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California and the U.S.

People helping people survive Harvey: Dispatches from Beaumont and Houston

September 16, 2017

I spoke to Jonathan Chartian this morning. Released from prison Dec. 14, 2016, he is confined to his home when not at work, his job suspended since Hurricane Harvey. He is really concerned about the excessive show of police and military presence, which is not protecting the rights of citizens, rather complicating an already volatile situation between Black and Brown people and law enforcement.

Mercury in retrograde: Las Vegas cops assault NFL star Michael Bennett

September 13, 2017

Las Vegas cops jumped NFL star Michael Bennett, held a gun to his head and threatened to blow it off. How else could they have chosen the perfect target to prove that the U.S. is a racist police state? How else could their police union have followed up with a letter imploring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate Bennett for defaming them by telling his story and claiming that the LVPD had racially profiled him? You can’t make this stuff up.

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Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C.

September 6, 2017

Saturday morning, Aug. 19, the day dawned bright and sunny, not a hint of the rain that drenched us the evening before. At 10:30 a.m. when I arrived at Freedom Plaza, there were people with posters and event T-shirts and a brother with a bullhorn. Robert King and Albert Woodfox were there in Amend the 13th T-shirts. King was passing out information about the law – the constitutional amendment – that legalizes slavery. Later on, at the rally, he would conclude the event, which lasted about five hours.

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New Abolitionist Movement on the march

September 5, 2017

Aug. 19 at 11:00 a.m., courageous and loving folks in San Jose, Calif., joined with sister marches and rallies throughout the country in support of prisoners’ human rights and amending the 13th. Their courage is found in the rejection of an institution so prevalent and insidious that any criticism can bring a mountain of ridicule and judgment. It is an institution shielded by a centuries old narrative that tells people, “They are not like us,” and consequently, “they” are undeserving of our humanity.

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Economics of empire drowns Houston

September 4, 2017

The North American African’s visceral response to the Lone Star State, Texas, is complex, yet not complicated. If ever a geography was seeped in policies that inhibit the freedoms of Black and, more recently, Brown people, Texas is that state or should we say country? Like California, another country with a GNP reach beyond these shores means that what happens in Houston impacts the nation, whether citizens realize this or not. Hurricanes are not unusual to the region, yet Hurricane Harvey dumped more water on the region than expected and caused much displacement and damage.

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Colin Kaepernick salutes Fred Hampton, as NFL continues to snub him

September 3, 2017

On Aug. 30, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick posted birthday wishes to Fred Hampton with Hampton’s picture and a quotation of something he said: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” The 49ers played the Chicago Bears last year on Dec. 4, 2016, the anniversary of Hampton’s assassination by a tactical unit of state, city and federal officers. Kaepernick wore a Fred Hampton T-shirt to the postgame press conference.

U.S. budget priorities

August 31, 2017

How much of our defense budget is actually spent on defense? How many U.S. military bases, estimated to be in 150 to 170 countries, do we need to defend ourselves? How much is to protect corporate trade routes or the war for oil? It is important to note that not one other country has a military base on our soil. Since the early 1960s, 50 to 60 percent of discretionary spending has been for the military. 2018 U.S. military spending: $696 billion

War on marijuana and disparate policing in communities of color must end

August 31, 2017

I went into law school thinking that I wanted to be a civil rights attorney. I wanted to use my law degree to fight the many systems of oppression that plagued and terrorized the communities that mattered to me. It wasn’t until my third year of law school, that I recognized current cannabis policies as a legitimate social justice issue – particularly due to the way marijuana prohibition is enforced.

How about erecting monuments to the heroes of Reconstruction?

August 30, 2017

There is an alternative politics of memory that Americans can also practice, and it might help to keep fascists out of public squares and do something concrete, literally at the same time: Honor Reconstruction. Remembering Reconstruction ought not to shunt aside the politics of Confederate memorials. Yet remembering this pivotal era certainly deserves to be built into the new national politics of memory. The sesquicentennial of Reconstruction is September 1, 2017.

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Maxine Waters warns ‘alt-right haters’: ‘If you come for me, I’m coming for you’

August 29, 2017

Rep. Maxine Waters delivered a mic-dropping speech at the Black Girls Rock! award show, taped Aug. 5 and broadcast Aug. 22, thanking her supporters and sternly reminding her critics that she is a strong Black woman who will not be intimidated. Waters, who was recognized as the honoree for the show’s social humanitarian award, began her speech by underscoring the importance of safe spaces like Black Girls Rock! and reiterated why representation matters.

The ‘howl’ of justice

August 29, 2017

JUSTICE does not mean fairness, rightness or equity, as most people think it does, implying something good they should seek for themselves. Quite the opposite, it means ritualized punishment or retribution. Most people in prison can tell you that, once arrested, your cry for justice will only be answered by the “yap and howl” of a dog on a short chain – the masters’ “household pet.”

Outing the Bay Area campaign contributors to KKK fascist David Duke

August 28, 2017

According to Wikipedia, David Ernest Duke, born July 1, 1950, is an American white nationalist, politician, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon and former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Some have suggested that the best way to fight back against all the hate being spread around by the Trump regime, the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, is by exposing the supporters of hate and violence in the good old USA. One place to start exposing them would be to expose some of the local supporters of David Duke who reside in the Bay Area.

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Another Trump disgrace: Racism and white supremacy must never be pardoned

August 28, 2017

After thousands in Phoenix had rallied in support of immigrants to loudly denounce Trump’s attempts to pardon White supremacy, President Trump did it anyway. He pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for criminal contempt for disobeying a federal court judge’s order to stop the unconstitutional practice of detaining individuals based solely on suspicion about their immigration status.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee: There is no military solution in Afghanistan

August 28, 2017

When Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement Aug. 21 opposing President Trump’s announced plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Sixteen years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan,” and for 16 years she has “waged a lonely crusade to repeal the war resolution.” Her warning that it would lead to “war without end” seems fulfilled by Trump’s announcement he’s sending more troops continue the war.

As a nation grapples with white supremacy, the Millions for Prisoners March comes at the perfect time

August 23, 2017

In the wake of the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the left’s anti-fascist response to defend that community and the death of Heather Heyer, a rally that had been planned and organized over a two-year period by imprisoned people and the grassroots prison advocacy group IAMWE offered a powerful opportunity for those looking to actively confront white supremacy. Their demand is the end of slavery in America  –  the elimination of the “exception clause” in the 13th Amendment.

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NFL ‘Blackout’ for Kaepernick

August 21, 2017

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job with the NFL. However, the protest he began by kneeling during the national anthem at last season’s games keeps growing. A group of Black community leaders and pastors have announced an NFL “BlackOut” unless and until Colin Kaepernick is signed to play with an NFL team. They introduced their movement in a YouTube video.

Millions for Prisoners Human Rights: Marchers in DC and San Jose demand abolition of slavery

August 20, 2017

Called by prisoners to give voice to their demand to strike the slavery clause from the 13th Amendment – making slavery legal “as a punishment for crime,” thus legally holding 2.3 million imprisoned Americans in slavery today – thousands turned out in as many as 16 cities in the middle of Black August, on Aug. 19, 2017, to abolish slavery and end mass incarceration. In San José, about 200 marched to the county jail for a rally with powerful speakers who saluted the prisoners and inspired the crowd.

Like Jeff Davis, Trump’s in a ‘tight place’

August 16, 2017

Even though many whites thought of him as the father of the “lost cause,” Jefferson Davis was for most African-Americans what racism symbolizes. From the end of slavery, recently freed ex-slaves felt the same way about him. Ex-slave Dilly Yellandy remembers, “Old Jeff Davis said he wus goin’ to fight de Yankees till hell wus so full of em dat their legs us hangin’ over de sides.” Slaves like Mr. Yellandy had heard about Jeff Davis, all right. They had heard about how he tried to run away and hide in a hole, like a fox, and how he tried to escape by wearing his wife’s dress.

Free Alabama Movement and its Queen Team salute SF Bay View on eve of Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March

August 16, 2017

On the weekend of Aug. 19, 2017, a historic event, the Millions for Prisoners March will take place in Washington, D.C., to bring awareness to a constitutional injustice and a banquet to honor and celebrate 41 years of service of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. In the midst of this fight for freedom, it is an honor to be a part of such a historical event, it is an even bigger honor to be a part of a coalition that shares the same views for freedom and vision to preserve a much needed tool in the fight for freedom. The San Francisco Bay View is one of those much needed tools to aid in this fight.

Fast and fatal: Car plows into crowd protesting Unite the Right rally to save Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville park

August 12, 2017

It happened today in downtown Charlottesville, Va., on the second of a planned three-day rally dubbed “Unite the Right.” Thousands of counter-protesters summoned by Black Lives Matter and an allied white group, Showing Up for Racial Justice, surrounded about 500 neo-Nazis, including former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke. “Witnesses said a crowd of counterdemonstrators was moving up Fourth Street, near the mall, when a gray sports car came down the road and accelerated, mowing down several people and hurling at least two in the air.“

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