4/08/2020

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2020




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Register for Thursday, April 9th Virtual Conference

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Dear Readers, this is a very important list of demands crafted by the group, Socialist Resurgence, that appears at the end of their statement on the COVID-19 pandemic. The article itself is quite long but the most comprehensive statement I've seen and well worth reading at the URL below. Please circulate widely.
—Bonnie Weinstein


STATEMENT BY SOCIALIST RESURGENCE 

ON COVID-19


https://socialistresurgence.org/2020/03/24/statement-by-socialist-resurgence-on-covid-19/


A program of action and solidarity

Capitalism stands totally disgraced. Even amidst a global pandemic and the coming ecological collapse, the ruling class in every country is trying to save its own profits at the expense of humanity. Workers have nothing at all to gain from supporting the capitalists, their programs, or their parties. Instead, working people must put forward our own solutions to the crisis and struggle with every weapon we have to achieve them. We call for:

  • Centralized, international commissions of doctors and engineers to coordinate a global response to the pandemic!
  • Retool all non-essential production to provide medical and safety equipment and begin a massive build-out of green infrastructure!
  • No bans, no walls, amnesty for all immigrants and refugees, with full citizenship rights now!
  • Democratic decision-making carried out through public discussion on all restrictions of movement!
  • Free housing, food, and medical care throughout the crisis! Pay for it through the military budgets, with 100% tax on all income over $250,000!
  • Hazard pay of at least 200% for all workers and full implementation of workplace safety measures! Completely free child care now! Stop all foreclosures, freeze all rents and mortgages, and stop all evictions for the duration of this crisis!
  • Evacuate the prisons! Free all non-violent, immuno-compromised, and elderly prisoners, and provide quality housing!
  • Drastically increase funding for domestic violence resources and education! No one stuck in quarantine with an abuser!
  • Decrease hours without a decrease in pay for all who must work! All the necessities for those who are not working!
  • Abortion is an essential service! Free and safe access for all who need it!
  • Aid, not sanctions! Reparations for colonized countries now! Cancel all imperialist debt!
  • Removal of all imperialist troops from the neo-colonial world; re-assign them for immediate use in aid efforts!
  • No bailouts for big business or the banks! Nationalize production and finance under democratic workers’ control!

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COVID Newsletter #2020-2 March 25, 2020

Migrants on Hunger Strike at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre: Act Now in Solidarity

Solidarity Across Borders, March 25, 2020

– Stay in touch! Look here for updates and renewed calls for support

Migrants detained at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre have launched an indefinite hunger strike to demand their release in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 30 men are currently being held on the men’s side of the detention centre. The ten hunger-strikers are refusing all meals, despite pressure from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to desist. Like other prisoners across Canada and around the world, they are demanding to be released for their own safety. Read their statement here.
We are joining the detainees to demand the immediate release of everyone currently detained, safe and decent housing for everyone released, and an end to new detentions!
Free them all!

Support the prisoners (see details and more background info below)

  • In Canada, call Ministers of Health and Public Safety (contacts and script below)
  • Everywhere, echo their demands on social media, alternative media and mainstream media by passing this message on, or by posting or writing articles demanding their release (background on migrant detention in Canada).

Background

The 34 detainees are inmates of the Laval Immigration Prevention Centre, a prison where migrants are held if they don’t have identity documents, or if Canada wants to deport them and does not think they will comply. Detention is an important tool that Canada uses to keep its borders closed to colonized and racialized people from the global south, while continuing to exploit their labour and natural resources.
Afraid for their health, the prisoners in the migrant prison in Laval point out in their petition the high risks of being kept in a confined space. They are exposed to hundreds of guards, food workers, and health staff entering and leaving the facility every day.
Their demand comes as urgent calls for the release of prisoners multiply – in Quebec, across Canada and elsewhere – as a public health imperative. The pandemic has exposed how interrelated we all are in society, within and across borders, within and outside prison. It calls for solidarity with those who will be hit hardest – those already in the most precarious situations, such as detention.
Meanwhile, visits to the prison for migrants have been cancelled, leaving prisoners even more isolated. Detention is already a major source of psychological distress, especially for trauma survivors, in addition to poor nutrition and sleep, and limited access to healthcare. The lack of visits also poses a significant barrier to legal advice. Mandatory detention review hearings now take place by phone. Last week, CBSA announced that it was halting deportations for at least three weeks, but failed to address detention.
On Thursday, March 19th, the detainees issued a call in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their hand-written petition was sent to the Federal Minister of Public Safety, Federal Minister of Immigration, Prime Minister of Canada, the Federal and Quebec Ministers of Health, and international bodies such as the UNHCR. After a week of inaction on the part of government officials, detainees launched an indefinite hunger strike to demand their release.


Contacts

  • Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair
Bill.Blair@parl.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-995-0284
Fax: 613-996-6309
  • Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendocino
Minister@cic.gc.ca
Telephone: 613-954-1064
Fax: 613-952-5533

What to say

– Ten migrant detainees at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre are on hunger strike to demand their release. The situation is urgent and demands immediate action to ensure their safety.
– Locking people inside this facility and taking away their freedom is unjustifiable to begin with, but to force people to remain inside in the midst of a pandemic is beyond unjust, it’s dangerous for everyone
– I am asking for the immediate release of everyone currently detained and decent and safe housing for all of the people who are released.
– I am also asking for an end to new detentions

Communiqué From Prisoners In The Laval Immigration Holding Centre: Hunger-Strike Until We Are Free (Laval, 24 March 2020)

Following the petition we wrote , which had little impact on our situation of detention, we have decided to move to the second phase of our plan. This is to go on an indefinite hunger strike, starting today. This will be done in the most peaceful way and we are not breaking any detention centre rules. Thank you for your support and all help is welcome.
*Petition to free the detainees, sent to Ministers of Immigration and Public Safety on 19 March 2020: We are currently detained at the Laval Immigration Holding Centre. Given the urgent situation of the propagation of the coronavirus, we believe that we are at high risk of contamination. Here in the detention centre we are in a confined space, every day we see the arrival of people, of immigrants, from everywhere, who have had no medical appointment nor any test to determine whether they are potential carriers of the virus. There is also the presence of security staff who are in contact with the external world every day and also have not had any testing. For these reasons we are writing this petition, to ask to be released."

#HungerStrikeLaval #FreeThemAll


Dear Folks,
This is the Kersplebedeb email list, normally devoted to telling you where and when you can buy books i distribute (and sometimes publish); only, all my tabling plans are obviously postponed indefinitely now.
I’m trying something new.
This list will be used proactively to share information about the current unfolding COVID-19 catastrophe, and the resulting political and economic turmoil. These won’t all be articles i agree with, but they will all be articles that i think are worth reading.
Good luck everyone, and stay safe
K
p.s. You can also see previous newsletters or other documents on COVID-19 on the Kersplebedeb website

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We Sit Inside

by Caitlin Johnstone
We sit inside and wonder
what the hell is going on
and what the hell is going to happen.
How we're going to pay the bills
and how the store can still be out of fucking toilet paper.
What the government is hiding from us
and how they'll screw us over this time.
If we'll be okay when we get sick
or if we'll be one of those weird anomalies you read about online.
If those we live with will get bored of us
or if they already are.
If we're going to be okay.
If the world is going to be okay.
If maybe, just maybe,
out of all this chaos and confusion,
in some secret, safe, and sacred space,
something truly good might be birthed.
We sit inside and wonder.
We sit inside and wait
for the lockdown to end
and for the uncertainty to end.
For the latest disturbing news story
and the latest round of disturbing statistics.
For the delivery person
and the video chat ringtone.
For a family member to awaken from sleep
so we don't feel so alone and afraid.
To again hug our elderly loved ones
and to have block parties with our neighbors.
To again meet a set of eyes and smile warmly
at a stranger across the room in a public space.
For the earth to heal itself.
For humanity to heal itself.
For that primal sanity
which lies dormant in our cells
to finally awaken.
We sit inside and wait.
We sit inside and change
our old habits
and our old assumptions.
Our fear of stillness
and our fear of ourselves.
Our hearts
and our minds.
From restless
to rested.
From doing
to being.
From a posture of sprinting
to a posture of meditating.
From frenzied momentum
to the fan blades fully stopping.
From guardedness with our loved ones
to vulnerability and intimacy.
From war with the world
to peace with ourselves.
From an insane species in an awkward adolescence
to who knows what the hell comes next.
Our eyes crack open.
Our hearts crack open.
Our cells sprout leaves.
We sit inside and change.

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To the initiators of the “Letter of 

Dissent”: Antiwar Commemoration of the

 Kent State Massacre, May 4, 2020


March 24, 2020

To the initiators of the “Letter of Dissent”


Dear Friends,


Much has happened since last September when we initiated the Open Letter Calling for an ANTI-WAR COMMEMORATION of the KENT MASSACRE, May 4, 2020.  It’s an entirely new world - and not the most copacetic of times.



Yet even in the midst of the unfolding social and economic crisis, it’s heartening to see an organic, working-class solidarity begin to emerge.  People are pitching in to help one another and are beginning to organize - demanding  that human needs come before corporate profits.



Ultimately, overcoming the ongoing disasters will require all of society’s means  – and for that we must dismantle the insatiable war machine and use those vast resources to heal the planet.  We must continue the fight to end US wars, occupations and sanctions



This letter goes out to the 59 original signers of the Letter of Dissent. Over 1000 additional antiwar activists have signed, making our initiative an authoritative statement from the antiwar community. 



The KSU administration refused to respond to our concerns, proceeding instead with a corporate, celebrity-filled program designed to cover up the truth of the massacres and the war. The university has now cancelled the official planned program. An online event is being developed, but it will undoubtedly have the same sanitized character.



As antiwar activists under quarantine, we cannot use traditional marches, pickets and rallies - we will need to create new forms of struggle.  That has already begun, with protests of empty shoes, spaced out picket lines, car caravans and internet actions. 



I’m writing to ask you to help form an online commemoration of the massacres at Kent, Augusta and Jackson.


We can encourage groups and individuals to initiate memorial events or include May ‘70 in other planned actions. Some sites already exist, notably the Kent State Truth Tribunal, which has carried on activities for years and created a large video collection of personal narratives about May 4.  They are here:  https://www.truthtribunal.org/about

For my part, using a previously established blog, there is now a temporary site for individuals to contribute written experiences from May 1970, the national student strike, the GI antiwar movement and similar antiwar experiences.

This is an open venue for anyone and everyone to help write our rich history.  You can share your stories on the Kent Massacre Wall (Click on Share Your Stories): https://kentmassacre.wordpress.com/author/mikealewitz/

Most importantly, this letter is also an invitation to help begin a new Facebook group, KENT MASSACRE ONLINE ANTIWAR COMMEMORATION – a place to post news of events, photos, articles, videos, comments and discussion related to the 50-year commemoration. Please join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2850853628362946/

Today’s social media discussions are focused on issues of staggering importance, such as the elections, pandemics and mass extinctions.  But the civil rights, labor, antiwar and other great movements of the past contain valuable lessons of how to fight and win. We need to spread the collective consciousness and history of the massacres, the national student strike and the antiwar movement. 

Humanity faces unprecedented challenges in the times ahead - but we know that the creative power of the working class is a mighty force when it is unleashed.

In Solidarity,
Mike Alewitz
 - - - - - - - - - -
A slightly altered version of this letter will go out to the 1000+ signers on the Change.org site: http://chng.it/QTLkTvX6









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MIKE ALEWITZ
Professor Emeritus

__________________________________

Art Department / Mural ProgramCentral CT State University
1615 Stanley Street/ New Britain, CT  06050
___________________________________

Red Square
116 Federal Street
New London, CT  06320
___________________________________

Mobile: 860.518.4046
___________________________________

alewitz@gmail.com
___________________________________




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Chiapas: EZLN Closes Caracoles Due to 


Coronavirus and Calls on People to Continue Struggle




https://sipazen.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/chiapas-ezln-closes-caracoles-due-to-coronavirus-and-asks-to-continue-struggle/








On March 16th, 2020, the EZLN published a communiqué about the actions that they are going to take against the Coronavirus and a strong call not to give up the struggle:

“CONSIDERING THE REAL, SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN THREAT TO HUMAN LIFE THAT  COVID-19, ALSO KNOWN AS “CORONAVIRUS” PRESENTS;

CONSIDERING THE FRIVOLOUS IRRESPONSIBILITY AND THE LACK OF SERIOUSNESS OF THE BAD GOVERNMENTS AND OF THE POLITICAL CLASS IN ITS ENTIRETY, THAT MAKE USE OF A HUMANITARIAN PROBLEM TO ATTACK EACH OTHER, INSTEAD OF TAKING THE NECESSARY MEASURES TO CONFRONT THE LIFE-THREATENING VIRUS, WHICH ENDANGERS EVERYONE IRREGARDLESS OF NATIONALITY, GENDER, RACE, LANGUAGE, RELIGIOUS BELIEF, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, SOCIAL CONDITION OR HISTORY;

CONSIDERING THE LACK OF TRUE AND TIMELY INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCOPE AND GRAVITY OF THE VIRUS, AS WELL AS THE ABSENCE OF A REAL PLAN TO CONFRONT THE THREAT;

CONSIDERING THE ZAPATISTA COMMITMENT IN OUR FIGHT FOR LIFE;
WE HAVE DECIDED:

FIRST.- DECLARE A RED ALERT IN OUR VILLAGES, COMMUNITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS, AND IN ALL THE ZAPATIST ORGANIZATIONAL BODIES.

SECOND.- TO GOOD GOVERNMENT COUNCILS AND AUTONOMOUS REBEL ZAPATISTA MUNICIPALITIES, WE RECOMMEND THE TOTAL AND IMMEDIATE CLOSURE OF THE CARACOLES AND CENTERS OF RESISTANCE AND REBELLION.

THIRD.- WE RECOMMEND THE SUPPORT BASES AND ALL THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE TO FOLLOW A SERIES OF SPECIAL RECOMMENDATIONS AND HYGIENE MEASURES THAT WILL BE SENT TO THE ZAPATIST COMMUNITIES, TOWNS AND NEIGHBORHOODS.

FOURTH.- IN THE ABSENCE OF THE BAD GOVERNMENTS, WE URGE EVERYONE, IN MEXICO AND THE WORLD, TO TAKE THE NECESSARY WITH SCIENTIFICALLY-BASED SANITARY MEASURES THAT WILL ALLOW US TO SURVIVE THIS PANDEMIC.

FIFTH.- WE CALL ON YOU NOT TO CEASE THE STRUGGLE AGAINST FEMICIDAL  VIOLENCE, TO CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE IN DEFENSE OF TERRITORY AND MOTHER EARTH, TO KEEP UP THE STRUGGLE FOR THE DISAPPEARED, MURDERED, AND IMPRISONED, AND KEEP THE FLAG OF THE FIGHT FOR HUMANITY RAISED HIGH.

SIXTH.- WE CALL ON YOU NOT TO LOSE HUMAN CONTACT, BUT TO TEMPORARILY CHANGE THE WAYS WE RELATE TO EACH OTHER AS COMRADES, SISTERS, BROTHERS, SISTERS.
THE WORD, THE EAR, AND THE HEART, HAVE MANY ROADS, MANY WAYS, MANY CALENDARS AND MANY GEOGRAPHIES TO MEET. THIS FIGHT FOR LIFE MAY BE ONE OF THEM.”

For more information in Spanish:
EZLN cierra sus centros de reunión, por COVID-19, Chiapasparalelo, 16 de marzo de 2020

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CAPTAIN NARCISSUS



Filling sails with warm breeze

The ship Capitali set to sea,

The crowd was cheering  

The vessel was glistening,

Golden nails its timbers fastening.



At the helm stood Captain Narcissus

The Realm’s one stable genius,
Waving he steered west,
On a voyage of conquest.

The moonlight lay over the sea,
By sunrise land was seen. 
After Capitali dropped anchor,
Narcissus went to reconnoiter. 

The Captain stepped onto the beach
And spied a diamond at his feet,
To the natives then he spoke:
“I am a civilized folk,
From a Great Realm come I to negotiate,
This diamond must be mine I so state
Golden glitter from my ship you may take.”

The natives agreed, then with great speed
Returned to his cabin and down on his knees,
A golden nail did he pry,
From floor boards inside.

The exchange then he did make
“I’m incredible” did Narcissus state.
With diamond the size of a fist,
He rowed to his ship through the mist.
From under his bed pulled a treasure chest
Tying rope from leg to chest he lay down to rest.

Many lands did they encounter
So many gems did he pilfer,
And many golden nails he did offer.
Admiring his gem filled chest on the floor
Narcissus said “this has never been done before!”
“”My success” said he, “you wouldn’t believe.”
Tying rope from leg to chest he lay down to sleep.

Returning to the Realm,
The Capitali hit a storm.
A mighty wave did strike the ship,
And timbers shuddered from tip to tip.
Narcissus awoke as the cabin floor split
The Treasure Chest then did fall fast,
Dragging the Captain down into the dark,
Smashing through the hull he shot down like a dart.

The ship drew on water,
The crew did scamper,
Over the side
They all did dive
Into the darkness-- to survive.

Nayvin Gordon 3/30/20




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High Court Declines Case of 60s Black Militant H. Rap Brown

By The Associated Press, April 6, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/04/06/us/politics/ap-us-supreme-court-h-rap-brown.html

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is declining to take the case of a 1960s black militant formerly known as H. Rap Brown who is in prison for killing a Georgia sheriff’s deputy in 2000.
As is usual, the justices didn't comment Monday in turning away Brown's case. Brown had argued his constitutional rights were violated at trial.
Brown converted to Islam and now goes by the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. He gained prominence more than 50 years ago as a Black Panthers leader and was at one point the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. 
In 2002, Al-Amin was convicted of murder in the death of Fulton County sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Kinchen and the wounding of Kinchen’s partner, Deputy Aldranon English. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Al-Amin had argued that a prosecutor violated his right not to testify by directly questioning him during closing arguments in a sort of mock cross-examination.




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Chelsea Manning Ordered Free From Prison



Chelsea Manning, photographed in Washington, D.C., in January 2018.
Photo: Jesse Dittmar/Redux



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Coronavirus, Epidemics and Capitalism:

The Bugs Are in the System

Radical Women supports and recommends this thoughtful analysis of the novel coronavirus by our sister organization, the Freedom Socialist Party. The statement raises excellent demands to protect workers, women, the poor, and people of color being scapegoated for the crisis. 
Woman cleaning bus

Governments around the globe have had since December to prepare for the novel coronavirus. And while some countries have done better than others with their response, here in the U.S. the for-profit medical industry is practically ensuring that more people catch the virus and more die from it. As with other disasters and emergencies, capitalism makes things worse.

Billionaire White House occupant Donald Trump shot us all in the foot when he fired his pandemic response team in 2018. A year later, his administration scaled back the Centers for Disease Control’s pandemic prevention teams in several countries, including China. His 2021 budget proposal includes a 16% cut in the CDC’s budget, this after the department endured over a decade of budget cuts going back to the Obama administration. Now in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Trump visited the CDC and asked, “Who would have thought?” (New York Times, 3/8/20).

Coronavirus has so far claimed more than 4,600 lives worldwide. Cases of people with COVID-19 have been confirmed in 114 countries, including the United States, with the disease reported in 42 states so far. Washington state is the initial epicenter with over 330 cases confirmed and possibly 1,000 or more undetected.

On one hand, there is a constant drumbeat from corporate media outlets that invites panic. On the other, elected leaders are too concerned with the economic disruption to take this threat seriously enough. Testing for the virus is a good example of this. Initial kits from the CDC were faulty and the agency was slow to remove senseless restrictions on who could be tested. In Washington state, the insurance commissioner directed insurance companies not to charge any co-pays for the tests — but those without insurance still have to pay. This guarantees greater suffering for homeless people and the lowest-paid and most marginalized workers, meaning women, immigrants and people of color.

And there are still shortages of test kits, letting the virus continue to spread. Congress passed an $8.3 billion anti-coronavirus spending package on March 4, which should buy more testing kits. But if a tenth of that money had been spent years ago developing a coordinated, international strategy of prevention we might not be in this fix. Not to mention Trump’s ridiculous revolving-door Cabinet that has included four different Secretaries of Health and Human Services and his appointment of Vice President Mike Pence as his coronavirus czar. Pence is famous for his slow response to an outbreak of the AIDS virus as governor of Indiana, a delay that caused it to spread far and wide.

Trump and his fellow far-right world leaders are using the virus as an excuse to double down on xenophobic nationalism, upping the rhetoric and shutting down borders. Racist bigots everywhere are following their example. Violence against Asian people has escalated, as witnessed in London and on a New York City subway last month. Asian-owned businesses across the U.S. have been shunned and hotels have turned away customers because of their race.

It doesn’t help matters that 24% of all U.S. workers and 58% of those in the service industry receive no paid sick leave. That leaves them to choose between being getting fired or potentially causing their co-workers and customers to fall ill. The Healthy Families Act would give everyone at least a week’s sick leave, but even if it becomes law it won’t be enough. Many serious illnesses are contagious for more than a week and many workers, especially women, need to care for sick family members.

Like other epidemics before it, coronavirus is a threat compounded by capitalist greed and callousness. As disease ecologist Peter Daszak recently put it, “Unprecedented road-building, deforestation, land clearing and agricultural development, as well as globalized travel and trade” make pandemics likelier than ever, especially when “between outbreaks, the will to spend money on prevention wanes.” Global warming and nuclear proliferation have shown that capitalists will always trade tomorrow’s welfare for today’s dollar if we let them.

Now is the time to mobilize our unions and community organizations, along with small businesses to insist on immediate and effective action to protect public health.

To address this crisis, the Freedom Socialist Party raises these demands:
  • A universal, free, nonprofit, nationalized medical industry, including pharmaceuticals, managed by healthcare workers and patients
  • Free testing, treatment and vaccines
  • International cooperation on the virus treatment and vaccine research; outlaw profit-making from the crisis
  • Unlimited paid sick leave for all workers, with government assistance as necessary plus full compensation for lost wages due to closures or quarantines
  • Free laptops and Wi-Fi at home and free lunch programs for all students when schools close; free childcare for parents who have to work
  • Emergency financial assistance for small businesses hurt by the epidemic, including subsidies for paid sick leave
  • Increase public and private staffing levels to perform the intensified cleaning required
  • Train all at-risk workers and provide proper protective equipment
  • Stop the racist scapegoating of Chinese and all Asian and immigrant communities
  • No abridgement of civil liberties
  • Redirect military spending and border wall funding to coronavirus response, prevention and cure


You can find fiery Radical Women writings on the RW webpage. Learn more about RW through The Radical Women Manifesto, an exhilarating exploration of Marxist feminist theory and organizing methods. Buy a copy or read it on Google Books.
Donations are appreciated! As a grassroots group, Radical Women is sustained by support from people like you. Please contribute online or mail a check, payable to Radical Women, National Office 5018 Rainier Ave S Seattle, WA 98118 USA.

Check out the Freedom Socialist newspaper, a bi-monthly socialist feminist newspaper with news and analysis from around the globe. It also features book reviews, irreverent political cartoons, movement news and letters-to-the-editor. You can read or listen to articles online. Subscribe online or send $10 for one year or $17 for two to Freedom Socialist, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle WA 98118. (Students $8 for one year, strikers and unemployed $5.)

Mailing Address:
Radical Women, National Office
5018 Rainier Ave. S.
SeattleWA  98118

Add us to your address book

For more information
Phone: 206-722-6057
RadicalWomenus@gmail.com
www.RadicalWomen.org

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Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism

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The American way of life was designed by white supremacists in favor patriarchal white supremacy, who have had at least a 400 year head start accumulating wealth, out of generations filled with blood sweat and tears of oppressed people. The same people who are still on the front lines and in the crosshairs of patriarchal white-supremacist capitalism today. There's no such thing as equality without a united revolutionary front to dismantle capitalism and design a worldwide socialist society.

—Johnny Gould

(Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 

AUGUST 21 - SEPTEMBER 9th

To all in solidarity with the Prisoners Human Rights Movement:

We are reaching out to those that have been amplifying our voices in these state, federal, or immigration jails and prisons, and to allies that uplifted the national prison strike demands in 2018. We call on you again to organize the communities from August 21st - September 9th, 2020, by hosting actions, events, and demonstrations that call for prisoner human rights and the end to prison slavery.

We must remind the people and legal powers in this nation that prisoners' human rights are a priority. If we aren't moving forward, we're moving backward. For those of us in chains, backward is not an option. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Some people claim that prisoners' human rights have advanced since the last national prison strike in 2018. We strongly disagree. But due to prisoners organizing inside and allies organizing beyond the walls, solidarity with our movement has increased. The only reason we hear conversations referencing prison reforms in every political campaign today is because of the work of prison organizers and our allies! But as organizers in prisons, we understand this is not enough. Just as quickly as we've gained ground, others are already funding projects and talking points to set back those advances. Our only way to hold our ground while moving forward is to remind people where we are and where we are headed.

On August 21 - September 9, we call on everyone in solidarity with us to organize an action, a panel discussion, a rally, an art event, a film screening, or another kind of demonstration to promote prisoners' human rights. Whatever is within your ability, we ask that you shake the nation out of any fog they may be in about prisoners' human rights and the criminal legal system (legalized enslavement).

During these solidarity events, we request that organizers amplify immediate issues prisoners in your state face, the demands from the National Prison Strike of 2018, and uplift Jailhouse Lawyers Speak new International Law Project.

We've started the International Law Project to engage the international community with a formal complaint about human rights abuses in U.S. prisons. This project will seek prisoners' testimonials from across the country to establish a case against the United States Prison Industrial Slave Complex on international human rights grounds.

Presently working on this legally is the National Lawyers Guild's Prisoners Rights Committee, and another attorney, Anne Labarbera. Members of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP), and I am We Prisoners Advocacy Network/Millions For Prisoners are also working to support these efforts. The National Lawyers Guild Prisoners' Rights Committee (Jenipher R. Jones, Esq. and Audrey Bomse) will be taking the lead on this project.

The National Prison Strike Demands of 2018 have not changed.. As reflected publicly by the recent deaths of Mississippi prisoners, the crisis in this nation's prisons persist. Mississippi prisons are on national display at the moment of this writing, and we know shortly afterward there will be another Parchman in another state with the same issues. The U.S. has demonstrated a reckless disregard for human lives in cages.

The prison strike demands were drafted as a path to alleviate the dehumanizing process and conditions people are subjected to while going through this nation's judicial system. Following up on these demands communicates to the world that prisoners are heard and that prisoners' human rights are a priority.

In the spirit of Attica, will you be in the fight to dismantle the prison industrial slave complex by pushing agendas that will shut down jails and prisons like Rikers Island or Attica? Read the Attica Rebellion demands and read the National Prison Strike 2018 demands. Ask yourself what can you do to see the 2018 National Prison Strike demands through.

SHARE THIS RELEASE FAR AND WIDE WITH ALL YOUR CONTACTS!

We rage with George Jackson's "Blood in my eyes" and move in the spirit of the Attica Rebellion!

August 21st - September 9th, 2020

AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANIZE

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  

NLG EMAIL CONTACT FOR LAWYERS AND LAW STUDENTS INTERESTED IN JOINING THE INTERNATIONAL LAW PROJECT: micjlsnlg@gmail.com

PRISON STRIKE DEMANDS:  https://jailhouselawyerspeak.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/prisoners-national-demands-for-human-rights/  

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Courage to Resist
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

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Party for Socialism and Liberation               
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Presidential candidate Gloria La Riva denounces Trump's new Iran sanctions
La Riva speaking on human impact of U.S. Sanctions
Campaign tweet of La Riva at anti-war protest speaking on the human impact of U..S. sanctions
"Sanctions are a silent killer that have already had devastating effects in Iraq and Iran. I denounce Mike Pompeo's and Steven Mnuchin's announcement of more sanctions on Iran, which are solely intended to create suffering on the Iranian people," said Gloria La Riva, 2020 presidential candidate and longtime anti-war activist. "It is clear that the Trump administration is not backing down from its belligerence. In fact, Trump is forcefully pursuing further confrontation, and is all the more reason for us to remain mobilized against a new war on Iran." Join the Sat. Jan. 25 – Global Day of Protest – No War On Iran! "Sanctions are an act of war," she continued, "I traveled three times to Iraq during the 1990's when the United States government imposed a total blockade of the country for more than 12 years. I witnessed the human toll, thousands of people dying every month from the blocking of food, medicine, and infrastructure materials after the 78-day U.S... military bombing of 1991." La Riva produced the 1998 award-winning documentary, Genocide by Sanctions: The Case of Iraq, based on her investigative work there... "And now President Trump, via executive order, is virtually tightening a noose on Iran." In the Friday address Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that Trump's sanctions included penalties that would be applied to any individual or governments trading with or involved with Iranian construction, manufacturing, textiles or mining industries. "Sanctions are designed to destabilize a country's society, they are part of a larger war drive," La Riva said. "They hit the most vulnerable people first, the sick, young children, elderly and the poor because they lose access to necessary items. In Iran the prices of potatoes have already increased over 300% from previous sanctions. The costs of rice and chicken and many other goods have gone up.......... The point of sanctions is to create suffering—with these kinds of acts it is no wonder Iran and the Iraqi Parliament have called for the expulsion of the U..S. military from the region. "There is no justification for these sanctions. In fact United Nations resolutions state that there is no justification for policies that target a whole population.... Such an act of aggression is recognized as genocide." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was behind imminent threats to Americans but when asked for specifics, he only cited the death of a U.S.. contractor killed in Iraq. However, that was weeks prior to the killing of Soleimani. La Riva said, "by logic and definition a past occurrence does not constitute not an imminent threat. What we know instead is that with Trump's abrogation of the JCPOA, he embarked a while ago on an offensive that the people of the United States and worldwide are extremely worried about.." La Riva has been in the streets of San Francisco with thousands of other people demanding No New War on Iran.... She is running nationally for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and in California she is seeking the Peace and Freedom Party nomination. Her vice-presidential candidate is Leonard Peltier, Native political prisoner unjustly held in federal prison now for 43 years. Point five of La Riva's Presidential 10 Point Program reads, "Shut down all U.S. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home... U...S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations... That is what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people's needs here and worldwide. Abolish nuclear weapons... Stop U.S. aid to Israel. Self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of return. End the U.S.. blockade of Cuba and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and all countries...... Independence for Puerto Rico and cancel its debt!"
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La Riva / Peltier 2020 Campaign
10-Point Program
10 Point Program                              
The 10-Point Program of the La Riva/Peltier 2020 Campaign is a fighting program that represents the interests and needs of the vast majority of people of the United States and extends international solidarity to the peoples of the world. Our campaign will reach to every corner of the U.S. with the message that only socialism can solve the crises of climate change, racism, poverty and war. It will take a people's movement for real, lasting and sustainable change. We hope you will join us! Donate to our campaign today!
★ 1 | Make the essentials of life constitutional rights The U.....S. has more than enough so that all the essentials of life — food, housing, water, education, health care and a job or basic income can be guaranteed rights — rather than distributed only for profit. Create a completely free and public healthcare system.. Make education free—cancel all student debt. Fully fund rebuilding of the infrastructure in transport, water and utility systems... Stop all foreclosures and evictions. End all discrimination based on ability/disability.
★ 2 | For the Earth to live, capitalism must be replaced by a socialist system Global warming, pollution, acidified and depleted oceans, fracking, critical drought, plastics choking the seas, nuclear weapons and waste — it is clear that capitalism and production for profit are destroying the planet and threatening all life.. The crisis is already here, with the most vulnerable and oppressed areas of the U.S.. and Global South bearing the brunt. Using truly sustainable energy and seizing the oil and coal companies to stop fossil fuel pollution, are urgent steps needed to reverse climate change.. Ultimately, only the socialist reorganization of society can assure the future of the people and the planet.
★ 3 | End racism, police brutality, mass incarceration. Pay reparations to the African American community Mass incarceration and racist policing are symptomatic of the 400 years of brutal repression meted out to African-descended peoples in the U.S. Reparations must be paid! More than 2....2 million people are behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world. End mass incarceration of all oppressed and working-class people. Fully prosecute all acts of police brutality and violence. Free Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners!
★ 4 | Full rights for all immigrants Abolish all anti-immigrant laws. Stop the raids and deportations and demonization of immigrants......... Shut down ICE and the concentration camps and reunite families.. The government's war on immigrants must end. The border wall must be dismantled. Amnesty and citizenship for those without documents... Full rights for all!
★ 5 | Shut down all U.S.. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home U.S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations... That is what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people's needs here and worldwide. Abolish nuclear weapons... Stop U....S... aid to Israel.. Self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of return. End the U.S. blockade of Cuba and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and all countries.. Independence for Puerto Rico and cancel its debt!
★ 6 | Honor Native treaties... Free Leonard Peltier now Both major parties have continued to allow the destruction and theft of Native lands by mining and corporate agricultural interests in blatant disregard of indigenous sovereign rights.. 33% of Native children live in poverty and many of the poorest U..S... counties are reservations..... The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the over-incarceration of Native peoples shows the bankruptcy of capitalism from its earliest inception in the Americas until today..
★ 7 | Full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people Fight back against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence.... Defend marriage equality. Full equality in all matters governed by civil law, including employment, housing, healthcare and education.. No to "religious exemption" laws that allow discrimination against LGBTQ people!
★ 8 | Equality for women and free, safe, legal abortion on demand Stop the attack on women's reproductive rights and defend Roe v. Wade... Women must have the fundamental right to choose and to control their own bodies. Women still earn 22 percent less than men, and the gap is even more severe for Black and Latina women.. Close the wage gap and end the gender division of labor......
★ 9 | Defend and expand our unions Support the right of all workers to have a union. Fight back against the attacks on collective bargaining...... Require employers to recognize card check union votes. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. Focusing on low-wage worker organizing, rebuild a fighting labor movement.
★ 10 | Take over the stolen wealth of the giant banks and corporations – Jail Wall St.. criminals The vast wealth of the giant banks and corporations is created by workers labor and the exploitation of the world's diminishing natural resources. The billionaires looted and destroyed the economy. It is time to seize their assets and use those resources in the interests of the vast majority. Power must be taken out of the hands of the super rich, and Wall Street criminals must be jailed.
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Stop Kevin Cooper's Abuse by San Quentin Prison Guards!

https://www.change.org/p/san-quentin-warden-ronald-davis-stop-kevin-cooper-s-abuse-by-san-quentin-prison-guards-2ace89a7-a13e-44ab-b70c-c18acbbfeb59?recruiter=747387046&recruited_by_id=3ea6ecd0-69ba-11e7-b7ef-51d8e2da53ef&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard&use_react=false puTHCIdZoZCFjjb-800x450-noPad On Wednesday, September 25, Kevin Cooper's cell at San Quentin Prison was thrown into disarray and his personal food dumped into the toilet by a prison guard, A. Young. The cells on East Block Bayside, where Kevin's cell is, were all searched on September 25 during Mandatory Yard. Kevin spent the day out in the yard with other inmates.. In a letter, Kevin described what he found when he returned: "This cage was hit hard, like a hurricane was in here .. .... . little by little I started to clean up and put my personal items back inside the boxes that were not taken .... .. .. I go over to the toilet, lift up the seatcover and to my surprise and shock the toilet was completely filled up with my refried beans, and my brown rice. Both were in two separate cereal bags and both cereal bags were full. The raisin bran cereal bags were gone, and my food was in the toilet!" A bucket was eventually brought over and: "I had to get down on my knees and dig my food out of the toilet with my hands so that I could flush the toilet. The food, which was dried refried beans and dried brown rice had absorbed the water in the toilet and had become cement hard. It took me about 45 minutes to get enough of my food out of the toilet before it would flush." Even the guard working the tier at the time told Kevin, "K.C.., that is f_cked up!" A receipt was left in Kevin's cell identifying the guard who did this as A... Young. Kevin has never met Officer A...... Young, and has had no contact with him besides Officer Young's unprovoked act of harassment and psychological abuse... Kevin Cooper has served over 34 years at San Quentin, fighting for exoneration from the conviction for murders he did not commit. It is unconscionable for him to be treated so disrespectfully by prison staff on top of the years of his incarceration. No guard should work at San Quentin if they cannot treat prisoners and their personal belongings with basic courtesy and respect................. Kevin has filed a grievance against A. Young.. Please: 1) Sign this petition calling on San Quentin Warden Ronald Davis to grant Kevin's grievance and discipline "Officer" A. Young.. 2) Call Warden Ronald Davis at: (415) 454-1460 Ext. 5000. Tell him that Officer Young's behaviour was inexcusable, and should not be tolerated........ 3) Call Yasir Samar, Associate Warden of Specialized Housing, at (415) 455-5037 4) Write Warden Davis and Lt. Sam Robinson (separately) at: Main Street San Quentin, CA 94964 5) Email Lt. Sam Robinson at: samuel.robinson2@cdcr.......................ca.gov

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Eddie Conway's Update on Forgotten Political Prisoners

November 19, 2019

https://therealnews........com/stories/eddie-conway-update-forgotten-political-prisoners


EDDIE CONWAY: I'm Eddie Conway, host of Rattling the Bars. As many well-known political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal continue to suffer in prison…

MUMIA ABU JAMAL: In an area where there is corporate downsizing and there are no jobs and there is only a service economy and education is being cut, which is the only rung by which people can climb, the only growth industry in this part of Pennsylvania, in the Eastern United States, in the Southern United States, in the Western United States is "corrections," for want of a better word. The corrections industry is booming. I mean, this joint here ain't five years old.

EDDIE CONWAY: …The media brings their stories to the masses.. But there are many lesser-known activists that have dropped out of the spotlight, grown old in prison, or just been forgotten.............. For Rattling the Bars, we are spotlighting a few of their stories........ There was a thriving Black Panther party in Omaha, Nebraska, headed by David Rice and Ed Poindexter...... By 1968, the FBI had began plans to eliminate the Omaha Black Panthers by making an example of Rice and Poindexter. It would take a couple of years, but the FBI would frame them for murder..

KIETRYN ZYCHAL: In the 90s, Ed and Mondo both applied to the parole board. There are two different things you do in Nebraska, the parole board would grant you parole, but because they have life sentences, they were told that they have to apply to the pardons board, which is the governor, the attorney general, and the secretary of state, and ask that their life sentences be commuted to a specific number of years before they would be eligible for parole.

And so there was a movement in the 90s to try to get them out on parole...... The parole board would recommend them for parole because they were exemplary prisoners, and then the pardons board would not give them a hearing. They wouldn't even meet to determine whether they would commute their sentence..

EDDIE CONWAY: They served 45 years before Rice died in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. After several appeals, earning a master's degree, writing several books and helping other inmates, Poindexter is still serving time at the age of 75.

KEITRYN ZYCHAL: Ed Poindexter has been in jail or prison since August of 1970. He was accused of making a suitcase bomb and giving it to a 16-year-old boy named Duane Peak, and Duane Peak was supposed to take the bomb to a vacant house and call 911, and report that a woman was dragged screaming into a vacant house, and when police officers showed up, one of those police officers was killed when the suitcase bomb exploded............

Ed and his late co-defendant, Mondo we Langa, who was David Rice at the time of the trial, they have always insisted that they had absolutely nothing to do with this murderous plot, and they tried to get back into court for 50 years, and they have never been able to get back into court to prove their innocence. Mondo died in March of 2016 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Ed is going to turn 75 this year, I think............. And he has spent the majority of his life in prison... It will be 50 years in 2020 that he will be in prison..

EDDIE CONWAY: There are at least 20 Black Panthers still in prison across the United States.. One is one of the most revered is H. Rap Brown, known by his Islamic name, Jamil Al-Amin.

KAIRI AL-AMIN: My father has been a target for many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years of the federal government, and I think him being housed these last 10 years in federal penitentiaries without federal charges show that the vendetta is still strong. The federal government has not forgotten who he was as H.. Rap Brown, or who he is as Imam Jamil Al-Amin...

JAMIL AL-AMIN: See, it's no in between.. You are either free or you're a slave. There's no such thing as second-class citizenship.

EDDIE CONWAY: Most people don't realize he's still in prison. He's serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson...

KAIRI AL-AMIN: Our campaign is twofold.. One, how can egregious constitutional rights violations not warrant a new trial, especially when they were done by the prosecution........ And two, my father is innocent. The facts point to him being innocent, which is why we're pushing for a new trial.. We know that they can't win this trial twice... The reason they won the first time was because of the gag order that was placed on my father which didn't allow us to fight in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law... And so when you don't have anyone watching, anything can be done without any repercussion..

EDDIE CONWAY: Another well-known political prisoner that has been forgotten in the media and in the public arena is Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement and has been in prison for over 40 years and is now 75 years old..

SPEAKER: Leonard Peltier represents, in a very real sense, the effort, the struggle by indigenous peoples within the United States to exercise their rights as sovereign nations, recognized as such in treaties with the United States.. For the government of the United States, which has colonized all indigenous peoples to claim boundaries, keeping Leonard in prison demonstrates the costs and consequences of asserting those rights.

EDDIE CONWAY: Leonard Peltier suffers from a host of medical issues including suffering from a stroke... And if he is not released, he will die in prison...

LEONARD PELTIER: I'll be an old man when I get out, if I get out.

PAULETTE D'AUTEUIL: His wellbeing is that he rarely gets a family visit. His children live in California and North Dakota. Both places are a good 2000 miles from where he's at in Florida, so it makes it time consuming as well as expensive to come and see him. He is, health-wise, we are still working on trying to get some help for his prostate, and there has been some development of some spots on his lungs, which we are trying to get resolved....... There's an incredible mold issue in the prison, especially because in Florida it's so humid and it builds up. So we're also dealing with that...

EDDIE CONWAY: These are just a few of the almost 20 political prisoners that has remained in American prisons for 30 and 40 years, some even longer. Mutulu Shakur has been in jail for long, long decades.... Assata Shakur has been hiding and forced into exile in Cuba......... Sundiata has been in prison for decades; Veronza Bower, The Move Nine........... And there's just a number of political prisoners that's done 30 or 40 years.

They need to be released and they need to have an opportunity to be back with their family, their children, their grandchildren, whoever is still alive. Any other prisoners in the United States that have the same sort of charges as those people that are being held has been released up to 15 or 20 years ago. That same justice system should work for the political prisoners also.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Rattling the Bars. I'm Eddie Conway.....

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Letters of support for clemency needed for Reality Winner 

Reality Winner, a whistleblower who helped expose foreign hacking of US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election, has been behind bars since June 2017. Supporters are preparing to file a petition of clemency in hopes of an early release... Reality's five year prison sentence is by far the longest ever given for leaking information to the media about a matter of public interest..............

Stand with Reality shirts, stickers, and more available. Please take a moment to sign the letter SIGN THE LETTER 

Support Reality Podcast: "Veterans need to tell their stories" – Dan Shea Vietnam War combat veteran Daniel Shea on his time in Vietnam and the impact that Agent Orange and post traumatic stress had on him and his family since...

 Listen now This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured.. If you believe this history is important, please ... DONATE NOW 
to support these podcasts

COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT! 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559 www.....................couragetoresist..org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist 

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Mobilization4MumiaM4B4NPhPzWJt87DARVR5-kdDE-Zg2kjzd9P8nMAFdnq1BkTLxJK1Xa51LKuxjKkeEz-kux6VKGqePHOFaWubSaquw7k5tBjwuV6BgOokFROdNa14U07z2Ec-zMrrLptAlmM8JoO4215-724-1618 Mobilizatio4Mumia.com   mobilization4mumia@gmail.com PRESS RELEASE Contact Sophia Williams 917-806-0521, Ted Kelly 610-715-6924 or Joe Piette 610-931-2615
Philadelphia, Jan. 30 - Mumia Abu-Jamal has always insisted on his innocence in the death of police officer Daniel Faulkner, blaming police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct for his politically-tainted conviction. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is expected to announce his response this week to the legal briefs for Post Conviction Relief Act hearings and the request to remand Abu-Jamal's case back to Common Pleas court, filed by his attorneys in early September 2019. Abu-Jamal's supporters will rally outside DA Krasner's office at 4:30 on Friday, January 31, whether or not he challenges Mumia's appeals. We call for Mumia's release...
Recent exonerations of 10 Philadelphia residents unfairly convicted for crimes they did not commit reveal a simple truth - the Philadelphia police, courts and prosecutors convicted innocent Black men based on gross violations of their constitutional rights. The same patterns of constitutional violations plague the case of Abu-Jamal. Since Jan. 2018, Sherman McCoy, James Frazier, Dwayne Thorpe, Terrance Lewis, Jamaal Simmons, Dontia Patterson, John Miller, Willie Veasey, Johnny Berry and Chester Holmann III have all been exonerated by DA Larry Krasner's Conviction Integrity Unit.  Philadelphia is not alone. The National Registry of Exonerations counted 165 exonerations last year. The registry has tallied 2,500 wrongful convictions since 1989, costing defendants more than 22,000 years of incarceration. Seven of the ten men released in Philadelphia were convicted by longtime district attorney Lynne Abraham, a "tough-on-crime" prosecutor who regularly sought maximum punishments and death spentences. Abraham as Common Pleas Court Judge arraigned Abu-Jamal in 1981and years later as District Attorney fought his post conviction relief hearings... Ineffective counsel, false witness testimony, witness coercion and intimidation, phony ballistics evidence, prosecution failure to turn over evidence to the defense as required by law, racist jury selections -- these and other legal errors led to the exoneration of these innocent defendants after decades in prison.. These are the same police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct practices Abu-Jamal's attorneys and supporters have been citing since 1982. In the late 1970s and early 80s, Abu-Jamal was a daily radio reporter for WHYY and NPR who earned acclaim for his award-winning reporting. As a journalist who reported fairly on the MOVE organization's resistance against state repression, he drew the ire of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police and the notoriously racist Police Commissioner and later Mayor Frank Rizzo. On Dec. 9, 1981, while driving a cab to supplement his income, Abu-Jamal happened upon his brother in an altercation with Faulkner. Faulkner was killed. Abu-Jamal, who was shot and severely beaten by police, was charged in Faulkner's death, even though witnesses reported seeing another man, most probably the passenger in Abu-Jamal's brother's car, running from the scene. Imprisoned for nearly four decades, Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence. He successfully won his release from Pennsylvania's death row in 2011.. In December 2018 he won the right to appeal his 1982 conviction because of biased judicial oversight by PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille In early January 2019, DA Krasner reported finding six boxes of previously undisclosed evidence held by prosecutors in the case and allowed Abu-Jamal's attorneys to review the files. In September 2019 Abu-Jamal's lawyers filed new appellate briefs, including a request that the case be returned for a hearing before the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court based on finding of concrete evidence of prosecutorial misconduct by the DA's office in his 1982 trial. A Sept.. 9, 2019 Abu-Jamal's attorneys Judith Ritter and Sam Spital filed a brief in PA Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair and violated the Constitution. They argue the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his 1982 lawyer did not adequately challenge the State's witnesses.                                                                                               The attorneys also filed a motion revealing new evidence of constitutional violations such as promises by the prosecutor to pay or give leniency to two witnesses. There is also new evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection. Attorney Ritter contends that the new evidence shows Abu-Jamal's trial was "fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations." https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZgI0jvcWY5soAh_DXKdNnJJZSY0HEftuRwthQMurgd8/edit?usp=sharing

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Mumia Abu-Jamal: New Chance for Freedom

Police and State Frame-Up Must Be Fully Exposed!

Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent. Courts have ignored and suppressed evidence of his innocence for decades.... But now, one court has thrown out all the decisions of the PA Supreme Court that denied Mumia's appeals against his unjust conviction during the years of 1998 to 2012! 

This ruling, by Judge Leon Tucker, was made because one judge on the PA Supreme Court during those years, Ronald Castille, was lacking the "appearance of impartiality." In plain English, he was clearly biased against Mumia. Before sitting on the PA Supreme Court, Castille had been District Attorney (or assistant DA) during the time of Mumia's frame-up and conviction, and had used his office to express a special interest in pursuing the death penalty for "cop-killers." Mumia was in the cross-hairs. Soon he was wrongly convicted and sent to death row for killing a police officer.....

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Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning and intrepid journalist, a former Black Panther, MOVE supporter, and a critic of police brutality and murder.  Mumia was framed by police, prosecutors, and leading elements of both Democratic and Republican parties, for the shooting of a police officer.. The US Justice Department targeted him as well... A racist judge helped convict him, and corrupt courts have kept him locked up despite much evidence that should have freed him. He continues his commentary and journalism from behind bars. As of 2019, he has been imprisoned for 37 years for a crime he did not commit. 

Time is up! FREE MUMIA NOW!

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DA's Hidden Files Show Frame-Up of Mumia

In the midst of Mumia's fight for his right to challenge the state Supreme Court's negative rulings, a new twist was revealed: six boxes of files on Mumia's case--with many more still hidden--were surreptitiously concealed for decades in a back room at the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia. The very fact that these files on Mumia's case were hidden away for decades is damning in the extreme, and their revelations confirm what we have known for decades: Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit!

So far, the newly revealed evidence confirms that, at the time of Mumia's 1982 trial, chief prosecutor Joe McGill illegally removed black jurors from the jury, violating the Batson decision. Also revealed: The prosecution bribed witnesses into testifying that they saw Mumia shoot the slain police officer when they hadn't seen any such thing.... Taxi driver Robert Chobert, who was on probation for fire-bombing a school yard at the time, had sent a letter demanding his money for lying on the stand....... Very important, but the newly revealed evidence is just the tip of the iceberg! 

All Evidence of Mumia's Innocence Must Be Brought Forward Now!

Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner was rigged against him from beginning to end........ All of the evidence of Mumia's innocence--which was earlier suppressed or rejected--must now be heard:

• Mumia was framed - The judge at Mumia's trial, Albert Sabo, was overheard to say, "I'm gonna help 'em fry the n____r." And he proceeded to do just that.... Mumia was thrown out of his own trial for defending himself! Prosecution "witnesses" were coerced or bribed at trial to lie against Mumia.. In addition to Chobert, this included key witness Cynthia White, a prostitute who testified that she saw Mumia shoot Faulkner... White's statements had to be rewritten under intense pressure from the cops, because she was around the corner and out of sight of the shooting at the time! Police bribed her with promises of being allowed to work her corner, and not sent to state prison for her many prostitution charges.

• Mumia only arrived on the scene after Officer Faulkner was shot - William Singletary, a tow-truck business owner who had no reason to lie against the police, said he had been on the scene the whole time, that Mumia was not the shooter, and that Mumia had arrived only after the shooting of Faulkner. Singletary's statements were torn up, his business was wrecked, and he was threatened by police to be out of town for the trial (which, unfortunately, he was)...

• There is no evidence that Mumia fired a gun - Mumia was shot on the scene by an arriving police officer and arrested. But the cops did not test his hands for gun-powder residue--a standard procedure in shootings! They also did not test Faulkner's hands. The prosecution nevertheless claimed Mumia was the shooter, and that he was shot by Faulkner as the officer fell to the ground. Ballistics evidence was corrupted to falsely show that Mumia's gun was the murder weapon, when his gun was reportedly still in his taxi cab, which was in police custody days after the shooting!

• The real shooter fled the scene and was never charged - Veronica Jones was a witness who said that after hearing the shots from a block away, she had seen two people fleeing the scene of the shooting.... This could not have included Mumia, who had been shot and almost killed at the scene. Jones was threatened by the police with arrest and loss of custody of her children. She then lied on the stand at trial to say she had seen no one running away. 

• Abu-Jamal never made a confession - Mumia has always maintained his innocence. But police twice concocted confessions that Mumia never made. Inspector Alfonso Giordano, the senior officer at the crime scene, made up a confession for Mumia. But Giordano was not allowed to testify at trial, because he was top on the FBI's list of corrupt cops in the Philadelphia police force... At the DA's request, another cop handily provided a second "confession," allegedly heard by a security guard in the hospital......... But at neither time was Mumia--almost fatally shot--able to speak.. And an earlier police report by cops in the hospital said that, referring to Mumia: "the negro male made no comment"!

• The crime scene was tampered with by police - Police officers at the scene rearranged some evidence, and handled what was alleged to be Mumia's gun with their bare hands... A journalist's photos revealed this misconduct. The cops then left the scene unattended for hours.. All of this indicates a frame-up in progress....

• The real shooter confessed, and revealed the reason for the crime - Arnold Beverly came forward in the 1990s. He said in a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that he, not Mumia, had been the actual shooter. He said that he, along with "another guy," had been hired to do the hit, because Faulkner was "a problem for the mob and corrupt policemen because he interfered with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling, drugs without prosecution in the center city area"! (affidavit of Arnold Beverly).

• The corruption of Philadelphia police is documented and well known - This includes that of Giordano, who was the first cop to manufacture a "confession" by Mumia... Meanwhile, Faulkner's cooperation with the federal anti-corruption investigations of Philadelphia police is strongly suggested by his lengthy and heavily redacted FBI file......

• Do cops kill other cops? There are other cases in Philadelphia that look that way. Frank Serpico, an NYC cop who investigated and reported on police corruption, was abandoned by fellow cops after being shot in a drug bust. Mumia was clearly made a scape-goat for the crimes of corrupt Philadelphia cops who were protecting their ill-gotten gains.

• Politicians and US DOJ helped the frame-up - Ed Rendell, former DA, PA governor, and head of the Democratic National Committee--and now a senior advisor to crime-bill author Joe Biden--is complicit in the frame-up of Mumia. The US Justice Department targeted Mumia for his anti-racist activities when he was a teenager, and later secretly warned then-prosecutor Rendell not to use Giordano as a witness against Mumia because he was an FBI target for corruption..

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All this should lead to an immediate freeing of Mumia! But we are still a ways away from that, and we have no confidence in the capitalist courts to finish the job. We must act! This victory in local court allowing new appeals must now lead to a full-court press on all the rejected and suppressed evidence of Mumia's innocence!

Mass Movement Needed To Free Mumia! 

Mumia's persecution by local, state and federal authorities of both political parties has been on-going, and has generated a world-wide movement in his defense... This movement has seen that Mumia, as a radio journalist who exposed the brutal attacks on the black community by the police in Philadelphia, has spoken out as a defender of working people of all colors and all nationalities in his ongoing commentaries (now on KPFA/Pacifica radio), despite being on death row, and now while serving life without the possibility of parole (LWOP)...

In 1999, Oakland Teachers for Mumia held unauthorized teach-ins in Oakland schools on Mumia and the death penalty, despite the rabid hysteria in the bourgeois media. Teachers in Rio de Janeiro held similar actions. Letters of support came in from maritime workers and trade unions around the world.. Later in 1999, longshore workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast to free Mumia, and led a mass march of 25,000 Mumia supporters in San Francisco................ 

A year later, a federal court lifted Mumia's death sentence, based on improper instructions to the jury by trial judge Albert Sabo.. The federal court ordered the local court to hold a new sentencing hearing... Fearing their frame-up of Mumia could be revealed in any new hearing, even if only on sentencing, state officials passed. Much to the chagrin of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)--which still seeks Mumia's death--this left Mumia with LWOP, death by life in prison.. 

Mumia supporters waged a struggle to get him the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, which he had likely contracted through a blood transfusion in hospital after he was shot by a cop at the 1981 crime scene. The Labor Action Committee conducted demonstrations against Gilead Sciences, the Foster City CA corporation that owns the cure, and charged $1,000 per pill! The Metalworkers Union of South Africa wrote a letter excoriating Governor Wolf for allowing untreated sick freedom fighters to die in prison as the apartheid government had done. Finally, Mumia did get the cure.. Now, more than ever, struggle is needed to free Mumia!

Now is the Time: Mobilize Again for Mumia's Freedom!

Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

www.laboractionmumia...........org

Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal | Mumia Abu-Jamal is an I.....

November 2019
"There is no time for despair, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language.. This is how civilizations heal." -Toni Morrison

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c04758efab450303611bf2bb1b2dd96a5d550b8c

Board Game

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/race-for-solidarity


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today

An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history.. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.

Spread the word!!

By Dr.... Nayvin Gordon

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50 years in prison:  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! FREE Chip Fitzgerald  Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend former Black Panther                
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago...... A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.. NOW is the time for Chip to come home! In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman..... During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death. In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty.......... Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years...... But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since.  Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding.. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings: ·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more; ·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old; ·        for anyone with disabilities  Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria. But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.......... Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home. The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage..... We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately. What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP: 1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering. 2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs..google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing 3)   Write to Chip:   Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527, CSP-LAC P.O. Box 4490 B-4-150 Lancaster, CA 93539 -- Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863...................9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

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On Abortion: From Facebook
Best explanation I've heard so far......., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..................., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question.... However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not..., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v.. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973).. Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you.. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent..... It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional.... This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save...., , That's the law.., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily.............. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong............ That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees....... But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy..., , She may choose to carry the baby to term..... She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between... But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side... Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means....", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y Sent from my iPhone

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Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa 150bb949-a203-4101-a307-e2c8bf5391b6 
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release
63cefff3-ac06-4c55-bdf9-b0ee1d2ce336 Jalil A...... Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing... Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release. 48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release. 
http://freedomarchives.org/Support...Jalil/Campaign.html
Write: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of the State of New York Executive Chamber State Capital Building Albany, New York 12224 Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow; Ed Asner - Actor and Activist; Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District; Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council; Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate; Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist; Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild; "Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio; Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist; Mike Farrell - Actor and activist; Danny Glover – Actor and activist; Linda Gordon - New York University; Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University; Jamal Joseph - Columbia University; Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles; Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine; Imani Perry - Princeton University; Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago; Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker; Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney; Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association; Maggie Siff, Actor; Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan; Cornel West - Harvard University; Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.
Call: 1-518-474-8390 Email Gov.Cuomo with this form Tweet at @NYGovCuomo               
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as: ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116

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Funds for Kevin Cooper

https://www.gofundme.....com/funds-for-kevin-cooper?member=1994108 For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California..  Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here .....  In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov..... Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison..  The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings ......... Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls........ Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!

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Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state.......... Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority... We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested.  Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning... The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West.....  Sign now! The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible... They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him........... Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger... The world is still watching. Sign now! [1] https://www..nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.....html [2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/ Sign this petitionhttps://internal.diem25.....org/en/petitions/1 

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Words of Wisdom LouisRobinsonJr77yrsold 

Louis Robinson Jr., 77 Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.
"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill...... All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No.... We aren't going for this......... Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did.. It happened... It doesn't feel good..." [On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.........] https://www.......nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/lordstown-general-motors-plant...html

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg 


Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more...  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018..  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:
Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S............ Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102 Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement. Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more. In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name..  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up. 
Who to contact: TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier Phone: (936)295-6371 Email:  exec.director@tdcj.texas.....gov Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit) Phone: (361) 362-2300

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1) Gaps in Amazon’s Virus Response Fuel Warehouse Workers’ Demands
Shifting sick-leave policy and communication issues are causing employees to assert themselves after they stayed on the job.
By Karen Weise and Kate Conger, April 5, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/technology/coronavirus-amazon-workers.html
Doug Chayka

SEATTLE — Jonathan Bailey, a 30-year-old Amazon warehouse employee in Queens, has a system for protecting himself from the coronavirus at work. He wears a medical mask with a bandanna tied over it. When he returns to the apartment he shares with his wife, he dumps his mask, work gloves, neon green Amazon safety vest and other clothes into a plastic trash bag.
He’s not certain it really works, but he figures it’s better than nothing. “We’re very careful,” Mr. Bailey said. “We’re in the epicenter of it all.”
As millions of Americans heed government orders to hunker down, ordering food and medicines and books and puzzle boards for home delivery, many of Amazon’s 400,000 warehouse workers have stayed on the job, fulfilling the crushing demands of a country suddenly working and learning from home. Orders for Amazon groceries, for example, have been as much as 50 times higher than normal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the business.

The challenge is keeping enough people on the job to fill those orders, according to more than 30 Amazon warehouse workers and current and former corporate employees who spoke with The New York Times. (Many requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly and feared losing their jobs.) For all of its high-tech sophistication, Amazon’s vast e-commerce business is dependent on an army of workers operating in warehouses they now fear are contaminated with the coronavirus.

“None of this works without our employees,” said Jay Carney, the company’s senior vice president for corporate affairs. And the employees have been motivated to remind Amazon of their importance.
The surge of orders is testing the limits of Amazon’s vaunted distribution system and forcing changes to the company’s relationship with its employees. While Amazon’s workers are not unionized, the crisis has given workplace organizers like Mr. Baileyunexpected leverage to demand better pay, better sick leave and more of a voice in how the company is run.
By mid-March, attendance at Amazon warehouses had fallen as much as 30 percent, according to one corporate employee involved in the response. This week, small groups of employees protested working conditions in Michigan and on Staten Island. New York State and New York City officials also said they were investigating whether Amazon improperly retaliated against a worker it fired who had been involved in the protest.
Amazon said that it did not fire employees for speaking out about their workplace conditions and that it had fired the worker because he was on paid quarantine and violated safety measures by going to the protest. But in a leaked memo published Thursday by Vice, Amazon’s top lawyer called the fired worker inarticulate and discussed strategy for making him out to be the face of the worker movement.

David Zapolsky, the general counsel, said he had been frustrated by what he called a safety violation. “I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me,” he said.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, both of New Jersey, recently wrote to Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, to express concern about warehouse safety. The senators, all Democrats, condemned Mr. Zapolsky’s remarks in statements to The Times.
“It’s troubling, racist and has no place in our country,” Mr. Menendez said. “Amazon should do everything it can to protect its workers instead of disparaging them.”
Amazon’s response to the pandemic has differed from warehouse to warehouse. Over the years, that sort of autonomy has allowed Amazon to nimbly adjust to local market conditions. Now it is leading to distrust, as workers see some facilities close for cleaning while others remain open.
Since the first worker in the Queens facility learned on March 18 that he had tested positive, the company has learned of cases in more than 50 other facilities, out of the more than 500 it operates across the county.
In recent weeks, Amazon has raised wages and added quarantine leave, and it is offering overtime at double pay. It said it had tripled its janitorial staff. And it has added space between many workstations. But in private groups, conversations with their managers and public protests, some workers have expressed alarm about their safety.
Mr. Carney said the company had been cautious about telling workers about cases out of privacy concerns and because one of its first likely cases, a corporate employee in Europe, turned out not to have the virus. He said Amazon was managing the needs of its workers and the public the best it could in a situation for which no company has a real playbook.

“We’re pushing out these new rules as we decide on them,” Mr. Carney said. But some warehouses acted more rapidly on the policies than others. “Compliance has been unbelievably good but not perfect,” he said. On Thursday, Amazon announced that it would audit warehouses’ compliance with the rules.

For Amazon, like many companies in America, the danger of the coronavirus started as a problem in its supply chain. The company was concerned about acquiring products that were made in China, and by mid-February, it was placing larger orders than normal to stockpile supplies

But on Feb. 27, Amazon learned that an employee in Europe who had traveled to Milan had contracted the virus. It immediately halted all nonessential travel, including within the United States, making it the first known major company to suspend domestic travel.
In the first week of March, Amazon told its headquarters employees to work from home. Warehouse employees were later offered unlimited unpaid time off instead. Workers would normally be fired after missing too many shifts, so Mr. Carney said the message that executives hoped to convey with the new policy was: “You won’t lose your job, don’t worry.”
Many workers did stay home, just as panic buying set in — first for masks and hand sanitizer, then toilet paper and eventually webcams. Eric Heller, a former Amazon senior manager who advises major brands at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said his clients saw canned meat sales rise 700 percent. Pet food went up 300 percent.
Companies began sending in products to restock Amazon’s warehouses. But with attendance down and more items coming in, workers could not replenish the supplies fast enough. Trucks backed up, waiting days to be unloaded. The company offered shift after extra shift, raised wages $2 an hour and paid double the hourly rate for overtime. It eventually announced that it would hire 100,000 new workers.

In mid-March, Amazon stopped accepting new shipments into its warehouses that were not for priority products, like health care and baby supplies.
On March 16, Jeysson Manrique, an employee of a delivery company that contracts with Amazon, woke up with a fever. His body ached. He called his supervisor to say he was sick. Mr. Manrique, 29, was asked to text a picture of his temperature on a thermometer. He couldn’t find one, so he went in for his shift at an Amazon facility in Queens. Amazon said it was investigating the situation with the contracting company because its policy requires employees stay home if they feel sick.
Two days later, Mr. Manrique’s father-in-law — they live together in a house with other members of the family — was sorting packages at the same facility when his doctor called to tell him that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. His father-in-law shared his test results with his supervisors and went home.
When the warehouse closed for cleaning, he was the first publicly known case inside Amazon’s vast warehouse operations in the United States. Mr. Manrique joined his father-in-law and other members of the household in quarantine without venturing out for a test.
On March 23, rumors circulated at the Queens facility that another employee had tested positive. Hours later, there were whispers of a third. The building was shut down March 24 and March 25 for deep cleaning. The company had also begun instructing warehouses to keep employees apart, staggering when they arrive and canceling group meetings at the start of shifts.
Some workers said they were still handling products that were helpful but hardly critical. One warehouse employee posted a picture on social media of moving large boxes, including a Power Wheels Jeep that a child can ride, with the hashtags #SoManyPingPongTables and #TreadmillsAreEssentialProductsApparently.
Ira Pollock, an employee in the Queens facility who has organized other workers, said having people show up to ship nonessential items endangered the community. “Amazon has to earn its right to call itself an essential service,” he said.

“The priorities are the priorities,” Mr. Carney said. “We’re not going to ship a prom dress or a Ping-Pong table if that’s going to slow down in any way the intake or outflow of essential items.”

When Amazon announced unlimited unpaid leave, it also said it would pay two weeks of sick time for “all Amazon employees diagnosed with Covid-19 or placed into quarantine.” On Friday, a day after it received questions from The Times about the situation, Amazon said it had issued a check for Mr. Manrique’s father-in-law, who is ending his second week of quarantine.
Documents viewed by The Times show that workers around the country applied for leave without a formal diagnosis. The workers said they had compromised immune systems or had been ordered to stay home because of contact with someone who was sick, but did not have the paperwork required to qualify for paid time off.
In a number of cases, employees continued to work after showing symptoms but before their tests came back positive — when they would be eligible for paid leave. One person in New York started having symptoms on March 18 but did not stop working until March 25, when she went into quarantine, the documents show.
Amazon said workers could still use unlimited unpaid or regular paid sick time off, if they had accrued enough hours.
“Paid leave is important,” said Dr. David Michaels, a former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration who teaches at George Washington University, “because you need to do everything you can to ensure that potentially sick workers stay home in order not to infect co-workers and others in the public.”

On March 25, the attorneys general in 14 states and Washington, D.C., wrote a letter to Amazon saying the requirement for testing or a formal quarantine was “particularly insufficient given the realities of the public health crisis, where the lack of access to Covid-19 testing has been widely reported.” Two days later, Amazon expanded its policy.
Mr. Carney said the leave policy had been developed at a time when Amazon expected testing to be widely available.
“When it became clear that the complete scarcity of tests was an obstacle to people finding out whether or not they had Covid, we made it clear that the additional paid time off applied to people who had suspected they had Covid,” he said.
But the message has not reached everyone. The internal website for warehouse employees has not been updated, and on Monday, a warehouse employee in the South asked for paid leave after her child tested positive. In an email viewed by The Times, the employee was told to take unpaid time off “as you wait for test results.”
While Amazon said it could not confirm the situation, it added that that response did not reflect its policy and that any employee caring for someone with a doctor-diagnosed case of Covid-19 should receive up to two weeks of pay.
Karen Weise reported from Seattle, and Kate Conger from Oakland, Calif. Frances Robles contributed reporting from Key West, Fla.

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2) Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States
Data on race and the disease Covid-19 is too limited to draw sweeping conclusions, experts say, but disparate rates of sickness — and death — have emerged in some places.
"The racial disparities in coronavirus cases and outcomes, public health researchers said, reflect what happens when a viral pandemic is layered on top of entrenched inequalities....The data emerging in some places, researchers said, is partly explained by factors that could make black Americans more vulnerable in any outbreak: They are less likely to be insured, more likely to have existing health conditions and, as a result of implicit racial bias, more likely to be denied testing and treatment. And then, the researchers said, there is the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus in a society where black Americans disproportionately hold jobs that do not allow them to stay at home."
By Richard A. Oppel Jr., Dionne Searcey and John Eligon, April 7, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/us/coronavirus-race.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Kathleen Flynn/Reuters


In Louisiana, one of the states most devastated by the coronavirus, about 70 percent of the people who have died are African-American, officials announced on Monday, though only a third of the state’s population is black.

In the county around Milwaukee, where 27 percent of residents are black, nearly twice as many African-American residents tested positive for the virus as white people, figures released this week show.
And in Chicago, where African-American residents make up a little less than a third of the population, more than half of those found to have the virus are black. The death toll there is even more alarming: African-American residents make up 72 percent of those who have succumbed to the virus in Chicago.

“Those numbers take your breath away, they really do,” said Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, who announced the city’s figures on Monday. “This is a call-to-action moment for all of us.”

Ms. Lightfoot, the first black woman to be elected mayor of the city, said in an interview that the statistics were “among the most shocking things I think I’ve seen as mayor.”
Data on the race of Americans who have been sickened by the coronavirus has only been made public in a handful of places, and it is too limited at this point, experts say, to make sweeping conclusions about the national or long-term picture. But day by day, the emerging statistics show black residents being infected at disturbing rates in some of the nation’s largest cities and states.

The racial disparities in coronavirus cases and outcomes, public health researchers said, reflect what happens when a viral pandemic is layered on top of entrenched inequalities.

The data emerging in some places, researchers said, is partly explained by factors that could make black Americans more vulnerable in any outbreak: They are less likely to be insured, more likely to have existing health conditions and, as a result of implicit racial bias, more likely to be denied testing and treatment. And then, the researchers said, there is the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus in a society where black Americans disproportionately hold jobs that do not allow them to stay at home.

“If you walk outside and see who is actually still working,” said Elaine Nsoesie, an infectious disease modeler at Boston University’s School of Public Health, “the data don’t seem surprising.”

States such as North Carolina and South Carolina have reported that, when compared with white residents, black residents account for a higher proportion of positive coronavirus tests than they represent in the general population. Black people are overrepresented compared with white people among those infected in the Las Vegas area and among those who have tested positive for the virus in Connecticut. In Minnesota, African-Americans have been infected with the coronavirus at rates roughly proportionate to their percentage of the state’s population.
Still, in many places, the data comes with a significant limitation. Officials are reporting racial data for cases where the patient’s race is known. For a large percentage of total cases in those places — sometimes more than 40 percent — no racial information is available.
And officials in many states, including those hard hit by the pandemic — California, New Jersey, New York and Washington — have not provided statewide information about the race of patients.

That has raised anger in some corners. Jumaane D. Williams, the public advocate for New York City, on Thursday sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for the release of a breakdown of cases by race. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey have demanded that the Trump administration collect race and ethnicity data on coronavirus testing and treatment.

“Despite the clear vulnerability of people of color in this public health emergency, comprehensive demographic data on the racial and ethnic characteristics of people who are tested or treated for Covid-19 does not exist,” the Democratic senators wrote in their letter, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.
As for the places where racial data has been tracked and made public, some experts pointed to longstanding structural inequalities as possible explanations for the disparities.
Sharrelle Barber, an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University, said government redlining policies that date to the 1930s left many neighborhoods with black residents lacking job opportunities, stable housing, grocery stores with healthy food and more. That has meant disproportionate rates of asthma and diabetes, she said, as well as residents who cannot simply stay inside their homes and away from work.
“These communities, structurally, they’re breeding grounds for the transmission of the disease,” she said. “It’s not biological. It’s really these existing structural inequalities that are going to shape the racial inequalities in this pandemic.”
Before the pandemic hit, officials had calculated that white Chicagoans had an average life expectancy of 8.8 years longer than black residents.
“Systemic and institutional racism that have driven these inequalities through the years we are now seeing play out in Covid data,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, director of the city’s public health department.
Officials on Monday said they would order health providers to offer complete demographic information on all coronavirus patients so Chicago could deploy what the mayor called “racial inequity rapid response teams” that would monitor symptoms, offer testing and help enforce social distancing in places like grocery stores. Plans were also being put in place to offer extra buses along busy routes so commuters could have more distance between one another.

In Detroit, the Rev. Larry Simmons said, “We see the same thing we always see: There’s a fundamental inequity in America, and this crisis of corona has just revealed it.”
Reporting was contributed by Audra D. S. Burch, Amy Harmon, Mitch Smith and Matt Furber.

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3) New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates
By Lisa Friedman, April 7, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/climate/air-pollution-coronavirus-covid.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


WASHINGTON — Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates.

In an analysis of 3,080 counties in the United States, researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher levels of the tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM 2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the disease.
For weeks, public health officials have surmised a link between dirty air and death or serious illness from Covid-19, which is caused by the coronavirus. The Harvard analysis is the first nationwide study to show a statistical link, revealing a “large overlap” between Covid-19 deaths and other diseases associated with long-term exposure to fine particulate matter.
“The results of this paper suggest that long-term exposure to air pollution increases vulnerability to experiencing the most severe Covid-19 outcomes,” the authors wrote.

The paper found that if Manhattan had lowered its average particulate matter level by just a single unit, or one microgram per cubic meter, over the past 20 years, the borough would most likely have seen 248 fewer Covid-19 deaths by this point in the outbreak.
Over all, the research could have significant implications for how public health officials choose to allocate resources like ventilators and respirators as the coronavirus spreads. The paper has been fast-tracked for peer review and publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It found that just a slight increase in long-term pollution exposure could have serious coronavirus-related consequences, even accounting for other factors like smoking rates and population density.
For example, it found that a person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter is 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than someone in a region with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution.
The District of Columbia, for instance, is likely to have a higher death rate than the adjacent Montgomery County, Md. Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, should be worse than nearby Lake County, Ill. Fulton County, Ga., which includes Atlanta, is likely to suffer more deaths than the adjacent Douglas County.
“This study provides evidence that counties that have more polluted air will experience higher risks of death for Covid-19,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard who led the study.
Counties with higher pollution levels, Dr. Dominici said, “will be the ones that will have higher numbers of hospitalizations, higher numbers of deaths and where many of the resources should be concentrated.”
The study is part of a small but growing body of research, mostly still out of Europe, that offers a view into how a lifetime of breathing dirtier air can make people more susceptible to the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 10,000 people in the United States and 74,000 worldwide.
In the short term, Dr. Dominici and other public health experts said the study’s finding meant that places like the Central Valley of California, or Cuyahoga County, Ohio, may need to prepare for more severe cases of Covid-19.
The analysis did not look at individual patient data and did not answer why some parts of the country have been hit harder than others. It also remains unclear whether particulate matter pollution plays any role in the spread of the coronavirus or whether long-term exposure directly leads to a greater risk of falling ill.
Dr. John R. Balmes, a spokesman for the American Lung Association and a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, said the findings were particularly important for hospitals in poor neighborhoods and communities of color, which tend to be exposed to higher levels of air pollution than affluent, white communities.

“We need to make sure that hospitals taking care of folks who are more vulnerable and with even greater air pollution exposure have the resources they need,” Dr. Balmes said.

As more is learned about the recurrence of Covid-19, the study also could have far-reaching implications for clean-air regulations, which the Trump administration has worked to roll back over the past three years on the grounds that they have been onerous to industry.
“The study results underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the Covid-19 crisis,” the study said.
Last week, the Trump administration announced a plan to weaken Obama-era regulations on automobile tailpipe emissions, asserting the rollback would save lives because Americans would buy newer, safer vehicles. But the administration’s own analysis also found that there would be even more premature deaths from increased air pollution.
In weakening a regulation last year on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency similarly acknowledged that the measure was likely to result in about 1,400 additional premature deaths a year because of more pollution.
Asked whether the E.P.A. was also studying the link between air pollution and the virus or considering policies to address the link, Andrea Woods, a spokeswoman for the agency, referred the question to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and asserted that the Trump administration rollbacks would lead to some air quality improvements.

Beth Gardiner, a journalist and the author of “Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution,” said she was particularly worried about what the coronavirus outbreak would mean for countries with far worse pollution, such as India.
“Most countries don’t take it seriously enough and aren’t doing enough given the scale of the harm that air pollution is doing to all of our health,” she said.
Most fine particulate matter comes from fuel combustion, like automobiles, refineries and power plants, as well as some indoor sources like tobacco smoke. Breathing in such microscopic pollutants, experts said, inflames and damages the lining of the lungs over time, weakening the body’s ability to fend off respiratory infections.
Multiple studies have found that exposure to fine particulate matter puts people at heightened risk for lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and even premature death. In 2003, Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, the associate dean for research at the University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, found that SARS patients in the most polluted parts of China were twice as likely to die from the disease as those in places with low air pollution.
In an interview, Dr. Zhang called the Harvard study “very much consistent” with his findings.
To conduct the Harvard study, researchers collected particulate matter data for the past 17 years from more than 3,000 counties and Covid-19 death counts for each county through April 4 from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center at the Johns Hopkins University. The resulting model, which examines aggregated rather than individual data, suggested what Dr. Dominici called a statistically significant link between pollution and coronavirus deaths.
The researchers also conducted six secondary analyses to adjust for factors they felt might compromise the results. For example, because New York state has experienced the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the country and death rates there are five times higher than anywhere else, the researchers repeated the analysis excluding all of the counties in the state. They also ran the model excluding counties with fewer than 10 confirmed Covid-19 cases. And they adjusted for various other factors that are known to affect health outcomes, like smoking rates, population density and poverty levels.
Dr. Balmes noted that without studying individual characteristics of patients, the study could only suggest a causal connection between air pollution and Covid-19 deaths and would need to be confirmed by more research — a point with which Dr. Dominici agreed. But, Dr. Balmes said, “It’s still a valuable finding.”
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4) COVID-19 May Not Discriminate Based On RaceBut U.S. Healthcare Does
Health officials have stressed that novel coronavirus doesn’t discriminate based on race or ethnicity. But disparities long present in the U.S. medical system are now driving what some call a crisis within a crisis: black and brown communities across the country are being hit harder, and with fewer resources to save them. Amna Nawaz talks to Dr. Uché Blackstock of Advancing Health Equity.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/covid-19-may-not-discriminate-based-on-race-but-u-s-health-care-doesFull Transcript:
  • Judy Woodruff:
    COVID-19 is forcing all of us to live in new ways.
    But, as Amna Nawaz reports, it is also exposing longstanding rifts in American society.
    This story is part of our ongoing series Race Matters.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    Officials have said over and over again the virus doesn't discriminate.
    But the disparities that have long been part of our medical system in America are now leading to what some call a crisis within a crisis, black and brown communities across the country being hit harder, in greater numbers, and with fewer resources to save them.
    For more on this , I'm joined by Dr. Uché Blackstock. She was an associate professor of emergency medicine at New York University. She now runs a consultancy called Health Advancing Equity, and practices in urgent care clinics in Brooklyn, New York.
    Dr. Blackstock, welcome to the "NewsHour."
    Start by just telling us about the patients you're seeing right now. What are they telling you? What are their symptoms? How sick are they?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    So, currently, I work out of an urgent care clinic in Central Brooklyn, where the population is largely black and brown.
    And we have really been seeing patients over the last one to — one to two weeks come in progressively sicker, a lot with fever, cough, worsening shortness of breath, some even sick enough to warrant emergency department visits.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    And are you seeing any kind of trend in their symptoms? Do you know that these are coronavirus cases?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    They're absolutely textbook COVID-19 cases, I mean, down to the type of symptoms, the course of the symptoms, the onset of worsening of symptoms, every patient after the next coming in with the exact same story. It's almost uncanny.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You know, Dr. Blackstock, you had told me that, before the pandemic even hit, you were worried that those same patients you serve in your community were going to be hit harder. Why is that?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    For multiple reasons.
    I mean, even thinking about the testing criteria that was initially being used to determine whether or not someone had exposure to COVID-19. It included a person needed to have traveled abroad to one of the countries where COVID-19 was endemic, like Italy or China.
    It also required is someone having to know someone who had tested positive.
    And what we knew very early on was that, you know, there were communities that didn't have access to testing. We had heard of celebrities and politicians having very easy access to testing and quick turnarounds.
    And these are communities that already carry very high chronic disease burdens, like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma. There are also high rates of obesity. And you know, these have all been tied into a racial health disparities linked to structural racism.
    So it's already kind of made of these patients and these communities more vulnerable to COVID-19, as we're seeing that these patients are at increased risk for developing very serious complications.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You know, it has been studied and documented, as you just mentioned, the racial bias in our medical system, not just in access to care, right, but in how black and brown people are treated once they're in care.
    As the cases spread further, as people get sicker, how are you worried — or what are you worried will happen as a result of all of those institutional biases and how it'll affect your patients?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    Right.
    What we already know, as you alluded to, is that, when black and brown people interface with the health care system, they often encounter provider bias. So, we know, and it's well-documented, that their pain is undertreated or their complaints are minimized.
    So, my concern is that, when these patients present to emergency departments and hospitals in their areas with COVID-19 symptoms, that their symptoms may be downplayed or they may not be taken seriously.
    And we do already have the data to support that trend continuing to happen.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You know, we're talking before the peak in New York has even arrived. What do you think your community is going to look like, those communities in which your patients live, a week from now, or two weeks from now, or three weeks from now?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    I am scared. I am. I'm scared that these communities are going to be absolutely ravaged and devastated by COVID-19.
    I mean, when I think about how, each day last week, I just saw sicker and sicker patients, it was — it was significant, and it was also terrifying. And so I do worry.
    And we already actually have some of the preliminary data out today in The New York Times that our poorer areas of the city, which are mostly black and brown, have the heaviest number of patients that have been affected with coronavirus.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    Dr. Blackstock, you, of course, have a family at home, too.
  • Uché Blackstock:
    Yes.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You have a husband. You have two young kids.
    I wonder if you can tell me how you're processing this right now, whether you're scared for your own safety or theirs.
  • Uché Blackstock:
    Thank you for asking.
    I will readily admit that I am — I am scared. I'm scared about being infected myself. I'm scared about bring disease home to my husband and my two small children.
    I have had to have very difficult conversations with my family recently, including one with my husband the other night, where, once I realized things were really shifting here in New York City, I said to him, you know, there is a chance that I may not make it out of this, working on the front line. And, you know, I want you to know that I love you. I love our children very much. And just please make sure that they always know that their mama loved them.
    And so these are conversations that not just I'm having, but my — many of my colleagues are having with their families as well.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    Thank you for sharing that with us, and thank you for the work that you do.
    That's Dr. Uché Blackstock joining us tonight from New York.
  • Uché Blackstock:
    Thank you for having me.

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5) No Trading Floor? No Problem. A Financial Firm Quarantines at the Four Seasons.
Shutdown orders in New York and Chicago prompted Citadel Securities to set up a makeshift trading floor at the resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
By Julia Echikson and Patricia Mazzei, April 8, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/us/coronavirus-citadel-securities-four-seasons-florida.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post via ZUMA Wire


PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ah, to be quarantined inside a luxury beachfront hotel. Ocean views. Poolside cabanas. A makeshift financial trading floor.
When Citadel Securities, a sibling to the hedge fund company Citadel, decided to isolate a team of stock traders to keep business humming during the coronavirus pandemic, the firm’s billionaire founder, Kenneth Griffin, secured sumptuous Florida quarters: the Four Seasons hotel in Palm Beach.
The firm booked the hotel for New York and Chicago traders just before Palm Beach County put a hold on March 26 on new hotel reservations, and it began operations there on March 30. A few days later, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order across Florida.
The resort is guarded by off-duty officers from the Palm Beach Police Department who are hired by Citadel Securities. No one other than employees for the firm or the hotel is allowed inside. Mr. Griffin, a prominent political donor and top contributor to Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, owns property nearby and is not staying at the hotel.

Local and state orders require social distancing and the closure of nonessential businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Yet officials in the town of Palm Beach say the unusual arrangement at the Four Seasons is not in violation of public health rules because Citadel Securities is the hotel’s only tenant.
The town is treating the property as a private residence where people inside can work — or swim in the pool — as they would in any home, said Michael Ogrodnick, a Palm Beach spokesman.
“As far as we’re concerned, they’re in their own bubble,” Mr. Ogrodnick said.

In a memo Citadel Securities sent to employees on April 1, the firm described setting up the Palm Beach site from scratch in less than a week. The location can accommodate up to 50 employees if needed, the memo said.
“Consistent with our position as one of the largest market makers globally, we believe this business continuity decision is prudent to continue providing liquidity to our retail and institutional clients,” Zia Ahmed, a spokesman for Citadel Securities, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The firm’s effort to continue its work has some neighbors questioning the wisdom of allowing a few dozen employees from its New York and Chicago offices — as well as some of their families — to stay at a staffed hotel while similar properties have been forced to close.

David Kamp, who lives across the street from the Four Seasons, said it was difficult not to think about the contradiction between the traders working at a five-star resort and people unable to ride out the pandemic in similar comfort. Citadel Securities, which is separate from Citadel, Mr. Griffin’s hedge fund, has also moved traders to its office in Greenwich, Conn., another wealthy community.

“It is disheartening to know that this is underway while observing at the corner a public bus idling at its stop, empty of passengers less fortunate than traders,” said Mr. Kamp, the founding partner of a landscape architecture firm.
The town on Tuesday posted on its website that it had received “several messages of concern” regarding Citadel Securities’ presence at the Four Seasons after Bloomberg and later The Miami Herald reported about the firm’s temporary Palm Beach trading site.
“We have responded recently to the Four Seasons for several Violation of Town Ordinance complaints, but to date have not observed a citable violation,” the post said.
With Palm Beach County beaches closed, orange cones on the sand delineate the hotel’s property. Over the weekend, guests played tennis on the resort’s immaculate green clay courts. At one point, music could be heard blaring from the resort.

The hotel is offering “reduced services” to its guests, Laurie Herrick, a Four Seasons spokeswoman, said in a statement. Restaurants are closed, though takeout and in-room dining options are available.
“We have undertaken additional and extensive precautionary measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of everyone at the resort,” she said, adding that hotel staff members have been trained on social-distancing measures to reduce face-to-face interactions.
Normally, Palm Beach would be preparing for the end of the winter social season, which in recent years has featured an Easter golfing trip by President Trump. This year, there will be no motorcade, no big Passover dinners and no Easter brunches.
Palm Beach County, with its robust population of snowbirds and New York regulars, has recorded at least 64 deaths from Covid-19, more than any other county in Florida, which has more than 14,700 confirmed coronavirus cases. Two people have died in the town of Palm Beach.
Mr. DeSantis announced on Tuesday the opening of a second drive-through testing site operated in conjunction with the Florida National Guard. Testing in Palm Beach lags behind other counties; it is unclear if Citadel Securities traders at the Four Seasons or the hotel staff have been tested.
Mr. Griffin, a 51-year-old Daytona Beach native who grew up in Boca Raton, donated nearly $6 million to Mr. DeSantis’s campaign in 2018. Listed by Forbes as the richest person in Illinois, he was the biggest donor to that state’s former Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, and offered him the free use of his private plane during the campaign.

In the 2016 presidential election, Mr. Griffin backed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican, and then donated to Mr. Trump’s inauguration. He has had an unofficial relationship advising Vice President Mike Pence on economic and business issues and has appeared in executive White House briefings and calls.

Mr. Griffin’s Four Seasons arrangement inspired Jeff Greene, a billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor who owns the Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa next door to the Four Seasons. He fired off emails to his contacts in the financial industry offering hotel rooms for alternate trading sites of their own.
“I sent them all emails saying, ‘I have a hotel right next door. Could you use a trading floor?’” Mr. Greene said. “And they said, ‘No, I have it covered.’”
Only six or seven rooms at the Tideline have guests, now that hotels can accept new reservations only from workers deemed critical in the pandemic.
“No restaurant. No spa. No pool. No beach,” Mr. Greene said. “It’s a limited paradise.”

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6) Trump quietly rewrote the rules of drone warfare, which means the US can now kill civilians in secret
By Sinéad Baker, March 7, 2020
https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-executive-order-stop-reporting-civilian-drone-strike-deaths-2019-3

Graffiti protesting US drone strikes seen in September in Sana'a, Yemen. 
Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

  • US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order ending the mandatory reporting of civilian deaths from US airstrikes outside combat zones.
  • Rights groups criticized the removal of the Obama-era requirement, calling the move "deeply wrong and dangerous for public accountability."
  • Reports showed up to 117 civilian deaths from 2009 to 2016. The Trump administration did not release a 2017 report.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order reducing the number of civilian deaths from drones that the government must report.
Trump signed the order Wednesday, revoking an Obama-era requirement for the director of national intelligence to release an annual report on the number of deaths resulting from US operations in noncombat areas around the world.
Such areas include parts of Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.
President Barack Obama introduced the measure in 2016 as he faced pressure to be more transparent about the increased use of drones.
The government says it will continue to report deaths in "areas of active hostilities" like Iraq and Syria.
Previous reports counted as many as 117 civilian deaths outside these areas from 2009 to 2016. Some years the figures are expressed as a range instead of a precise number. The Trump administration did not release a 2017 report.
Rights groups say these figures do not show the whole picture. 
Congressional requirements for the military to report civilian deaths in active combat areas will still be in place.
But experts say the new system will fail to catch strikes by agencies like the CIA, and represent a fall in transparency.
"Strikes by other government entities like the CIA were included under this requirement. That was the intention of the wording," Rita Siemion, the international legal counsel for the group Human Rights First, told Politico.
Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's national security project, said the decision was "deeply wrong and dangerous for public accountability," the Associated Press reported.
"This decision will hide from the public the government's own tally of the total number of deaths it causes every year in its lethal force program."
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the the House Intelligence Committee, said there was "no justification" for ending the practice, which he called "an important measure of transparency," the BBC reported.
A spokesman for the White House National Security Council told the Associated Press that the government was fully committed to "minimizing — to the greatest extent possible — civilian causalities and acknowledging responsibility when they unfortunately occur during military operations."

Questionable accuracy

The director of national intelligence's reports, which have been released annually since 2016, counted 64 to 116 civilian deaths from US drone strikes in noncombat zones from 2011 to 2015 and one civilian death in 2016.
The 2017 report was not released, though the executive order was then still in place.
The figures for each year are released in the May of the following year and so have not been released for 2018.
Most civilian deaths from US drones occur in combat areas: the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that 769 to 1,725 civilians have been killed since 2004, based on analysis of data from government, military, and intelligence officials as well as "credible" media and on-the-ground reports.
The bureau said there were 2,243 drone strikes in the first two years of the Trump presidency, compared with 1,878 during Obama's entire eight-year tenure.
Rights and monitoring groups question the figures released by the government, which they say often do not represent the full breath of causalities from US or American-backed actions.
Daphne Eviatar, a director with Amnesty International USA, told The New York Times in 2018 that the Defense Department "has deemed that the vast majority of claims of civilian casualties are not credible without ever investigating them."
"Its numbers therefore likely severely undercount the actual civilian death toll."

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7) BERNIE SANDERS ENDING PRESIDENTIAL RUN
BY RYAN GRIM, APRIL 8, 2020
https://theintercept.com/2020/04/08/bernie-sanders-drops-out/
Sen. Bernie Sanders arrives at the Capitol for a vote on a coronavirus bill amendment on March 18, 2020. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP

BERNIE SANDERS IS ending his second bid for the presidency, the campaign staff was informed on a conference call Wednesday morning, according to campaign sources.
Sanders’s departure from the race comes a day after the state of Wisconsin went forward with a controversial in-person election, which Sanders had called to be postponed. The Vermont senator was momentarily the frontrunner for the nomination, following a popular-vote win in Iowa, a win in New Hampshire, and a decisive victory in Nevada. His chances fell apart in South Carolina, where the dean of the state party, Rep. Jim Clyburn, gave an impassioned endorsement to former Vice President Joe Biden. A race that had been narrowing turned into a blowout.
Party moderates then coalesced around Biden, who soared in the polls, pulling off the biggest comeback in the shortest amount of time, measured by a swing in the polls, since the modern primary process began in 1972. Biden won a majority of states on Super Tuesday and continued racking up victories throughout March.
Some in Sanders’s inner circle — including, most vocally, Our Revolution Chair and labor leader Larry Cohen — urged Sanders to stay in the race in order to build his delegate total and leverage that for policy wins within the Democratic Party’s platform. Others argued the platform is largely meaningless and that his greatest leverage is in the Senate, where the economy is being reshaped by an ongoing series of relief efforts historic in scope and scale.
The Sanders campaign had raised $182 million by the end of February, with roughly $19 million cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission records. The Biden campaign, meanwhile, had raised $88 million and had $12 million cash on hand at that point in the campaign.
Sanders’s exit is a boost for Biden, particularly as it relates to campaign finance. Without a primary opponent, he can move more quickly to the general election phase of the race, during which he can spend money raised for that purpose. Had the contest gone all the way to the August convention without Biden having locked up the necessary delegates, he would be restricted to his scarce primary funds only. It’s not entirely clear when Biden can tap general election funds, and lawyers are working to move the date up as much as possible, sources said.
This is a developing story.

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Posted by: Bonnie Weinstein <bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com>

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