - though the overall budget for city schools has grown.

Responding to a question on Monday regarding Mr. Lander's report, Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm disagreed with the idea that teacher attrition led to rising class sizes.

"I ascribe the increase in class size to those areas where actually we are continuing to see overcrowding," she said. "And I think that has more to do with it than anything."

Citing the costs of reducing class size, as well as studies showing that great teachers can raise students' performance more than lowering class size, city officials have focused instead on attracting better teachers to the public schools. They have repeatedly said that while class sizes are increasing, the mayor has blocked deeper cuts that would have made for even larger classes.

Anna M. Phillips is a member of the SchoolBook staff. Follow her on Twitter @annamphillips.


17) Occupy Spring
The protests are back and building to a May Day to remember
Nick Pinto Wednesday, Mar 28 2012

Almost from the moment Occupy Wall Street protesters were evicted from their camp in Zuccotti Park last November, observers have speculated whether the movement was finished, or if it would somehow rebound in the spring.

Dedicated Occupy activists dismissed the possibility that the movement had already run its course and promised an "American Spring," kicking off a new season of activism with May Day events coordinated across the country.

As it turns out, spring came early.

A March 17 rally downtown was originally conceived as a low-key way to mark the sixth anniversary of the movement, but as has happened so many times already in Occupy's history, police overreaction transformed the event into something more than it would have been on its own.

The NYPD responded with a chilling and disproportionate show of force, once again evicting the protesters from the 24-hour park and arresting scores of them with a level of violence Occupy veterans said they hadn't seen before.

Many of those who weren't arrested marched north that night, inaugurating a new camp in Union Square. In response, police have taken to barricading and garrisoning that park at midnight, prompting a nightly standoff with protesters.

Last fall, certain images-the unprovoked pepper-spraying of young women, the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge-threw Occupy Wall Street into the headlines. Already this spring has produced its own galvanizing scenes: the footage of Cecily McMillan, handcuffed and thrashing in a grand mal seizure that might have been brought on by her rough arrest, as police look on without offering medical attention; the video clip of police slamming a medic's head into a window so hard the plate glass spiderwebs; the shots of a 16-year-old girl, her shirt torn and pulled and pink bra exposed as police grab at her.

As much as occupiers still believe that police violence only makes their movement stronger, they also know that though street actions grab headlines, they're not always the best showcase for Occupy's message.

"This is a movement about economic and social injustice," occupier Aaron Black said last week. "We are not an organization that's here to battle the police department."

Protesters are adapting, increasingly countering police force with humor and wit rather than being drawn into dangerous and exhausting showdowns.

Even as street tactics are evolving, the bulk of occupier energy is still focused on planning for May Day.

Recent press accounts have questioned whether Occupy Wall Street has the sort of union support necessary to pull off a major action on May 1 and dismissed the movement's grandiose call for a citywide general strike. After all, the general strike is an artifact of another age of American labor-no U.S. city has seen one since the Taft-Hartley Act made them illegal 65 years ago.

But Occupy Wall Street's May Day organizers still say the day will be the single biggest action the movement has mounted yet. They're working with the May Day Coalition, whose massive 2006 Day Without Immigrants rally effectively revived the observation of May Day in New York. Major unions are on board as well: the Transit Workers Union, the Service Employees International Union, and New Jersey's Industrial Union Council.

"We've been really clear about using language that leaves a lot of different ways for people to take part," says Chris Longenecker, one of the organizers. "It's a 'Day Without the 99 Percent,' a 'Day of Economic Noncompliance.' That can mean not going to work, not buying anything, finding other ways to step out of the system."

During the day, protesters and their partners plan to blockade corporate offices in midtown and the financial district, regrouping in the afternoon for a rally in Union Square featuring musical guests whom organizers aren't ready to name. From there, a march and further disruptive action will carry on into the evening.

At the same time, other Occupy working groups will be setting up kitchens in New York's food deserts-neighborhoods where it's next to impossible to find anything fresh to eat. A team of lawyers and volunteers will be calling attention to the unfairness of the criminal-justice system by posting bail for arrestees moldering in Rikers because they can't afford the $500 to go home to their jobs and families while they await trial.

"There's going to be a lot going on," Longenecker says. "May Day is our coming-out party as a radical movement."

Spring is just starting. And as NYPD detective Rick "Hipster Cop" Lee observed wearily while escorting a march last week, "It's going to be a very long summer."


18) Occupy May Day: Not Your Usual General Strike
Based on a talk by Jeremy Brecher to Occupy University, Zuccotti Park
by Jeremy Brecher
Published on Monday, March 26, 2012 by Common Dreams

Last December, Occupy Los Angeles proposed a General Strike on May 1 "for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace - and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights." The idea has spread through the Occupy movement. Occupy Wall Street in New York recently expressed solidarity with the proposal and called for "a day without the 99%, general strike, and more!" with "no work, no school, no housework, no shopping, take the streets!" Reactions are ranging from enthusiastic support to outraged skepticism. What form might such an action take, and what if anything might it achieve?

General Strikes and Mass Strikes

One thing is for sure: Such a May Day action is unlikely to be very much like the general strikes that have cropped up occasionally in US labor history in cities like Seattle, Oakland, and Stamford, Ct., or the ones that are a staple of political protest in Europe. These are typically conducted by unions whose action is called for and coordinated by central labor councils or national labor federations. But barely twelve percent of American workers are even members of unions, and American unions and their leaders risk management reprisals and even criminal charges for simply endorsing such a strike.

Most Occupy May Day advocates understand that a conventional general strike is not in the cards. What they are advocating instead is a day in which members of the "99%" take whatever actions they can to withdraw from participation in the normal workings of the economic system -- by not working if that is an option, but also by not shopping, not banking, and not engaging in other "normal" everyday activities, and by joining demonstrations, marches, disruptions, occupations, and other mass actions.

This is the pattern that was followed by the Oakland General Strike last November. Those who wanted to and could - a small minority - didn't go to work. There was mass participation in rallies, marches, educational, and artistic events and a free lunch for all. At the end of the day a march, combined with some walkouts, closed the Port of Oakland. The mostly peaceful "general strike," in contrast to later violent Oakland confrontations, won wide participation and support.

To understand what the significance of such an event might be, it helps to look at what Rosa Luxemburg called periods of "mass strike." These were not single events, but rather whole periods of intensified class conflict in which working people began to see and act on their common interests through a great variety of activities, including strikes, general strikes, occupations, and militant confrontations.

Such periods of mass strike have occurred repeatedly in US labor history. For example:
· In 1877, in the midst of deep depression and a near-obliteration of trade unions, workers shut down the country's dominant industry, the railroads, shut down most factories in dozens of cities, battled police and state militias, and only were suppressed when the US Army and other armed forces killed more than a hundred participants and onlookers.

· In the two years from 1884 to 1886, workers swelled the Knights of Labor ten-fold from 70,000 members to 700,000 members. In 1886, more than half-a-million workers in scores of cities joined a May 1st strike for the eight-hour day. The movement was broken by a reign of terror that followed a police attack that is usually but perversely referred to as the "Haymarket Riot." May Day became a global labor holiday in honor of the "Haymarket Martyrs" who were tried by a judge so prejudiced against them that their execution has often been referred to as "judicial murder."

· In 1937, hundreds of thousands of workers occupied their factories and other workplaces in "sitdown strikes" and housewives, students, and many other people applied the same tactic to address their own grievances.

· In 1970, in the midst of national upheavals around the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement, and a widespread youth revolt, postal workers, teamsters, and others took part in an unprecedented wave of wildcat strikes, while miners held a month-long political strike in West Virginia to successfully demand justice for victims of black lung disease.

Such periods of mass strike present what Rosa Luxemburg called "A perpetually moving and changing sea of phenomena." Each is unique in its events and its unfolding. But they are all marked by an expanding challenge to established authority, a widening solidarity among different groups of working people, and a growing assertion by workers of control over their own activity.

In periods of mass strike working people become increasingly aware of themselves as a group with a common situation, common problems, and common opponents. They organize themselves in a great variety of ways. They become aware of their capacity to act collectively. They become aware of their potential power. And they opt to act collectively.

However much it may chagrin organizers and radicals, it is not possible to call or instigate a mass strike. It is something that must gestate in workplaces and communities (now including virtual communities). But it is possible to nurture and influence the emergence of mass strikes through discussion and above all through exemplary action. Provoking discussion and showing the possibilities of collective action is what Occupy Wall Street has done so well. That is what its May Day action can potentially do.

What Occupy May Day Could Achieve

The Occupy May Day event is first of all a great chance for 99% to show itself, see itself, and express itself - to represent itself to itself and to others. The kinds of plans that are being made by OWS in New York, with a wide variety of ways in which people are being invited to participate, can encourage multiple levels of sympathy, response, connection, and mobilization among the 99%. The result can be a percolation of the ideas OWS has been promoting through workplaces, communities, and other milieus.

May Day can provide a teachable moment. It is an opportunity for millions of people to contemplate the power that arises from collectively withdrawing cooperation and consent. It can propagate the idea of self-organization, for example through general assemblies. If it truly draws together a wide range of working people, ranging from the most impoverished to professionals, from urban to suburban to rural, and including African Americans, Latinos, whites, and immigrants, it can embody the ability of the 99% to act as a group. It can demonstrate the idea of solidarity, for example by the movement as a whole supporting the needs of some particular groups. And because May Day is a global working class holiday which will be celebrated all over the world, it can reveal a rarely seen vision of a global working class of which we are as individuals and as members of diverse groups are part.

Given these possibilities, what would constitute success for May Day? Here are some examples of desirable outcomes:

· Reveal that there is a 99% movement that is far wider than the subset of its members who can confront the police and sleep in downtown parks.

· Encourage a large number of people who have not done so before to identify with and participate in some way with the "99% movement."

· Project core issues of the 99% -- like the list above from Occupy LA -into the pubic arena.

· Raise issues that are crucial for the future of the 99% -- notably the climate crisis and the destruction of the Earth's environment - that have not yet been recognized as part of the Occupy critique of financial institutions and corporate capitalism.

· Evoke self-organization in workplaces, for example general assemblies among workmates, on the job if possible, in the parking lot or another venue if not.
· Create a self-awareness of the global 99% -- possible because May Day is celebrated globally.

Unions and May Day

American unions are bound by laws specifically designed to prevent them from taking part in strikes about issues outside their own workplace, such as sympathetic strikes and political strikes. In most cases they are also banned from participating in strikes while they have a contract. Unions that violate these prohibitions are subject to crushing fines and loss of bargaining rights. Their leaders can be packed off to jail. While unions have at times struck anyway, they are unlikely to do so for something like the May Day general strike until the level of class conflict has risen so high that workers are willing to face such consequences.

Historically, American unions have also opposed their members' participation in strikes union officials have not authorized because they wished to exercise a monopoly of authority over their members' collective action. In labor movement parlance, such unauthorized actions were condemned as "dual unionism." US unions have often disciplined and sometimes supported the firing and blacklisting of workers who struck without official authorization. As a result, unions have often deterred their members from participating in mass strike actions even when the rank and file wanted to.

The Occupy movement, however, should not be seen as a competitor to existing unions. It is not about relations between a group of workers and their employer. It does not engage or wish to engage in collective bargaining. Although it supports the right of workers to organize themselves, it is not a union. It focuses on broader social issues. It is a class movement of the 99%, not a labor or trade union movement.

Unions in New York and elsewhere are eager to participate in coalition actions with the Occupy movement - and they are planning to do so on May Day. But to ask them to instruct their members to strike may be to ask them to commit institutional suicide.
One approach to this dilemma may be for unions to say they will abide by the law and not order their members to strike, but that as human beings and as people living under the US Constitution their members are not slaves and cannot be compelled to work against their will. Where union members want to participate in May Day by not going to work, unions can say, we did not tell them to strike, but we do not have the right to force anyone to work against their will. A historical precedent: When Illinois miners repeatedly went on extended wildcat strikes and Mineworker leader Alexander Howat was commanded to order them back to work, he would simply reply that since he had not ordered the strikers out, he could not order them back.

Organized labor has to change, and activities like Occupy's May Day can contribute to that change. But they can do so at this point not by making impossible demands on union leaders but by inspiration, example, solidarity, and providing alternative experiences for union members.

Global Mass Strike

We are today in the midst of an unrecognized global mass strike - witness the mass upheavals reported in the news almost daily from countries around the world. Wisconsin and Occupy Wall Street represent the first stirrings of American workers to join this global movement. May Day 2012 will be a global event, and it presents an opportunity to create a new self-awareness of the global 99% and its ability to act collectively.
While the Occupy movement has focused on the issues of economic injustice, it is increasingly addressing another issue that is central to the well being of the 99% -- indeed of all people - nationally and globally. In January a resolution passed by consensus at the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly stated, "We are at a dangerous tipping point in history. The destruction of our planet and climate change are almost at a point of no return."

While climate denialism is still rife in the US, the rest of the world recognizes the existential threat of catastrophic climate change and the necessity of converting the world's economy to a climate-safe basis. The labor movement in the rest of the world is committed to the economic transformation necessary to save the Earth's climate. That transformation can be the core of an emerging global program to create a secure economic and environmental future for all by putting the world's people to work transforming the world's economy to a low-pollution, climate-friendly, sustainable basis.

May Day has been an international labor holiday for more than a century. But for millennia it has been a day for the celebration of nature. This May Day can be an opportunity to draw the two together to represent the common global interest in creating work for all reconstructing the global economy to protect rather than destroy the Earth.

Jeremy Brecher is a historian whose books include Strike!, Globalization from Below, and, co-edited with Brendan Smith and Jill Cutler, In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond (Metropolitan/Holt). He has received five regional Emmy Awards for his documentary film work. He is a co-founder of


19) Reports indicate Toulouse gunman was French intelligence asset
By Alex Lantier
28 March 2012

Press reports and comments by top intelligence officials suggest that Mohamed Merah, the alleged gunman who killed seven people including three Jewish schoolchildren in a nine-day shooting spree in Toulouse, was a French intelligence asset.

These revelations raise questions about French intelligence's failure to stop Merah, and whether this failure was dictated by political considerations. The investigation of Merah was led by the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI), run by Bernard Squarcini-a close associate of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy, previously running far behind Socialist Party (PS) candidate François Hollande in next month's presidential elections, has benefited from massive media coverage after the attacks and now is catching up to Hollande in polls.

In a March 23 Le Monde interview, Squarcini had confirmed that Merah had traveled extensively in the Middle East, even though his legal earnings were roughly at the minimum wage: "He spent time with his brother in Cairo after having traveled in the Near East: Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and even Israel. ... Then he went to Afghanistan via Tajikistan. He took unusual routes and did not appear on our radars, nor those of French, American, or local foreign intelligence services."

Squarcini apparently aimed to bolster the official explanation for Merah's ability to escape police: he was an undetectable "self-radicalized lone wolf."

This story is being shattered by revelations that French intelligence agencies were apparently in close contact with Merah, trying to develop him as an informant inside Islamist networks.

Yesterday Les Inrockuptibles noted Italian reports that Merah worked for France's main foreign intelligence agency, the General Directorate of External Security (DGSE). It cited the paper Il Foglio: "According to intelligence sources that spoke to Il Foglio, the General Directorate of External Security obtained entry into Israel for him in 2010, presenting him as an informant, passing through a border post with Jordan. ... His entry into Israel, covered by the French, sought to prove to the jihadist network that he could cross borders with a European passport."

Contacted by Les Inrockuptibles, the DGSE refused to confirm or deny Il Foglio's story: "The DGSE does not discuss its sources or its operations, real or imagined."

In comments yesterday to La Dépêche du Midi, Yves Bonnet-the former chief of the Territorial Surveillance Directorate (DST), now absorbed into the DCRI-also asked whether Merah was a DCRI asset.

Bonnet said, "What is nonetheless surprising is that he was known to the DCRI, not only because he was an Islamist, but because he had a correspondent at the domestic intelligence agency. Having a correspondent, it is unusual. It's not unexceptional. Call it a correspondent, call it a handler ... I don't know how far his relations or his collaboration with the service went, but one can ask questions."

Squarcini denied yesterday that Merah was "an informant of the DCRI or of any French or foreign service." However, his interview in Le Monde suggests that Merah was precisely that.

By Squarcini's own admission, Merah repeatedly visited DCRI offices after his trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan-in October and November 2011-to discuss what he had seen. Squarcini called this "an administrative interview without coercion, as we were not in a judicial setting." Thus Merah was freely giving the DCRI information it wanted to know; that is, he acted as an informant, officially or otherwise.

These revelations make officials' failure to identify and stop Merah all the more inexplicable. They also raise the issue of whether French intelligence officials were behind the highly irregular delays in the investigation of the shootings.

Though the shootings took place on March 11, March 15, and March 19, Merah only fell under suspicion on March 20-after police compared a short list of Toulouse-area Islamists with a list of IP addresses of computers having browsed an Internet ad posted by the March 11 murder victim.

Journalist Didier Hassoux told Les Inrockuptibles that police obtained the list of 576 IP addresses "when the first killing, of a soldier, was reported"-that is, on March 11. However, according to surveillance technology specialist Jean-Marc Manach, the IP addresses were not sent on to

Internet service providers (ISPs) for identification until five days later, on March 16. The ISPs responded the next day.

This five-day delay is very unusual,

Manach notes: "Police sources told me that such operations [to obtain individual identities from ISPs] take only a few minutes. Another source, among those who usually respond to such judicial requests, said that they take '48 hours maximum.'"

In a further blow to the official account of Merah as a "lone wolf," a video of the killings made by the gunman arrived to Al Jazeera late on Monday, in an envelope postmarked Wednesday, March 21. However, on that day Mohamed Merah was holed up inside his apartment under siege by police, who had also detained his brother, Abdelkader. It is unclear who mailed the video, which had been heavily edited to disguise voices-raising the possibility that Merah had accomplices in the killings.

French officials reacted ferociously to news of the video. Sarkozy called for any television channel obtaining such images not to broadcast them, while Hollande warned that Al Jazeera could lose its right to broadcast in France if it publicized the video.
Hollande's stance on the Toulouse video reflects the capitulation of the bourgeois "left" parties in France to law-and-order hysteria after these tragic shootings. No one has demanded an investigation of the intelligence agencies' role in the killings, though they now reek of a state operation. Nor have the French Communist Party, the New Anti-capitalist Party, or the PS pointed out that the Sarkozy administration, which has benefited electorally from the crime, faces legitimate suspicion that it might be involved.

This reflects the degeneration of the entire political establishment. Having backed imperialist wars in Muslim countries and waves of social cuts in France-as social-democratic officials in Greece pushed through even more devastating cuts demanded by the European Union-the "left" parties themselves now rely on chauvinist invocations of anti-Muslim patriotism. This leaves them prostrate before the security services and the Sarkozy administration's attempt to turn the Toulouse shootings into the basis for what appears to be a political coup.


20) Suit Accuses Police of Violating Rights of Residents in Private Buildings
March 28, 2012, 11:29 am

Updated, 12:50 p.m. | A civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the New York Police Department of carrying out tens of thousands of unjustified stops in privately owned buildings in the city where the landlords have authorized officers to enter and given them keys.

The suit, which seeks class action status, mirrors a claim in a separate federal lawsuit against the Police Department involving stops inside public housing projects.

The Police Department has come under intense criticism for its stop-and-frisk practices, which detractors say unfairly and overwhelmingly targets blacks and Latinos. The Police Department argues that its tactics, including the patrolling of private buildings, have contributed to a sharp reduction in crime.

"By challenging uninvited individuals, police are providing a level of safety to tenants that residents of doormen buildings take for granted," said Paul J Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, involves what is known as the "Clean Halls" program and includes 16,000 buildings throughout the city, many of them in the Bronx. Landlords who participate in the program register with the Police Department.

Civil rights lawyers say police officers view the invitation to enter - denoted by a metal sign outside a building - as a license to roam hallways, laundry rooms and stairwells questioning people and making arrests on charges of trespassing that are sometimes unjustified. Some residents feel compelled to carry identification when doing mundane tasks like retrieving mail or doing laundry for fear of being arrested for trespassing, the suit said.

Beyond that, officers have extended this practice to sidewalks around the buildings that participate in the program, according to lawyers for the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Besides residents, visitors and people in the vicinity of the buildings are often stopped by the police.

As a result, the suit said, "Residents of some Clean Halls Buildings warn
their friends, family members, and others not to visit them for fear that they will be stopped, questioned, searched, and issued summonses or arrested for trespassing by NYPD officers. Consequently, residents of Clean Halls Buildings are restricted in their ability to maintain familial ties, friendships, and other relationships with individuals of their choosing."

At a news conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, several plaintiffs spoke of living under such conditions that too often feel like a police state.

The suit details the experiences of several residents of privately-owned buildings who claim to be stopped by the police even though they had committed any wrongdoing.

In one instance, a 17-year-old boy who lives in a building in the Bronx describes being stopped by the police and questioned after returning from buying ketchup for dinner. His mother, according to the suit, was asked by officers to come down to the lobby of the building and verify her son's identify.


21) Judge Bars Imported Drugs in Executions
March 27, 2012

A federal judge has prohibited the use of imported death penalty drugs and has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to collect the drugs from any states that have imported them. Judge Richard J. Leon of the Federal District Court in Washington ruled Tuesday in a case brought on behalf of death row inmates in Arizona, California and Tennessee. States that use sodium thiopental to render prisoners unconscious as part of their execution protocols reached out to foreign suppliers when the sole domestic manufacturer stopped producing the drug, which had not been approved for importation. The F.D.A. said it had no jurisdiction over execution drugs. Judge Leon wrote that the agency "appears to be simply wrapping itself in the flag of law enforcement discretion to justify its authority and masquerade an otherwise seemingly callous indifference to the health consequences of those imminently facing the executioner's needle. How utterly disappointing!" Bradford Berenson, a lawyer for the inmates, said the decision proved that "even death row inmates are entitled to the protection of the law."


22) How Far We Haven't Come] One in Five Pharmacies Lie to Teens About the Morning After Pill
by Kim LaCapria, examining the sorry state of women’s issues in America in the current political climate.
March 28, 2012

As the debate over contraception (an issue women believed was sorted out sometime in the 1970′s) continues to rage on in America, a new study surrounding the morning after pill in the medical journal Pediatrics offers some sad statistics on teens’ access to the widely-available medication, even when they are legally entitled to it.

It should be noted here that this is an issue almost entirely shouldered by female teenagers. While many teens are sexually active, the repercussions of sex fall squarely (as always) on the girls, with no boys being denied emergency contraception after sex. It should also be noted that the morning after pill is not an abortion pill, and it is chemically incapable of causing a miscarriage or threatening a pregnancy. It’s sad and pathetic that nearly all the righteous anger and slut-shaming that occurs never turns a similar spotlight on male teens, and male teens are almost never held to account for having sex- but females are almost always branded irresponsible trollops for the same behavior,

The morning after pill (which I will again point out is the some of the worst marketing ever, in the selection of that name) is a higher dose of available birth control pills to prevent pregnancy before conception occurs. Which, if you are against abortion, you should support in order to prevent the likelihood of an abortion. But most of all, no one should be crowing about “responsibility,” first and foremost because males have been shirking theirs in the matter of teen sex since the dawn of humanity, but more so because the foresight to obtain the morning after pill and prevent and abortion or unplanned child is a responsible move in and of itself.

But when teens (who are least able generally to prepare for an adequately raise a child in society) are in need of the medication, researchers in the Pediatrics study found, one in five are unable to obtain the morning after pill. And it seems ignorance of federal law mandating the pill be made available to 17-year-old girls isn’t the only thing at play here, as the New York Daily News notes:

“Posing as 17-year-old girls, researchers called each drugstore requesting Plan B, the emergency contraceptive to be taken after unprotected sex, saying, “If I’m 17, is that okay?” reports. Almost 20% of the drugstores denied the “17-year-olds” access to the pill, despite the Food and Drug Administration having passed a law in 2009 requiring the “morning after” pills be made available to the young adults… When the researchers called the same pharmacies posing as doctors, only 3% of the drugstores said the over-the-counter pills weren’t available.”

Whether the pharmacies offered to tattoo scarlet letter As on the chests of the girls at no additional cost is unclear. When not taken within 12 hours of intercourse, risk of pregnancy rises 50% even when the morning after pill is available- so such ignorance or obfuscation on the part of pharmacies should be taken very seriously indeed.


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