Monthly Archives: April 2012
“Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today. It’s the same, but with a new name. They’re practicing slavery under color of law,” writes Ruchell Cinque Magee. America’s history of prison labor began before slavery ended. After the Civil War, private companies leased prisoners and sold their products for profit. Laws criminalizing harmless activities dramatically increased the number of Blacks in Southern prisons. This set the pattern that today has the prison industry rated #6 of the top 10 fastest growing industries in the U.S.
Waging and winning the cultural revolution means throwing off oppression by convincing the people that the interests of the ruling 1% are opposite, not identical to those of the 99%. The reassertion of the cultural revolution is necessary if the movement is to realize actual success and not become just another footnote in the crushed movements of American history.
A little over a month after CDCR released its “Security Threat Group Prevention, Identification and Management Strategy,” which proposes new gang validation and SHU step down procedures, the department has called a meeting with members of the mediation team advocating on behalf of SHU and Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg or ASU) prisoners.
Occupy Fly’s hearing Friday, April 27, 9 a.m., 850 Bryant, SF! Help him now before it is too late. We should not just sit by doing business as usual while his freedom is about to end. We have an opportunity here to make a difference. We must mourn and seek justice for our dead, but we should just as strongly fight for the freedom of our living. We need to own that courtroom. Fly is putting the SFPD on trial. The right to videotape police is on trial here. Everybody video the police, not in the courtroom but in the hallways and outside. Bring your phones, cameras and camcorders and use them.
Monday the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released “The Future of California Corrections: A Blueprint to Save Billions of Dollars, End Federal Court Oversight and Improve the Prison System,” an attempt to overhaul and redirect a prison system that has been floundering for at least a decade.
On April 18, a picket was called by the KPFA members of CWA Local 9415 to demand the firing of the anti-labor law firm Jackson Lewis. The firm has been retained to provide legal services to Pacifica, which owns the five stations on its network, including KPFA. Over 80 percent of the workers at KPFA are unpaid volunteers who are not represented by the union.
Policing in our cities is a militarized process, with features quite similar to counter-insurgency in war zones. Just within California, the LAPD trained U.S. soldiers going to Iraq in urban policing, returning soldiers from Afghanistan have trained the Salinas anti-gang squad, and Israeli police and Bahranian military recently trained the Oakland Police and UC-Berkeley police.
These are clear signs that we can use the City’s local hiring policy to get more local workers onto public projects and break cycles of poverty in our most disadvantaged communities while continuing to save taxpayer money on construction. Our local hiring law is a new model for how community groups and labor can work together to rebuild cities.
I refuse to believe that I should be treated like an animal so that prison guards and politicians can line their pockets. The prison system has made solitary confinement a lucrative business. Housing us in solitary confinement costs $30,000 more than housing us in the general population.
Oscar Grant. Kenneth Harding. Trayvon Martin. These are just a few names of young Black men who have yet to receive justice in the criminal justice system. Dregs One addresses the issue of police brutality and the abuses of power that have been committed by police and the justice system.
Says Archbishop King: “I’m more concerned about my neighbor or his grandmother who labored in the shipyard to get these houses – living clean, doing right and being honest, hardworking people on the principles they brought from the South. ... Thousands of people were illegally foreclosed and evicted from their homes by a bank that had no authority or right to do that." Sign the Change.org petition to save Archbishop King's home.
After spending almost 30 years on death row, Abu-Jamal told RT’s Anastasia Churkina: “The truth is I’ve spent most of my living years in my lifetime on death row. So in many ways, even to this day, in my own mind, if not in fact, I’m still on death row.”
It’s high time for CPUC to explore clean, affordable replacement for nuclear power, especially since San Onofre’s two reactors have been out of service for months, and on April 6 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shut it down indefinitely. The issue is back on CPUC's agenda April 19, 9 a.m., at 505 Van Ness, San Francisco.
A press conference will be held Wednesday, April 18, at 3:30 p.m., on the spot where Fly Benzo (DeBray Carpenter) was arrested in October, in Mendell Plaza at Third Street and Palou in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point. Fly Benzo, resistance leader for justice for police murder victim Kenneth Harding, is campaigning against trumped up misdemeanor charges. He faces probation or up to three years in county jail at his sentencing hearing on Friday, April 20, 9 a.m., in Department 27 at 850 Bryant, San Francisco.
The majority of the 4,699 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons refused their meals on Prisoners’ Day, while 1,200 of them promise to hunger strike indefinitely to protest unfair conditions. Over 40 protesters occupied the headquarters of BBC Scotland in Glasgow, demanding mainstream media coverage for the Palestinian prisoners who began hunger strikes today.
The SFMTA board of directors will take a decisive vote April 17 at 1 p.m. in Room 400, City Hall, on a resolution supporting free Muni for the city’s youth. At its April 3 meeting, the MTA board split 3-3, with half of the directors supporting free transit for all youth and half supporting a program for qualifying low-income youth.
Sundiata Acoli is preparing to go before the parole board again for his newly won 2012 parole hearing. He is now the longest held prisoner in New Jersey’s history of similar convictions. He sends his warmest shout out of solidarity and strength to all those participating in or supporting the California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike.
The Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law has filed a petition to the United Nations on behalf of hundreds of prisoners kept in solitary confinement in California prisons and subject to treatment amounting to torture and violating international human rights norms.
I really believe the time is ripe to force change – it can be done with peaceful protest type activity. But it will require direct action. Families and loved ones need to rally together for the common cause and make a solid, hard core stand to demand changes. “Rights” are not given; they are taken by the people!
The recently released data reveal that in San Francisco Unified, Black suspension rates are more than six times the rate for whites (14.4 percent vs. 2.2 percent), and the Hispanic expulsion rate is 5 percent. Black males stood out, with 20 percent (one in five) being suspended from school during the 2009-10 school year.
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