Durham police tear gas protesters seeking justice for youth who police say shot himself while handcuffed
December 20, 2013

A month after Jesús “Chuy” Huerta died in police custody, dozens of armored police officers assembled as an alliance of about 150 friends, families and protesters marched for a second time on the Durham Police Department Thursday evening.

Police, some dressed in riot gear and equipped with rifles and shotguns, assembled in rows around the building, waiting, as the marchers streamed toward police property around 7:30 p.m., demanding answers for a family’s pain.

Protest organizers and police alike had in prior days urged marchers to remain peaceful, hoping to avoid the window-breaking and small number of arrests that marked the first protest for Huerta.

Thursday’s march, however, ended with several more arrests. Firecrackers and at least one bottle was thrown by protesters. Then several canisters of gas discharged by police before the crowd finally dispersed around 9 p.m.

The uproar over Huerta’s death has calmed little in the last few weeks, seeming only to intensify with Chief Jose Lopez’s claim that the 17-year-old shot himself in the head while his hands were cuffed behind his back in a police cruiser.

Grief and anger coursed through the crowd Thursday as it ended its march from downtown to the police department, urged on by pounding drums. At the edge of the parking lot, the dozens of officers who had shadowed the march began to shout commands: “Exit the parking lot now!” Trespassers, they warned, would face arrest.

The crowd pushed into the lot. Huerta’s family and friends gathered around a light pole at the lot’s edge, while protesters with long black banners – “MURDERED BY POLICE,” one read – wrapped around the crowd’s edge.

A few in the crowd banged drums, some wore bandanas over their faces, a few cursed the police, shouting over the long cloth banners, and others wept while officers on loudspeakers again threatened arrest. There was no easy uniform description of the multi-ethnic, multi-generation crowd.

Rafael Estrada Maya, a coordinator, shouted time after time for quiet, so the family could leave their respects.

“We are praying! Respect prayer! Respect the dead,” he pleaded over a loudspeaker. Eventually, the crowd listened, falling quiet at the edge of the parking lot.

Then Evelin Huerta, Jesus Huerta’s sister, sometimes identified as Evelin Fernandez, took her turn to speak.

“Don’t say bad words – respect, please, please respect,” said Huerta, who’s been an emotional anchor and a public face for the protest movement. A drummer banged again. “Stop!” cried Huerta’s mother, Sylvia Huerta, sometimes identified as Sylvia Fernandez.

An officer called out again over his loudspeaker: Five minutes until the arrests began, he said. Evelin Huerta began to play a song by a Christian Latin pop duo over Maya’s bullhorn.

The circle of young women wept, then sobbed. Jesus Huerta’s mother and sister began to mouth the song’s words, and suddenly Evelin Huerta was singing them loud, above the other women’s cries.

“I know that we’re going to see you some day,” she said, kneeling with her mother to a fresh-laid shrine of candles and flowers. “We miss you. We miss you so much … But we will look for justice, Papi. But we will not leave your death … We love you, and we miss you to death. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

The police gave their two minute warning, and Maya on his bullhorn asked the crowd to leave in peace. They left, but marched back downtown with police following.

Once downtown, there was a final confrontation where young people chanted and threw firecrackers at the ranks of riot police. The police advanced, herding the marchers along Main Street, away from downtown. Two men were arrested, but the crowd finally dispersed after police released canisters of gas.

Source

We demand justice: The racist killing of Renisha McBrideNovember 18, 2013
A 19-year-old African American woman is dead for the “crime” of asking for help after a car accident in a predominantly white suburb of Detroit.
Renisha McBride was shot in the head with a shotgun in the early morning hours of November 2. She had been in a car crash and—with her cell phone dead and bleeding from a wound on her head—was seeking help from residents.
According to reports, 54-year-old Theodore Wafer shot Renisha through the screen door of his home. Wafer didn’t call police until an hour later—at which point, he claimed to have fired in self-defense. He then changed his story, claiming the shotgun went off by accident—only to change it back again when prosecutors filed murder and manslaughter charges against him.
Contrary to initial reports, Renisha was shot not in the face but the back of the head, as she turned to leave, according to the Detroit Free Press—another contradiction of Wafer’s self-defense claim. Likewise, initial reports said Renisha’s body had been “dumped,” but police later said it was found on the porch.
Renisha’s murder is being compared to the Trayvon Martin case, and for good reason—Wafer is using “Stand Your Ground”-style self-defense laws to try to escape punishment by claiming that he felt threatened by Renisha.
Although her death was ruled a homicide, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy didn’t file charges for 13 days, during which time police and the mainstream media kept the killer’s identity secret. Worthy reportedly refused an initial request for a warrant by Dearborn Heights police, saying more investigation was needed.
Detroiters didn’t take the same do-nothing attitude toward Renisha’s murder.
On November 7, about 50 people gathered outside police department headquarters in Dearborn Heights. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, spoke for the crowd when he asked: “Had she been a white woman and the shooter a black man, would the shooter be sitting comfortably at home watching TV today?”
Two days later, some 200 people attended a rally, organized by the National Action Network, on the West Side of Detroit. Another protest was held a week later, on December 16, organized by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and the International Socialist Organization.
Faced with this mounting pressure, Worthy finally filed charges against Wafer, including second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Now that charges have been filed against Wafer, the media are taking another page out of the Trayvon Martin case and are putting the victim on trial. Mainstream outlets are reporting on toxicology reports showing that the alcohol level in Ranisha’s blood was past the legal limit for intoxication—and unconfirmed tests showing marijuana in her system. As if that justifies her execution by shotgun for seeking help.
Worthy insisted that the decision to charge Wafer had “nothing whatsoever to do with the race of the parties”—but no one who looks at the case can take that seriously. As journalist Rania Khalek wrote at her blog, Renisha was “a Black woman from Detroit, which is 82 percent Black, whereas Dearborn Heights, the area she was shot in, is 86 percent white.”
Anyone who has protest police violence and racism in Detroit is familiar with the double standards applied to Black and white, including by Kym Worthy, who is African American.
Worthy, for example, wasn’t so cautious about filing charges with Charles Jones, the father of Aiyana Jones, the seven-year-old girl murdered by Detroit police in her sleep three years ago. Shortly after Aiyana’s death during a police raid on her home, Charles was charged with providing the gun used in another murder. Although the only “evidence” against him was the testimony of a jailhouse snitch that had been thrown out by a judge, Jones has been held without bail for three years as Worthy continually postponed his trial.
The prosecutor assigned to Jones’ case is the very same one as for his daughter’s killer,which Worthy denies is a conflict of interest. In the case of Aiyana’s killer, the prosecutor’s office somehow managed to select an all-white jury from a predominantly Black area for the cop’s first trial, which ended in a mistrial.
This is only another example of a justice system that treats Black life as less valuable—something made gruesomely clear once every 28 hours—the rate at which African Americans are killed by police, security guards or vigilantes, according to a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
It goes without saying that a Black man who killed a white woman on his porch would be put in jail right away. The news media wouldn’t be printing statements from his neighbors about how he’s a “good man” who “never bothered anybody.” Wafer wouldn’t have been released on 10 percent of a $250,000 bond and described as a “low risk to the community”—and the media wouldn’t be talking about whether he reasonably believed his life was in danger.
Full articleIllustration by Robert Trujillo, Dignidad Rebelde

We demand justice: The racist killing of Renisha McBride
November 18, 2013

A 19-year-old African American woman is dead for the “crime” of asking for help after a car accident in a predominantly white suburb of Detroit.

Renisha McBride was shot in the head with a shotgun in the early morning hours of November 2. She had been in a car crash and—with her cell phone dead and bleeding from a wound on her head—was seeking help from residents.

According to reports, 54-year-old Theodore Wafer shot Renisha through the screen door of his home. Wafer didn’t call police until an hour later—at which point, he claimed to have fired in self-defense. He then changed his story, claiming the shotgun went off by accident—only to change it back again when prosecutors filed murder and manslaughter charges against him.

Contrary to initial reports, Renisha was shot not in the face but the back of the head, as she turned to leave, according to the Detroit Free Press—another contradiction of Wafer’s self-defense claim. Likewise, initial reports said Renisha’s body had been “dumped,” but police later said it was found on the porch.

Renisha’s murder is being compared to the Trayvon Martin case, and for good reason—Wafer is using “Stand Your Ground”-style self-defense laws to try to escape punishment by claiming that he felt threatened by Renisha.

Although her death was ruled a homicide, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy didn’t file charges for 13 days, during which time police and the mainstream media kept the killer’s identity secret. Worthy reportedly refused an initial request for a warrant by Dearborn Heights police, saying more investigation was needed.

Detroiters didn’t take the same do-nothing attitude toward Renisha’s murder.

On November 7, about 50 people gathered outside police department headquarters in Dearborn Heights. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, spoke for the crowd when he asked: “Had she been a white woman and the shooter a black man, would the shooter be sitting comfortably at home watching TV today?”

Two days later, some 200 people attended a rally, organized by the National Action Network, on the West Side of Detroit. Another protest was held a week later, on December 16, organized by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and the International Socialist Organization.

Faced with this mounting pressure, Worthy finally filed charges against Wafer, including second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Now that charges have been filed against Wafer, the media are taking another page out of the Trayvon Martin case and are putting the victim on trial. Mainstream outlets are reporting on toxicology reports showing that the alcohol level in Ranisha’s blood was past the legal limit for intoxication—and unconfirmed tests showing marijuana in her system. As if that justifies her execution by shotgun for seeking help.

Worthy insisted that the decision to charge Wafer had “nothing whatsoever to do with the race of the parties”—but no one who looks at the case can take that seriously. As journalist Rania Khalek wrote at her blog, Renisha was “a Black woman from Detroit, which is 82 percent Black, whereas Dearborn Heights, the area she was shot in, is 86 percent white.”

Anyone who has protest police violence and racism in Detroit is familiar with the double standards applied to Black and white, including by Kym Worthy, who is African American.

Worthy, for example, wasn’t so cautious about filing charges with Charles Jones, the father of Aiyana Jones, the seven-year-old girl murdered by Detroit police in her sleep three years ago. Shortly after Aiyana’s death during a police raid on her home, Charles was charged with providing the gun used in another murder. Although the only “evidence” against him was the testimony of a jailhouse snitch that had been thrown out by a judge, Jones has been held without bail for three years as Worthy continually postponed his trial.

The prosecutor assigned to Jones’ case is the very same one as for his daughter’s killer,which Worthy denies is a conflict of interest. In the case of Aiyana’s killer, the prosecutor’s office somehow managed to select an all-white jury from a predominantly Black area for the cop’s first trial, which ended in a mistrial.

This is only another example of a justice system that treats Black life as less valuable—something made gruesomely clear once every 28 hours—the rate at which African Americans are killed by police, security guards or vigilantes, according to a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

It goes without saying that a Black man who killed a white woman on his porch would be put in jail right away. The news media wouldn’t be printing statements from his neighbors about how he’s a “good man” who “never bothered anybody.” Wafer wouldn’t have been released on 10 percent of a $250,000 bond and described as a “low risk to the community”—and the media wouldn’t be talking about whether he reasonably believed his life was in danger.

Full article
Illustration by Robert Trujillo, Dignidad Rebelde

Power to the People: Remembering the Black Panther Party
October 25, 2013

Forty-seven years ago this month the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was formed in Oakland, California. For almost 16 years the Party represented one of the most influential radical, progressive organizations in the history of the U.S.
"This country is a nation of thieves. It stole everything it has, beginning with Black people. The U.S. cannot justify its existence as the policeman of the world any longer…I don’t want to be part of that system. We must question whether or not we want this country to continue being the wealthiest country in the world at the price of raping everybody else," said Stokely Carmichael, Honorary Prime Minister of the BPP.
It all began with two college students; Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. They both worked at the North Oakland Neighborhood Anti-Poverty Center, where they also served on the advisory board. To combat police brutality, the advisory board obtained 5,000 signatures in support of the City Council’s setting up a police review board to handle complaints. Seale was taking classes at Oakland City College, while Newton attended both San Francisco Law School and City College. Both institutions were active in the North Oakland Center.
With their numerous connections, Newton and Seale decided to start their own organization. “Inspired by the success of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, in Mississippi, and Carmichael’s calls for separate Black political organizing, they wrote their initial platform statement, the Ten-Point Program. With the help of Huey’s brother, Melvin, they decided on a uniform of blue shirts, black pants, black leather jackets, black berets and openly displayed loaded shotguns. (In his studies, Newton had discovered a California law that allowed carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun, as long as it was publicly displayed and pointed at no one.)
What were some of the broader historical factors that led to the founding of the Black Panther Party in 1966? The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) emerged in 1960 as the organizational consolidation of the spontaneous sit-in movement that had begun in Greensboro, North Carolina, when four Black students sat in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter, which refused to serve them. Less than a month after the celebrated March on Washington, in 1963, four Black children died in a bombing at a Birmingham, Alabama church. During the ‘long hot summer’ of 1964, there was unprecedented racial violence in the cities and against hundreds of volunteers who had gone to Mississippi to work on voter registration drives and other projects. On March 7, 1965 (what was to become known as ’Bloody Sunday”) state troopers and Dallas county deputies beat and gassed demonstrators marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama.
This period sparked a reconsideration of non-violence as a tactic in the movement. Bob Moses, a leading SNCC activist in Mississippi, captured the essence of the ideological struggle:
“We don’t agree with it, in a sense. The majority of the students are not sympathetic to the idea that they have to love the White people that they are struggling against. But there are a few who have a very religious orientation. And there’s a constant dialogue at meetings about non-violence and the meaning of it. For most of the members it is a question of being able to have a method of attack rather than to be always on the defensive.”

The Black Panther Party For Self-Defense’s Ten-Point Program read:
1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black community.
2. We want full employment for our people.
3. We want an end to the robbery by the White man of our Black community.
4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in present-day society.
6. We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people.
8. We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county, city prisons and jails.
9. We want all Black people, when brought to trial, to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from other Black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. And, as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the Black colony in which only Black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate, for the purpose of determining the will of Black people as to their national destiny… (The Ten-Point Platform concludes with an excerpt from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.)
By 1968, the BPP had grown rapidly; transforming itself from a locally-based group to a national one. In 1969, it had over 5,000 members in forty chapters. ‘Survival’ programs were set up to provide immediate relief for local communities to operate in. The most successful of these was the Free Breakfast for Children Program, the brainchild of its chairman, Bobby Seale. “In October, 1968, the BPP newspaper advertised for volunteers to prepare and serve free breakfasts in Berkeley, California. The program spread quickly to churches, community centers, and auditoriums in San Francisco and Oakland. By the end of 1969, breakfasts were being served in nineteen cities under the sponsorship of the national headquarters and twenty-three local affiliates. More than twenty thousand children received full free breakfasts before going to school.”

Full article

Anti-fascist free speech not tolerated in LondonSeptember 10, 2013
A young man wearing a taqiyah looks up at me as his friend moves out of earshot. He is worried his friend’s family may not understand the minor nature of the crime they have committed. We are in the foyer of Croydon police station, where I am offering support to those arrested at an anti-fascist march. Both men, along with several of their associates, have been released from custody within the last half an hour. A few moments later, a woman informs us that she is three months’ pregnant. She says she was arrested, along with the others, at around 2pm on Saturday and has been in police custody for more than 12 hours.
More arrestees, Spanish, come out, the trickle now gaining some momentum. One of them, a young woman, tells me of how she had asked for an interpreter and had for some considerable time required access to medication while in custody. She was provided with an officer who spoke broken Spanish and who she thinks could barely understand her. At no point was she given access to a doctor or asked about the medication she required. Another man, of Bangladeshi origin, tells me he was arrested on the street on which he lives, while his friend says he was arrested on the street on which his mother lives; both are incredulous that peacefully assembling in such places is a criminal offence.
A few hours earlier, I had been in Sutton police station, once again assisting in legal support. This involved getting names and contact details as well as providing food and drink for people as they were released from custody. The range of languages I overheard in both stations was remarkable: English, French, Arabic, Turkish, Bengali, Italian, Spanish and German. The arrestees offered a representation of the London that I know. Spaniards and Italians talked to British Bangladeshis from Tower Hamlets. Some were activists, most were not. Earlier in the day a friend said he had seen several young women on the protest wearing Galatasaray jerseys while in Sutton I had the pleasure of meeting a group of cousins, nearly all in their teens, speaking Turkish to one another. They had all been arrested.
A total of 286 people were arrested in Tower Hamlets on Saturday as they moved to confront a nearby demonstration of the English Defence League. The arrestees were a mix of activists, many from the Anti-Fascist Network, and local residents. Nearly all were arrested for alleged offences under sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act. For many it felt as if their crime consisted of little more than exercising their democratic right to free assembly.
This episode follows on from the 145 arrests in Fortnum & Mason in 2011, the 182 arrests the following year on the eve of the Olympics, and the 58 arrests of anti-fascist protesters in Whitehall earlier this summer. In all four cases, not to mention countless others, there were few or no charges for more serious public order crimes such as affray or violent disorder (charges which have been deployed in a seemingly highly political manner, most prominently in the 2010 UK student movement on individuals such as Frank Fernie, Zac King and Alfie Meadows). A picture emerges from these figures: anyone who deviates from a choreographed protest route or seeks to step beyond the confines of official dissent, no matter how peaceful, will likely face arrest.
It should be remembered that protest is by nature both contentious and disruptive – any scholar of its history will tell you as much, and if a polity is incapable of dealing with collective contention it is difficult to see how it is embodying democratic principles. That the UK increasingly accepts protest only overseen by official administrators of dissent, such as the TUC, whose lives more closely resemble those with whom they are supposedly in contestation than much of the general public, is of great concern. Even for these institutionally embedded and well-resourced actors the scope for unchoreographed dissent is increasingly limited, and this holds true with regards to not only protest and public order law but also some of the most stringent anti-strike legislation in the OECD. In an age when policymakers claim to want a strong civil society and frequently ask how to politically engage younger generations, mass arrests, primarily of young working-class people whose only crime isassembly, renders clear how insincere such questioning actually is.
Those arrested on Saturday represent the London I have come to know: ethnically diverse, of all ages and from a range of economic backgrounds; bound together by mutual respect of difference and recognition of shared commonality. On the other hand the actions of the police on the day represented the continuation of a strategy based on a complete disdain for the principles of free association and assembly. A bronze commander standing by a number of empty buses, soon to be filled with protesters, smirked when he said: “We’re not leaving until these wagons are full.” Such words and the equivalence he drew between a politically engaged public and cattle to fill quotas belies the contempt in which the public, when they choose to disagree, are ultimately held.

Source

Anti-fascist free speech not tolerated in London
September 10, 2013

A young man wearing a taqiyah looks up at me as his friend moves out of earshot. He is worried his friend’s family may not understand the minor nature of the crime they have committed. We are in the foyer of Croydon police station, where I am offering support to those arrested at an anti-fascist march. Both men, along with several of their associates, have been released from custody within the last half an hour. A few moments later, a woman informs us that she is three months’ pregnant. She says she was arrested, along with the others, at around 2pm on Saturday and has been in police custody for more than 12 hours.

More arrestees, Spanish, come out, the trickle now gaining some momentum. One of them, a young woman, tells me of how she had asked for an interpreter and had for some considerable time required access to medication while in custody. She was provided with an officer who spoke broken Spanish and who she thinks could barely understand her. At no point was she given access to a doctor or asked about the medication she required. Another man, of Bangladeshi origin, tells me he was arrested on the street on which he lives, while his friend says he was arrested on the street on which his mother lives; both are incredulous that peacefully assembling in such places is a criminal offence.

A few hours earlier, I had been in Sutton police station, once again assisting in legal support. This involved getting names and contact details as well as providing food and drink for people as they were released from custody. The range of languages I overheard in both stations was remarkable: English, French, Arabic, Turkish, Bengali, Italian, Spanish and German. The arrestees offered a representation of the London that I know. Spaniards and Italians talked to British Bangladeshis from Tower Hamlets. Some were activists, most were not. Earlier in the day a friend said he had seen several young women on the protest wearing Galatasaray jerseys while in Sutton I had the pleasure of meeting a group of cousins, nearly all in their teens, speaking Turkish to one another. They had all been arrested.

A total of 286 people were arrested in Tower Hamlets on Saturday as they moved to confront a nearby demonstration of the English Defence League. The arrestees were a mix of activists, many from the Anti-Fascist Network, and local residents. Nearly all were arrested for alleged offences under sections 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act. For many it felt as if their crime consisted of little more than exercising their democratic right to free assembly.

This episode follows on from the 145 arrests in Fortnum & Mason in 2011, the 182 arrests the following year on the eve of the Olympics, and the 58 arrests of anti-fascist protesters in Whitehall earlier this summer. In all four cases, not to mention countless others, there were few or no charges for more serious public order crimes such as affray or violent disorder (charges which have been deployed in a seemingly highly political manner, most prominently in the 2010 UK student movement on individuals such as Frank FernieZac King and Alfie Meadows). A picture emerges from these figures: anyone who deviates from a choreographed protest route or seeks to step beyond the confines of official dissent, no matter how peaceful, will likely face arrest.

It should be remembered that protest is by nature both contentious and disruptive – any scholar of its history will tell you as much, and if a polity is incapable of dealing with collective contention it is difficult to see how it is embodying democratic principles. That the UK increasingly accepts protest only overseen by official administrators of dissent, such as the TUC, whose lives more closely resemble those with whom they are supposedly in contestation than much of the general public, is of great concern. Even for these institutionally embedded and well-resourced actors the scope for unchoreographed dissent is increasingly limited, and this holds true with regards to not only protest and public order law but also some of the most stringent anti-strike legislation in the OECD. In an age when policymakers claim to want a strong civil society and frequently ask how to politically engage younger generations, mass arrests, primarily of young working-class people whose only crime isassembly, renders clear how insincere such questioning actually is.

Those arrested on Saturday represent the London I have come to know: ethnically diverse, of all ages and from a range of economic backgrounds; bound together by mutual respect of difference and recognition of shared commonality. On the other hand the actions of the police on the day represented the continuation of a strategy based on a complete disdain for the principles of free association and assembly. A bronze commander standing by a number of empty buses, soon to be filled with protesters, smirked when he said: “We’re not leaving until these wagons are full.” Such words and the equivalence he drew between a politically engaged public and cattle to fill quotas belies the contempt in which the public, when they choose to disagree, are ultimately held.

Source

dentonsocialists

socialistworker:

LIVE STREAM For: A Dream Deferred? MLK, Trayvon, and the fight against racism today

This panel will take place at 5PM ET on August 24th, on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,
at Busboys & Poets, 5th and K St, Washington DC.

The live stream of the panel will be available at that time.
RSVP on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/events/42994…

A book launch for Gary Younge’s The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream.
http://www.haymarketbooks.org/hc/The-…

Sponsored by Haymarket Books and Busboys and Poets.

Featuring:

Dr. Cornel West is one of the most prominent and admired figures on the left today. A philosopher, academic, activist, author, and public intellectual who has appeared in over 25 documentaries, he can be heard weekly with Tavis Smiley on Public Radio’s “Smiley & West.” Dr. West has a passion to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. — a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.
http://www.therichandtherestofus.com/

Gary Younge has written several books on race and racism, the most recent is “The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream.” Gary is an author, broadcaster, and award-winning columnist for the Guardian, based in Chicago. He also writes a monthly column for The Nation magazine and is the Alfred Knobler Fellow for The Nation Institute.

Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is a writer and activist based in Chicago, who recently recieved her PhD in African American Studies. She is the author of “Rats, Riots and Revolution: Black Housing in the 1960s” (forthcoming from Haymarket Books), and is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review.
http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/Rats…

This is today, people of DC!

Feel free to email or submit your photos to us from today’s March on Washington festivities, too.

"Well, if one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected — those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! — and listens to their testimony. 
Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person — ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” - James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 - December 1, 1987)

"Well, if one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected — those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! — and listens to their testimony. 

Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person — ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” - James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 - December 1, 1987)

writtenbychance
queensheartsnpeacesigns:

fowndthevegen:

thepeoplesrecord:

Grand jury indicts man in Jordan Davis shooting on first degree murder; faces life in prisonDecember 16, 2012
A Florida grand jury has indicted a man on a first-degree murder charge in the death of a teenager following an argument over loud music coming from the teen’s car.
The Florida Times-Union reports officials in the state attorney’s office said Thursday they won’t be seeking the death penalty against 46-year-old Michael David Dunn. He was initially charged with second-degree murder.
Dunn is accused of the Nov. 23 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
Officials say Dunn parked next to the vehicle where Davis was sitting with three other teens. Dunn complained about the loud music and they stared arguing. Dunn told police he thought he saw a gun and fired eight or nine shots into the vehicle.
Grand jurors also added three counts of attempted murder.
Source

During the outrage of Zimmermans freedom, can we all please remember that the trial for this boy is also coming shortly. Another innocent young man shot and killed for no reason. JORDAN DAVISJORDAN DAVISJORDAN DAVISJORDAN DAVIS

September is only 2 months away. Don’t forget Jordan Davis!!!!

queensheartsnpeacesigns:

fowndthevegen:

thepeoplesrecord:

Grand jury indicts man in Jordan Davis shooting on first degree murder; faces life in prison
December 16, 2012

A Florida grand jury has indicted a man on a first-degree murder charge in the death of a teenager following an argument over loud music coming from the teen’s car.

The Florida Times-Union reports officials in the state attorney’s office said Thursday they won’t be seeking the death penalty against 46-year-old Michael David Dunn. He was initially charged with second-degree murder.

Dunn is accused of the Nov. 23 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Officials say Dunn parked next to the vehicle where Davis was sitting with three other teens. Dunn complained about the loud music and they stared arguing. Dunn told police he thought he saw a gun and fired eight or nine shots into the vehicle.

Grand jurors also added three counts of attempted murder.

Source

During the outrage of Zimmermans freedom, can we all please remember that the trial for this boy is also coming shortly. Another innocent young man shot and killed for no reason.
JORDAN DAVIS
JORDAN DAVIS
JORDAN DAVIS
JORDAN DAVIS

September is only 2 months away. Don’t forget Jordan Davis!!!!

From Global Voices for Justice, a two-part interview with poet Joshua Clover, one of the recently triumphant Davis Dozen. The first part addresses Occupy and philosophy and crisis theory; the second part, on culture and poetry, is above. Clover reads two poems. The second concerns the problem of “how to set fire to fire”; the first contains the following lines: “You know all too well | that the best poetry is not | the least revolution | you know also that poetry | is the best way available to you | to affirm this truth.” Among all else that gets discussed, someone at The Poetry Foundation chose to transcribe the following: 

I take an almost mystical satisfaction from poetry’s strangeness and it’s strange beauty and that satisfaction is important to me and I want to preserve it. But, I don’t think that poetry is a satisfactory revolutionary force. The thing that I’ve been saying for several years now is, listen, it’s a good time for poets to get out in the streets and struggle and it will make their poetry better… don’t figure out what kind of poetry you can write to make the world better, get out into the streets and struggle and your poetry will change for it.

Speaking of The Poetry Foundation, Clover and Juliana Spahr applied for a job there last year; their letter is well worth a read as well. 

Submitted by:  afieryflyingroule

TW: Violence: Today, May 30, is the day four years ago that little Brisenia Flores and her father were murdered in Arivaca, Arizona by racist Neo-Nazi anti-immigrant vigilantes. Brisenia was shot point blank in the face during the home invasion and her father was killed and mother shot.
We must not forget, ever, what hate rhetoric can do. Remind people and be vigilant about what anyone espousing hate against another group of people can do and lead to.
Today, have a thought about this beautiful little 9 year old, her family, and the community who lost so much through this death that no one wants to remember or at that time that Obama and the media never mentioned or had any ceremony for to symbolically stand against hate, racism, and xenophobia.
Today, in Arizona Mexican American Studies has been banned, books have been boxed up and sent out of schools, and the state of Arizona is under police seige against anyone who is brown. If you haven’t been there to witness it yourself don’t think it’s not happening because from personal experience it is.
No more of the conintuing 500 year long war of extinction upon Indigenous people. It must end! - Three Sonorans
Minutement group leader Shawna Forde & Jason Bush were found guilty on eight counts & are on death row for plotting the deadly home invasion. Albert Gaxiola was found guilty of the murders & sentenced to life without parole. 

TW: Violence: Today, May 30, is the day four years ago that little Brisenia Flores and her father were murdered in Arivaca, Arizona by racist Neo-Nazi anti-immigrant vigilantes. Brisenia was shot point blank in the face during the home invasion and her father was killed and mother shot.

We must not forget, ever, what hate rhetoric can do. Remind people and be vigilant about what anyone espousing hate against another group of people can do and lead to.

Today, have a thought about this beautiful little 9 year old, her family, and the community who lost so much through this death that no one wants to remember or at that time that Obama and the media never mentioned or had any ceremony for to symbolically stand against hate, racism, and xenophobia.

Today, in Arizona Mexican American Studies has been banned, books have been boxed up and sent out of schools, and the state of Arizona is under police seige against anyone who is brown. If you haven’t been there to witness it yourself don’t think it’s not happening because from personal experience it is.

No more of the conintuing 500 year long war of extinction upon Indigenous people. It must end! - Three Sonorans

Minutement group leader Shawna Forde & Jason Bush were found guilty on eight counts & are on death row for plotting the deadly home invasion. Albert Gaxiola was found guilty of the murders & sentenced to life without parole. 

The revolutionary origins of Memorial Day & its political hijackingMay 27, 2013
What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.
These days, Memorial Day is arranged as a day “without politics”—a general patriotic celebration of all soldiers and veterans, regardless of the nature of the wars in which they participated. This is the opposite of how the day emerged, with explicitly partisan motivations, to celebrate those who fought for justice and liberation.
The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship. These issues had been at the heart of the struggles of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
To truly honor Memorial Day means putting the politics back in. It means reviving the visions of emancipation and liberation that animated the first Decoration Days. It means celebrating those who have fought for justice, while exposing the cruel manipulation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members who have been sent to fight and die in wars for conquest and empire.
The first Decoration Day
As the U.S. Civil War came to a close in April 1865, Union troops entered the city of Charleston, S.C., where four years prior the war had begun. While white residents had largely fled the city, Black residents of Charleston remained to celebrate and welcome the troops, who included the TwentyFirst Colored Infantry. Their celebration on May 1, 1865, the first “Decoration Day,” later became Memorial Day.
Historian David Blight retold the story:

During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the planters’ horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of exposure and disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand. Some 28 black workmen went to the site, re-buried the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”Then, black Charlestonians in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people on the slaveholders’ race course. The symbolic power of the low-country planter aristocracy’s horse track (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freed people. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”At 9 a.m. on May 1, the procession stepped off led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing “John Brown’s Body.” The children were followed by several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses.Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantry and other black and white citizens. As many as possible gathered in the cemetery enclosure; a childrens’ choir sang “We’ll Rally around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and several spirituals before several black ministers read from scripture. (“The First Decoration Day,” Newark Star Ledger)

Full articlePictured: 107th US Colored Infantry Band at Ft. Corcoran, 1865

The revolutionary origins of Memorial Day & its political hijacking
May 27, 2013

What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.

These days, Memorial Day is arranged as a day “without politics”—a general patriotic celebration of all soldiers and veterans, regardless of the nature of the wars in which they participated. This is the opposite of how the day emerged, with explicitly partisan motivations, to celebrate those who fought for justice and liberation.

The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship. These issues had been at the heart of the struggles of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

To truly honor Memorial Day means putting the politics back in. It means reviving the visions of emancipation and liberation that animated the first Decoration Days. It means celebrating those who have fought for justice, while exposing the cruel manipulation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members who have been sent to fight and die in wars for conquest and empire.

The first Decoration Day

As the U.S. Civil War came to a close in April 1865, Union troops entered the city of Charleston, S.C., where four years prior the war had begun. While white residents had largely fled the city, Black residents of Charleston remained to celebrate and welcome the troops, who included the TwentyFirst Colored Infantry. Their celebration on May 1, 1865, the first “Decoration Day,” later became Memorial Day.

Historian David Blight retold the story:

During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the planters’ horse track, the Washington Race Course and Jockey Club, into an outdoor prison. Union soldiers were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of exposure and disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand. Some 28 black workmen went to the site, re-buried the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Then, black Charlestonians in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people on the slaveholders’ race course. The symbolic power of the low-country planter aristocracy’s horse track (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freed people. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”

At 9 a.m. on May 1, the procession stepped off led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing “John Brown’s Body.” The children were followed by several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses.

Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantry and other black and white citizens. As many as possible gathered in the cemetery enclosure; a childrens’ choir sang “We’ll Rally around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and several spirituals before several black ministers read from scripture. (“The First Decoration Day,” Newark Star Ledger)

Full article
Pictured: 107th US Colored Infantry Band at Ft. Corcoran, 1865