Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, September 9, 2022








Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice Demands Release of Political Prisoner

By Stephanie Pavlick and Kit Baril

Minneapolis, Minnesota – On September 1, Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice departed from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march will pass through multiple cities, finally ending in Washington, DC on November 14. Rallies and prayer sessions will be held along the route. The walk is being coordinated by the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council to demand elder Leonard Peltier’s release from federal prison.


Leonard Peltier’s fight for justice

Leonard Peltier has been unjustly held as a political prisoner by the U.S. government for over 46 years, making him one of the world’s longest incarcerated political prisoners. He is the longest held Native American political prisoner in the world. Peltier was wrongly convicted and framed for a shooting at Oglala on June 26, 1975.


At the time, members of the Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were being endlessly terrorized and targeted by paramilitaries led by the corrupt, U.S.-government backed tribal chairman Dick Wilson. 64 people were killed by these paramilitaries between 1973 and 1975. The Lakota people called on the American Indian Movement (AIM) for protection, and Peltier answered the call. During the night of June 26, 1975, plainclothes FBI officers raided the AIM encampment at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A shootout ensued, and two FBI officers, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and one Native man, Joe Stuntz, were left dead.


In the ridiculous trial that followed, the two other Native defendants, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler, were completely exonerated. Peltier, on the other hand, was used to make an example. The FBI coerced a statement from a Native woman who had never met Peltier at the time she gave her statement. This false evidence was used to extradite Peltier from Canada, where he had fled after the shootout, and is used to imprison Peltier to this day.


The struggle continues

Leonard’s true “crime” is daring to fight back against the everyday oppression Native people face under the imperialist regime of the United States. Growing up on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Leonard lived through the U.S. government’s genocidal programs to forcibly assimilate Native peoples. Recently, Peltier opened up about his experiences in the Wahpeton Indian School. This was one of many boarding schools used to brutalize Native children into leaving behind their culture. Children were beaten constantly, especially for practicing any portions of their culture or speaking their language. Many didn’t make it out alive. This was part of the U.S. government‘s larger policy of intensifying attacks on the sovereignty of the First Nations. These experiences, among many more, led Peltier to become a member of the American Indian Movement to continue the fight back against genocide of Native peoples.


Peltier is a lifelong liberation fighter who has sacrificed immensely for the movement. He is also a 77-year-old elder with numerous chronic health problems, exacerbated by his fight with COVID earlier this year. Despite his innocence and health problems, the U.S. government has refused repeated calls for clemency for Peltier. Throughout his years of imprisonment, many have demanded Peltier’s freedom, including Nelson Mandela and, most recently, a UN Human Rights Council working group.


The time for Leonard Peltier to finally be released from prison is now. Join the fight  to free Leonard Peltier, and to free all political prisoners!


There are many ways to support the march and strengthen the call to free Peltier. These include:


·      Joining all or part of the walk

·      Joining a rally

·      Sponsoring the caravan with a hot prepared meal

·      Dry food donations

·      Hosting lodging/camping

·      Driving a support vehicle

·      Raising awareness of Peltier’s cause locally

·      Promoting the caravan and rally

Monetary donations (can be sent via PayPal here)

Those interested in volunteering with the caravan can sign up here.


Learn more about Leonard Peltier and his case here:



Liberation News, September 3, 2022












We demand that ALL "illegal abortion" charges against Madison County, Nebraska women be dropped


In Madison County, Nebraska, two women- one the mother of a pregnant teenager who was a minor at the time of her pregnancy and is being charged as an adult- are facing prosecution for self managing an abortion. In an outrageous violation of civil liberties, Facebook assisted the police and county attorney in this case by turning over communication between the daughter and her mother regarding obtaining abortion pills which is not illegal in Nebraska. The prosecutor has used this information to charge the daughter, her mother, and a male friend who assisted them after the fact with illegal abortion along with additional trumped up charges of "concealing a body."


We demand that ALL charges be dropped against all three of them and we ask that you call the office of Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith at 402-454-3311 Ext. 206 with the following:


"I am calling to demand that all charges against Jessica Burgess, her daughter, and their friend be dropped. In your own words- no charges like this have ever been brought before. That is because criminalizing abortion is unjust and unconstitutional. We will not stand for any charges being brought against any pregnant person for the outcome of their pregnancy OR anyone who assists that pregnant person. Drop all charges NOW."


You can also email County Attorney Smith here.


If you pledged to #AidAndAbetAbortion- NOW is the time to stand up for these women in Nebraska as this could be any of us in the future.


About NWL


National Women's Liberation (NWL) is a multiracial feminist group for women who want to fight male supremacy and gain more freedom for women. Our priorities are abortion and birth control, overthrowing the double day, and feminist consciousness-raising.


NWL meetings are for women and tranpeople who do not benefit from male supremacy because we believe we should lead the fight for our liberation. In addition, women of color meet separately from white women in Women of Color Caucus (WOCC) meetings to examine their experiences with white supremacy and how it intersects with male supremacy to oppress women of color.


Learn more at womensliberation.org.


Questions? Email nwl@womensliberation.org for more info.



No to red-baiting in the reproductive justice movement


National Radical Women statement 

By Nga Bui, NYC


At a time when a united mass movement to defend reproductive justice is needed more than ever, NYC for Abortion Rights and nearly two dozen organizations have chosen to launch an anti-communist attack against one of the most visible activist groups, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights.  Radical Women, a veteran socialist feminist organization with decades of experience in the movement for reproductive justice, denounces this dangerous game of divide and conquer.


The “Statement Against RiseUp4AbortionRights” – signed by NYC for Abortion Rights, United Against Racism & Fascism NYC, Brooklyn People’s March, Shout Your Abortion, The Jane Fund, Chicago Abortion Fund, Chicago DSA Socialist Feminist Working Group and others – deplores Rise Up’s connections to the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). It labels this well-known fixture on the Left as a personality cult. It accuses both Rise Up and RCP of using pyramid schemes to raise money and exploitative methods to recruit.  These unsubstantiated claims are bolstered by other “crimes”: wearing white pants stained with fake blood, holding die-ins, using coat-hanger imagery, and describing forced pregnancy as “female enslavement.” The Statement calls on “repro groups to now unite in discrediting Rise Up publicly” and demand that “the group step back from pro-abortion spaces.” This divisive attack is like a dog-whistle to corporate media, which is crawling all over the issue in coverage from Daily Beast and The Intercept.


Imperfect as Rise Up may be, the reality is the group has been out front nationally in defense of abortion – though not the only group as they have claimed. It has consistently organized protests and used audacious tactics such as unfurling huge banners at sports events to draw media attention to the issue. It has broadened its messaging after being criticized that its single-issue focus on women having abortions was transphobic and limiting. Its green wave imagery is omnipresent and its anti-capitalist message is spot-on. Its boldness has resonated with youth.


Truth be told, it has been largely the Left, including Radical Women, that organized rallies, speak outs, marches, and protests throughout last year to draw attention to the impending Supreme Court debacle. Meanwhile, moderate feminist organizations pushed online fundraising and waited for the Democratic Party to ride to the rescue.


One has to think that some of the venom expressed in the Statement is from groups that did much less than Rise Up and may begrudge its appeal to young people. Others may be driven to undermine the influence of the Left in the movement overall. How condescending it is for them to demand that Rise Up disappear rather than trust young supporters to reach their own conclusions about whether Rise Up’s strategies work in the long run.  


Radical Women initiated the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice a year ago in order to build the kind of coalition effort we think is urgently needed to preserve abortion and achieve full reproductive justice. The Mobilization has attracted feminist groups, grassroots organizations, unions, radicals, and individuals coming together in common cause. Though Rise Up in many instances put itself in competition with actions announced by the Mobilization, we managed to work cooperatively with it in various cities, including in NYC. Rather than demanding political conformity, we believe in respectfully debating differences. With the right wing intensifying its attacks on the most vulnerable, a united front of working-class organizations is essential to pushing them back.


Red-baiting, smearing people or groups for their radical associations, is not acceptable in the movement. It needs to be stopped before it further hurts the very women, people of color, non-binary, trans and poor folks looking to find a channel for their rage as their rights are stripped away. There’s no denying that those of us fighting for abortion rights and reproductive justice will have differences of opinions. It is essential we learn to work together with mutual respect instead of excluding, silencing and witch-hunting one another. Organizations and independent activists can unite around issues while maintaining our differences. The future of reproductive justice and all social movements depends on it.

Radical Women, August 2, 2022








The unprecedented massive fire at the Supertanker Base in Matanzas province has not abated. Dozens of people have suffered burns, 16 firefighters are still missing, and thousands are evacuated. Heroic efforts by firefighters and civil defense are 24/7.


Supplies are urgently needed to save the lives of the burn and other victims affected by the fire. The Hatuey Project is working to provide some of the most critical supplies for burn and other patients.


Please make a monetary donation so we can buy medical items in bulk and ship immediately to Matanzas.


Cuba has been through so much during the time of pandemic. Despite a heroic and successful campaign to vaccinate virtually all of Cuba from COVID, this summer has been particularly taxing for all of Cuba. Now the fire has added to the hardship.


Please click here to make a donation to The Hatuey Project for Matanzas Relief. Every donation to Hatuey is tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, The Alliance for Global Justice.


On behalf of The Hatuey Project, we thank you.


Nadia Marsh, MD, Assoc. Prof. of Clinical Medicine

Simon Ma, MD, MPH, Family Medicine

Rachel Viqueira, MHS, Epidemiologist

Brian Becker, Executive Director, ANSWER Coalition

Gloria La Riva, coordinator, Hatuey Project




We are health providers and social justice activists concerned about the harmful effects of the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba. We have inaugurated this medical aid project to extend solidarity to the Cuban people, with the procurement of vital medicines and medical equipment.


Cuba has already shown that its remarkable health care and scientific/biotech systems are fully capable of serving the 11+ million people on the island, providing excellent quality, universal and free care to everyone. But more than 240 measures by the Trump administration that turned the screws even further on Cuba’s people — in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — have created a truly difficult situation for the people. We have already taken part in direct delivery of vital medicines over the last year, and we aim to do much more.


We invite you to join in our project in any way you can: With your monetary contribution, as well as helping procure major donations from pharmaceuticals and other medical providers. We are fully volunteer; all of the donations we receive will go strictly to acquire medical aid. Shipping costs will be held to the utmost minimum. The Hatuey Project is fiscally sponsored by the Alliance For Global Justice, so all donations are tax-deductible. Join our effort today!








Donkey Punch, Mr. Fish



Doctors for Assange Statement


Doctors to UK: Assange Extradition

‘Medically & Ethically’ Wrong 



Ahead of the U.K. Home Secretary’s decision on whether to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, a group of more than 300 doctors representing 35 countries have told Priti Patel that approving his extradition would be “medically and ethically unacceptable”.


In an open letter sent to the Home Secretary on Friday June 10, and copied to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the doctors draw attention to the fact that Assange suffered a “mini stroke” in October 2021. They note:


“Predictably, Mr Assange’s health has since continued to deteriorate in your custody. In October 2021 Mr. Assange suffered a ‘mini-stroke’… This dramatic deterioration of Mr Assange’s health has not yet been considered in his extradition proceedings. The US assurances accepted by the High Court, therefore, which would form the basis of any extradition approval, are founded upon outdated medical information, rendering them obsolete.”


The doctors charge that any extradition under these circumstances would constitute negligence. They write:


“Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else. Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome.”


In their letter the group reminds the Home Secretary that they first wrote to her on Friday 22 November 2019, expressing their serious concerns about Julian Assange’s deteriorating health.


Those concerns were subsequently borne out by the testimony of expert witnesses in court during Assange’s extradition proceedings, which led to the denial of his extradition by the original judge on health grounds. That decision was later overturned by a higher court, which referred the decision to Priti Patel in light of US assurances that Julian Assange would not be treated inhumanely.


The doctors write:


“The subsequent ‘assurances’ of the United States government, that Mr Assange would not be treated inhumanly, are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution and plotted murder of Mr Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism.”


They conclude:


“Home Secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time. Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him.”


Julian Assange remains in High Security Belmarsh Prison awaiting Priti Patel’s decision, which is due any day.



Sign the petition:


If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".

Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”

Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”

The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.

The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." 

The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.

The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.



Dear friends, 

Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)

Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus 

• a petition you can sign

• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom

• a Donate button to support his campaign

• a link to our campaign website. 

Please take a moment and help. 

Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.

Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar: 


Here is the Facebook link:


Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:


Write to Governor Newsom’s office:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


U.S. Air Force veteran, Daniel Everette Hale has recently completed his first year of a 45-month prison sentence for exposing the realities of U.S drone warfare. Daniel Hale is not a spy, a threat to society, or a bad faith actor. His revelations were not a threat to national security. If they were, the prosecution would be able to identify the harm caused directly from the information Hale made public. Our members of Congress can urge President Biden to commute Daniel's sentence! Either way, Daniel deserves to be free.





Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







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.



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



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”



The Moment

By Margaret Atwood*


The moment when, after many years 

of hard work and a long voyage 

you stand in the centre of your room, 

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 

knowing at last how you got there, 

and say, I own this, 


is the same moment when the trees unloose 

their soft arms from around you, 

the birds take back their language, 

the cliffs fissure and collapse, 

the air moves back from you like a wave 

and you can't breathe. 


No, they whisper. You own nothing. 

You were a visitor, time after time 

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. 

We never belonged to you. 

You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.


*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!



Union Membership—2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Department of Labor

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022

Technical information: 

(202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps

Media contact: 

(202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov

In 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions continued to decline (-241,000) to 14.0 million, and the percent who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The rate is down from 10.8 percent in 2020—when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate is the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2021 data:

• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.1 percent). (See table 3.)

• The highest unionization rates were among workers in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). (See table 3.)

• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.6 percent) than women (9.9 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)

• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)

• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (22.4 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). (See table 5.)

Industry and Occupation of Union Members

In 2021, 7.0 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions, the same as in the private sector. (See table 3.)

Union membership decreased by 191,000 over the year in the public sector. The public-sector union membership rate declined by 0.9 percentage point in 2021 to 33.9 percent, following an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2020. In 2021, the union membership rate continued to be highest in local government (40.2 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.

The number of union workers employed in the private sector changed little over the year. However, the number of private-sector nonunion workers increased in 2021. The private-sector unionization rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in 2021 to 6.1 percent, slightly lower than its 2019 rate of 6.2 percent. Industries with high unionization rates included utilities (19.7 percent), motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (14.7 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.2 percent), professional and technical services (1.2 percent), food services and drinking places (1.2 percent), and insurance (1.5 percent).

Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2021 were in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). Unionization rates were lowest in food preparation and serving related occupations (3.1 percent); sales and related occupations (3.3 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (3.7 percent); personal care and service occupations (3.9 percent); and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (4.0 percent).

Selected Characteristics of Union Members

In 2021, the number of men who were union members, at 7.5 million, changed little, while the number of women who were union members declined by 182,000 to 6.5 million. The unionization rate for men decreased by 0.4 percentage point over the year to 10.6 percent. In 2021, women’s union membership rate declined by 0.6 percentage point to 9.9 percent. The 2021 decreases in union membership rates for men and women reflect increases in the total number of nonunion workers. The rate for men is below the 2019 rate (10.8 percent), while the rate for women is above the 2019 rate (9.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2021 (11.5 percent) than White workers (10.3 percent), Asian workers (7.7 percent), and Hispanic workers (9.0 percent). The union membership rate declined by 0.4 percentage point for White workers, by 0.8 percentage point for Black workers, by 1.2 percentage points for Asian workers, and by 0.8 percentage point for Hispanic workers. The 2021 rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are little or no different from 2019, while the rate for Asians is lower.

By age, workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1 percent. Younger workers—those ages 16 to 24—had the lowest union membership rate, at 4.2 percent.

In 2021, the union membership rate for full-time workers (11.1 percent) continued to be considerably higher than that for part-time workers (6.1 percent).

Union Representation

In 2021, 15.8 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union, 137,000 less than in 2020. The percentage of workers represented by a union was 11.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2020 but the same as in 2019. Workers represented by a union include both union members (14.0 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.8 million). (See table 1.)


Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,169 in 2021, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $975. In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, these earnings differences reflect a variety of influences, including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size, or geographic region. (See tables 2 and 4.)

Union Membership by State

In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and chart 1.)

Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent).

In 2021, about 30 percent of the 14.0 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.5 million and New York at 1.7 million). However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate and median usual weekly earnings, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at: 

www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and- response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.



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) What Antarctica’s Disintegration Asks of Us

By Elizabeth Rush, Sept. 8, 2022

Ms. Rush is a fellow at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society.


The floating ice edge of the Thwaites Glacier.

The floating ice edge of the Thwaites Glacier.

On our first morning at the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, the air was eerily still. The captain of our research icebreaker, encouraged by the calm, made a bold choice: Our ship would hold close to the ice shelf so that the sonar system would peer a little ways beneath it while generating a detailed map of the seafloor. The scientists on board, along with the writers like me, were the first people in the history of the planet to visit this part of Thwaites. Our task was to bring back as much information as possible about the place where ocean and ice meet.


The mood on the ship shifted into overdrive. Sleep took a back seat to data collection as autonomous vehicles surveyed the troughs where relatively warm water pushes beneath the ice, eating away at it from below. Coring devices carried back sediment the glacier spat out the last time it retreated, and even several Weddell seals were outfitted with transponders that recorded the temperature and conductivity of the water all around the unstable glacier. Every single bit of information that came on board taught us something about Thwaites’s past and present, which would help scientists to better predict its future.


If Antarctica is going to lose a lot of ice this century, it will likely come from Thwaites. If it disintegrated, it would be responsible for over two feet of sea level rise, and its collapse could destabilize the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, causing global sea levels to jump 10 feet or more. In terms of the fate of our coastal communities, this particular glacier is the biggest wild card, the largest known unknown, the pile of coins that could tip the scales one way or another. Will Miami even exist in 100 years? Thwaites will decide.


At least that is what many scientists think, which is why Rolling Stone called Thwaites the “doomsday glacier” in 2017. But many of our predictions about just how much ice will enter the ocean from Thwaites and just how quickly this will occur are just that: predictions. That’s because before our mission, we had next to no observational data from this part of the planet, very few bits of raw information on which to base models.


When I read about the collapse of Antarctica’s great glaciers, I feel I am being encouraged to jump to a conclusion: that no matter what we do now, what lies ahead is bound to be worse than what came before.


This kind of thinking not only undermines our ability to imagine a climate-changed world that is more equitable than the one we currently live in; it also turns Antarctica into a passive symbol of the coming apocalypse. But what if we were to see Antarctica as a harbinger of transformation rather than doom? As an actor in its own right? This is why I applied to the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers program and deployed to Thwaites in 2019. I wanted to wrap my mind around something it struggled to grasp: Antarctica has the power to rewrite all our maps.


The longer we worked in the big uncharted bay right in front of Thwaites, the more we realized how rare the placid weather that first day was — how rare and how lucky. Had we not been able to chart the ice shelf’s edge, the scientists might not have been able to accomplish their most ambitious goal: to send a submarine underneath Thwaites. In addition to mapping the seabed beneath the ice, this autonomous sub gathered information about the temperature and speed of the water flowing there. Like a primary care physician taking an ailing patient’s vitals, the aim was largely diagnostic.


This week Nature Geoscience published a paper analyzing the data from that submarine. The authors, many of whom were on board the vessel with me, suggest that sometime over the past couple hundred years, Thwaites retreated at two to three times the rate we see today. Put another way: At the cold nadir of the planet, one of the world’s largest glaciers is stepping farther outside the script we imagined for it, likely defying even our most detailed projections of what is to come.


To move at a glacial pace once signified a kind of mind-numbing slowness. But now the world has fallen out of sync with the metaphor. How do we go on living when the very things we once depended upon have become undependable? This is the question that has haunted me ever since my return, the question that arises when I read the latest papers like the ones our mission produced.


As scientists begin to integrate the kinds of data we collected into their climate models, uncertainty in sea-level-rise projections will likely increase, simply because so much has been missing from these projections in the past. While what will happen in 2100 remains uncertain, what is happening all along our coastline at the moment is not.


I am not yet 40, and in my lifetime, climate change has gone from something that we thought would happen in the future to something happening now to something accelerating at such a surprising pace that it makes most of our feeble attempts to reckon with it outdated before they even get underway. This great acceleration has now reached all the way to Antarctica.


Things we used to classify as inert — ice shelves, glaciers, ice caps — are springing into action, demanding we recognize that here and there are not so distant after all. It took us nearly a month to arrive at the edge of Thwaites. By many measures, it is one of the most remote regions on earth. But despite the distance, what happens there is shaping us just as much as we are shaping it. If we can begin to recognize the agency of this faraway glacier, we will be one step closer to embracing the profound humility that climate change demands.



2) Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire

By Maya Jasanoff, Sept. 8, 2022

Ms. Jasanoff, a professor of history at Harvard, is the author of three books about the British Empire and its subjects. 


The queen in Ghana.

The queen in Ghana. Credit...Bettmann Archive, via Getty Images

“The end of an era” will become a refrain as commentators assess the record-setting reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Like all monarchs, she was both an individual and an institution. She had a different birthday for each role — the actual anniversary of her birth in April plus an official one in June — and, though she retained her personal name as monarch, held different titles depending on where in her domains she stood. She was as devoid of opinions and emotions in public as her ubiquitous handbags were said to be of everyday items like a wallet, keys and phone. Of her inner life we learned little beyond her love of horses and dogs — which gave Helen Mirren, Olivia Colman and Claire Foy rapt audiences for the insights they enacted.


The queen embodied a profound, sincere commitment to her duties — her final public act was to appoint her 15th prime minister — and for her unflagging performance of them, she will be rightly mourned. She has been a fixture of stability, and her death in already turbulent times will send ripples of sadness around the world. But we should not romanticize her era. For the queen was also an image: the face of a nation that, during the course of her reign, witnessed the dissolution of nearly the entire British Empire into some 50 independent states and significantly reduced global influence. By design as much as by the accident of her long life, her presence as head of state and head of the Commonwealth, an association of Britain and its former colonies, put a stolid traditionalist front over decades of violent upheaval. As such, the queen helped obscure a bloody history of decolonization whose proportions and legacies have yet to be adequately acknowledged.


Elizabeth became queen of a postwar Britain where sugar was still rationed and rubble from bomb damage still being cleared away. Journalists and commentators promptly cast the 25-year-old as a phoenix rising into a new Elizabethan age. An inevitable analogy, perhaps, and a pointed one. The first Elizabethan Age, in the second half of the 16th century, marked England’s emergence from a second-tier European state to an ambitious overseas power. Elizabeth I expanded the navy, encouraged privateering and granted charters to trading companies that laid the foundations for a transcontinental empire.


Elizabeth II grew up in a royal family whose significance in the British Empire had swollen even as its political authority shrank at home. The monarchy ruled an ever-lengthening list of Crown colonies, including Hong Kong (1842), India (1858) and Jamaica (1866). Queen Victoria, proclaimed empress of India in 1876, presided over flamboyant celebrations of imperial patriotism; her birthday was enshrined from 1902 as Empire Day. Members of the royal family made lavish ceremonial tours of the colonies, bestowing upon Indigenous Asian and African rulers an alphabet soup of orders and decorations. In 1947, then-Princess Elizabeth celebrated her 21st birthday on a royal tour in South Africa, delivering a much-quoted speech in which she promised that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” She was on another royal tour, in Kenya, when she learned of her father’s death.


On Coronation Day in 1953, The Times of London proudly broke the news of the first successful summiting of Mount Everest by the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and the New Zealander Edmund Hillary, calling it a “happy and vigorous augury for another Elizabethan era.” The imperialistic tenor of the news notwithstanding, Queen Elizabeth II would never be an empress in name — the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 stripped away that title — but she inherited and sustained an imperial monarchy by assuming the title of head of the Commonwealth. “The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past,” she insisted in her Christmas Day message of 1953. Its history suggested otherwise. Initially imagined as a consortium of the “white” settler colonies (championed by the South African premier Jan Smuts), the Commonwealth had its origins in a racist and paternalistic conception of British rule as a form of tutelage, educating colonies into the mature responsibilities of self-government. Reconfigured in 1949 to accommodate newly independent Asian republics, the Commonwealth was the empire’s sequel and a vehicle for preserving Britain’s international influence.


In photographs from Commonwealth leaders’ conferences, the white queen sits front and center among dozens of mostly nonwhite premiers, like a matriarch flanked by her offspring. She took her role very seriously, sometimes even clashing with her ministers to support Commonwealth interests over narrower political imperatives, like when she advocated multifaith Commonwealth Day services in the 1960s and encouraged a tougher line on apartheid South Africa.


What you would never know from the pictures — which is partly their point — is the violence that lies behind them. In 1948 the colonial governor of Malaya declared a state of emergency to fight communist guerrillas, and British troops used counterinsurgency tactics the Americans would emulate in Vietnam. In 1952 the governor of Kenya imposed a state of emergency to suppress an anticolonial movement known as Mau Mau, under which the British rounded up tens of thousands of Kenyans into detention camps and subjected them to brutal, systematized torture. In Cyprus in 1955 and Aden, Yemen, in 1963, British governors again declared states of emergency to contend with anticolonial attacks; again they tortured civilians. Meanwhile, in Ireland, the Troubles brought the dynamics of emergency to the United Kingdom. In a karmic turn, the Irish Republican Army assassinated the queen’s relative Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India (and the architect of Elizabeth’s marriage to his nephew, Prince Philip), in 1979.


We may never learn what the queen did or didn’t know about the crimes committed in her name. (What transpires in the sovereign’s weekly meetings with the prime minister remains a black box at the center of the British state.) Her subjects haven’t necessarily gotten the full story, either. Colonial officials destroyed many records that, according to a dispatch from the secretary of state for the colonies, “might embarrass Her Majesty’s government” and deliberately concealed others in a secret archive whose existence was revealed only in 2011. Though some activists such as the Labour M.P. Barbara Castle publicized and denounced British atrocities, they failed to gain wide public traction.


And there were always more royal tours for the press to cover. Nearly every year until the 2000s, the queen toured Commonwealth nations — a good bet for cheering crowds and flattering footage, her miles clocked and countries visited totted up as if they’d been heroically attained on foot rather than by royal yacht and Rolls-Royce: 44,000 miles and 13 territories to mark her coronation; 56,000 miles and 14 countries for the Silver Jubilee in 1977; an additional 40,000 miles traversing Jamaica, Australia, New Zealand and Canada for the Gold. The British Empire largely decolonized, but the monarchy did not.


During the last decades of her reign, the queen watched Britain — and the royal family — struggle to come to terms with its postimperial position. Tony Blair championed multiculturalism and brought devolution to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but he also revived Victorian imperial rhetoric in joining the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Social and regional inequality widened, and London became a haven for superrich oligarchs. Though the queen’s personal popularity rebounded from its low point after the death of Princess Diana, the royal family split over Harry and Meghan’s accusations of racism. In 1997 the queen famously shed a tear when the taxpayer-funded Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned, a few months after escorting the last British governor from Hong Kong. Boris Johnson floated the idea of building a new one.


In recent years, public pressure has been building on the British state and institutions to acknowledge and make amends for the legacies of empire, slavery and colonial violence. In 2013, in response to a lawsuit brought by victims of torture in colonial Kenya, the British government agreed to pay nearly 20 million pounds in damages to survivors; another payout was made in 2019 to survivors in Cyprus. Efforts are underway to reform school curriculums, to remove public monuments that glorify empire and to alter the presentation of historic sites linked to imperialism.


Yet xenophobia and racism have been rising, fueled by the toxic politics of Brexit. Picking up on a longstanding investment in the Commonwealth among Euroskeptics (both left and right) as a British-led alternative to European integration, Mr. Johnson’s government (with the now-Prime Minister Liz Truss as its foreign secretary) leaned into a vision of “Global Britain” steeped in half-truths and imperial nostalgia.


The queen’s very longevity made it easier for outdated fantasies of a second Elizabethan age to persist. She represented a living link to World War II and a patriotic myth that Britain alone saved the world from fascism. She had a personal relationship with Winston Churchill, the first of her 15 prime ministers, whom Mr. Johnson pugnaciously defended against well-founded criticism of his retrograde imperialism. And she was, of course, a white face on all the coins, notes and stamps circulated in a rapidly diversifying nation: From perhaps one person of color in 200 Britons at her accession, the 2011 census counted one in seven.


Now that she is gone, the imperial monarchy must end too. It’s well past time, for instance, to act on calls to rename the Order of the British Empire, a distinction that the queen has bestowed on hundreds of Britons every year for community service and contributions to public life. The queen served as head of state in more than a dozen Commonwealth realms, more of which may now follow the example of Barbados, which decided “to fully leave our colonial past behind” and become a republic in 2021. The queen’s death could also aid a fresh campaign for Scottish independence, which she was understood to oppose. Though Commonwealth leaders decided in 2018 to fulfill the queen’s “sincere wish” and recognize Prince Charles as the next head of the Commonwealth, the organization emphasizes that the role is not hereditary.


Those who heralded a second Elizabethan age hoped Elizabeth II would sustain British greatness; instead, it was the era of the empire’s implosion. She will be remembered for her tireless dedication to her job, whose future she attempted to secure by stripping the disgraced Prince Andrew of his roles and resolving the question of Queen Camilla’s title. Yet it was a position so closely linked to the British Empire that even as the world transformed around her, myths of imperial benevolence persisted. The new king now has an opportunity to make a real historical impact by scaling back royal pomp and updating Britain’s monarchy to be more like those of Scandinavia. That would be an end to celebrate.



3) Thousands of Angry Indonesians Gather to Protest Rising Fuel Prices

Labor activists, workers and students are demanding a reversal of an economic policy that the government says is necessary but remains deeply unpopular.

By Dera Menra Sijabat, Sui-Lee Wee and Muktita Suhartono, Sept. 9, 2022


Student activists in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, during a rally against higher fuel prices on Thursday.

Student activists in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, during a rally against higher fuel prices on Thursday. Credit...Achmad Ibrahim/Associated Press

JAKARTA — Thousands of protesters rallied across Indonesia this week calling for the government to reverse its first price hike on subsidized fuel in eight years, and vowing to continue demonstrations until President Joko Widodo meets their demands.


The government deployed thousands of police officers this week to control the crowds and guard gas stations across the country of 270 million. On Thursday, university students in Jakarta, the capital, clashed with the police and burned tires in front of the presidential palace. In the city of Bengkulu on Tuesday, the police deployed water cannons and tear gas on students, injuring five.


The labor activists, workers and students who are protesting want a reversal of a 30 percent increase to subsidized fuel prices that was announced last Saturday, a hike that many say is necessary but remains deeply unpopular in the Southeast Asian nation.


While the protests have been largely peaceful, they come at a sensitive time for Mr. Joko, who has been traveling the globe meeting with world leaders in advance of the Group of 20 summit, scheduled to take place in Bali later this year.


“In a week if there is no response, if the government still doesn’t care and is still deaf and blind toward the people’s suffering, the students all over Indonesia are ready to protest in much bigger numbers,” Muhammad Yuza Augusti, a student at Bogor Agriculture Institute, yelled into a microphone on a rainy Thursday.


Many analysts say that Mr. Joko will likely emerge unscathed from the protests, as he can blame the price hike on the war in Ukraine. Polls show that Mr. Joko has an approval rating of around 68 percent, dented to some extent by his decision to raise cooking oil prices earlier this year.


Yunarto Wijaya, executive director of Charta Politika, a polling agency in Indonesia, said the government should be able to push the increase through without much trouble. He pointed out that the protests have been relatively mild so far and that stocks rose after Mr. Joko announced the price hike. “To me, there’s no indicator showing a social blow on a big scale,” Mr. Yunarto said.


Still, the government may have reason to be worried.


No issue is more politically sensitive in Indonesia than fuel price increases. In 1998, after President Suharto raised prices by up to 71 percent, violent protests resulted in the deaths of 1,200 people and forced his resignation. Other leaders who followed have sought to raise prices, only to back down in the face of unrest.


Last Saturday, Mr. Joko, who is often referred to as “Jokowi” in Indonesia, told the nation in a televised speech that he had no choice but to increase prices, and that his government had already “tried its best” to keep them down.


Protesters say the move hurts the poor at a time of inflation and with the country still struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The government’s cash assistance of $10 a month until the end of the year for the poor is not enough to cushion the blow, they say.


Ten percent of Indonesians — about 27 million people — live below the official poverty line of $141 a month for a family, and cannot afford to pay more for motorcycle fuel or public transportation. Inflation was 4.7 percent in August, down from 4.9 percent in July, the highest in nearly eight years.


For decades, Indonesians have paid one of the lowest rates in the world for gasoline — the equivalent of about $2 a gallon — thanks to a government subsidy program that began under President Sukarno in the 1960s. But soaring oil prices worldwide have caused the country’s energy subsidies to triple this year, to $34 billion.


Mr. Joko had promised not to raise fuel prices until the end of the year. On Sunday, he acknowledged that car owners had benefited from more than 70 percent of the subsidies, instead of the underprivileged. He said the government is determined to shift a part of the fuel subsidy funds to “more targeted assistance.”


“The government has to make decisions in tough situations,” he said.


Some analysts have argued that Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, has kept fuel prices artificially low for too long and that the subsidies should be diverted to infrastructure projects and public works. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s finance minister, said that the current energy subsidies could be used to build thousands of hospitals, schools or roads.


Even with the fuel price increase, the government’s spending on energy subsidies will increase this year, according to Ms. Sri Mulyani.


But the protesters are not buying the government’s argument.


“The fuel price hike proves that the government doesn’t care about the people, it only cares about the national strategic projects,” said Supriadi, a protester from State Polytechnic of Jakarta, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.


Bhima Yudhistira Adinegara, director of the Center of Economics and Law Studies, a research institute in Jakarta, said some of the government’s $27 billion infrastructure budget this year could have been used for fuel subsidies. He also criticized the government for not postponing the construction of a new capital in Borneo, a project that is expected to cost roughly $32 billion.


Mr. Joko wants to be seen as “the father of development,” Mr. Bhima said.


Few Indonesians, particularly the middle class, support infrastructure projects such as moving the capital, especially when faced with high inflation, Mr. Bhima said. The fuel price increase could hurt manufacturing, investment and employment. “Social unrest is imminent,” he said.


The protesters have vowed to continue demonstrating outside the presidential palace. On Thursday, even as many of them packed up to comply with a law that requires protests in Indonesia to end by 6 p.m. daily, they were still distributing posters for future rallies.


On the wall of a half-built subway station near the presidential palace, one protester left a simple message for the president in graffiti: “Jokowi fails.”



4) Failure to Slow Warming Will Set Off Climate ‘Tipping Points,’ Scientists Say

As global warming passes certain limits, dire changes will probably become irreversible, the researchers said, including the loss of polar ice sheets and the death of coral reefs.

By Henry Fountain, Sept. 8, 2022


A pink and purple sunset is reflected in ocean waters with scattered floating ice. In the foreground, two tiny silhouetted figures stand at the water’s edge.

A summer sunset over Disko Bay in Ilulissat, Greenland. Credit...Mario Tama/Getty Images

Failure to limit global warming to the targets set by international accords will most likely set off several climate “tipping points,” a team of scientists said on Thursday, with irreversible effects including the collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, abrupt thawing of Arctic permafrost and the death of coral reefs.


The researchers said that even at the current level of warming, about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, some of these self-sustaining changes might have already begun. But if warming reached above 1.5 degrees Celsius, the more ambitious of two targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, the changes would become much more certain.


And at the higher Paris target, 2 degrees Celsius, even more tipping points would likely be set off, including the loss of mountain glaciers and the collapse of a system of deep mixing of water in the North Atlantic.


The changes would have significant, long-term effects on life on Earth. The collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, for example, would lead to unrelenting sea level rise, measured in feet, not inches, over centuries. The thawing of permafrost would release more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, hindering efforts to limit warming. A shutdown of ocean mixing in the North Atlantic could affect global temperatures and bring more extreme weather to Europe.


Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and one of the researchers, said the team had “come to the very dire conclusion that 1.5 degrees Celsius is a threshold” beyond which some of these effects would start. That makes it all the more imperative, he and others said, for nations to quickly and drastically cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to curb global warming.


The research is in line with recent assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of experts convened by the United Nations, that beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, the threats of climate change grow considerably.


“It really provides strong scientific support for rapid emission cuts in line with the Paris Agreement,” said David Armstrong McKay, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter in Britain and the lead author of a paper describing the researchers’ work, published in Science. Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees “doesn’t guarantee we don’t see tipping points,” Dr. McKay said. “But it reduces the likelihood.”


And as with the U.N. panel’s assessments, overshooting the 1.5 degree target does not mean all is lost. “Every 10th of a degree counts,” Dr. Rockström said. “So 1.6 is better than 1.7 and so on” in reducing the tipping-point risks.


Countries have not pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to meet either Paris target, although the climate and energy legislation passed by Congress last month moves the United States much closer to its own goals. Current policies put the world on pace for nearly 3 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century. At that level of warming, even more tipping points would be set off, the researchers said.


The concept of climate tipping points has been around for decades. But it has also been accompanied by a high degree of uncertainty and debate, including about the threshold temperatures beyond which some changes would begin, and whether some of these events even meet the definition of changes that would be self-sustaining no matter what happens with future warming.


A major study in 2008 identified more than a dozen parts of Earth’s system that could reach a tipping point. The new research eliminated a few and added several more, identifying a total of 16 parts, including nine that would have global effects.


Among those eliminated, Dr. McKay said, was summer Arctic sea ice. Although ice extent has been steadily declining for decades, he said there was not any clear threshold beyond which the decline would become self-sustaining.


But the main goal of the new research, which reviewed studies that had used data from past climates, current observations and computer simulations, was to reduce the uncertainty about when the tipping points might be reached.


The study “puts temperature thresholds on all the tipping elements,” Dr. Rockström said. “That has never been done before.”


Bill Hare, who is the chief executive of Climate Analytics, a nonprofit research and policy organization, and who was not involved in the study, said, “It systematically puts together and synthesizes the state of scientific knowledge about critical Earth system tipping points.”


“It reinforces the urgency of the global community working together to halve emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2050,” he said.


Thomas Stocker, a climate scientist at the University of Bern in Switzerland who was not involved in the study, cautioned that much more research was needed on the subject of tipping points. “It’s not the ultimate word,” he said of the study’s findings. “It’s a contribution to an important conversation that is ongoing.”


What is needed, Dr. Stocker said, is a comprehensive analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, perhaps as part of the next round of assessments, which is due in the second half of this decade.


Dr. Rockström agreed that more research was needed. “I’m hoping that the I.P.C.C. will take this scientific assessment on board,” he said.


The Potsdam institute and the University of Exeter are also sponsoring a conference next week designed to encourage more work on the subject. Among other projects, Dr. Rockström said, is one to improve modeling of these cataclysmic events.


“We’re in a much better position now than just a few years back to advance a real initiative on tipping point research,” he said.



5) Former Colonies of Elizabeth II Want Their $400 Million Diamond Back From the Crown Jewels

By Pallavi Pundir

—Vice, September 9, 2022


A billboard shows a picture of Britain's late Queen Elizabeth II on September 9, 2022.

While much of the western world are mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-running monarch, some from her former colonies questioned the dark legacy of the monarchy and her rule. In South Asia, the dissent centres on the Koh-i-Noor.


As soon as the news of the queen’s passing broke, South Asians across the world started asking for the controversial diamond back. The 109-carat Koh-i-Noor – believed to be the world’s most expensive diamond – has been at the heart of an ownership dispute between the British royalty and some of its former colonies. The dispute over the diamond, estimated to be worth $400 million by some and priceless by others, symbolises a larger protest against the British for downplaying the brutality of their 200-year rule and the scale of their loot.


Believed to bring bad luck to men but good fortune to women, the Koh-i-Noor has been worn by generations of British queens. The Queen Mother Elizabeth wore it in her crown. It is now considered royal property and is on display at the Tower of London. The crown with the Koh-i-Noor will reportedly be passed down to the wife of soon-to-be King Charles, Camilla.


As Britain mourns Elizabeth II, some people from her former colonies have focused on the destruction the British empire brought upon large swathes of the world.


Indian economist Utsa Patnaik, who studied Britain’s economic history, said the British siphoned out at least $45 trillion from the subcontinent between 1765 to 1938. This is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the UK today. 


British royalty claim the Koh-i-Noor was a “gift,” although at least four countries – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran – say it’s a looted item and should be returned to them. 


“Britain owes us,” wrote Indian member of parliament Shashi Tharoor, who has been advocating the return of Koh-i-Noor. “But, instead of returning the evidence of their rapacity to their rightful owners, the British are flaunting the Kohinoor on the Queen Mother’s crown in the Tower of London.” The author of Jewel In the Crown, which documents how the British royalty got hold of the diamond, added, “It is a stark reminder of what colonialism truly was: shameless subjugation, coercion, and misappropriation.”


Around the time Elizabeth II was born, the British empire ruled over 412 million people – about one-fourth of the world’s population. Historians confirm that British colonisation was riddled with abuse, inequalities, racism, violence and extreme drain of wealth. Even though Elizabeth II wasn’t alive during the peak of British colonisation, she has been accused of turning a blind eye to many of its crimes, including slave trade and Operation Legacy in the 1950s-70s, under which her Majesty’s government and MI5 hid, burnt or dumped tens of thousands of crucial files from ex-colonies.



6) The Treasure America Scavenges From the Poor

By Vanessa Veselka, Sept. 9, 2022

Ms. Veselka is a former labor organizer and the author of the novels “The Great Offshore Grounds” and “Zazen.” This essay is part of Times Opinion’s Fortunes series on the psychology of class. 


Antoine Cossé

I first sold plasma in 2009 after years of avoiding it. It was a temporary solution to a continuous state of financial instability.


I was 40 years old and failing to find steady restaurant work in Portland, Ore., where I live, because I couldn’t compete with the flexible hours of childless applicants. After the 2008 crash, the number of server jobs plummeted, and college graduates flooded the market. For me, it was a knockout blow.


I ended up on food stamps with a 7-year-old, working two part-time minimum-wage jobs, in crisis whenever a roommate left and dependent on a CareCredit card at 27 percent A.P.R. for my health care. I can’t remember the specific instigation for selling plasma, whether it was an empty tank of heating oil or a broken alternator, but one morning when my daughter was at her dad’s, I went out early to see what I could make.


Plasma donation centers tend to occupy the same real-estate market as tanning and nail salons, dialysis clinics, Goodwill stores, fast-food chains and carwashes, which means they are often found in medium-crime neighborhoods subdivided by arterial roadways or freeway exchanges. The intake process for first-time donors can take the better part of a day. I arrived only a few minutes after opening, but the place was packed. A large man from a private security company stood in the corner with his arms crossed, gossiping about recent arrests and car crashes. I took a number and sat down.


The people around me seemed to be regulars who were trying to squeeze a donation in before work. I know because I heard them lying on their phones to their employers about why they were going to be late as the morning wore on. More women came in after nine, presumably because their children were now at school. There were men in the building trades with mud on their Carhartts, young Russian-speaking women in scrubs, one tweaker and a freshly shaved guy in a crisp white shirt trying to make deals on the phone who I thought worked for either a church or a cleaning supplies company.


After a few hours in the waiting room, I was called into the back office where I answered a range of questions, from “Have you ever been paid for sex?” to “Have you ever had a blood transfusion in the Falkland Islands?” The screener asked me to spread my hands so she could see my fingernails. “Wonderful, they’re all there!” she said, and stained one of my nails with a yellow dye.


The dye, which was semipermanent and visible only under a black light, was a tracking method used to make sure that people weren’t donating in multiple places simultaneously. Desperate people sometimes filed off an entire fingernail to get around it, so the screener had to check.


The screener then pulled out a paper with the pay scale on it. As a new client, I would get $40 for my first “donation” and $60 for my second. After that I would make no more than $25 a visit. Each time, I would spend one to two hours in a waiting room, then roughly 90 minutes in a bed while the company siphoned off roughly as much plasma as federal regulations allowed.


Plasma is a physical manifestation of the body’s ability to bounce back. Albumin, immunoglobulins and fibrinogen, some of the key components of plasma, perform essential functions, including transporting hormones, enzymes and vitamins; defending the body from infections; and controlling bleeding. Plasma therapies have many uses, among them helping high-risk patients weather illnesses like avian flu and Covid-19.


The problem is that while plasma does many wonders for those who receive treatments derived from it, its removal threatens the health of the people who sell it. Repeated plasma donations can weaken a donor’s immune system and lead to other negative side effects. Very few countries allow payment for plasma, in part out of concern that financially vulnerable people would risk their health for money.


Other developed nations place stricter limits on the number of times one can donate. In Britain, plasma can be given every two weeks; in Germany, it’s up to 60 times a year. The United States allows a person to sell plasma 104 times a year. The word “sell” is, of course, rarely used in the United States. Instead, the term is “donate,” which allows companies to pretend they are not in the business of scavenging the bodies of poor people for biological treasure.


Our system of “donation” is so successful that the United States provides about two-thirds of the plasma available worldwide and accounts for 35 percent to 40 percent of the plasma used in medicine in Europe — so much of which comes out of the veins of America’s poor.


The first time I heard that you could sell plasma was in the mid-1980s. I was 15 and living under a bridge. The people around me called the plasma center the “stab lab.” I was too young to donate but would have signed up in a second if I’d had a fake ID.


Living on the street is very hard, and donating plasma was far from the only way to put your health at risk. I remember an 18-year-old sex worker at a Denny’s showing me what to do if I ever had to perform oral sex for money and a guy refused to wear protection. Out of nowhere, she produced a condom, then popped it between her cheek and gum so fast, I barely caught it, then rolled it down over two of her fingers with her mouth. “In case you ever need to know,” she said.

There were also worse things to sell than plasma. The 1984 National Organ Transplant Act, which made it illegal to pay for organs, had just gone into effect, but I remember meeting a man who had sold one of his kidneys. In a moment of bravado, he hoisted his shirt to show everyone the scar. Soon, the conversation died away as his shame became palpable. The math had not penciled out. His plan to get ahead had failed. He looked sick and was back in temporary housing.


In my mind, a 1980s “stab lab” looked like a shooting gallery, an image inspired by Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” and promotional stills from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” My own experience in 2009 turned out to be more like a long day at the D.M.V.


Paperwork completed, I was taken to a room with maybe 30 beds, which were filled with people hooked to apheresis machines, staring up at an episode of “Law & Order” that was playing on TVs suspended from the ceiling. The bottles they were filling were bigger than I thought they would be. I’d also never seen plasma before and had assumed it would be red, but it was yellowish amber, a shade or two lighter than Lipton iced tea.


The phlebotomist punctured a vein in my arm with a 17-gauge needle and had me pump my fist until the blood started to flow up the line and into the machine where it would be separated into red and white blood cells, platelets and plasma. The plasma would go into the bottle, and the rest, along with complimentary saline solution, would flow back into me. She tinkered with the rate of draw so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming for a first-time donor, and said that if I saw a bubble, I should call out right away.


My bottle took at least an hour to fill. I know because I was halfway into a second “Law and Order” episode before my machine stopped. When the phlebotomist was unhooking me, I asked how much they were going to make off my plasma. She shook her head and told me I did not want to know because it would only make me mad.


I sold plasma twice a week for a little over a month. After donating, I usually wanted to sleep. Sometimes I just felt mildly under the weather.


I was told that to make the most money quick, you had to hit all of the major plasma centers in the area in succession. That way you could rack up the incentive bonuses before you were a regular everywhere and permanently relegated to roughly $25 a donation. I also learned that if you drank a gallon of water in the afternoon the day before, the hydration would make donating faster.


I stopped doing it because $25 wasn’t worth it and, as a night shift worker, I didn’t need to feel more exhausted than I already was. But the strange thing about plasma, like many less than desirable ways to make money, is that once you know it’s an option, you can’t quite forget that it’s there. Economic precarity makes it hard to walk away from quick money.


Recently, I saw a flier saying I could make $825 a month selling plasma. Most of my life, I’ve lived under the delusion that there wasn’t a problem of mine that $400 to $800 wouldn’t fix. I don’t believe that anymore, but I am also not beyond a world where a hole like that wouldn’t have a real effect. I decided to go see how plasma donation had changed in the decade since I’d done it.


If my 2009 donation experience was like a trip to the D.M.V., my 2022 experience was more like shopping at a small Target. There were check-in kiosks in cheery colors and organized lines for regular donors, rewards programs, phlebotomists with preferred pronouns on name tags, and pictures of people helping each other hanging on the wall.


The clientele, however, was the same: poor people in need of cash. During the pandemic, the number of donations went down, forcing compensation to rise, particularly for people with Covid antibodies. Some donors reportedly began intentionally exposing themselves to Covid to earn more money.


During intake, my information popped up in the database along with a photo of me from 2009. Although this was a different location, I had apparently returned to the same company. I asked the screener if I could still get the higher new donor rate. He gave me a “you and me against the Man” smile and promised to make it happen.


I was examined for tracks, had my liver palpated and pulled down my eyelids so they could check me for jaundice. I answered dozens of screening questions, including the one about visiting the Falkland Islands. Employees weighed me, pricked my finger, and ran my hematocrit level to make sure I could donate. Instead of staining my nail yellow, they took my fingerprint, which, they told me, could be shared with the government at its request. I downloaded the company’s app, and I was given the debit card I’d need to get my money, along with a warning that A.T.M. fees apply.


Afterward, standing in the parking lot surrounded by 20-year-old cars and dented minivans, holding a new debit card with notifications of coupons coming up on my new app, with a laundromat on one side of me and a liquor store on the other, I could not help thinking that I had found my way into an exceptional American experience. It’s one to which I no longer fully belong, but neither am I separate from it.


I have no problem with people being paid for plasma. I just think that companies should take less of the plasma and that donors should be paid more. I have always found poor and working-class people to be deeply altruistic. They know what it is to work sick, be dependent on a car you can’t afford to fix and need help from family, friends and sometimes strangers. Such experiences lead to empathy, and like all people, they want to be a part of something bigger, something with a purpose.


I was paid $100 for my recent donation. The next donation will pay me $125 plus $10 from a coupon I was given, but only if I go back within 45 days. If I go back later, I lose the new donor benefits and will make only $40 to $60 like the other regulars. Once or twice a week it goes through my head that I should just do the eight donations at the higher rate and then quit, and if not that, at least do the next one. I could get an oil change or maybe knock a little more off the balance transfer before the interest hits. After all, that $135 is just sitting there, cash on the table.



7) Medical Impact of Roe Reversal Goes Well Beyond Abortion Clinics, Doctors Say

State abortion bans carry narrow but sometimes vague exceptions, and years of prison time. That’s forcing doctors to think like lawyers, and hospitals to create new protocols.

By Kate Zernike, Sept. 10, 2022


In Indiana, Louisiana and other states, the law requires two doctors to certify that a woman faces life-threatening risk before she can get an abortion.

In Indiana, Louisiana and other states, the law requires two doctors to certify that a woman faces life-threatening risk before she can get an abortion. Credit...Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

In Wisconsin, a group of doctors and lawyers is trying to come up with guidelines on how to comply with a newly revived 173-year-old law that prohibits abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman. They face the daunting task of defining all the emergencies and conditions that might result in a pregnant woman’s death, and the fact that doctors could be punished with six years in prison if a prosecutor disagrees that abortion was necessary.


A similar task force at an Arizona hospital recommends having a lawyer on call to help doctors determine whether a woman’s condition threatens her life enough to justify an abortion. Already, the hospital has added questions to its electronic medical forms so they can be used to argue that patients who had abortions would have died without them.


And in Texas, oncologists say they now wait for pregnant women with cancer to get sicker before they treat them, because the standard of care would be to abort the fetus rather than allow treatments that damage it, but a state law allows abortion only “at risk of death.” Some hospitals have established committees to evaluate whether a pregnancy complication is severe enough to justify an abortion.


Two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion, the medical consequences extend far beyond abortion clinics and women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies. Doctors who never thought of themselves as “abortionists,” to use the language of the court’s decision, say the criminalization of abortion is changing how they treat women who arrive in emergency rooms and on labor and delivery floors with wanted but complicated pregnancies.


During the 50 years of Roe, abortion became the standard of care in many medical situations. Now, laws ban it or make it unavailable in about half the states, usually with exceptions only for rape and incest or to save the life of the pregnant woman. While a few states have attempted to specify conditions that qualify, the laws are generally vague and have failed to account for every possibility. With lawmakers attempting to regulate medical procedures, medical providers say they have to think like lawyers.


“A lot of us go into emergency medicine because of the imperative to take care of every patient — the person without housing and a C.E.O. — and we’re really proud of that ethical obligation to say, ‘Here’s the patient in front of me and I’m going to do everything I can for them,’” said Dr. Alison Haddock, an emergency physician in Houston and chair of the board of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Now, she said, “We’re no longer basing our judgment on the clinical needs of the woman, we’re basing it on what we understand the legal situation to be.”


Physicians would more typically talk to hospital lawyers about guardianship when caring for elderly or psychiatric patients, Dr. Haddock said. Now, when patients arrive with ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages or hemorrhaging — all situations where abortion has been established as standard care — the questions for the lawyers are more pressing: “Do we wait until the fetus is definitely dead, or is mostly dead good enough?” she asked. “If they’re telling us to wait for the condition to be fully emergent, how much bleeding is too much?”


“Having to consult a lawyer in an emergent situation is a whole new ballgame,” she said.


Doctors in Texas began dealing with the questions even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe with its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A law that took effect a year ago effectively banned most abortions after six weeks.


Some hospitals have instituted policies requiring one or two additional physicians to review the decision before an abortion can proceed. In states including Indiana and Louisiana, the law requires two doctors to certify that a woman faces life-threatening risk before she can get an abortion.


Dr. Julie Kwatra, an obstetrician in Scottsdale, Ariz., faced so many questions from doctors and nurses the weekend of the Dobbs decision in June that she and others at her hospital formed a committee to come up with guidelines to protect patients’ health and doctors from liability. A court has blocked one state law banning abortion, and the governor said abortion was still legal. But the state’s attorney general said he intended to enforce a ban that was written before Arizona became a state, so providers have almost entirely stopped.


The confusion, Dr. Kwatra said, was “eminently predictable,” given the number of situations where physicians have to terminate pregnancies to protect the health or life of the pregnant woman. But even she was surprised at the number and range of hospital employees who have emerged with concerns.


Forensic nurses who care for sexual assault victims in the emergency room said they would no longer provide morning-after contraception for fear it would be considered an abortion drug. Because the old law punishes those who “aid and abet” an abortion, an anesthesiologist worried that he might be prosecuted for putting a patient to sleep for an abortion. A neonatologist worried about liability for declining to resuscitate a fetus judged no longer viable.


“We already work under a cloud of getting sued. That’s what we signed up for,” Dr. Kwatra said. “This is different. This is criminal liability, not civil liability. This is jail time.”


Some anti-abortion doctors argue that the concerns about not being able to provide lifesaving abortion care are overblown — “blatantly absurd,” as Dr. Christina Francis, the chair of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said at a congressional hearing in July.


“Not a single state law restricting abortion prevents treating these conditions,” Dr. Francis argued, because they make exceptions for any life-threatening emergency.


Anti-abortion groups contend that life-threatening conditions are rare in pregnancy and can be treated by inducing labor or performing a C-section rather than an abortion. “Even if the baby does not survive, wrote Dr. Ingrid Skop, an obstetrician and the director of medical affairs at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion group, “these humane procedures allow a grieving family to show love and say good-bye.”


Several high-profile cases of women denied care have captured headlines and set doctors on edge. But doctors say these extreme cases are not isolated; hospitals are routinely refusing or delaying care. One study of two Dallas hospitals in the nine months after the Texas ban took effect found that women had to wait an average of nine days for their conditions to be considered life threatening enough to justify abortion. Many suffered serious health consequences while they waited, including hemorrhaging and sepsis, and one woman had to have a hysterectomy as a result.


The Biden administration wrote medical providers in July, reminding them that they had to comply with a federal law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. The law requires emergency rooms to provide stabilizing treatment to any patient who arrives with an emergency condition or in labor, or transfer them to a hospital that can provide it. That, the letter said, meant they “must provide” an abortion, even in states that ban it, if it is required to stabilize a woman’s health.


The Justice Department also sued Idaho, saying its new ban on abortion made it impossible for providers to comply with the federal law. A brief filed by a coalition of states in support of the lawsuit enumerated cases across the country where emergency physicians have had to perform abortions to save women’s lives. Well beyond common complications like miscarriage or a separated placenta, they included heart conditions, kidney disorders, sickle cell anemia, acute leukemia and at least one case of pre-eclampsia so severe that the woman’s liver began to fail.


But Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton, sued the administration for its guidance on the federal law, accusing it of an end-run to “turn hospitals and emergency rooms into walk-in abortion clinics.” Courts in the two states reached different conclusions: A federal judge in Texas agreed with the state and temporarily blocked implementation of the federal guidance on emergency treatment; one in Idaho agreed with the Biden administration and blocked the state law.


“There’s such confusion,” said Dr. Allison Linton, an obstetrician in Milwaukee, “and when doctors are hearing this risk of a felony charge, they’re erring on the side of fear.”


In Wisconsin, an abortion ban on the books since 1849 was blocked while Roe was in effect. Now, the governor and attorney general, who do not support the law, have asked a court to determine whether it can be enforced. In the meantime, prosecutors say they intend to enforce it, so providers have stopped abortions.


Dr. Linton recalled a woman who recently arrived at a nearby hospital with a stillborn fetus. The required procedure was an induced delivery, not abortion, but still, doctors declined to do it, so she and others received an alert to help find a physician who was willing. “Patients with conditions that don’t even fall under the ban are being denied care,” Dr. Linton said.


Even before the Dobbs decision, she said, a committee of lawyers and doctors across the state began working to try to come up with a list of what qualified as exceptions under the law, and indications to help other doctors determine when a woman’s life can be said to be at risk. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that hospitals set up such task forces. But it also warned that it is “impossible” and “dangerous” to attempt to create a finite list of conditions to guide doctors. Medicine is too complex, no patient’s symptoms or conditions are the same, and they can deteriorate rapidly.


Roe, which prohibited states from banning abortion before viability, allowed doctors to offer patients options of how they wanted to be treated. “Now that patient autonomy has gone away,” said Dr. Abigail Cutler, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


“I’m compelled by my conscience to provide abortion care, and I have the training and the skills to do so compassionately and well,” she said. “And so to have my hands tied and not be able to help a person in front of me is devastating.”


Feeling squeezed between the law and their duty to care for patients, doctors are becoming more outspoken in their opposition. In the New England Journal of Medicine, two breast cancer doctors in Colorado, Dr. Nicole Christian and Dr. Virginia Borges, argued that because so many therapies can result in fetal anomalies or stillbirth, breast cancer patients had to be able to choose abortion. And given their broad impact on medicine, abortion restrictions “should be of concern to any physician who has a patient who could be, could become, or is pregnant.”


More than a dozen medical and public health associations, including the American Hospital Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, joined Democracy Forward, a group aligned with Democratic causes, to file briefs in the Texas and Idaho lawsuits regarding emergency abortion care.


The Idaho ban, one of the briefs argues, “willfully disregards what it means to pregnant patients — and their doctors — to be told that, alone among all patients seeking emergency care and contrary to medical guidelines and ethics, they must wait until their life is in jeopardy to receive treatment.”


“Some others have said that these are incredibly rare situations,” Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., the president of the American Medical Association, said in an interview. “To the contrary, this is happening every day, all the time in these states.”


J. David Goodman contributed reporting.



8) Marsha Hunt, Actress Turned Activist, Is Dead at 104

She seemed well on her way to stardom until her career was derailed by the Hollywood blacklist. She then turned her attention to social causes.

By Wendell Jamieson, Sept. 10, 2022


The actress Marsha Hunt in an undated photo. Early in her career, she was one of the busiest and most versatile actresses in Hollywood.

The actress Marsha Hunt in an undated photo. Early in her career, she was one of the busiest and most versatile actresses in Hollywood. Credit...Associated Press Photo

Ms. Hunt, second from left, with other members of the Committee for the First Amendment in Washington in October 1947. (Among the others pictured are John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, center, and Danny Kaye, sixth from right.) Her political activism led movie studios to stop offering her work.

Ms. Hunt, second from left, with other members of the Committee for the First Amendment in Washington in October 1947. (Among the others pictured are John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, center, and Danny Kaye, sixth from right.) Her political activism led movie studios to stop offering her work. Credit...Associated Press

Marsha Hunt, who appeared in more than 50 movies between 1935 and 1949 and seemed well on her way to stardom until her career was damaged by the Hollywood blacklist, and who, for the rest of her career, was as much an activist as she was an actress, died on Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 104.


Her death was announced by Roger C. Memos, the director of the 2015 documentary “Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity.”


Early in her career, Ms. Hunt was one of the busiest and most versatile actresses in Hollywood, playing parts big and small in a variety of movies, including romances, period pieces and the kind of dark, stylish crime dramas that came to be known as film noir. She starred in “Pride and Prejudice” alongside Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier in 1940, and in “The Human Comedy” with Mickey Rooney in 1943. In later years, she was a familiar face on television, playing character roles on “Matlock,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and other shows.


But in between, her career hit a roadblock: the Red Scare.


Ms. Hunt’s problems began in October 1947, when she traveled to Washington along with cinematic luminaries like John Huston, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall as part of a group called the Committee for the First Amendment. Their mission was to observe and protest the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was investigating what it said was Communist infiltration of the film industry.


Many of those who made that trip subsequently denounced it, calling it ill-advised, but Ms. Hunt did not. And although she was never a member of the Communist Party — her only apparent misdeed, besides going to Washington, was signing petitions to support causes related to civil liberties — producers began eyeing her with suspicion.


Her status in Hollywood was already precarious when “Red Channels,” an influential pamphlet containing the names of people in the entertainment industry said to be Communists or Communist sympathizers, was published in 1950. Among the people named were Orson Welles, Pete Seeger, Leonard Bernstein and Marsha Hunt.


By then, she had won praise for her portrayal of Viola in a live telecast of “Twelfth Night” in 1949. At the time, Jack Gould of The New York Times called her “an actress of striking and mellow beauty who also was at home with the verse and couplets of Shakespeare.” Her star turn in a 1950 revival of George Bernard Shaw’s “Devil’s Disciple,” the second of her six appearances on Broadway, had been the subject of a cover article in Life magazine. Yet, the movie offers all but stopped.


In 1955, with little work to keep her at home, Ms. Hunt and her husband, the screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., took a yearlong trip around the world. As a result of her travels, she told the website The Globalist in 2008, she “fell in love with the planet.”


She became an active supporter of the United Nations, delivering lectures on behalf of the World Health Organization and other U.N. agencies. She wrote and produced “A Call From the Stars,” a 1960 television documentary about the plight of refugees.


She also addressed issues closer to home. In her capacity as honorary mayor of the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, a post she held from 1983 to 2001, she worked to increase awareness of homelessness in Southern California and organized a coalition of honorary mayors that raised money to build shelters.


Marcia Virginia Hunt (she later changed the spelling of her first name) was born in Chicago on Oct. 17, 1917, to Earl Hunt, a lawyer, and Minabel (Morris) Hunt, a vocal coach. The family soon moved to New York City, where Ms. Hunt attended P.S. 9 and the Horace Mann School for Girls in Manhattan.


A talent scout who saw her in a school play in 1935 offered her a screen test; nothing came of the offer, but that summer she visited her uncle in Hollywood and ended up being pursued by several studios. She signed with Paramount and made her screen debut that year in a quickly forgotten film called “The Virginia Judge.”


She was soon being cast in small roles in a dizzying array of films. In “Easy Living” (1937), starring Jean Arthur, she had an unbilled but crucial part as a woman who has a coat fall on her head in the last scene. Bigger roles soon followed, especially after she joined Hollywood’s largest and most prestigious studio, MGM, in 1939.


In 1943, she was the subject of a profile in The New York Herald Tribune that predicted a bright future. “She’s a quiet, well-bred, good-looking number with the concealed fire of a banked furnace,” the profile said. “She’s been in Hollywood for seven years, made 34 pictures. But, beginning now, you can start counting the days before she is one of the top movie names.”


It never happened. In the aftermath of the blacklist, however, she began working frequently on television, appearing on “The Twilight Zone,” “Gunsmoke,” “Ben Casey” and other shows. She remained active on the small screen until the late 1980s.


Her only notable movie in those years was “Johnny Got His Gun” (1971), an antiwar film written and directed by Dalton Trumbo, also a victim of the Hollywood blacklist, in which she played a wounded soldier’s mother.


Ms. Hunt’s marriage to Jerry Hopper, a junior executive at Paramount, ended in divorce in 1945. The following year, she married Mr. Presnell. Their marriage lasted until his death in 1986. She is survived by several nieces and nephews.


Ms. Hunt’s commitment to political and social causes did not diminish with age.


In a 2021 interview with Fox News, she dismissed the notion that celebrities should avoid speaking out on political issues (“Nonsense — we’re all citizens of the world”) and explained what she considered to be the essential message of the documentary:


“When injustice occurs, go on with your convictions. Giving in and being silent is what they want you to do.”


Peter Keepnews contributed reporting.