Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, March 31, 2023


Mumia’s Appeal Denied!

Dear Friend

"Mumia is the community, Mumia is the world movement, Mumia is the heartbeat when we talk about revolutionary thinkers, and you know, Mumia represents all that are in prison. Mumia's story as a political prisoner is the story of your family members and your friends who are being held behind bars from a racist system. So we're not stopping, we're not stopping at all."—Jamal Jr. on Black Power Media

Today at 4:08 pm, March 31, 2023, Common Pleas court Judge Lucretia Clemons denied Mumia Abu-Jamal’s request for a new trial. 

This is simply devastating news.

After 43 years in prison, Mumia Abu-Jamal has exhausted nearly all of his avenues for relief.   

Make no mistake: Justice required that Mumia Abu-Jamal be given a new trial.  

The enemy now is time. At 68-years-old Mumia is suffering from cardiac disease and has had a double bypass, and nearly died from lack of treatment for acute Hepatitis C.

If you put thick blinders on that block out all reality and rely on procedural minutia for cover, honestly, it is still impossible to avoid the scorchingly blatant racism of trial Judge Albert Sabo, Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill, Mayor and former police chief Frank Rizzo, District Attorney during Mumia’s trial Ed Rendell, and Ron Castille, DA and former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.

Striking Blacks from the Jury

Judge Clemons stated that she was dismissing the claim of striking Black jurors on procedural grounds, dismissing Mumia's claim about the prosecutor excluding Black people from the jury, without addressing the merits of the claim.  One only has to look at the McMann training tapes that were made by the Philadelphia DA’s office which instructed prosecutors how to strike Black jurors. The tapes were made after Mumia’s trial, but they document the practice which was the norm in the office.   

Suborning Perjury: Paying Witnesses

Additionally, there's the note from supposed “eyewitness” Robert Chobert that asked prosecutor McGill after the trial “where is the money that is owed to me?” This note was scrubbed from any filings and buried by the prosecution for 40 years. This dramatic “Brady evidence” previously unavailable to the defense, was dismissed by the Judge in her written opinion as not “being material.” Meaning it would not have affected the jury’s verdict!  Underlying this is the wholesale adoption of the credibility determinations of the original trial court Judge Albert Sabo, “I am going to help them fry the n---word.”  It allows his racist tainted rulings to stand.

Judge Clemons also dismissed records from prosecutor McGill that extensively track and monitor another key witness, Cynthia White, who’s pending criminal cases were ALL were dropped by the prosecution following her testimony.

"It’s heartbreaking... Mumia is a scholar, he is a good dude who is being framed up by Philadelphia for a murder he didn't commit … the Judge knows this, the prosecution knows this, and it really saddens me that they won’t give my grandfather the freedom that he deserves" —Jamal Jr. on Black Power Media

There will be rallies in Philly and several other locations around the country.

Read the ruling here:


Cuando luchamos ganamos,

When We Fight, We Win

Noelle Hanrahan, Esq. P.I.

Prison Radio Legal Director



Join the protest if the Texas court bans the abortion pill, Mifepristone!


Hands off abortion medications and bodily autonomy!


Meet up on the day following the ruling:

5:00 P.M. at Embarcadero and Mission 

(If the decision comes out on a Friday, the action will be on the following Monday.  Bring your outrage and picket signs!)


A Texas judge is poised to ban the abortion pill. If this happens, abortion access will dramatically be impacted, at least as much as the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned Roe v. Wade.


This ruling will seriously affect access to critical health care, not only for those seeking abortions, but for people in this country who have miscarriages every year. More than half of all abortions are done via mifepristone along with a second medication, misoprostol. While it is possible to have a medication abortion using only the as-yet-unchallenged drug misoprostol, it has a lower success rate and is more painful for the patient, adding punishment and abuse to the individual seeking relief.


The Trump-appointed federal judge Matthew Kaczmarek purposely exploited confusion about procedural details in the FDA's approval process to peddle the false narrative that the agency recklessly hastened review of mifepristone. The truth is that the FDA took more than four years to approve the drug and extensively examined its very minor risks. This drug has been available in France since 1987 (RU486) and has been used widely in the U.S. since 2000.  It is, in fact, safer than Tylenol according to medical experts.


The federal court case was lodged by a group called Alliance Defending Freedom. This organization is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in part because it is attempting to eradicate the separation of church and state and use legal strategies to graft its version of conservative Christianity onto the legal profession and the culture at large. Alliance members also claim that a "homosexual agenda" will destroy Christianity and society.


Attempts to undermine what should be the right to reproductive and bodily autonomy are an attack on all people’s healthcare needs. Also threatened are contraception, sex education, non-religious health care providers, and social services that are vital to safely bearing and raising children in marginalized communities. Reproductive justice also includes an end to forced sterilization, the right to gender-affirming care, support for LGBTQ+ families and children, and an end to immigration policies that separate families.


In San Francisco, we will join riseup4abortionrights and other organizations and meet up on the day following the ruling, at 5:00 P.M. at Embarcadero and Mission. If the decision comes out on a Friday, the action will be on the following Monday.  Bring your outrage and picket signs!


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice and its San Francisco affiliate vow to defend all forms of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. For its full list of their intersectional demands, information on meetings, activities, endorsers, and resources see their website:



In San Francisco find them at:

 reprojustice.sf@gmail.com, https://linktr.ee/reprojusticenow




Spring Action Week:  April 15 - 22, 2023
Holloman AFB, Southern New Mexico

Co-sponsored by CODEPINK & Ban Killer Drones

Mark your calendars & Join Us! 

Come for all or part of the week!



Public complaint about the health condition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, illegally imprisoned in the United States

On Friday, March 16, 2023, Camilla Saab made an urgent call to the world to denounce the dire health condition of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, which endangers his life.

In July 2021, the Working Group against Torture and several UN rapporteurs expressed their concern about the irreparable deterioration of Alex Saab's health condition.  

Let us recall that in Cape Verde, on July 7, 2021, after many refusals, Alex Saab was visited by his family doctor, who, in his report, detected a worrying health condition of the Venezuelan official, especially because Saab is a stomach cancer survivor. The doctor diagnosed: anemia, anorexia, diabetes mellitus type 2, hypothyroidism, hypertension, and high risk of thromboembolic disease, including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. In addition, he highlighted that a high infection by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori was found in his blood, and an endoscopy identified bleeding from the digestive tract that could mean a recurrence of cancer. Saab's lower left molar was found broken due to the beatings received during the torture, and access to proper medical care was recommended. However, he was never allowed to receive treatment.  

Subsequently, the treating physician issued, on September 9, 2021, a new report highlighting the need for patient Alex Saab to receive specialized medical care and asked the authorities of Cape Verde to consider the need to preserve the health and life of Alex Saab. Cape Verde did nothing in this regard.  

Alex Saab arrived in the United States, kidnapped for the second time on October 16, 2021, and from that moment until today, he has not received any medical attention according to the primary diseases that had been reported, ignoring the call of the UN rapporteurs. Alex Saab is in the Federal Detention Center in Miami, and his prison situation is even worse than in Cape Verde: he has not been allowed family visits. He has not seen his wife and children, who have also been victims of persecution by the U.S. authorities and their allies, for more than two years and eight months. 

Alex Saab has also not been allowed consular visits, a human right of every prisoner deprived of liberty. The U.S. State Department has yet to respond to the Venezuelan State's request to grant him a consular visit, as established in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  

In the medical reports made in July, Alex Saab's doctor had already informed that they had identified bleeding from the digestive tract, which could mean a cancer recurrence. Now, it is highly alarming to learn that Alex has been vomiting blood for weeks, and despite having reported it to the U.S. authorities, there is still a lack of medical attention at the prison. Why has the U.S. not bothered to treat him?  

Everything indicates that the lack of medical attention is part of a State policy, as was his illegal arrest. Do U.S. authorities want Alex Saab dead? Why, then, the insistence on not providing him with medical attention and not allowing his doctor to visit him? 

Everyone knows that the truth is on the side of the Venezuelan diplomat, and sooner or later, the United States must release him, but they are taking more time than usual. Could it be that they are waiting for his illnesses to develop further? 

We, the #FreeAlexSaab Movement, hold the U.S. Government responsible for diplomat Alex Saab's life and what may happen to him during his illegal detention.

·      We ask that the International Committee of the Red Cross to be present at the Federal Detention Center in Miami-USA. 

·      We urge the High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights to take action and denounce this violation of the human rights of the Venezuelan diplomat illegally detained in U.S. territory. 

·      We request the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, as the highest defender of International Law, to make an announcement on this case, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and human rights. 

·      We demand immediate freedom for Alex Saab Moran, the Venezuelan diplomat kidnapped in the United States. We urgently require a humanitarian, political, and diplomatic solution to this unjust situation. 

It is time to move forward. We urge the U.S. Government to sit down and reach an agreement. Venezuela has shown to be open to finding a solution.



Previously Recorded

View on YouTube:




Featured Speakers:


Yuliya Yurchenko, Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich and author of Ukraine and the Empire of Capital: From Marketization to Armed Conflict.


Vladyslav Starodubstev, historian of Central and Eastern European region, and member of the Ukrainian democratic socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh.


Kirill Medvedev, poet, political writer, and member of the Russian Socialist Movement.


Kavita Krishnan, Indian feminist, author of Fearless Freedom, former leader of the Communist Party of India (ML).


Bill Fletcher, former President of TransAfrica Forum, former senior staff person at the AFL-CIO, and Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.


Including solidarity statements from among others Barbara Smith, Eric Draitser, Haley Pessin, Ramah Kudaimi, Dave Zirin, Frieda Afary, Jose La Luz, Rob Barrill, and Cindy Domingo.



Help U.S. Workers Visit Cuba on May Day

Los Angeles U.S. Hands Off Cuba committee members and supporters meeting to discuss solidarity with Amazon workers organizing unions and Cuba solidarity work.

World-Outlook is encouraging readers to donate to help workers from the United States, involved in union organizing efforts at Amazon warehouses, participate in an upcoming trip to Cuba. The Los Angeles US Hands Off Cuba Committee is organizing the delegation, which will coincide with May Day celebrations on the island.

There are many reasons to travel to Cuba. First and foremost, participants in a delegation such as this one will have the chance to see the Cuban Revolution for themselves; to meet and talk with Cuban workers, farmers, and political leaders. It is also a chance to show solidarity with the Cuban people who face Washington’s six-decades-long economic blockade, escalated in recent years by 243 new sanctions levied by the Trump administration, then continued and augmented by the Biden administration.

This 2023 May Day tour will be composed primarily of young people, unionists, and those seeking to build unions.

Nine Amazon workers involved in the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York — where last year workers won the first union representation election at an Amazon facility — plan to join the delegation. They include ALU president Chris Smalls and Cassio Mendoza, editor of the ALU newspaper. A worker at Amazon’s Moreno Valley ONT8 facility in the Los Angeles area also plans to participate.

Last week, three members of Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment (C.A.U.S.E.), a group working to organize a union at an Amazon fulfillment center in Garner, North Carolina, said they too will join the delegation.

Other delegation members will include International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers, Steelworkers, L.A. teachers, and fifteen young activists from the Los Angeles Hands Off Cuba Committee.

The tour members will be in Cuba for the huge outpouring on May Day, the international workers holiday. A full schedule of political and cultural activities, including a meeting with the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC) is planned. The delegation will also meet with the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), as well as visit the new Fidel Castro Museum and the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

This fund-raising effort is specifically to help defray the expenses for the Amazon workers who need some help, as their pay does not allow for much disposable income. Your contribution will help the Amazon workers participate. The goal is to raise $4,500. As of today, $1,800 has been contributed so far. World-Outlook will donate $100.

The cost per person to participate in this 10-day trip is $1,300. That figure includes airfare, housing, food, and transportation in Cuba, museum admissions, and visas. Each Amazon worker is contributing a minimum of $500 for their expenses. Many of these Amazon workers have their airline tickets and passports ready but additional funds are needed to ensure their participation.

We encourage you to help.

There are two ways to donate:

1.     Go-Fund Me Account:


2.     Send a check to the LA Hands Off Cuba Committee made out to the group’s treasurer: 

             Diana Cervantes

             12206 Trinity St. 

             Los Angeles, CA 90061

Please share this appeal with friends, family, and fellow workers who may want to help.

In solidarity,

World-Outlook editors

—World-Outlook, March 2, 2023





National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

ReproJusticeNow.org info@reprojusticenow.org 

Facebook @ ReproJusticeNow

Statement to the Media


National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

Email: info@reprojusticenow.org

Contact: Helen Gilbert (National Coordinator)

206-473-0630 (cell), 206-985-4621 (office)


For Release: Immediately

Interviews welcome


"Hands off abortion medications!" says National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

Republican and rightwing pressure has intimidated the massive Walgreens drugstore chain from providing legal, safe and effective abortion drugs in 20 states, it was reported today. This comes even before a nationwide day of protests called on Saturday, March 4 by #StopAbortionRX, Students for Life of America and affiliated conservative and religious groups. Their “National Day of Protest to Cancel Abortion Cartels" targets CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.


The anti-abortion activists use inflammatory and untrue language in describing a common, safe and necessary medical procedure. Their tactic of trying to intimidate customers by demonstrating at entrances and inside stores is nothing but bullying. These actions have the potential to interrupt people’s access to needed medical prescriptions of all kinds. By demonstrating at the access point between pharmacist and patient, anti-abortionists contribute to an already broken US healthcare system.


The FDA-approved drugs mifepristone and misoprostol are used together to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone stops the body from producing a hormone necessary to an embryo’s development. Since 2000, it has been approved to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks after gestation. Misoprostol is used a few days later to help the body expel the tissue with more speed and safety. In 2020, 53% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication-induced, which has been shown to be safe and 90% effective. Medication abortions are also less expensive, more accessible, and more private than surgical abortions.


In tandem with physical harassment of people seeking anti-pregnancy drugs, legal harassment is threatening reproductive choices across all states. A federal court case lodged by Alliance Defending Freedom is pending in Texas, where a Trump-appointed, historically anti-abortion judge, Matthew Kacsmaryk, could reverse FDA approval for mifepristone. Medical experts say that inducing abortion with only misoprostol is less effective and more painful – adding punishment and abuse to the individual seeking relief.


A decision in the Texas case could come any time and could dramatically alter abortion access   at least as much as the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overturned decades of abortion-rights precedent.


These further attempts to undermine what should be rights to reproductive and bodily autonomy are an attack on all people’s healthcare needs. And opponents of reproductive justice won’t stop there. Also threatened are contraception, sex education, non-religious health care providers, and social services that are vital to safely bearing and raising children in marginalized communities. Reproductive justice also includes an end to forced sterilization, the right to gender-affirming care, support for LGBTQ+ families and children, and an end to immigration policies that separate families.


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice and its affiliates across the country vow to defend all forms of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. See the Mobilization’s website, www.ReproJusticeNow.org, for information on meetings and activities, endorsers, resources and its full list of demands.


The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice was initiated by Radical Women in 2021 in order to build a grassroots coalition of forces to defend reproductive rights. It has organized numerous actions and currently has more than 30 endorsing organizations from around the country including unions, and racial justice, LGBTQI+, religious, radical, and feminist groups. Click here to add your organization's endorsement.


Mailing Address:

National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice

4710 University Way NE #100

Seattle, WA 98105


Add us to your address book.


For more information

Phone: 206-985-4621




Daniel Ellsberg Continues the Fight

Message sent by Kip Waldo


(Message from Daniel Ellsberg Below)


At the beginning of March, Daniel Ellsberg sent a message to “friends and supporters” letting them know that he faces a life-ending medical condition—inoperable pancreatic cancer. He said that the doctors believe that he has another three to six months to live.


This letter, full of Dan Ellsberg’s passion and humor, reflect his concern for and sense of responsibility to people who have come to know him. It is a reflection of the man who risked his future with his release, in 1971, of 7000 pages of top-secret documents exposing the systematic policy of lies told to the U.S. population and the world about the U.S. war on Vietnam. Those papers, which became known as “The Pentagon Papers,” were published in a number of newspapers including the Washington Post, the New York Times—the two major East-coast newspapers in the U.S. at the time. Their publication served to change the perspective of many who still believed those lies. 


He knew the risk he was taking. It resulted in Nixon, who was the president at the time, branding him as the “most dangerous man in America” and launched a massive manhunt to bring him to trial for espionage. The charges against him, a total of 12 felonies, were dropped after he stood trial for four months. It was a lucky coincidence that investigations surrounding the impeachment of Nixon for orchestrating the burglary of Democratic Party headquarters revealed that Nixon’s operatives had also broken into the offices of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist in hopes of finding damning information. 


Instead of just breathing a sigh of relief at not having to spend the rest of his life in prison, Ellsberg continued on the path that his so-called treasonous act had set him on. He became one of the best-known public intellectuals in the U.S., sharing his understanding of the workings of the U.S. government, his constant concerns regarding the development and use of nuclear weapons, also an area of his expertise as a nuclear war planner. 


He published books and articles, was interviewed constantly, and spoke throughout the U.S. and many parts of the world. He rose in defense of other so-called whistleblowers like Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning who released secret information that exposed U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Edward Snowden who exposed the extent of government surveillance of U.S. citizens, and John Kiriakou, the CIA case officer and analyst, who exposed the CIA's torture program, along with others. He not only spoke, but he also demonstrated with others against the nuclear weaponization of war, against the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, policies toward Iran, carried out by the U.S., in support of Chelsea Manning who was imprisoned, for first amendment rights, in support of the Occupy movement and many more. For his actions he has been arrested more than 80 times.


It is impossible to measure the impact that he has had on others, with the example he set with his life, hoping to give others the courage to question and stand up against the murderous functioning of this system.


His letter (published below) reflects the qualities he embodies and that we could all hope to embody to some degree.


Message from Daniel Ellsberg


Dear friends and supporters,


I have difficult news to impart. On February 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer on the basis of a CT scan and an MRI. (As is usual with pancreatic cancer—which has no early symptoms—it was found while looking for something else, relatively minor.) I’m sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live. Of course, they emphasize that everyone's case is individual; it might be more, or less. 


I have chosen not to do chemotherapy (which offers no promise) and I have assurance of great hospice care when needed. Please know right now, I am not in any physical pain, and in fact, after my hip replacement surgery in late 2021, I feel better physically than I have in years! Moreover, my cardiologist has given me license to abandon my salt-free diet of the last six years. This has improved my quality of life dramatically: the pleasure of eating my former favorite foods! And my energy level is high. Since my diagnosis, I've done several interviews and webinars on Ukraine, nuclear weapons, and first amendment issues, and I have two more scheduled this week.


As I just told my son Robert: he's long known (as my editor) that I work better under a deadline. It turns out that I live better under a deadline!


I feel lucky and grateful that I've had a wonderful life far beyond the proverbial three-score years and ten. (I’ll be ninety-two on April 7th.) I feel the very same way about having a few months more to enjoy life with my wife and family, and in which to continue to pursue the urgent goal of working with others to avert nuclear war in Ukraine or Taiwan (or anywhere else). 


When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed (and was.) Yet in the end, that action—in ways I could not have foreseen, due to Nixon’s illegal responses—did have an impact on shortening the war. In addition, thanks to Nixon's crimes, I was spared the imprisonment I expected, and I was able to spend the last fifty years with Patricia and my family, and with you, my friends.


What's more, I was able to devote those years to doing everything I could think of to alert the world to the perils of nuclear war and wrongful interventions: lobbying, lecturing, writing, and joining with others in acts of protest and non-violent resistance. 


I wish I could report greater success for our efforts. As I write, "modernization" of nuclear weapons is ongoing in all nine states that possess them (the U.S. most of all). Russia is making monstrous threats to initiate nuclear war to maintain its control over Crimea and the Donbas—like the dozens of equally illegitimate first-use threats that the U.S. government has made in the past to maintain its military presence in South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, and (with the complicity of every member state then in NATO) West Berlin. The current risk of nuclear war, over Ukraine, is as great as the world has ever seen. 


China and India are alone in declaring no-first-use policies. Leadership in the U.S., Russia, other nuclear weapons states, NATO and other U.S. allies have yet to recognize that such threats of initiating nuclear war—let alone the plans, deployments and exercises meant to make them credible and more ready to be carried out—are and always have been immoral and insane: under any circumstances, for any reasons, by anyone or anywhere.


It is long past time—but not too late!—for the world's publics at last to challenge and resist the willed moral blindness of their past and current leaders. I will continue, as long as I'm able, to help these efforts. There's tons more to say about Ukraine and nuclear policy, of course, and you'll be hearing from me as long as I'm here.


As I look back on the last sixty years of my life, I think there is no greater cause to which I could have dedicated my efforts. For the last forty years we have known that nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia would mean nuclear winter: more than a-hundred-million tons of smoke and soot from firestorms in cities set ablaze by either side, striking either first or second, would be lofted into the stratosphere where it would not rain out and would envelope the globe within days. That pall would block up to 70 percent of sunlight for years, destroying all harvests worldwide and causing death by starvation for most of the humans and other vertebrates on earth. 


So far as I can find out, this scientific near-consensus has had virtually no effect on the Pentagon's nuclear war plans or U.S./NATO (or Russian) nuclear threats. (In a like case of disastrous willful denial by many officials, corporations and other Americans, scientists have known for over three decades that the catastrophic climate change now underway—mainly but not only from burning fossil fuels—is fully comparable to U.S.-Russian nuclear war as another existential risk.) 


I'm happy to know that millions of people—including all those friends and comrades to whom I address this message!—have the wisdom, the dedication and the moral courage to carry on with these causes, and to work unceasingly for the survival of our planet and its creatures.


I'm enormously grateful to have had the privilege of knowing and working with such people, past and present. That's among the most treasured aspects of my very privileged and very lucky life. I want to thank you all for the love and support you have given me in so many ways. Your dedication, courage, and determination to act have inspired and sustained my own efforts. 


My wish for you is that at the end of your days you will feel as much joy and gratitude as I do now. 


Love, Dan


PS: I will enjoy reading any message you send me to this email, though I may or may not be able to respond to every message or call. I prefer email to calls, and in general I am avoiding personal visits, from concern about covid. Please know that I hold you in my heart.



Bigotry Comes in Many Forms: We Oppose the Targeting of Huwaida Arraf and Silencing of the Palestinian Narrative with Bogus Charges of Antisemitism


Sign petition at:



We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the recent attacks on Huwaida Arraf, a highly respected Palestinian-American civil rights attorney and longtime human rights activist. It is clear that these attacks are politically motivated attempts to discredit Huwaida’s message and silence all advocates of Palestinian rights. It is dangerous and we must not tolerate it. Smears and lies have been widely hurled at Huwaida, and death threats to Arab and Muslim students.

To sign this petition, please scroll down below the partial list of names and your name will be added.

These attacks have come in the aftermath of Huwaida’s participation in a Bloomfield Hills High School diversity assembly on March 14, 2023. Huwaida was invited by the student organizers of the assembly to speak alongside four other speakers about her experiences dealing with racism. The goal of the assembly was to promote diversity and acceptance, and raise awareness of the dangers of racism and discrimination.  

Huwaida spoke about her work campaigning for Palestinian freedom and human rights, which includes co-founding an organization that brings people of all religions, ethnicities, and nationalities together to bear witness on the ground and support the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Huwaida spoke about the importance of dismantling systems of oppression, which are built on racist ideologies, and she urged students to remember that all human beings are deserving of the same rights that we want for ourselves. 

Following the assembly, Zionist organizations launched a campaign to pressure the school to apologize for allowing Huwaida to speak, calling her and her comments “hateful” and “antisemitic.” This was followed by a special board meeting where multiple individuals were permitted to malign Huwaida’s character using racist tropes and falsehoods. Meanwhile, the students who spoke up eloquently to debunk the lies were marginalized, as the school board promised to take steps to ensure that “mistakes like this” do not happen again. The principal of the school, an African American, has been put on administrative leave, and the pressure continues to fire him and other school administrators. 

It is not a mistake or antisemitic to invite a Palestinian speaker to participate in a diversity assembly. Nor is it a mistake or antisemitic to invite a speaker to talk about Palestinian rights. The mistake is equating speech about Palestinian rights and the erasure of the Palestinian lived experience with antisemitism. It is a deliberate tactic that has been used for years to intimidate people into silence about the atrocities being committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people. This tactic not only harms Palestinians and supporters of Palestinian rights, but it does a great disservice to the fight against real antisemitism by conflating the Palestinian struggle for liberation and criticism of the Israeli government’s policies with those who brandish swastikas and attack synagogues. 

We stand with Huwaida and the student organizers of the diversity assembly against these baseless attacks and nefarious defamation. We call on Jewish community leaders and organizations, and other social justice, human rights, and religious leaders and organizations to recognize the harm caused by denying the Palestinian experience and making false accusations of antisemitism. 

We call on the Bloomfield Hills school administration to reject all efforts to conflate speech about Palestinian rights with antisemitism. And, we call on everyone everywhere to remember the words of the late civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer —“nobody’s free until everybody’s free” — and to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle to be free. 





Updates From Kevin Cooper 

March 23, 2023 

Dear Friends and Comrades, 

This is Kevin Cooper writing and sending this update to you in 'Peace & Solidarity'. First and foremost I am well and healthy, and over the ill effect(s) that I went through after that biased report from MoFo, and their pro prosecution and law enforcement experts. I am back working with my legal team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

'We' have made great progress in refuting all that those experts from MoFo came up with by twisting the truth to fit their narrative, or omitting things, ignoring, things, and using all the other tactics that they did to reach their conclusions. Orrick has hired four(4) real experts who have no questionable backgrounds. One is a DNA attorney, like Barry Scheck of the innocence project in New York is for example. A DNA expert, a expect to refute what they say Jousha Ryen said when he was a child, and his memory. A expect on the credibility of MoFo's experts, and the attorney's at Orrick are dealing with the legal issues.

This all is taking a little longer than we first expected it to take, and that in part is because 'we' have to make sure everything is correct in what we have in our reply. We cannot put ourselves in a situation where we can be refuted... Second, some of our experts had other things planned, like court cases and such before they got the phone call from Rene, the now lead attorney of the Orrick team. With that being said, I can say that our experts, and legal team have shown, and will show to the power(s) that be that MoFo's DNA expert could not have come to the conclusion(s) that he came to, without having used 'junk science'! They, and by they I mean my entire legal team, including our experts, have done what we have done ever since Orrick took my case on in 2004, shown that all that is being said by MoFo's experts is not true, and we are once again having to show what the truth really is.

Will this work with the Governor? Who knows... 'but' we are going to try! One of our comrades, Rebecca D.   said to me, 'You and Mumia'...meaning that my case and the case of Mumia Abu Jamal are cases in which no matter what evidence comes out supporting our innocence, or prosecution misconduct, we cannot get a break. That the forces in the so called justice system won't let us go. 'Yes' she is correct about that sad to say...

Our reply will be out hopefully in the not too distant future, and that's because the people in Sacramento have been put on notice that it is coming, and why. Every one of you will receive our draft copy of the reply according to Rene because he wants feedback on it. Carole and others will send it out once they receive it. 'We' were on the verge of getting me out, and those people knew it, so they sabotaged what the Governor ordered them to do, look at all the evidence as well as the DNA evidence. They did not do that, they made this a DNA case, by doing what they did, and twisted the facts on the other issues that they dealt with.   'more later'...

In Struggle & Solidarity,

March 28, 2023

"Today is March 28, 2023

I spoke to Rene, the lead attorney. He hopes to have our reply [to the Morrison Forster report] done by April 14 and sent out with a massive Public Relations blast.

He said that the draft copy, which everyone will see, should be available April 10th. 

I will have a visit with two of the attorneys to go over the draft copy and express any concerns I have with it.

MoFo ex-law enforcement “experts” are not qualified to write what they wrote or do what they did.

Another of our expert reports has come in and there are still two more that we’re waiting for—the DNA report and Professor Bazelon’s report on what an innocence investigation is and what it is not. We are also expecting a report from the Innocence Network. All the regional Innocence Projects (like the Northern California Innocence Project) in the country belong to the Innocence Network.

If MoFo had done the right thing, I would be getting out of here, but because they knew that, somewhere along the line they got hijacked, so we have to continue this fight but we think we can win."

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Background on Kevin's Case


January 14, 2023

Kevin Cooper has suffered imprisonment as a death row inmate for more than 38 years for a gruesome crime he did not commit. We are therefore extremely disappointed by the special counsel’s report to the Board of Parole Hearings and disagree strongly with its findings.  Most fundamentally, we are shocked that the governor seemingly failed to conduct a thorough review of the report that contains many misstatements and omissions and also ignores the purpose of a legitimate innocence investigation, which is to independently determine whether Mr. Cooper’s conviction was a product of prosecutorial misconduct. The report failed to address that critical issue. The evidence when viewed in this light reveals that Kevin Cooper is innocent of the Ryen/Hughes murders, and that he was framed by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. 


The special counsel’s investigation ordered by Governor Newsom in May 2021 was not properly conducted and is demonstrably incomplete. It failed to carry out the type of thorough investigation required to explore the extensive evidence that Mr. Cooper was wrongfully convicted. Among other things, the investigation failed to even subpoena and then examine the files of the prosecutors and interview the individuals involved in the prosecution. For unknown reasons and resulting in the tragic and clearly erroneous conclusion that he reached, the special counsel failed to follow the basic steps taken by all innocence investigations that have led to so many exonerations of the wrongfully convicted. 


In effect the special counsel’s report says: the Board of Parole Hearings can and will ignore Brady violations, destruction of exculpatory evidence, planted evidence, racial prejudice, prosecutorial malfeasance, and ineffective assistance of trial counsel; since I conclude Cooper is guilty based on what the prosecution says, none of these Constitutional violations matter or will be considered and we have no obligation to investigate these claims.


Given that (1) we have already uncovered seven prosecutorial violations of Brady v. Maryland during Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, (2) one of the likely killers has confessed to three different parties that he, rather than Mr. Cooper, was involved in the Ryen/Hughes murders, and (3) there is significant evidence of racial bias in Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, we cannot understand how Mr. Cooper was not declared wrongfully convicted.  The special counsel specifically declined to address ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial or the effect of race discrimination.  We call on the governor to follow through on his word and obtain a true innocence investigation.

Anything But Justice for Black People

Statement from Kevin Cooper concerning recent the decision on his case by Morrison Forrester Law Firm

In 2020 and 2022 Governor Newsom signed in to law the “Racial Justice Act.” This is because the California legislature, and the Governor both acknowledged that the criminal justice system in California is anything but justice for Black people.

On May 28th, 2021, Governor signed an executive order to allow the law firm of Morrison Forrester (MoFo) to do an independent investigation in my case which included reading the trial and appellant transcripts, my innocence claims, and information brought to light by the 9th circuit court of appeals, as well as anything else not in the record, but relevant to this case.

So, Mr. Mark McDonald, Esq, who headed this investigation by Morrison Forrester and his associates at the law firm, went and did what was not part of Governor Newsom’s order, and they did this during the length of time that they were working on this case, and executive order. They worked with law enforcement, current and former members of the L.A. Sheriff’s department, and other law enforcement-type people and organizations.

Law enforcement is the first part of this state’s criminal justice system. A system that both the California legislature, and the Governor acknowledge to be racist, and cannot be trusted to tell the truth, will present, and use false evidence to obtain a conviction, will withhold material exculpatory evidence, and will do everything else that is written in those two racial justice act bills that were signed into law.

So, with the active help of those pro-police, pro-prosecutor, pro-death penalty people working on this case to uphold my bogus conviction we cannot be surprised about the recent decision handed down by them in this case.

While these results are not true but based on the decisions made in 1983 and 1984 by the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office, these 2023 results were not reached by following the executive orders of Governor Newsom.

They ignored his orders and went out to make sure that I am either executed or will never get out of prison.

Governor Newsom cannot let this stand because he did not order a pro-cop or pro-prosecutor investigation, he ordered an independent investigation.

We all know that in truth, law enforcement protects each other, they stand by each other, no matter what city, county, or state that they come from. This is especially true when a Black man like me states that I was framed for murder by law enforcement who just happened to be in the neighboring county.

No one should be surprised about the law enforcement part in this, but we must be outraged by the law firm Morrison Forrester for being a part of this and then try to sell it as legitimate. We ain’t stupid and everyone who knows the truth about my case can see right through this bullshit.

I will continue to fight not only for my life, and to get out of here, but to end the death penalty as well. My entire legal team, family and friends and supporters will continue as well. We have to get to the Governor and let him know that he cannot accept these bogus rehashed results.

MoFo and their pro-prosecution and pro-police friends did not even deal with, or even acknowledge the constitutional violations in my case. They did not mention the seven Brady violations which meant the seven pieces of material exculpatory evidence were withheld from my trial attorney and the jury, and the 1991 California Supreme court that heard and upheld this bogus conviction. Why, one must ask, did they ignore these constitutional violations and everything that we proved in the past that went to my innocence?

Could it be that they just didn’t give a damn about the truth but just wanted to uphold this conviction by any means necessary?

No matter their reasons, they did not do what Governor Gavin Newsom ordered them to do in his May 28, 2021, executive order and we cannot let them get away with this.

I ask each and every person who reads this to contact the Governor’s office and voice your outrage over what MoFo did, and demand that he not accept their decision because they did not do what he ordered them to do which was to conduct an independent investigation!

In Struggle and Solidarity

From Death Row at San Quentin Prison,

Kevin Cooper


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)



Ruchell is imprisoned in California, but it is important for the CA governor and Attorney General to receive your petitions, calls, and emails from WHEREVER you live! 


SIGN THE PETITION: bit.ly/freeruchell




Call CA Governor Newsom:

CALL (916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer (Mon. - Fri., 9 AM - 5 PM PST / 12PM - 8PM EST)


Call Governor Newsom's office and use this script: 


"Hello, my name is _______ and I'm calling to encourage Governor Gavin Newsom to commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long. In the interests of justice, I am joining the global call for Ruchell's release due to the length of his confinement and I urge Governor Newsom to take immediate action to commute Ruchell Magee's sentence."


Write a one-page letter to Gov Gavin Newsom:

Also, you can write a one-page letter to Governor Gavin Newsom about your support for Ruchell and why he deserves a commutation of his sentence due to his length of confinement (over 59 years), his age (83), and the health risks of an elderly person staying in California’s prisons. 


YOUR DIGITAL LETTER can be sent at bit.ly/write4ruchell


YOUR US MAIL LETTER can be sent to:

Governor Gavin Newsom

1303 10th Street, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814


Email Governor Newsom




Under "What is your request or comment about?", select "Clemency - Commutation of Sentence" and then select "Leave a comment". The next page will allow you to enter a message, where you can demand:


Commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. 

He was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence.  Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long.


Write to District Attorney Gascon

District Attorney George Gascon

211 West Temple Street, Suite 1200

Los Angeles, CA 90012


Write a one-page letter to D.A. George Gascon requesting that he review Ruchell’s sentence due to the facts that he was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence. Ruchell’s case should be a top priority because of his age (83) and the length of time he has been in prison (59 years).


·      Visit www.freeruchellmagee.org to learn more! Follow us @freeruchellmagee on Instagram!

·      Visit www.facebook.com/freeruchellmagee or search "Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee" to find us on Facebook!

·      Endorse our coalition at:

·      www.freeruchellmagee.org/endorse!

·      Watch and share this powerful webinar on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u5XJzhv9Hc



Ruchell Magee

CMF - A92051 - T-123

P.O. Box 2000

Vacaville, CA 95696


Write Ruchell uplifting messages! Be sure to ask questions about his well-being, his interests, and his passions. Be aware that any of his mail can be read by correctional officers, so don’t use any violent, explicit, or demoralizing language. Don’t use politically sensitive language that could hurt his chances of release. Do not send any hard or sharp materials.



of Detroit Shakur Squad


The Detroit Shakur Squad holds zoom meetings every other Thursday. We educate each other and organize to help free our Elder Political Prisoners. Next meeting is Thurs, Jan 12, 2022.  Register to attend the meetings at tinyurl.com/Freedom-Meeting



The writers' organization PEN America is circulating this petition on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas prisoner whose life is being threatened because of his exposés of the Texas prison system. 

See his book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast; available on Amazon at:


Petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-whistleblowers-in-carceral-settings



In the past year, we've learned that dozens of Federal Correction Institution Dublin employees sexually abused countless incarcerated people at the facility. Survivors' stories make clear that FCI Dublin staff specifically targeted immigrant women for abuse, and that ICE has knowingly detained and deported survivors and witnesses of sexual abuse by federal prison employees. Advocates have spoken with seven women who were sexually assaulted by prison staff and have already been deported, and at least 15 who are currently facing deportation (including at least six who are indefinitely detained by ICE).


We are writing to ask you to sign on to an open letter to the ICE leadership, demanding that they cease detaining and deporting noncitizen survivors and witnesses of prison staff sexual abuse, and release those currently in immigration detention. 


Sign on here:



You can read the full text of the open letter, and you can sign your organization on to the letter here:



Thanks for your consideration.





The Diabolic Intent to Murder: Medical Professionals’ & Prisoncrats’ constant delay game of untreated Cancer of Kevin Rashid Johnson                                                                                 

By Peter "Comrade Pitt" Mukuria

Kevin Rashid Johnson  is the Minister of Defense for the Revolutionary Intercommunal Black Panther Party (RIBPP). He is someone that I've been honored to have known for over a decade.  I've learned quite a lot from him over the years. In fact, he played a critical role in my political consciousness & growth.  

Prior to knowing Rashid personally or through his political work, my political awareness was rather undeveloped.  To know Rashid, is to learn from him.  One of the qualities about Rashid, which separates him from most, is that he practices what he preaches.   

By reviewing his work, it’s conspicuous to note, that, he is someone who advocates for the voiceless, poor, & oppressed, those dubbed, The wretched of the earth.  His advocacy for his incarcerated peers isn't limited to writing about the horrible conditions of confinement.  He also involves himself in direct action. 

In countless cases, he has placed himself in direct conflict against the pigs, by advocating for his peers.  As a result of his political consciousness and his courageous spirit intertwined, he has been Interstate transferred to 8 different state prisons. In each of these prisons, he has encountered much of the same inhumane conditions of confinement & abuse of prisoners. Each time, he adamantly spoke out against it. Exposing the prisons & if needed, he implemented physical actions in defense of other prisoners. 

 As a result of his unbroken spirit and activism, he has actively, politically awakened his peers. He transformed their lumpen mentality into a revolutionary mentality. He, thus, became a nightmare to the prisons. 

In  October 2021 , Rashid, had blood tests conducted, however, he wasn’t made aware of the results in a timely manner. No news is usually an indicator of good health.  

A year later, he learned the results of the October 2021 bloodwork. The findings revealed that he had prostate cancer.  Given the amount of time that had passed, the cancer had spread and metastasized. I'm no medical professional, but it is a well-known fact that prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in men & can only be cured if detected & treated early. It's quite conspicious that it was a deliberate act for prison officials to be aware that he had prostate cancer & intentionally delayed notifying him for a year. 

Furthermore, they then played games with his scheduled appointments. The latest one was to have a PET Scan. They intentionally transported him there hours late to ensure that he wouldn’t receive his treatment & a new appointment would have to be scheduled. This same transportation delay tactic actually transpired on multiple occasions.  

Their sinister, diabolical intent is obviously to prolong his treatment to ensure the spread of the cancer & lead to a fatal outcome.  In the case of political & politicized prisoners, medical neglect is a common retaliatory response from the prison officials & this current medical mistreatment is an example. 

 All in all, it is of utmost importance that public protests continue. We must demand that Rashid receives proper treatment as his life is truly in danger.  

For decades, Rashid has stood up against violent guards in defense of other incarcerated people. He has risked his own comfort, advocating for his peers countless times.  Even those he didn’t know. He has exposed the dire & inhumane conditions the incarcerated are subjected to.  The abuse & the constant mistreatment. 

Prisons tend to act if pressured by the public or if actions are court ordered. Given the urgency of this matter- literally life or death-Public involvement would be far more effective as the courts would surely take too much time, which is a luxury we can’t afford as too much time has already passed.  As much as Rashid has fought for others, we must now reciprocate & fight for our brother & comrade. For updates on his health & conditions visit www.Rashidmod.com 

Dare To Struggle 
Dare To Win 
All Power To The People! 

 Comrade Pitt 

Peter Kamau Mukuria #5194931 
PO Box 534 
Jessup, MD 20794 

Minister of Labor ~RIBPP 


Urgent support needed for cancer-stricken, imprisoned writer/artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Legal Fund!

Fundraiser for an attorney to represent Rashid’s struggle for medical care
A campaign is underway to hire an attorney to represent Kevin Rashid Johnson’s struggle for medical care. The prison has denied this care to him, despite a cancer diagnosis discovered over one year ago for which no treatment has yet been provided.

Here is the donation link for Rashid’s legal fund: 
Please be as generous as you can.



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.



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



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.



February 6, 2023 

Statement from Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier released this statement from his prison cell to mark the 48th anniversary of his unjust incarceration.[1]

Greetings my friends, supporters, loved ones. I know I’ve probably said this, or things like this, many times. Every time I say it, it is as heartfelt as the first time. From the bottom of my soul, I thank you for your support. Living in here, year after year, day after day, week after week, plays on your concepts of time and your process of thought beyond what you can imagine.

Every day, I have to say a prayer in the morning, about keeping my spirit up and the spirits of our people.

The struggles of the American Indian Movement, which are the struggles of all of us, have never ended for me. They go on, week after week, month after month, year after year.

When I speak, sometimes I think I may sound a bit too sensitive, but my love for my people and the love supporters have shown me over the years is what keeps me alive. I don’t read your letters with my intellect. I read them with my heart.

My imprisonment is just another example of the treatment and policies our people have faced since the arrival of the first Europeans. I’m just an ordinary man and I come from a live-and-let-live society, like all our people. And yet we have had to live in a state of survival ever since Columbus landed.

There is nothing about my case, nothing about the Constitution, which is a treaty between the American people and the government, that warrants my continual imprisonment.

They have historically imprisoned or killed our people, taken our land and resources. Any time the law was in our favor they ignored the law or changed the law to benefit their agenda.

After they have gotten what they wanted, a generation later, some politician would apologize. They have never negotiated sincerely with us unless we had something they wanted and could not take, or we were an embarrassment before the world, or we were some sort of opposition. The opposition has always been the dominant reason for them making treaties with us. I could go on and on about the mistreatment of our people and on and on about my case, but the United Nations said it.

That the United States has kept me locked up because I am American Indian. The only thing that really makes me different from other American Indians who have been mistreated, had land taken, or been imprisoned by our government, is that it is all a matter of court record in my case. The violation of my Constitutional rights has been proven in court. The fabrication of every piece of evidence used to convict me has been proven in court.

The United Nations itself, comprised of 193 nations, has called for my release, noting I am a political prisoner. In my case as a political prisoner there does not have to be a prisoner exchange. The exchange they need to make is from their policy of injustice to a policy of justice.

It does not matter what your color and ethnicity are. Black, red, white, yellow, brown—if they can do it to me, they can do it to you. The Constitution of the United States is hanging by a thread. Again.

I want to say, from my heart to your heart, most sincerely—do your best to educate your children. Teach them to defend themselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Make them aware of our history. Teach them to plant a food forest or any plant that will provide for them in the future.

Again, from my heart to yours, plant a tree for me.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.


Leonard Peltier

—Liberation, February 6, 2023



Write to:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132

USP Coleman 1  

P.O. Box 1033

Coleman, FL 33521

Note: Letters, address and return address must be in writing—no stickers—and on plain white paper.

[1] To learn what his case is about click here:


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



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!



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) Eastern Kentucky Needs Flood Relief, Not Another Federal Prison

By Sylvia Ryerson and Judah Schept, March 29, 2023

Ms. Ryerson is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University whose work focuses on Appalachia. Dr. Schept writes about the prison-industrial complex and is a professor at Eastern Kentucky University. 

Small homes on a hill. A low mound of rubbish several yards wide sits in front of one of them.
Debris remains piled in front of a home in Thornton, Ky., eight months after it was flooded. Credit...Jared Hamilton for The New York Times

Along the riverbanks of Eastern Kentucky, the redbud trees are just starting to bloom, their branches still lumbering under the weight of last summer’s catastrophic flood: Lawn chairs, trampolines, twisted gutters and school backpacks remain high in the treetops, each item a persistent and disorienting sign of how life here was turned upside down last July when shallow streams surged more than 18 feet in 10 hours in parts of the state, killing more than 40 people and leaving hundreds homeless. Yet while residents reach for the possibility of renewal, the largest regional investment being offered is a federal prison proposed for Letcher County, the heart of the flood zone.


The possible federal correctional institution adds insult to an already injured region. In 2019 activists defeated the proposal, demanding that the funds be used for more forward-thinking purposes, including safe and affordable housing — all the more needed since the flood. The Trump and Biden administrations recommended rescinding funding, with Trump’s calling the prison “unneeded” and “wasteful spending.” Yet because of the outsize influence of Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers, Republican of Kentucky, who has served on the House Appropriations Committee for decades, the funds remain allocated, and so the Bureau of Prisons is back in Letcher County, trying to break ground.


With a price tag of over half a billion dollars, the prison is poised to receive more funding than the combined amount that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have earmarked for flood relief in Eastern Kentucky. Meanwhile, some residents are still living in temporary accommodations in state parks, travel trailers and even tents.


Such spending priorities reflect a century-long pattern of regional development premised on extraction and exploitation. Coal mining has devastated public health and the local ecology and most likely made the floods last summer worse. Prisons in Appalachia, many built on former strip-mining sites, fail to address coal’s legacy while perpetuating the horrors of mass incarceration. Mr. Rogers has already brought three federal prisons to his district in Eastern Kentucky, giving it one of the highest concentrations of federal correctional facilities nationwide. Yet the counties with these prisons remain three of the poorest in the country, with poverty rates over triple the national average. The evidence is overwhelming: Just as coal never brought broad-based prosperity to the region, nor do prisons.


For Dr. Artie Ann Bates, a psychiatrist and lifelong Letcher County resident, the proposed prison is “a trauma on top of the trauma.”


Her clients in the region have included both formerly incarcerated people and correctional officers. As she described this moment, “We managed somehow to survive strip mining, and that was awful. That’s sort of calming down because coal is gone mostly, and it seemed like maybe we were turning a corner. But then the flood broke us as an area.” After a sigh, she continued, “And now we’ve got to deal with this prison. Again.”


Having a prison come to town is now a familiar experience for many in Central Appalachia — and rural Americans across the country. Over the past four decades of mass incarceration, more than 350 prisons have been built in rural communities, promoted as economic development to address the crises of deindustrialization, environmental contamination and out-migration. In Eastern Kentucky, coal employment is near its lowest level in more than a century. Steep drops in coal production mean that a severance tax from mined coal that once upheld local budgets, including Letcher County’s, has all but dried up, leaving area officials desperate for new tax revenue.


Prison building offers a purported solution to these very real crises, yet it is a pernicious plan that promises to alleviate poverty for some through incarcerating others. It also reproduces stark racial inequalities. Letcher County, for example, is 98 percent white; the federal prison population is approximately 39 percent Black and 30 percent Hispanic. Importantly, rural prisons are also a disingenuous development strategy. A team of sociologists led by Dr. Gregory Hooks analyzed all new prison growth from 1960 to 2004 and found “no evidence” that prisons bring employment growth to rural counties.


The residents of Letcher County need no sociologist to persuade them of their reality. In 2019 community organizers, local landowners, national environmental attorneys and people in prison forged a coalition to defeat the first iteration of the prison. Using the hashtag #our444million, organizers demanded that the $444 million allocated to build the prison be redirected toward meeting their actual needs and desires.


Tanya Turner, a member of the coalition, said in 2020, “When you are just seeing so intimately every day what your community lacks, it’s hard not to dream about what that much money could do. People talked about rehab facilities, art centers, big maker spaces, all kinds of stuff.”


Mitch Whitaker, a fourth-generation Letcher County resident and master falconer whose property was included in the original rendering of the prison site, refused to sell his land, causing significant delays for the project. For him, the experience of dealing with the Bureau of Prisons was all too reminiscent of battles his father and grandfather fought against absentee coal companies that wanted to take the same land. “This was, again to me, a flashback of the heyday,” he said.


Today this coalition is re-forming, shifting the debate about rural prison growth and building an opposition rooted in multiracial solidarity among poor communities. Its conviction that better options abound feels all the more urgent for residents still recovering from the summer’s fatal floods. As Dr. Bates put it, how can you organize if you’re living in a tent? “I think those of us who were lucky enough not to be totally destroyed by the flood have to step up and try to stop this prison,” she said.


Those of us outside Letcher County would be wise to follow their lead. As lawmakers debate the federal budget for 2024, there is again an opening for intervention and leverage. Demand of your representatives that Congress rescind the funding for the prison. Insist on more relief and recovery spending in Eastern Kentucky and real solutions for all communities on the front lines of climate disaster and economic abandonment.



2) Mexico Investigates Migrant Deaths in Border City Fire as Homicide Case

The authorities identified eight suspects and said government workers and private security workers had done nothing to help migrants flee the blaze at a detention center in Ciudad Juárez.

By Simon Romero, Natalie Kitroeff and Eileen Sullivan, March 29, 2023


Migrants placing flowers outside of detention center in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. (Screenshot)

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — Mexican officials announced on Wednesday that they were investigating a fire at a migrant detention center in Ciudad Juárez as a homicide case, saying that government workers and private security employees had not allowed detainees to escape from the blaze that killed at least 39 people.


The authorities, in a news conference, said they had identified eight suspects, including federal and state agents, and would issue four arrest warrants on Wednesday.


“None of the public servants, nor the private security guards, took any action to open the door for the migrants who were inside where the fire was,” said Sara Irene Herrerías Guerra, a top federal human rights prosecutor.


The announcement came after a video emerged appearing to show that the migrants had been trapped when the fire broke out on Monday. Uniformed figures at the center can be seen walking away from the blaze while people remain behind bars as the area fills with smoke.


The authorities said they might also investigate one migrant suspected of starting the fire.


“Our country’s immigration policy is one of respect for human rights,” said Rosa Icela Rodríguez, the government’s secretary of security. “This unfortunate event, which is the responsibility of public servants and guards who have been identified, is not the policy of our country.”


It was a striking development in a case that has drawn intense scrutiny to the Mexican government’s handling of the surge of migrants flowing into the country over the past year, seeking to enter the United States.


Ciudad Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, has long prided itself on absorbing waves of newcomers, many from Mexico who come to work in factories and others from across Latin America who stop on their way to the United States.


But what used to be a transit point for U.S.-bound migrants has turned into a hub for those who believe they have no choice but to stay — either after being sent back by the U.S. authorities or while waiting to apply to enter legally.


At intersections across the city, groups of migrants can be seen asking for money. Some hold up cardboard signs pleading for help. Others sell food out of coolers.


Many sleep in abandoned construction sites or anywhere else they can find on the streets in this Mexican city, draped in blankets and ragged sleeping bags.


“Help us eat and to not sleep in the street,” read a sign held by Vicleikis Muñoz, 20, a Venezuelan woman in downtown Juárez who was eight months pregnant and traveling with her two children, 5 and 3.


“We survive from asking for money,” she said on Wednesday. “I don’t know how much longer I can do this.”


Migrants have tried to cross the border en masse, a move that has frustrated many residents who legally cross daily into El Paso to work. The mayor of Ciudad Juárez vowed a crackdown, while rights groups denounced abuses by the authorities.


Those simmering tensions came into sharp relief on Monday night, when the fire burned through the detention center, which is federally operated. The Mexican president said migrants had started the blaze during a protest, suggesting they were angry because they had found out they would be deported.


Viangly Infante Padrón, a Venezuelan migrant who has been in Ciudad Juárez since December, said the authorities picked up her husband on Monday afternoon and took him to the detention center.


She went there that day to try to get him out, and waited inside until about 9:30 p.m., when she heard a commotion coming from where she believed the men were being held.


“I heard kicks and screams,” Ms. Infante Padrón said in an interview, adding that she heard one migration official say, “Take the women out.” Before she was whisked outside, she begged officials to free the men.


“I started crying and I said: ‘How is it that they’re burning? Why are you not opening the door?’” Ms. Infante Padrón said. “They never opened the door for him, nothing.” She said she waited outside for 15 minutes before firefighters arrived and started removing bodies. Her husband, she said, is now in the hospital.


Standing outside a local school on Wednesday, the mayor of Ciudad Juárez, Cruz Pérez Cuéllar, defended the city government’s treatment of migrants.


“We are being called xenophobic and racist,” he said. “This is a completely open government, and there is no xenophobia on our part. We are a city of migrants.”


Analysts said a turning point for Ciudad Juárez came after President Biden, facing relentless Republican attacks over the surge in migration over the summer, announced a new policy intended to curb the record levels of illegal border crossings.


U.S. border officials had been seeing an explosion in crossings by Venezuelans, who could not be deported by the American authorities because of strained relations with Venezuela.


In October, the Biden administration struck a deal with Mexico intended to blunt the influx: The United States could expel Venezuelans to Mexico in exchange for creating legal pathways for them to pass into the United States.


The number of Venezuelans crossing the border illegally dropped within days. The Biden administration saw this as so successful that it negotiated another deal with Mexico to expand the agreement to include Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans — populations who similarly could not be easily expelled to their home countries.


But Ciudad Juárez soon started to see larger numbers of Venezuelans and others gathering in the streets, residents and analysts say. Many were in limbo — it was futile to try to cross into the United States because of the new policy, but they did not want to go home.


So they stayed.


“We passed into a phase we weren’t familiar with,” said Rodolfo Rubio, a migration expert and professor at El Colegio de Chihuahua, a public research institution in Ciudad Juárez.


Mr. Rubio said the sight of so many migrants begging at intersections and camping on streets jolted some in the city. Protests by Venezuelans, along with an effort by a large group formed to rush across the border this month, also put the authorities on alert.


The strain in Ciudad Juárez has been mirrored across the north of Mexico, current and former officials say, as the Biden administration has made changes in its border policies.


This year, the United States created legal pathways for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to apply for a two-year humanitarian parole in the country. The Biden administration also expanded access to a government app, CBP One, for migrants to fill out an application and secure an appointment at a port of entry.


But to apply via the app, a migrant must be in northern Mexico. Now, people are waiting days and even months in Mexican border communities to secure an appointment, with only a limited number of slots available.


At a shelter with about 800 migrants in Reynosa, Mexico, last week, only two secured appointments, said Guerline M. Jozef, a founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which helps people seeking asylum.


“We do not have the capabilities to deal with this amount of migrants,” said Martha Bárcena, who was the Mexican ambassador to the United States from December 2018 to February 2021.


The fire, Ms. Bárcena added, “should make Mexico and the U.S. aware that the measures that have been agreed on are not working and they are causing terrible tragedies.”


Steps away from the site of the fire, Carlos Armendáriz, who sells used tools on the sidewalks in Ciudad Juárez, said he sympathized with the victims and their families. But, he added, he had a mixed view of the migrant population in town.


“I’ll be frank,” he said. “I don’t see them working. The majority are begging.”


Mr. Armendáriz, 64, who was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, was a migrant himself for years in the United States, working largely in construction in Texas, until he was deported more than a decade ago.


Mr. Armendáriz said that he had offered some migrants from Venezuela temporary work helping to do repairs at his home. But almost none took him up on the offer, he said.


“I was a migrant on the other side,” he said. “We went there to work like beasts.”


Mr. Armendáriz emphasized that he still viewed Juárez as a welcoming city, and that it had opportunities for anyone who wanted to work hard. “But only 10 percent of the new people want to work,” he said. “The other 90 percent? I don’t know about them.”


Some Venezuelans take issue with the perception that their presence is increasing tension in the city.


“We work hard every single day,” said Jesus Cardoso, 29, a migrant from the Venezuelan state of Barinas. He and his wife, Yitmar, 30, make arepas, a Venezuelan staple, to sell on the streets.


Mr. Cardoso said they arrived a month ago with their 4-year-old son, who is enrolled in a public school in Ciudad Juárez. They are hoping to reunite with relatives living near Houston.


“All we want is a chance to cross the border,” he said. “We don’t want to stay here. But if we have to, we’ll survive.”



3) A Florida School Banned a Disney Movie About Ruby Bridges. Here’s What That Really Means.

By Charles M. Blow, March 29, 2023


A 1960 photo of Ruby Bridges being escorted by federal marshals.

Associated Press

This month, an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Fla., stopped showing a 1998 Disney movie about Ruby Bridges, the 6-year-old Black girl who integrated a public elementary school in New Orleans in 1960, because of a complaint lodged by a single parent who said she feared the film might teach children that white people hate Black people.


The school banned the film until it could be reviewed. So I decided to review the film myself.


First, here’s a refresher on Ruby: When she integrated that school, she had to be escorted by federal marshals. She was met by throngs of white racists — adults! — jeering, hurling epithets, spitting at her and threatening her life. Parents withdrew their children.


Only one teacher would teach her, so every day that 6-year-old girl had to be in class by herself, save for the teacher, and eat lunch alone.


Ruby became afraid to eat because one of the protesters threatened to poison her. Her father lost his job, and the local grocery asked that her family not come back to the store.


All of this was endured by a Black first grader, but now a Florida parent worries that it’s too much for second graders to hear, see and learn about.


Furthermore, of all the ways Ruby’s story could have been portrayed, the Disney version is the most generous, including developed story lines for Ruby’s white teacher and the white psychiatrist who treated her. And in the end, another white teacher and a white student come around to some form of acceptance.


The movie is what you’d expect: a lamentable story about a deplorable chapter in our history, earnestly told, with some of the sharpest edges blunted, making it easier for children to absorb.


But in Florida, the point isn’t the protection of children but the deceiving of them. It’s to fight so-called woke indoctrination with a historical whitewash.


And the state has given individual parents extraordinary authority as foot soldiers in this campaign: In this case, a single objecting parent is apparently enough to have a lesson about our very recent history questioned or even banned. Remember: Bridges isn’t some ancient figure in a dusty textbook, she’s alive and well today. She’s 12 years younger than my own mother.


Earlier this year, in the same school district, Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” was banned from all district high schools because a parent complained about a rape scene in the book.


Also this month, a principal in Florida was pressured to resign after students were shown Michelangelo’s statue of David, a biblical figure no less, and three parents complained.


Giving so few parents so much power to take educational options away from other parents and children runs counter to the spirit of democracy and free inquiry, and enshrines a form of parental tyranny of the hypersensitive, the inexplicably aggrieved and the maliciously oppressive.


It portends an era of bedlam in Florida’s schools, all courtesy of extremist state legislators’ and Gov. Ron DeSantis’s quixotic war on wokeness.


What happens if this glove gets turned inside out and minority parents begin to complain about the teaching of other aspects of American history and culture?


What happens if they reject lessons or books about Thomas Jefferson because he raped a teenage girl he enslaved, Sally Hemings, and was the father of her children, including at least one born while she was a child herself. (For the record, I consider all sex between enslavers and those they enslaved rape, because it was impossible for the enslaved to consent.)


What happens if a parent objects to a school celebrating Columbus Day because Christopher Columbus was a maniacal colonizer who sold young girls as sex slaves?


What happens if parents object to books about and celebrations of Thanksgiving because the standard portrayal of the first Thanksgiving as a meeting among friends who came together to share bounty and overcome difference is a fairy tale?


What if they object to the Bible itself, which includes rape, incest, torture and murder?


History is full of horribleness. We do ourselves and our children no favors pretending otherwise.


Learning about human cruelty is necessarily uncomfortable. It is in that discomfort that our empathy is revealed and our righteousness awakened.


These debates continue to center on the discomfort of white children, but seem to ignore the feelings of Black children, discomfort or otherwise.


As I watched the film, I was incredibly uncomfortable, sometimes angry, sometimes near tears as I revisited Ruby’s story.


How did that happen? How do we honor that moment, condemning the cruelty of the racists and exalting her bravery? And how do we address the effect of racial discrimination on the American experience?


If an accurate depiction of white racism and cruelty is a metric by which educational instruction and materials can be banned, how is a true and full teaching of American history possible?


Maybe distortion is the point. It’s the resurrection of a Lost Cause moment in which a revisionist history is crafted to rehabilitate Southern racists.


The wave of censorship we’re seeing also invokes, for me, the “slave” Bible, an abridged text used in the 1800s in the West Indies to try to pacify the enslaved. Passages that evoked liberation were cut and passages that supported slavery were kept. It was a tool of psychological warfare masquerading as sacred text.


DeSantis’s Florida is engaged in similar psychological warfare. Its battlegrounds are race, gender and sexuality, and it is napalming inclusive narratives.


The state’s crusading censors are choosing the comfort of ignorance over the inconvenience of truth.



4) French Anger at Macron Seeps Into Unexpected Corners

Even Bordeaux, known for its surrounding vineyards and conservative politics, has become a flashpoint. The City Hall’s charred doors attest to that.

By Catherine Porter, Photographs by Andrea Mantovani, March 31, 2023

Reporting from Bordeaux, France

Students have declared an occupation of the College of Human Sciences building at the University of Bordeaux.
Students have declared an occupation of the College of Human Sciences building at the University of Bordeaux.

A crowd of protesters filling a tree-lined boulevard.
The demonstration on Tuesday still drew enough people to indicate that anger remains deep.

The ancient wooden doors are adorned with an ornate metal knocker and a small grilled window, for guards to peek through. Once an imposing part of the elegant facade of Bordeaux’s City Hall, they look more like towering pieces of charcoal since being set on fire last week, after a protest against the French government’s retirement law.


“It makes me angry. This is our heritage,” said Catherine Debève, a retired accountant standing among the crowd drawn by outrage and curiosity to the stone plaza in the city’s center to examine the damage. “The government has to withdraw its law. Anger is growing.”


Traditionally, Bordeaux, in the southwest of France, is known for its surrounding vineyards, conservative politics and colonial wealth. It is a measure of the anger sparked by the government’s decision to force through a law raising the retirement age to 64, from 62, that Bordeaux, too, has become a violent flashpoint of the rancor.


University students have occupied their buildings, putting an end to classes. A record number of protesters have charged through the stony streets declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Protests have ended in fires and clouds of tear gas, with a handful of agitators later setting fire to the antique doors leading into the City Hall’s broad courtyard.


“Bordeaux is not usually a protesting town,” Mathieu Obry, a bus driver and union organizer, said during yet another march through the city’s downtown on Tuesday — the 10th — above the exploding firecrackers and echoing bull horns.


That so many had turned out on the streets, Mr. Obry said, revealed “the government has gone too far.”


As in much of the rest of the country, Tuesday’s protest was not as big or as violent as those last week. But it still drew large enough numbers — 80,000 by the unions’ count, 11,000 according to the prefecture — to indicate that outrage against the government remains strong.


For more than two months, the French have protested against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension change. But after his government used a constitutional measure to push the law through Parliament without a full vote, the protests intensified.


In many places, like Bordeaux, students have now joined the demonstrations in force — historically, an ominous sign for those in power.


“It’s not just Paris that has mobilized. It’s here also, in ‘la province,’” or the provinces, said Mélissa Dedieu, 21, after chanting along to another rendition of a protest song that went: “Macron went to war with us, and his police too, but we remain determined….”


Shortly after Mr. Macron’s government survived a no-confidence vote last week, students pushed into the doors of the University of Bordeaux’s 140-year-old human sciences building and declared they were occupying it.


“We are entering the era of dictatorship,” said Maia Laffont, 23, a third-year psychology student, standing beneath stone busts of notable French scientists rising from the facade of the Beaux-Arts building, now scrawled with anti-Macron graffiti.


Students have taken over all floors and many administrative offices, as well as its auditorium and lovely courtyard, holding banner-making sessions, marshmallow roasts and general meetings. Though their battle is officially with the president and his government, many said they are also angry at the university administration for not taking an official position against the retirement law.


“They didn’t defend our long-term interests,” said Ms. Laffont, nervously watching a trio of passing police.


The students at Bordeaux Montaigne University, on the outskirts of the city, have gone even further — occupying the entire campus. Normally thronging with 18,000 students, the liberal arts university campus feels like a scene from an apocalyptic science fiction film. The entrances to its buildings are barricaded with tables and chairs, and many of its white walls scrawled with angry messages, including a harrowing, “Long Live the Fire.”


“We blocked the school to enable the students to mobilize. Even if you don’t have classes, with 35 hours a week of studying and research, there is no time to protest,” explained Julia Chinarro, 27, stepping outside the student building that has been transformed into a common bedroom.


Their occupation is now two weeks old, but their numbers swelled after the government pushed through the law. The grievances have broadened from anger over the single law to the government’s method of ruling — and the Constitution that permits it — writ large.


“Our voices are not listened to. It’s totally undemocratic,” explained Axel Méchain, 22, a theater student and recent recruit to the occupation. “If we are going to do anything about that, it’s now.”


In France, student movements have historically had the power to frighten governments. University students sparked the monthslong 1968 revolution that upended the country’s social norms and pushed the president to dissolve his government and call for new elections. Facing large student protests in 2006, the government repealed its recently passed youth-jobs contract.


“Students are much more difficult to send back to work,” explained Lionel Larré, the president of Bordeaux Montaigne University. “They have nothing much to lose. And they are numerous.”


Mr. Larré has met regularly with the students occupying his campus, and is generally supportive of their cause, though not their method. From his vantage point, the movement is growing.


“My fear is the movement becomes more and more radical, and people believe they have nothing to lose,” he said.


From inside City Hall, Mayor Pierre Hurmic also worries. Having passed through a social and political stage, the crisis has revealed something far more troubling — “a democratic fracture between the government and the governed,” he said.


The burning of the City Hall doors would seem to support that theory, symbolically. Except Mr. Hurmic, the city’s first left-wing mayor since 1947, has been a vocal opponent of the pension bill and Mr. Macron, whom he calls “the prince.”


“I call this the common home of all people from Bordeaux. I don’t see the link between the common house and opposition to the pension bill,” he said.


He believes the fire was the work of opportunists, not allied with the protest, who used the anger in the street as a pretext to create damage.


The police investigation into the fire is ongoing. To date, four men and one youth have been arrested. Three were convicted of wearing face coverings, and carrying weapons that included a bicycle chain and sharpened PVC pipe — not of setting the door alight. The trials of the other two are pending.


It isn’t clear that a connection to the protests, if one is revealed, would be damaging to the movement. In Paris, some protesters have abandoned the regular union marches, considering them ineffective, and have taken up “wild” night marches, which often result in violent confrontations with police.


In Bordeaux, many students said they didn’t support violence, but they understood the anger that could cause it. “I’m not sure violence is a good solution, but I don’t see another solution either,” said Raphaëlle Desplat, 19, a student at Sciences Po Bordeaux, which has faced student blockades as well.


Some even claimed the charred City Hall doors as a “symbol of resistance.”


“They give the message — he won’t implement the new law and we will do everything to make sure he doesn’t,” said Ms. Laffont.


But for many, repealing the pension law — or putting a temporary hold on it, as one national union leader recently suggested — is no longer enough. Their fight is now with a Constitution that offers so much power to the presidency, and with Mr. Macron’s rule in particular.


“Our victory will be the end of this government,” says Hélène Cerclé, 22, among a throng of singing students being led by a marching band in Tuesday’s protest. A masters student, Ms. Cerclé doesn’t worry that the protests will degenerate. “I’m mostly scared all this won’t change anything,” she said.


As the march passed behind the city’s towering St. André Cathedral, which shares a plaza with City Hall, a battalion of police officers in riot gear came into view.


They offered a reminder: Ms. Cerclé would rather talk about injured protesters than damaged buildings. The site of the charred doors, with a grilled peep hole and ancient heavy knocker, stirred no emotion in her.


“They’re just doors,” she said, and continued marching.


Tom Nouvian contributed reporting from Paris.



5) After School Shooting, Nashville Grieves and Ponders Its Divisions

For decades, Nashville has prospered while finding common ground between urban and rural, left and right, state and city. In a partisan era, that’s becoming much harder.

By Richard Fausset, March 31, 2023



Shortly after the shooting rampage that left six people dead this week at a Nashville elementary school, State Senator Charlane Oliver, a first-term Democrat who represents a large chunk of the city, stood before reporters and wiped away her tears. Then she laced into her Republican colleagues for systematically loosening the state’s gun laws when, she said, they should have been tightened.


“I believe in karma,” she said. “And it’s going to come a day that every person that did nothing, God help them.”


Nashville, Tennessee’s booming capital city, has typically brought a certain politesse to the management of its defining tensions — between “rural and urban, polished elites and gritty common folk, a backward-looking past and a forward-looking gaze,” as the historian Benjamin Houston put it.


In the mid-20th century, city leaders and civil rights activists negotiated a largely peaceful integration of the city’s public spaces. More recently, locals have taken pride in the concept of “Nashville nice.” And for decades, liberals and conservatives have mingled in a state of relative comity, making for a city that can feel “radically unsorted,” as the critic Stephen Metcalf once wrote in describing the politics of Johnny Cash, one of Nashville’s many musical heroes.


But even before the horror of this week’s shooting, that sense of respectful accommodation was becoming ever harder to maintain. And some in Nashville say it may become exponentially more difficult after the massacre on Monday, which has touched on two polarizing topics: Tennessee’s increasingly open gun policy, and the frictions over the rights of L.G.B.T.Q. people that have been exacerbated by new Republican-driven laws that target drag shows and ban puberty-delaying treatments for transgender children.


Hundreds of protesters, including teenagers, children in their plaid school uniforms and mothers with toddlers on their hips, flooded the State Capitol on Thursday, chanting “Vote them out” and “We don’t want your thoughts and prayers” outside. Inside, a tense standoff developed as a few Democratic lawmakers interrupted the usual proceedings to join protesters in calling for tighter gun laws.


The shooter, identified by the police as Audrey E. Hale, was a 28-year-old former student of the Covenant School, the Christian elementary school that was attacked on Monday. The assailant used three weapons that the police said had been legally purchased, including a military-style semiautomatic rifle. Officers shot and killed the assailant minutes after they arrived at the school.


There has been confusion about the shooter’s gender identity. Chief John Drake of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said the assailant identified as transgender, and officials used “she” and “her” to refer to the attacker. But in a social media post and a LinkedIn profile, the shooter appeared to identify as male in recent months.


In liberal circles, anger exploded into the open almost immediately. “Can I ask you, @GovBillLee why you passed permitless carry in 2021?” the Nashville-based country star Margo Price wrote on Twitter, referring to the law signed by Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Lee, that allows most adults to carry handguns without a permit. “Our children are dying and being shot in school but you’re more worried about drag queens than smart gun laws? You have blood on your hands.”


The anger was just as intense from some Nashville conservatives, who sought to connect the attack to the assailant’s gender identity. On Tuesday, Clay Travis, a Nashville-based radio host, wrote in a tweet: “This was a terror attack on religious people by a deranged lunatic trans person.”


The language was harsher from Matt Walsh, a controversy-courting rightwing podcaster with The Daily Wire, the conservative media company co-founded by the commentator Ben Shapiro. The outlet moved to Nashville from Los Angeles recently, with the goal of building a national multimedia empire in the spiritual home of country music.


Mr. Walsh, who hosted a rally against medical treatment for transgender youth in downtown Nashville last October, devoted a podcast this week to talking about the shooting.


“This is not about guns, and these damned frauds know damned well that it is not about guns,” Mr. Walsh said. He went on to describe “radical far-left trans activism” as a “hateful, violent movement.”


“Nashville nice” it was not.


Lew Conner, 85, a Nashville lawyer and longtime donor to Republican candidates, said he had begun to feel lost, politically, in a city he has called home for decades.


These days, he said, Nashville liberals seemed to have become more liberal. But Mr. Conner laid the blamed for much of the change in tone on his fellow Republicans, particularly those in the Statehouse, whom Mr. Conner accused of waging a spiteful war on a city that has long been run by moderate Democrats.


The state of the city is “very divisive,” he said. “And you have this tragedy on top of it. I mean, it doesn’t get any worse than that.”


For years, Nashville has been run by a succession of mayors who have set a moderate tone for a Southern city that was eager to outrun its past: In general, the mayors have been socially progressive, pro-growth and pro-business. In recent years, though, Nashville’s Metropolitan Council has become more progressive, reflecting a more liberal populace: From 2015 to 2022, the percentage of residents who considered themselves liberal increased to 30 percent from 24 percent, according to polling from Vanderbilt University.


John Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt, said the shift was probably related to the city’s rapid growth in population, at almost double the U.S. average, and to the “big sort” phenomenon, in which Americans increasingly seek to live among people of similar political persuasions to their own.


As the city has moved leftward, though, Tennessee Republicans, ascendant in state politics, have taken a hard right turn. The high-profile clashes between the city and the legislature are to some extent conflicts between urban and rural values writ large, since many Republican legislators represent the conservative Tennessee countryside. In the state capital, where lawmakers bump up against music-industry types and the many newcomers flocking to Nashville’s emerging tech industry, the tension can also feel intimate, and personal.


The partisan tension has spilled out beyond the Capitol building. In October, Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced that it was suspending what doctors call gender-affirming surgerical procedures for patients under 18, after the medical center came under pressure from conservatives inside and outside the legislature.


“I think it’s a struggle for the soul of Nashville,” said Lisa Quigley, a political strategist who formerly served as chief of staff to former U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, a Democrat.


Before the shooting, guns and social issues were not the only reasons Nashville Democrats and Republicans were furious with one another.


Last year, Republicans redrew Tennessee’s congressional map so that a Nashville district held by a Democrat for nearly 150 years was split up among three districts that extend far out into conservative suburbs and rural areas, and were drawn to heavily favor Republicans.


Later, the Metropolitan Council rejected an effort to host the 2024 Republican National Convention in Nashville, sparking a flurry of bills from the Republican legislature that were widely seen as retribution, including a new law that significantly shrinks the council.


There have also been smaller moments when connections across the political divide have frayed.


Anna Caudill, a Nashville special education advocate, worked from 2000 to 2008 at a school called Christ Presbyterian Academy, where she befriended one of the victims of Monday’s shooting, Katherine Koonce, who worked at that school at the time. She also got to know the families of Governor Lee and Senator Marsha Blackburn, the hard-right Tennessee Republican, both of whom sent their children to Christ Presbyterian.


Ms. Caudill said she was on friendly terms with both families, in the spirit of the Nashville she first encountered when she moved to the city in the late 1990s.


But she said she was shaken when she saw Senator Blackburn participate in Mr. Walsh’s rally in October against trans health care, particularly when a group of Proud Boys showed up as supporters. “I was so mad, I couldn’t see straight,” said Ms. Caudill, 50.


Some Nashville residents believe the old familiarity between left and right in the city will survive the tragedy.


“I think there are tensions that are greater than they have been,” said Byron Trauger, a Nashville lawyer and civic leader. “But yesterday morning I was in a meeting with some very conservative people, and they view me as moderate to liberal. And there was certainly no tension there. I think some of the folks who have come in would love to see us divided, but the strength of the city has always been that we focus on making things better, as opposed to some ideological framework.”


Of course, many people — perhaps most — are not processing this anguished moment through politics. They are doing it through their lived experiences and, particularly in the South, through faith.


Steven Curtis Chapman, a prominent Christian singer and songwriter who lives near Nashville, remembers Dr. Koonce, the head of Covenant, as a singular educator who was an invaluable healing presence for his family after his 5-year-old daughter, Maria, was killed in an accident.


For him, Monday’s tragedy has a spiritual meaning more than a political one, at least in the immediate wake of the shooting.


“I believe Katherine is with my Maria and with Jesus and with these students, and that God is going to wipe all these tears away and make all these broken things whole again,” he said.


Amid the flaring tensions in Nashville, there have also been myriad instances of people coming together to support the victims’ families, and one another.


David Thomas, 52, the director of family counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries, which counsels children and families, said he was touched this week when a local print shop rushed to produce materials he needed as he prepared to meet with families affected by the shooting.


“There’s a kindness that emerges from this city,” he said. “Though we’ve experienced a lot of growth, there’s still some truth to this being a small town in a big city.”


Reporting was contributed by Emily Cochrane, Eliza Fawcett and Ruth Graham.