Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, October 7, 2022




Free Assange!

Saturday, Oct 8, Noon

"Human Chain" In Global Solidarit

San Francisco, Ferry Bldg. Plaza 

(Aka Harry Bridges Plaza, aka Chelsea Manning Plaza)

Let's have a HUGE turnout for this "Free Julian Assange" event, in worldwide solidarity demanding Julian's freedom now. Over 3000 people have registered for the October 8 "Hands Around Parliament" event in London, and there's a very large event planned at the Department of Justice in Washington, D,C. on October 8. The San Francisco Bay Area says, "FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!" Tell President Biden and Attorney General Garland "Julian Assange is innocent of any crimes. Freedom of information, freedom of the press, our first amendment rights and the life of a much-honored publisher and truth teller is at risk. Drop the prosecution. We demand that you allow Julian Assange to walk free!"

We will form a "human chain" or large circle, linked by yellow "Free Assange" ribbons. There will be music and hopefully minimal speech-ifying. We will be linked in our intention to save Julian's life and our freedoms. Come out everyone to show Julian, his family, and people around the world, that SF wants Julian free.







The West Coast Book Tour

The West Coast Book Tour is about two revolutionaries from two different generations— one who was a part of the Revolutionary Movement in the 60's and one who became a revolutionary while serving his 18 year prison sentence in the 2000's. Hy Thurman's book "Hillybilly Nationalists" talks about his life growing up all the way up to the late 60's when he transitioned from a "gang" mentality to a revolutionary outlook on life. He is one of the living legends, who co-founded the Young Patriots Organization, which were white revolutionaries who organized with other legends like Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton of the Original Black Panther Party and Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez, the founder of the Young Lords Organization. He, along with those leaders went on to constitute the First Rainbow Coalition. 

Kwame Shakur's journey that he highlights in his autobiography "My Search for Answers, Truth, and Meaning" is a story of young Black man, who loses 18 years of his life to the penitentiary for a bank robbery that he caught at the tender age of 19. His book weaves together a brilliantly written story of how he went from a criminal mentality to a revolutionary one. Like Hy Thurman, he finds his cause in historical legends like Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton, whose first speech he read "Power Anywhere There's People", unbeknownst to him sets him on a revolutionary trajectory that he never takes a look back once discovering it. This journey takes him into the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, which avows to carry on the Original Black Panther Party and the Rainbow Coalition that Fred Hampton founded April 4th, 1969. Today, Kwame Shakur is one of the co-founder of the Second Rainbow Coalition which intends to take off where Fred Hampton, Jose "Cha Cha" Jimenez, and Hy Thurman left off. 

This book tour is an intersection and continuation of a vision of two generations, who have a similar Rainbow Coalition vision of revolutionary politics in the US— both past and present.





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




The US sanctions and embargo are preventing Cuba from rebuilding after Hurricane Ian.

The Biden Administration needs to act right now to help the Cuban people. Hurricane Ian caused great devastation. The power grid was damaged, and the electrical system collapsed. Over four thousand homes have been completely destroyed or badly damaged. 

Cuba must be allowed, even if just for the next six months, to purchase the necessary construction materials to REBUILD. Cubans are facing a major humanitarian crisis because of Hurricane Ian.

Please share, and submit your letter to President Biden today!



Hunger Strike for Worker's Rights!

Day 15







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.





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) Working Class Hold 'Enough Is Enough' Rallies Across UK

By Julia Conley

—Common Dreams, September 30, 2022


Enough Is Enough protest in UK

Demonstrators protest outside 10 Downing Street in London on September 5, 2022, against the U.K. government's handling of the cost of living crisis as one-in-three British households is predicted to face fuel poverty this winter amid surging energy prices. (Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Weeks of economic justice rallies organized by the Enough Is Enough campaign across the United Kingdom over the past six weeks have been building to a National Day of Action, set to take place Saturday in more than four dozen cities and towns as hundreds of thousands of people protest the country's cost-of-living crisis.


The campaign, whose roots lie in the trade union and tenants' rights movements, has outlined five specific demands of the U.K. government as renters have seen their average monthly housing costs skyrocket by 11% on average since last year and household energy bills approaching $4,000 (£3,582) per year.


At rallies this weekend in London, Liverpool, Glasgow, and dozens of other cities, the grassroots campaign will demand a higher minimum wage and pay that keeps up with inflation, lower energy bills, an end to food insecurity and food poverty through universal school lunches and other assistance, affordable housing for all, and new taxes for the wealthiest Britons.


"The people need to be out in the streets and demanding change from this government, and if necessary, a change of government entirely," said Mick Lynch, general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers (RMT), in a TV interview Friday, as he noted that top executives in the rail industry are expected to gain up to £60,000 ($67,000) from the "mini-budget" introduced by the Conservative government last week.


While millionaires stand to benefit from the plan, the Liberal Democrats released research last week showing some of the U.K.'s lowest earners, including nurses and teachers who are starting their careers, will see their tax bills rise.


"Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?" asked comedian and economic justice advocate Rob Delaney, who will appear at one of Saturday's rallies in London.


Meanwhile, the U.K.'s heavy reliance on gas to heat homes has caused energy prices to soar, and Enough Is Enough organizers say a price cap of £2,500, announced this week, is insufficient to help struggling households.


"We need to revert to pre-April levels, instead of using taxpayers' money to bail out energy companies who are making record profits," Laura Dickinson, who is organizing rallies planned for Saturday in northern England, told Vice.


The protests are being coordinated with labor strikes organized by unions including RMT. The unions are demanding higher pay to reflect the rising cost of living.


With an estimated 700,000 members of the Enough Is Enough campaign, organizers are expecting a huge turnout to join the 200,000 workers who will be on picket lines.


Since mid-August, thousands of people have attended rallies across the country where they've listened to the personal stories of workers who have had to take second jobs and regularly spend their entire monthly wages on housing, food, and fuel.


"Sometimes I can be just too angry about how they treat us, but I think they want us to be tired," said a Communication Workers Union member named Emma at a gathering in the town of Luton, England earlier this month. "I think they want us too weak to fight, but we owe it to ourselves and those that are too weak to stand up. We need to tell them that they're not alone and we're in this together."


Progressive members of Parliament have expressed their support for the National Day of Action.


"The Tories are waging war on our communities while lining the pockets of their class," said MP Zarah Sultana at a rally in Liverpool this week. "It's time to fight back."



2) What Video Footage Reveals About the Protests in Iran

The New York Times analyzed dozens of videos circulating online for insights about what is propelling the demonstrations, and how women are leading the movement.

By Nilo Tabrizy and Haley Willis, Oct. 4, 2022



Protests erupted in more than 80 cities across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, known by her first Kurdish surname Jina, after her detention by the morality police under the so-called hijab law. Footage of the demonstrations posted to social media has become one of the primary windows into what is happening on the ground and revealed what is different about this latest show of resistance inside Iran.


The New York Times analyzed dozens of videos and spoke with experts who have followed the country’s protest movements to understand what insights the often blurry, pixelated footage contains about what is propelling the demonstrations.


Attacking Symbols of the State


Now in their third week, protests have continued even as dozens of people have been killed. Many of the videos appeared on social media during the first week of the protests, before Iran’s government began limiting internet access in an effort to silence dissent.


Multiple videos show a consistent theme of protesters attacking structures and symbols that represent Iran’s government, in some cases setting fire to municipal structures. In the northern city of Amol, demonstrators set fires in the complex of the governorate building, and elsewhere took down portraits of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the founding leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.


Reza H. Akbari, a program manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, said that targeting state symbols is a response in part to the government’s failure to engage with civil society. Following a national uprising in 2009, the government weakened grass roots organizations, like labor unions and student groups, which were outlets for citizens to discuss their grievances and engage with policymakers. That segment of society, he said, “does not have that many options left than to resort to violent attacks on security and administrative buildings.”


He added that while the targeting of such buildings isn’t new, the widespread nature of the attacks is noteworthy.


Iran’s security forces have a history of using violence and brutality to suppress dissent. In many instances, authorities have shot protesters on the streets. Amnesty International has said that at least 52 people have been killed since the start of the protests, noting that the death toll is likely much higher. Videos capture men in military fatigues using Kalashnikov-type assault rifles in protest areas, as well as the sound of sustained bursts of automatic rifle fire breaking up crowds.


One of the latest examples surfaced online Friday, from protests in the southeastern city of Zahedan. Automatic rifle fire can be heard disrupting prayers at a nearby local mosque, and one video shows a number of apparently injured and bleeding men being tended to outside.


In the past, the families of those killed by security forces have been intimidated by the authorities into keeping quiet. But this latest round of protests has seen videos of funeral services uploaded online showing displays of public mourning, such as a woman cutting her hair over a coffin.


Narges Bajoghli, an assistant professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, noted how similar public mourning rituals for those killed in the 1979 Islamic Revolution were key to support for the revolution’s success. Now, spreading widely online, these scenes help boost antigovernment sentiment, she said.


“They’re grieving over their children being so senselessly murdered,” she said. “And that is now circulating online among Iranians. And so it creates even more grief, more rage but also more solidarity.”


Women in the Lead


Across Iran, videos show that women are most often at the forefront of the recent demonstrations, rallying crowds of both women and men by engaging in symbolic acts of defiance. One of these acts, women burning their hijabs, has become a dominant theme of the protests, representing both solidarity with Ms. Amini and pushback against the mandatory wearing of hijabs, one of the most visible symbols of the repression of women under the Islamic Republic.


The large number of women leading the protests “in so many of the videos that we see, we saw that in 2009, too,” said Dr. Bajoghli, referring to the 2009 uprising in Iran. “But here the numbers seem to be much greater.”


Mr. Akbari of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, pointed to videos showing women cutting off their hair in public, or on social media, as unique to the current demonstrations. “It’s a very powerful gesture of Iranian women almost sarcastically and bitterly stating that: ‘If it’s the hair that is bothering you — if it’s the hair you want — here you go,’” he said.


Beyond the now viral clips of hijab burning and hair cutting, footage of the demonstrations also reveals new ways in which common protest language has become centered on women. Dr. Bajoghli noted the adaptation of a well-known chant, used in past protest movements, from “I will defend my brother” to “I will defend my sister.”


Another chant — originating with Kurdish female fighters and the Kurdish feminist movement — is now heard in videos from nearly every major protest across the country: “Women. Life. Freedom.”


Videos also show women in direct, physical confrontation with security forces, not only putting themselves at the forefront of demonstrations, but physically pushing back against the police when challenged.


“The big willingness to put your body on the line and to say, ‘I’m coming at you and I’m going to fight you with my own body’ — that I haven’t seen,” said Dr. Bajoghli. “And that, I think, is what is causing this to be so difficult for the state to deal with.”


Widespread Solidarity


The Times’ analysis of videos posted to social media also reveals how the current protests are widespread geographically, ethnically and among various social classes.


“We haven’t seen national protests at this level and with this many folks that we would traditionally categorize as the middle class since 2009,” said Dr. Bajoghli. “And so now we’re seeing it again, but we’re seeing it in a new generation that’s doing it, and we’re seeing it link up with smaller towns across the country and with people who are not from the middle class.”


Footage has emerged from some of the country’s most religiously conservative cities like Qom, and its southern islands, as well as ethnic minority areas like Oshnavieh, which is home to Kurdish-Iranians.


Experts also found it noteworthy that the nationwide protests were sparked by the death of a woman from the Kurdish ethnic minority — signaling a new solidarity between disparate regions of the country. In one video from Iran’s capital, Tehran, the Kurdish feminist chant: “Women, Life, Freedom” — is said in its original Kurdish language, and not translated into Persian, the primary language used throughout most of the country.


“The Kurdish areas in the country have actually witnessed a lot of protests and there’s been a lot of tension there,” said Mr. Akbari. “But I think what’s powerful with this cycle is how the issue is a crosscutting matter for all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds in the country.”



3) U.S. Aims to Turn Taiwan Into Giant Weapons Depot

Officials say Taiwan needs to become a “porcupine” with enough weapons to hold out if the Chinese military blockades and invades it, even if Washington decides to send troops.

By Edward Wong and John Ismay, Oct. 5, 2022

“The United States and its allies have prioritized sending weapons to Ukraine, which is reducing those countries’ stockpiles, and arms makers are reluctant to open new production lines without a steady stream of long-term orders. …Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said in an interview that weapons makers want to see predictability in orders before committing to building up production. Arms directors from the United States and more than 40 other nations met last week in Brussels to discuss long-term supply and production issues."


Taiwanese military exercises in July. The United States has approved several weapons packages for the island.

Taiwanese military exercises in July. The United States has approved several weapons packages for the island. Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — American officials are intensifying efforts to build a giant stockpile of weapons in Taiwan after studying recent naval and air force exercises by the Chinese military around the island, according to current and former officials.


The exercises showed that China would probably blockade the island as a prelude to any attempted invasion, and Taiwan would have to hold out on its own until the United States or other nations intervened, if they decided to do that, the current and former officials say.


But the effort to transform Taiwan into a weapons depot faces challenges. The United States and its allies have prioritized sending weapons to Ukraine, which is reducing those countries’ stockpiles, and arms makers are reluctant to open new production lines without a steady stream of long-term orders.


And it is unclear how China might respond if the United States accelerates shipments of weapons to Taiwan, a democratic, self-governing island that Beijing claims is Chinese territory.


U.S. officials are determining the quantity and types of weapons sold to Taiwan by quietly telling Taiwanese officials and American arms makers that they will reject orders for some large systems in favor of a greater number of smaller, more mobile weapons. The Biden administration announced on Sept. 2 that it had approved its sixth weapons package for Taiwan — a $1.1 billion sale that includes 60 Harpoon coastal antiship missiles. U.S. officials are also discussing how to streamline the sale-and-delivery process.


President Biden said last month that the United States is “not encouraging” Taiwan’s independence, adding, “That’s their decision.” Since 1979, Washington has had a policy of reassuring Beijing that it does not support independence. But China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said in a speech at the Asia Society last month that the United States was undermining that position “by repeated official exchanges and arms sales, including many offensive weapons.”


The People’s Liberation Army of China carried out exercises in August with naval ships and fighter jets in zones close to Taiwan. It also fired ballistic missiles into the waters off Taiwan’s coast, four of which went over the island, according to Japan.


The Chinese military acted after Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, visited Taiwan. But even before that, U.S. and Taiwanese officials had been more closely examining the potential for an invasion because Russia’s assault on Ukraine had made the possibility seem more real, though Chinese leaders have not explicitly stated a timeline for establishing rule over Taiwan.


The United States would not be able to resupply Taiwan as easily as Ukraine because of the lack of ground routes from neighboring countries. The goal now, officials say, is to ensure that Taiwan has enough arms to defend itself until help arrives. Mr. Biden said last month that U.S. troops would defend Taiwan if China were to carry out an “unprecedented attack” on the island — the fourth time he has stated that commitment and a shift from a preference for “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan among U.S. presidents.


“Stockpiling in Taiwan is a very active point of discussion,” said Jacob Stokes, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security who advised Mr. Biden on Asia policy when he was vice president. “And if you have it, how do you harden it and how do you disperse it so Chinese missiles can’t destroy it?”


“The view is we need to lengthen the amount of time Taiwan can hold out on its own,” he added. “That’s how you avoid China picking the low-hanging fruit of its ‘fait accompli’ strategy — that they’ve won the day before we’ve gotten there, that is assuming we intervene.”


U.S. officials increasingly emphasize Taiwan’s need for smaller, mobile weapons that can be lethal against Chinese warships and jets while being able to evade attacks, which is central to so-called asymmetric warfare.


“Shoot-and-scoot” types of armaments are popular with the Ukrainian military, which has used shoulder-fired Javelin and NLAW antitank guided missiles and Stinger antiaircraft missiles effectively against Russian forces. Recently, the Ukrainians have pummeled Russian troops with mobile American-made rocket launchers known as HIMARS.


To transform Taiwan into a “porcupine,” an entity bristling with armaments that would be costly to attack, American officials have been trying to steer Taiwanese counterparts toward ordering more of those weapons and fewer systems for a conventional ground war like M1 Abrams tanks.


Pentagon and State Department officials have also been speaking regularly about these issues since March with American arms companies, including at an industry conference on Taiwan this week in Richmond, Va. Jedidiah Royal, a Defense Department official, said in a speech there that the Pentagon was helping Taiwan build out systems for “an island defense against an aggressor with conventional overmatch.”


In a recent article, James Timbie, a former State Department official, and James O. Ellis Jr., a retired U.S. Navy admiral, said Taiwan needs “a large number of small things” for distributed defense, and that some of Taiwan’s recent purchases from the United States, including Harpoon and Stinger missiles, fit that bill. Taiwan also produces its own deterrent weapons, including minelayer ships, air defense missile systems and antiship cruise missiles.


They said Taiwan needs to shift resources away from “expensive, high-profile conventional systems” that China can easily destroy in an initial attack, though some of those systems, notably F-16 jets, are useful for countering ongoing Chinese fighter jet and ship activities in “gray zone” airspace and waters. The authors also wrote that “the effective defense of Taiwan” will require stockpiling ammunition, fuel and other supplies, as well as strategic reserves of energy and food.


Officials in the administration of Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, say they recognize the need to stockpile smaller weapons but point out that there are significant lags between orders and shipments.


“I think we’re moving in a high degree of consensus in terms of our priorities on the asymmetric strategy, but the speed does have to be accelerated,” Bi-khim Hsiao, the de facto Taiwanese ambassador in Washington, said in an interview.


Some American lawmakers have called for faster and more robust deliveries. Several senior senators are trying to push through the proposed Taiwan Policy Act, which would provide $6.5 billion in security assistance to Taiwan over the next four years and mandate treating the island as if it were a “major non-NATO ally.”


But Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said in an interview that weapons makers want to see predictability in orders before committing to building up production. Arms directors from the United States and more than 40 other nations met last week in Brussels to discuss long-term supply and production issues.


If China decides to establish a naval blockade around Taiwan, American officials would probably study which avenue of resupplying Taiwan — by sea or by air — would offer the least likelihood of bringing Chinese and American ships, aircraft and submarines into direct conflict.


One proposition would involve sending U.S. cargo planes with supplies from bases in Japan and Guam to Taiwan’s east coast. That way, any Chinese fighters trying to shoot them down would have to fly over Taiwan and risk being downed by Taiwanese warplanes.


“The sheer amount of materiel that would likely be needed in case of war is formidable, and getting them through would be difficult, though may be doable,” said Eric Wertheim, a defense consultant and author of “The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.” “The question is: How much risk is China and the White House willing to take in terms of enforcing or breaking through a blockade, respectively, and can it be sustained?”


China has probably studied the strategic failure of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said, and the United States should continue to send the kinds of arms to Taiwan that will make either an amphibious invasion or an attack with long-range weapons much more difficult for China.


“The Chinese naval officers I’ve spoken to in years past have said they fear the humiliation that would result from any kind of failure, and this of course has the effect of them being less likely to take action if there is an increased risk of failure,” Mr. Wertheim said. “In essence, the success the Ukrainians are having is a message to the Chinese.”


Officials in the Biden administration are trying to gauge what moves would deter China without actually provoking greater military action.


Jessica Chen Weiss, a professor of government at Cornell University who worked on China policy this past year in the State Department, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Biden’s recent remarks committing U.S. troops to defending Taiwan were “dangerous.” She said in an interview that pursuing the porcupine strategy enhances deterrence but that taking what she deems symbolic steps on Taiwan’s diplomatic status does not.


“The U.S. has to make clear that the U.S. doesn’t have a strategic interest in having Taiwan being permanently separated from mainland China,” she said.


But other former U.S. officials praise Mr. Biden’s forceful statements, saying greater “strategic clarity” bolsters deterrence.


“President Biden has said now four times that we would defend Taiwan, but each time he says it someone walks it back,” said Harry B. Harris Jr., a retired admiral who served as commander of U.S. Pacific Command and ambassador to South Korea. “And I think that makes us as a nation look weak because who’s running this show? I mean, is it the president or is it his advisers?


“So maybe we should take him at his word,” Admiral Harris added. “Maybe he is serious about defending Taiwan.”



4) The Truth
By Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper is an innocent man on San Quentin’s Death Row in California. He continues to struggle for exoneration and to abolish the death penalty in the whole U.S. Learn more about his case at: www.kevincooper.org

Write to:

Kevin Cooper #C-65304 4-EB-82         

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Artwork by Kevin Cooper

When I was in grade school, back in the 1960s, and I was uneducated, I was sent to school to be educated on the truth in every level of life. This included the discovery of this land, and its founding as the United States.

I believed, or thought, that I was not sent to grade school to be lied to by the very teachers who were supposed to educate me with the truth.

One of the lies that I learned way back then, as did all the other children who went to school at the same time as I did, as well as all the other generations of children who went to grade school before my generation, and after, is that Christopher Columbus discovered America.

We did not learn the truth, that before he and his crew of homicidal maniacs set sail for the continent of Asia, the country of India, that Columbus had participated in one of the greatest crimes in the history of the world—that he took part in the trans-Atlantic slave trade in his home country of Portugal. Nor did we know of his writings about the first people he met when he accidentally landed in what we now call the Americas. He called the human beings he saw Indians, because he mistakenly believed that he had landed in the country of India

 He wrote, according to the late historian Howard Zinn, the following upon seeing the indigenous people he first encountered:

“They...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for glass beads and hawk’s bells. They willingly traded everything they owned...They were well built, with good bodies and handsome features...They do not bear arms, and they do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane...They would make fine servants...with 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

 That is exactly what Columbus, and his men did, and the rest is a tortured history. But we did not learn this truth in school from our teachers. And if certain politicians and certain states have their way, this and other truths will not be taught by any teacher to any student.

So, we cannot forget, nor can we ignore what happened in the past and act like it never happened, because in truth, it did really happen. Overtime, these truths and others have helped to educate the masses about what exactly Christopher Columbus was, and what his real legacy is. And all this happened to those indigenous people at that time in history because they—Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerge from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them—brought them food, water, gifts—and for all these acts of humanity they had genocide committed upon them. So, we ask, who are the human people, and who are the inhuman—who's really the good and who's really the evil—tell the truth.

 Respect and support Indigenous People’s Day.



5) A Language Test That Stigmatizes Black Children

By John McWhorter, Opinion Writer, Oct. 7, 2022


Delcan and Co.

It can be hard not to notice that a suspiciously large number of children, of seemingly normal human linguistic capacity, are officially designated as language impaired. In 2019, two researchers set out to determine just how common this phenomenon is. Examining nationwide data, they found that each year, 14 percent of states overrepresent the number of Black children with speech and language impairments.


Just what does “language impaired” mean, though? Much of the reason this diagnosis is so disproportionate among this group and has been for decades is that too many people who are supposedly trained in assessing children’s language skills aren’t actually taught much about how human language works. And it affects the lives of Black kids dramatically.


The reason for that overrepresentation is that most Black children grow up code switching between Black English and standard English. There is nothing exotic about this; legions of people worldwide live between two dialects of a language, one casual and one formal, and barely think about it. Many Germans, Italians, Chinese people, South Asians and Southeast Asians and most Arabs are accustomed to speaking different varieties of language according to different forms of social interaction. So, too, are Black Americans. Black children, along the typical lines of bidialectal contexts like these, are much more comfortable with the casual variety of Black speech, only faintly aware that in formal settings there is a standard way of speaking that is considered more appropriate. Black English grammar is often assumed to be slang and mistakes. But it’s actually just an alternate, rather than degraded, form of English compared to the standard variety.


Here are the kinds of phrases that so many Black kids know and use effortlessly, phrases that are richer than standard English in many ways: “He be singin’”; “He done sung”; “He had sung and then he had gone quiet.” All three sentences are examples of how Black English expresses shades of actions in ways that standard English leaves more to context. “He be singin’” refers to someone singing regularly; you wouldn’t say that if someone were singing right in front of you. “He done sung” doesn’t simply refer to the past but to the fact that his having done so was something of a surprise, or something people urgently needed to know. Used on verbs one after the other in sequence instead of in the past-before-the-past pluperfect way that we use it in standard English, “had” in Black English indicates that one is telling a story; it is a narrative marker. None of this is broken. It is just different.


Now, suppose a kid raised in this dialect were asked on a test: “This bird is blue. What about this one?” “It red” would be marked wrong. Never mind that putting it that way is the way one would do it in the most standard version of Russian. If the kids tested see a girl with scissors and say “The girl cuttin’” instead of “The girl is cutting,” they are not just doing what Tolstoy would have thought of as normal but evidencing signs of linguistic impairment, as it is called.


The test asks the kid: “This is Jack. Whose dog is this? It is ______.” The kid may say “Jack dog” — in Black English, it is permissible to leave the possessive “-’s” out. Hence the late Black comedian Robin Harris’s classic routine about his girlfriend’s children saying, “Dem Bebe kids!” Apparently Harris had a linguistic impairment?


Imagine 7- or 8-year-old Black kids asked to repeat the sentence “My mother is the nurse who works in the community clinic.” If they happily say, spontaneously expressing it in the English they are most comfortable with, “My mother the nurse work in the community clinic,” they could be marked as linguistically deficient.


You don’t have to imagine this. Many of these questions are right from the CELF (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals)-5 test, which is commonly used to assess children for disability status. And while the test includes modified scoring guidelines for students who may not have grown up speaking standard English, many test administrators do not abide by them. And even when they do, it can sometimes lead to underidentification of true language impairment when those test administrators cannot distinguish between language differences and language deficits. (This would help explain why the researchers also found that an estimated 62 percent of states underdiagnose Black children with these impairments.)


Tests like this one tend to be central to assessments of children as language deficient. The CELF-5 is used quite often. The dialect issue has been shown to be of key importance in overdiagnosis, which isn’t surprising given that, as Professor Catherine Crowley, from the program in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Columbia University’s Teachers College, tells me, in one subtest of the exam, 20 out of 33 of the constructions in the CELF-5 are used differently in Black English.


Imagine something else: If Black English were standard and a test asked white kids: Which is correct? “He ain’t be wearing that kind of shirt” or “He don’t be wearing that kind of shirt”? What would they answer? By the established parameters of Black English — and again, it is important to note that there are established parameters; this isn’t just slang — the correct answer is the second option. In that alternate universe, missing the distinction could get kids sent to a specialized classroom where they wouldn’t be taught according to their abilities.


I remember my mother, a child psychologist, talking as far back as the 1970s about Black kids being treated as linguistically deficient for being bidialectal; she resisted diagnostic tests as a result. Yet here we still are. Tests like this stay in place.


There are many areas in which I remain skeptical of the systemic racism analysis — for example, I am unconvinced that it’s systemic racism to require social workers to perform well on standardized tests. However, these speech evaluation tests imposed on children are something else. They can shunt kids away from mainstream opportunity when they have done nothing but grow up immersed in Black English as their linguistic comfort zone. Being born Black makes you more likely to suffer this abuse, whether it means your language impairment requiring special attention goes undiagnosed or your perfectly fine Black English is labeled a problem. Growing up with nonstandard English in general, as one study demonstrates about Filipino kids growing up in the United States from early childhood, can also lead to similar results.


It won’t do. But linguists can only have so much effect here. I have spent three decades listening to educators, psychologists, other linguists and speech pathologists giving talks about this lack of fit between speech evaluation tests and linguistic reality, and little seems to change except people in education circles being aware of and dismayed by the problem. Speech pathologists seeking to meaningfully participate in antiracism must start not just questioning but resisting en masse these outdated tests that apply a Dick-and-Jane sense of English on real kids who control a variety of coherent and nuanced Englishes.


Yes, all kids need to learn standard English in order to be able to access mainstream sources of achievement, not to mention to be taken seriously in specific contexts. This may not be fair. But the idea of standard English as a menacing, racist “gatekeeper” (which I have covered here) makes for good rhetoric yet will help no one in the real world. Certain dialects will be treated as standard as inevitably as certain kinds of clothing are considered more fashionable than others.


But for kids to be designated as linguistically deficient right out of the gate, based on notions such as that if they don’t always use the verb “to be” they don’t understand how things are related, makes no sense. It constitutes a dismissal of eager and innocent articulateness. And as such, it is an arrant and thoughtless injustice that must be stopped.



6) ‘It’s Like a War Out There.’ Iran’s Women Haven’t Been This Angry in a Generation.

By Azadeh Moaveni, Oct. 7, 2022

Ms. Moaveni is a writer and journalist who has written extensively about Iran and gender.

Iranian women demonstrating for equal rights in 1979.

Iranian women demonstrating for equal rights in 1979. Credit...Richard Tomkins/Associated Press

TEHRAN — On Monday, the 18th day of Iran’s intense protests against oppressive clerical rule and its numerous failures, schoolgirls with backpacks and black Converse sneakers joined the revolt. They marched down a street in a suburb of Tehran, the capital, waving their school uniform veils in the air. They jeered a male education official off school grounds in the same suburb, chanting the Persian word for lacking honor: “Bisharaf! Bisharaf!” They blocked traffic in the southern city of Shiraz, waving their head scarves in circles. They tore up images of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, hurled the fragments in the air and shrieked with passion, “Death to the dictator!”


The fury and desperation in their chants, and the confident arrival of Iran’s insurgent girls into the dangerous public sphere of protest is exceptional and extraordinary. They are fighting pre-emptively against a future where their bodies will continue to be controlled by the Islamic Republic. Whatever the fate of Iran’s protest movement, now entering its third week, the authorities’ feminist opposition now includes schoolchildren.


The outpouring of anger took the Iranian government off guard when it exploded on Sept. 16 across dozens of cities, in protest of the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody. Iran’s morality police detained Ms. Amini for wearing “improper hijab,” though her precise violation of the state’s Islamic dress codes was unclear. In video footage of Ms. Amini in detention, her attire is, by Iranian standards of compliance with the rules, uncontroversial.


But her unremarkable appearance is, in fact, the point. A distinguishing feature of Iranian life in recent years has been the selective enforcement of the hijab laws. The pockets of society that have managed to flourish in spite of the economy’s overall decline have lived in relative freedom from such restrictions for years, protected by their wealth, exclusive neighborhoods and regime connections. This partly explains the speed at which protests about Ms. Amini’s death accelerated into a wholesale rejection of the Islamic Republic, its leaders and its management of the country. The gap between the freedoms and opportunities enjoyed by the system’s affiliated elite and those of ordinary Iranians has never been so wide — and never have so many people expressed so much anger about it.


This fundamental repudiation of the system is what makes these protests so different from other restive moments in Iran’s recent past: In 1999, students demonstrated against the closing of a reformist newspaper; in 2009, millions marched against an allegedly rigged presidential election, demanding the ascent of different leaders within the system. Today, many despair of any prospect for change and feel a sense of bleak, collective loss.


The singer Shervin Hajipour summarized that pain in his song “Baraye,” or “For.” The lyrics, sewn together from protesters’ tweets and offering reasons for their protests, often wafts from cars and balconies across Tehran now, especially in the evenings:


For my sister, your sister, our sisters


For the renewal of rusted minds


For embarrassed fathers with empty hands


For our longing for an ordinary life



For the students and their future


For this forced paradise


For the bright ones in prisons



For woman, life and freedom

Tehran lies at the base of towering snow-dusted mountains and spreads downward through leafy districts lined with old villas and luxury apartment towers, and outward in an ever-growing sprawl of apartment blocks and the concrete, low-slung suburbs where the poor live. Bright lights of malls filled with jewelry stores and patisseries, commercial skyscrapers and an in-construction triple butterfly tower by Zaha Hadid dominate the skyline. A grand, plane-tree-lined boulevard, modeled after the Champs-Élysées, runs from the foothills through the length of the city. Anywhere you stand, your proximity to the mountains determines the quality of the air you breathe, your view of the city and your place in it.


The morality police scarcely venture into north Tehran, into neighborhoods where families of government officials live in apartment towers with saunas and elevator garages for parking. The sons of the regime’s elite race their Maseratis up and down the area’s tree-lined boulevards. Last winter, I saw a woman in chador (full body covering) driving a matte black Bugatti.


For the wealthy women of north Tehran, the right to be free from the hijab is already a de facto reality. They dine in rooftop restaurants on sushi and mezze bareheaded, their new-season Gucci bags dangling on their seats, served by uncovered waitresses. Last summer, even the bare midriff, once a jolting sight, became commonplace. My son, visiting Iran for the first time two summers ago, assumed being able to remove your head scarf in restaurants was an actual law. For the new elite, it might as well be. As one protester put it to me: “Can you imagine the police picking up a girl at one of those places? Her father probably works for a ministry and would deploy the whole squad to the Afghan border.”


Neither do the morality police impose their rules in Lavasan, a small town outside Tehran and now a playground for soccer players, celebrities and the regime-affiliated wealthy. Numerous Instagram accounts dedicated to showing ordinary Iranians how their overlords live — in their chateaus, gated villa compounds and infinity pools, with their scantily clad, unmolested lifestyles — have exposed the chasm between the rulers and the ruled.


Across the rest of Tehran, in public parks and metro stations, on buses and around terminals — the contact points where Iranians from the poorer southern neighborhoods and outlying low-wage suburbs enter the city and approach its privileged north — the roving white Mitsubishi vans of the morality police prowl. They may not patrol daily, but regularly enough to project their coercive authority and instill the fear that they may always be lurking.


What is “proper” hijab, anyway? It is meant to be a scarf over the head worn with a longish tunic, an outfit that conforms to what nowadays is called “modest fashion.” What the morality police enforce has little objective basis. They arbitrarily flex the power of the state, conveying that they can stop you whenever they want on the pretext that something is wrong on your body. The consequences range from being a nuisance to destroying a life.


When Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-liner, took office last summer, he became president of an Iran where the hijab had receded as a boondoggle in public life. A country where the sidewalk on Enghelab Street in the city center, the street named after the revolution, was plastered with stickers of women with bee-stung lips, advertising lip fillers. The hopeful imagined that if the hard-liners controlled all the branches of government, they would feel less insecure and behave tolerantly. Instead, in July, Mr. Raisi signaled that he intended to intensify enforcement of hijab rules. In the wake of his decision, morality patrols increased, especially on the metro and buses. Numerous women were arrested for infringements of the conservative dress code. Among them was a young writer, Sepideh Rashno, who was detained and later surfaced on state television making what appeared to be a coerced apology for not complying with proper hijab.


I traveled to Tehran in late September, as I do every few months, to visit family. On one of my first evenings back, I went to buy bread in the neighborhood and understood quickly from the darkened streets (every other street lamp was switched off), deserted sidewalks, broken glass and scorched shrubbery that something terribly violent had just occurred. A couple of indiscreet intelligence agents, with the wrong haircuts and awkward shirts, loitered at a newspaper kiosk. A pair of women wearing chadors and scuffed shoes walked too briskly up and down the street. It felt like a film set, with everyone playing their roles, the saboteurs posing as protesters to torch the area under cover of darkness, the actual inhabitants vanished.


One morning, I met Niloofar, a translator and graphic artist (most Iranians work more than one job these days to get by) in her mid-30s who remembered the ferocity of the full-fledged crackdown in 2009. Two days before we met, she had joined the crowds gathering in Sattarkhan, a neighborhood in central Tehran, which had become one of the capital’s most restive areas. She was heartened by the women in head scarves she saw among the protesters, women who choose to wear hijab by choice but had come out to support a movement against its imposition. “It’s no small thing to come out into the street,” she said. “You risk your life, arrest, injury. It’s like a war out there.”


Niloofar saw the decision of these women to oppose the government as critical, a feature that makes this movement, even if smaller by numbers, broader than anything Iran has experienced since 1979. In turn, protesters are careful to avoid insulting religion, mindful that despite society’s steady shift toward secularism, tolerance for individual freedom in belief is at the very core of their demands. “Islam is one thing; the system is another,” Niloofar said. “Maybe this system has damaged people’s piety most of all. And maybe secularism is the answer to our problems. But no one is saying it’s time to say that yet.”


The evening that Niloofar joined the protests in Sattarkhan, a group of protesters set crates and trash bins alight to create a barrier between them and the police, who fired tear-gas grenades. The noxious smoke filled the streets and seeped into nearby homes. At first Niloofar thought the police had hurled a bomb, so loud was the sound of the tear-gas grenade’s explosion. She felt pinned to the pavement and began to suffocate. She stumbled down an alleyway, where two young activists pulled her into a doorway and helped her recover.


As she recovered, she traded rumors with the protesters who’d helped her: that the security forces are employing adolescent boys and recruits from Iraq because their ranks are so divided and unwilling; that intelligence agents loiter in pharmacies to interrogate people who show up at night to buy first-aid supplies, since protesters are being treated at private homes by doctors; that a satellite television channel is broadcasting instruction on how to make Molotov cocktails. They all agreed that turnout at a rally organized by counterprotesters earlier in the week as a show of support for the government’s crackdown against the protesters, whom the pro-government activists had depicted as Quran-burning thugs, was a flop.


Even the police, by some accounts, are divided and exhausted. The police force itself, distinct from the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guards, is less politically ideological. After dusk on Sept. 27, I watched as policemen across Tehran simply sat down on the sidewalks in a long line of reluctant, exhausted authority. One said he hadn’t slept for four nights and when he went home, he got an earful from his mother: Don’t you dare beat other people’s children. He didn’t want to, anyway. The policemen have sisters, lovers and friends who are on the other side of these clashes in person. For the first time in its history, the Iranian state is staring a challenge in the face, knowing many of its forces’ sympathies lie with the people.


The anger against the state has also been manifesting in a disturbing manner: In Tehran, there has been in recent months street harassment of women in the black chador, the long enveloping shroud worn either out of religious belief or as a sign of loyalty to the system. I heard of several recent instances of women who have had their chadors ripped off, and been hissed at and spat upon. A former senior government official said on television that workers ignore his wife while she tries to do her business at government offices when she wears it. On another evening, the first week of the protests, a relative of mine, along with a young chador-clad woman, were the last two patients at a dentist’s office in an upscale neighborhood in north Tehran. Her cleaning had finished shortly after 7 p.m., but afraid of being harassed by protesters on the way home, she stayed in the clinic until 10 p.m., waiting for a ride from her brother.


For women who lived through the 1979 Islamic revolution, today’s feminist rebellion against the political order evokes memories. My mother-in-law, a historian and retired university professor, reminded me that in the lead-up to the 1979 revolution, women began voluntarily wearing the black chador on university campuses as a sign of their dissent against the regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. “The chador was a symbol of the revolution,” she said. “How ironic that now as a sign of protest it should be a rejection of the head scarf.”


One extraordinary form that rejection has taken is young women publicly and ritually cutting their hair at protests, before chanting and riveted crowds. There is something profoundly uneasy about that sight. A few days earlier, in the main square in Kerman, a city about 600 miles from Tehran, a masked young woman sat atop an electrical box and lowered her head to one side, trying to slice off her long hair with shears. It felt like a ritual sacrifice, this self-shearing, in a culture whose poetry has for centuries invoked hair as a metaphor for immemorial beauty, chains of binding love, shrouds of truth. I saw young women in Tehran walking around with their uncovered shorn heads, a beautiful proud wound.


What matters to the protesters beyond the right to dress freely varies by life stage and what discriminatory law or state-enabled patriarchal norm they’re up against. The list of injustices is long: unequal marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance laws; the lack of important protections under new domestic and gender-based violence statutes; unequal access to sports stadiums; employment discrimination; and workplace sexual harassment. I asked a 34-year-old friend who is trying to save up to emigrate to Sweden what mattered most to her. “I’d like to live in a society where when I submit a résumé for a job, I’m not asked to submit a full-length picture of myself and probably expected to sleep with my boss,” she said. To the same question, a 22-year-old told me she wanted to be able to move about in public without any fear or stress.


Since the protests began, the evenings feel as though the city is under some sort of curfew. One evening last week, I walked down a popular street in north Tehran and nearly everything was closed. The security guard at one of the fashionable cafes said the police had ordered them to shut. A couple of smaller places said they’d closed early to give their staff a chance to get home safely. At the juice stands and shopping complexes that were open, nearly all the young women had their head scarves down, as did middle-aged women doing their shopping. What was transfixing, though, was seeing bareheaded women in central parts of the city where such liberties are rarer, on the backs of motorcycles darting down Enghelab Street, at cafes frequented by university students. At an outdoor mall in eastern Tehran, a young woman flounced past a stall selling shawls and head scarves. “Pack up and go, sir. Don’t you know this is all over?” she exclaimed, sweeping her arm past his wares. “Why don’t you buy them and then burn them?” he suggested, smiling.


Early last week, shortly before midnight, the north Tehran neighborhood where my family lives finally displayed some signs of political life. The shouts began from a nearby building, a whole chorus of voices at once, and at first aroused my suspicions. They came from the most aspirational building in the neighborhood, a confection of narrowing white rococo columns, exactly like a wedding cake and ringed with Versailles-inspired topiary, a building one could afford and be inclined to live in only if one very much didn’t have a problem with state patronage.


The doorman darted out into the street and peered up into the darkness, trying to see what floor was demanding death to the country’s leaders. The calls soon picked up and echoed across the hillside, a cacophony of voices young and old, male and female. One sharp and high female voice led the neighborhood into a more varied set of chants about “woman, life and freedom.” I could make out shadowy silhouettes of people alone on rooftops, people on balconies silently watching, gathered in lighted stairwells, together in the fearless darkness.


On Oct. 3, a few days after I left Tehran, the state finally responded to the dissent that was gripping the country. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the protesters as rioters and accused them of being instigated by the United States and Israel. Local officials report that at least 1,500 people have been arrested. While it’s unlikely the state will formally make any concessions and relax its dress laws, there is much precedent in Iranian life for tacit change. The authorities may pull the morality police off the streets and permit de facto freedoms in women’s dress without ever acknowledging a change in position, which they would see as showing weakness. Such a move would be in keeping with what is described in Persian as practical politics, or “siyasat-e amali,” as opposed to “siyasat-e elaami,” or declared politics.


Where is it all going? What is this revolt? A feminist revolution for bodily freedom and gender equality; a radical civil rights movement against misogynistic, corrupt policing; or a leaderless, unorganized uprising that demands a fundamental overhaul in relations between citizens and the state? Perhaps it is all of these things at the same time.


What is certain is that morality policing will forever be tainted with the death of Mahsa Amini, viewed as an offense to public honor rather than its defender. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirls have already experienced the power of collective protest — even if the system cracks down with the brute force of which it is so capable, and even if the protests dwindle, and even if no one has a clue as to who or what might be an alternative or how to get there.


“Even if it stops tomorrow, it’s a victory,” Niloofar said. “It has given them a lesson they will always remember.”



7) Judges in Ohio and Arizona Temporarily Block States’ Abortion Bans

The decisions offered a window into which legal arguments might be working in the broader strategy to re-establish abortion rights through state courts.

By Ava Sasani, Oct. 7, 2022


Protesters rallied in support of abortion rights at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus in June.

Protesters rallied in support of abortion rights at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus in June. Credit...Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch, via Associated Press

Abortion rights supporters won two temporary victories on Friday when judges in Ohio and Arizona suspended state laws banning the procedures.


In Ohio, a county judge indefinitely suspended a state law prohibiting most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. A few hours later, an appeals court in Arizona temporarily blocked its pre-statehood law banning the procedure.


The decisions marked progress for abortion advocates who have been fighting to restore access to the procedure in states that ban it.


The Ohio decision extends an earlier, temporary suspension of the law that was set to expire next week. The ruling means that the state’s abortion ban is suspended while the court case proceeds, providing a bit more certainty for abortion providers and women.


Without the ban in effect, abortion in Ohio is legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.


Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion this summer, states have been free to regulate the procedure. More than a dozen, including Ohio, have passed laws banning most abortions. Some include narrow exceptions for rape, incest or if a pregnant woman’s life is in danger.


Those in favor of abortion rights have worked to overturn bans and restrictions by suing in state courts.


Attorney General David Yost of Ohio, who supports the six-week ban, could still appeal the case to a higher court.


“We will wait and review the judge’s actual written order and consult with the governor’s administration,” on next steps, said a spokesman for Mr. Yost.


The ruling in Arizona blocks a near-total ban dating back to 1864. The strict law was reinstated last month by a lower court in Arizona. Though Friday’s ruling temporarily restored the injunction on the 158-year-old ban, a law passed this year restricting abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy is in effect.


In the court’s brief, Presiding Judge Peter J. Eckerstrom wrote that the lower court erred by failing to consider Arizona’s more recent abortion laws, which attorneys for Planned Parenthood say conflict with the pre-statehood ban.


“Arizona courts have a responsibility to attempt to harmonize all of this state’s relevant statutes,” the judge wrote.


Friday’s decisions, though not the final word on the cases, offered a window into which legal arguments might be working in the broader strategy to re-establish abortion rights through state courts.


The plaintiffs in the Ohio case, a collective of abortion providers including Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, argued that Ohio’s state Constitution offered “broad protections for individual liberties,” which includes the right to abortion.


The Ohio law, passed in 2019, went into effect this year after the Supreme Court decision and remained in effect for over two months.


In his opinion, Judge Christian Jenkins, of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, argued that the right to abortion was found in the Ohio Constitution, saying, “abortion is health care.”


“Ohio’s Constitution specifically and unambiguously recognized as fundamental the right to liberty,” Judge Jenkins said, adding that the state Constitution guaranteed the right to “seek and obtain safety.”


State officials had argued that the right to abortion was not explicitly found in Ohio’s Constitution.


Judge Jenkins, a Democrat, said that the state was “simply wrong” to argue “that a right does not exist because it is not specifically listed in the Constitution.”


“By the state’s reasoning, the Obergefell decision recognizing the right to gay marriage is wrong,” the judge said, referring to the 2015 Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage a nationwide right.


The Ohio law restricts abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which is generally six weeks after the start of a pregnant woman’s last period, and before many women realize they are pregnant.


The law does not include exceptions for rape and incest, a feature that drew national attention this summer when a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had become pregnant through rape was denied an abortion in her home state.


The plaintiffs argued that the Ohio law deprived women of liberty and due process rights, citing several examples of unnamed women. They included a cancer patient who had to travel out of state for an abortion, according to affidavits submitted by a Cleveland abortion clinic. The patient, who had stage III melanoma, “broke down and cried” after learning she would have to travel outside of the state for an abortion so she could begin cancer treatment. Cancer treatments can be harmful to the fetus, so patients are often given the option of abortion before beginning treatment.


“Does a law that prevents a cancer patient from getting lifesaving treatment infringe on those rights? The answer is obviously it does,” Judge Jenkins said. The plaintiffs said they were “relieved that patients in Ohio can continue to access abortion as we work to fight this unjust and dangerous ban in court.”


“The preliminary injunction will be in place for the duration of our case, which means abortions will be legal in Ohio for a period much, much longer” than the initial suspension, they added.



8) Billy Sothern, Crusading New Orleans Defense Lawyer, Dies at 45

He was known for taking on some of Louisiana’s toughest cases, including the wrongful conviction of Albert Woodfox, who spent 42 years in solitary confinement.

By Clay Risen, Oct. 8, 2022


The New Orleans lawyer Billy Sothern, who fought on behalf of impoverished clients in the Deep South, in 2006.

The New Orleans lawyer Billy Sothern, who fought on behalf of impoverished clients in the Deep South, in 2006. Credit...Nikki Page Sothern

Mr. Sothern, left, was with his client Albert Woodfox, third from left, when he was released from prison in 2016 after spending 42 years in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit. Also there were Mr. Woodfox’s brother Michael, second from left, and George Kendall, another lawyer.

Mr. Sothern, left, was with his client Albert Woodfox, third from left, when he was released from prison in 2016 after spending 42 years in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit. Also there were Mr. Woodfox’s brother Michael, second from left, and George Kendall, another lawyer. Credit...Bryan Tarnowski for The New York Times

Billy Sothern, a defense lawyer renowned for taking on some of Louisiana’s toughest capital cases — including the wrongful conviction of Albert Woodfox, who spent 42 years in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit — died on Sept. 30 at his home in Great Barrington, Mass., where he and his family had moved during the pandemic. He was 45.


His wife, Nikki Page Sothern, said he had been fighting Covid, thyroid cancer and major depressive disorder, and that he died by suicide.


With his cherubic grin, energetic idealism and impressive legal chops, Mr. Sothern could have been a character out of a John Grisham novel. He arrived in New Orleans from New York City in 2001, right out of law school and intent on fighting on behalf of impoverished clients across what he and others called the Death Belt: the stretch of the Deep South from lower Alabama to East Texas where numerous capital punishment cases unfold.


His work for Mr. Woodfox, who wrote a critically acclaimed memoir and died in August, was merely Mr. Sothern’s best-known case.


His first significant victory came not long after he joined an organization called the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center as a staff lawyer. It involved Ryan Matthews, who had been sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of a New Orleans grocer, Tommy Vanhoose, although no DNA evidence was found on a ski mask used in the crime.


While working on another case, Mr. Sothern heard secondhand about an inmate bragging that he was the one who had killed Mr. Vanhoose. He checked the inmate’s DNA against samples from the mask. They matched.


He then led the effort to get Mr. Matthews’s conviction overturned, working alongside Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of Reprieve, which defends victims of wrongful imprisonment. Mr. Matthews was released in 2004.


Mr. Sothern did more than defend people in court; he stayed in touch afterward, often forming close friendships. Before he defended people, he got to know them intimately — their families, their lives, their communities — and in the process often became a part of those communities himself.


He became a part of the New Orleans community, too. He and his wife purchased what he described as a “big old falling-over place” in the city, with plans to spend the next few decades renovating it, bit by bit. They hosted regular parties, where Mr. Sothern, a world-class raconteur in a city overflowing with them, might hold forth on anything from poetry to jazz to cocktails, his charisma built on curiosity and never on braggadocio.


Similar qualities informed his writing about his adoptive city, which appeared in publications like Salon, The New York Times and The Believer. He wrote a memoir, “Down in New Orleans: Reflections From a Drowned City” (2007), about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and contributed an essay to “Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas” (2013), by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker.


“Everything he wrote, even if it was about something petty like football, was beautiful, like it was out of this time,” Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, a close friend, said in a phone interview. “I know people who moved to New Orleans because of what Billy wrote.”


William Martin Sothern Jr. was born on Feb. 15, 1977, in Norwalk, Conn. He grew up in various towns on Long Island and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. His father led a varied career that included designing children’s clothing and running a mold-remediation company. His mother, Winifred (Williams) Woodward, was a homemaker.


Along with his wife, Mr. Sothern is survived by his parents, who later divorced; his daughters, Rose Mae and Pearl Alma Sothern; his stepfather, Newell Kingsley Woodward; two brothers, Eric Sothern and Jason Warner; and two sisters, Lauren Sothern and Wendy McManus.


He attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., where he met Ms. Page Sothern and pursued, as all St. John’s students do, a double major in philosophy and the history of mathematics and science. He graduated in 1998 and immediately entered law school at New York University.


His studies at St. John’s left him fascinated with morality and social justice, as did his friendship with the progressive lawyer William Kunstler, whose daughter he dated in high school.


Just as significant, if not more, was a teenage run-in with the law that led to his being arrested on drug charges. But instead of going to prison, he was sent to rehab. Convinced that had he been anything other than white and middle class, the outcome — and therefore his life — would have been decidedly different, he dedicated his career to finding out why.


He soon found a mentor in Bryan Stevenson, a professor at N.Y.U. and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Mr. Sothern spent a summer working at the organization’s headquarters in Montgomery, Ala., and another summer working for a capital-defense nonprofit in New Orleans. By his third year he had plans in place to return to Louisiana after graduation.


“I always told my students that to do the most important, the most effective work, the most urgent work, you’ve got to be willing to go where the problems are,” Mr. Stevenson said in a phone interview. “And he really embraced that view.”


Mr. Sothern joined the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, and in 2004 he went to work for an offshoot, the Capital Appeals Project, as deputy director. He later went into private practice, taking on state-assigned indigent clients at the trial and appellate level.


Like Mr. Stevenson, he believed that no one was as bad as his worst act. That principle led him to take on not just wrongful-conviction cases, but also cases where the guilt was undeniable but he felt the punishment was unduly harsh.


Mr. Sothern was a member of the legal team that in 2008 persuaded the Supreme Court to overturn the death-penalty conviction of a child rapist, Patrick Kennedy. In another case, after a judge sentenced Shon Miller to death for killing four people, Mr. Sothern got that reduced to life imprisonment, arguing that Mr. Miller had been psychotic at the time of the crime.


Mr. Sothern was fond of poetry. He recited lines in conversation and sprinkled them through his writing. In a 2007 guest essay for The Times about the murder of a close friend, he quoted “Dirge Without Music,” a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay:


I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground


So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind.



9) Chelsea Manning: ‘I’m Still Bound to Secrecy’

By Chelsea Manning, Oct. 8, 2022

Ms. Manning is an American activist and whistle-blower. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir “README.txt,” from which this essay has been adapted.


By Yoshi Sodeoka

It is not possible to work in intelligence and not imagine disclosing the many secrets you bear.


I can’t pinpoint exactly when the idea first crossed my mind. Maybe it was in 2008, when I was learning to be an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army and was exposed to sensitive information for the first time. Or maybe the germ of the idea was planted when I was stationed at Fort Drum, in upstate New York. I was tasked with transporting a cache of classified hard drives in a large box in the summer heat, and I began to imagine what might happen if I screwed it up and left the box unattended. If someone managed to get ahold of a stray hard drive, what ripple effects might it cause?


I knew the official version of why these secrets had to be kept secret. We were protecting sources. We were protecting troop movements. We were protecting national security. Those things made sense. But it also seemed, to me, that we were protecting ourselves.


While I felt that my job was important, and I took my obligations seriously, a part of me always wondered: If we were acting ethically, why were we keeping so many secrets?


The months I spent in Iraq in 2009 changed the way I understood the world. Every night, I woke up in the desert at 9 p.m. and walked from my tiny trailer to the Saddam Hussein-era basketball court that the military had converted into an intelligence operations center.


I sat at a computer screen for hours at a stretch, going through reports from our troops in the field. Monitoring reporting was like drinking from a fire hose: The military used at least a dozen different intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. Each gave us a different view of the conflict and of the people and places we were watching. My job was to analyze, with emotional detachment, what impact military decisions were having on this giant, bloody “war on terror.”


The daily reality of my job was like life in a trauma ward. I’d spent hours learning every aspect of the lives of the Iraqis who were dying all around us: what time they got up in the morning, their relationship status, their appetites for food and alcohol and sex, whether they were engaged in political activities, and all the people they interacted with electronically. In some cases, I probably knew more about them than they knew about themselves.


I couldn’t talk about my work with anyone outside my unit, nor about this conflict that looked nothing like the one I’d read about back home or watched on the TV news before I enlisted.


We were seven years into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and people in the United States had begun to pretend that all of the conflict — all the lost American lives and the still-uncounted lost lives of Iraqis and Afghans — had been worth it. Attention turned away. The establishment moved on. There was the recession to deal with. People at home were losing everything. The health care debate was on the news every night. Yet we were still there. Still dying.


I was constantly confronted with these two conflicting realities — the one I was looking at, and the one Americans at home believed. It was clear that so much of the information people received was distorted or incomplete. This dissonance became an all-consuming frustration for me.


The idea that the information I had access to held real power began to flash into my brain more often. I’d try to ignore it, and it would come back.


In the intelligence field, you are vigorously inculcated with the notion that you can’t tell anyone anything about what you do, ever. This secrecy comes to control how you think and how you operate in the world. But the power of prohibition is fragile, especially once the justifications start to seem arbitrary.


During my time in intelligence, I had noticed that there was inconsistent internal logic to classification decisions. And I came to see that the classification system exists wholly in the interest of the U.S. government — in other words, it seems to exist not to to keep secrets safe but to control the narrative.


In December 2009, I began the process of downloading reports of all our activities from Iraq and Afghanistan.


These were descriptions of enemy engagements with hostile forces or explosives that detonated. They contained body counts, coordinates and businesslike summaries of confusing, violent encounters. They contained, in their aggregate force, something much closer to the truth of what those two wars really looked like than what Americans were learning at home. They were a pointillist picture of wars that wouldn’t end.


I burned the files onto DVDs, labeled with titles like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Manning’s Mix. I later transferred the files to a memory card, then shattered the discs with my boots on the gravel outside the trailers. On my next leave, I brought the documents back to America in my camera, as files on an SD memory card. This was every single incident report the U.S. Army had ever filed about Iraq or Afghanistan, every instance where a soldier thought there was something important enough to log and report. Navy customs personnel didn’t blink an eye. No one cared enough to notice.


Uploading the files directly to the internet wasn’t my first choice. I tried to reach traditional publications, but it was a frustrating ordeal. I didn’t trust the telephone, nor did I want to email anything; I could be surveilled. Even pay phones weren’t safe.


I went into chain stores — Starbucks, mostly — and asked to borrow their landline because supposedly my cellphone was lost or my car had broken down. I called The Washington Post and The New York Times, but I didn’t get anywhere.


I recalled that in 2008, during intelligence training, our instructor — a Marine Corps veteran turned contractor — told us about WikiLeaks, a website devoted to radical transparency, while instructing us not to visit it. But while I shared WikiLeaks’ stated commitment to transparency, I thought that for my purposes, it was too limited a platform. Most people back then had never heard of it. I worried that information on the site wouldn’t be taken seriously.


The website was the publication of last resort, but as the weeks went by and I got no response from traditional newspapers, I grew increasingly desperate. So, on the very last day of my leave, I went to a Barnes & Noble with my laptop.


Sitting at a chair in the bookstore cafe, I drank a triple grande mocha and zoned out, listening to electronic music — Massive Attack, Prodigy — to wait out the uploads. There were seven chunks of data to get out, and each one took 30 minutes to an hour. The internet was slow, and the connection was bad. I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to complete my work before the store closed. But the Wi-Fi finally did its job.


The fallout was instant and intense. The documents proved, unambiguously and unimpeachably, just how disastrous the war still was. Once revealed, the truth could not be denied or unseen: This horror, this constellation of petty vendettas with an undertow of corruption — this was the truth of the war.


The disclosures became a flash point for a larger argument about how the United States should engage internationally, and how much the public deserved to know about how their government was acting in their name. I had changed the terms of the debate and pulled back the curtain. But while all that was happening, I knew nothing about it. I was in a cage.


Everyone now knows — because of what happened to me — that the government will attempt to destroy you fully, charge you with everything under the sun, for bringing to light the ugly truth about its own actions. What I was trying to do had never been done before, and therefore the consequences were, at the time, unknowable.


Daniel Ellsberg, who had disclosed the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, avoided prison because of illegal evidence-gathering by the Nixon White House (which had ordered a break-in of his psychiatrist’s office, in search of information that might discredit Mr. Ellsberg).


Nobody had gone to prison for this sort of thing; I hadn’t heard of Mr. Ellsberg at the time, but I was very aware of Thomas Drake, a National Security Agency whistle-blower who had been prosecuted under the Espionage Act. He’d faced charges that carried a 35-year prison sentence, but shortly before trial he’d cut a deal that left him with only probation and community service.


I certainly weighed the potential consequences. If I was caught, I would be detained, but I figured at most I was going to be discharged or lose my security clearance. I cared about my work, and it was frightening to imagine losing my job — I had been homeless before enlisting — but I thought that if I was court-martialed, it would damage only the government’s own credibility. I never really reckoned with the notion of a life spent in prison, or worse.


The details of what happened to me are, by now, well known. I was held for several months in a cage in Kuwait. I was sentenced to 35 years in a maximum-security prison, where I spent seven years, much of it in solitary confinement. During that time, I came out as transgender and transitioned. Denied gender-affirming health care, I went on a hunger strike. I attempted suicide twice.


But even in prison I remained active. I began writing a column for The Guardian. I drafted a bill, “Bill to Re-establish the National Integrity and to Protect Freedom of Speech, and the Freedom of the Press,” which I proposed on Twitter and sent to members of Congress. It was meant to outlaw some of the most egregious ways that the Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act had been used against me, so that others wouldn’t be put in such a bind for wanting to do the right thing. It also included fixes to the Freedom of Information Act and would give stronger federal protections to journalists. It was a pipe dream and was treated as such.


On Jan. 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted my sentence, and I was released. Everyone expected me to be in shock at being out, to kiss the ground or something. It did feel surreal to be free, but it also felt as if what I’d been dealing with for the previous seven years would never be over. It certainly isn’t over now. I can never leave it behind.


This was my first time as a free woman. I had spent several years transitioning, so I felt comfortable in the way my body moved and felt. Even in prison, with restrictions on hair length and clothing, people had begun to accept me as a woman. They treated me as a human being. But now I needed to navigate a larger world with this new identity.


I emerged from prison a celebrity. I had been made, without consultation, into a symbol and figurehead for all kinds of ideas. Some of that was fun — Annie Leibovitz photographed me for Vogue’s September issue. Some of it — the C.I.A. director pressuring Harvard to uninvite me from a visiting fellowship, Fox News seizing upon my very existence as a cheap way to rile up its viewers — was much less so.


The main upside to my notoriety has been that I can do important work. Activism quickly became almost a full-time job. I went to the Pride parade in New York City; I ran for Senate in Maryland; I protested the Trump administration’s policies on immigration and refugees, and President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the ban on transgender personnel in the military. The political moment into which I emerged is one in which we are figuring out what got us here as a country.


What I did during my enlistment was part of a deep American tradition of rebellion, resistance and civil disobedience — a tradition we have long drawn upon to force progress and oppose tyranny. The documents I made public expose how little we knew about what was being done in our name for so many years.


Despite becoming notorious for my acts of divulgence, I am still, in many ways, bound to secrecy. There are things the media has made public about this story that I can’t comment on, confirm or deny. Certain details remain classified. I am limited to some degree in what I can put on the record.


Some people have characterized me as a traitor, which I continue to reject. I have faced serious consequences for sharing information that I believe to be in the public interest. But I believe that what I did was my democratic and ethical obligation.


Chelsea Manning is an American activist and whistle-blower. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir “README.txt,” from which this essay has been adapted.