Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, June 1, 2023


The Tampa 5 are facing 10-plus years in jail! Drop the charges now!


Statement by Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Update, May 20, 2023



Tampa, FL – Florida state prosecutor Justin Diaz it trying to put the Tampa 5 in prison. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) members, arrested at a campus protest against the racist agenda of Governor Ron DeSantis, each face a trumped-up felony charge, alleging “battery on a police officer,” carrying five years of jail time. When the activists rejected a plea deal requiring them to apologize for doing the right thing, the prosecutor added on more felony charges. This means that three of the activists are facing more than ten years behind bars. In addition, the activists face ten misdemeanor charges.


The five facing charges are Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez, Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro and Jeanie Kida. They have done nothing wrong. They are heroes who are standing up to injustice. 


The large number of charges and the reactionary political climate in Florida means that this repression needs to be taken seriously. The enemy is increasing the level of the attacks on our movement.


Progressive and fair-minded people need to push back. The state wants to intimidate other people away from protesting injustice and make an example of the Tampa 5.  Freedom Road Socialist Organization urges everyone around the country to follow new developments in the Tampa 5’s case closely and take action when calls are put forward. The situation has sharpened.


On March 6, 2023, a student demonstration was brutalized by campus police at the University of South Florida (USF). The activists were defending diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs on campus from recent attacks by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.  Four of the student activists were arrested and booked.  Later the police arrested a fifth woman and charged her in the same manner as the other four.  


Some of those arrested lost their jobs, including campus worker and AFSCME union member Chrisley Carpio, who was fired by USF despite maintaining a spotless record during her seven-year career. Others experienced threats of expulsion and talk of not being allowed to graduate, despite video evidence that clearly shows the police as the aggressors.  


The Tampa 5 deserve our support because, while they were defending diversity on campus, the police launched an unprovoked attack on them with no warning and which was clearly captured on video.  Later, the university released a report comparing the original student protest to an active shooter situation on campus, falsely claiming that procedures for an active shooter situation had to be used in response to the student demonstration.


The state initially charged members of the Tampa 5 with four felony charges and a number of misdemeanor charges.  After legal maneuvers, press conferences, community rallies and call-in days involving activists around the country, the enemy put forward an offer to drop the charges – if the Tampa 5 wrote apology letters to the police officers who attacked and groped them.  This was considered unacceptable and rejected by the heroic young women who suffered the unprovoked attack for simply exercising their freedom of speech.


This is the point at which the state’s attitude towards the Tampa 5 became crystal clear – the state doesn’t just want to intimidate activists; they are looking to put them in prison.


After the activists’ rejection of the ridiculous plea offer to write apology letters, the state charged members of the Tampa 5 with additional felonies.  Rather than doing the right thing and dropping the charges, which is not uncommon in other cases of protesters unjustly arrested by the police, the state has doubled down.  


A conference on the Tampa 5 situation is being planned for this summer. The main focus of the Florida conference will be mobilizing progressive forces statewide to engage in the defense campaign.


Our right to protest and speak out needs to be defended - in Florida and everywhere that our democratic rights are under attack.


Freedom Road Socialist Organization urges everyone to watch for further developments and to join in calls to action around the Tampa 5.  It is going to take each and every one of us participating in the defense campaign to ensure that the Tampa 5 beat these bogus charges.


Drop the Charges Now!


     Justice for the Tampa 5!



No one is coming to save us, but us.


We need visionary politics, collective strategy, and compassionate communities now more than ever. In a moment of political uncertainty, the Socialism Conference—September 1-4, in Chicago—will be a vital gathering space for today’s left. Join thousands of organizers, activists, and socialists to learn from each other and from history, assess ongoing struggles, build community, and experience the energy of in-person gatherings.


Featured speakers at Socialism 2023 will include: Naomi Klein, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Robin D.G. Kelley, aja monet, Bettina Love, Olúfẹmi O. Táíwò, Sophie Lewis, Harsha Walia, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Astra Taylor, Malcolm Harris, Kelly Hayes, Daniel Denvir, Emily Drabinski, Ilya Budraitskis, Dave Zirin, and many more.


The Socialism Conference is brought to you by Haymarket Books and dozens of endorsing left-wing organizations and publications, including Jacobin, DSA, EWOC, In These Times, Debt Collective, Dream Defenders, the Autonomous Tenant Union Network, N+1, Jewish Currents, Lux, Verso Books, Pluto Press, and many more. 


Register for Socialism 2023 by July 7 for the early bird discounted rate! Registering TODAY is the single best way you can help support, sustain, and expand the Socialism Conference. The sooner that conference organizers can gauge conference attendance, the bigger and better the conference will be!


Learn more and register for Socialism 2023

September 1-4, 2023, Chicago



Attendees are expected to wear a mask (N95, K95, or surgical mask) over their mouth and nose while indoors at the conference. Masks will be provided for those who do not have one.


A number of sessions from the conference will also be live-streamed virtually so that those unable to attend in person can still join us.

Copyright © 2023 Jacobin, All rights reserved.

You are receiving these messages because you opted in through our signup form, or at time of subscription/purchase.


Our mailing address is:


388 Atlantic Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11217-3399


Add us to your address book:




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.



Urgent Health Call-In Campaign for Political Prisoner Ed Poindexter


Watch the moving video of Ed's Niece and Sister at the April 26, 2023, UN EMLER Hearing in Atlanta: https://youtu.be/aKwV7LQ5iww


Ed needs to be released to live the rest of his life outside of prison, with his family! (His niece Ericka is now 52 years old and was an infant when Ed was targeted, stolen from his home, jailed, framed, and railroaded.)


Ed Poindexter's left leg was amputated below the knee in early April due to lack of proper medical care. Ed has diabetes and receives dialysis several days a week. He underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 2016.


Please support Ed by sending him a letter of encouragement to:


Ed Poindexter #27767

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800


Ed has a cataract in one eye that makes it difficult for him to read, so please type your letter in 18 point or larger font. The Nebraska Department of Corrections does not plan to allow Ed to have surgery for the cataract because "he has one good eye."





·      Warden Boyd of the Reception and Treatment Center (402-471-2861);


·      Warden Wilhelm of the Nebraska State Penitentiary (402-471-3161);


·      Governor Pillen, the State of Nebraska Office of the Governor (402-471-2244);


·      Director Rob Jeffreys, Nebraska Department of Corrections 402-471-2654;


The Nebraska Board of Pardons

(Email: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov).


Please sustain calls daily through May 30th, 2023, for this intensive campaign, and thereafter as you can.


[Any relief for Ed will be announced via email and social media.]


Sample Message:


“I'm calling to urge that Ed Poindexter, #27767, be given immediate compassionate release.


“In April 2023, Ed's niece and brother found out that Ed’s leg had been amputated earlier in the month. And it happened without notice to Ed’s family! This was all within the ‘skilled nursing facility’ at the Reception and Treatment Center, which specializes in behavioral issues and suicide watch, and is not primarily a rehab medical unit.


“Ed is on dialysis several days per week and is wheelchair bound, and is not able to shower or change without a lot more direct support than he is currently getting.


“The Nebraska Department of Corrections admits that their facilities are severely overcrowded and understaffed.


“I join Ed’s family in demanding that Ed be given Compassionate Release, and that he be immediately released to hospice at home.”


Warden: Taggart Boyd

Reception and Treatment Center

P.O. Box 22800

Lincoln, NE 68542-2800

Phone: 402-471-2861

Fax: 402-479-6100


Warden Michelle Wilhelm

Nebraska State Penitentiary

Phone: 402-471-3161

4201 S 14th Street

Lincoln, NE 68502


Governor Jim Pillen

Phone: 402-471-2244

PO Box 94848

Lincoln, NE 68509-4848



Rob Jeffreys

Director, Nebraska Department of Corrections

Phone: 402-471-2654

PO Box 94661

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509


Nebraska Board of Pardons

PO Box 95007

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509

Email: ne.pardonsboard@nebraska.gov


You can read more about Ed Poindexter at:




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



Sign the petition:




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.







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: 


Portland, Oregon: (833) 680-1312

San Francisco, California: (415) 285-1041 or fbi_hotline@nlgsf.org

Seattle, Washington: (206) 658-7963

National Hotline

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


National NLG Federal Defense Hotline: (212) 679-2811






1) Israel Called Them ‘Precision’ Strikes. But Civilian Homes Were Hit, Too.

Palestinians in Gaza say that Israel’s strikes against Islamic Jihad amount to a collective punishment aimed at making them fearful about who their neighbors might be.

By Raja AbdulrahimPhotographs by Samar Abu Elouf, May 31, 2023

Reporting from Gaza City

The rubble of a destroyed home.
A hole left by a bomb that entered the home of the Khoswan family, in a strike on an Islamic Jihad member who lived below, in Gaza City.

A man in a red cap holding a child, next to people sitting on the ground.
A family sitting in the rubble of their house, which was destroyed by Israeli bombing in Jabalia, in northern Gaza.

As the Khoswan family slept, the Israeli military dropped three GBU-39 bombs into their sixth-floor apartment. One of the bombs exploded just outside the parents’ bedroom, leaving the apartment looking as if a tornado had swept through, killing three family members.


But they were not the stated target of the attack earlier this month.


The Israeli military had dropped the bombs into their home to assassinate a commander of the Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad who lived in the apartment below.


Jamal Khoswan, a dentist, Mirvat Khoswan, a pharmacist, and their son, a 19-year-old dental student, were killed in the strike as well as the Islamic Jihad commander who lived downstairs, Tareq Izzeldeen, and two of his children, a girl, 11, and a boy, 9.


“Commanders have been targeted before,” Menna Khoswan, 16, said this month at a memorial service for her father at the hospital where he served as chairman of the board. “But to target the commander and those around him, honestly this is something we didn’t expect.”


Israel says that it conducts “precision strikes” aimed at taking out armed groups’ commanders or operation sites, and that it does not target civilians. But the airstrikes are often conducted in heavily populated areas, and many Palestinians in Gaza say they amount to a collective punishment aimed at making them fearful about who their neighbors might be.


Israel also destroys entire residential buildings or towers if it believes an armed group has an office or apartment there, although it usually issues an evacuation warning beforehand.


Menna’s parents and brother were among at least 12 civilians killed by Israeli strikes during five days of fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad this month, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Israel says that nine civilians were killed in the strikes.


Six senior leaders of the armed group that Israel said had been responsible for rocket attacks on Israel were killed before a cease-fire was reached on May 13. The Israeli military said that Islamic Jihad had launched nearly 1,500 rockets indiscriminately toward Israel over the course of several days. Two people were killed in Israel, including an Israeli woman and a Palestinian worker from Gaza.


Members of the Khoswan family say they knew that an Islamic Jihad commander lived in the apartment below them and worried that he could be the target of an Israeli strike. Israel has designated Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization — as have countries including the United States and Japan — and has regularly targeted its leaders and fighters.


Yet the Khoswans never thought their apartment would be hit while they were inside, Menna said, describing the shock of being awakened by the explosions ripping through her home.


The Israeli military said it had twice postponed the assassinations of the three Islamic Jihad commanders to ensure suitable operational conditions and minimize civilian casualties. But the military did not respond to questions about why it had targeted the three Islamic Jihad commanders on May 9 while they were at home or why it had launched the three bombs targeting the Islamic Jihad commander through the Khoswan home.


The Israeli military “didn’t choose to kill the dentist,” said Nir Dinar, an Israeli army spokesman, declining to comment further.


The Israeli military released videos of the strikes it carried out, including one showing a man it accused of having fired rockets at Israel being struck in the middle of a road on a bicycle. Another showed a man walking in the courtyard of a complex of buildings for several seconds before entering a building. Once he went inside, the building was blown up.


The military said the videos showed how it had waited for targets to be alone before striking.


During the five days of fighting this month, Israeli strikes destroyed 103 homes, and more than 2,800 others were damaged, according to Gaza’s public works department.


Amnesty International has previously said that Israel’s pattern of attacks on residential homes in Gaza displayed a disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians and could amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.


In the 11-day 2021 war between Hamas and Israel, Israel struck four tower buildings, destroying three of them; one had housed some of the world’s leading news media organizations, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.


The Israeli military said that it had destroyed the tower because the building also contained military assets belonging to Hamas, the political and armed group which controls and governs Gaza. The A.P. reported that at the time that the tower’s owner had been “told he had an hour to make sure everyone has left the building.”


Fearing that Israel would destroy entire buildings because they contained offices or homes belonging to members of armed groups, residents of some buildings posted signs in their lobbies warning against renting to departments linked to the Hamas-led government.


Israel has long accused Palestinian armed groups in Gaza of hiding among civilians and using them as human shields. Because the armed groups are homegrown, they live side by side among the people and their command centers are spread throughout Gaza.


Leaders and members of the groups say that Israel’s airstrikes are aimed at hurting the civilian population to undermine public support for them. The groups have wide support among Palestinians for their resistance to the Israeli occupation.


Since the 2021 war, Hamas says it has begun moving its offices away from important infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.


Khaled al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, said his group’s members lived in their own communities in the tiny enclave that is home to more than 2.3 million people.


“Where should we go? Should we flee Palestine? Can we go set up a military base in Colorado?” he said. “They target the civilians so they can pit people against us.”


South of Gaza City, Ghada Abu Ebeid, 50, this month was living with a relative near the remains of her family’s two-story house, which was destroyed by an Israeli bomb in the recent fighting that also sheared off the fronts of nearby buildings.


An hour before the strike, the Israeli military warned residents up to 100 meters away to evacuate their homes, according to the Abu Ebeid family and neighbors.


When asked about the attack, the military referred to a statement saying that it had targeted Islamic Jihad command-and-control centers from which they operate and direct rockets toward Israel.


Ms. Ebeid would not say why she believed Israel had demolished their home. Neighbors said that one of her sons was a member of Islamic Jihad.


Many Gaza residents acknowledge that they do worry about who might move in next door, fearing that their neighbors could become targets. But they put the blame squarely on Israel.


“What kind of precision is this when you kill civilians?” said Asmahan Adas, referring to a strike on the home of her next-door neighbor, Khalil al-Bahtini, another Islamic Jihad commander, that also killed her two teenage daughters. “When Israel wants to kill someone, they can find many different ways to kill, but they want others to die along with their target.”


Ms. Adas said that when she knew Mr. Bahtini was at home, she would move her two daughters to the far side of their home, fearing that Israeli bombs could destroy the rooms closest to him.


On the night of May 9, she was unaware that Mr. Bahtini had returned home. Before she went to bed, Ms. Adas said good night to her two daughters, Iman, 17, and Dania, 19, who were sitting on their beds, watching cellphone videos and laughing, she said.


Minutes later, shortly after 2 a.m., three GBU-39 bombs pierced the roof of Mr. Bahtini’s second-floor home, killing him, his wife and 5-year-old daughter. The blast also ripped through the bedroom of Ms. Adas’ teenager daughters, burying them in rubble.


A week later, Ms. Adas wept as she received mourners at her parents’ house. Dania was to be married on July 21. Now, her fiancé visits her grave every day to talk to her.


“I had dreams of taking my daughter out of our home in her wedding dress, not in a burial shroud,” Ms. Adas said. “They took everything from me in a second, just so they could kill one person.”


Ameera Harouda contributed reporting.



2) Store Owner Charged With Murdering 14-Year-Old He Wrongly Accused of Stealing

Rick Chow, who believed Cyrus Carmack-Belton had stolen four water bottles, chased him out of his convenience store in Columbia, S.C., and fatally shot the boy in the back, the authorities said.

By Eduardo Medina, May 30, 2023


Cyrus Carmack-Belton smiles and wears a jacket.

Cyrus Carmack-Belton. Credit...Todd Rutherford

A South Carolina convenience store owner has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Black boy whom he falsely accused of shoplifting, chased and shot in the back on Sunday night, the authorities said.


The store owner, Rick Chow, 58, who was charged on Monday, believed that the boy, Cyrus Carmack-Belton, had stolen four water bottles from his Xpress Mart Shell Station in Columbia, the Richland County Sheriff’s Office said.


But Sheriff Leon Lott said at a news conference on Monday that Cyrus had not shoplifted and described the shooting as unjustified.


Still, at about 8 p.m., Mr. Chow and his son, whose name has not been released by the sheriff’s office, chased Cyrus toward a nearby apartment complex, where the teenager fell down and got back up, Sheriff Lott said.


Mr. Chow’s son saw that Cyrus had a gun, Sheriff Lott said, and the store owner shot Cyrus in the back, killing him, the sheriff said. There is no evidence that Cyrus pointed a gun at the store owner or his son, the authorities said.


Describing the shooting as “disturbing,” Sheriff Lott said that even if Cyrus had shoplifted the water bottles, “that’s not something you shoot anybody over, much less a 14-year-old.”


Mr. Chow’s lawyer did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on Tuesday night.


The shooting has prompted outrage in Columbia, where dozens of protesters met at Mr. Chow’s store on Monday. Later that night, the store was vandalized and looted, according to the sheriff, who urged protesters to be peaceful. Photos of the store showed graffiti on the building and yellow crime scene tape around it. Among the spray-painted messages were “RIP King Cyrus,” and his age, 14.


Troy Belton, Cyrus’s father, said in a brief phone interview about his son: “If you were around him, you would have loved him.”


The shooting came weeks after similar attacks on people who were shot over simple misunderstandings or minor missteps. In Kansas City, Mo., a homeowner shot a 16-year-old who rang the wrong doorbell. In upstate New York, a 20-year-old woman was fatally shot after she and her friends turned into the wrong driveway. And in Texas, two cheerleaders were shot after one tried to get into the wrong car in a dark parking lot.


In the Columbia case, the Richland County coroner, Naida Rutherford, said at the news conference that there was no indication that Cyrus “was fighting with the store owner prior to him running out of the store.”


Cyrus had no wounds on his hands or scratches, she said. His only injuries were an abrasion from the fall and the gunshot wound on his lower right back, Ms. Rutherford said.


Mr. Chow, who legally owned the pistol used during the shooting, had in the past dealt with real shoplifting incidents and confrontations, the sheriff said.


But, Sheriff Lott added, “you don’t do what happened” on Sunday night, referring to the shooting.


State Representative Todd Rutherford, a Democrat who is also representing Cyrus’s family, said by phone that Cyrus, who was known for always having a smile, “did nothing wrong” and had been “chased down like an animal.”


He said he was unsure why Cyrus had a gun.


“It’s possible he felt he needed it to protect himself,” Mr. Rutherford said. “But in the face of confrontation, he didn’t use it.”


On Facebook, Mr. Rutherford wrote that what had happened to Cyrus was not an accident but “something that the Black community has experienced for generations: being racially profiled, then shot down in the street like a dog.”


Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.



3) San Francisco’s Ousted District Attorney Has a New Job

A conversation with Chesa Boudin, who was rejected by voters last year, as he steps into a new role this week at U.C. Berkeley.

By Tim Arango, May 31, 2023

Chesa Boudin in San Francisco last year.

Chesa Boudin in San Francisco last year. Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

It was almost a year ago that San Francisco voters ousted their liberal district attorney, Chesa Boudin, in a recall election, as public frustration was growing over property crime and the visible despair and squalor on city streets.


There was no compelling evidence that Boudin’s policies had made crime worse; overall, crime in San Francisco changed little in the time he was in office. Yet voters rejected his progressive message of taking a lenient approach.


Boudin, who has largely stayed quiet since the recall, steps into a new role this week, as the founding executive director of the new Criminal Law and Justice Center at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law. The job is wide-ranging and will involve teaching, researching the effects of changes in criminal justice laws in California and advocating new laws, in the State Capitol and in court.


“It’s a job that’s going to allow me to draw on the lived experience I had visiting my parents in prison for a combined 63 years, and the practical professional experience I had both as a public defender and elected district attorney in San Francisco,” Boudin said. When he was a toddler, his parents, members of a radical left-wing group, went to prison for their roles in a botched robbery that left three men dead.


As he begins his new job, Boudin, 42, reflected on the past year, his time in office and the continuing struggle in San Francisco over public safety.


Debates around crime, the fentanyl epidemic and homelessness have, if anything, become more contentious since he left office. City leaders have promised more aggressive enforcement; one proposal would exclude undocumented immigrants with convictions for fentanyl distribution from protection under the city’s sanctuary policy, making it easier to deport them.


“I absolutely do not agree with scapegoating or attacking immigrants for what are clearly deep-rooted structural inequities and a public health crisis,” Boudin said. “It has never worked, and it’s often been a red flag for fascism. Scapegoating immigrants is not who we are in San Francisco, and it will not make us safer.”


Concerning the fatal shooting of Banko Brown by a security guard at a downtown drugstore last month, Boudin had sharp words for his successor, Brooke Jenkins, who declined to file charges in the case. Her handling of the case sparked protests, especially over her public statements early in the investigation that the case appeared to be one of self-defense.


“Any experienced prosecutor knows, and Jenkins should have known perfectly well, that you don’t come out while a case is still under investigation, at least allegedly, and make the defense’s case for them,” he said.


Boudin defended his decision to charge two police officers for on-duty shootings — cases that Jenkins later dropped, and called politically motivated.


“I campaigned on that issue,” Boudin said of police shootings. “It wasn’t political. It was what voters wanted.”


In his new job, Boudin might return to the courtroom as an advocate on a number of issues, including the overhaul of bail laws.


“That’s an issue I have worked on for many, many years,” he said. “I believe strongly that being poor is not a crime in this country. And that we have a presumption of innocence. And that people who are presumed innocent should not be detained simply because they are poor.”


Asked if he would ever seek elective office again, he simply said, “Never say never.”



4) Atlanta Police Arrest Organizers of Bail Fund for Cop City Protesters

By Natasha Lennard

—The Intercept, May 31, 2023

A person holds a smoke bomb in the air while marching with other protesters.

Critics say the $90 million project further militarizes policing. Credit...Nicole Craine for The New York Times

On May 31, 2023, a heavily armed Atlanta Police Department SWAT team raided a house in Atlanta and arrested three of its residents. Their crime? Organizing legal support and bail funds for protesters and activists who have faced indiscriminate arrest and overreaching charges in the struggle to stop the construction of a vast police training facility — dubbed Cop City — atop a forest in Atlanta.


In a joint operation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, or GBI, Atlanta cops charged Marlon Scott Kautz, Adele Maclean, and Savannah Patterson — all board members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund — with “money laundering” and “charity fraud.”


The arrests are an unprecedented attack on bail funds and legal support organizations, a long-standing facet of social justice movements, according to Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center.


“This is the first bail fund to be attacked in this way,” Regan, whose organization has worked to ensure legal support for people resisting Cop City, told me. “And there is absolutely not a scintilla of fact or evidence that anything illegal has ever transpired with regard to Atlanta fundraising for bail support.”


While the Atlanta Solidarity Fund has been a crucial resource for activists facing harsh repression for their involvement in Stop Cop City, the nonprofit predates the movement and has been providing bail funds, jail support, and assistance with legal representation for Atlanta activists since the 2020 Black liberation uprisings.


The fund, a project of the registered nonprofit Network for Strong Communities, has also provided grants to support an array of anti-repression work in Atlanta, including to groups working with unhoused trans youth, Black worker-owned cooperatives, and abolitionist community builders.


“What happened this morning is a terrifying escalation by the state, and a chillingly direct attack on the First Amendment. This is fascist political repression,” Hannah Riley, an Atlanta-based organizer, told me. “Providing mutual aid to people exercising their constitutionally protected rights to protest and dissent is not a crime.”


A public statement from the GBI said that “[a]gents and officers executed a search warrant and found evidence linking the three suspects to the financial crimes.” The warrants for all three arrestees cite “records and reports of certain currency transactions” and “fraudulent, misrepresenting, or misleading activities regarding charitable solitations.” (“Solitations” is, of course, not a word, but the apparent misspelling of the word “solicitations” appears on all three arrestees’ warrants.)


A more detailed arrest warrant for Patterson notes that the alleged “money laundering” charge relates to reimbursements made from the nonprofit to Patterson’s personal PayPal account for minor expenses including “gasoline, forest clean-up, totes, covid rapid tests, media, yard signs and other miscellaneous expenses.” Targeting the organizers with a militarized SWAT raid based on such expenditures only clarifies the desperation of law enforcement agencies in going after the movement.


According to the GBI statement, “All three charged will be booked into a local jail and will have a bond hearing scheduled soon.”


Wednesday’s arrests are just the latest in extreme law enforcement persecution of the popular Stop Cop City movement. A total of 42 activists are currently facing state domestic terror charges on the flimsiest of police claims, while three others face hefty felony intimidation charges for distributing flyers that named a police officer connected to the brutal police killing of 26-year-old forest defender Manuel “Tortuguita” Terán.


Kautz, one of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund organizers arrested on Wednesday, had previously shared numerous reflections with The Intercept on the Atlanta cops’ extreme repressive tactics. He noted that the indiscriminate arrests and use of state domestic terrorism charges against protesters represented “an unprecedented level of repression” and a “strategy of blatant malicious prosecution.”


It is a vile irony that for his own role in legal support work and rightful criticism of police violence, Kautz is now part of this same pattern of apparent prosecutorial abuse.


In targeting the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, police and prosecutors are attempting to further the groundless narrative that the multifaceted movement against Cop City is a “criminal organization,” enabling profoundly unconstitutional arrests based on no more than association with a resilient anti-racist, environmentalist movement.


Politicians keen to see Cop City built in Atlanta have doubled down on the pernicious line, none more so than Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. “These criminals facilitated and encouraged domestic terrorism,” said Kemp in a statement responding to Wednesday’s arrests, despite the fact that no one has been convicted in the weak domestic terrorism cases.


Organizing bail funds and legal support for protesters facing charges, however serious, is a decades-old social justice movement practice. As the Atlanta Community Press Collective noted on Twitter, “When Dr. King was held in Birmingham Jail, churches and community groups including the NAACP came together to fund his $4000 bail – the equivalent of $39,000 today.”


Like the overreaching domestic terrorism charges, if any established legal standards and precedents are upheld in these cases, no financial crimes or money-laundering charges will stick. Yet even unsuccessful malicious prosecutions exact a painful toll on movements, especially when a resource hub like the Atlanta Solidarity Fund is targeted.


“They are trying to drain our morale and trying to drain our resources,” another person associated with the fund told me, withholding their name for fear of police persecution following their associates’ arrests. “These arrests send a message that if you run a nonprofit that they find to be at odds with their colonial project, they will target you.”


The charges indeed risk setting a dangerous precedent in criminalizing bail funds and legal support networks. “Bailing out protestors who exercise their constitutionally protected rights is simply not a crime. In fact, it is a historically grounded tradition in the very same social and political movements that the city of Atlanta prides itself on,” said Regan, the attorney, in a separate press statement. “Someone had to bail out civil rights activists in the 60’s–I think we can all agree that community support isn’t a crime.”


Wednesday’s arrests come just days after it was revealed by reporters that Atlanta officials have known for some time that the cost of building Cop City to the city of Atlanta would amount to at least $51 million in public funds, instead of the $30 million that city officials promised since 2021.


Local opposition to the project has been strong, with hundreds of people attending a recent city council meeting to speak out against Cop City during a public hearing. The city council will vote on whether to approve the growing cost of the vast militarized policing facility on June 5. “The charges against organizers of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund come as the public becomes increasingly aware of the corporate funding and interests backing the Cop City project and the Atlanta Police Foundation non-profit,” Nora Scholl from the Atlanta Community Press Collective told me. “Law enforcement agencies are using force and imprisonment against protestors to buffer them from widespread opposition to the project.”



5) I’m on Strike With the W.G.A. I Owe My Father at Least That Much.

By Ron Currie, June 1, 2023

Mr. Currie is a novelist and screenwriter.

A view of picket signs carried by striking members of the Writers Guild.

Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Most discussion of the Hollywood writers’ strike has centered on money: the studio chiefs, tech demigods and private equity oligarchs who have it and the writers like myself whose labor should entitle us to a greater share of it. As a member of the Writers Guild of America, whose strike will enter its second month this week, I think that discussion is important, but it misses the real point of why workers strike and why we’re willing to use the only leverage we’ve got — our livelihoods — in such a fight.


One morning back in the summer of 2002, I was walking my dog when I got a call that my father was having a heart attack. He’d been hustled to the E.R. and I was told to get there as soon as I could. They don’t say that if they know the patient is going to make it.


Dad was a longtime Teamster, Local 340, which represents a grab-bag of freight jockeys, municipal workers and emergency services types. As a firefighter and E.M.T., he belonged to that last group — a mustachioed monolith and decorated combat veteran who worked and worked and, when he was done working, found some other work to do. He’d been at the fire station when he felt an unseen hand plunge into his chest and grip his heart, and he knew right away that he was in very serious trouble indeed.


By the time I arrived, doctors had succeeded in dissolving the clot that had been choking off one of his coronary arteries. I found him lying in the I.C.U., less than a quarter of his heart muscle still functioning. We didn’t talk about any of that, though. He had a few things at the house he’d meant to deal with that day after his shift ended, and now he wanted me to take care of them. More alarming to me than the prospect that he could easily have died was the way his mustache was twitching nervously at the corner of his mouth. He’d come real close, and Death throwing its arm around his shoulders revealed a version of my father I hadn’t thought possible: fragile, frightened, life-size and no longer a bit bigger.


His career was finished after the heart attack. Other fundamental things had changed, too. But he was alive, and the rest was just details. Besides, he’d covered his bases — he had income insurance and was eligible for early retirement with a large chunk of what his full pension would have been. The worst was over.


You know where this is going, naturally. The worst was not over.


For a man like my father there are fates worse than death, and one of those was being treated like a deadbeat because the people who were supposed to cover him in such a circumstance refused to do so. The corporate jackals who ran the income insurance program he’d paid into for decades refused to pay out because the heart attack happened at work and, in their view, was thus properly covered by workers’ compensation. At the same time, the corporate jackals who held the mortgage on the house I grew up in came calling. And they gave not one quarter of a damn that the man had been within a hair’s breadth of dying.


Dad eventually scraped together a couple of months’ worth of mortgage payments but the check came back uncashed — he couldn’t pay the full amount overdue, so the mortgage company didn’t want a penny of it. What it wanted, instead, was to take his house. And so it did.


My father, barely more than 50 years old and with only 20 percent of his heart still working, lost the modest life he’d put together through tireless labor over decades, and had to move with my mother into my aunt’s house for a time. He had, in his sudden infirmity, become an abstract problem for a business entity whose only concern was to hold onto every penny it could, decency be damned. And though his Teamster reps tried to intercede on his behalf, they were unable to convince that entity to think of my father — and treat him — like a man.


I learned two things as I helplessly watched all this going down. First, only a sucker bets on a future more distant than his next breath. And second, the difference between being shaken down illegally and being shaken down legally is that instead of going to prison, the crooks in neckties get stock bonuses and gold Rolexes and hearty pats on the back for a job well done.


None of this is unusual. It’s tragic and infuriating and grievous but it is also very, very normal. Using fine print and loopholes and the tectonic grind of the legal process to cheat working people is as American as a Norman Rockwell painting. And while superficially there might not appear to be a direct connection between my father’s losses and the W.G.A. strike, both spring directly from this time-honored exploitation of the powerless by the powerful.


Do I sound bitter? Good. I am. Still, after 20 years.


Now you know why I’m a union man myself and why I’m striking. Unions, imperfect though they might be, are the only entities that have ever provided an effective counterbalance to the corporate rapaciousness that victimized my father. A strike is not a fight at all, but rather a collective assertion of our dignity. It’s not about money — except insofar as, in America, money equals respect. For me, it’s about the look in my father’s eyes when he realized that not only was his body broken, but so were all the implicit promises that go along with being a good worker bee and paying your taxes and staying on the right side of the law.


My old man eventually got a settlement and was able to buy a little double-wide in which he would die, five years later, at 57 of lung cancer that was surely a legacy of his military service and his working life as a firefighter. It was nice, I suppose, that he was made whole and could buy another home for himself and my mother, but the truth is that, as with the heart attack itself, the damage was done. The home he’d bought with his labor, in which he had raised his children, was gone. The humiliation and frustration of losing it couldn’t be rolled back. This is another way they swindle you: making you feel that, hey, you got your money, the right thing has been done, so why are you still so unhappy?


I wonder if the people on the other side of the negotiating table will ever understand that it’s not about money and never has been. There’s an almost genetic-level memory of struggle and privation among working people, and we’re tired of having to fight like animals simply to be treated like human beings. We’re tired of entering into agreements that, one way or another, always get broken.


That’s what this strike is about, at least for me. I don’t need a cut of Netflix executives’ stock compensation. What I need — what I demand — is that they treat me and the people I love as though our lives and labor are every bit as significant as theirs.


Ron Currie Jr. is the author of the novel The One-Eyed Man and a writer for film and television, most recently for the series “Extrapolations.”



6) A Major Problem With Compulsory Mental Health Care Is the Medication

By Daniel Bergner, June 2, 2023

Mr. Bergner is the author of “The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches.” 

An illustration of a person inside a pill bottle, which is surrounded by people turned away from it.
Derek Abella

If severe mental illness, untreated, underlies the feeling of encroaching anarchy and menace around the homeless encampments of San Francisco or in the subways of New York City, then the remedy appears obvious. Let’s rescue those who, as New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, says, “slip through the cracks” of our mental health care systems; let’s give people “the treatment and care they need.”


It sounds so straightforward. It sounds like a clear way to lower the odds of tragic incidents occurring, like the chokehold killing of Jordan Neely, a homeless, psychiatrically troubled man, or the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, who was pushed off a Times Square subway platform to her death by a homeless man suffering with schizophrenia. Improving order and safety in public spaces and offering compassionate care seem to be convergent missions.


But unless we confront some rarely spoken truths, that convergence will prove illusory. The problems with the common-sense approach, as it’s currently envisioned, run beyond the proposed solutions we usually read about: funding more beds on hospital psychiatric wards, establishing community-based programs to oversee treatment when people are released from the hospital and providing housing for those whose mental health is made increasingly fragile by the constant struggle for shelter.


The most difficult problems aren’t budgetary or logistical. They are fundamental. They involve the involuntary nature of the care being called for and the flawed antipsychotic medications that are the mainstay of treatment for people dealing with the symptoms of psychosis, like hallucinatory voices or paranoid delusions, which can come with a range of severe psychiatric conditions.


Existing laws in almost all states allow for mandatory care when a person is likely to cause “serious harm,” in the phrase of New York’s statute, to self or others. But many people view existing laws and implementation as too weak. Catalyzed by public fear, the effort now is to widen the net.


In California, at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s urging, the State Legislature last year passed the CARE Act, to be fully in place next year. The law has a soft name but is meant to broadly expand the use of court-ordered treatment, with antipsychotic drugs an essential element in the program.


In New York City, Mayor Adams has led a major push that would lower the standard for first responders to strap someone to a gurney, load them into an E.M.T. van and take them to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation and possible commitment, against their will. He would also make it easier to channel someone into court-mandated outpatient treatment.


These changes are couched in the language of fellow feeling. “It is not acceptable for us to see someone who clearly needs help and walk past them,” Mr. Adams has said. “We can do much more to help those among us in a severe mental health crisis, even when they are unable to, by no fault of their own, recognize their own needs.”


The mayor’s rhetoric refers to a psychiatric condition known as anosognosia — the state of being too sick, too far beyond reason, to recognize one’s own mental illness. It’s a diagnosis worth much debate, because it can be applied to anyone who doesn’t agree with a psychiatrist’s finding and can result in people being denied any real say in their own care. But it isn’t necessary to question anosognosia in order to question mandatory treatment. Because even if involuntary care may be warranted, the question remains: Does it work?


Imagine being cut off from society by a tormented psyche and extreme poverty and then being hauled off to an emergency room, forcibly injected with a powerful drug like Haldol and held on a locked ward until being dispatched into a compulsory outpatient program. Will this set the stage for a stable life? Or will it add to a person’s trauma, sense of isolation and lack of agency — and lead to their slipping away from whatever program they’re ordered into and back toward dire instability? For a few, such intervention may be a positive turning point. But that’s not the likely result.


The New York City chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness — the country’s largest organization representing the mentally ill and their families — has protested on City Hall’s steps against Mr. Adams’s efforts to loosen standards for mandatory care. The New York City Bar Association takes the same position, and the World Health Organization has published guidance to eliminate involuntary psychiatric treatment altogether, because, according to Michelle Funk, who leads the W.H.O.’s work on mental-health policy, “Involuntary treatment can harm a person’s mental and physical health, exacerbating crisis situations, damaging relationships with the clinicians, family members and others involved in coercive measures and driving people away from the mental health care system.”


Compulsory care is deeply problematic in itself, but is made more so by the medications at its core. This isn’t to suggest that antipsychotics should not be prescribed for people enduring psychosis. It is to say that the drugs shouldn’t be considered — as they tend to be now — the required linchpin of treatment. Antipsychotics probably reduce hallucinations and delusions for around 60 percent of those who take them, but the science around their efficacy is far from definitive and some studies (though not all) indicate that long-term maintenance on the drugs may worsen outcomes.


Science hasn’t made great strides in antipsychotics since the drugs were first introduced seven decades ago. Their lack of precision remains largely the same, and because the drugs affect metabolic systems as well as dopamine pathways throughout the brain, they often have profound side effects: mental torpor, major weight gain, tics, spasms and a condition called akathisia, an overall jitteriness, as if a mad puppeteer is fighting perpetually for control of the person’s body.


Commonly, people abandon their antipsychotic drugs, whether they’re in mandatory treatment or the most sensitive, attentive voluntary programs. This is generally attributed to anosognosia and the disorganization that can come with mental illness, but it might well be seen as an outcome from the weighing of pros and cons.


In any case, our current direction, toward more involuntary, medically centered care, probably won’t get us what we wish for: safer public spaces and fewer lost people.


We’re going to have to think less fearfully and more creatively, genuinely seeking the counsel of people who’ve learned to cope, in varied ways, with their psychiatric conditions. Beyond the bottom line of adequate housing, we’ll need to embrace approaches that may seem hazy in contrast to the chemistry of pharmaceuticals, but that can be the best hope for recovery. This will mean funding and fostering the kinds of supportive communities like Fountain House and the group meetings of the Hearing Voices Network, which combat isolation and despair with an emphasis on sharing experiences and solutions, but that are very few and far between even in a city like New York.


And it will mean coming up with new methods of care, partly by entrusting positions of leadership to those who’ve lived meaningful and flourishing lives with mental illness. By doubling down on existing methods, we’re only beckoning more failure.



7) She Attacked Israel and the N.Y.P.D. It Made Her Law School a Target.

A student gave a commencement address at the famously progressive CUNY law school. Two weeks later, she was attacked by the tabloids and the mayor, and the school disavowed her speech.

By Ginia Bellafante, June 2, 2023

The City University of New York School of Law, with its walls of glass, on a rainy day.
A commencement speech by a law school graduate of the City University of New York was condemned by some as divisive and antisemitic. Credit...Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

Commencement season rarely passes without incident. In a bit of counterprogramming, last week the actress Michelle Yeoh addressed Harvard Law School’s Class of 2023, talking about “leaping off high perches into scary voids.” Nevertheless, it was a Yemeni immigrant named Fatima Mousa Mohammed, speaking to her graduating class of the City University of New York School of Law, whose words — absent the genre’s heavy-handed metaphors if not the heavy hand itself — left a more powerful impression on the news cycle.


Within a few weeks, she had achieved a notoriety she could not have expected and was unlikely to want, as her views — which is to say the views of a 24-year-old woman coming out of a small, modestly ranked law school in Queens — became the subject of nearly nonstop, consistently furious international tabloid coverage.


The law school at CUNY exists both as the most diverse in the country and among the most ideologically filtered. Like so many public law schools, it skews toward the production of lawyers who end up working in the interest of the common good. “Law in the service of human needs” is the institutional motto; the politics of resistance remain its dominant ethos.


Two years ago, the dean, Mary Lu Bilek, long known for her commitments to racial justice, resigned after inadvertently likening herself to a “slaveholder” in a meeting in which she had been trying to make the point that she was responsible for whatever injustices remained at the school. Students petitioned for her to turn over the remainder of her salary to the Black Law Students Association and remove her name from their diplomas.


Each year, the law school graduates elect a member of their class to deliver a speech, and this year they chose Ms. Mohammed, an activist devoted to the Palestinian cause. Although her remarks would later be presented as a lightning bolt of antisemitism, she began uncontroversially, talking about the pain and loss of Covid and how it shaped her cohort’s first semesters in law school.


She looked out into the audience now and saw “movement lawyers, business attorneys, professors, librarians,” she said. “I see future lawyers who will defend tenants and not those who dispossess our communities from their homes.” In these instances, her tone was optimistic and celebratory rather than indignant, though there was plenty of indignation.


“Let us remember that Gaza, just this week, has been bombed with the world watching,” she said at one point. “That daily, brown and Black men are being murdered by the state at Rikers.” She praised CUNY as “one of the very few legal institutions created to recognize that the law is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress people in this nation and around the world.”


As it happened, much of her commentary fell under the umbrella of conventional leftist rhetoric — the call to fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism — delivered with a zealotry not unfamiliar among the young and warrior-minded. But it was the fierceness she brought to her denunciation of “Israeli settler colonialism” and CUNY’s collaboration with “the fascist N.Y.P.D.” that especially inflamed the political class, even if her own audience, including the law school dean, seemed receptive.


Ms. Mohammed’s remarks went largely unnoticed until The New York Post put her on the cover, more than two weeks after the May 12 graduation, with the headline, “Stark Raving Grad.” Jewish groups, Fox and various news outlets around the world homed in, expressing their horror and disbelief. Elected officials followed. Among them was Ritchie Torres, the Democratic congressman from the Bronx who joined Republican lawmakers, including Senator Ted Cruz, in attacking the foreign policy positions of a young, impassioned person holding no political office or obvious power. (“Imagine being so crazed by hatred for Israel as a Jewish State that you make it the subject of your commencement speech,” Mr. Torres wrote on Twitter last week. “Anti-Israel derangement syndrome at work.”)


Joining the eruption, Mayor Eric Adams called out the speech for its “negativity and divisiveness.” His criticism came 17 days after the fact, even though the mayor spoke at the same graduation, where his words were met by students who turned their backs to him — something that should not have surprised administrators who extended the invitation, given the political leanings of the audience and the fact that the mayor has proposed cuts to the CUNY system broadly.


A spokesman for his office said he had only learned about Ms. Mohammed’s speech over the holiday weekend. But once he heard about what happened he did not limit himself to Twitter analysis; at a Jewish heritage event at Gracie Mansion on Wednesday night, he took the opportunity to say that had he been on the stage when Ms. Mohammed’s comments were made he would have “stood up and denounced them immediately.”


CUNY’s handling of all this has been confounding from the outset and suggests the ways in which public universities dependent on the generosity of political overlords remain particularly vulnerable to the complications around campus free-speech debates. Nine days after Ms. Mohammed’s address, CUNY’s Jewish Law Students Association issued a statement in solidarity with “our friend and classmate Fatima.” Quoting from her remarks that Israel continued to “to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshipers,” the statement said that it was “disingenuous to characterize these factual descriptions as antisemitic, when they describe the conditions of Palestinian life.”


Answering to different constituencies on May 30 — more than two weeks after the graduation ceremony — CUNY’s chancellor and board of trustees released a statement condemning Ms. Mohammed’s address as “hate speech,” describing her words as “unacceptable’' and “hurtful to the entire CUNY community.” This was not universally appeasing. Two days later, alumni from the first graduating class, in 1986, sent an open letter to the university’s faculty and administration, maintaining that their legacy had “been disgraced” by the nurturing of a “toxic, intolerant, and antisemitic environment.”


At the same time, law school faculty members at CUNY sent their own letter to the trustees demanding a retraction of their statement, arguing that the suggestion that hate speech includes political affiliation “as a characteristic similar to race or religion is wildly inconsistent with longstanding and legal definitions of the concept of hate speech.”


CUNY seemed unprepared for the fallout, even though, the day before graduation, the university announced an advisory council on Jewish life, made up of prominent Jewish leaders from around the city, to combat hate on its various campuses. If administrators at the law school were not privy to the full slate of what Ms. Mohammed was going to say, they might have anticipated it, given how outspoken she has been about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both in protests and on social media.


Ultimately, when a school inculcates in its students the importance of speaking out against oppression, it cannot be surprised when, given a big platform, they take you up on it. While any effort to have sent Ms. Mohammed’s speech in a different direction would have inevitably resulted in charges of censorship, it might have saved her from the death threats and vitriol that resulted when her speech surfaced beyond the world of the university, as it seemed destined to do.