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2018 September

Monthly Archives: September 2018

Missouri prisoners protesting ad-seg restrictions in run-up to National Prison Strike shackled to iron...

The prisoners of Missouri’s South Central Correctional Center’s ad-seg units have initiated a consolidated effort to protest and change the conditions found not only at the facility, but in every other Level 5 institution across the state. Prisoners began to refuse their cellmates on the basis of protective custody, after which they are placed on iron benches, shackled with hands behind their backs for hours at a time where they are denied meals and, due to overcrowding, not offered any alternative cell to go to – ultimately forcing prisoners to accept living in a volatile situation just in order to get to eat.

Race and cash in the Assembly 15 campaign: Jovanka Beckles breaks the mold

Two underlying dynamics are at work in the East Bay race to represent Assembly District 15 in Sacramento. One is a contest between a traditional big-money campaign and an insurgent, volunteer-driven, grassroots campaign. The other is a subterranean racial dynamic. The campaign between out Black lesbian, eight-year Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, 55, and campaign professional Buffy Wicks, 41, is increasingly testy. The Assembly seat was previously occupied by Tony Thurmond. If Beckles is not elected, the East Bay African American community will have no representative in Sacramento.

The deafening drumbeat of the unfree

Above the din of disturbing news – that discordant banging you’re hearing, steadily getting louder and louder, that you can no longer ignore – that’s the drumbeat of the unfree. Dehumanized by the labels “prisoner,” “inmate” and “convict,” even reduced to serial numbers like Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables,” these men and women are, just like you and me, or any mortal – irrespective of flaws, frailties, even felonious acts and misdemeanors – endowed with the right to be treated with dignity, decency and respect.

Greg Curry: Black August at Ohio State Penitentiary

As for the events inside of this prison, with all attempts to FREE people, you first have to wake them up to their condition. In my pod, I started sharing reading material, about the value of their labor, about Black August events across the country and how just by refusing to continue to work for cops that treat them so bad that they could make a difference. Although this strike took place ahead of the nationally planned Black August dates, for three weeks this strike was every bit Black August inspired and I hope we made all our comrades past and present proud.

New report calculates the first unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated people: 27 percent, highest...

For the 5 million formerly incarcerated people living in the U.S., landing a job means more than just personal success: It means finding a place in their communities and being able to care for their loved ones again. It’s well known that the obstacles to finding a job are severe for people who have been to prison. The scale of this problem, however, has been difficult to measure – until now.

Standing in revolution: Laure McElroy joined the ancestors BlackAugust 31, 2018

“You were right, Tiny. Interdependence does work for us poor mamas.” My revolutionary poet, fellow welfareQUEEN at POOR Magazine and co-founder of Homefulness and KEXU radio Laure McElroy and I spoke quietly on the phone in the kind of intimacy befitting deep sister comrades like we were and had been for many years of deep struggle and deep resistance. Writing this today is so hard for me between tears and pain. I’m so unsure of how to go on without her love. On Sunday, Sept. 23, we held a multi-nationed tree-planting ceremony in Laure’s honor at Homefulness.

The old Dixie Boys in Florida still have that Jim Crow mindset

On Aug. 21 until Sept. 9, there was supposed to be a nationwide protest within the penal system. Aug. 21 is the anniversary of Black Panther Gen. George Jackson being killed by the pigs and Sept. 9 is the anniversary of the 1971 Attica Rebellion. Mr. Jackson was a true revolutionary and the Attica Rebellion was a revolutionary time in history. The people have no idea of class struggle.

Jovanka vs. Buffy: In Assembly District 15 race, it’s a choice between local roots...

This year’s primary contest to replace Tony Thurmond as Assembly District 15 representative in Sacramento produced what one local political observer called “the strongest field in California legislative history.” The “all-star” cast of talented public servants included six serving members of East Bay city councils or elected boards. Most of those who did not succeed in their primary campaigns have since rallied around one of their own, Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, a leader of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

Heroic or heinous: The death penalty case of Thomas Porter

Thomas Porter is a 42-year-old Black man held on Virginia’s Death Row for the Oct. 25, 2005, shooting death of a Norfolk, Virginia, cop. At his trial, it was undisputed that the cop walked up and grabbed him around the throat without warning, then tried to throw him to the ground. Thomas reflexively pushed the cop back, asking what he was doing. Without warning or explanation, the cop pulled his gun and fired on Thomas but missed. In a split second reaction, Thomas pulled and fired his own gun, fatally hitting the cop in the head – a clear case of self-defense.

Hands off SF’s Sunshine Ordinance: Privacy proponents urge No on Prop B

A provision empowering the Board of Supervisors to amend San Francisco’s voter-enacted government-transparency law, the Sunshine Ordinance, is prompting at least two journalist organizations, the First Amendment Coalition, the local League of Women Voters, the San Francisco Labor Council and many other sunshine advocates to oppose a city Charter amendment, “Privacy First,” that will appear as Proposition B on the local ballot this November.

Pennsylvania prisoners launch boycott of new mail system privatized by prison profiteers

“I am going to boycott the third-party correspondence system,” Bryant Arroyo, an activist and organizer currently detained at SCI Frackville in central Pennsylvania, told this Workers World reporter during an extended Sept. 23 interview. Arroyo urges all prisoners to immediately cease sending and accepting mail in response to the draconian new prison policies of current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Standing with Julian Assange

Pacifica Radio stations are known as havens for leftwing thought and action, but the Berkeley station board and the national Pacifica Network board have yet to come to the defense of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange. The following resolution has been submitted for a vote to the national board of directors of Pacifica. The resolution has also been submitted to Pacifica station KPFA’s local station board in Berkeley.

Plausible deniability and sinister bigotry ​inside ​Texas prisons

When Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier, Correctional Institutions Division Director Lorie Davis and Office of the Inspector General Joint Terrorism Task Force member Nick Vaughn contrived the plot to kidnap me from Ramsey 1 Unit on June 22, 2018, at 4:30 a.m., they figured that no one would notice, no one would care and, if questioned about the strange occurrence, they would claim plausible deniability.

Smyrna 17: Trials of Delaware ‘riot leaders’ begin Oct. 8

On Feb. 1-2, 2017, a riot occurred at Delaware’s James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Building C that resulted in a correctional officer being assaulted and another being killed. After a nine-month investigation led by the Delaware State Police, an 18-man indictment was handed down on Oct. 17, 2017. Everybody pled not guilty and chose trial by a jury except for one co-defendant. Not only did this cowardly snitch fabricate his story and just blatantly outright lie on others indicted, but he’s an ancient RAT, meaning that he snitched on some boys back in the day.

Judge Rebecca Hardie allows Contra Costa CPS social worker to commit perjury

How is it that a social worker was caught committing perjury and yet no one has held her accountable? Where is the oversight of our child welfare system and juvenile courts? Where is the outrage that this is happening and American families are being unnecessarily destroyed in court proceedings that operate under a shroud of secrecy, in court proceedings in which criminal misconduct is covered up and the best interests of children are ignored?

Rashid: The prison struggle continues

Fear and deference of prisoners toward their captors (conditioned through outright violent terror) replicates almost exactly that of Blacks towards whites under the chattel slavery and Jim Crow systems of the Old South. The absolute power of prison officials is no less extreme. And they exercise that power just as arbitrarily. But oppression breeds resistance and a movement is underway where prisoners across the U.S. are staging a range of protests in opposition to slave labor and inhumane treatment in U.S. prisons.

‘The Global Imagination of 1968: Revolution and Counterrevolution’

Movement people must start reading the great works from the past that give us the first steps of understanding how we can set this oppressive and neo-liberal world on fire. One of the good things about the book “1968” is how it delineates for 21st century revolutionaries the international composition of revolutionary activity in every country on the planet. It shows why this struggle, to be successful, must be international in scope and range. Capitalism-imperialism is a worldwide system. Our political and economic system called the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution must be international in scope and range.

Wanda’s Picks September 2018

We lost Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Aug. 16 (March 25, 1942-Aug. 16, 2018). We also lost Kofi Annan (April 8, 1938, to Aug. 18, 2018), the seventh United Nations Secretary General and the first from Sub-Saharan African to lead the International organization. When we think about Black women and their navigation of public spaces, we remember the recent deaths of Nia Wilson, 18, and Jessica St. Louis, 26, who were not safe when they should have been #safehername.

Premier San Francisco artist Ronnie Goodman arrested, charges dropped, but artwork confiscated by city

Ronnie Goodman, a well known San Francisco artist who is experiencing homelessness, had his artwork confiscated by the City, and was then arrested and spent a night in jail. He was charged with a state anti-lodging law known as 647e, which is probably unconstitutional, and felony vandalism, which was then dropped for lack of evidence. Ronnie is a very gifted, creative individual who has struggled with many challenging issues, including poverty, homelessness, racism, hunger and injustice.

Prison strike solidarity update: Solid Black Fist newsletter released as striking continues

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS) is currently continuing to focus energy on supporting strikers who’re suffering retaliation, raising awareness of those who continue to strike and educating policymakers of strikers’ demands. These will be our primary focuses in this season. Action points: Print and distribute Issue No. 6 of Solid Black Fist. Support prisoners still striking, raise awareness that the National Prison Strike continues in Ohio and California. Circulate the online petition to Congress demanding prisoners’ basic human rights needs be met.