Freedom Socialist Party Monthly Meeting

Uprising in Hong Kong

For four months, the streets of China's semi-autonomous territory have seethed with millions of protestors. Standing up against Beijing's attempts to take economic and political control of the region, workers and students have shut down the airport and city streets while facing vicious attacks by police. What will it take to meet the needs of Hong Kong's working majority? Hear veteran socialist feminist Nellie Wong's analysis of the conflict and share your thoughts.

Sunday, September 15, 1:00pm
Homecooked lunch served at 12:15pm for $8-10 donation

New Valencia Hall
747 Polk Street (by Ellis), San Francisco
(near Civic Center BART, Muni Lines 19, 31, 38, 47 49)
For information: 415-864-1278 •bayareafsp@socialism.com •tinyurl.com/FB-BAFSP
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New Evidence of Innocence Spurs two Court Filings for Mumia Abu Jamal

Press Release


September 9, 2019 Philadelphia—The struggle to free unfairly convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal took a significant step forward on September 3, 2019, when his attorneys submitted two documents to Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Judith L Ritter, Widener University-Delaware Law School, and Samuel Spital, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. released this statement: 
“This week, Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a brief in Pennsylvania Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair in violation of the Constitution. For example, he argues that the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his lawyer did not adequately challenge the State’s witnesses. 
"Mr. Abu-Jamal also filed a motion containing 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.”
Abu-Jamal has always said he is innocent and the new documents go a long way in supporting his case, undermining police and prosecution claims of how Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner was killed.
The filings are in response to the December 27, 2018 decision by Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker reinstating Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petitions for the defendant. Tucker ruled Justice Ronald Castille unconstitutionally participated in deciding the appeals in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after denying Mr. Abu-Jamal’s motions asking for his recusal, creating an appearance of judicial bias.
The “Brief For Appellant” in support of his struggle to gain his freedom after 37 years in Pennsylvania prisons re-opens the PCRA petitions as ordered by Tucker.
The “Appellant’s motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence” ask the Superior Court that the case be sent back to the Court of Common Pleas “so that he may present newly discovered evidence.”
Among the arguments resubmitted in the “Brief For Appellant:”
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to make right argument because counsel did not know the law.
Brady Violation—District Attorney Withheld Evidence:Namely that Prosecutor said that he would look into reinstating the driver’s license of key witness, Robert Chobert;
Rights Violation of fifth, sixth, and 14th Amendments:District Attorney manipulated key witness to falsely identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to retain ballistics expert when the trial counsel knew Officer Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet even though it was known Abu-Jamal’s firearm was not a .44 weapon.
Batson:Discrimination in jury selection that kept Black jurors from being sworn in.
Juror Misconduct:Several jurors violated court rules by conducting premature discussions, creating potential for prejudgment of evidence.
Basym Hassan, Philadelphia political activist, said: “The district attorney clearly violated Mumia’s constitutional rights by withholding clear evidence that should have been exposed from the beginning. Throughout the entire process of Mumia’s approaching the scene up until today’s current developments, the law has not been applied as it was created—to get to the truth of a matter. Hopefully, Mumia will get a re-trial and the truth will finally get told. We await his release from hell.”
Cindy Miller, Food Not Bombs, Solidarity and Mobilization for Mumia reminds us: “Does everybody remember on December 28, when current Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and his staff happened to find six boxes of evidence that had not beforehand been shown? That evidence is partly the reason for this new motion.”
The “Appellant’s motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence” Miller refers to, includes the suppression of evidence of improper prosecutorial interactions with the state’s main two witnesses that were instrumental in ensuring Abu-Jamal’s conviction. The motion charges that “Abu-Jamal’s capital trial was fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations. Mr. Abu-Jamal respectfully requests that this Court remand the case to the Court of Common Pleas so that Mr. Abu-Jamal may litigate the claims arising from this new evidence.”
Pam Africa: “Here’s another example of why Mumia shoulda been home—an example of police and prosecutorial misconduct. That evidence has been there for years. It shoulda been in trial records but it was hidden. What else is hidden besides the few things that we have right here.”
MOVE 9 member, Eddie Africa said: “If they deal with this issue honestly, they’ll have to release him because they know what they did was wrong.”
Mumia, 65-years-old, remains in SCI Mahanoy in poor health, suffering from severe itching and cirrhosis of the liver. He recently had cataract surgery in his left eye and is awaiting surgery in his right eye. He also has glaucoma. 
Janine Africa, from the MOVE 9, said: “I just got released from prison after 41 years in May. I want to say, everyone work hard to bring Mumia home so he can be taken care of and get proper medical care, and he don’t deserve to be in jail from the beginning.”
Mike Africa Jr. added: “The pressure of the people, and of the power of the people is squeezing the evidence of Mumia’s innocence out. We shall win.”



Race for Solidarity Board Game


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



680 Majority Latinx Workers in Mississippi Taken off their Jobs by ICE: An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

On August 7, the US Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids on workers in 7 food processing plants in six Mississippi cities.

These workers came to the US to try to earn an honest living, because conditions in their home countries prevented them from living in peace, supporting their families and endangering them by military and social violence and climate changes.  US foreign policies in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa contribute to the conditions faced by the majority of these immigrant workers.

The families, communities and cities that depend on the incomes of these workers are being disrupted representing a form of ethnic cleansing consistent with the demands of white nationalism.

Although the ICE representatives claimed that this mass raid was not ordered by the Trump administration, it fits the racist and xenophobic lies that immigrants are taking U.S. jobs. These mass raids are part of Trump's white nationalist claim of bringing back U.S. jobs.

This raid is not only a violation of human rights that needs stronger language in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is also an attack on the working-class, aimed a fostering greater divisions and fears. It is part of the corporate strategy to create a climate of insecurity within the working-class to super-exploit immigrant and all Southern workers.

The US South has attracted large numbers of Latinx workers.  Along with African descendants and Indigenous people the combined amount of people of color in the South is about 40 percent of the population of 108 million. What capitalism does to its most oppressed and exploited sectors sets a direction for capitalism's plans for the entire working-class.

Organized labor and working-class communities in the South, nationally and internationally must show solidarity with these workers.  They must know that they are not isolated and are part of the workers struggle.

The Southern Workers Assembly calls on all member organizations, all workers in the labor movement and communities dependent on the working-class to take some solidarity action to express solidarity with these workers and our outrage at the actions of the federal government.

Please send feedback on what action you organizations can take based on your capacity. If taken in your organizations name, add member of Southern Workers Assembly to show the mobilization of our network.

There are no walls in the workers struggle!
An injury to one is an injury to all!

- Southern Workers Assembly, August 2019

Read more about this ICE raid attack on migrant workers at:

Pay Day: ICE Raids Miss. Plant After $3.75 Million Sexual Harassment Settlement

Reuters: U.S. immigration agents arrest 680 workers at Mississippi plants

Copyright © 2019 Southern Workers Assembly, All rights reserved.
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Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally
As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.
For more info:
Production of Labor Video Project



One Democratic State of Palestine

Why One Democratic State of Palestine

The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture.  We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation.  We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system.  This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who were forced out of the country and its current citizens.  This is the key to a 'fair and permanent resolution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause.  Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.

Call for a Palestine Liberation Movement

Call initiated by the One State Assembly, February 9, 2019
We are calling for signatures on the statement to create national and global public opinion specially among Palestinians, Arabs and international supporters about the genuine, just and long lasting solution to the seven decades of the ethnic cleansing war and catastrophe of 1948. The One Democratic State  of Palestine (ODSP) initiative stands in opposition and objection to the dead solution of the two states, the Oslo Accords and exposing the latest racist Nation-State Law that was issued by the apartheid state of Israel which emphasizes the real nature of this manufactured colonial state.
This is a crucial time in the history of our struggle, which needs all activists, individuals and organizations, to consolidate and coordinate their efforts in an organized manner to make an impact, make a difference towards the only solution that guarantees the right of return and deals with our people as one united nation on one united homeland: the One Democratic State of Palestine.
Signatories include: Richard Falk, Alison Weir, Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Tariq Ali, Paul Larudee, Kevin Zeese, Joe Lombardo, Tim Anderson, Amal Wahdan, Judith Bello, Ken Stone, Issa Chaer,  Ali Mallah, Alicia Jrapko …..
Endorsers: Free Palestine Movement, Palestine Solidarity Forum (India), Syria Solidarity Movement, International Committee for Peace Justice and Dignity, Hands Off Syria Coalition, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, United Front Against Facism and War (Canada), Communist Reconstruction (Canada), Palestine Solidarity Association/University of Western Cape (South Africa), India Palestine Solidarity Forum, Venezuela Solidarity Network, Free Palestine Movement, Akashma News, Media Review Network,  Solidarity Net, Kenya, Human Rights in the Middle East, Cleveland Peace Action, Interfaith Council For Peace In The Middle East Northeast Ohio, Pax Christi Hilton Head, Portsmouth South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Call for A Palestine Liberation Movement and One Democratic State of Palestine

We say YES to the just national struggle for our rights, which unifies the living energies of our people. We are inspired by our glorious history, our great leaders and their decisive battles, our martyrs, our prisoners, our restless youth and those in refugee camps, waiting on the realization of their inalienable right of return. We say NO to begging at the doors of the occupiers in pursuit of crumbs. This has led Palestinians and will lead them to more division and bloody infighting
Palestine was colonized for strategic, imperial reasons: it is at the junction of three continents, with key transport links and easy access for the hegemonic powers on their way to the oil wealth of the Arab nations. But the colonists could not evacuate the Palestinian people, who have lived here for more than 6,000 years.
After a century of dealing with the European colonial states and American imperialism, our Arab nation has been betrayed, and is still being betrayed, by the terror of these countries.
The illusion that Zionists want peace must be confronted. When will we wake up? We cannot speak of a national state for the Palestinians if we do not liberate ourselves from our petty differences while under siege and occupation. We have to recognize reality: that we continue in a period of national liberation, not in a period of state building.
For this reason we believe in the need to withdraw completely from farcical negotiations with the colonial entity. These only cover up and legalize the occupation. They suggest fair solutions which don't exist, deepening Palestinian conflicts and leading to bloody infighting.
The national liberation stage must precede the construction of the national state. Recognizing this provides a compass to guide us in our national priorities and relations with others. This means no more agreements with the occupiers. They will not commit to agreements, and experience shows they are part of a great deception, falsely called a 'peace process'.
This 'Peace Process' became a façade for the colonial entity to proceed with a so-called 'political solution'. Really, they needed Palestinian participation to pave the way for the oppressive Arab regimes to end the boycott and 'normalize' relationships with the entity.
As Arab markets were closed to the Zionist entity by a blockade, it was necessary to find ways to open them through 'normalization'. But Palestinian resistance had generated popular sympathy in the Arab and Islamic world, and formed a major obstacle to this 'normalization'. Zionist leader Shimon Perez admitted: "The main goal of the Oslo conventions was not Palestinians, but rather normalization with the Arab world and opening its markets."
Yet national liberation requires confronting, not submitting to, foreign hegemony. We say that the leadership of our national movement has ignored this, and has instead engaged in binding relations with the occupying entity and its patrons.
The history of the colonial entity in Palestine is nothing more than a history of the destruction of the Palestinian people and their civilization. Two thirds of our people have been displaced and more than 90% of our land has been stolen. Our land, water and houses are stolen and demolished every day, while apartheid walls are built and the racist nation-state law is being enforced by Israeli legislators. There is also a permanent aggression against the peoples of the region, to subjugate them through Salafist terrorism and economic siege.
The USA supports the Zionist entity with money, weapons, missiles and aircraft, while protecting it from punishment at the UN, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, abolishing its financial support for the United Nations Refugees and Work Agency (UNRWA) and halting its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. How can the USA or its regional puppets ever be 'honest brokers' for the people of Palestine?
The invaders falsely used divine religion in attempts to destroy the indigenous people and their cultures. They said this was an 'empty land', available for another people with no land, but with the 'divine promise' of a religious homeland. Yet hiding settler colonization behind the banner of Judaism wrongly places responsibility on religion for the crimes of the colonizers.
We have no problem with 'Jewish' people in Palestine. That problem emerged in capitalist Europe, not in our countries. We are not the ones to create a solution to Europe's 'Jewish problem'. Rather, we have to deal with colonization and foreign hegemony in our region.
The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture. We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation. We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system. This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens. This is the key to a 'fair and permanent solution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause. Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.
Yet the old Palestinian leadership has presided over regression. They make agreements for the benefit of the colonial entity and its patrons. They abandon 1948 Palestine and the refugees. They collaborate with our enemies while delivering no tangible benefit for our people.
For these reasons we say that this leadership has become a real obstacle to any future development or advancement for our people. This leadership has lost its qualifications to lead national action. It looks to its own benefit and is too weak to learn the lessons of the anti-colonial movements of the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Americas. It does not see the advances elsewhere in challenging US hegemony. It does not even see the resistance in the Arab and Muslim World, when they manage to foil US and Zionist projects.
Our movement must be an organic part of the Arab Liberation Movement, putting an end to foreign hegemony, achieving national unity and liberating Palestine from the current apartheid system. Yet this great humanitarian goal directly clashes with the interests of the dominant triad - the forces of global hegemony, settler apartheid and the comprador Arab regimes.
We warn all against chasing the myth of 'two contiguous states' in Palestine. This is a major deception, to portray ethnic enclaves within Palestine as an expression of the right to popular self-determination. The goal must be to replace apartheid with equal citizenship and this can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State in historic Palestine for all, including its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens, including those who were drawn into the country as settlers through the Zionist project.
Palestinian parties negotiating for unity and reform should focus on restoring liberation to the core of the Palestinian National Charter. The Arab homeland will never be liberated and unified by subordination to the USA! It will only be liberated by confronting and ending colonial and imperial dominance.
We say YES to national unity in the framework of our Palestinian Liberation Movement, freed from deceptive agreements which only serve the hegemonic powers and comprador regimes.
LONG LIVE PALESTINE, liberated from racial colonization and built on the foundations of equality for all its citizens, rejecting segregation and discrimination by religion, culture or ethnicity; friends with its regional neighbours and with all progressive forces of the world!
**Your Signature**



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The Campaign To Bring Mumia Home

Brother Delbert Africa Needs Our Help


The MOVE Organization would like to bring to people's attention a very dangerous situation that is currently occurring with our Brother Delbert Africa. For the past two weeks Delbert has been suffering from severe swelling from the bottom of his waist all the way down to his toes. For the past two weeks prison officials at SCI Dallas have ignored Delbert's request for medical until this past week when several calls were made to his counselor. A medical visit was finally scheduled for this past Wednesday 7/31/2019 where it was explained to Delbert that he has a fluid build up which required to be drained. Delbert was immediately taken to an outside hospital; as of today 8/3/2019 we still do not know where Delbert is.
For several days now Delbert has been kept incommunicado from calling his MOVE Family, His Blood Daughter, and even his lawyer. Prison officials and also hospital officials will not give any one information pertaining to where Delbert is at.

Something very suspicious is happening here and it appears the same pattern that occurred with Phil Africa in 2015 where a simple stomach virus turned to a weeklong trip to the outside hospital held incommunicado from family and friends to return back to the prison and be placed in hospice care and to only die a day later. In 1998 Merle Africa who had a stomach virus was forced in her cell and told she was dying only to die a couple of hours later.
This system has no issue with murdering MOVE people and that's what they are trying to do with Delbert now. They have already given ground by letting innocent MOVE people out on parole and they do not want to do this with Delbert. As we said before, this system has always seen Delbert as the leader and isolated him and this latest tactic is no different. Delbert is set to go before the board this September after winning his appeal; now this happens.

As of now, we have heard that it has been stated based on the medical report given from Outside medical they are stating that Delbert has Anemia, High Potassium, High Psa's, Acute malignancy of lower intestines, Kidney Trouble, and Suspicion of prostate cancer. The only thing that Delbert has agreed to with any treatment or exams is the submission of a catheter to be used.

Delbert has requested a phone call to his MOVE Family, which neither the prison nor the hospital will allow. We are highly suspicious that this prison has done something to Delbert to bring on these symptoms so quickly. They could not kill Delbert August 8th after the brutal beating they gave him and now they want to finish the job before he can come home on parole.

These officials are so arrogant; this is the same way they murdered Phil Africa and Merle Africa .
As we have stated before, they have isolated our Brother so they can kill him. They won't let anyone speak to him. This is very dangerous!!!

We need people now to call
SCI Dallas Superintendent Kevin Ransom 570 675-1101
Geisenger Hospital 570 808-7300
We want people to demand that Delbert Orr Africa Am4895 be allowed to call his MOVE Family and let them know what's going on.

Even Though it's the weekend we are still asking people to call and Monday we are going full blast .
The MOVE Organization
People can reach
Sue Africa 215 387-4107
Carlos Africa 215 385-2772
Janine Africa 610 704 4524


"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at the moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice" 

-Mumia Abu-Jamal
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50 years in prison: 

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,
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/



Lost In the System 

By Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin
The system in which I attempt to discuss today is a familiar place in the world. The name of this system varies from mouth to mouth in casual conversation, or heated debates. Some call it Gulags, others call it the Prison Industrial Complex, others the human warehouse.
I agree with all these names and more, including the numerous books that have surfaced in the last two decades about mass incarceration. This system as we know it holds 2.5 million people and some of them they refuse to let go regardless of rehabilitation, programming certifications, college, and ignorant youthful mistakes. I am one of those 2.5 million and counting.
On June 4, 2019 after having served 31 years of my life in which I've turned 18 in Union County Jail in Elizabeth, New Jersey, I was transferred to Rikers Island where I turned 19 and was sentenced to 25 years to life in 1991. I was finally granted parole after being denied four times. I convinced the Commissioners by the grace of Allah that I was no longer that easily influenced teenager.
I was no longer a threat to society. I was a college graduate twice. I was in school working on a degree at Ulster Community College through Hudson Link Prison Education Program funded by Mr. Warren Buffett and his sister Doris, and many other famous people—to name a few: Harry Belafonte, Ice-T and Coco his wife. (See HudsonLink.org website). I was a teacher's aide helping men whose reading level was below fifth-grade, as well as math. I was the Imam's clerk and taught Arabic. I had numerous letters from staff requesting my release. Some staff were retaliated against for such belief and reprimanded although New York DOCCS rules state that staff should write these reports. I am the author of an urban novel entitled Can't Stop the Grindand a book of poetry entitled From the Mind of the Incarcerated Slavethat has yet to be published. I gave speeches in the prison grassroots events regularly.
I had become a father and a husband. I had written articles about "the system," the comrade brother Rashid who was the codefendant of Assata Shakur and Abdul Majid (Anthony Laborde) who was placed in solitary confinement with me on two separate occasions. Once was in Wende Correctional Facility, and the last before his death and Elmira, for organizing and other false charges.  I had also written articles in the Bay View on the death of Hugo Pinell and how it was our obligation to adopt his daughter as our sister, daughter, and niece.
However, on June 4, 2019, the day when billions of Muslims are celebrating the end of Ramadan, I was waiting in the cell to go home. My family and I had been told there were no warrants or detainers, no reason for my further incarceration. My brothers had catered a beautiful meal for the evening for me, daughters and sons-in-law to partake, after the evening prayer. I was dressed in full Islamic attire—full-length prayer robe and Kufi. Instead of my release, I was told that my backpack that I was to pick up from Hudson with a laptop computer and suits of clothing as part of the coming home package, and pages of trial transcripts and books would have to stay. I was taken into custody by Union County sheriffs and my family was told to leave the parking lot. I was not coming out. My daughter Aminati and my wife who is a strong prison advocate on Prison Radio's "Voices Beyond the Wall" on WKBR 91.3 Radiowas crushed. My wife has not gotten back on the radio because she can't speak without breaking down.
I was placed in a filthy bullpen with walls smeared with all types of disgusting looking substances while foot-shackled and waist-cuffed. I was told I would not be allowed to wear a black Kufi and my attire was confiscated as I was given a tan uniform. I was given one phone call to let everyone know what happened. I had not seen any judge and within 48 hours I was zoomed off at 5:00 A.M. to Trenton State Prison, which sent me to Central Reception Assignment Facility (CRAF) butt naked in a jumpsuit and flip-flops. I was issued #550844, and old number and simply told I would see Classification. This is 31 years later. My family was not allowed to speak to me for a week. Upon seeing Classification I was told owed time—16 years with a five-year stipulation. The Classification Committee removed six years from the back of the sentence and gave me an early parole date of November 2023 plus 202 to jail credit days. This was my punishment for getting a reversal in 1994 and being re-sentenced, which in the original judgment of conviction showed there was a 256 Gap time days plus 202 jail credit and another eight months missing.
The judge has since died and on a motion has been filed to amend the judgment of conviction to reflect 1014 days are owed to me on the front of the sentence and 1059 on the back which under State v. HernandezState v. Beatty and State v. Rippy, I am entitled to every day. This time would put me at an immediate Parole Board to be released, or at least a halfway house, which, under New Jersey law, for which anyone who is 36 months short of the earliest release is eligible. I am in need in legal representation. I have been given a Public Defender and assigned Judge Deitch in Union County who is reviewing the pro se motion.
Today I need people to contact Judge Deitch at 908-787-1650 extension #21250 or in a written letter of support that such a motion be granted for an Amended Judgment under indictment # 88-12-2105. The address to write to the Judge Deitch is: County Courthouse, 2 Broad St., Elizabeth, NJ 07201. Otherwise I will continue to be lost in the system. Your help in my liberation as a changed, conscious man is imperative. No prison do I wish to be lost in, although I remain strong under such tormenting conditions. Please feel free to write.
Write to:
Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin
#550844 (3 Wing IT 152 Top)
East Jersey State Prison
Lock Bag 'R'
Rahway, NJ 07065



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.
Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.
Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 



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



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

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.

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:
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 
Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


Funds for Kevin Cooper


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!



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. 
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.
[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/



Words of Wisdom

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.]



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

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300



Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!



    1) Squirrels Relax When They Hear Birds Relaxing
    Scientists show that squirrels have one ear tuned to the chatter of birds, and act on what they learn from eavesdropping.
    By James Gorman, September 4, 2019

    A squirrel in Central Park, listening intently.CreditCreditVincent Tullo for The New York Times

    It will come as no surprise to squirrel lovers — and haters, for that matter — that the twitchy, resourceful rodents are exquisitely attuned to the world around them.
    Researchers at Oberlin College reported Wednesday in the scientific journal PLoS One that squirrels pay attention not only to alarm calls, as many animals do, but also to the background chatter of birds, and that they relax a bit when the birds sound relaxed. 
    Of course they do. They're squirrels. They pay attention to everything. I'd be willing to bet that they can tell the difference between an irate bird lover banging on a window in pajamas (no problem) and one with her snow boots on (better get ready to skitter away). 

    Still, that kind of unproven certainty can lead one astray. For instance, goatsuckers, a group of birds that includes the whippoorwill, do not milk goats, Aristotle's declaration to the contrary notwithstanding. If Aristotle had done a bit more research, he might have saved goats ages of anxiety.

    Keith A. Tarvin is not repeating the philosopher's mistake. He's a biologist at Oberlin who studies what kind of information animals derive from the many sounds around them. He and his students set out to get some hard data on what squirrels listen to.
    "I've been interested in alarm calls for a while," he said. In a recent scientific paper, for instance, he reported that gray squirrels pay special attention to the alarm calls of robins. This kind of eavesdropping is widespread in nature. "Even some lizards that don't make their own vocal sounds eavesdrop on some other animals like birds," he said.
    As he and his students discussed the soundscape squirrels live in, he said, "that led us into chatter," the general background noise of nature — in particular the calls that birds make when nothing big is going on. Their question was not what one sparrow might be saying to another, but whether squirrels took note of the birds' conversations when they weren't shouting about hawks. 
    The researchers hypothesized that the squirrels were paying attention, and over the course of a couple of years Dr. Tarvin and two undergraduates, Marie Lilly and Emma Lucore, designed and conducted an experiment to test that idea. They played a recorded screech of a red-tailed hawk, which put the squirrels on alert and caused them to act vigilant. 
    Then they played recordings of desultory bird chatter, or of background noise without birds. They made all the recordings at one bird feeder at different times. Then Ms. Lilly, who did the field work (Ms. Lucore had graduated after helping to design of the experiment), had to find squirrels around Oberlin, in the winter, on her bicycle. It was cold, she said, but squirrels are easier to observe in the winter, with no leaves to obscure their actions.

    She carried with her a sound system in a repurposed cat litter box. "I looked pretty ridiculous," she said. Once she found a squirrel, she set up the sound system and played the different recordings: the hawk followed by bird chatter, and the hawk followed by birdless background noise. She kept track of what the squirrels were doing by entering data into a customized app on her phone. 
    She tracked six "behavioral states" and how long each squirrel was in that state: foraging, preening, resting, standing, freezing and fleeing. Standing, freezing and fleeing were the vigilance states.
    The results were that when the squirrels heard the relaxed birds, they, too, relaxed. And they did so more quickly than when they heard background noise without bird chatter. 
    The squirrels were probably responding to the gestalt of a calm-sounding neighborhood, Dr. Tarvin said, or as Ms. Lilly put it, "the sound of no danger." But it's possible there are specific signals they are picking up that the researchers have not identified. 
    The finding is significant not just to add to the reputation of squirrels as wary and clever. Dr. Tarvin said the research also supported the idea that there may be "public information networks that exist in ecological communities." 
    Human-generated sound, or sound pollution, could interrupt those networks in ways we don't yet understand, Ms. Lilly said. 
    "We really can't know the impact of the sounds that we're creating unless we know more about the sound information that's part of the ecosystem," she said.

    James Gorman is a science writer at large and the host and writer of the video series "ScienceTake." He joined The Times in 1993 and is the author of several books, including "How to Build a Dinosaur," written with the paleontologist Jack Horner.


    2) We Deported Him to a Land He'd Never Seen, and Now He's Dead
    Jimmy Aldaoud lived almost his whole life in Michigan. When ICE sent him to Iraq, it was the first time he'd set foot in the country.
    By Miriam Aukerman, September 6, 2019

    Jimmy Aldaoud in a photo provided by his family.

    When you foresee a death, there's no joy in being right. On June 4, I told my colleagues that Jimmy Aldaoud — a medically frail Michigan man who came to the United States in 1979 when he was an infant — was not going to survive. That was the day his sister Rita Bolis called to tell me he had been deported and was sleeping on a bench in an airport in Najaf, Iraq.
    Mr. Aldaoud had never been to Iraq. He was born in Greece to Iraqi refugee parents. He had no ID and no ability to get the medical care he needed for his diabetes. He did not know Arabic, much less how to navigate a war-torn society where being Americanized makes you a target. On Aug. 6, Ms. Bolis contacted me again to say that her brother was dead. His family believes he died because he couldn't obtain the medicine he needed in Iraq.
    His funeral is Friday. His physical remains were sent to Michigan, the only way he could come back home. Jimmy Aldaoud — the living person who loved and was loved by his family — would never have been allowed in America again.
    I am part of a team of lawyers who began trying to save Mr. Aldaoud's life over two years ago, before we even knew his name. He was one of more than 1,400 Iraqis in this country with deportation orders, most issued years or even decades ago. In June 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement suddenly rounded up hundreds of them for immediate deportation.

    My organization, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, working with lawyers around the country, went to court, warning that deporting these people to Iraq would result in persecution, torture and death. A federal judge ruled that an immigration judge had to decide whether they would be safe in Iraq before deportations could be carried out. That order saved hundreds of lives.
    But ICE appealed, no matter the human cost, intent on deporting people like Mr. Aldaoud who have lived their whole lives here. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, giving ICE the green light to resume deportations in April. And ICE did, even though Iraq is so dangerous that the State Department recently evacuated all nonessential personnel. Mr. Aldaoud was one of the first to be deported once ICE had that green light. Predictably, inevitably, he died.
    Mr. Aldaoud is to be buried next to his mother. He would have wanted that, because, as Ms. Bolis says, he was a "big-time mama's boy." He was also a fierce defender of his three sisters, especially when their father drank. His dad kicked him out when he was 16, but they continued to fight, and Mr. Aldaoud ended up with assault convictions. He struggled with mental illness and homelessness, working odd jobs and stealing loose change from cars. Jimmy's convictions made him deportable, because he was a lawful permanent resident, not a U.S. citizen like his younger sisters who were born here.
    Yet Mr. Aldaoud didn't harden. He stayed close to his family, never leaving the streets of Metro Detroit. And when his mother had a stroke that paralyzed her left side, Mr. Aldaoud returned home to care for her, changing her diapers and giving her insulin, until she died on her birthday in 2015.
    Before Mr. Aldaoud was deported, he sat for a year and half in ICE detention, desperately missing his family, especially his 3-year-old niece, Ella, Ms. Bolis' daughter. Mr. Aldaoud kept Ella's photo under his pillow in his cell, and told her mother, "I just sit and look at Ella and pray to God that I can see her only for five minutes."

    After Mr. Aldaoud was deported, he never got to see Ella or his family again, except on desperate FaceTime calls — an effort to etch his loved ones into his thoughts so he could try to sleep at night on the Baghdad streets. He had lost the family that kept his world intact.
    Every day, ICE is trying to deport people like Jimmy Aldaoud to Iraq. And every day, I feel like I am doing a type of death penalty work. My clients face death simply because they were born outside our borders. In fact, I don't even know whether Mr. Aldaoud was the first to die — we can't reach many of those who've been deported. But we know that if the deportations continue, he will not be the last.
    We must protect other Iraqis from Mr. Aldaoud's fate. ICE must immediately halt Iraqi deportations until there has been a full investigation both of his death and of ICE's overreach in attempting to deport over a thousand people to a country where they are in grave danger.
    And Congress must pass bipartisan legislation, the Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities Act, that would pause most Iraqi deportations for two years and give Iraqis a chance to show an immigration judge why their old removal orders are no longer appropriate. 
    This legislation is essential. I fear, indeed I know, that if it doesn't pass, if ICE continues the deportations, more people will die. And I don't want to foresee another death.
    Miriam Aukerman is a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

    3) How Bruce Springsteen Unites the World
    The songwriter and singer gave hope to working-class boys in towns thousands of miles from New Jersey.
    By Sarfraz Manzoor, September 6, 2019

    Bruce Springsteen.CreditCreditBryan Derballa for The New York Times

    The United States and Britain are united in having political leaders who have insulted and mocked immigrants for electoral purposes. President Trump's anti-immigrant tirades are well known, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain has voiced similar sentiments, including comparing Muslim women who wear face veils to "bank robbers" and "letter boxes."
    A few days earlier, Tell MAMA, a group that monitors anti-Muslim activity, revealed that anti-Muslim incidents rose by 375 percent in the week after Mr. Johnson's comments. For those of us who grew up in the '80s, the current climate brings back painful memories of a Britain we had hoped was long gone.
    In the mid-1980s, I was a bored and dissatisfied British Pakistani teenager living in the gritty, unloved town of Luton, 30 miles north of London. My father had left Pakistan in the early 1960s. When my mother, my siblings and I joined him a decade later, he was working on the production line of an auto plant.

    Britain in the 1970s was an uncomfortable time to be in an ethnic minority group. The far-right National Front party, whose manifesto called for the repatriation of "colored immigrants" and "their descendants and dependents" were fighting in elections and marching in cities and towns across the country.

    Growing up, my parents were adamant that I was not and should never even aspire to be British. To my parents, the irreducible core of my identity was being Pakistani and being Muslim. Britain was simply where we had ended up. I was instructed never to speak English to my parents, only Urdu. My parents forbade me from attending school assemblies because Christian hymns were sung. My family's social circle was populated entirely by fellow Pakistanis.
    I wanted to belong, but I was told I was different and it was not only parents telling me so. In 1987, when I was 16 years old, Britain had elected the Conservative Party for the third successive time. Margaret Thatcher had been prime minister for half of my life.
    It was a time when to have brown skin, to have an unusual name and Pakistani heritage felt like hurdles that a working-class boy like me would never be able to surmount. I wanted to belong and to feel British but I was convinced that Britain could never belong to me. This was a time when there were no British Muslim role models in media, popular culture or politics.
    I should have felt despondent, but I didn't care because I had a one-word escape plan: America. For the teenage me, America was not an actual place so much as it was an idea and ideal. I learned about America not through travel but from John Hughes and Martin Scorsese, from Studs Terkel and John Steinbeck and, most importantly, from Bruce Springsteen.
    I was introduced to Springsteen's music in the fall of 1987 by a Sikh friend at sixth form, the college British students attended between high school and university. He claimed that Springsteen was the direct line to all that was true in this world. Once I started listening, it was confirmed as nothing but the truth.

    Springsteen sang about many things, about fathers and factories, highways and rivers and, crucially for me, he came from a place almost as unloved as Luton: New Jersey. When he sang, "It's a town full of losers and I'm pulling out of here to win," he was talking about his hometown, but he could have been referring to mine.
    His songs were always quintessentially American. I fell in love with America as it was depicted in his music: the rattlesnake speedways, the dusty arcades and yes, even the New Jersey Turnpike. In Springsteen's music I saw America as a land of hope and dreams. It was a nation that had its challenges but it was a generous-hearted place. If Britain would not accept me, I would be reborn in the U.S.A.
    The first time I visited the United States was in 1990 when I took a Greyhound bus across the country before finally ending up in California, where I had a summer job selling encyclopedias door to door. Wherever I went people were intrigued by my British accent, but were always friendly and only dimly aware of Islam or Pakistan.
    The Sept. 11 attacks significantly changed the Muslim experience of the United States. A year later, when I traveled to New Jersey for a Springsteen concert at the Giants Stadium, a man asked me how could he trust that I was a fan and not someone who was going to blow the stadium up. He asked me what my favorite Springsteen song was. I responded by listing a few titles that only true fans would have named.
    My faith in America was tested. I kept hoping during the Bush years that the America I had fallen in love with as a teenager was not lost forever. My faith was rewarded with the election of Barack Obama, who embodied an idea that chimed with both me and Springsteen. During both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Springsteen campaigned for Obama.
    The election of Donald Trump into the White House marked the arrival of someone whose vision of America was the polar opposite of the vision articulated by Springsteen and Obama. Where Springsteen's America was open, welcoming and self-critical, Trump's America was narrow, fearful and arguably race-defined.
    I wrote a memoir about the influence of Springsteen on my experience of being a Muslim teenager in the 1980s small-town, working-class Britain, and it was recently turned into a movie and released in America.

    I traveled from coast to coast, attending screenings and following the reactions people had to the film in person and on social media. People laughed when Javed, the character based on my teenage self, rhapsodizes about how in America you can be anyone you want to be — the distance between the hope and reality so stark.
    The most encouraging thing to me has been the extent to which the film has connected with people so outwardly different from the characters in the film. In New York, I had a couple from New Jersey approach me after a screening to tell me how much they connected with the film. They had never met any other British Pakistanis. "You are just a Pakistani version of us," the man said. It seemed such a simple statement but, in a time when the president and his supporters seem determined to deepen divisions by saying that certain communities who pray or look a certain way have less right to claim citizenship, it felt hugely significant and cheering.
    In "Long Walk Home," written after George W. Bush was elected for his second term, Springsteen sang that the "flag flying over the courthouse means certain things are set in stone. Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't."
    The America I fell in love from afar all those years ago will have to take a long walk home. Yet conversations with Americans who were moved by the story of a brown, Muslim boy from a British town left me with hope.
    Sarfraz Manzoor is the author of the memoir, "Greetings from Bury Park," and co-writer of "Blinded by the Light," a movie inspired by it.

    4) These Newborn Babies Cry for Drugs, Not Milk
    For some Americans, the nation's opioid crisis starts before birth.
    By Nicholas Kristof, September 7, 2019

    CreditCreditNicholas Konrad

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — His body dependent on opioids, he writhes, trembles and cries. He is exhausted but cannot sleep. He vomits, barely eats and has lost weight.
    He is also a baby. Just 1 month old, he wails in the nursery of the CAMC Women and Children's Hospital here. A volunteer "cuddler" holds him while walking around, murmuring sweetly, hour after hour, but he is inconsolable. What his body craves is heroin.
    Every 15 minutes in America, a child is born after a prenatal exposure to opioids. Here in West Virginia, 14 percent of babies are born exposed to drugs, and perhaps 5 percent more to alcohol, totaling nearly one out of five newborns. Some get by without symptoms, but for many, their very first experience after birth is the torment of withdrawal.

    These babies reflect the catastrophic implosion of drug policy in America, from the war on drugs that filled prisons to the continuing failure even in 2019 to provide enough treatment for drug users. By government figures, only 3.7 million Americans received treatment for substance use disorders last year, out of 21.2 million who needed it — just 17 percent.

    How is it acceptable that we treat only 17 percent of those with a life-threatening disorder?
    Pharmaceutical executives are battling lawsuits by blaming drug users. I wish those executives had to cuddle these infants who, partly because of their reckless greed, suffer so much.
    Executives in three-piece suits were drug lords as guilty as any from Medellín. The Washington Post reported that pharma companies shipped 76 billion opioid pain pills from 2006 through 2012. A single pharmacy in Kermit, W.V., sold more than 13 million over those seven years — and Kermit has a population of just over 400 people.
    So today, hospitals in West Virginia and across America struggle to calm babies who sometimes begin to go through withdrawal as soon as the umbilical cord is cut.

    "He's frantic," Dr. Stefan Maxwell, a neonatologist at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital, said of the infant going through withdrawal. "Baby isn't sleeping, isn't eating, isn't growing. It's a disaster."

    "Nurses are in tears at the end of a shift," said Dr. Maxwell, an expert on prenatal drug exposures. 
    When babies are going through severe withdrawal, hospitals give them medication to ease the symptoms — here it's methadone, elsewhere it's sometimes morphine — and then try to wean them off it over two or three weeks.
    There's plenty of blame to go around, encompassing opioid-abusing moms and opioid-prescribing doctors. But it's appropriate to feel special loathing for executives at pharma companies whose corporate strategy was to profit by getting people hooked. Some of the companies funded a movement claiming that pain was the "fifth vital sign" and urged doctors to prescribe more painkillers, and then paid them kickbacks to do so.
    Almost 80 percent of heroin users began with prescription pain pills, though not necessarily prescribed to them.
    In contrast to the executives, some moms acknowledge their failings. They are already suffering terribly from their own addictions, and many will lose custody of their babies.
    "Lots of these moms are very well meaning," said Dr. Cody Smith, a neonatologist at the J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.V., 150 miles northeast of Charleston. "The vast majority of these moms love their babies, and they feel a tremendous amount of guilt."

    Dr. Smith notes that many of the mothers have mental health problems and their own traumas that they are wrestling with, and he estimates that 85 percent of the pregnancies involving drug exposure are unplanned. Yet the Trump administration is curbing access to Title X family planning funding in ways that may lead to the closing of the only Planned Parenthood clinic in West Virginia.
    Better prenatal care for these moms can reduce the suffering of their babies. Overcoming addiction is so difficult — and so unlikely to be successful — that these hospitals do not ask pregnant women to try. Rather, they steer them from street drugs like heroin and fentanyl to alternatives like methadone to stabilize them. 
    Newborn babies struggling through withdrawal are only one dimension of America's opioid crisis. Every seven minutes another American dies of an overdose; 2.1 million children live with a parent with a drug dependency.
    McKinsey and Company, the global consulting company, issued a sober report last fall warning that "the opioid crisis will worsen over the next three to five years." What McKinsey didn't say was that it had previously advised Johnson & Johnson to be more aggressive in peddling opioids for back pain and to encourage doctors to prescribe stronger, more addictive pills. 
    These drug-addicted newborns are suffering partly because of Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, Purdue Pharma, McKesson and many other companies; these babies are a reminder of why corporate regulation is essential.
    We need accountability, as well as deterrence. That means sending executives to prison along with other big drug dealers, and ensuring that shareholders in these companies suffer as well.
    Anyone doubting the need for tougher accountability, and for a far more robust public health approach to address drug use, should visit one of these nurseries and see babies suffering withdrawal.


    5) When the Wave Crashes
    An on-the-ground report from the DSA National Convention.
    By Jamie Peck, September 4, 2019

    In Atlanta the first weekend of August, over one thousand delegates representing nearly sixty thousand members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) convened over the course of three days to set priorities and allocate resources for the largest socialist organization this country has seen since the Vietnam era. Most were keenly aware of the stakes: the two years between conventions will see the conclusion of Donald Trump's presidential term and potential election to a second, the confinement of thousands more migrants in concentration camps, and what will likely be the final verdict on Bernie Sanders. Other possibilities include a rising tide of reactionary violence, the reawakening or final death rattles of organized labor, and a financial crisis that will make the crash of 2008 look like a skinned knee. As if to hammer home the moment's urgency, two mass shootings happened that weekend, one with clear white supremacist underpinnings.
    In certain moments, this convergence of DSA's big tent — stitched together from frequently clashing groups of everything from social democrats and "democratic socialists" (I'm yet to be convinced there's a difference) to anarchists and communists, and yet more who reject even such approximate labels as these — felt like a dinghy paddling in the shadow of a tsunami. We have a little more than a decade until global climate catastrophe irreversibly accelerates, according to a recent UN IPCC report. How are sixty thousand people, drawn disproportionately from the downwardly mobile children of the middle class, going to defeat both fascism and the left wing of neoliberalism in a country of 327 million sitting atop a crumbling global empire? Yet there we were, wearing lanyards. Voting on resolutions. Mingling at parties. 
    The proceedings occurred atop a factional topography that's changed significantly from that of the 2017 convention, the first since 2016's massive influx of new blood in the wake of Trump and Bernie that spiked membership from five thousand to forty thousand in under two years. At the last convention, Momentum, a millennial-heavy slate for NPC with ties to Jacobin, as well as Praxis, a group oriented toward grassroots organizing, organized effectively against the DSA's old guard, influenced by Michael Harrington, who wanted to preserve DSA's status as a pressure group within the Democratic Party. (The North Star caucus would soon be born out of this Harringtonite grouping.) The resulting National Political Committee (NPC) was split roughly between the three factions: 5 spots went to Praxis, 7 to Momentum, and 4 to the old guard. Delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse BDS (a campaign promoting boycotts against Israel), advocate for reparations for the descendants of slaves, and leave the increasingly neoliberal Socialist International. (They also elected someone who turned out to be a sometime police union organizer to the NPC, causing an embarrassing scandal which kicked off a longstanding alliance of the old guard and Momentum against Praxis.)
    Since 2017, Momentum has seen a number of splits and rebrandings as it has transformed from a slate into a caucus: Spring, and now, Bread and Roses, which wisely purged the most vulgar class-reductionist elements from its midst. B&R is something of a synthesis, but if I had to approximate its politics, I'd say they're labor Trotskyists (with less of an emphasis on permanent revolution) who are largely influenced by Karl Kautsky and Vivek Chibber's parliamentary road to socialism. They favor demands that would immediately benefit the entire "multiracial working class" (a favored term of theirs) in a way that most members of the working class can already understand, like Medicare for All; they refer to this as "mass action." They've adopted the Bernie Sanders campaign as the centerpiece of their political strategy and are currently attempting to centralize DSA's efforts behind it. (After hearing some of them refer to Bernie's platform as a "transitional program," I read Trotsky's "The Transitional Program," and it seems like a stretch.) Another key B&R joint is the Rank and File strategy, influenced by the work of Kim Moody, wherein DSA members get union jobs in sectors deemed strategic. It frustrates me to no end that they have thus far branded themselves as DSA's "Marxist" caucus, but as a friend took care to remind me, there have always been Marxist social democrats, or — fine, oops, ouch — Democratic Socialists. Marxism is just a framework for understanding the world; what we're supposed to do once we've eaten of the old man's cursed fruit is open to interpretation.
    Given that they've had a head start, it makes sense that B&R arguably was the most organized and disciplined national caucus at this year's convention. Credit where credit is due: B&R know how to whip votes. But there were new forces at play this year. The spirit of the DSA's old guard has been reincarnated in the Socialist Majority Caucus (SMC), an electorally focused faction that claims to be 100 percent pragmatism, 0 percent ideology. To SMC and B&R's left sits the Libertarian Socialist Caucus (LSC), an umbrella encompassing anarchists, syndicalists, council communists, and their fellow travellers, that was formed at the 2017 convention. There's the Collective Power Network (CPN), which I understand to be a Trotsky-adjacent caucus based primarily in DC and New Orleans. And then there's Build, which considers itself not a caucus, but a project aimed at building DSA's activist base through local organizing. Unlike B&R, Build considers DSA's sprawling, decentralized, and — as my comrade Amy Wilson likes to say — rhizomatic structure and vast array of political tendencies to be an asset rather than a liability. The tension between centralization and decentralization would prove to be a key battle of 2019, sometimes spilling into other areas. For instance, it seemed many decentralizers voted against the Rank and File strategy out of antipathy towards Bread and Roses. (It passed anyway.) In addition to Build, LSC favored de-centralization, while B&R and SMC were very much centralizers. CPN was a bit of a wild card. No faction really dominated the convention; even the NPC delegates were a fairly even split.
    There are also a number of new local caucuses that emphasize, variously, the need for a revolutionary Marxist perspective and communist horizon, as well as a more complex analysis of how race, class, and gender bleed together, including San Francisco's Red Star; Portland's Red Caucus; Oakland's left-communist leaning Communist Caucus; and New York's eclectic and attractive Emerge, of which—full disclosure—I am a member. Some of the comrades in these caucuses were involved or aligned with 2017's Praxis slate or the now-disbanded national caucus Refoundation. Others, like myself, are current or former members of the LSC. Many caucuses share members with Build. Yet more have no other affiliations. Are you exhausted yet?
    The only hard data I have is for New York, which may or may not be representative, but formal caucuses accounted for roughly half of our delegation, not counting those who were sympathetic but unaffiliated. Taken together, B&R and SMC held a plurality. Some of the unaffiliated are alarmed or even hurt by the rate at which people are joining ideological caucuses, thinking it both a symptom and a cause of unhealthy factionalism, and DSA has yet to officially recognize ideological caucuses. But my sense is most members are at the very least grimly resigned to it by now. 
    Build, LSC, and some of the communist caucuses often voted in a bloc. B&R and SMC often worked in coalition as well. The only noticeable rift between them was on the question of "Bernie or Bust." On questions of labor organizing, the left caucuses at least partially aligned with B&R, with the notable exception of CPN's salient critique of the Rank and File Strategy. Some of the divisions were messy or illegible, at least to me. 
    Most of the convention's first day was taken up by maddening procedural maneuvers designed to influence the outcomes of various votes. Who were these people who kept trying to change the rules so as to avoid arguing their actual positions? It seems like a major oversight on the part of Henry Martyn Robert, the guy who wrote the rules, not to place a limit on the amount of procedural bullshit a single person or faction can pull in one day. Call it the "having the courage of your convictions" clause. Once this got started, more and more factions participated until it escalated to eyeball-gouging levels of tedium. Call it the world's most boring arms race.
    Certain votes became proxies for bigger battles, like the aforementioned centralization vs. decentralization debate. For example, "Pass the Hat," a bylaws amendment, was intended to distribute funds from the national organization to smaller, poorer chapters. At a rate of $100 a month per chapter — a tiny fraction of the millions allocated that weekend — it seemed like a no-brainer, but was narrowly voted down in favor of "Resolution on Grassroots Fundraising and Small Chapter Growth," which had a bit of a "help them help themselves" vibe. As "Pass the Hat" proponents, including Build and LSC, pointed out, the average DSA member pays most or all of their dues to national, but couldn't tell you much of what national does. With "Pass the Hat," they would at least be able to say that it gives them money so that they can afford a meeting space. A number of delegates spoke movingly of their struggles to organize under-resourced chapters while working multiple low-wage jobs, and were rightfully upset when the amendment failed. But to a thin majority led by B&R and SMC, promising a no-strings-attached stipend to small or poor chapters represented an unacceptable thumbs-up to DSA's current, decentralized structure.
    And yet, there were many reasons for this small-c communist and capital-F feminist to be hopeful. A resolution to support the decriminalization of sex work and push our endorsees to do so as well (I'm looking at you, Bernie Sanders), passed on the "consent agenda" (Delegates were polled before the convention. If a resolution had strong enough support going in, it made the consent agenda of stuff that passed without having to debate it at the convention first). One group's efforts to remove it and force a second vote failed overwhelmingly. A resolution in support of open borders — if we're making programmatic demands, I'd prefer "no borders," but I voted for it — made the consent agenda as well. A "Bernie or Bust" resolution, committing the national organization not to endorse anyone but Bernie for president, passed over the objections of an SMC-led minority. Resolutions against the US embargo of Cuba, and colonialism and imperialism more generally, passed as well. And, of course, we endorsed the Green New Deal as an ecosocialist priority, punched up by an amendment endorsing the anticapitalist and indigenous liberation group Red Nation's Red Deal that, among other things, stands against the green militarism espoused by Elizabeth Warren and the like. Over and over, the organization affirmed a political horizon far beyond the work currently within our capacity to do. It will be up to the various left caucuses to lead on the question of how to incorporate revolutionary ideas into our day-to-day praxis in these decidedly non-revolutionary times.
    If some of these positions don't seem to match up — Sanders supports neither sex-work decriminalization nor open borders — that's because DSA is full of contradictions. But there is a throughline. While one might expect the objections to "Bernie or Bust" to have come from ultraleftists loathe to support this capitalism-saving social fascist, the question of Bernie's endorsement had been settled well before the convention, when the NPC held an emergency vote legitimized by a straw poll of our membership. The objections instead came from those old and old-at-heart heads who believe DSA should endorse whoever the Democrats ultimately nominate. Remember: It wasn't that long ago that the DSA endorsed John Kerry and Barack Obama. Given that, these all represent an uneven leftward drift, and as electoral politics are a trailing indicator of movements on the ground, it makes sense that they'd be bringing up the rear. Of course, it remains to be seen if we can make the candidates we endorse adopt some of our more radical views. We probably can't, but we will try and then insist that these candidates are worth supporting anyway, despite their lack of "purity." If there's one thing DSA knows how to do, it's try.
    Bourgeois politics are a slippery slope; as soon as you decide that elections are something socialists should directly engage with, you get into dicey territory. The majority of DSA believes that while it's worth getting our hands dirty, we have to draw the line somewhere. This is called the "dirty break" strategy, the thing we are dirtily breaking from being the Democratic Party. This time we drew the line at Bernie Sanders, at least on the national level. There's nothing in there to preclude chapters in swing states from knocking on doors for Sleepy Joe, should they decide that's a good use of resources.
    On that note, an amendment overwhelmingly failed that would have removed language from the Class Struggle Elections resolution that gave a nod to the idea that the Democratic Party is not the final stop on this train. Rather, an independent workers' party is our ultimate goal. I'm skeptical of how ultimate this goal should be, since even an independent working-class party must manage a capitalist economy as long as we have one, inevitably becoming the administrators of austerity (Greece's Syriza comes to mind). Try as it might, the economy's not going to destroy itself. I'd also venture to guess my conception of "the party" is different from that of this resolution's author. But as with "Bernie or Bust," this utter annihilation of an amendment represents a leftward shift for DSA.
    When it came time to debate a resolution that would create a national "antifascism and direct action" working group, things got interesting. (I'm still unclear on precisely why these two things were paired but can guess the direct action here mostly pertains to antifascism.) At first glance, antifascist organizing might seem an odd fit for DSA. Or rather, the image most people have of antifa — black bloc anarchists fighting in the streets — might seem to clash with the image most people have of DSA — well-behaved nerds canvassing for Bernie. But in some parts of the country, like the Pacific Northwest where the authors of this resolution hail from, antifascism is a major priority for organizers in DSA, some but by no means all of whom are with the LSC. I know that in New York City, this priority is shared by most members, who take it as a given that we should show up to counter them whenever a bunch of white supremacists descend on a city or try to intimidate people at an event. When a group of NYC DSA members randomly encountered alt-lite grifter Milo Yiannopoulos at a pub after a meeting of the Citywide Leadership Committee (a body which has been compared to model UN), they calmly but firmly chanted "Nazi scum get out!" until he did just that, generating an amusing Fox News segment.
    Of course, a vocal minority believes DSA has better things to do than pay attention to a bunch of LARPing losers who will give up and go home if we only just ignore them, or so the theory I'm ungenerously paraphrasing goes. An overlapping, if less vocal minority, is no doubt concerned about how being associated with an organization that has anything resembling a militant (or "terrorist," if Trump has his druthers) wing might affect their future job prospects in a realigned Democratic Party. But the majority of concerns raised at convention were over information security. As someone who came of age in a world of strict IRL-only rules for anything that might run afoul of the law, I, myself, had doubts about the resolution's promise of a "secure online platform for antifascist organizing across DSA chapters" and the even more dubious "Zoom calls." I've been taught to always assume our intelligence agencies can read any electronic communications they want, and a lot of antifascist work must be done in secret in order to be as safe and effective as possible. But as white supremacist violence spikes both within and outside of the official state apparatus, and the Trump White House takes steps to criminalize any and all attempts to oppose it, now is not the time to back down. And not all antifascist work is illegal. While fighting in the streets and certain kinds of doxxing certainly are, there are other activities like intelligence, security, and counterprotesting which can absolutely be done in the open. The challenge going forward will be to have a public-facing working group that neither gives up the ghost on clandestine activities nor ties the hands of those who wish to engage in them. As our current cycle of struggle accelerates, this will be essential for the organized left to figure out in pretty much every area, so we might as well start now. And, while this kind of respectability politics can be problematic, it might not hurt antifa to have some well-behaved nerds out there putting a new face on it.
    This is just a small sampling of what went on over the course of the Convention. I haven't touched on the housing justice resolutions that passed, most of them good. I have to credit B&R for voting for "Organizing the Unorganized" as a complement and not a competitor to their flagship Rank and File Strategy. Yet more resolutions never made it to the floor; it was to our detriment that good measures on prison abolition and a bad one on running "socialist DAs" were referred to the NPC to vote on. The inspiring "Mass Strike for Reproductive Justice," too, was sent up the chain of command. But how much does the chain of command matter? As my comrade Jennifer James put it when Vice asked what will happen if it doesn't pass: "fuck it, we'll do it anyway."
    I came away from the convention thinking we'd achieved a lot and nothing at all. We'd made millions of dollars worth of plans ranging across the entire spectrum of leftist theory and tactics. But, as Mike Tyson once said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth, and the left no doubt is in for a pummeling. It's also hard to know how much setting "priorities" means in a mostly volunteer-run, if swiftly professionalizing, organization that has yet to adopt democratic centralism.
    If there's one thing that prompted me to get involved in DSA after a brief stint on the NYC ultraleft, followed by a tactical retreat to my armchair, it was the sense that they're out there doing things in the world, in all of the messiness that doing things in a mass organization entails. While some adhere loosely to tendencies of the past, most of us are developing our politics as we go. I don't claim to know what's going to work in the end, if anything. What I do know is that we have precious little time left to build socialism before barbarism takes hold. To revisit my earlier metaphor, we don't always agree on how to paddle the dinghy, but we remain aware of a certain linked fate. The tsunami swallowing more and more of the horizon terrifies us but it also gives our lives meaning. Members of every caucus and faction can testify to that.
    When the wave crashes, we'll all go down together, only I'm lying, because the lowest already have been claimed. When the wave crashes, there might finally be a revolution. When the wave crashes, at least we can say that we tried.


    6) If They Send Me Back, I Will Die
    A virulent anti-immigration administration has now targeted the weakest and most vulnerable.

    Mariela Sánchez comforts her son, Jonathan, 16, during a news conference on Aug. 26 in Boston. The Sánchez family came to the United States seeking treatment for Jonathan's cystic fibrosis.CreditCreditElise Amendola/Associated Press

    MIAMI — If Jonathan Sánchez is deported to Honduras, he will die.
    The 16-year-old suffers from cystic fibrosis, the same illness that killed his older sister, though the government official who sent Jonathan's parents a letter telling them that they all should leave the United States within a month didn't seem to care.
    That letter was essentially a death sentence for Jonathan.
    "What will happen if you are sent back to Honduras?" I asked him during an interview via satellite, shortly after his parents had received the letter. "Well ... basically, I will die," he told me.
    Jonathan was talking to me from near Boston Children's Hospital, where he receives a treatment that is helping him deal with a lethal cough. Among other things, cystic fibrosis causes a buildup of mucus in the lungs that cannot be removed.

    "This has happened before," he told me. "If I miss treatment one day, I start coughing a lot. I get tired. I find it hard to breathe. I have stomach aches and can't digest food."

    In a quiet announcement that didn't include any admission of wrongdoing, officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, the agency responsible for issuing these immigration permits, said they would re-evaluate pending medical cases like Jonathan's. Gary, his father, confirmed that the family's lawyers had, in fact, been directed to reapply for an extension on their behalf. That should keep Jonathan safe for now. But this could only be a temporary truce.
    America's war against immigrants is now targeting the weakest and most vulnerable. Not content with separating children from their parents at the border, placing minors behind bars or threatening to put an end to birthright citizenship for children born on American soil to undocumented parents, the Trump administration is now going after children like Jonathan, with life-threatening illnesses.
    The government is doing everything it can to limit the number of foreigners coming to the United States, particularly those from Latin America. (Let's not forget President Trump's remarks in June 2015 about Mexican immigrants: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.") The 2020 presidential campaign will be a battle over what kind of country we want to be.
    Jonathan and his parents, Gary and Mariela, entered the United States three years ago on tourist visas. They then applied to stay in the country on medical grounds under the federal government's "deferred action" program so that Jonathan could receive treatment. Roughly 1,000 people benefit from the lifesaving program each year, according to a recent report in The Times.
    However, last month, without any advance warning or formal announcement, USCIS decided to cancel most of them. The withering message, in Jonathan's words, was: "basically, that I must leave the country within 33 days or I will be deported."

    Mariela, Jonathan's mother, couldn't believe it, so she called the agency for an explanation. "They just said that our application had been denied," she told me. "That our extension could not be granted. It was a complete shock for us."
    The Sánchez family has already been through tough times; they are well aware of what lies ahead. Jonathan's older sister died in Honduras from cystic fibrosis.
    "When our daughter was born, the doctors didn't have a clue in terms of a diagnosis," Gary recalled. "Nobody knew what disease it was." Desperate, the family sent a frozen sample of their daughter's blood to the United States for analysis.
    The results were sent back to Honduras: It was cystic fibrosis. Unfortunately, it was too late to act. She had already died. Fearing that Jonathan would suffer the same fate, the Sánchez family traveled to the United States so he could be treated.
    The last time I spoke to Gary, he sounded disheartened. "At this moment, we appear to be short of options," he said. "We simply don't know what to do. We have been waiting months for the outcome of our application, and suddenly we hear that it's been denied."
    "Some anti-immigrant folks like to say: 'We're not against immigration, we're against "illegal" immigration,' " Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman from New York, posted on Twitter recently. "If that were true, then we would make documented immigration easy & safe. But each & every day, this administration is grinding legal, documented immigration to a halt."
    She's right. Jonathan and his parents acted within the law. They legally entered the United States, and they applied for the medical permit and renewal through the proper channels. Despite all this, the Trump administration said no. That is, until it suddenly reversed course on Sept. 2.

    The president isn't used to apologizing or changing his mind. On the contrary, he gloats equally about his good and bad decisions. But this time he seems to have yielded to pressure from Jonathan and other patients like him who told their heartbreaking stories online and in the news media.
    Even when we are at our most vulnerable, we can always find a way forward by telling our stories. That's what Jonathan did, and it saved his life.
    I wish I could say that the moral of this story is that good always triumphs in the end, or that, as some people say, everything happens for a reason.
    But I don't buy any of that. No, I think this whole situation has a far simpler explanation: President Trump leads one of the most virulently anti-immigrant administrations since 1954, when "Operation Wetback" resulted in the deportation of one million Mexicans. In its efforts to reduce immigration levels and reverse the nation's increasingly diverse demographic trends, the Trump administration is targeting even those migrants who are suffering life-threatening illnesses.
    I asked Jonathan what he would say to those who wanted to deport him. "Please don't kill me," was his response.
    Nothing is more compelling and moving than a child fighting for his own life.
    Jorge Ramos is a contributor to The Times Opinion section. He is also an anchor for the Univision network and the author of, most recently, "Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era."

    7) I Killed My Partner. It Saved My Life.
    While she and her children slept, Arlene Adams was attacked by their abusive father. Defending herself, she killed him. She served her time, and is now rebuilding her life.
    Photographs by 
    Text by 
    Arlene Adams at New York City College of Technology, which she attended after her release from jail.CreditCreditClara Vannucci for The New York Times

    In the early hours of Sept. 15, 2010, my children and I were sound asleep when my partner arrived at our home in Brooklyn drunk after a night out, and flew into a violent rage. 

    For years I had endured verbal abuse, beatings, sexual assault.That night as he punched me in the head over and over, something inside me snapped. I stabbed him with a knife I had grabbed for protection in the scuffle. He died on the way to the hospital.
    Ms. Adams in the battered women's section of the Rikers Island jail, with her daughters, Armani and Jameeyah, in 2010.CreditFamily photograph

    In a matter of seconds, our lives changed forever. I was separated from my two daughters, Armani and Jameeyah, who were only 4 and 2 years old. I was 22 and facing a potential life sentence for murder. I thought my life was over. I felt devastated and was suicidal.

    During the 18 months I spent awaiting trial on Rikers Island, Armani and Jameeyah lived with my mother. Social service workers would bring my daughters to visit me in jail. Every visit was sad; we'd cry at the end and my daughters would ask me when I was coming home. I also worried about how the violence they had witnessed would affect them.

    Ms. Adams at Rikers Island in 2011.CreditClara Vannucci for The New York Times

    One day at the urging of a fellow inmate, I began attending a Bible study. Bit by bit I began to feel more hopeful. I worked on improving myself. I earned a high school equivalency diploma and completed training programs in subjects like anger management and food safety handling to improve my chances for rebuilding my life once I was released — if I was released. I was determined that my daughters and I would have a new, better life together.

    Because of the domestic abuse I had endured, I was offered a deal: On March 23, 2012, I pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was released. I had five years of probation supervision ahead of me.

    After my release, I wanted to improve not only my life and the lives of my children, but also help others who had been affected by incarceration and domestic violence. Life after prison, however, was full of obstacles.

    I had to take parenting classes, find an apartment and get a job in order to regain custody of my daughters. I interviewed for every job imaginable, but when potential employers learned of my record, I'd be denied the position. Facing unemployment and homelessness, I felt discouraged and hopeless.

    I began working with a therapist on the tremendous shame and guilt I felt for leaving my daughters at such critical time in their lives. During the therapy I began to understand and recover from the post-traumatic stress I realized that I was suffering.
    Eventually, I was accepted into the human services program at New York City College of Technology, and was able to get a work-study job on campus. Three years after I left Rikers, I was finally able to save enough money to rent an apartment for me and my children. For the first time in six years, I was able to sleep in my own bed.

    In late 2017, I began working for a child-welfare agency, the New York Foundling. Suddenly, I was one who picked up children and took them to visit an incarcerated parent — children who were like mine. I tried to make them understand that they weren't alone and that things would get better.

    After my release from Rikers, it was hard to let anyone into my life. I was focused on being a mother and I didn't see making a future with anybody else. But while I was studying at City Tech, I met Karriem. We shared a smile whenever we'd see each other around campus. Eventually I worked up the courage to approach him. I now have a partner that loves me and wants nothing but to protect us.
    Ms. Adams at home with her children in North Carolina this year.CreditClara Vannucci for The New York Times

    I received my associate degree in human services and psychology in May 2016 and began working toward my bachelor's degree. After our son, Karter, was born, our family moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., in August 2018. I'm still finding my footing here. It continues to be hard to find a job because of my past. 
    It took me losing everything in order to realize my worth and work at becoming a better mother and person. Still, despite all the obstacles and difficulties, we continue to strive, now and forever.
    Arlene Adams is an advocate for children whose parents have been incarcerated. Clara Vannucci is a documentary photographer.


    8) Corpses Strewn, People Missing a Week After Dorian Hit the Bahamas
    By Kirk Semple, September 8, 2019

    A forensics team recovering bodies from a collapsed church in Marsh Harbour, the Bahamas town badly hit by Hurricane Dorian.CreditCreditDaniele Volpe for The New York Times

    MARSH HARBOUR, Bahamas — The corpse was lying on its back, dressed in black shorts and a red shirt, arms outstretched, face toward the sky.
    There is no telling where the man died, or exactly when, or how. But Hurricane Dorian's swirling, pounding floodwaters receded early last week to reveal his body sprawled amid the wreckage of a vast shantytown here in Marsh Harbour, the capital of the Abaco Islands.
    On Sunday, a full week after the hurricane hit, the corpse was still where it had come to rest.
    The extent of the damage here and elsewhere in the Abaco Islands is so great, the work of assessing it so arduous and the Bahamian government so overwhelmed that a full accounting of the missing and dead may not be known for weeks or even months.

    The official death toll attributed to the hurricane remained at 44 but there is no estimate yet of how many people are unaccounted for. The Bahamian security forces are still responding to reports of missing and trapped people, officials said, and teams of forensic investigators are still combing through the storm debris.

    Officials could not be reached for comment on why the bodies have not yet been collected.
    But that body — splayed on the foundation of a house that, like the rest of the neighborhood, had been turned to splinters — was a grim reminder that there are more deaths to be counted and perhaps many more.

    "Listen, it's been a week," said McAdrian Farrington. He lost his 5-year-old son and namesake when the floodwaters rose in Murphy Town, just west of Marsh Harbour, after he put the boy on the roof for safety. "Bodies are decomposing day by day."
    His child's body has not been found.
    Hurricanes are indiscriminate in where they strike but they often take a disproportionate toll on the poor, who may live in less resilient structures and in areas prone to flooding.
    In the Abacos, among the hardest hit neighborhoods were shantytowns mostly populated by poor Haitian immigrants, many of them undocumented.

    And though the government has not provided the identities of the victims, or information about where they died, many Abaconians suspect that some of the highest concentrations of fatalities will be in the sprawling, illegally constructed shantytowns of Marsh Harbour known as the Mudd and Pigeon Peas.
    Thousands of people, most of them Haitian laborers and their families, lived in those two contiguous communities, labyrinths of rudimentary homes mostly built from plywood and two-by-fours.
    While the Bahamas has one of the strictest building codes in the region, most if not all of the structures in the Mudd and Pigeon Peas did not adhere to them.

    The hurricane last week blasted the neighborhoods' homes to pieces and reduced the area to a vast debris field of splintered wood, pulverized cinder block, twisted metal, scattered personal belongings — and bodies.
    There are still corpses pinned under fallen timber, wedged where the surging floodwaters deposited them.
    And former residents know where they are.
    "Do you want to see them?" asked Herbert Luberal, 47, who had lived for years in Pigeon Peas but fled when the hurricane approached. He returned this weekend to check on a friend.

    Mr. Luberal turned and headed into the ruins of the neighborhood. Wearing flip-flops, he carefully picked his way through piles of battered construction material that had once been homes, and over the artifacts of lives eked out on the margins of Bahamian society: a pickax, a snorkel, chicken feed, a Haitian passport, a Winnie the Pooh backpack.
    A putrid odor had settled over the neighborhood: the smell of death.
    Mr. Luberal picked up a roll of toilet paper, ripped off a strand and pressed the wad against his mouth and nose.
    "There," he said, pointing to a body jackknifed beneath a collapsed wall. Five yards away, the swollen foot of another corpse protruded from beneath a stack of wood topped by a stray car tire.

    Two other residents — Johnly Pierre, 47, and Ansernio Pierre, 69 — appeared and said they knew of more. They headed deeper into the maze of half-standing structures and piles of detritus. Power cords snaked through the rubble. The neighborhood had been powered on electricity stolen from the city's grid and shared from home to home.
    The men had built their own homes using whatever materials they could find.
    "If you build by yourself, you can't build strong," the elder Mr. Pierre explained. "You build a little one."
    One of the men pointed into a narrow passageway between two damaged homes: another corpse. Not far away was a woman's body, pinned under a piece of metal and branches torn from a tree, next to a jumble of splintered packing crates.

    In a 45-minute tour that covered only a small section of the Mudd and Pigeon Peas, The New York Times saw six bodies.
    "This area here?" said Mr. Pierre, 47. "Plenty dead."
    The men suspected that there were more bodies that nobody had yet discovered, and the pervasive stench of rot suggested they were right.
    Yet none of the men had seen government teams in the area recovering corpses.
    "They don't even check it," Mr. Luberal said. "They don't care."

    The government crews looking for bodies have been working in Marsh Harbour throughout the week, though it remained unclear how they chose their locations and when they planned to enter the Mudd and Pigeon Peas.
    Requests for interviews with the commanders of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force in Marsh Harbour were declined or went unanswered, and the chief governmental administrator for the region was unreachable on Sunday.
    On Saturday, a forensics team of about a dozen men and women dressed in white hooded jumpsuits descended on a property near Pigeon Peas, following up on a report of bodies trapped in a collapsed church.

    They pulled three bodies from the rubble, wrapped them in plastic body bags and laid them out on the back of a flatbed truck.
    Minutes later, after the truck had driven away, Michelle Guerrier approached the site, flustered. She was the niece of one of the victims and knew the others, and she had hoped to bear witness to the extraction of their bodies.
    "I'm late," said Ms. Guerrier, 37, a resident of Pigeon Peas. "I couldn't see them for the last time." The three victims had sought shelter in the church during the hurricane, she said.
    Dejected, Ms. Guerrier turned the corner, slipped through the tangled branches of a fallen tree and into the Pigeon Peas, picking her way carefully through the wasteland of her destroyed neighborhood.

    Daniele Volpe contributed reporting from Marsh Harbour. Frances Robles reported from Miami.


    9) Coffee With the Man Who Used to Be My Wife
    We were two kids once, a boy and a girl, making plans for the rest of our lives. Now we were two men in middle age, sharing memories.
    By Dan Higgins, September 6, 2019

    CreditCreditLucy Jones

    He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I'm bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I'm more careful about how I dress. I was almost late as I settled on the right shirt.
    The change in his appearance was far more drastic and deliberate than mine. But he was unmistakable. I recognized his wave and his walk. I thought back to a morning years ago, when we were still together. After a long night, I was so hung over I could barely stand. I kept up appearances while bowling and eating breakfast with his parents. But I dreamed of escaping to the back seat of our car, to put blankets over my head and shut out the world.
    And that's what I wanted to do now, in the coffee shop, as he closed the distance between us. Escape, alone, to sink into my grief like a hot bath.
    His hug felt surprisingly familiar. This was the first good thing that happened at our reunion.

    He was dressed as I remembered him — flannel shirt and jeans. Except the familiar wardrobe was draped over a man's body now. The message of the clothes had changed from "tomboy" to "I.T. guy."

    Seeing the man who used to be my wife reminded me of the feelings of loss I felt in the months following his quiet and dignified disclosure to me of his transition. (He read a draft of this essay and consented to its publication, asking only that I not use his name.)
    We had been together from our late teens to early 30s. My understanding of our divorce was that we started too young, and the differences that seemed small at the time widened, as our childhoods ended and our adulthoods began. Only one of us wanted children, but that seemed abstract at age 20, hardly worth mentioning. By 29, though, its importance was real and plain. We were terrible with money, led by my stubborn refusal to balance a checkbook. I struggled with depression and anxiety. Some days I stayed in bed. I fell to pieces at the slightest criticism. I try to be kind to myself these days. But the truth is, I was not easy to live with.
    It would be too easy to say now that I always knew something was going on with my spouse, something deep and important and hidden, but I didn't. We started fighting, and the fights — loud quarrels, really — became bolder and more frequent. Our relationship frayed.
    I remember the day I worked up the nerve to talk about splitting up. Moments before I began my prepared speech, my spouse asked whether we should try separating. Stunned, I admitted I was about to say the same thing. I laughed and cried with relief. We hugged. The dogs came out of hiding. It was our best moment in months.
    It may be called an "amicable divorce," but the death of my marriage felt like any other death, hollow and dark and eternal. I felt the pain physically in my chest and face for weeks.

    Ten years later, I was married again and raising a son. I lived 300 miles away and had a new career. I finally received proper care for the anxiety and depression that pulled on me like an extra helping of gravity for most of my adulthood.
    My ex and I exchanged birthday emails, brief and cheerful. In those telegram-size messages, we never talked about our present lives or our past together. I thought the emails were our way of saying we weren't angry with each other and acknowledging we were both happier now.
    The longest email I received from my ex in years came about two years ago, when he broke the news of his transition. To me, it came out of nowhere. At the end, he told me his new name.
    By the next morning, the same grief I had felt when we divorced pulsed painfully through me again. The woman with whom I had shared some of the most formative, joyful and painful times of my life was gone. And there was nothing to say or do about it. 
    Some transgender people refer to their former names as "deadnames," and are offended when people use them. The term seemed apt; it felt disrespectful even to say my ex's old name, but impossible to use the new one. As much as I reminded myself that my ex was plainly still alive — I could send an email or call him on the phone if I really wanted to — I couldn't shake the feeling of bereavement.
    Layered on top of this was guilt. I felt disloyal to my wife, worrying so much about someone I hadn't spoken to in 10 years (aside from the birthday "telegrams"). I felt as if I had no right to grieve. My ex-spouse had acted courageously, I imagine, to relieve a tremendous burden. And it had absolutely nothing to do with me, or our former marriage. I was ashamed for feeling anything short of happiness for him.
    Then, my cousin David died. He was only in his 50s, but he had suffered so much. He was diabetic, which made all his other health problems more complicated and severe: many stubborn infections, a stroke, and finally, brain cancer.

    He was ill for so many years that, even though we mourned him, his death carried an undercurrent of relief.
    As a pallbearer, I was one of the last people to see him before the coffin closed. I touched his cool hand and said, "Goodbye, David."
    My big Irish-Catholic family's funeral tradition involves a two- or three-day wake followed by a half-day of services, starting at the funeral home and ending at the cemetery. It's physically and spiritually exhausting. Finally, we gather for brunch where people begin to relax into the chance to be together for a while. The ritual, though hard to endure, is ultimately good for us.
    Not long after the funeral, I made plans to go to the small town where my ex still lived, to visit a friend. It had been a year since I learned about his transformation, and I wanted to meet him. We made plans over Facebook. He was enthusiastic and open. Although I had seen pictures online, I wanted to see him in person.
    And there we sat over coffee. We were two kids once, a boy and a girl, making plans for the rest of our lives. Our paths diverged and now we came back together, two men in middle age, having a look at each other and talking about some good memories we still shared.
    I felt lighter walking back to my car. I thought I had just attended a private wake for my ex-wife, to look at the body, to say goodbye. But I hadn't. Meeting him in person was a confirmation of life. Sharing a cup of coffee is what finally shook me from my grief.
    Dan Higgins is a writer and journalism professor.

    10) British Airways Cancels Almost All Flights Over Pilot Strike
    The travel plans of about 195,000 passengers were upended after the airline canceled 1,700 flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday as a pay dispute drags on.
    By Annie Tsang, September 9, 2019

    Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

    British Airways canceled most flights for Monday and Tuesday after its pilots went on strike over their demand for higher pay, upending the travel plans of about 195,000 passengers. 
    The pilots' union said its members would not return to work for 48 hours after starting the job action at midnight Monday, prompting the latest of several cancellations that British Airways has had to manage in recent months amid a simmering labor standoff. 
    Terminal 5 at Heathrow in London, a British Airways hub, was deserted on Monday, according to British media reports, a sign that the airline had prepared for the possibility of a walkout. British Airlines said it had contacted customers two weeks ago to offer a choice of alternative flights on British Airways planes or with different airlines, or full refunds. 
    "After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this," British Airways said in an emailed statement on Monday.

    The airline said it had canceled 1,700 flights that had been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

    "Unfortunately, with no detail from B.A.L.P.A. on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 percent of our flights," the airline added, referring to the British Airline Pilots' Association. 
    British Airways had offered pilots salary increases totaling 11.5 percent over three years, a proposal that pilots who belong to two other unions had accepted. The average captain earns about 167,000 pounds, or about $205,000, a year and the proposed raise would take them to more than £200,000 a year, according to the airline. 
    Most of the carrier's 3,900 pilots belong to the British Airline Pilots Association, which say that its members have had to take pay cuts and that British Airways has declined to entertain counteroffers. 
    The pay increase demanded by the British Airways pilots would cost the airline £5 million, or about $6 million, a relatively small amount given the £4 million-a-day cost of a strike and the company's roughly £2 billion a year in profits, the pilots argue.

    "They've previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times," Brian Strutton, the union's general secretary, said in a statement. 
    "The company's leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won't listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff," he added. 
    The two sides have been negotiating since November, and the dispute has already led to frustration among customers. 
    In August, British Airways emailed passengers to tell them that flights would be canceled because of a planned pilot strike. The airline then contacted passengers hours later to say it had made a mistake with regard to when the strike would affect flights. 
    The admission came too late for passengers who had already made alternative plans. Many expressed outrage over what they felt was the inadequate support they had gotten from customer service representatives for the airline. 
    The pilots' union has voted to strike again on Sep. 27 if the dispute has not been resolved by then.


    11) Bassam al-Sayeh is the Third Palestinian Prisoner who Dies in Israeli Prisons in 2019

    On 8 September 2019, Palestinian prisoner and journalist Bassam al-Sayeh died in prison. 

    Bassam was arrested on 8 October 2015 from Salem military court when he was attending his wife's court session. Bassam was suffering from bones and blood cancer, a weakness in his heart muscles and medical complications in his liver. Despite of his medical situation the Israeli occupation forces transferred him to Petah Tikva interrogation center, at that time Bassam informed Addameer's lawyer during a visit that he was interrogated daily for long hours, he also informed the lawyer that he fainted and lost his consensus several times during the interrogation sessions and in the cell he was kept in. He was left for around 20 days without any medical care or treatment which led to a serious deterioration in his health.

    Due to torture, medical negligence, and stalling in giving him the medical care he needed, his health deteriorated and led to 80% failure in his heart and inability to move or speak. Still, he was detained waiting a trail until his death was announced.

    With al-Sayeh's death, the number of prisoners who died become (221) prisoners since 1967. Three out of those prisoner died in 2019. Faris Baroud (51 years old) who spent 28 year in prison including 17 in isolation and he died because of medical negligence. Nassar Taqatqa who died due to torture and the difficult circumstances he suffered from during interrogations.

    With Bassam's death, the number of withheld bodies of Palestinian prisoners becomes five out of 52 Palestinian bodies since 2015. Those five prisoners are Aziz Ewisat, Saleh al-Barghouthi, Faris Baroud, Nassar Taqatqa and Bassam al-Sayeh.

    The number of sick prisoners is around 750 and they suffer from different illnesses. Addameer's documentations shows that there are around 26 female prisoner who suffers sickness and around 160 make prisoner who is in need of constant medical care. Several of those prisoners had their medical files closed with the argument that there are no treatments from their medical situations.

    Prisoner Sami Abu Diak is one of those many medical cases in Israeli prisons who suffer medical negligence. This prisoner suffered from the delay in giving a diagnosis to his case, even though he was not sick but injured when he got arrested. At the beginning when Sami started suffering severe pain in his stomach he was only given pain killers. Even after he was transferred to a hospital he suffered from a medical flaw during the surgery which led him to go into a long comma.

    Medical negligence have become a systematic Israeli policy used against Palestinian prisoners which should force international bodies including the ICRC and WHO to pressure towards holding the Israeli authorities accountable to their crimes.

    Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
    Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org


    12) Stopping the hidden problem of suicide behind bars
    By Stacy Rojas | September 6, 2019

    There has been an onslaught of media attention to the suicide of Jeffery Epstein. Millions of people are wondering what sort of neglect or corruption made it possible for him to take his own life when guards were supposed to be checking his cell every 30 minutes.

    But suicide is pervasive in jails and prisons across the United States. The difference is that little attention is paid when these deaths are happening to people of color and the poor, to women and LGBT people, to people who have been targeted and criminalized by the state for much of their lives. When it comes to suicides inside prison, abuse and neglect is often to blame for what are preventable deaths. Unlike the death of a billionaire playboy, these deaths usually remain invisible to the public.

    As recently as two weeks ago, two incarcerated women of color attempted suicide at the Central California Women's Facility. Concern over mass suicides and attempts at CCWF and the California Institution for Women  led to a suicide audit by the California state auditor in 2017. The audit highlights the state's failure to prevent suicides in California women's prisons in particular. Recently, Erika Rocha's family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the corrections department for failing to prevent her death at the California Institution for Women.

    During my time in the Central California Women's Facility, where I spent 15 years, I personally witnessed four people die from suicides that could have been prevented if the prison had listened when my friends and I asked for help. We often ended up having to rescue our friends from hanging themselves, because it took the officers so long to step in. And sometimes, when our friends died, the prison officers or administrators didn't even notify us. We'd have to look at the Daily Movement Schedule the next day and scan the page to see if the word "deceased" was marked next to our friends' names and identification number.

    In prison, I never saw people who were suicidal get help they needed or begged for. My best friend died in the supposed care of the California Department of Corrections. After I called medical emergency to try and save them, I was beaten by the guards. I was punished for trying to perform CPR on my best friend.

    After my best friend took her life, I too was suicidal. I felt like I had a death wish. I was placed on suicide watch, where someone sat outside my cell for 24 hours of the day watching me. They don't help you. They watch you. You don't get a blanket, and you have to wear paper clothes. Sometimes they won't even let you see a therapist. I had officers tell me, "Go kill yourself," as if they wanted me to. They're not just neglectful; they're cruel.
    In prison, people with serious histories of trauma and crisis are being watched by people who have no regard for the lives of those they are charged with protecting — people who see us not as human beings, but as nuisances in cages. It is the opposite of care. Prison compounds histories of trauma and abuse, especially for those struggling with suicidality, and treatment and protection are critically important.

    We need people from outside the prison coming in to offer us support. There should be training for those inside, to teach us how to care for one another, so that we can practice suicide prevention and do peer counseling with each other. At the end of the day, we know that we're the only ones watching out for each other. We have to take it into our own hands to keep each other from dying, because we know from experience that guards and the prison administration won't do it.

    Stacy Rojas is an organizer with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the Young Women's Freedom Center. Rojas was incarcerated for 15 years at the Central California Women's Facility.

    Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
    Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org


    13) Activist with Baltimore roots languishes in Georgia jail
    Patrick O'Neill - September 6, 2019

    Many Baltimore readers older than 60 will likely be familiar with the names Elizabeth McAlister and Philip Berrigan, who founded Jonah House, the Baltimore-based resistance community that's long served as a training ground for scores of war resisters. The former priest and nun joined forces in the 1960s to form one of most potent and creative anti-war duos this nation has ever seen.

    Many who followed their high-profile law breaking — which for Berrigan included setting fire to draft records in Catonsville with eight others in 1968 — viewed them as extremists. Others, myself included, saw the McAlister-Berrigan team as the prophetic couple that changed the way people of faith resisted war, violence and corporate sin.

    Berrigan is credited with taking nonviolent direct action to another level as the mastermind behind the Vietnam era draft board raids and again, in 1980, with the inception of the Plowshares movement against nuclear weapons and war in general (today, there have been more than 100 Plowshares actions around the world).

    At his death in 2002, Berrigan had spent 11 years of his life behind bars for his antiwar efforts. He married Liz McAlister while imprisoned in 1972, and both were excommunicated from the Catholic Church when he was released and the marriage legalized the next year. After Phil died, Ms. McAlister kept up her work for peace at Jonah House, and she has remained a mentor to many.

    Today, Ms. McAlister, 79, sits in the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick, Ga., a miserable Southern jail. She has been there since April 4, 2018, when I joined her and five other Catholics in a Plowshares action at Naval Station Kings Bay. The Atlantic coast home port of Trident submarines, the Trident II-D-5 missiles collectively include enough nuclear fire power to kill 14 billion people and make Earth uninhabitable.
    Calling ourselves the , the seven of us entered the base on the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King's assassination. We carried blood, hammers and crime scene tape with us to expose the evil of Trident. The federal government has charged us with three felonies and a misdemeanor.
    Kings Bay Plowshares

    After seven weeks in jail, I joined four of my co-defendants in accepting bond conditions: $50,000 and house arrest with a requirement that we wear electronic ankle monitors. Ms. McAlister, and two others — Fr. Stephen Kelly of the Society of Jesus; and New Haven, Conn., Catholic Worker Mark Colville — refused those conditions and have remained in jail.
    The Glynn County jail, where I was also held, is, like most jails — a hell hole used primarily to hold poor people, the mentally ill and those with addictions. The diet is poor, and on the weekends, the jail serves just two meals. Supper is a bag "lunch" with a sandwich as the main course. "Outdoor" exercise is limited to a once or twice a week trip to a crypt-like cement enclosure with a roof covered with a steel fence. Mail includes only post office-issued white post cards. Jail officials frequently withhold books and magazines or return them to senders.

    Jail visits don't exist. A loved one can sit at a jail computer monitor and speak for 15 minutes per week to an inmate, who also sits at a computer monitor in his or her cellblock. Catholic priests are not permitted to celebrate mass for inmates, while evangelical ministers are permitted to conduct Sunday services inside the cellblocks.

    In early August, we  for oral argument. Because our judge does not allow us to meet together to prepare a common defense, it was the first time the seven of us met since last November.
    appeared in federal court
    Despite her legacy as a Catholic leader of the peace movement for almost 60 years, Ms. McAlister has now spent more than 500 days and nights in jail in relative obscurity; her sacrifice for nuclear disarmament unknown to most Americans.

    Sadly, our hopes of Ms. McAlister being freed without having to post bond or wear an ankle monitor were dashed when U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood denied her request for release on her own recognizance. It was a decision of enormous judicial cruelty. Most lawyers working on the case believe Ms. McAlister has already served more time in jail pretrial than she would get if she is convicted.

    Our trial date is Oct. 21, so Ms. McAlister could spend several more months in jail depending on the outcome of our case.

    Ms. McAlister's suffering is selfless, and prophetic. In Matthew's gospel, Jesus said, "blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

    Patrick O'Neill (pmtoneill@aol.com) is among the seven "Kings Bay Plowshares" activists facing federal charges for breaking into a nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga., last year. 
    Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
    Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org



















































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