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A white jogger throwing a Black homeless man’s property into Lake Merritt. A well-dressed man kicking a sleeping man’s face so severely he was hospitalized. The owner of a local club circulating death threats to homeless people and chasing a camper with a gun. These are just some of the publicized events. Of course, people forced to live outdoors face this and worse on a regular basis.
The recent general election in Philadelphia saw a former civil rights attorney running on an anti-incarceration platform elected district attorney to the country’s fifth largest city. Larry Krasner, who defended Black Lives Matter activists and indicted police officers while in private practice, promised sweeping reforms and Philadelphia voters responded. Prisoners supported Krasner’s candidacy with a robust political action campaign of voter education, voter registration, political forums and get-out-the-vote drives directed towards their families, loved ones, friends and returned citizens.
We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and xenophobic action. The Trump agenda has caused increased harassment, fear and even death. In the movement for abolition of policing, imprisonment, surveillance and the entire prison industrial complex, now is our time to be bold.
All of Us or None’s upcoming Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Western Regional Conference is Sept. 20-21 at Oakstop, 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland. It will be a time for people to discuss employment, housing, crimmigration, which is the connection between the punishment system in the U.S. and immigration policies, and more. Check out one of the main organizers, Manuel La Fontaine, about the conference and his life experiences.
Since my release in October 1981, my deepest commitment in life has been to fight for the full restoration of civil and human rights of formerly incarcerated people and for those who have the current misfortune of occupying cages. It is through this lens that I attempt to come to grips with the tragic murder of Hugo Pinell and its possible ramifications.
As of Feb. 13, U.S. police have killed at least 131 people in 2015, an average of three per day, the vast majority by gunfire. The glorification of the police by the corporate media and politicians, the exaggeration of the dangers they face, and the high pay most receive are all due to the role the police play as the protectors, not of the people but of a system based on capitalist exploitation and national oppression.
The message for the protectors of the white corporate and financial elite is that it does not matter if you execute a kid in cold blood in front of a dozen witnesses or you are caught on video murdering Eric Garner or 12 year-old Tamir Rice; you don’t have to fear prosecution from the state. It is now open season when it comes to policing and controlling the dangerous class of poor and working class Black people.
On Wednesday, April 8, at 9 a.m., after weeks of last minute legal maneuvers, unanswered calls to the mayor and multiple pleas for a pro bono lawyer to save the single mama Sabrina Carter and her three sons from one of the most unjust evictions I have ever witnessed, we were exhausted. The San Francisco sheriffs were outside her door in the Plaza East apartments to change the locks and throw her and her sons into the street.
From Palestine to California, prisoners are organizing to end torture in prison and prison as a form of repression of popular movements and poor communities of color. Members of IJAN have been following and supporting the organizing of California prisoners, who are prepared to go on indefinite hunger strike starting July 8 to demand an end to long-term solitary confinement and other abuses.
As this weekend’s storm has reminded us, hurricanes can be a threat to U.S. cities on the East Coast as well the Gulf. But the vast changes that have taken place in New Orleans since Katrina have had little to do with weather and everything to do with political struggles.
Support for the hunger strike grows with solidarity actions across the U.S. and Canada this past weekend. A series of noise demonstrations outside jails, detention centers and prisons occurred internationally in St. Louis, New York City, Oakland, Los Angeles, Montreal and Kitchener, Ontario.
Using footage from local policing activity in Oakland, intimate interviews with marginalized residents who have been imprisoned or impacted by the imprisonment of close family members, "Oakland Lockdown" brings to light the trauma, destruction and frustration experienced by those who remain repetitively wreaked by the economic, psychological, social and moral stigmatization of criminalization.