Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 4, 2022



Global Day of Action

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Stop the War in Ukraine.

Russian Troops Out! No to NATO Expansion!

Meet at the Ferry Building, 1:00 P.M. 
Embarcadero, San Francisco


An international anti-war online meeting on February 26 attended by thousands and organized by CODEPINK, Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the No to NATO Network agreed to an international day of anti-war action on Sunday, March 6. We call on everyone who opposes this war to take to the streets on March 6 in a massive display of global opposition to the war and the warmongers.


The war in Ukraine is a disaster for the people of Ukraine and a terrible threat to us all. We oppose the Russian invasion and call for the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops. We recognize that the expansion of NATO and the aggressive approach of Western states have helped cause the crisis and we demand an end to NATO expansion. We also oppose sanctions that will harm ordinary Russians and call on all countries to welcome refugees fleeing the war.


There have already been many anti-war demonstrations in Russia and many other countries. What we need now is a massive, unified response by peace-loving people around the world to say: “No to War in Ukraine; Yes to Negotiations and Peace.”


Yesterday a massive international online meeting called a global day of protest on March 6th demanding an end to the war in Ukraine, Russian troops out and no to NATO expansion.


We are urging all our Stop the War groups and supporters to call protests on that day in town and city centers. In London there will be a protest in the city center assembling at 12pm. Full details to follow shortly.


There couldn't be a more important time to take to the streets. Please do all you can to spread the word and maximize the number of people protesting next Sunday. 


You can start by sharing the call and the graphic far and wide:





Ringo Starr




No to NATO and NATO expansion!

(a central cause of the current crisis)

No war with Russia! No sanctions!

Fund human needs, education, healthcare, housing and the environment, not war!

Stop the wars against working people, the poor and oppressed in the US. and abroad!

All Out for the March 1-7 National/International Days of Action

In the SF/Oakland Bay Area join us!

• Tuesday/Wednesday, March 1-2, Teach-ins at UC Santa Cruz , UC Berkeley…

• Thursday, March 3, 7-10 am, Bannering at I-80 Pedestrian Overpass, Berkeley (Parking at Seabreeze Market or Aquatic Park)

• Friday, March 4, 4-6 pm Rally and mass flyering, Downtown Berkeley BART, Shattuck and Center

• Saturday, March 5: Solidarity with Oakland teachers fighting school closures, March & Rally 10 am - 2pm, Gather at Roots, 1390 66th Ave., Oakland, and,

• Saturday, March 5, Protest US-Enabled Blockage of Yemen, 1-3 pm, Lake Merritt Amphitheater, Oakland, Contact eleanorlevinee@gmail.com

• Sunday, March 6, Protest Congressional Complicity in the War. For details, time and place contact: djasik87.9@gmail.com

• Sunday, March 6, 4:30 pm Antiwar Webinar

On Wed., February 23, 903 antiwar activists across the country met via a united webinar to hear remarks from leaders of 13 of the nation’s antiwar organizations and then to participate in a broad ranging discussion about how to respond to the latest US war moves in Ukraine. A united international week of protest, March 1-7, was the unanimous result. Opening remarks were heard from: Joe Lombardo, Coordinator, UNAC; Ajamu Baraka. Black Alliance for Peace; Leela Anand, ANSWER coalition; Medea Benjamin, CodePink; Sara Flounders, International Action Center; Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance; Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space; Joe Jamison, US Peace Council; Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report; Jeff Mackler, United National Antiwar Coalition West; Nancy Price, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (US); Susan Schnall, Veterans For Peace; and David Swanson, World Beyond War. 

[Background: The US aggressively expanded NATO membership to the borders of Russia and armed 30 NATO countries with military equipment while organizing for years war maneuvers on borders and coastlines of Russia. The US has imposed over 100 sanctions on Russia before this month. The US backed the 2014 fascist-led coup that overthrow the elected government of Ukraine. This rump coup government banned the Russian language and established fascist militias that marched on Eastern Ukraine, attacking Russian-speaking regions. Violating some 100 cease fire agreements, they have armed the Ukrainian military to relentlessly shell the two small self-proclaimed republics.]

In solidarity and unity,

Jeff Mackler, United National Antiwar Coalition

Judy Greenspan, International Action Center

Cynthia Papermaster, CodePink

Rick Sterling, Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center

Jeremy Miller, Black Alliance for Peace

David Paul, Task Force on the Americas

David Welsh, delegate, SF and Alameda Labor Councils

Tom Lacey, Peace and Freedom Party

Alan Benjamin, Socialist Organizer

Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN USA 

Eugene Ruyle, Veterans for Peace, Easy Bay Chapter

Paul Cox, Veterans for Peace, San Francisco Chapter 

Nancy Price, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, US

Pierre LaBoissiere, Haiti Action Committee

Phoebe Anne Sorgen, Social Justice Committee, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists

United National Antiwar Coalition, International Action Center, ANSWER Coalition, Workers World Party, Socialist Action, Peace and Freedom Party, CodePink, Socialist Organizer

SPONSOR: No to US/NATO War in Ukraine Emergency Coalition

To co-sponsor contact: Jeff Mackler jmackler@lmi.net; JudyGreenspan judygreenspan1952@gmail.com; Cynthia Papermaster cynthia_papermaster@yahoo.com






United in Action to STOP KILLER DRONES:   



Spring Action, 2022


March 26 - April 2—Saturday to Saturday


 Co-sponsored by CODEPINK and Veterans For Peace





Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper

A film by Kenneth A. Carlson 

Teaser is now streaming at:



Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022



“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com


Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”


That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.


Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.


For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.


The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.



To: U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

End Legal Slavery in U.S. Prisons

Sign Petition at:








Español  Português

On the anniversary of the 26th of July Movement’s founding, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research launches the online exhibition, Let Cuba Live. 80 artists from 19 countries – including notable cartoonists and designers from Cuba – submitted over 100 works in defense of the Cuban Revolution. Together, the exhibition is a visual call for the end to the decades-long US-imposed blockade, whose effects have only deepened during the pandemic. The intentional blocking of remittances and Cuba’s use of global financial institutions have prevented essential food and medicine from entering the country. Together, the images in this exhibition demand: #UnblockCuba #LetCubaLive

Please contact art@thetricontinental.org if you are interested in organising a local exhibition of the exhibition.



Kevin Rashid Johnson is Back in Virginia!


Rashid just called with the news that he has been moved back to Virginia. His property is already there, and he will get to claim the most important items tomorrow. He is at a "medium security" level and is in general population. Basically, good news.


He asked me to convey his appreciation to everyone who wrote or called in his support during the time he was in Ohio.


His new address is:


Kevin Rashid Johnson #1007485

Nottoway Correctional Center

2892 Schutt Road

Burkeville, VA 23922




Freedom for Major Tillery! End his Life Imprisonment!

Major Tillery and his family have set up a new Change.org petition to submit to the Board of Pardons in support his petition to commutation of his sentence to parole while maintaining his legal fight for exoneration and overturning of his conviction.
Major's commutation petition focuses on both his factual innocence as well as his decades of advocacy for other prisoners while serving almost 40 years as a lifer, over 20 of those years in solitary.

Please circulate and support the petition:






Wrongful Conviction podcast of Kevin Cooper's case, Jason Flom with Kevin and Norm Hile


Please listen and share!



Kevin Cooper: Important CBS news new report today, and article January 31, 2022


Great news for Kevin Cooper, an innocent man 

on San Quentin's death row:




Contact: Governor's Press Office


Friday, May 28, 2021


(916) 445-4571


Governor Newsom Announces Clemency Actions, Signs Executive Order for Independent Investigation of Kevin Cooper Case

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has granted 14 pardons, 13 commutations and 8 medical reprieves. In addition, the Governor signed an executive order to launch an independent investigation of death row inmate Kevin Cooper’s case as part of the evaluation of Cooper’s application for clemency.

The investigation will review trial and appellate records in the case, the facts underlying the conviction and all available evidence, including the results of the recently conducted DNA tests previously ordered by the Governor to examine additional evidence in the case using the latest, most scientifically reliable forensic testing.

The text of the Governor’s executive order can be found here:


The California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant executive clemency in the form of a pardon, commutation or reprieve. These clemency grants recognize the applicants’ subsequent efforts in self-development or the existence of a medical exigency. They do not forgive or minimize the harm caused.

The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation, increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry, correct unjust results in the legal system and address the health needs of incarcerated people with high medical risks.

A pardon may remove counterproductive barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation. A pardon does not expunge or erase a conviction.


A commutation modifies a sentence, making an incarcerated person eligible for an earlier release or allowing them to go before the Board of Parole Hearings for a hearing at which Parole Commissioners determine whether the individual is suitable for release.

A reprieve allows individuals classified by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as high medical risk to serve their sentences in appropriate alternative placements in the community consistent with public health and public safety.

The Governor weighs numerous factors in his review of clemency applications, including an applicant’s self-development and conduct since the offense, whether the grant is consistent with public safety and in the interest of justice, and the impact of a grant on the community, including crime victims and survivors.

While in office, Governor Newsom has granted a total of 86 pardons, 92 commutations and 28 reprieves.

The Governor’s Office encourages victims, survivors, and witnesses to register with CDCR’s Office of Victims and Survivors Rights and Services to receive information about an incarcerated person’s status. For general Information about victim services, to learn about victim-offender dialogues, or to register or update a registration confidentially, please visit:

 www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/ or call 1-877-256-6877 (toll free).

Copies of the gubernatorial clemency certificates announced today can be found here:


Additional information on executive clemency can be found here:





New Legal Filing in Mumia’s Case

By Johanna Fernández

The following statement was issued January 4, 2022, regarding new legal filings by attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”

With continued pressure from below, 2022 will be the year that forces the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philly Police Department to answer questions about why they framed imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have filed a Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition focused entirely on the six boxes of case files that were found in a storage room of the DA’s office in late December 2018, after the case being heard before Judge Leon Tucker in the Court of Common Pleas concluded. (tinyurl.com/zkyva464)

The new evidence contained in the boxes is damning, and we need to expose it. It reveals a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority by the prosecution, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses, as well as racist exclusion in jury selection—a violation of the landmark Supreme Court decision Batson v. Kentucky. The remedy for each or any of the claims in the petition is a new trial. The court may order a hearing on factual issues raised in the claims. If so, we won’t know for at least a month. 

The new evidence includes a handwritten letter penned by Robert Chobert, the prosecution’s star witness. In it, Chobert demands to be paid money promised him by then-Prosecutor Joseph McGill. Other evidence includes notes written by McGill, prominently tracking the race of potential jurors for the purposes of excluding Black people from the jury, and letters and memoranda which reveal that the DA’s office sought to monitor, direct, and intervene in the outstanding prostitution charges against its other key witness Cynthia White.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed and convicted 40 years ago in 1982, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history—the era of cop-turned-mayor Frank Rizzo. It was a moment when the city’s police department, which worked intimately with the DA’s office, routinely engaged in homicidal violence against Black and Latinx detainees, corruption, bribery and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions. 

In 1979, under pressure from civil rights activists, the Department of Justice filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Philadelphia police department and detailed a culture of racist violence, widespread corruption and intimidation that targeted outspoken people like Mumia. Despite concurrent investigations by the FBI and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and dozens of police convictions, the power and influence of the country’s largest police association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) prevailed. 

Now, more than 40 years later, we’re still living with the failure to uproot these abuses. Philadelphia continues to fear the powerful FOP, even though it endorses cruelty, racism, and multiple injustices. A culture of fear permeates the “city of brotherly love.”

The contents of these boxes shine light on decades of white supremacy and rampant lawlessness in U.S. courts and prisons. They also hold enormous promise for Mumia’s freedom and challenge us to choose Love, Not PHEAR. (lovenotphear.com/) Stay tuned.

Workers World, January 4, 2022


Pa. Supreme Court denies widow’s appeal to remove Philly DA from Abu-Jamal case


Abu Jamal was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder of Faulkner in 1982. Over the past four decades, five of his appeals have been quashed.


In 1989, the state’s highest court affirmed Abu-Jamal’s death penalty conviction, and in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison.


Abu-Jamal, 66, remains in prison. He can appeal to the state Supreme Court, or he can file a new appeal.


KYW Newsradio reached out to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for comment. They shared this statement in full:


“Today, the Superior Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider issues raised by Mr. Abu-Jamal in prior appeals. Two years ago, the Court of Common Pleas ordered reconsideration of these appeals finding evidence of an appearance of judicial bias when the appeals were first decided. We are disappointed in the Superior Court’s decision and are considering our next steps.


“While this case was pending in the Superior Court, the Commonwealth revealed, for the first time, previously undisclosed evidence related to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case. That evidence includes a letter indicating that the Commonwealth promised its principal witness against Mr. Abu-Jamal money in connection with his testimony. In today’s decision, the Superior Court made clear that it was not adjudicating the issues raised by this new evidence. This new evidence is critical to any fair determination of the issues raised in this case, and we look forward to presenting it in court.”



Demand Mumia's Freedom:

Governor Tom Wolf -1(717) 787-2500  Fax 1 (717) 772-8284
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
HarrisburgPA  17120    
After calling the governor, send an online communication about our concerns.   https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#PhoneNumber
Let us know what there response was, Thank you.  Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com


Questions and comments may be sent to: info@freedomarchives.org



This beautiful and powerful exhibit is ongoing 

and can be viewed online at:



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


Bury My Heart with Leonard Peltier

How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?

By Michael Moore

—VIA Email: michaelmoore@substack.com

LEONARD PELTIER, Native American hero. An innocent man, he’s spent 44 years as a political prisoner. The prosecutor who put him behind bars now says Peltier is innocent. President Biden, go to Mass today, and then stop this torture. (Sipa/Shutterstock)

American Indian Movement leader, Leonard Peltier, at 77 years of age, came down with Covid-19 this weekend. Upon hearing this, I broke down and cried. An innocent man, locked up behind bars for 44 years, Peltier is now America’s longest-held political prisoner. He suffers in prison tonight even though James Reynolds, one of the key federal prosecutors who sent Peltier off to life in prison in 1977, has written to President Biden and confessed to his role in the lies, deceit, racism and fake evidence that together resulted in locking up our country’s most well-known Native American civil rights leader. Just as South Africa imprisoned for more than 27 years its leading voice for freedom, Nelson Mandela, so too have we done the same to a leading voice and freedom fighter for the indigenous people of America. That’s not just me saying this. That’s Amnesty International saying it. They placed him on their political prisoner list years ago and continue to demand his release.


And it’s not just Amnesty leading the way. It’s the Pope who has demanded Leonard Peltier’s release. It’s the Dalai Lama, Jesse Jackson, and the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Before their deaths, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with the United States to free Leonard Peltier. A worldwide movement of millions have seen their demands fall on deaf ears. 


And now the calls for Peltier to be granted clemency in DC have grown on Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the head of the Senate committee who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also demanded Peltier be given his freedom. Numerous House Democrats have also written to Biden. 


The time has come for our President to act; the same President who appointed the first-ever Native American cabinet member last year and who halted the building of the Keystone pipeline across Native lands. Surely Mr. Biden is capable of an urgent act of compassion for Leonard Peltier — especially considering that the prosecutor who put him away in 1977 now says Peltier is innocent, and that his US Attorney’s office corrupted the evidence to make sure Peltier didn’t get a fair trial. Why is this victim of our judicial system still in prison? And now he is sick with Covid.


For months Peltier has begged to get a Covid booster shot. Prison officials refused. The fact that he now has COVID-19 is a form of torture. A shame hangs over all of us. Should he now die, are we all not complicit in taking his life? 


President Biden, let Leonard Peltier go. This is a gross injustice. You can end it. Reach deep into your Catholic faith, read what the Pope has begged you to do, and then do the right thing. 


For those of you reading this, will you join me right now in appealing to President Biden to free Leonard Peltier? His health is in deep decline, he is the voice of his people — a people we owe so much to for massacring and imprisoning them for hundreds of years. 


The way we do mass incarceration in the US is abominable. And Leonard Peltier is not the only political prisoner we have locked up. We have millions of Black and brown and poor people tonight in prison or on parole and probation — in large part because they are Black and brown and poor. THAT is a political act on our part. Corporate criminals and Trump run free. The damage they have done to so many Americans and people around the world must be dealt with. 


This larger issue is one we MUST take on. For today, please join me in contacting the following to show them how many millions of us demand that Leonard Peltier has suffered enough and should be free:


President Joe Biden


Phone: 202-456-1111

E-mail: At this link



Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland


Phone: 202-208-3100

E-mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Attorney General Merrick Garland


Phone: 202-514-2000

E-mail: At this link



I’ll end with the final verse from the epic poem “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet: 


I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass,

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.



PS. Also — watch the brilliant 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford about the framing of Leonard Peltier— “Incident at Oglala”





Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) Supporters Seek Clemency for Native American Activist Convicted in Killings

Leonard Peltier, sentenced to two life terms 45 years ago in the shooting of two F.B.I. agents, is now 77 and in poor health.

By Mark Walker, Feb. 26, 2022

Supporters carried a large painting of Leonard Peltier, who many Native American activists consider a political prisoner, during a march for the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Mass., in 2001.
Supporters carried a large painting of Leonard Peltier, who many Native American activists consider a political prisoner, during a march for the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Mass., in 2001. Credit...Steven Senne/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Since 1977, Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist, has been serving two life sentences in federal prison for his role in the killings of two F.B.I. agents during a shootout in 1975 on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota — a punishment that his supporters have long held was the product of an unfair prosecution and a flawed trial.


Now his backers, including members of Congress, are making what they consider a last-ditch effort to win clemency for Mr. Peltier, who is 77 and suffering from diabetes, hypertension, partial blindness from a stroke, and an aortic aneurysm. Mr. Peltier, who many Native American activists consider a political prisoner, also recently tested positive for the coronavirus.


Efforts to overturn his conviction over the years have failed, as have campaigns for a pardon or commutation of his sentence. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both left office without acting on pleas to grant him clemency, Mr. Clinton after hundreds of former and current F.B.I. agents angrily marched to the White House to protest his considering such a move and the bureau’s director at the time made his opposition clear.


Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona, has sent letters to the White House on Mr. Peltier’s behalf, including one last month after he tested positive for Covid-19. That letter was signed by eight other members of Congress. Mr. Peltier’s lawyer is also pursuing the issue through the regular clemency process at the Justice Department.


It is not clear whether President Biden would consider the clemency request. The White House did not respond to a request for comment. The F.B.I. declined to comment on whether it would now oppose commuting Mr. Peltier’s sentences.


Mr. Peltier’s fight for freedom has long drawn support from global activists and celebrities, including Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and the actors Robert Redford and Danny Glover.


Alli McCracken Jarrar, a human rights campaigner with Amnesty International, said the organization had campaigned for Mr. Peltier’s release for years, hoping to undo what the organization considered an abuse of the criminal justice system.


“For the last 44 years, prominent individuals and prominent organizations have called on president after president to grant him clemency,” she said. “It is long past due for him to be given clemency, so he can live the remaining years of his life with his community.”


Mr. Peltier grew up on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota; members of the tribe say they will take care of him if he is released.


The deadly confrontation that put Mr. Peltier in prison took place at a ranch on the Pine Ridge reservation, about 10 miles from Wounded Knee, where U.S. soldiers had massacred hundreds of unarmed Lakota nearly a century earlier.


Native American activists returned to occupy the village during a drawn-out protest in 1973, in hopes of forcing the federal government to investigate what they said was corruption in the leadership of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, treaty violations and problems with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


Two F.B.I. agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, died in the shootout. One of the activists was also killed, but his death was never investigated.


Mr. Peltier belonged to the American Indian Movement, which sought to draw attention to federal violations of Native American treaty rights; he was found guilty of the killings in 1977 and has since been in federal prison, currently in Florida.


He has admitted to participating in the shootout in self-defense, but says he did not kill the agents. He and his supporters also say that F.B.I. agents coerced witnesses, and that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence while extraditing Mr. Peltier from Canada and trying him in North Dakota.


Mr. Peltier’s arrest came at a time of intense unrest on the Pine Ridge Reservation.


On Feb. 27, 1973, Oglala Lakota activists and members of the American Indian Movement seized control of Wounded Knee to draw attention to the federal government’s violations of the treaty rights and a tribal president accused of corruption and aligning with the federal government.


The resulting 71-day armed conflict between Native Americans and federal law enforcement at Wounded Knee left two activists dead, and a federal agent shot and paralyzed.


Even after the siege, conflict on the Pine Ridge Reservation continued. Murders were frequent, and the federal and tribal police forces on the reservation behaved like a paramilitary force. Then came the shootout on the Pine Ridge reservation in 1975, where the two F.B.I. agents and a Native American activist were killed, resulting eventually in the charges against Mr. Peltier and two others implicated in the deaths of the agents.


Mr. Peltier’s co-defendants were found not guilty of murdering the agents after they argued self-defense. They were tried in Iowa, while Mr. Peltier was tried in North Dakota, where the judge blocked some evidence that was allowed in the Iowa case.


Years of appeals have poked holes in the government’s case against him, Mr. Peltier’s supporters say.


His conviction rests solely on the fact that he was present at the shootout with a weapon that day — not that he fired a fatal shot or had any hand in killing anyone, said James Reynolds, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa whose predecessor, Evan Hultman, handled the original prosecution of Mr. Peltier.


Mr. Reynolds is among those who have lobbied for Mr. Peltier’s release, writing letters to both the Obama and Trump administrations. He said that, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit found Mr. Peltier had a fair trial, he no longer believed that to be the case.


“How much stuff does he need to have on his side before you say enough is enough,” Mr. Reynolds said. “They’ve been fighting this thing for more than 40 years and it seems unfortunate this is the government position.”


Kevin Sharp, Mr. Peltier’s lawyer, said granting him clemency could be a major step toward healing the rift between Native Americans and the federal government.


“The important thing is breaking from the past,” Mr. Sharp said. “The F.B.I. will say they are no longer the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. I believe them when they say that. But if you really want to break from the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I., they need to release this prisoner.”


Ruth Anna Buffalo, a citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, and a state representative in North Dakota, was among two dozen Native American state legislators who signed a letter to Mr. Biden in October requesting clemency of Mr. Peltier.


She said the president had yet to include Native Americans in his administration’s efforts to overhaul aspects of the federal justice system. Granting clemency to Mr. Peltier would be a step in the right direction, she said.


“We are not asking for special treatment,” Ms. Buffalo said. “We are asking to be treated as human beings. None of us are free until Leonard is free.”



2) Russian Troops Out Now! For Ukraine’s Independence! 
U.S./NATO Out of Eastern Europe!

Editorial by world-outlook.com, February 27, 2022


Maps showing U.S.-led NATO expansion into eastern Europe (left) and NATO’s military buildup in the region.

Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is anathema to humanity. Russian troops, tanks, air force, and other military hardware should get out now. The Ukrainian people defending the country’s independence deserve international solidarity—already shown by protests condemning the invasion inside Russia; in Tbilisi, Georgia; and elsewhere.

It is also necessary to clearly see Washington’s hypocritical claims that it tried to avert war through diplomacy. We should demand that U.S. and NATO military forces pull out of eastern Europe and the broader region. The Pentagon has doubled the number of U.S. warships in the Mediterranean, redeployed an aircraft carrier there from the Pacific, and increased the number of U.S. troops in the area. It is opening up new NATO bases in eastern Europe. The newest, a “highly sensitive U.S. military installation” according to the New York Times, located near the village of Redzikowo, in Poland, is only about 100 miles from Russian territory.

These moves are aimed at expanding U.S. military domination in Europe and countering Russian economic interests, including growing exports of natural gas to Europe (Russia is a top producer of natural gas and oil, accounting for 17 percent of the world’s natural gas and 12 percent of its oil.) The U.S./NATO actions pose a genuine threat to world peace while offering Putin a pretext for his brutal invasion.


The Russian attack on a sovereign neighboring republic smacks of the Great Russian chauvinism prevalent under the czars, the barbaric monarchy that ruled the Russian empire for centuries before it was overthrown by workers and peasants in 1917. That same chauvinism animated the reactionary policies re-established by the late 1920s in the former USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) during the counterrevolution led by Joseph Stalin—a regime Russian president Vladimir Putin faithfully served as a former officer of the KGB, the secret police.

On February 21, Putin declared that the Moscow-backed “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk set up in eastern Ukraine in 2014 were independent countries and ordered Russian troops to go in as “peacekeepers.” The Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine followed, in the largest military mobilization in Europe since World War II.

In a speech the same day crafted to justify the onslaught, Putin denied that Ukraine is a nation and blamed the Bolshevik revolution for the country’s independence. “Modern Ukraine was entirely and fully created by Russia, more specifically the Bolshevik, communist Russia,” Putin said. “This process began practically immediately after the 1917 revolution, and moreover Lenin and his associates did it in the sloppiest way in relation to Russia—by dividing, tearing from her pieces of her own historical territory.”

Putin is lying. The contrast between the position of Putin and Russia’s capitalists today, with that of the workers and peasants’ government V.I. Lenin led after the Russian Revolution, is crystal clear.

In December 1919, Lenin wrote to the Ukrainian workers and peasants:

“The independence of the Ukraine has been recognized both by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee of the R.S.F.S.R. (Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic) and by the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). It is therefore self-evident and generally recognized that only the Ukrainian workers and peasants themselves can and will decide [emphasis added] at their All-Ukraine Congress of Soviets whether the Ukraine shall amalgamate with Russia, or whether she shall remain a separate and independent republic, and, in the latter case, what federal ties shall be established between that republic and Russia.

“How should this question be decided insofar as concerns the interests of the working people and the promotion of their fight for the complete emancipation of labor from the yoke of capital?…

“[T]he interests of labor demand the fullest confidence and the closest alliance among the working people of different countries and nations. The supporters of the landowners and capitalists, of the bourgeoisie, strive to disunite the workers, to intensify national discord and enmity, in order to weaken the workers and strengthen the power of capital.”[1]

The “national discord and enmity” Lenin warned about so clearly is precisely what both Putin and U.S. president Joe Biden and his allies are spreading today.

Moscow aims to reassert the Russian industrialists’, bankers’, and landowners’ control of Ukraine, as well as over other eastern European territories that achieved independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, followed by the re-establishment of capitalism in the former USSR. Moscow is also pushing back against the U.S.-led NATO expansion in eastern Europe.

NATO was established in 1949 to codify and maintain Washington’s military superiority in western Europe when the U.S. emerged as the main victor in World War II and the world’s top imperialist power. As the Cold War ended, NATO’s importance appeared to wane. But Washington breathed new life into the reactionary military alliance in the 1990s over the blood and bones of the people of Yugoslavia, fueling a decade-long war in that country that led to its break-up. It then used Yugoslavia’s destruction as a launching pad to expand NATO eastward by admitting 14 new member states, more than doubling its roster by 2020.[2]

During the Cold War, Russia and the United States both worked on developing antimissile defenses. In 1972 both agreed to halt their rocket shield programs. But in 2001 U.S. president George W. Bush infuriated Putin by pulling out of the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty and directing the Pentagon to build and deploy such a system in eastern Europe, under the flimsy pretext it was targeting Iran. New U.S. military bases such as the one in Poland, as well as another in Romania, are now becoming operational housing anti-missile launchers. This offers an edge to U.S. forces in shooting down Russian ballistic missiles, increasing the possibility of further military conflagrations.

None of this justifies Putin’s invasion. But it points to Washington’s hypocrisy in claiming to seek a “diplomatic solution” to the current crisis. U.S. president John F. Kennedy brought the word to the brink of nuclear war in October 1962 when Moscow stationed nuclear missiles for defensive purposes in Cuba. Would Washington accept military bases, like those it is now establishing in Poland, to be set up today by Russia in Mexico, 100 miles from the U.S. border?

That’s why working people should demand not only the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukraine but also the simultaneous pullout of all U.S. and NATO forces from eastern Europe.

The sanctions Washington and its allies are imposing against Russia will do little to deter Putin’s invasion, which is backed by China, while they will mostly hurt working people inside Russia and elsewhere in Europe.

Working people in the Ukraine can best defend their aspirations by their own mobilizations and actions, as they did in the Maidan revolt of 2014.

[1] From V.I. Lenin’s December 1919 Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine. Lenin’s 1919 entire “Letter to the Workers and Peasants of the Ukraine” can be found here: 


[2] For an explanation of how Washington fueled the war in Yugoslavia and used it to expand NATO eastward see “How U.S. Imperialism Fueled Yugoslav War” published in the April 19, 1999, issue of The Militant newspaper.




3) ‘So Much Hatred’: Jury Foreman Shaken by Evidence in Arbery Trial

With so much evidence of racism, said Marcus Ransom, the only Black man on the jury, it was not difficult to find Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers guilty of hate crimes.

By Richard Fausset and Tariro Mzezewa, March 1, 2022

Marcus Ransom said he tried to keep an open mind, even as jurors heard voluminous evidence of the defendants’ racist beliefs and language.
Marcus Ransom said he tried to keep an open mind, even as jurors heard voluminous evidence of the defendants’ racist beliefs and language. Credit...David Walter Banks for The New York Times

ATLANTA — After each day of jury service in the hate crimes trial of the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, Marcus Ransom went to his hotel room and prayed.


“Honestly, I just prayed for everyone,” Mr. Ransom said. “For the jury. For Ahmaud’s family. Even the defendants.”


Mr. Ransom, the foreman, was the only Black man on the jury, and much like Mr. Arbery, he was raised in modest circumstances in a Deep South community where he learned what it feels like to be racially profiled. He suffered through his share of specious police stops and ugly looks from restaurant servers.


But Mr. Ransom’s mother insisted that he never judge people by the color of their skin. And the judge in the Arbery case insisted that the jurors hear the evidence with clear heads and open minds.


Mr. Ransom, 35, said he tried to hew to those principles every day he was in the jury box, even as he heard evidence that the defendants considered Black people to be animals or savages, and even as he was forced to watch video that showed Mr. Arbery bleeding on the pavement and gasping for breath as the three white defendants declined to offer him comfort or aid.


It was not easy. Mr. Ransom cried when the video footage was played in court. He cried when federal prosecutors showed another video one of the defendants had shared with a friend that cruelly mocked a young Black boy as he danced.


He cried after handing over the verdict, which the clerk read aloud: Guilty, on all counts.


“Just seeing that it was so much hatred that they had, not only for Ahmaud, but to other people of the Black race,” Mr. Ransom said. “It was a lot to take in.”


On Monday evening, Mr. Ransom spoke publicly about the case for the first time in an interview with The New York Times, describing his view of the evidence and the deliberations of the jurors. Their verdict last week brought an emphatic close to a two-year drama in which Americans were confronted with a killing of a Black man that echoed a time in the South when extrajudicial terror and violence against African Americans were rampant — and when the perpetrators often eluded justice.


A different fate awaits Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan, the white men who chased Mr. Arbery through their neighborhood in February 2020. The men were found guilty of murder in state court in November, and given life sentences. The additional guilty verdicts in federal court, for hate crimes and attempted kidnapping, could mean that each man receives an additional life sentence.


Shortly after the verdict, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland thanked the jury and spoke of the trial, in the broader context of federal intervention in cases of violence and intimidation carried out by white supremacists “who assumed that they could operate outside the bounds of the law.”


But bringing justice to bear took its toll. Throughout the weeklong trial, Mr. Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., closely watched Mr. Ransom, the man publicly known only as Juror No. 150, in the jury box. Mr. Arbery said he could see how the violence, the indifference and the racism were hurting him.


“Ahmaud was a Black man, I am a Black man, that juror was a Black man,” Mr. Arbery said. “We move through the world the same in a lot of ways. Because Ahmaud was Black and he is Black, he probably knows that this could have been him. He probably said to himself, ‘This could have been me.’”


Mr. Ransom grew up in Columbus, Ga., roughly 250 miles from Brunswick, Ga., where the trial was held. Mr. Arbery was killed just outside of Brunswick in a suburb called Satilla Shores. Mr. Ransom had been a “knucklehead” as a young man, he said, but never a lawbreaker, and he got serious as he got older. His mother’s Christian faith rubbed off on him, and she pushed him into college.


After seeing many of his friends end up in trouble with the law, he became a juvenile probation officer, thinking it was the best way he could make a difference.


“I really learned that not everyone was treated equally,” he said. Sometimes, he said, it was because of race. But sometimes it was a class issue.


He received his jury summons in December, instructing him to show up in Brunswick, a three-hour drive from his home. He arrived in federal court on Feb. 8, immaculately dressed in a blazer and tie — the uniform he would wear to court every day, and the sartorial armor he regularly uses to ward off the sort of racist assumptions that fueled the attack on Mr. Arbery, who was running through Satilla Shores on the day he died in a T-shirt, shorts and a pair of sneakers.


“A lot of people judge you by sight before they hear the words coming out of your mouth,” Mr. Ransom said. “I know I’m judged first for being a Black man. So let me level the playing field.”


At jury selection, he told the court that he was a social worker, and that he knew only a little about the Arbery case. In the interview, he said he had been shocked by the details of the killing and the viral video of Travis McMichael pulling the trigger of his shotgun. But he did not delve deeply into the case because he was dealing at the time with the death of his grandmother.


Soon the jury was finalized, and Mr. Ransom found himself listening to the opening statement of Bobbi Bernstein, a lawyer with the Justice Department’s civil rights division. She said that the government would show that Travis McMichael had referred to Black people as “criminals” and “subhuman savages,” that his father had disparaged a civil rights leader, and that Mr. Bryan had used racial slurs.


It was part of a torrent of revelations that showed that the men’s racism was deeply entrenched. Mr. Bryan was revolted by the fact that his daughter had fallen in love with a Black man. Travis McMichael wished violence upon Black people on numerous occasions.


Mr. Ransom said these were not the revelations that wounded him. Nor did they surprise him. When he was in his 20s, he said, a white man quarreled with him at a gas station and called him a Black monkey. “I’ve experienced racism on different levels,” Mr. Ransom said. “Did it upset me or get me mad? Not really, because I’ve experienced this pretty much throughout my life. I’ve become numb to it almost.”


What was worse, he said, were the other details that emerged: The indifference the men showed to Mr. Arbery after Travis McMichael shot him, and he lay dying. Mr. McMichael’s unfounded assumption that Mr. Arbery had stolen a gun from his car. His father’s attribution of criminal acts to Mr. Arbery that he did not commit.


Mr. Ransom said he was particularly appalled by Mr. Bryan’s decision to help the McMichaels chase Mr. Arbery even though he knew nothing about what had precipitated the pursuit in the first place. All that Mr. Bryan, who filmed the encounter, knew was that a Black man was being chased by two white men. Why would he assume that there was a legitimate reason to chase Mr. Arbery? Why did he not conclude that Mr. Arbery needed saving, not chasing?


Mr. Ransom also said he was struck by the impassive looks on the faces of the three men, who watched the proceedings in the company of their lawyers and did not take the stand. Mr. Ransom spent a week looking for signs of remorse on their faces. He said he never saw it.


Over the course of the week, the jurors — three Black, eight white and one Hispanic — ate lunch together each day. Their exchanges were cordial, but superficial, as they were instructed not to discuss the case until the deliberation period.


After closing arguments, the jurors returned to the room, where they quickly and unanimously chose Mr. Ransom as the jury foreman. “No one really voiced exactly why,” he said. But he said he could feel what they were thinking — that he was the sole Black man in the room, and that it made sense for him to lead them.


The deliberations, he said, were cordial, businesslike and devoid of drama. No one made the case that the men were innocent. No one mounted a passionate challenge to the idea that, as the jury instructions put it, the men had gone after Mr. Arbery “because of Mr. Arbery’s race and color.”


They moved quickly through the charges, including two weapons charges against the McMichaels, drawing up lists of evidentiary details that supported each one. They completed the bulk of the work by the first evening of deliberations and wrapped up the next morning.


After the clerk read the verdict, the judge asked the jurors if it was true and correct. Mr. Ransom felt the tears well in his eyes as he told her yes. The killing of Mr. Arbery told one story about the country. But here, he thought, was an alternative that was also true — one that made him think “that we as a nation, you know, we’re moving in the right direction.”


“Wrong is wrong and right is right,” he said. “No matter what it is, you’ve got to have consequences. No one is above laws.”



4) These Climate Scientists Are Fed Up and Ready to Go on Strike

Evidence on global warming is piling up. Nations aren’t acting. Some researchers are asking what difference more reports will make.

By Raymond Zhong, March 1, 2022


Climate protesters in New York City gathered to demand more action against climate change in November 2021.

Climate protesters in New York City gathered to demand more action against climate change in November 2021. Credit...Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sometimes, Bruce C. Glavovic feels so proud to be an environmental scientist, studying coastal planning and teaching future researchers, that it moves him to tears.


Other times, he wonders whether any of it has been enough. Scientists have proved beyond doubt that climate change is transforming the planet for the worse. Yet their work has mostly failed to spur governments to address the issue. When all the signs are telling scientists that their research is not being heard, it is tragic, Dr. Glavovic said, that they just keep producing more of it.


“We’ve had 26 Conference of the Parties meetings, for heaven’s sake,” he said, referring to the United Nations global warming summits. More scientific reports, another set of charts. “I mean, seriously, what difference is that going to make?”


It was this frustration that led Dr. Glavovic, 61, a professor at Massey University in New Zealand, and two colleagues to send a jolt recently through the normally cautious, rarefied world of environmental research. In an academic journal, they called on climate scientists to stage a mass walkout, to stop their research until nations take action on global warming.


Predictably, many researchers balked, calling the idea wrongheaded or worse — “a supernova of stupid,” as one put it on Twitter. But the article gets at questions that plenty of climate scientists have asked themselves lately: Is what we’re doing with our lives really making a difference? How can we get elected officials to act on the threats that we’ve so clearly identified? Do we become activists? Would we sacrifice our credibility as academics, our cool composure, by doing so?


Dr. Glavovic says he believes a pause on research would give his fellow researchers a chance to think, really think, about how best to use their skills in the slender window humans have left for altering the planet’s trajectory. “The clock is ticking,” he said.


Climate change has a way of making everyone feel at once very small and bothersomely large — big enough to worsen the problem, too tiny to stop it. Climate scientists devote so much of themselves to the issue that their unease can run deeper.


For scientists of many kinds, the coronavirus pandemic has fueled the sense that scientific experts and political authorities are uneasy allies at best, that distrust and misinformation have weakened society’s capacity to work toward complex collective goals.


These thoughts were percolating as Dr. Glavovic worked alongside nearly 270 other experts on the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that assesses climate research. The new report, all 3,675 pages of it, was issued on Monday and concludes that global warming is outpacing our ability to cope.


Each I.P.C.C. assessment is a huge, multiyear effort by researchers and representatives from 195 governments. Every line, every chart, is fine-tuned to ensure it is backed by evidence. The hours are long; the work is unpaid. The panel, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, has given global climate talks a crucial grounding in scientific fact. But its reports deliberately do not prescribe policies for governments to enact. They just lay out the options.


To Dr. Glavovic, the panel’s efforts made clear long ago what the world needs to do. He thinks everybody’s time and energy would be better spent making sure it gets done.


“My involvement with I.P.C.C. has been a defining feature of my life for the last five to six years; I’ve slept, drunk, eaten I.P.C.C.,” Dr. Glavovic said. “It’s been an absolute privilege.”


Still, he has decided not to take part in the panel’s next assessment. And he wants his fellow scientists to join him.


Few seem ready to do so, though many have similarly weak faith in government action. The journal Nature surveyed dozens of scientists who worked on another recent I.P.C.C. report. Sixty percent said they believed the planet would warm in this century by at least 3 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial times, much more than current international targets. A similar share said they had experienced anxiety, grief or other distress related to climate change.


As the oceans rise, forests burn and carbon dioxide levels continue their upward march, even scientists who do not want to go on strike wonder how much longer they can keep serving as impartial, soft-spoken brokers of data and evidence.


“Our first recognition must be that that doesn’t seem to work,” said Wolfgang Cramer, another author of the new I.P.C.C. report. “That doesn’t seem to be enough.”


‘An Incredibly Depressing Thought’


Scientists in any field want their work to have an impact. Most of them are not up against some of the most powerful political and economic forces on the planet.


Like doctors, climate researchers tend to develop “some psychological protection, some form of emotional withdrawal,” said Maria Fernanda Lemos, an I.P.C.C. author in Rio de Janeiro. “Otherwise, it would not be possible to carry out this work.”


For Iain White, a professor of environmental planning at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, a feeling of futility swept over him when he looked up the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at different points in his life.


It was about 330 parts per million in 1973, the year he was born; roughly 350 in 1988, the year the I.P.C.C. was created; and pushing 370 around the turn of the millennium.


“I came to the conclusion that it would go up every year until I retired,” Dr. White said. “It was just an incredibly depressing thought.”


Scientists do not talk enough about the emotional toll of researching planetary calamity, he said. “You do hear examples of grief, and people choosing not to have children, and all those kinds of things which you wouldn’t have really thought about 20, 30 years ago, but are now fairly mainstream.”


Timothy F. Smith, 50, a professor of sustainability at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, said he and his colleagues had long wrestled with doubts about their work: “Is it worth continuing if we’re not having the impact that we need?”


And so, in early 2020, Dr. Smith, Dr. White and Dr. Glavovic met up in the seaside town of Tairua, New Zealand. Their plan was to sketch out a joint research project. Instead, they pondered why it was so hard for any research to make a difference. They concluded that withholding that research, and halting I.P.C.C. assessments, was scientists’ best hope for prodding elected officials to act.


Mixed Messages


When the three professors submitted their call for a walkout to top scientific journals, there were few takers.


“None of us had ever had so many rejections,” Dr. Glavovic said. Eventually, their article was published in the journal Climate and Development.


Dr. Glavovic traces his willingness to take a stand to growing up as a white South African under apartheid, a system he came to detest. In his 20s, he risked jail time by requesting to be a conscientious objector to conscription.


“It’s a very interesting experience to be in the army and everyone else around you is carrying rifles and you’re not,” he said.


One piece of his argument is easily misunderstood. He is calling for an end to I.P.C.C. assessments not because he believes the panel has failed, but because he thinks it has been a stunning success. It has proved the links between human activity and global warming.


“We’re suggesting a moratorium on the science that simply documents the decline of human well-being and planetary health,” he said. “That science is not contributing to solutions.”


Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard historian of science, agreed that the panel sent a “mixed message” with its assessments. “Every time the I.P.C.C. comes out with yet another report, saying yet again that the science is unequivocal,” she said.


Well, then “why do we need another report?” she said.


Pierre Friedlingstein, a professor at the University of Exeter who worked on previous I.P.C.C. reports, said past assessments had ended with many discussions about how the next one could be better. But only the governments, not the scientists, can make major changes to the way the panel works.


“At the end of the day,” he said, “you end up with a system that looks amazingly similar to what we had before.”


Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist who worked on past I.P.C.C. reports, said the science might indeed be settled on climate change and global average temperatures.


“But so what?” she said. “Nobody lives in the global average.”


In the 1980s, Dr. Solomon’s research helped lead to a sweeping agreement to restore the ozone layer. That effort succeeded, she said, because people grasped how the issue affected them personally. Similarly, she said, as scientists improve their understanding of climate change’s local and regional threats, elected leaders will feel more pressure to act.


“There is always more to learn about how to deal with climate change impacts and future risks,” said an I.P.C.C. spokesman, Andrej Mahecic.


Other researchers say high-level action on carbon emissions is not the only point. They say their responsibility is much broader.


In India, “local governments are desperately looking for data and information,” said Aditi Mukherji, an I.P.C.C. author based in Kolkata. They “are looking for scientists to tell them what municipal action can they take,” she said.


Edmond Totin, an I.P.C.C. author in Benin, said few leaders in West Africa considered climate change a burning issue, not compared with education or security. But ordinary people are hungry to know about the changes they are seeing in water supplies, crop yields and fishing patterns.


“I make more impact at the local level than the higher level,” Dr. Totin said. “I don’t even believe I make any change at the global level.” He laughed.


Whenever Debora Ley, an I.P.C.C. author in Guatemala, feels discouraged by the latest grim climate reports, she thinks of the people in villages where she has helped set up small renewable-energy systems.


“The first time they turn on a bulb and see it,” she said. “The excitement in their face.”


But there are hard days, too. “Sometimes, ice cream is the best friend,” Dr. Ley said.


Putting out their call for a strike has led Dr. Glavovic, Dr. Smith and Dr. White to think critically about their remaining working years. Really, that is all they want their fellow scientists to do, too.


“I don’t want to document decline,” Dr. White said. “I want to try and use what little time we have to bring at least a little bit of joy.”



5) A War the Kremlin Tried to Disguise Becomes a Hard Reality for Russians

Moscow posted a death toll from its attack on Ukraine for the first time, and Russians who long avoided politics are now grappling with the fact that their country is fighting a deadly conflict.

By Ivan Nechepurenko and Anton Troianovski, March 2, 2022


Police officers detained an anti-war protester in central Moscow on Friday.

Police officers detained an anti-war protester in central Moscow on Friday. Credit...Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

SOCHI, Russia — On Feb. 23, Razil Malikov, a tank driver in the Russian Army, called his family and said he would be home soon; his unit’s military drills in Crimea were just about wrapping up.


The next morning, Russia invaded Ukraine, and Mr. Malikov hasn’t been heard from since. On Monday, Ukraine published a video of a captured soldier in his unit, apologizing for taking part in the invasion.


“He had no idea they could send him to Ukraine,” Mr. Malikov’s brother, Rashid Allaberganov, said in a phone interview from the south-central Russian region of Bashkortostan. “Everyone is in a state of shock.”


The reality of war is dawning across Russia.


On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry for the first time announced a death toll for Russian servicemen in the conflict. While casualty figures in wartime are notoriously unreliable — and Ukraine has put the total of Russian dead in the thousands — the 498 Moscow acknowledged in the seven days of fighting is the largest in any of its military operations since the war in Chechnya, which marked the beginning of President Vladimir V. Putin’s tenure in 1999.


Russians who long avoided engaging with politics are now realizing that their country is fighting a deadly conflict, even as the Kremlin gets ever more aggressive in trying to shape the narrative. Its slow-motion crackdown on freedoms has become a whirlwind of repression of late, as the last vestiges of a free press faced extinction.


This week, lawmakers proposed a 15-year prison sentence for people who post “fakes” about the war, and rumors are swirling about soon-to-be-closed borders or martial law. The Education Ministry scheduled a video lesson to be shown in schools nationwide on Thursday that described the war against Ukraine as a “liberation mission.”


And in Moscow, the regional office of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia has been fielding 2,000 calls a day since last Thursday.


“The parents’ first question is: What happened to my child?” said Aleksandr Latynin, a senior committee official. “Is he alive?”


Seizing on the worries of Russian families, Ukraine has pushed to publicize the fact that many young Russian soldiers were dying or being taken prisoner — a reality that the Russian military did not acknowledge until Sunday, the fourth day of the war. Ukrainian government agencies and volunteers have published videos of disoriented Russian prisoners of war saying they had no idea they were about to be part of an invasion until just before it began, and photographs and footage showed the bodies of Russian soldiers strewn on streets and fields.


The videos are reaching some Russians directly. Yevgeniya A. Ivanova, for instance, identified a friend of hers, Viktor A. Golubev, who appeared in one of the videos. In it, Mr. Golubev said he “feels guilty for his wrong actions” on Ukrainian soil and calls on President Vladimir V. Putin “to find a compromise to avoid war.”


To some Russians, the toll in human lives is reason enough to oppose the war, and OVD-Info, an activist group that tallies arrests, has counted at least 7,359 Russians detained during seven days of protests in scores of cities across the country.


“It’s the third decade of the 21st century, and we are watching news about people burning in tanks and bombed-out buildings,” Aleksei A. Navalny, the opposition leader, wrote in a social media post from prison on Wednesday, calling on Russians to continue to rally despite the withering police crackdown. “Let’s not ‘be against war.’ Let’s fight against war.”


Members of the Russian elite also continued to speak out. Lyudmila Narusova, a member of Russia’s upper house of Parliament, told the independent Dozhd television channel on Sunday that dead Russian soldiers in Ukraine lay “unburied; wild, stray dogs gnawing on bodies that in some cases cannot be identified because they are burned.”


“I do not identify myself with those representatives of the state that speak out in favor of the war,” Ms. Narusova said. “I think they themselves do not know what they are doing. They are following orders without thinking.”


The Russian International Affairs Council, a government-funded think tank, published an article by a prominent expert describing the war as a strategic debacle. The expert, Ivan Timofeev, said Ukrainian society would now “see Russia as an enemy for several decades to come.” He added a veiled warning directed at government officials who were now cracking down on people speaking out against the war.


“History shows that those who look for ‘traitors’ sooner or later themselves become victims of ‘enthusiasts’ and ‘well-wishers,’” Mr. Timofeev, the council’s program director, wrote.


But the discontent showed no sign of affecting Mr. Putin’s campaign, as Russia’s assault on Ukraine widened, with heavy fighting reported for the port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. The government signaled it would only intensify its crackdown against the war’s critics — including those who called it a “war” rather than, in the Kremlin’s anodyne term, a “special military operation.”


“Individuals who carry out falsification must be punished in the most severe way,” said Vasily Piskaryov, a senior lawmaker in Mr. Putin’s party. “They are discrediting the absolutely rightful and understandable actions of our armed forces.”


His proposed punishment: 15 years in prison. The Parliament, which is controlled by the Kremlin, will take up the law on Friday.


Some feared that Mr. Putin could go even further, repressing dissent to an extent unseen in Russia since Soviet times. Tatiana Stanovaya, a scholar who has long studied Mr. Putin, wrote it was “more than logical” to expect that lawmakers this week would approve the imposition of martial law in order to block the open internet, ban all protests and restrict Russians from being able to leave the country.


Such speculation, fed by how quickly the Kremlin was moving to block access to individual news media outlets and arrest protesters, has led increasing numbers of Russians to flee the country.


Echo of Moscow, Russia’s flagship liberal-leaning radio station, was taken off the air on Tuesday for the first time since the Soviet coup attempt of 1991. Leading staff members of Dozhd, Russia’s only remaining independent television channel, left the country on Wednesday after access to its website was blocked.


“It’s clear that the personal security of some of us is under threat,” Tikhon Dzyadko, the channel’s editor in chief, wrote, explaining why he had decided to “temporarily” depart.


There was also evidence that, even though the war took many Russians by surprise, significant numbers had come to accept it as unavoidable or forced upon Russia by an aggressive NATO. The economic crisis touched off by the West’s harsh sanctions reinforced that narrative for some. On Wednesday, the ruble plumbed new lows as more companies like Siemens and Oracle announced they would reduce their operations in Russia and as the central bank ordered the Moscow stock exchange to remain shut on Thursday for the fourth straight day.


At a Moscow shopping mall on Wednesday, a young couple lining up for cash at an A.T.M. said they opposed the war. And yet they said that the way the world was punishing them for it was not fair, either, considering that the United States had fought its own wars in recent decades without coming under harsh international sanctions.


“Just as you can criticize the government, you can criticize Western countries,” said Maksim Filatov, 25, who manages a hookah-bar business. “When there were analogous situations in other countries involving the United States, there were no such attacks, and they didn’t drive the country into crisis.”


Echo of Moscow, Russia’s flagship liberal-leaning radio station, was taken off the air on Tuesday for the first time since the Soviet coup attempt of 1991. Leading staff members of Dozhd, Russia’s only remaining independent television channel, left the country on Wednesday after access to its website was blocked.


“It’s clear that the personal security of some of us is under threat,” Tikhon Dzyadko, the channel’s editor in chief, wrote, explaining why he had decided to “temporarily” depart.


There was also evidence that, even though the war took many Russians by surprise, significant numbers had come to accept it as unavoidable or forced upon Russia by an aggressive NATO. The economic crisis touched off by the West’s harsh sanctions reinforced that narrative for some. On Wednesday, the ruble plumbed new lows as more companies like Siemens and Oracle announced they would reduce their operations in Russia and as the central bank ordered the Moscow stock exchange to remain shut on Thursday for the fourth straight day.


At a Moscow shopping mall on Wednesday, a young couple lining up for cash at an A.T.M. said they opposed the war. And yet they said that the way the world was punishing them for it was not fair, either, considering that the United States had fought its own wars in recent decades without coming under harsh international sanctions.


“Just as you can criticize the government, you can criticize Western countries,” said Maksim Filatov, 25, who manages a hookah-bar business. “When there were analogous situations in other countries involving the United States, there were no such attacks, and they didn’t drive the country into crisis.”



6) Russia Has Suffered a Crushing Moral Defeat. And Russians Know It.

By Alexey Kovalev, March 3, 2022

Mr. Kovalev is the investigations editor at Meduza, an independent Russian news outlet.

In Moscow, a protester’s mask says “enough.”

In Moscow, a protester’s mask says “enough.” Credit...Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

MOSCOW — Shock and shame.


That’s the response of many Russians to the sight of rockets and artillery shells hitting Ukrainian tower blocks that in their concrete uniformity could easily be in Moscow. The towns through which Russian armored vehicles are rolling, captured in shaky videos and accompanied by howls of horror, could be Voronezh or Krasnodar or any Russian city. The invasion of Ukraine is a waking nightmare, horrible and absurd.


And it’s being done in our name. Feb. 24, when President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion, is the day Russia became an outcast, despised nation, not just economically isolated but actively shunned by the rest of the world — in sports, science and most other kinds of international cooperation. Whatever military “victory” Mr. Putin might find acceptable in his twisted mind, Russia has already suffered a crushing moral defeat.


And to a certain extent, it seems like the Russian people know it. Though dissent has been effectively outlawed, thousands of people have taken the risk to express their opposition to the invasion. And it’s not just the usual suspects, the malcontents already known to the Kremlin. Major public figures, prominent journalists and artists have spoken out against the war.


We may be far from a large-scale antiwar movement, but the seeds have been sown. And once they flower into outright defiance, it could spell trouble for Mr. Putin.


For many of us, the horror is visceral and personal. My uncle, for example, is Ukrainian and my wife’s grandmother, born in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, survived the Nazi occupation of Kyiv. It’s hard to find a Russian family without Ukrainian relatives and friends, husbands and wives, girlfriends and boyfriends, chess partners and colleagues. Many of them are now hiding in bomb shelters in Kyiv and Kharkiv.


They’re under attack by a Russian Army whose soldiers — young men who have spent their entire lives under Mr. Putin — look forlorn and confused. They were told by their commanders that they were going to the Ukrainian border to take part in logistical drills, only to find themselves at war. Mr. Putin seemingly dreamed of a quick victory with Russian-speaking Ukrainians welcoming their “liberators” with flowers, the Ukrainian Army surrendering en masse and the country’s leaders fleeing in fear. None of this is happening.


Instead, as the Ukrainians bravely resist the onslaught, Russians are feeling the pain of wide-ranging international sanctions and reprisals. With no European Union country accepting flights from Russia and America closing its airspace, thousands have been left scrambling in airports — while others wait in long lines at A.T.M.s as the ruble plunges. For ordinary Russians, poorer and cut off from the world, the costs of Mr. Putin’s aggression will be high.


State propaganda is baying hysterically, doing its best to rally people behind the war — even while refusing to call it that. In fact, the censorship ministry is punishing those few remaining independent media organizations, including Meduza, where I work, that dare to call Russia’s war what it is. On Tuesday, the government took Echo of Moscow and TV Rain, the last remaining independent radio station and TV channel, off the air. Demands to punish the “fifth columnists” and “traitors” — in effect those who sympathize with Ukraine — are growing louder and louder. Political repression will surely intensify.


The Kremlin would like to suggest that most Russians are unconcerned about the misery already ricocheting their way. According to a state-owned pollster, 68 percent of citizens support the war. But there’s a big caveat: The survey never mentioned war at all. Instead, it asked people whether they support what the government calls a “special military operation,” aimed among other things at “preventing a NATO base in Ukraine” and “denazification of Ukraine.” What the poll really shows is how state media dominates public opinion.


But it can’t completely squash dissenting views. In the past week, thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets in protest against the war. On the day of the invasion, a throng of protesters gathered in St. Petersburg, Mr. Putin’s hometown, chanting peace slogans while surrounded by police vehicles. Given the risks involved — nearly 7,000 people have been detained, in 13 cities — it’s an impressive showing. Not since 1999, when Russians came out to support Yugoslavia during NATO’s bombing campaign, have there been such sustained antiwar protests in the country.


Others are pursuing subtler forms of protest in the hope they won’t result in immediate arrest. Some are covering Moscow’s walls with the simple, straightforward call: “No to war.” (The messages are scrubbed away by officials, only to reappear overnight.) Others are laying flowers on the Kyiv monument near Red Square, which commemorates the bravery of its defenders in World War II.


Beyond the streets, people are busy too. A petition condemning the war has already received more than a million signatures, and architects, medical workers, university students and even priests in the normally acquiescent Russian Orthodox Church are signing open letters demanding that it stop immediately. Big names like Yuri Dud, Russia’s most prominent video blogger, the popular singer Valery Meladze and even several State Duma members and top oligarchs have publicly spoken out in an unlikely chorus of voices.


A mass antiwar movement is still a way off. But these are, amid the gloom, promising signs. As the country continues to bomb and terrify Ukraine, more and more Russians may wake up to something only a few dare to say publicly: That Mr. Putin is an existential danger not only to themselves but also to the world. And he must be stopped.



7) Open Letter to President Biden From a Dispirited Black Voter

By Charles M. Blow, March 2, 2022


Shuran Huang for The New York Times

Dear President Biden,


What a difference 300 days makes.


On April 28, 2021, you marked your first 100 days in office by delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress.


In it, you made an impassioned moral case for police reform, invoking the words of Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter, when she told you, “My daddy changed the world.” You told the country — in one of the most eloquent passages you have ever delivered, I might add — that: “We’ve all seen the knee of injustice on the neck of Black Americans. Now is our opportunity to make some real progress.”


As you put it: “My fellow Americans, we have to come together to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the people they serve, to root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system and enact police reform in George Floyd’s name that passed the House already.”


In that same speech, you pointed out that the intelligence community saw white supremacy terrorism as the “most lethal terrorist threat” facing the country.


You noted that the United States had a real opening to promote real equality and “real opportunities in the lives of more Americans — Black, white, Latino, Asian Americans, Native Americans.”


Well, in the 307 days between that speech and your State of the Union on Tuesday, you performed a political pirouette and ended up facing the opposite direction.


On Tuesday, you invoked the families of two New York City police officers tragically slain in the line of duty to make this plea:


“We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training. Resources and training they need to protect their communities. I ask Democrats and Republicans alike to pass my budget and keep our neighborhoods safe.”


This feels like a callous attempt to appease the law-and-order crowd. Policing has not fundamentally changed over the past year. According to The Washington Post, there were a record number of fatal police shootings in 2021. Flooding a police system in desperate need of reform with more cash, before demanding those reforms, would only serve to buttress the brokenness. Maybe policing shouldn’t be starved, but it definitely shouldn’t be fattened.


There was no mention of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the State of the Union. Talks on that bill collapsed in September, but you said you would continue to work with members of Congress who were “serious about meaningful police reform” and you focused on drafting an executive order that included many of the original bill’s proposed reforms.


When it leaked in January, The New York Times reported that law enforcement groups were so enraged by “the tenor of the order’s policy preamble, which spoke of ‘systemic racism’ in the criminal justice system,” that Susan Rice, the White House domestic policy adviser, was forced “to make conciliatory phone calls with an eye toward more substantive discussions.”


Mr. President, it’s March. We are still waiting for you to issue that executive order.


In the State of the Union you didn’t once say the words “Black” or “African American,” “white” or “Hispanic.”


Race, as a word, magically disappeared from your rhetorical repertoire. Why? I assume because the political winds have shifted. What polled well last spring isn’t polling well this spring.


Even when you mentioned increasing support for historically Black colleges and universities, you used the acronym, H.B.C.U.s. Minor? Yes. But I noticed. By the way, the best way to help the graduates of H.B.C.U.s would be to use your executive authority to cancel more student loan debt, since, according to the Education Data Initiative, Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than white graduates.


Student loans were not mentioned in your speech.


You did hail your Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, even if you didn’t point publicly to the historical significance of her being the first Black woman nominated. Her blackness — and the history of exclusion on the court — was left unsaid in the grand chamber.


Minor? Maybe. But again, I noticed.


Some might say that simply because Jackson is Black, it was enough to mention her name, without directly addressing Black people and their interests in the speech. But it doesn’t work that way. Symbols, representation and inclusion are important to me, sure, but they are no substitute for policy and legislation.


This is not to disparage Judge Jackson’s nomination in any way. It is exhilarating. She is qualified and should be confirmed, and she will be an inspiration for many as well as a needed voice for another perspective on the court. Thank you for nominating her.


It is simply to say that for ordinary Americans, symbols can’t pay the rent, fill the tank or shield you from a bullet. They can’t stop the relentless assault on Black voting rights and voting power, reverse the panic over critical race theory that threatens to outlaw the comprehensive teaching of American history, particularly America’s racial history, or protect the rights of protesters.


In the speech, you used just a few short sentences to call for the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.


When that voting legislation failed in the Senate in January, you said this in a statement:


“My administration will never stop fighting to ensure that the heart and soul of our democracy — the right to vote — is protected at all costs. We will continue to work with allies to advance necessary legislation to protect the right to vote. And to push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.”


As far as I can tell, Tuesday’s brief comments were the first public statements you have made about passing voting rights legislation since January, and that’s from my search of the White House’s own collection of your comments published on the White House site.


Is that what “never stop fighting” looks like to you? Where did you learn to fight, in a pillow factory?


Symbols cannot be used as shields to deflect criticism of wrongheaded reversals on policies, reversals that could do generational harm to Black people.


People might defend you by saying you have the most diverse cabinet in history.


Well, I’m old enough to remember another Democratic president who took a tough stance on issues the public heavily, if not completely fairly, associated with Black people — crime and welfare — for political reasons, doing tremendous harm to the Black community even as he made symbolic appointments of Black people to prominent positions within his administration as a way of demonstrating his love of the Black community: Bill Clinton.


When Clinton took his tough-on-crime stance and advanced the disastrous 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, he held the record for the most diverse cabinet ever. You helped write that bill. President Barack Obama praised you for it when he introduced you as his running mate in 2008, saying:


“Fifteen years ago, too many American communities were plagued by violence and insecurity. So Joe Biden brought Democrats and Republicans together to pass the 1994 crime bill, putting 100,000 cops on the streets, and starting an eight-year drop in crime across the country.”


In so many ways, it feels like we are experiencing a déjà vu moment.


Your comments Tuesday highlighted how many Democrats are retreating from the very idea of police reform and the pursuit of racial justice in the criminal justice system.


These kinds of actions harden the sentiment among many Black voters like me that politicians have fair-weather fealties, that when the polling shifts, so will their priorities, that their allegiance to Black people on Black issues is bound by little more than used rubber bands.


The truly frustrating thing is that in a two-party system, Black people are stuck. You, Mr. President, are the best and only option when the Republicans have declared war on truth, Black history and Black voters and sworn allegiance to Donald Trump.


But Black people are weary of this political dance, of being drawn near and then pushed away, of having individuals elevated but the collective damaged, of having sweet nothings whispered in our ears only to be denied in public.


Mr. President, do better.




A Dispirited Black Voter



8) Second Worker Strike This Week Shuts Down London Underground

Transport workers have walked out amid concerns over unfilled posts, pensions and the long-term financing of the rail system.

By Christine Hauser and Amanda Holpuch, Published March 1, 2022, Updated March 3, 2022

A London Underground station was closed Thursday during the second of two 24-hour worker strikes on the system this week.
A London Underground station was closed Thursday during the second of two 24-hour worker strikes on the system this week. Credit...John Walton/Press Association, via Associated Press

For the second time in three days, service on the London Underground was severely disrupted on Thursday because of a worker strike.


After a 24-hour strike on Tuesday led to widespread delays on the rail system, commonly called the Tube, commuters were again encouraged to work remotely on Thursday because of expected “severe disruptions.”


Officials warned commuters to consider alternative modes of transportation, like walking or cycling, and said that if any Tube service was provided it would not continue into the evening. The strike was also expected to “severely impact” services on Friday, officials said, with no service until at least 8 a.m.


About 10,000 London Underground workers represented by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers have walked out this week over concerns about job reductions and pensions.


The Underground, like many public transportation systems around the world, has seen steep declines in ridership and revenues during the coronavirus pandemic. Tuesday’s strike came on the same day as an increase in rail fares in England and Wales.


“These are the very same transport staff praised as heroes for carrying London through Covid for nearly two years, often at serious personal risk, who now have no option but to strike to defend their livelihoods,” the union said in a statement last week.


Transport for London, the agency that operates the Underground, said in a statement that it had not proposed any changes to pensions and that cost-saving efforts would not cause job losses.


The strike and fare increases are taking place in London amid concerns about funding for the transportation system as it has struggled to recover from the pandemic.


Passengers in many cities and countries have returned to public transportation at an uneven rate after waves of coronavirus variants kept many commuters at home and sickened transit workers.


In New York City, subway ridership at the start of this year fell to about 40 percent of prepandemic levels as Omicron cases surged.


Across Britain, public transit passenger levels have recovered at slower rates than in other parts of Europe. In August, ridership was 29 percent lower in Britain than it had been before the pandemic, while it was just 10 percent lower in Germany, France and Switzerland, according to an analysis by economists at ING, the Dutch bank.


Before the strikes in London, the city’s transport agency said in a statement that Tube and bus ridership increased in late January after work-from-home restrictions were lifted. Tube ridership on weekdays in that period was “regularly around” 60 percent of what it was before the pandemic, the agency said.


On Friday, Britain’s Department for Transport announced that it had agreed to 200 million pounds, or about $268 million, in funding for London’s transit agency through June 24. It said the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, would be expected to come up with a plan for cost savings and for moving the transport workers’ pension fund “into a financially sustainable position.”


The mayor, who last month provided details about the 4.8 percent fare increase in London, said in a statement last week that the short-term funding by the central government would allow services to keep running only “for a few more months.” He said longer-term funding was needed to avoid “significant and damaging cuts to Tube and bus services.”


“The pandemic is the only reason TfL is facing a financial crisis,” Mr. Khan said, referring to the transit agency. “TfL has a critical role to play in driving the recovery and it supports tens of thousands of jobs across the U.K., but the government’s short-term deals are trapping TfL on life support and putting economic growth and jobs at risk.”


The fare increase comes amid fears in Britain that escalating utility bills and food prices could push millions into poverty. Many Britons have been forced to cut expenses as prices have risen at their fastest pace in three decades.


Manuel Cortes, the general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, the union for the transport and travel trade industries, slammed the government on Monday over the decision to raise fares, saying it was “staggeringly stupid” to do so as the country was struggling to emerge from the pandemic.


“Rail could and should be central to our economic recovery from Covid, but instead, pushing up fares will price many people off the network, with domestic budgets stretched in this ongoing cost-of-living crisis,” he said.


Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting from London.



9) Climate Movement Announces Global Rallies to Demand End of War in Ukraine

One climate activist in Ukraine called for people to take part in demonstrations "in support of peace everywhere without fossil fuels."

By ANDREA GERMANOS, March 2, 2022

Climate activist Luisa Neubauer turns around after her speech at a demonstration under the slogan "Stop the war! Peace for Ukraine and all of Europe" against the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 27, 2022 in Berlin.
Climate activist Luisa Neubauer turns around after her speech at a demonstration under the slogan "Stop the war! Peace for Ukraine and all of Europe" against the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 27, 2022, in Berlin. (Photo: Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Youth climate movement Fridays for Future announced Wednesday a series of global solidarity strikes to demand an end to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and denounce fossil fuel-based economic systems they say lead to such wars.


The first such strikes are slated to take place Thursday, March 3, and have already been scheduled in over 50 cities from Warsaw, Poland to Abuja, Nigeria to Washington, D.C.


The announcement follows a plea on Tuesday from the Ukraine arm of Fridays for Future urging fellow climate activists and others opposed to the war to hit the streets Thursday to "fight for peace in our name."


In their Wednesday statement, the global group linked Russian President Vladimir Putin's current attack with the planetary crisis.


"Fossil fuel capitalism is one of the roots of this war, financing Putin's invasion, and many other conflicts and crises around the world," the group said. "That is why, during the next few weeks, we also want to call out the era of fossil fuel, capitalism, and imperialism that allows these systemic oppressions."


"We are at a critical moment," the group said, when "political leaders can take the side of people or of money, greed, and the fossil fuel industry."


Global leaders, they added, must "stop financing Putin's whims, and end the import of oil, coal, and gas from Russia" including by fully pulling the plug on the Nord Stream 2, which is set to transport Russian gas to Europe through a Baltic Sea pipeline.


In a video shared on Twitter Wednesday, Ilyess El Kortbi of Fridays for Future Ukraine echoed the group's earlier statement, saying that "we the activists are usually fighting against a climate crisis we didn't create" but "now we are in a war fueled by fossil fuels. These wars are wars for resources we no longer need."


El Kortbi called upon global activists to take part in actions Thursday "in support of peace everywhere without fossil fuels."


The planned demonstrations drew strong support from Fridays for Future Russia.


"All wars are battles for resources, including this one in Ukraine," the Russian group said. "Putin is trying to keep the status quo in which petroleum rules, but the era of fossil fuels is coming to an end."


"Societies that depend on fossil fuels provided by autocrats cannot be safe," they said, and called for "international political mobilization. Everyone worldwide should take a stand against war. There's no such thing as neutrality in war."


Antiwar activists have taken part in demonstrations in cities across the globe, including within Russia, to denounce the invasion since it began February 24.



10) Don't Be a Tankie: How the Left Should Respond to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

By Roane Carey

—The Intercept, March 1, 2022

A convoy of Russian military vehicles moving towards border in Donbas region
A convoy of Russian military vehicles drives through Rostov, Russia, toward eastern Ukraine on Feb. 23, 2022. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

WITH RUSSIA’S MASSIVE invasion of Ukraine from three directions, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems determined to overthrow Ukraine’s government and install a puppet regime. If he persists in this mad act of imperial aggression, it will be catastrophic not only for Ukraine but for Russia and all of Europe — and maybe even the entire world. With his forces encircling Kyiv but bogged down after five days of heavy combat, Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on alert.


If you identify as a leftist, wherever you live and whatever your nationality, your duty now is to stand by the people of Ukraine as they resist Russian state terrorism — and to stand by those thousands of Russian citizens courageously protesting the war in dozens of cities across their country. If you opposed the criminal U.S. attack on Iraq in 2003, then you must oppose this criminal attack on Ukraine. Not just consistency, but a minimal degree of decency and human solidarity requires it. Putin’s war is a blatant violation of international law against an independent country that posed no threat to Russia.


Solidarity with the oppressed — regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, and so on — must be the driving force of leftist politics if they are to have any ethical value. Unfortunately, a small but loud faction that claims to be on the left and to be anti-imperialist has for years backed deeply oppressive dictatorships around the world, from Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who declared war against his own people, to the Chinese government, which has forcibly detained up to a million Turkic Muslims in internment camps, to Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, who abandoned the left many years ago and now rules over his country as a right-wing dictator.


These pseudo-leftists — sometimes called “tankies,” a name deriving from an earlier generation of Western leftists who backed the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 — also defend Russia’s behavior today. Other commentators like Gilbert Achcar and Dan La Botz have explained this crowd’s origins in detail, but the key element in the tankie mindset is the simple-minded assumption that only the U.S. can be imperialist, and thus any country that opposes the U.S. must be supported. As author and human rights activist Leila Al-Shami put it several years ago, “The pro-fascist left seems blind to any form of imperialism that is non-western in origin. It combines identity politics with egoism. Everything that happens is viewed through the prism of what it means for westerners — only white men have the power to make history.”


WHAT THE TANKIES fail to acknowledge is that Putin’s regime is as deeply reactionary socially as it is repressive politically. That’s why right-wing extremists in western Europe and the U.S., including Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon, have applauded him, and why neo-Nazis have celebrated him as the savior of the white race. In supporting Putin, the tankies are in league with the far right.


Like American leaders when they engage in imperial ventures, Putin does not see his invasion as an illegal war. In a long, potted essay last summer, he argued that the two countries are “one people, a single whole” and criticized Lenin’s establishment of the Soviet Union as a federation of equal republics with each having the right of secession. Russia, Putin claimed, “was robbed” by the Bolsheviks. He wrote that the “true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia.” The message could not have been clearer: Ukraine has no right to genuine independence; it belongs to Russia. This policy toward Ukraine is more reminiscent of 19th-century Great Russian chauvinism than anything else.


Putin heightened the rhetoric to fever pitch after ordering Russia’s “special military operation.” He absurdly accused Ukraine of committing “genocide” in regions of eastern Ukraine where the Russian language dominates and separatists have a foothold. Putin called Ukraine’s government a “junta” led by a “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis,” and he declared that the goal of the invasion was to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.” Ukraine led by Nazis? The president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who was elected in 2019 by a landslide, is a Jew whose relatives were murdered in the Holocaust. Though there are fascist militias in Ukraine, just as there are in the U.S. and other Western countries, Ukrainians have repeatedly and decisively rejected neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists at the polls.


Responsibility for this war rests with Russia and Russia alone. But that should not obscure the fact that NATO, led by Washington, laid the groundwork for confrontation with a series of missteps after the breakup of the Soviet Union, provocations that fueled Russian resentment and fears of Western encirclement. First came the ill-advised expansion of NATO in the late 1990s, which was criticized not only by the left, but by a long and impressive list of former establishment cold warriors, including George Kennan, Richard Pipes, Sam Nunn, and many more. Western leaders had an opportunity to reorder the European security architecture in a way that included Russia at the highest levels after the fall of the Soviet Union. Instead, led by President Bill Clinton, they committed to the eastward expansion of NATO, an organization built on the premise of confrontation with Russia.


Even more misguided was the Western vow in 2008 to include Ukraine and Georgia in NATO. As Anatol Lieven, a Russia specialist at the Quincy Institute, put it in a recent interview: “We never had the slightest intention of defending Ukraine, not the slightest.” NATO’s declaration, he said, was “deeply immoral” for its hollowness. President Joe Biden’s current CIA Director William Burns, a veteran Russia expert formerly at the State Department, has long argued against both of those provocations, most recently in a memoir published just a few years ago. Even New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, that popinjay of pompous platitudes and parrot of establishment opinion, noted that, in this unfolding disaster, “America and NATO are not just innocent bystanders.”


What now? We must demand a full and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, and we must insist that the United States and NATO keep to their repeated public vows not to get directly involved militarily. Some of the sanctions may do more harm to the Russian people than to their government; the freezing of the government’s foreign bank reserves could bring the entire Russian economy to its knees. But freezing the money secretly stashed overseas by wealthy Russians — which some economists estimate could amount to as much as 85 percent of the country’s GDP — would be a good way to narrowly target Putin and the oligarchs surrounding him.


For the left, solidarity with Ukrainians under Russian siege is just as vital as solidarity with Palestinians suffering under Israeli apartheid, Yemenis being bombed by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, or any other people fighting oppressive regimes. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.



11) We Need International Working-Class Solidarity
Speech at protest in the UK against Russian invasion of Ukraine
By Marxist Student Federation Representative

"I’m here today because I grew up in Ukraine, I have family in Ukraine, and I’m here to plead for an end to the war. 

"My mother had to flee for days to get across the border. I have family that is still there organizing support for refugees, doing their best to help their fellow working people. 

Because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Because right now the real losers are the working class, in Ukraine and in Russia:

·      The working class and the rank-and-file in both armies who are being sent to the slaughter. 

·      The working class in Ukraine who are caught in the crossfire. 

·      The working class in Russia who are suffering under extreme Western sanctions. 

"The only winners here are the ruling classes on both sides, the war profiteers, the oil executives, who are making windfall profits, and the imperialists in Russia and in NATO who are bent on consolidating their power and furthering their spheres of influence. 

·      What we need is international working-class solidarity.

·      What we need is to stand with the Russian working class who are standing against Putin. 

·      What we need is to follow their example: THE ENEMY IS AT HOME! 

·      What we need is to stand up to the NATO hypocrites who cry fake tears while doing nothing but inflaming the situation. 

·      What we need is to stand up to the billionaires who are thriving off of this tragedy. 

·      What we need is an end to the exploitative capitalist system which makes this kind of tragedy inevitable. What we need is socialism. 

·      What we need is communism. 

"If you believe that, if you agree, join the Marxist Society.

Forward to the revolution, comrades. Solidarity forever.”

Via Facebook and Tik Tok, March 2, 2022



12) Officer Acquitted of Endangering Breonna Taylor’s Neighbors in Raid

Brett Hankison, the only officer who was charged after the police raid, fired 10 bullets into Ms. Taylor’s apartment. Three pierced a wall and flew into another apartment where a family slept.

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, March 3, 2022

Brett Hankison was acquitted of all charges on Thursday. Testifying a day earlier, he said he had not done anything wrong and thought his fellow officers were under fire.
Brett Hankison was acquitted of all charges on Thursday. Testifying a day earlier, he said he had not done anything wrong and thought his fellow officers were under fire. Credit...Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

The only officer to be charged for his actions during the fatal police raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment was found not guilty on Thursday of endangering three of Ms. Taylor’s neighbors by firing bullets into their home during the botched operation.


Jurors acquitted the former officer, Brett Hankison, whose bullets did not strike anyone, on all three counts of wanton endangerment after deliberating for about three hours.


Mr. Hankison, a longtime detective for the Police Department in Louisville, Ky., testified that he had taken part in as many as 1,000 raids during his police career but said that he had never fired his gun while on duty until the March 2020 raid, during which another officer fatally shot Ms. Taylor.


The killing of Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency room technician, was among several police killings that set off a wave of protests across the country in 2020. The demonstrations were particularly sustained in Louisville, where activists protested for more than 100 days in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to persuade the Kentucky attorney general to file charges against the officers who shot Ms. Taylor.


The acquittal of Mr. Hankison comes after several high-profile convictions of police officers elsewhere in the country, including three former Minneapolis police officers who were convicted last month of violating George Floyd’s rights by failing to intervene as a fourth officer fatally knelt on his neck. In December, a jury convicted a police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minn., who had been charged with manslaughter for killing a man during a traffic stop when she mistakenly fired her gun at him instead of her Taser.


Mr. Hankison’s lawyer, Stew Mathews, praised the jury’s verdict on Thursday.


“I think it’s a good day, finally, for law enforcement,” Mr. Mathews said, though he noted that federal investigators were still scrutinizing the raid and could bring separate charges if warranted. The F.B.I. office in Louisville has been investigating Ms. Taylor’s death since May 2020, and the Justice Department is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the city’s Police Department.


After Thursday’s verdict, a spokesman for the bureau said it was continuing to work with the Justice Department “to determine what, if any, federal charges are warranted.”


He called for a ban of “no-knock” warrants that allow police to raid a home without announcing themselves; in Ms. Taylor’s case, a judge initially signed off on that kind of warrant but the orders were later changed to require that police knock and identify themselves.


The verdict was also condemned by Jeff Sexton, a lawyer for the neighbors whose apartment was hit by Mr. Hankison’s bullets, who called the jury’s decision a “knee-jerk, emotional verdict.” He said they could not have adequately considered the evidence in three hours.


Had there been more thorough consideration, he said, “There’s no way that that jury approves of a cop firing wildly, after midnight, into the side of an apartment building.”


The police had a warrant to raid Ms. Taylor’s apartment in search of evidence that her former boyfriend had been selling drugs, but the warrant was based on shoddy surveillance and officers believed that Ms. Taylor would be alone at home. Instead, she was asleep in bed with her current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.


Officers banged on the door and later told investigators that they had identified themselves as police officers, though Mr. Walker said he and Ms. Taylor did not hear them say anything. When the officers rammed open the apartment door, Mr. Walker said, he believed that they were intruders. He fired a shot from his handgun toward the doorway, striking an officer in the thigh.


Two police officers immediately returned fire, spraying the apartment with bullets and striking Ms. Taylor.


As the first two officers fired, Mr. Hankison ran away from the doorway to the side of the building and fired 10 shots into Ms. Taylor’s apartment through a window and sliding-glass door. Three of the bullets traveled through Ms. Taylor’s apartment and into a neighboring unit where a pregnant woman, her boyfriend and her 5-year-old son had been sleeping.


The woman, Chelsey Napper, testified at trial that it felt as if bullets were “flying everywhere” as she frantically went to check on her son and cowered with him on the floor. The bullets struck Ms. Napper’s kitchen table, a wall and a glass patio door.


Mr. Hankison testified that when he heard the 22 bullets fired by his two fellow officers, he mistakenly thought they were engaged in a gunfight with someone inside the apartment; he also wrongly interpreted the sound of the handgun fired by Mr. Walker as coming from a much more dangerous semiautomatic rifle. He said he believed that someone was firing at the officers as they tried to help the officer who had been shot in the leg.


“I knew they were trying to get to him, and it appeared to me that they were being executed with this rifle,” Mr. Hankison said.


The police chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department fired Mr. Hankison three months after the raid, saying he had violated department policy by shooting “blindly” into the apartment through the window and door, which were covered by blinds. Mr. Hankison testified that he had fired after seeing muzzle flashes illuminate the window, not knowing that they were coming from the officers’ weapons.


The attorney general’s office, which led the prosecution of Mr. Hankison, did not pursue charges against either of the officers whose bullets struck Ms. Taylor, Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. Mr. Cosgrove, who the F.B.I. said fired the fatal shot, was eventually fired from the department, as was a detective who prepared the search warrant. Mr. Mattingly, the officer whom Mr. Walker shot, retired last year.


Hours after Mr. Hankison was acquitted, about 50 protesters gathered in Jefferson Square Park, the nucleus of the city’s protest movement in 2020. Leaders expressed outrage, saying that the system unfairly protects police officers, before the group marched through downtown while chanting, “We won’t let this go.”


In closing arguments on Thursday, Mr. Mathews, the lawyer for Mr. Hankison, sought to shift blame for what happened partly to Mr. Walker, who he said was the “common denominator” of the case because he had fired at the officers as they entered the apartment.


In response, Mr. Hankison “did what he thought he had to do in that instant,” the lawyer said. Mr. Mathews reiterated that Mr. Hankison did not know there was another apartment behind Ms. Taylor’s that his bullets might reach. He said jurors could not find Mr. Hankison guilty if he did not know about that risk.


The crime of “wanton endangerment,” a felony, required jurors to find that Mr. Hankison “wantonly” did something to create a substantial danger of death or serious injury to the neighbors and did so with “extreme indifference to the value of human life.”


In the prosecution’s closing argument, Barbara Whaley, an assistant attorney general, focused on the fear that Ms. Napper felt with her family while hiding in the apartment. She said it would have been “obvious” to Mr. Hankison that there was an apartment behind Ms. Taylor’s because its front door was right next to hers.


And, referring to Ms. Taylor, Ms. Whaley said that Mr. Hankison’s “wanton conduct could have multiplied her death by three.”


“By grace, they’re still alive,” she said.


Ryland Barton contributed reporting.



13) Biden Says ‘Fund the Police.’ Well, They Aren’t Exactly Strapped for Cash.

By Jamelle Bouie

Baltimore Police Department cadets after completing an Ethical Policing Is Courageous training program in February.

Baltimore Police Department cadets after completing an Ethical Policing Is Courageous training program in February. Credit...Jason Andrew for The New York Times

“We should all agree,” President Biden declared in his State of the Union address on Tuesday:


the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training. Resources and training they need to protect their communities.

It’s not hard to understand why this paragraph was in the speech. For more than a year, moderate and conservative Democrats have been in a state of panic over the impact of “defund the police” — a controversial slogan from the George Floyd protests of 2020 — on their electoral fortunes.


Despite slim evidence of any particular impact on voters and despite even slimmer evidence that defunding the police is a priority for much more than a handful of elected Democrats, anger and consternation over the slogan continues to shape political and strategic thinking in the Democratic Party.


What doesn’t, somehow, shape political and strategic thinking about law enforcement within the Democratic Party is the reality of police budgets in this country. The president’s rhetoric notwithstanding, police departments in the United States are not actually strapped for funds.


Let’s just look at the numbers. Despite some cuts, according to a 2021 analysis of police budgets in the nation’s 50 largest cities by Bloomberg CityLab, law enforcement spending as a share of general expenditures rose slightly, from 13.6 percent in 2020 to 13.7 percent in 2021, even as many cities cut spending in other areas as a result of the Covid pandemic. And out of 42 major cities where Democrats gained votes from 2016 to 2020, more than half increased police spending for fiscal year 2021. Some cities that cut spending or pledged to cut it later reversed or restored that funding.


In 2020, for example, New York City’s mayor at the time, Bill de Blasio, pledged to cut $1 billion from the Police Department’s $6 billion budget. In the end, most of these cuts did not materialize. Instead, de Blasio approved for fiscal year 2022 a $200 million increase in police spending.


City officials in Austin, Texas, embarked on a similar journey, cutting the city’s police budget during the Floyd protests, reversing those cuts the following year and then expanding the budget for law enforcement, including for more officers and more training. This year the Austin Police Department budget stands at $442 million, a record high.


Last year, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, proposed an $11.2 billion budget that increased funding for the L.A.P.D., from $1.71 billion for fiscal year 2021 to $1.76 billion for fiscal year 2022. In Baltimore, likewise, police funding grew to $555 million for 2022, a $28 million increase from the previous fiscal year.


Yes, since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in violent crime. It has been happening everywhere, in big cities and small towns, in Democratic strongholds and Republican ones. At the same time, there is no real relationship between crime rates and police budgets. As Philip Bump observed for The Washington Post in 2020, “More spending in a year hasn’t significantly correlated to less crime or to more crime. For violent crime, in fact, the correlation between changes in crime rates and spending per person in 2018 dollars is almost zero.”


And even if there were a connection, it is not as if there has been a peace dividend for crime. Cities spend big on police when crime is up, and they spend big on police when crime is down. They spend big when police solve crimes, and they spend big when they don’t. In 2020 the Miami-Dade Police Department — one of the largest in the country — resolved (or cleared) just over 40 percent of the violent crimes reported in its jurisdiction. Commit a violent crime in Miami-Dade County and you had a roughly 6 in 10 chance of not being caught, at least that year. Despite that low clearance rate — despite a decade of low clearance rates — the budget for the Miami-Dade Police Department has only increased, reaching nearly $800 million for this fiscal year, up from $765 million for 2021 and $707 million for 2020.


In short, there is no pressing, national need for greater police funding. If anything, police departments and their allies have skillfully used anxiety over “defund” to successfully lobby for even larger budgets, despite the striking inability of many police departments to solve crimes and clear murders.


There does remain, however, a pressing, national need for police accountability. In theory, the police are subordinate to elected officials. In practice, police departments in many areas exist beyond democratic control. That’s especially true in states where police contracts and state law make it difficult, if not impossible, to remove bad or abusive officers from their jobs.


In Oakland, Calif., for example, police simply ignored a 2018 ordinance that placed limits on police use of surveillance technology. In Asheville, N.C., the prospect of accountability for bad actors in the police department led to an exodus of officers from the force. When, in 2014, de Blasio expressed sympathy for the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the N.Y.P.D., the city’s police officers went on the offensive against him, as if this were an unacceptable breach of conduct.


In other words, Biden’s pledge to “fund the police” is divorced from the actual circumstances of police funding in the United States. It is a solution to a problem that does not exist. Worse, if Congress acts on this pledge and provides more money for cops, it will be funneling money to police departments that hold the people they serve — and the elected leaders they presumably serve under — in contempt.


The most memorable images from the protests of 2020 were those of civil unrest, but we should not forget the extent to which those protests were marked by police unrest as well. Police drove vehicles into crowds, assaulted peaceful bystanders, pepper-sprayed cooperative protesters and attacked journalists with so-called nonlethal rounds.


In one particularly egregious example of misconduct, police in Portsmouth, Va., charged a state senator and several public defenders with felonies over the protests in that city and then served a summons on the vice mayor, who had called for the police chief’s resignation.


Few police officers are held accountable for killings. Even fewer have to answer for more common forms of abuse and bad behavior. And too many cops act with impunity, as if they were above the laws that govern the rest of us. We don’t need to fund the police (American law enforcement has more than its fair share of cash); we need to control them.



14) Who Should Be Allowed to Transition?

By Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, March 4, 2022

Mx. Marzano-Lesnevich writes extensively on transgender issues and is the author of a forthcoming memoir about nonbinary identities.

Hayley Wall

Two and a half years ago, I sat in a medical waiting room nervously rehearsing my reason for seeing the nurse practitioner. The words I needed to say to her — that I was transgender and wanted her help medically transitioning — I had once promised myself not to say to anyone. I thought I’d keep this part of my identity my deepest secret, one I’d known since childhood but would never reveal.


Back then, I wouldn’t have even known how to reveal it, what words to use — I only sensed that I wasn’t the girl everyone assumed me to be and that I wasn’t quite a boy like my twin brother, either. I had vivid dreams in which I could change the shape of my body, dreams from which I woke up heartbroken. I didn’t know how to articulate who I was or imagine a world in which others could truly see me. I only knew who I wasn’t.


As the decades went by, I found language that helped me articulate my nonbinary identity, language that led me to a community. I became more secure, more certain, more comfortable. I noticed a pattern: The more out I was, the more openly myself and recognized as such, the happier I became. I started to believe that a different life might be possible, one in which my body and my experience in the world more closely aligned with my self-knowledge. I decided I wanted to begin hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, which is how I had come to be in that waiting room, whose taupe walls were lined with photographs of the medical providers, smiling with stethoscopes slung around their necks.


Recently, conservative politicians have whipped up fears that doctors are agreeing too readily to treat people, particularly young people, for gender dysphoria. On Feb. 21, Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas released a formal opinion declaring that under state law, gender-affirming medical care for transgender children — including nonpermanent options like puberty blockers — is considered child abuse. The next day, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a letter calling on teachers, doctors and other professionals to report parents who provide their transgender children with gender-affirming care. One investigation has already begun. Hundreds of new bills introduced nationally in the past few years seek to criminalize care for transgender children, and based on a January report by the Human Rights Campaign, hundreds more appear to be coming.


How best to support transgender kids is an important question, but there is no good evidence that they are being rushed into treatment. In fact, in many parts of the country, it is difficult even for adults to locate and get good care.


Where I lived in Maine made doing so possible. The clinic I chose operated under what’s known as the self-ID or informed consent model, which emphasizes trust in a trans person’s self-knowledge. Medical providers offer assistance and expertise, but they begin by listening. As a result, my own attestation that I was transgender turned out to be all I needed to get HRT. I was, to put it simply, believed.


My experience is far from the norm. Many, perhaps most, insurance companies in the United States insist that patients seeking gender-affirming medical care undergo lengthy assessments by medical providers to ascertain whether they’re “truly” trans. This model is known as medical gatekeeping. These assessments sound like they’re intended to protect the patient, but in practice they too often come down to a provider’s own ideas about transgender people, including racial and class biases. Black and brown trans people, particularly trans women, continue to face greater barriers to care. In surveys, doctors repeatedly indicate that they have little if any formal training in transgender health. They express frustration that any transgender issues are often collapsed into a few general L.G.B.T.Q. lectures, leaving many unprepared to conduct assessments regarding gender identity. Yet their conclusions are still prioritized by insurers over a patient’s self-knowledge.


That gender-affirming health care saves lives is clear: A 2018 literature review by Cornell University concluded that 93 percent of studies found that transition improved transgender people’s heath outcomes, while the remaining 7 percent found mixed or null results. Not a single study in the review concluded negative impact. But in a capricious medical environment in which access to care depends not only on a patient’s resources but also on a provider’s inclinations, too many patients may be left to suffer from the suicidality, depression, substance use disorders, eating disorders and other adverse life impacts that go with untreated dysphoria.


Last June, the Biden administration moved the United States toward the self-ID model for documentation when it changed the rules for obtaining a passport: Applicants now simply select the gender marker that matches how they identify, and they will soon have the option of choosing a nonbinary X. But many more-stringent state laws are likely to remain unchanged, so a person could soon have different genders on their passport and their state-issued driver’s license or birth certificate. This bureaucratic confusion is reminiscent of the situation faced by many gay and lesbian couples for the 11 years between Massachusetts’ decision to legalize gay marriage and the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. During that time many couples were married in their home states but unmarried in the eyes of federal law.


The debate between these two schools of thought — the self-ID and gatekeeping models — lies at the heart of every argument we have about the lives of trans adults, from fights over access to gender-affirming procedures to whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete. Is someone trans because they say they are? Or does it take an outside expert to know for sure?


How the world decides this question will have huge implications for the lives of transgender people. In recent years, self-ID has become the law in about 15 countries, including Ireland, Portugal and Uruguay, and it is likely to become law in Spain, where the government approved a draft bill last June. This week, a self-ID law was introduced in the Scottish Parliament. But elsewhere, transition treatment remains more complicated to get. Despite Germany’s liberated Weimar history, its requirements are outdated and onerous. Under the country’s 40-year-old Transsexuellengesetz (“Transsexual law”) — which forces people to undergo expensive, lengthy and often demeaning tests before they can transition — the process to change one’s name and documentation can take years.


A movement to change that law is underway. In September, two openly transgender women were elected to the Bundestag as representatives of the liberal Green Party: 27-year-old Nyke Slawik and 44-year-old Tessa Ganserer, whose supporters had to vote for her under her deadname because she has declined to undergo the government’s invasive process to change it. In late November, the new coalition government, which has united the Green Party with the Social Democratic Party and the Free Democratic Party, pledged to reform the law and move to self-ID for legal name change; they also plan to create a compensation fund for transgender people who were compulsorily sterilized as recently as a decade ago.


To better understand the toll of current gatekeeping measures in Germany and around the world, I traveled to Berlin in September to interview Felicia Rolletschke, a young woman who has become one of the faces of the push for change. High above her apartment in a converted shipping container in the woods of the Atl-Treptow neighborhood of Berlin waves a transgender flag, visible from the S-Bahn trains that pass by. The flag is secured to a five-meter-tall birch branch that she found in the woods and lugged home. “I was sore for a week!” she told me, laughing, as we sat on her balcony. But it was important to her that she have it. Without the flag, her neighbors might not know she’s trans.


By the time I met Ms. Rolletschke, she was about to turn 27 and had lived openly as a woman for six years. She told me that she had known she was transgender since childhood, but having been raised in a small conservative town in southern Germany, she had never met an openly transgender person and kept her identity a secret. Until 2011, all German parents were required to give their children sex-specific names. If a child grew up and realized they wished to change their gender, they were legally required to consent first to sterilization or gender reconstruction surgery.


When Ms. Rolletschke was 17, she moved to Berlin. At 21, she began the paperwork required to transition with the help of a therapist. To start hormones, the law mandated that she first live openly as a woman for a year. This has historically (and to many transgender people, offensively) been referred to as the “real-life test” and remains a requirement to get access to surgery in parts of the United States. The requirement can be brutal, even encouraging of abuse and discrimination, because it mandates that people present as one gender without the cosmetic help of medical transition while still carrying paperwork that outs them.


Ms. Rolletschke had a sympathetic therapist who understood the dangers of the requirement and agreed to circumvent it, allowing her to start hormones, but there was still the matter of her name and legal gender. She would need two psychotherapists to vouch that she was “truly” trans to qualify for the legal name change. To be evaluated by those experts would cost her 1,600 euros, money she did not have. An aunt eventually gave her the money, causing a family rift because other relatives were not supportive.


The first interview passed uneventfully, but the second was “terrible,” Ms. Rolletschke recalls. She was judged on how she applied makeup, how she sat, how she moved. She was interrogated about her romantic and sexual history; the implication was that she was somehow less of a woman if she was romantically interested in women. Though the interviewer ultimately did not oppose Ms. Rolletschke’s ability to change her name, she seemed to be holding Ms. Rolletschke to a retrograde, even discriminatory, idea of what a woman was. Ms. Rolletschke says that when she later read the report, she saw that the interviewer had misgendered her throughout.


Far from accidental, this stereotyping was one of the early aims of the gatekeeping model: to ensure that only people who could “pass” would be allowed to transition. A successful transition, the thinking went, meant that no one would know the person was transgender. Conventional attractiveness — and gender conformity — became a proxy for successful transition, a bias that still shows up today.


But many transgender people no longer want to pass. A June study by the Williams Institute at U.C.L.A. School of Law found that some 1.2 million Americans identify as nonbinary. Not all nonbinary people identify as transgender, and not all, or even most, nonbinary or transgender people will pursue medical treatment. But many, like me, will. In my community, it’s now common for transgender people not to hide that they are transgender; many, like Rolletschke with her prominent flag, choose to be very visibly out.


Medical gatekeeping evolved not to protect the patient, but to protect the doctor, as Dr. stef shuster, an assistant professor of sociology at Michigan State University, argues in the new book “Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender.” In the 1960s, the German-born endocrinologist Harry Benjamin became the foremost doctor in the United States helping people transition, but the work was so controversial that it threatened his reputation. Dr. Benjamin and others like him realized they would need guidelines, ways of ascertaining who was legitimately trans, both to shore up their authority and to guard themselves against the specter of the fraudulent transgender person, the one who might be trying to trick them, or who was simply deluded.


Then, as now, there was little evidence of anyone making up a transgender identity. But then, as now, the fraudulent trans person was a potent, even driving, fear in the cis imagination. That fear contributed to the creation of an organization dedicated to transgender medicine, originally named after Dr. Benjamin, that would become the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), the field’s most authoritative international organization.


This spring, WPATH is expected to release a set of guidelines to help countries arrive at best practices for medical transition. The previous set of guidelines, issued in 2011 — a lifetime ago in transgender rights — noted the importance of informed consent but also advocated gatekeeping practices. WPATH’s guidelines are unenforceable, but governments and medical organizations throughout the world are heavily influenced by its recommendations. The trans community is waiting to see how much the guidelines will change. A draft version that was released in January included language that would remove the requirement of mental health assessments for adults seeking HRT, moving closer to a self-ID model, but many providers were concerned that it did not go farther.


Unsurprisingly, many of the ideas that underlie gatekeeping measures are dangerously outdated. Take the fear of regret, for example. We now know that gender-affirming health care has some of the lowest rates of regret in medicine: A 2021 systemic review of the medical literature, covering 27 studies and 7,928 transgender patients, found a regret rate of 1 percent or less. That’s substantially lower than something like weight-loss surgery: A 2019 survey found a 5 percent regret rate for gastric bypass four years after surgery and a 20 percent regret rate for gastric banding. Rolletschke told me that in the rare cases of regret she has encountered in her community, regret most commonly isn’t caused by a change in the person’s understanding of their gender identity; it’s because something with the procedure has gone medically awry — or because of the transphobia they faced after transitioning.


Gatekeeping has also been driven by a misapplication of the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Doctors have long been aware that in helping a person transition, they are sending that person out into a transphobic society. As Dr. shuster notes in “Trans Medicine,” they worried that performing surgeries and providing hormones could worsen a patient’s quality of life by resulting in visible gender nonconformity and social ostracism. An overwhelming majority of providers are cisgender, and the speculative harm of treatment may seem far more visceral to them than the well-documented and known harms of untreated gender dysphoria. The potential harm of doing something is easier to conceptualize than the harm of doing nothing — even in the face of overwhelming evidence of the latter.


All of these critiques reflect a growing awareness of the danger of substituting a provider’s idea of gender for a patient’s. As committees of physicians, psychologists and other stakeholders work on the new WPATH guidelines, they have come under escalating pressure to elevate informed consent and reduce gatekeeping for adults, and thus create greater room for patients to have their self-expression and identities recognized.


But whether the final guidelines will reflect the new consensus remains to be seen.


I am grateful every day for my experience in the nurse practitioner’s office, which opened up my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I look back now, as my voice drops further daily from testosterone and I feel more at home in my body than I ever thought was possible, and I’m thankful for what happened. But I’m also aware every day that with a different geographic location or skin color, I might have been turned away.


As we wait for the final WPATH guidelines, I often think of how I felt in 2015, as the Supreme Court prepared to rule on gay marriage. It was difficult to explain to heterosexual loved ones just how emotional and powerless I felt as I waited while nine strangers determined my future — decided whether I and people like me would be able to live and love as we are. It is difficult to explain to my cis loved ones now, who often can’t conceptualize what it feels like to be transgender, how unnerving and damaging it is to be in a system that doubts our identities.


Trusting adults to know who they are is not a radical thought. There is always a temptation to believe that history moves toward progress, yet the situation for transgender people in many countries, including this one, grows increasingly precarious and violent.


The simplest step might be the most important one: Trust us.



15) Texas Court Halts Investigation of Parents Over Care for Transgender Youth

One family was affected by the decision, but Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate certain medically accepted treatments as child abuse is still in place.

By J. David Goodman, March 2, 2022

Protesters held a march in support of transgender youth in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday.
Protesters held a march in support of transgender youth in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday. Credit...Christopher Lee for The New York Times

HOUSTON — A state court in Texas on Wednesday temporarily halted the child abuse investigation of a family providing medical treatment for its transgender 16-year-old, but allowed other investigations to continue under a contentious policy initiated last week by Gov. Greg Abbott.


Soon after, President Biden issued his first comments on the Texas policy, calling it “a cynical and dangerous campaign targeting transgender children and their parents.” He said he had directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take steps “to keep transgender children in Texas and their families safe — putting the state of Texas on notice that their discriminatory actions put children’s lives at risk.”


The intervention by the court in Austin, the state capital, came in response to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal on behalf of the parents of a transgender child who were being investigated for abuse by the Department of Family and Protective Services.


That inquiry immediately followed a directive by Mr. Abbott to conduct child abuse investigations when medically accepted treatments — including hormones or puberty-suppressing drugs, which doctors describe as gender-affirming care — are prescribed to transgender adolescents.


But the ruling on Wednesday, a temporary restraining order by Judge Amy Clark Meachum, fell short of what the groups had asked the court to do: stop such child abuse investigations altogether. They argued that the governor’s directive and the investigations by the agency broadly violated the Texas Constitution and the constitutional rights of transgender youth, as well as of their parents, and were improperly issued under state law.


The court is set to consider those arguments on March 11 and will decide whether to block the governor’s directive statewide, which would stop all related investigations or prosecutions.


Mr. Abbott’s directive followed an opinion by the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, that certain medical treatments for transgender children could be considered child abuse. The moves have had an immediate and chilling effect on the families of transgender youth in Texas, forcing some to consider halting recommended courses of medical treatment or even to leave the state. Investigations into other families have already begun, lawyers said.


The court’s ruling applied only to the family that brought the suit — identified as John and Jane Doe, the parents, and Mary Doe, their daughter — and a licensed psychologist in Houston, Dr. Megan Mooney, who is required to report suspected child abuse under Texas law. Dr. Mooney has a practice that includes transgender patients.


The court found that the family would “suffer irreparable injury” unless the state was immediately restrained from enforcing the governor’s directive. Jane Doe, an employee of the family protective agency, was placed on administrative leave after Mr. Abbott’s order. And investigators have already interviewed the family at home and sought medical records related to Mary.


The family members, Judge Meachum wrote, “face the imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, the potential loss of necessary medical care, and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.” She blocked the state from taking any adverse employment action against Ms. Doe.


And in the case of Dr. Mooney, the judge wrote that, if she followed the governor’s directive, she would have been forced to choose between criminal prosecution for not reporting abuse, or potential civil liability for not treating patients “in accordance with professional standards and loss of licensure for failing to follow her professional ethics.”


Though the ruling was limited, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that the message had been clear: The state’s investigation had “put the Doe family at incredible harm,” said Karen Loewy, senior counsel for Lambda Legal. “It would be pretty unconscionable for the agency to continue investigations when that’s the assessment,” she added.


Ms. Loewy said she thought the state was unlikely to appeal the temporary restraining order given its limited scope. “It would be extraordinary, and incredibly punitive for the state to appeal when at the moment the only relief is to the parties,” she said in an interview on Wednesday evening.


Soon after, the state, represented by the attorney general’s office, appealed the ruling.


A spokeswoman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


But in a call with reporters earlier on Wednesday, the top strategist for Mr. Abbott’s re-election campaign, David Carney, said that being against medical treatment for transgender children, and treating it as child abuse, was a “winning issue” for the governor. Mr. Abbott is running for a third term in November.


“That is a 75 to 80 percent winner,” Mr. Carney said. “This is why the Democrats across the country are out of touch.”