Words of Wisdom
"When it comes to the human and democratic rights of the rich, presidents, governors, and judges hold these rights to be sacred and zealously enforce them to the full extent of the law.
But when it comes to the human and democratic rights of workers and others without big bank accounts, the Constitution has no bearing in the eyes of the powers that be.
As a matter of fact, when it comes to protecting the poor from the rich, the guarantee of democratic and human rights is not the U.S. Constitution. Rather, it is the kind of mass action in the streets and workplaces of America that have so often in the past been organized by millions of workers in mass strikes and other forms of direct action. When push comes to shove, the only way strikes have ever been won is by mobilizing as many pickets as needed to keep struck factories and other workplaces shut down tight."
—Nat Weinstein, 1924-2014
Starting this September, Rising Tide North America is calling for mass actions to shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival.
Already, hundreds of thousands are streaming into the streets to fight back against climate chaos, capitalism and white supremacy.
This wave of resistance couldn't be more urgent. To stop climate chaos we need a phenomenal escalation in organizing, participation and tactical courage. We need a profound social transformation to uproot the institutions of capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy, the systems that created the climate crisis. And we need to link arms with allies fighting for migrant justice, dignified work and pay, and an end to the criminalization and brutal policing of black and brown bodies.
We need to #FloodTheSystem.
In the lead up to the United Nations climate talks in Paris, in December, we will escalate local and regional resistance against systems that threaten our collective survival. Together, we will open alternative paths to the failing negotiations of political elites.
This is not another protest. It is a call for a massive economic and political intervention. It is a call to build the relationships needed to sustain our struggles for the long haul. To build popular power along the intersections of race, class, gender and ability. To collectively unleash our power and change everything.
The Story So Far
Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have flowed into the streets to fight back.
Fast food workers in over a hundred cities went on strike, with thousands arrested demanding $15 an hour and a union. Young people in Ferguson, protesting the murder of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, showed us the power of sustained action as they fought back against state violence for weeks, reinvigorating a national movement for Black liberation. Hundreds of thousands of climate activists marched at the People's Climate March in New York, and the next day Flood Wall Street shut down the heart of New York's financial district.
Across the country, and the world, powerful movements are using nonviolent direct action to to disrupt business as usual and demand lasting systemic change.
These moments show that broad mobilization and disruption are ways that we can transform our society. It is time we move beyond conventional strategies. Its time we connect across movements and #FloodTheSystem.
Rising Tide North America and its allies call on communities, networks, affinity groups and organizations across the continent to join together this Fall to rapidly escalate the pace and scale of the anti-capitalist climate justice movements.
We need to wash away the root causes of climate change -- capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and colonialism. These systems enable the domination of people and Earth. They place gains for the elite before the well being of our communities.
To build the scale of movements necessary to take on this challenge, we need everyone. Using sustained, coordinated direct action we can bring more people into a movement for radical social transformation than ever before.
The upcoming United Nations meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP 21) at the end of the year provide us with an opportunity. Framed as climate negotiations they are really about capitalism and the corporate elites. We have an opportunity to focus the debate on capitalism itself as negotiators wedded to and benefiting from the status quo refuse to discuss the systems that drive the crisis. This is a natural moment to preemptively highlight community resistance and radical alternatives in advance of another colossal failure of international leadership. Through our combined action we can turn the failure of these critical talks into a moment in which the systemic nature of the crisis moves to the center and in which our movements begin to connect and collaborate.
In the past, the climate movement has repeatedly tried days of action and one-day marches. While these have built important relationships, they have not created the sustained movement swells we need. To lay the groundwork for exponential movement growth we are asking groups to convene Action Councils, like those forming in the Pacific Northwest, California, Montana, Northeast and elsewhere, with the intention of coming together to organize sustained actions beginning in late Summer, continuing through November and beyond.
With luck, waves of mobilizations breaking across the continent and world will build off each other to create a flood of resistance to fossil fuel extraction, capitalism and colonialism.
#FloodTheSystem invites the Rising Tide network, the larger climate justice movements, and other non-climate focused groups to create a flood of massive economic and political disruption of the systems that allow the climate and economic crisis to continue to escalate. This is not a simple call to action or day of action, it's a long-term process. We want to organize a series of actions that would:
- Build a more robust anti-capitalist movement that clearly defines climate change as a symptom of capitalism. Specifically, we hope to support and catalyze regional organizing networks and relationships to challenge extreme energy infrastructure and the systems of oppression that enable it.
- Build long term local, regional and continental networks that can continue to coordinate, build connections between movements, and escalate these fights in 2016 and beyond.
- Begin to work closely with other movements through the analysis of where our struggles intersect and through a commitment to anti-oppressive organizing practices.
- Share, implement and gain experience in innovative models of horizontal movement structures and mass democracy in organizing that will serve radical forces for the long haul.
- Create a flood of energy within regions that inspires others to join in with organic, spontaneous actions and organizing. Regional blocks of escalating action are already planned that will lead into, and play off, each other. More emerge everyday.
- Preemptively highlight community resistance and real alternatives to the fossil fuel economy ahead of the inevitable colossal failure by global elites at the United Nations climate negotiations in Paris.
#FloodTheSystem will organize and act according to the following principles.
- Anti-capitalism/colonialism/racism/patriarchy - We see the climate crisis as a symptom of hierarchical social systems based upon domination and exploitation of lands, and predominately people of color. Addressing the crisis at its roots means joining with and supporting those who are fighting for liberation from these and other oppressive systems, and for their replacement with relations based upon equity, mutual aid, and ecological stewardship.
- Grassroots Led, NGOs in Support Role - Non-profits and NGOs often function to co-opt and defuse resistance into reform-based avenues which are amenable to the social systems we are ultimately seeking to dismantle and replace. The priorities of this mobilization should be driven by groups grounded in and accountable to the communities most impacted by white supremacy, capitalism, and settler colonialism, with NGOs in a support role -- not the other way around.
- Community-Based Alternatives - Corporations, nation-states, and multilateral institutions like the United Nations are integral pillars upholding global capitalism and colonialism. We see alternatives to extreme energy and the climate crisis arising out of social struggles which challenge and seek to replace these institutions and their logics. However, we recognize that there may be important defensive struggles within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, such as fighting the expansion of carbon markets or advancing state recognition of Indigenous land rights.
Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence
Sign the Petition:
Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.
"The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case
Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.
In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.
Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.
Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.
Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."
Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.
Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.
In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.
Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
Amnesty International USA
Death Row StoriesKevin Cooper's case will be the subject of a new episode of CNN's "Death Row Stories" airing on Sunday, July 26 at 7 p.m. PDT. The program will be repeated at 10 p.m. PDT. The episode, created by executive producers Robert Redford and Alex Gibney, will explore how Kevin Cooper was framed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney.Viewers on the east coast can see the program at 10 p.m. EDT and it will be rebroadcast at 1 a.m. EDT on July 27. Viewers in the Central Time zone can see it at 9 p.m. and midnight CDT. Viewers in the Mountain Time zone can see it at 8 p.m. and ll p.m MDT. It will be aired on CNN again during the following week and will also be able to be viewed on CNN's "Death Row Stories" website.
Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up
- from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org
Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.
Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin. He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence. In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.
There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:
The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?
The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."
Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.
These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.
The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.
Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.
The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.
The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited… (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)
This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015
Free Albert Woodfox!
On June 8, 2015 a federal judge granted Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox unconditional release. Albert's conviction had already been overturned three times - most recently in 2013 - yet every time the state has appealed.
Today, Albert is still behind bars after spending four decades in cruel, unjust solitary confinement. He believes that he and fellow prisoners, Herman Wallace and Robert King, were first placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for their activism. All three men were members of the Black Panther Party. Together, they came to be known as the Angola 3.
It is time for the State of Louisiana to stop standing in the way of justice. Call on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to ensure Albert's cruel and unjust confinement is not his legacy. Learn more
Amnesty for all those arrested demanding justice for Freddie Gray!
Amnesty for ALL those arrested
demanding justice for Freddie Gray!
Sign and distribute the petition to drop the charges!
Spread this effort with #Amnesty4Baltimore
"A riot is the language of the unheard"
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
An estimated 300 people have been arrested in Baltimore in the last two weeks. Many have been brutalized, beaten and pepper-sprayed by police in the streets, and held for days in inhumane conditions. Those arrested include journalists, medics and legal observers.
One individual arrested for property destruction of a police vehicle is now facing life in prison and is being held on $500,000 bail. That's $150,000 more than the officer charged with the murder of Freddie Gray.
The legal system has made it clear that they care more about broken windows than broken necks; more about a CVS than the lives of Baltimore's Black residents.
They showed no hesitation in arresting Baltimore's protesters and rebels, and sending in the National Guard, but took 19 days to put a single one of the killer cops in handcuffs. This was the outrageous double standard that led to the Baltimore Uprising.
Sign the petition to drop the charges on all who have been arrested.
Petition to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake
City Hall, Room 250,
100 North Holliday St.,
Baltimore, MD 21202
Dear Mayor Rawlings-Blake:
I stand in solidarity with those in Baltimore who are demanding that all charges be dropped against those who rose up against racism, police brutality, oppressive social conditions and delay of justice in the case of Freddie Gray. The whole world now recognizes that were it not for this powerful grassroots movement, in all its forms, there would be no indictment.
It is an outrage that peaceful protesters have been brutalized, beaten and pepper-sprayed by police in the streets, and held for days in inhumane conditions. Those arrested include journalists and legal observers.
Even the youth who are charged with property destruction and looting should be given an amnesty. There is no reason a teenager -- provoked by racists and justifiably angry -- should be facing life in prison for breaking the windows of a police car.
The City of Baltimore should work to rectify the conditions that led to this Uprising, rather than criminalizing those who took action in response to those conditions. Drop the charges now!
[add your name below]
CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!
Sign the Petition:
Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:
Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.
I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.
American Federation of Teachers
Campaign for America's Future
Democracy for America
RH Reality Check
Student Debt Crisis
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
Mumia Abu-Jamal Has Hepatitis C:
Demand Treatment Now!
Mumia Abu-Jamal has Hepatitis C-- and the prison is refusing treatment. We are going back to court to demand critical care, and we can't do it without you. Will you support Mumia getting immediate treatment by giving $250, $100 or even $25 today? Every gift and action makes the difference for Mumia getting the care he needs. Thank you, Noelle.
The time to act is now.
Five months after being rushed to the hospital, new medical tests show that Mumia has active Hepatitis C. But prison officials are refusing to treat him for it.
With your help, that changes- today.
Mumia Abu-Jamal remains weak, ill, and in the prison infirmary.
Five months after being admitted to the hospital with lethal blood sugar levels and in renal failure, he continues to have a debilitating skin rashes, open wounds and swelling across his lower extremities. Because of our relentless demands for medical testing and treatment, we finally know the likely cause of his severe ailments: Hepatitis C.
But what is news to us is not news to his jailers. Prison officials have known that Mumia was Hep. C positive since 2012-- and have done nothing.
Even now that prison doctors know that Mumia's Hep. C is active -from testing they performed solely because we demanded it- they are refusing to provide treatment.
Today, we are going back to court to demand justice for our brother.
Mumia's legal team (Bret Grote of Abolitionist Law Center and Robert Boyle of New York) is filing an amended lawsuit today, 'Abu-Jamal v. Kerestes', to include medical neglect and demand immediate treatment.
Meanwhile, Prison Radio is working tirelessly to make sure Mumia's legal and medical team have the necessary resources to get Mumia the critical care he needs.
And we can't do it without you.
We need your help today to ensure that the prison treats Mumia's Hepatitis C now!
The world came together for Mumia when he fell unconscious five months ago. Because of our international outcry for justice and the critical steps we took, Mumia is alive today.
Now, we need your help to get Mumia a treatment plan. Can you fight for Mumia's right to medical care by giving $100, $25 or $250 today?
Your donation will:
File an amended lawsuit 'Abu-Jamal v. Kerestes' to include medical neglect
Get Mumia a full Hepatitis C work up and treatment plan
Grant Mumia's consulting physicians access to directly examine Mumia
Fuel a public campaign to bring Mumia back to health
Support the demand for treatment of Hepatitis C for all Pennsylvania prisoners
Please join us in demanding immediate medical treatment by giving $25, $100 or even $1,000 now. Every gift and action matters.
I Demand Treatment NOW!
Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,
Director, Prison Radio
To give by check:
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA
Stock or legacy gifts:
(415) 706 - 5222
Prison Radio has recorded Mumia and other political prisoners for over 25 years, and we are pulling out all the stops to keep these voices on the air.
Please donate today to amplify prisoners' voices far and wide beyond the bars:
Support Prison Radio: prisonradio.org/donate
Defeat SB 508: bit.ly/defendfreespeech
Copyright © Prison Radio
Our mailing address is:
Prison Radio PO Box 411074, SF CA 94141
$35 is the yearly membership.
$50 will get you a beautiful tote bag (you can special order a yoga mat bag, just call us).
$100 will get the DVD "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary"
$300 will bring one essay to the airwaves.
$1000 (or $88.83 per month) will make you a member of our Prison Radio Freedom Circle. Take a moment and Support Prison Radio
Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,
Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio
P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Mobilizes Support Internationally:
No Execution by Medical Neglect!
International Unions Demand Decent Medical Treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal
June 2, 2015
Mumia Abu-Jamal was recently sent back to prison after having been hospitalized for the second time. There are some reports that his health is improving. He said to Suzanne Ross of the International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal that "if there had not been an international outcry about the lack of appropriate treatment, in fact AGAINST the 'treatment' that was bringing him so close to death, he was sure he would not be alive today".
In some good news, he was also told by the prison doctor that his biopsy results came back negative.
However, neither Mumia nor his wife, lawyers or consulting doctors have been seen the actual medical reports detailing his condition. The Department of Corrections refuses to hand over his medical records, claiming that they don't have to hand them over because there is litigation to have them released! Denying Mumia and his family his medical records is an outrage!
We would like to inform you about some recent actions taken by unions around the world on behalf of Mumia.
- Unite, the largest union in the UK, representing over 1.4 million members, wrote letters to Governor Tom Wolf, Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel and Legal Counsel Theron Perez protesting Mumia's treatment.
- The International Dockworkers Council, representing 90,000 dockworkers from affiliated unions around the world, wrote an appeal to the labor movement calling for action on behalf of Mumia.
- The Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific sent a protest letter to Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel.
We hope that you will continue to take action on behalf of Mumia. Please call and email Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel and demand the following:
1) Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man! He should be freed immediatel
2) Confirm what Mumia's medical condition is. Release his medical records to his family and lawyers!
3) Allow Mumia to be given medical treatment from a doctor of his choice. His doctor should be allowed to conduct an on-site medical examination, to communicate by phone with Mumia, and to communicate freely with prison medical staff.
4) Allow Mumia daily visits from his family, friends and lawyers!
5) Conduct an independent investigation of healthcare treatment inside the Pennsylvania prison system!DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, SECRETARY JOHN WETZEL 717 728 4109
Wetzel's secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also attaching a sample union resolution for you to use as a template. Please consider submitting it to your union and asking them to take action on behalf of Mumia. We would also be happy to work with you and make a presentation to your union or community group about his condition.
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jam
Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson
Updates from the New "Team Free Lorenzo Johnson":
Thank you all for your relentless effort in the fight against wrongful convictions and your determination to stand behind Lorenzo.
To garner even more support for Lorenzo Johnson, we have been hard at work updating the website and developing an even more formidable and dedicated team. Please take a moment to visit the new site here.
During the month of July, Lorenzo wrote two new articles for The Huffington Post titled "When Prosecutors Deny Justice for the Innocent," and "Hurry Up and Wait for Justice: The Struggle of Innocent Prisoners." In these articles, Lorenzo discusses the flaws in the criminal justice system, which he deems is a "serious problem in this country."
Lastly, Lorenzo has a message to you all.
A Letter from Lorenzo:
July 23, 2015
Dauphin County Prison
I hope all is well with everyone and your families. As for myself, I'm still on my journey in pursuit of my vindication. Sorry for my website being shut down for a couple of weeks. It was being transferred to a new provider and management. I'm back and will do my best to keep everything up to speed with what's taking place.
I would like to thank ALL of my loyal supporters in the U.S. and in the MANY different counties that have signed on to support my innocence. Thanks for all of the letters, emails, photos, etc. Like I always say, I get energy to carry on and inspiration hearing form you, please stay engaged in my struggle.
As of this moment, nothing has changed, but – the continued delay tactics are constantly being used by my prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General William Stoycos. With the mounting of evidence that supports my innocence and police and prosecution misconduct claims that is steadily piling up, you would think that I would be having a couple of evidentiary hearings on my actual innocence appeal that have been pending since August 5, 2013.
At the time of this writing, I've been moved from SCI-Mahanoy to Dauphin County Prison and locked down for 23 hours and 40 minutes a day. In the 20 minutes I get to come out, I get to take a shower and make a short call. Prosecutor Stoycos had me moved so I can be a witness in his attempt to have my codefendant Corey Walker's attorney removed from representing him. How dare he call into question an attorney who is seeking justice for her client, when prosecutor Stoycos himself violated multiple constitutional rights of mine and Mr. Walker, that led to us being in prison for 20 years and counting.
Prosecutor Stoycos is continuously abusing his power and his endless resources he has at his disposal. He is not tough on crime, he's tough on Innocent Prisoners. Prosecutor Stoycos is doing everything in his power to prevent justice from taking place. I encourage everyone to continue to speak out against my nightmare, invite others to get involved by going to my website and signing my Freedom Petition and whatever else they're willing to do.
On a positive note, I just enrolled in warehouse management trade and started on July 13th. Unfortunately, you're only allowed to miss a couple of days and Prosecutor Stoycos had me temporarily transferred on July 14th … It's extremely hard on Lifers to get into these trades due to the fact that Lifers are placed at the back of the list of ALL vocational classes. I try to further my education every chance I get, so when I do come home, I will be certified in different work.
The month of the hearing has come and left, without me being brought to the courthouse … I'm one of MANY innocent prisoners who endures this non-stop madness in our pursuit of Justice and Freedom. Now that my webpage is almost caught up to speed, I promise prompt updates and as everyone knows that contacted me directly, I personally reply to those in the states and out of the country. For those who can make a financial contribution, everything counts. Take care and let's continue to fight until we achieve Freedom, Justice, and Equality for all innocent prisoners.
"The Pain Within"
Free the Innocent
Lorenzo "Cat" Johnson
[Note: Lorenzo has since been transferred back to SCI Mahanoy and can be reached at his usual address.]
Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit the new website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!
Write: Lorenzo Johnson
301 Morea Rd.
Frackville, PA 17932
Email: Through JPay using the code:
Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com
Have a wonderful day!
- The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson
Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!
Click HERE to view in browser
On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.
The prosecutor, with the judge's approval, repeatedly told the jury "you don't need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney." And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE 'ALTERED' PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.
This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.
With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney's appeal.
Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney. Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.
Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.
For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search "Pinkney").
We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,
Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,
Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney
Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,
Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<
Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,
David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
Sara Flounders – International Action Center
MESSAGE FROM REV. PINKNEY
I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."
Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney
Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.
No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an "Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers' Association of America]" demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.
Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment.
The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!
To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.
Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.
COURAGE TO RESIST
New Action--write letters to DoD officials requesting clemency for Chelsea!
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
President Obama has delegated review of Chelsea Manning's clemency appeal to individuals within the Department of Defense.
Please write them to express your support for heroic WikiLeaks' whistle-blower former US Army intelligence analyst PFC Chelsea Manning's release from military prison.
It is important that each of these authorities realize the wide support that Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning enjoys worldwide. They need to be reminded that millions understand that Manning is a political prisoner, imprisoned for following her conscience. While it is highly unlikely that any of these individuals would independently move to release Manning, a reduction in Manning's outrageous 35-year prison sentence is a possibility at this stage.
Take action TODAY – Write letters supporting Chelsea's clemency petition to the following DoD authorities:
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
The Judge Advocate General
2200 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-2200
Army Clemency and Parole Board
251 18th St, Suite 385
Arlington, VA 22202-3532
Directorate of Inmate Administration
Attn: Boards Branch
U.S. Disciplinary Barracks
1301 N. Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2304
Suggestions for letters send to DoD officials:
The letter should focus on your support for Chelsea Manning, and especially why you believe justice will be served if Chelsea Manning's sentence is reduced. The letter should NOT be anti-military as this will be unlikely to help.
A suggested message: "Chelsea Manning has been punished enough for violating military regulations in the course of being true to her conscience. I urge you to use your authorityto reduce Pvt. Manning's sentence to time served." Beyond that general message, feel free to personalize the details as to why you believe Chelsea deserves clemency.
Consider composing your letter on personalized letterhead -you can create this yourself (here are templates and some tips for doing that).
A comment on this post will NOT be seen by DoD authorities–please send your letters to the addresses above
This clemency petition is separate from Chelsea Manning's upcoming appeal before the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals next year, where Manning's new attorney Nancy Hollander will have an opportunity to highlight the prosecution's—and the trial judge's—misconduct during last year's trial at Ft. Meade, Maryland.
Help us continue to cover 100% of Chelsea's legal fees at this critical stage!
Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
Oakland, CA 94610
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
1) Police Abuse Is a Form of Terror
By Charles M. Blow
Writing about the wave of deadly encounters — many caught on video — between unarmed black people and police officers often draws a particular criticism from a particular subset of readers.
It is some variation of this:
"Why are you not writing about the real problem — black-on-black crime? Young black men are far more likely to be killed by another young black man than by the police. Why do people not seem to protest when those young people are killed? Where is the media coverage of those deaths?"
This to me has always felt like a deflection, a juxtaposition meant to use one problem to drown out another.
Statistically, the sentiment is correct: Black people are more likely to be killed by other black people. But white people are also more likely to be killed by other white people. The truth is that murders and other violent crimes are often crimes of intimacy and access. People tend to kill people they know.
The argument suggests that police killings are relatively rare and therefore exotic, and distract from more mundane and widespread community violence. I view it differently: as state violence versus community violence.
People are often able to understand and contextualize community violence and, therefore, better understand how to avoid it. A parent can say to a child: Don't run with that crowd, or hang out on that corner or get involved with that set of activities.
A recent study by scholars at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale found that homicides cluster and overwhelmingly involve a tiny group of people who not only share social connections but are also already involved in the criminal justice system.
We as adults can decide whether or not to have guns in the home. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, having a gun may increase the chances of being the victim of homicide. We can report violent family members.
And people with the means and inclination can decide to move away from high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods.
These measures are not 100 percent effective, but they can produce some measure of protection and provide individual citizens with some degree of personal agency.
State violence, as epitomized in these cases by what people view as police abuses, conversely, has produced a specific feeling of terror, one that is inescapable and unavoidable.
The difference in people's reactions to these different kinds of killings isn't about an exaltation — or exploitation — of some deaths above others for political purposes, but rather a collective outrage that the people charged with protecting your life could become a threat to it. It is a reaction to the puncturing of an illusion, the implosion of an idea. How can I be safe in America if I can't be safe in my body? It is a confrontation with a most discomforting concept: that there is no amount of righteous behavior, no neighborhood right enough, to produce sufficient security.
It produces a particular kind of terror, a feeling of nakedness and vulnerability, a fear that makes people furious at the very idea of having to be afraid.
The reaction to police killings is to my mind not completely dissimilar to people's reaction to other forms of terrorism.
The very ubiquity of police officers and the power they possess means that the questionable killing in which they are involved creates a terror that rolls in like a fog, filling every low place. It produces ambient, radiant fear. It is the lurking unpredictability of it. It is the any- and everywhere-ness of it.
The black community's response to this form of domestic terror has not been so different from America's reaction to foreign terror.The think tank New America found in June that 26 people were killed by jihadist attacks in the United States since 9/11 — compared with 48 deaths from "right wing attacks." And yet, we have spent unending blood and treasure to combat Islamist terrorism in those years. Furthermore, according to Gallup, half of all Americans still feel somewhat or very worried that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism.
In one of the two Republican debates last week, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seemed to be itching for yet another antiterrorism war, saying at one point: "I would take the fight to these guys, whatever it took, as long as it took."
Whatever, however, long. This is not only Graham's position, it's the position of a large segment of the population.
Responding to New America's tally, Fareed Zakaria wrote in The Washington Post in July:
"Americans have accepted an unprecedented expansion of government powers and invasions of their privacy to prevent such attacks. Since 9/11, 74 people have been killed in the United States by terrorists, according to the think tank New America. In that same period, more than 150,000 Americans have been killed in gun homicides, and we have done … nothing."
And yet, we don't ask "Why aren't you, America, focusing on the real problem: Americans killing other Americans?"
Is the "real problem" question reserved only for the black people? Are black people not allowed to begin a righteous crusade?
One could argue that America's overwhelming response to the terror threat is precisely what has kept the number of people killed in this country as a result of terror so low. But, if so, shouldn't black Americans, similarly, have the right to exercise tremendous resistance to reduce the number of black people killed after interactions with the police?
How is it that we can understand an extreme reaction by Americans as a whole to a threat of terror but demonstrate a staggering lack of that understanding when black people in America do the same?
2) Let's Expose the Gender Pay Gap
3) Through the Keyholes, Reporting on Prisons
Mike Winerip and I have been reporting on New York jails and prisons for more than a year. Doing so is like looking through a keyhole: It is very difficult to get reliable information about what is going on inside a corrections facility.
Inmates can be, or be seen as, unreliable, and the correctional bureaucracies are often not forthcoming.
So we have to be creative. The first indication that correction officers might be subjecting inmates to brutal interrogation following the escape of two inmates, David Sweat and Richard W. Matt, from Clinton Prison, the subject of a front-page story today, came from prisoners' wives and girlfriends. We had been in contact with several of them from the beginning, and as they received reports from their husbands, they passed information along to us.
The inmates also began writing letters to a group called Prisoners' Legal Services of New York. Lawyers from the group then put us in contact with inmates.
This story relied heavily on inmates' accounts. We did not have the names of correction officers with whom we might speak; the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision supplied only a short statement suggesting that allegations of abuse were under investigation.
The accounts we received from inmates were, however, strikingly consistent, and we felt they were credible. (We spoke to several inmates on the phone and visited four in the prison.) Many said that officers put plastic bags over their heads, or tied them around their necks, or threatened to do so. Others said they were handcuffed and taken to out-of-the-way rooms or hallways and beaten. The State Police and the Correction Department's internal affairs bureau conducted interrogations, but inmates said correction officers were the only ones who were physically abusive.
Ultimately, a story like this hopefully will generate tips leading to further insights. There are still many, many unanswered questions about the escape from Clinton, so stay tuned.
4) Man Is Executed for Killing Officer
5) Violent Backlash Against Migrants in Germany as Asylum-Seekers Pour In
6) What Eating 40 Teaspoons of Sugar a Day Can Do to You
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