You can buy prepping books, stockpile food, and learn first aid, but unless you have organized your personal information and documents, the aftermath of an ordinary disaster … Read the rest
The post How to Create a Personal Emergency Preparedness Binder appeared first on The Organic Prepper.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has nothing but contempt for international law. But he has shown uncritical deference to executive power, particularly in the so-called war on terror cases.
The two primary sources of international law are treaties and what’s known as “customary international law.” Ratified treaties are part of domestic US law under the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which says treaties “shall be the supreme law of the land.” Furthermore, it has long been established that customary international law, which arises from the consistent and general practice of nations, is part of US federal common law.
Although he professes to interpret the Constitution as written by the founders, Kavanaugh has apparently overlooked the supremacy clause and simply scorns customary international law.
Jordan Paust, international law scholar and professor emeritus at University of Houston Law Center, told Truthout in an email, “The unanimous views of the Founders, Framers, and Supreme Court Justice opinions is that the President and all members of the Executive Branch are bound by international law.” Paust also referenced a 2016 article he wrote in the Houston Journal of International Law documenting this fact.
Kavanaugh, however, erroneously conflates international law with foreign law. The US agrees to the terms of treaties it ratifies. And in most instances, the United States can opt out of a customary international law norm if the US objected while the norm was being developed. Foreign law, on the other hand, is the law of other countries — such as French law, German law, etc.
In the 2016 case of Al Bahlul v. United States, a Guantánamo detainee argued that since “conspiracy” was not an offense under the international laws of war, he should not be tried for conspiracy before a military commission.
Kavanaugh’s concurrence in that case characterized al-Bahlul’s argument as “extraordinary” because “it would incorporate international law into the U.S. Constitution as a judicially enforceable constraint on Congress and the President.”
That would mean, Kavanaugh cynically wrote, that wartime decisions made by the president and Congress to try unlawful enemy combatants before military commissions “would be subject to the dictates of foreign nations and the international community, as embodied in international law.”
He added: “The federal courts are not roving enforcers of international law. And the federal courts are not empowered to smuggle international law into the U.S. Constitution and then wield it as a club against Congress and the President in wartime.”Kavanaugh and the War on Terror
For 12 years, while serving as a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh had the opportunity to rule on several cases stemming from the “war on terror.” In nearly all of them, he demonstrated nothing but disdain for international law and an uncritical deference to executive power.
During the Bush administration, the Supreme Court checked and balanced the executive branch in several war on terror cases. They included Rasul v. Bush (which established that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear Guantánamo detainees’ habeas corpus petitions); Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (which held that a US citizen held as an enemy combatant has due process rights to contest his or her detention); and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (which concluded that Bush’s military commissions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions).
In 2008, the high court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that Guantánamo detainees held as enemy combatants have the right to file habeas corpus petitions in US federal courts to challenge their detention.
But in the wake of the Boumediene decision, Kavanaugh tried to neuter detainees’ habeas corpus rights in cases that came before him on the Court of Appeals, such as Omar v. McHugh and Uthman v. Obama. University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck noted in a 2011 article that since Boumediene was decided, commentators “have accused the D.C. Circuit in general — and some of its judges in particular — of actively subverting [Boumediene] by adopting holdings and reaching results that have both the intent and the effect of vitiating the … decision.”
Edith Roberts went further, writing at SCOTUSblog that “Prominent among those judges is Kavanaugh.”
In the 2010 case of Al-Bihani v. Obama, Kavanaugh ruled that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), under which al-Bihani was held as an enemy combatant, should not be interpreted in light of the international laws of war.
Kavanaugh wrote, “International-law norms that have not been incorporated into domestic U.S. law by the political branches are not judicially enforceable limits on the President’s authority under the AUMF.”
Paust noted in a law review article that Kavanaugh “embraced and basically relied merely on a radical ahistorical and ultimately anti-constitutional minority viewpoint” in that statement.
Kavanaugh “prefers a radical and dangerous view that ‘courts may not interfere with the President’s exercise of war powers based on international-law norms that the political branches have not seen fit to enact into domestic U.S. law,'” Paust wrote.
In fact, Kavanaugh twisted the law to reach what appear to be politically motivated results. Paust opined, “Bias is strikingly evident in [Kavanaugh’s] non-judicious use of the phrase ‘lurking international-law.'”
“This sardonic mischaracterization of law,” according to Paust, “is one that [Kavanaugh’s] former colleagues in the White House (for example, [Alberto] Gonzales, [George W.] Bush, [David] Addington, and [Dick] Cheney) might have appreciated during their infamous era of serial criminality orchestrated in the White House.” But, Paust added, “it is decidedly out of place in an impartial appellate chamber within the judicial system of the United States.”A Dangerous Presumption
Another example of Kavanaugh’s disrespect for international law and fondness for executive power is the 2009 case of Kiyemba v. Obama. Seventeen Uighur men found to be unlawfully detained at Guantánamo feared being returned to China in violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and a federal statute, given the likelihood that they would face torture upon their return. Kavanaugh took the position that courts must defer to the president’s determination of whether there is a likelihood of torture upon return. Most of the Uighurs were ultimately relocated to other countries, but many remain in detention.
Kavanaugh’s deference to the president goes even further. In a 2014 law review article, he wrote that the take care clause of the Constitution requires the president to enforce the law, “at least unless the President deems the law unconstitutional, in which event the President can decline to follow the statute until a final court order says otherwise.” Kavanaugh would create a dangerous presumption in favor of a president who refuses to follow the law.
If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh will almost certainly defer to the president’s wartime decisions during the perpetual war on terror. He will likely extend that deference to Donald Trump’s immigration policies under the guise of “national security.” And Kavanaugh’s frightening theory will encourage the president to disobey any law he deems unconstitutional, including customary and treaty-based international law.
The post Kavanaugh Scorns International Law and Loves Executive Power appeared first on Truthout.
LISTEN HERE: https://archive.org/details/0717201819
"breath at the threshold" by Joan Kovatch. 2.1 million year-old tools, pre-domestication bread. Over-heating, drought, fires, 4 mile wide Greenland iceberg event. Time now measurable at 100 billionth of a second. Good discussion of basic questions. Action briefs, 4 calls.Tags: anarchy radiopodcastJZ and EGcategory: Projects
Hawaii gets new island as erupting volcanic crater continues to spew lava into sea | 16 July 2018 | Lava flows that have been cascading into the sea have formed a brand new, small island off the coast of Hawaii after a crater at Mount Kilauea exploded with the force of a 5.2-magnitude earthquake. Friday's crater explosion sparked a slow-moving flood of lava that destroyed hundreds of homes at Kapoho, on the Big Island...When the lava cooled, the sea peeled back to reveal a small island jutting out from the depths only a few meters from the mainland.
“The concept of the White Ally is bankrupt. One cannot be an ally to a category of people. To speak the words “I am a White Ally to people of color” is to commit an act of double speak, to internalize non-sense. There is no singular black voice that can be listened to, no authentic community leadership which to follow. There are only many different people with different ideas, life experiences and perspectives. To think otherwise, to think that all black people share a common opinion is extremely problematic, one might even say racist. One can be an ally to individuals though there are other words in the English language which describe this relationship with more grace: friend, lover, partner and sometimes cellmate or co-defendant.”
Music: Lil Boosie – Fuck the Police Ft. WebbieFergusonStLSaint Louisaudiozineallycategory: Projects
Billionaire Mining Magnate Gina Rinehart Revealed As Key Donor to Australian Climate Science Denial Promoter Institute of Public Affairs
Australia’s richest person, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, has been revealed as a key funder of the right wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) – a major pusher of climate science denial.
Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting Proprietary Ltd (HPPL), donated $2.3m to the IPA in 2016 and $2.2m in 2017, according to disclosures made to the New South Wales Supreme Court.
As part of a long-running legal dispute over the use of company funds, Gina Rinehart’s daughter Bianca had served a subpoena to access documents that would have shed light on the two donations from HPPL to the IPA.
The IPA is an influential right wing think tank with close ties to Australia’s governing Liberal Party. IPA fellows regularly appear in the media. The payments suggest that more than a third of the IPA’s income in 2016 and 2017 was from HPPL – majority-owned privately by Gina Rinehart.Tags: Institute of Public Affairsgina rinehartHancock Prospectinghppl
From 325Mirror image of Civilisation & Religion (PDF)
Small booklet compiling the recent texts critical to the so-called ‘Eco-Extremist’ trend written by nihilist-anarchists and anarchist-insurrectionalists from around the world.
Produced in collaboration with Verde Press.325Eco-extremismITScategory: Essays
From 325Other expressions of authoritarianism and sacred thought
Given the recent proliferation of eco-extremism and some opinions expressed in the broadcast media related to this tendency, the need arises for this text. Without pretending to engage in a dialogue, we will clarify a few things that seem essential to us.
For several years now, various individuals from different parts of the American continent (especially from the territory dominated by the Mexican State) close to the positions and struggles against civilization, gave shape to a trend that they called “eco-extremism”.
What is eco-extremism? Although there are subtle differences between those who are placed under that concept, we can more or less talk about a consensus among them, since they see the whole of humanity as their enemy; that humanity and it’s civilization is incompatible with Wild Nature.
They understand that the war against civilization is indiscriminate, so any person would represent an enemy. Since humanity is the problem, anyone can be the target, regardless of gender, economic condition, age, etc. The forms of attack of these groups are inspired by the most diverse experiences, so they do not mind picking up the “teachings”(I) of religious fanatics such as ISIS or political parties that wager for national liberation, as their indiscriminate methods serve them.
One of the most emblematic action groups of this current is “Individuals Tending towards the Wild” (ITS). In 2011, several technological research centers began to be attacked with explosives in some Mexican cities. Over the years, the attacks continued and at the same time several related groups appeared, all of them having civilization as their common objective. In 2014, “Reacción Salvaje” (RS) appears, concentrating several eco-extremist groups and leaving aside the initials ITS. For 2016, ITS returns with the main objective of expanding the project to new locations. That same year from the Territories dominated by the Chilean, Argentine and Brazilian States arise attacks and claims related to ITS. There are also organizations sympathetic to this trend, ranging from an individualist perspective to anti-civilization, such as the Egoist Sects in Italy, and organisations have emerged related to eco-extremism in Germany, France, Finland, etc.
To achieve its objectives, which is the end of civilized humanity, there have been all kinds of attacks ranging from the abandonment of explosive devices on public roads during the day to fire, letters bombs and some murders.
In addition, they believe that every natural phenomenon that hurts humans in their lives and properties is akin to their principles of ending civilization, as for what they have claimed in their pages of internet tidal waves, earthquakes, snowfalls, etc.
Between aesthetic radicalism and the sacred
The eco-extremists call themselves individualistic and nihilistic, many of them come from anarchism and, according to their own words, approached anarchism seeking “salvation” and “free community” but only saw “a set of Christian moralists”, and so they chose to move towards something “more radical”. This search for “radicalism”, we understand it more as the appropriation of everything that is seen as “politically incorrect”, according to the parameters of what the citizenry collects. In this way, if tomorrow there is a new concept that bothers or disturbs the “normal human” beings, no doubt, they will appropriate it. Radicality is to finish with the root of the problem, not just going towards the extreme or provocative.
They have cemented their theoretical foundations in the study of some nomadic hunter-gatherer peoples; according to their own words, they have rescued pagan animism, however they have created a new faith based on different ancestral deities. Their sacred polytheistic thoughts are perhaps not as violent as the Christian God, but it is one (or some) All Powerful, after all…
We find it curious that they call themselves individualists and nihilists, being that they believe in entities that are above them, how can the individual be developed integrally if their reality is subject to something that controls them? We appeal and we fight to destroy all the chains, creeds and laws.
“We are and will be enemies of any religion, be it Christianity, animistic paganism or Wild Nature. No static doctrine is above us. Let us free ourselves from all that is sacred, we have neither faith nor law and our discourse will have neither.”
We see in their writings how they try to be masters of the Truth and how they sacralize their war against civilization into a kind of neo-inquisition against everything that, for them, is not correct or against everything that represents “civilized” values. By validating their position as “the only possible reality” they are necessarily above the rest, setting the standard of “good and bad”. Their evident authoritarian positions are closely linked to the absolutism of feeling possessed of a certain wisdom and of believing themselves to be the elect for the naturalistic Crusade.
“The sacred is then the highest of the essences and everything by which it is revealed or manifests itself, also sacred are those who recognize that supreme in their own being, that is, in its manifestations. What is sacred sanctifies in turn its worshiper, who by their worship makes it sacred; and in the same way sanctifies all that it does: holy commerce, holy thoughts, holy aspirations, holy actions, etc…” Max Stirner
On opportunistic criticism
As is good to affirm, we are different things, so we are not interested in criticizing their work, much less falling into the easy exit of insult. The questions that they ask of anarchism do not affect us, since we do not share the way they see it; as a doctrine with patterns of rigid and immovable behavior. We understand it and we live it as a set of anti-authoritarian ideas and practices that confront all forms of domination. It is a constant tension not an achievement or an ideology. It is the destruction of everything that makes us enslaved, building new ways of relating between all the beings that inhabit this world and others with the Earth.
When the anarchists are criticized for having a moral as if we were religious or owners of the Truth, we clearly say that we reject morality, understanding this as the institutionalization of certain patterns and behaviors that are immovable, that is, when it becomes a “just because” and not a learning based on the experience of what is beneficial to us. We prefer the terminology of ethics, which comes from ethos or custom, not referring to a tradition but to experience, to what is habitual. We are not ingenuous or conformist, we know that within anarchism there is a wide range of tendencies and that, among these, there are opposing tendencies. There are those who see anarchism as a dogma taking the postulates of some comrades of other times as if they were sacred writings. In this way, we think, individual freedom is restricted within its organizational forms. Criticisms to these forms of thought and the differences in what refers to the action exist since there are anarchists who took the wholeness of the individual and/or took a qualitative and radical leap in the forms of attack. The criticisms made by some eco-extremists about certain forms of anarchism are not new… There are some of us who have been doing it for several decades (not to say more than a century). We do not expect a day for the revolution, nor the legitimacy of the masses, and we do not have a uniform pattern of behavior to follow.
Our option is to destroy all authority
As we explained earlier, many of the eco-extremists come from the anarchic world, specifically from the eco-anarchist and primitivist struggle, so it is logical that there may be many things that we share, but there are many other fundamentals that put us on opposite sides. We could expand on several but we will specifically address the vision of authority. In a text that we find in their digital media entitled “Anarchist Myth” they point out:
“We understand that authority and hierarchical organization are neither “good” nor “bad” but are something that simply exist, like it or not, it’s something very natural in human behavior since forever. Therefore we can be false and fall into the hypocrisy of anarchists and “Anti-authoritarians” or we can accept the reality and use it for what suits us.”
However, curiously, in the same text they call themselves individualists who do not “bow their heads in front of anyone” and that “they do not need to be told what they have to think, do or what decisions to make “. This dichotomy that unites hierarchy and individual freedom expressed by the author or authors, seems profoundly contradictory. Our idea of individualism has part of the basis of placing the individual at the center of all actions, that is, it is not above the collective nor below it, nothing submits it. We are completely contradictory to the position of the eco-extremists, we are enemies of all forms of authority and we do not see hierarchy as something “very natural” in human organizations. To make it clear; Anarchy comes from the Greek prefix “an” which means “without” or “no” and from the root “arkê” that translates into “power” or “mandate”.
We understand that in order for power relations to be generated, there basically has to exist some kind of mandate and obedience, which can be coercive or not, but it does not stop at violence. To support their “natural hierarchy”, they usually analyze various behaviors of some hunter-gatherer peoples.
We will do the same. As stated by Pierre Clastres in “The Society against the State”, when studying the different behaviors of several tribes of the Southern Cone (yes, leaving aside the great civilizations of the Incas and Mayas), he says:
“A pertinent feature of the political organization of most indigenous societies is the lack of social stratification and authority of power: some of them, such as the Ona and Yagan (II) of Tierra del Fuego, do not even possess the institution of leadership; it is said of the Jíbaros (III) that their language has no term to designate the chief.”
Almost all the writings that are known about the behavior of many American native peoples are from evangelizing priests, European conquerors and contemporary researchers. The first and second came from lands where there were great kingdoms, so they knew perfectly well what obedience is, and subsequent studies reaffirmed the above.
Clastres explains it clearly; “However, the direct experience in the field, the investigators’ monographs and the oldest chronicles, leave no doubt about this: if there is something completely alien to an indigenous, it is the idea of giving an order or having to obey it, except in very special circumstances, such as the expedition of war.”
We look, analyze and learn from different peoples, but we are clear that we do not want to be like them and even from our western vision (which we try to destroy) there are many things that we find hard to understand. We want to end domination, and in that exercise we build new ways of relating, we create new dynamics and we do not we want those of others, be they parties, vanguards or indigenous people.
The most certain thing is that with what we’ve written we will labeled anthropocentric hyper-civilized Christians; We may be, it’s not our intent to try to give lessons to anyone, but we simply want to make things clear. We do not want to leave their shadows of this world, we want to destroy each of the links of this great chain that makes us all slaves, among them too we include civilization, since we are aware of the damage it does to everything that surrounds it, but with this we do not believe that the solution is misanthropy and sacralization of nature, in fact, we believe that it is part of the problem.
I We have found several articles referred as, according to the eco-extremists, “what can be learned from different groups for the war against civilization”, they mainly talk about collecting experiences, forms of attack, etc. To name a few examples is the article in the magazine Ajejema entitled “Paraguayan People’s Army” (EPP). Can you learn from them?, in which they point out: “Valuable things can be learned from both the left and the right armed groups, and we have no moral problem in admitting it because more than once we have claimed a marked tendency towards anti-politics and what anti-ideological”. And another in Extinction magazine n° 6 called “The lessons left by the Islamic State before its collapse”, in which they point out: “The war of the Islamic state is an authentic war against civilization, although, surely if they triumphed they would impose their Islamic civilization with an iron fist, it’s a war anyway, so personally, I have no moral problem in learning from it.” In the forms of attack the eco-extremists collect from ISIS, among other things, the use of hens, donkeys and even children with Down’s syndrome attached to bombs.
II Ona and Yagan, towns that resided in Tierra del Fuego. The Onas or Selknam are extinct, the last Yagan woman was killed in the year of 2006.
III Los Jíbaros is a derogatory name for the Shuar people, they are the most numerous Amazonian natives (approximately 80,000 individuals). The Shuar inhabit the jungles of Peru and Ecuador.
From Kalinov Most #1
Today most large companies like Exxon Mobil, Ford and GM issue slick reports extolling their efforts to conserve resources, use renewable energy or fund clean water supplies in developing countries. This emphasis on efforts to curb environmental harm while benefiting society is called corporate sustainability.
Once uncommon but now mainstream, this show of support for a greener and kinder business model might seem like a clear step forward. But many of these same companies are quietly using their political clout, often through industry trade associations, to block or reverse policies that would make the economy more sustainable. And because public policy raises the bar for entire industries, requiring that all businesses meet minimum standards, lobbying to block sound public policies can outweigh the positive impact from internal company initiatives.Tags: auto alliancealliance of automobile manufacturersTrump AdministrationClean Power Plangreenwashingcorporate lobbying
Russian military 'ready to work with US' after Trump and Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki | 17 July 2018 | The Russian military is ready to work with the US colleagues on all the areas discussed by the two presidents during the Helsinki summit, namely cooperation in Syria and mutual reduction of the strategic nuclear arsenals. "Russian Defense Ministry is ready to implement the agreements on the international security, reached by Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump during the Helsinki summit yesterday," Ministry's spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday. On Monday, Russian and the US leaders agreed to revitalize the military cooperation in several fields. During the press conference in the aftermath of the summit, Trump stated that Russian and US militaries proved to actually get along better than the politicians of the two countries over the past few years, naming deconfliction communication in Syria as an example.
The post The New Prison Movement: The Continuing Struggle to Abolish Slavery in Amerika appeared first on It's Going Down.New essay from Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, political prisoner and incarcerated journalist, tracks the history and growth of the new prison movement to abolish prison slavery.
Across Amerika (home of the world’s largest prison population) growing numbers of the imprisoned are coming to realize that they are victims of social injustice.
Foremost, as victims of an inherently predatory and dysfunctional capitalist-imperialist system, which targets the poor and people of color for intensified policing, militaristic containment, and selective criminal prosecutions. While denying them access to the basic resources, employment and institutional control needed for social and economic security. Deprivations which generate “crime”: economic crimes, crimes of passion, and crimes of attempting to cope (through drug use and addictions).
Secondly, once imprisoned they become victims of inhumane abuses, warehousing, and one of the most decadent and dehumanizing forms of social economic injustice: slavery.
This rising awareness among the imprisoned has prompted increasing numbers of prisoners to unite in resistance proclaiming “no more!” And the momentum is building.
This “new” Prison Movement is seeing growing waves of open resistance to slave labor and conditions of abuse, which is eroding the structures put in place beginning nearly 50 years ago to repress the Prison Movement of that era, such as solitary confinement.From Yesterday’s Suppressed Prison Movement
During the earlier wave of the Prison Movement (of the 1960s-70s), when the courts barred their doors against prisoners’ lawsuits seeking redress against the inhumane conditions that pervade U.S. prisons, the prisoners rose up in resistance.
In a dialectical relationship their movement both informed and was informed by revolutionary ideas then prevalent in the broader social movements of the time, which exposed and challenged the capitalist system. At the forefront of that movement was the original Black Panther Party and allied groups on the outside and Comrades like George Jackson who formed the BPP’s first prison chapter on the inside.
To suppress that movement and stamp out its revolutionary consciousness, the Establishment began constructing and operating solitary confinement prisons and units (called Supermaxes and Control Units) at an unprecedented level. Beginning with the Marion Control Unit which opened in 1972, after the assassination of George Jackson by guards, and the peaceful 1971 uprising at Attica State Prison that officials suppressed by murdering 29 prisoners and 10 civilians, then tortured hundreds more, sparking international outrage and exposure of the inhumane conditions in U.S. prisons.
In a rare admission of the actual political purpose of subsequent high security units, Ralph Arons, a former warden at Marion, testified in federal court: “The purpose of the Marion Control Unit is to control revolutionary attitudes in prison and society at large.”
Alongside this repression also came concessions to the Prison Movement, including prison officials granting prisoners more privileges and the federal courts opening their doors to prisoner litigations challenging their living conditions. But this did not last.
As the U.S. prison system expanded eight-fold and solitary confinement units contained prisoner resistance the concessions were rolled back and the courts soon made rulings like Turner v. Safley and laws like the Prison Litigation Reform Act were enacted, that in effect reinstated the courts’ old “hands off” doctrine towards prisoner lawsuits.Oppression Breeds Renewed Resistance
With these reversals abuse conditions intensified especially with the vastly expanded use of solitary confinement, a condition which the U.S. Supreme Court found to be cruel and unusual and constituted torture back in the late 1800s, and the attendant enlargement of prison labor pools to be exploited as free workers. Under these conditions of heightened abuse and exploitation a new Prison Movement has emerged and is only growing.
At each stage of this new movement record numbers of prisoners have joined and forged unity across racial and tribal lines that the system has traditionally been able to keep prisoners divided and controlled by. Even more monumental is unity in these struggles has been achieved not just within individual prisons, but across entire prison systems and now across the country, with public support spanning the country and reaching international levels.
This has and can only inspire greater levels of resistance and help us refine our forms of resistance, and methods of organizing and communication.
To these ends I’d like to summarize the major events in today’s growing waves of prison resistance and call on readers to join and support the struggles to come.And Resist We Have!
When in 2008 a migrant Jesus Manuel Galindo was left to die in a solitary confinement cell from untreated epilepsy, hundreds of detainees at Reeves County Detention Complex in Pesos, TX took over the complex and put it to the torch. Over $2 million in damage was reported in an uprising that united detainees from Cuba, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Mexico.
During December 2010, prisoners in six Georgia prisons went on a mass strike, protesting unpaid slave labor; solitary confinement, and other oppressive conditions. Latinos, Blacks, whites, prison tribes of all orientations, Muslims, etc. united in this protest. Following the week-long strike, two years later at Jackson State Prison, where many of the 2010 strike leaders were transferred to, a 44 day hunger strike was staged as guards violently retaliated.
In 2011 and 2013 three historical mass hunger strikes were undertaken by California prisoners protesting indefinite solitary confinement and other abuses, where 6,000, 12,000, and 30,000 prisoners respectively participated. Prisoners in other states also joined the strike – in Virginia, Oregon, Washington state, etc. This strike united and was led by Blacks, Latinos, and whites, and all the major California prison tribes. Which led to a call by the prisoners to end all racial and group hostilities, and which Cali prison officials have repeatedly tried to sabotage. This strike and unprecedented unity alongside legal challenges by some strike leaders and participants forced the Cali prison system to reform its long term solitary confinement policies and release some 2,000 prisoners to general population in 2015.
Inspired by the 2010 GA prison strike, in 2013, prisoner leaders of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) called for a strike in protest of Alabama’s “running a slave empire” and “incarcerating people for free labor”. In January 2014, prisoners at four Alabama prisons took up the strike. As a result of FAM’s organizing efforts and collaborating with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a committee within the IWW was formed called the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), which now has over 800 imprisoned members in 46 states. The IWOC has since played an important support role in subsequent strikes and building public support. Shortly after the IWOC’s founding, the IWOC and the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter united as allies in this work, and I as a co-founder of the NABPP and numerous other NABPP members joined IWOC.
In 2014, all 1200 detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, went on a 56 day hunger strike, which spread to the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas, all protesting oppressive conditions at the facilities. Outside protesters organized in support of the strikers.
In April 2016, prisoners in seven Texas prisons went on a work strike at the call of leading comrades of the NABPP’s TX branch and IWOC. The month before a spontaneous uprising took place in Alabama at Holman prison, where the new warden, Carter Davenport, known for his role in physical assaults on prisoners, ended up on the receiving end of violence.
These initiatives in early 2016 inspired a call to prisoners across the U.S. to engage in a county-wide strike beginning on September 9, 2016, a date chosen to commemorate the 1971 Attica uprising.
September 9th proved historical as over 30,000 prisoners in up to 46 facilities in 24 states took up various forms of protest from refusing to work, to hunger strikes, to prison takeovers, to disrupting operations. Outside protests took place in various cities across the U.S. in support of the prisoners.
In response to the rising voices of prisoners resisting slave labor and abusive treatment, on August 19, 2017, a March on Washington was undertaken in support of prisoners and against the 13th Amendment which, enacted at the end of the Civil War in 1865, legalized enslavement of the criminally convicted, in violation of international law written and ratified by the U.S. after World War 2, which forbids all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude.
Shaken by the protests of September 2016, in an unprecedented move states like Florida locked down their entire prison system hoping to head off any possible uprisings attending the August 19, 2017, Washington March. Florida went even further to serve its prisoners special gourmet meals during the entire four day lockdown (from August 18-21).
Despite this move Florida prisoners made an end run around officials and still undertook a strike codenamed Operation PUSH, beginning February 12, 2018, on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. PUSH involved prisoners across the state refusing to turn out for work and boycotting the prison commissary. They were protesting unpaid slave labor, price-gouging in the system’s commissary and packaging services, the gain-time scam that replaced parole, compounded by extreme overcrowding caused by extreme sentencing, causing inhumane conditions.
As Florida prison officials scrambled to replace men who refused to work with more compliant ones and transferred and carted off strike participants to solitary confinement, they falsely reported to the media that no strike and no retribution against participants occurred. An outright lie.
As one of Operation PUSH’s main outside supporters informed me in a letter during latter January 2018:
“I am receiving mail daily from prisoners all over FL who are either participating in Push or being retaliated against for having literature or correspondence with outside organizations that support the strike, such as IWOC and FTP. Some have been outright threatened with punishments if they continue to talk to us … There was only 6 weeks of planning and it was covered by 50 news outlets including Newsweek, The Nation, Teen Vogue! I think we’re off to a good start and the DOC is lying that no one is participating.”
Not only this but I can bear witness to Florida officials’ lying about there being no strike nor reprisals, because I also participated.
On the eve of the strike the warden at Florida State Prison (FSP) had me and nearly a dozen others with whom I was known to socialize split up, which we’d anticipated. This did nothing to prevent our planned boycott of the commissary for several weeks. In fact it allowed us to spread the word.
Then on January 10th the warden had me charged with a disciplinary report for inciting FL prisoners to riot, in retaliation for me writing an article explaining the strikes purpose and the prisoners’ need of public support that was published online. After a prompt kangaroo hearing and conviction of the infraction I was put in an unheated cell with a broken window as outside temperatures dipped into the 20s, and guards kept exhaust fans on 24/7 sucking the freezing air into the cell.
Yet another call went out, initiated by any NABPP’s Comrade Malik for a renewed round of strikes across the U.S. to begin on Juneteenth (June 19, 2018). As I and several dozen prisoners at Florida’s Santa Rosa prison where I was then confined prepared a commissary boycott for this strike, and undertook to build unity among the prisoners there in solitary (to counter the culture of guard-manipulated violence between them), I was abruptly interstate transferred back to my home state of Virginia and promptly assigned to a permanent solitary confinement status called Intensive Management.The Struggle Continues
But the struggle doesn’t end there. A broad call has gone out for a sustained prison strike from August 21-September 9, 2018, for prisoners across the US. Participants are called on to participate in any, several, or all of the following manners:
- Work strikes: prisoners will not report to assigned jobs. Each place of detention will determine how long its strike will last. Some of these strikes may translate into a local list of demands designed to improve conditions and reduce harm within the prison.
- Sit-ins: In certain prisons, people will engage in peaceful sit-in protests.
- Boycotts: All spending should be halted. Those outside the walls are asked to not make financial judgments for those on the inside. People on the inside will inform you if they are participating in this boycott.
- Hunger strikes: People shall refuse to eat.
The strike will raise the following 10 general demands:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned people.
- An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- The Truth in Sentencing Act and Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No humans shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
- An immediate end to the racist overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and Brown people. Black people shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and Brown people.
- No imprisoned person shall be denied access to rehabilitative programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitative services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all U.S. states and territories.
- The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
Slavery and oppressive “containment” of the marginalized and poor never ended in Amerika. The 13th Amendment was passed as a compromise to previous slave owners whereby they could continue to exploit the labor of disempowered people, but now free of the burden of paying for their upkeep. This was done at taxpayers’ expense.
This oppressive dynamic must continue to be resisted as must the inhumane and dehumanizing conditions that attend imprisonment in Amerika. It was only by resistance that the slaves of the old antebellum slave system effectively countered the lies and logic of the ruling powers of that system erected by them to justify their institutions of slavery; it was only by unifying in that resistance and sabotage and ultimately fighting for their freedom, with the support of outside allies and comrades, that the slaves of the old South destroyed the system as it was.
But it was only reformed into the system of penal slavery that it is now. So we still have much work to do until slavery in Amerika is abolished once and for all.
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
All Power to the People!
 Quoted in Stephen Whitman, “The Marion Penitentiary – It Should be Opened-Up Not Locked Down,” Southern Illinoisan, August 7, 1988, p. 25.
 Turner v Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987), basically established that if prisoner officials can invent a rational sounding justification for violating a prisoner’s established constitutional rights the courts will allow them to act illegally.
 The “PCRA” is a federal law passed by Congress that makes it difficult for prisoners to sue in federal courts and get meaningful relief when they do. Many states have adopted similar laws.
 See, In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160 (1890).
 See, Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
 “How to Organize A Prison Strike,” Pacific Standard (May 7, 2018) https://psmag.com/social-justice/how-to-organize-a-prison-strike
Only a few weeks into his time as Premier, Doug Ford has already moved on a key promise he made to social conservatives while securing the Progressive Conservative party’s leadership nomination. By canceling the sexual education reform and restoring the 1998 curriculum, Ford has provoked some significant popular anger. This is interesting because the level that people feel impacted by this is much more than at other moments around the same issue, for instance, in 2010 when Dalton McGuinty’s government proposed and then withdrew a very similar reform, or in 2015 during consultations by the Wynne government to write the new curriculum
In large part, this can be explained by Ford’s hateable face, but also by his willingness to hand wins to the religious right. That he is emboldening and bringing in the same groups that push an anti-queer and anti-women agenda more broadly makes this a much larger threat than just an issue of curriculum.
In this short text, I want to pose a couple of questions for us as we move ahead on this issue: what are the possibilities of a grassroots response? Is canceling the reform actually going to change anything? And how can we think about the groups behind the campaign that led to the cancellation? (For details about the reform and its cancellation, see links at the end)
There were already queers, radicals, and feminists organizing to plug into the sex-ed portion of the school curriculum. This wasn’t a mass effort, but there has been for a long time a constellation of volunteer and not-for-profit groups that support teachers in providing quality sex-ed content or talking about consent or LGBTq issues in schools. It sounds like many people are seeing the value and urgency of this work now and are trying to organize themselves to either get into classrooms or provide after-school programming or printed resources.
This is direct action and it’s a very positive step. However, the scale of the problem is very large and its unlikely that decentralized groups focused on service provision will be able to make a dent. In Ontario, there are 125,000 teachers working in almost 5000 schools with a budget of 23 billion dollars.
The Liberals and NDP (and their supporters) will point to this problem of scale when arguing that the only answer is to support them, in the Canadian tradition of social progress coming from the top. However, we can understand the problem differently and ask if we really accept a situation where the state has almost total authority to decide what children learn and how.
There is a lot that has been written in critiquing the mainstream, state-centric education model: that it is most concerned with authority and obedience, that it is homogenizing, that it seeks to make docile workers rather than well-rounded individuals, that it reproduces class society, that it is a key tool in cultural hegemony, that it breaks apart other forms of community and rebuilds us as a mass… This might be a moment to dream a bit bigger than just a pressure campaign about curriculum.
At times, there have been very interesting FreeSkools in Ontario, providing free (like freedom) and decentralized education, mostly aimed at adults. Like in many places, there are also large networks of parents unschooling or homeschooling their kids in response to critiques like those described above. Are there skills, tools, and analyses in these experiences that could be brought to bear alongside the specifically sex-ed work comrades have been doing that could provide a vision for what taking grassroots control over school, schooling, and education can be?
It’s also possible that the issue of sex-ed in schools is being overstated. Social movements in Ontario have very little autonomy from political parties and unions, which can make it hard to tell when an issue is actually critical and when its just being mobilized as a partisan wedge. After all, the new curriculum never came into effect, so Ford’s cancellation of the reform is a status-quo move. Definitely, there was real reason to be excited about the changes and having a provincial government that caters to reactionaries is a cause for concern. But materially, the situation around sex-ed is the same as last year.
When I went through school, I started under the sex-ed curriculum that the 1998 one replaced: I got an explanation of what kinds of touching might be inappropriate in grade 3, the full anatomy lesson and where babies come from in grade 4, and discussion of puberty in vague terms in grade 6. In high school however, ostensibly under the 1998 curriculum, my whole school, in the public board, got abstinence-only education, anatomy that talked about the skeletal and muscular systems but not ovaries and testicles, and the only discussion of sex or dating was when the gym teacher put on a film about hockey bros hooking up with girls in Alaska.
All that to say that if teachers in my high school could fall so far short of the 1998 guidelines, then probably there were other teachers already exceeding it and teaching about how some people are gay, gender is complicated, consent is a thing, and that sex can be fun. And very likely individual teachers still are able to do so if they feel that they can get away with it and have the supports they need.
One aspect of this that’s particularly interesting is the composition of the movement against the sex-ed reforms. Although the movement is heavily and explicitly Christian, there is large and visible participation by conservative Muslims. Their campaign against the sex-ed reform has been ongoing since 2010 – it’s worth asking how much this multicultural alliance of religious reactionaries has been a factor in the far-right’s failure to import the kind of anti-Muslim organizing that has occurred in Quebec.
The only people involved in the anti sex-ed campaign in my life are Muslims and both of them were already pulling their kids out of the sex-ed classes under the old curriculum, as were some religious Christians (who also gravitated towards religious private schools). What do they gain by restoring a curriculum they were already boycotting?
Perhaps this campaign, through its truly shocking levels of dishonesty, managed to present the sex-ed reforms as so radical that families who had not objected to the old curriculum now do. The biggest wedge issue here is homosexuality – the movement against the reform is unapologeticaly homophobic, and much of their discourse claims that the curriculum is teaching children to enjoy anal sex. Certainly public acceptance of non-hetero couples has increased a lot in the past 20 years, so perhaps this is something of a last stand for social conservatives on this issue.
Understanding the composition and goals of the conservative religious movement that coalesced around sex-ed is important, especially if the coalition manages to hold together and turn its sights on other issues – are we likely to start seeing protests outside of abortion clinics again, which were banned under a year ago by the Wynne government? How about the protests that attempted to disrupt Pride events across South-western Ontario? Are they a continuation of the hundreds of rallies against the sex-ed curriculum? Some of those big signs about sodomy look pretty familiar…
Handing a win to this coalition of religious assholes is probably the biggest aspect of the cancellation. Finding ways to target and disrupt the groups behind the campaign will be important if Ford really does go ahead with fresh consultations and the drafting of a new curriculum.
The Doug Ford era is just getting started. Rather than rushing into each issue with urgency, it’s a good time to go slow and take stock of where we stand. The kinds of organizing that shut down the province against Mike Harris twenty years ago are a distant memory, so if we’re going to get ourselves in a position to actually stop anything Ford wants to do, we’re going to have to put time into building networks and deepening our analysis. Finding direct action responses to the sex-ed cancellation that go beyond service provision and that are independent of partisan politics is a great starting point. Turning up the heat on the religious right is another. But the opening shots are fired and we’ve got four years to go.
The post Avalon, PA: Neo-Nazi Group Linked to Republican Party Attacks Black Man at Bar appeared first on It's Going Down.Report from Philly Antifa about a recent racist attack carried out by the Keystone State Skinheads/United, who includes a member which is active within the local Republican Party.
Coming a few weeks after holding a picnic in the area, Keystone United members were cited by police (but tellingly not arrested or charged) following an unprovoked attack on a regular patron of the Jackman Inn in Avalon PA on July 7th.
According to a local news report:
“An alleged neo-Nazi group is being accused of targeting an African American customer, assaulting him and using racial slurs against him at the Jackman Inn…
It happened when the victim, patron Paul Morris, walked into a backroom where a group of men were playing pool. The men allegedly used a racial epithet against the victim.
Police say the group of men may have been from Keystone United, which they describe as a racist neo-Nazi group formerly known as the Keystone State Skinheads…
when the bartender asked the group to leave, they attacked Morris…
‘Eight of them jumped Paul,’ (the bar manager) said. ‘He was hit in the face. He bent down to pick up his glasses. He was hit again’…
Morris is now California, but KDKA’s Andy Sheehan spoke with him on the phone. He says one member who called him the n-word said his group would eradicate blacks one-by-one, and then he attacked.
‘They attacked me because they had hate in their hearts. I didn’t do anything to these people,’ Morris said.
Avalon Police detained some members of the group, but did not charge them. Avalon Police Chief Thomas Kokoski said he believes they will be charged, but the incident is still under investigation….
The incident happened on July 7, and Morris’s lawyer, Fred Rabner, questions why no arrests have been made, saying they should be charged, not only with assault but with ethnic intimidation.
‘This is a hate crime, there’s no doubt about it,’ said Rabner. “
Fortunately, Morris received no serious injuries, nor did the bar employee, who was also attacked when they intervened.
It is unknown which KSS members were involved in the attack, but the event is not dissimilar from an attack on a black man by 3 KSS members in Scranton, PA back in 2003, one of whom was Luzerne County republican committeeman and co-founder of KSS Steve Smith.Steve Smith is a longtime Neo-Nazi. He is a former Klansman, co-founder of KSS and Luzerne county republican committeeman.
Smith was in attendance at the KSS picnic in the area at the end of May, but it is unknown if he was involved in the attack on the 7th.
We could go on forever about state/cop bias in favor of white supremacists (and white people in general), for example, participating in an Anti-Racist march where some windows got broken can get you arrested and looking at 70 years while attacking 2 people during a hate crime gets you cited with no charges. Or we could belabor that those who equate Antifa with Nazis, or claim we have “Anti-White Bias” would be hard pressed to find an incident where Antifa randomly attack a white man for his race when he comes into a bar to deliver a thank you note to one of the employees, but we won’t.
This was a horrific attack that could have ended in much more serious injury or even death, as attacks by KSS members have in the past. We are glad Mr. Morris and the bar employee escaped serious injury.
Keystone United/KSS have been a blight on PA for too long. If we can hope for any silver lining to this attack, it is that people in this state will start taking the threat they represent seriously again, and that the years of PR spin KSS has employed to try and convince people that their “old days” of randomly attacking People of Color, Queers and Anti-Racists were behind them in favor of “positive white activism” have been debunked.
Anyone with information about this attack, specifically which KSS members were involved, should contact us. We plan to identify those involved and release their names, which is more than the state could be counted on. No one should be able to commit a racist assault on Saturday and go back to anonymity on Sunday.
Time to shut these fucks down. More to come.
The post Beyond Occupation: Thoughts on the Current #OccupyICEPHL and Moving Forward to #EndPARS appeared first on It's Going Down.Friendly Fire Collective offers up some thoughts and critiques on the ongoing occupation in Philadelphia. This article was originally published on Philly Anti-Capitalist.
We are two weeks into #OccupyICEPHL. We have ceased occupying the ICE offices since July 5 and the current encampment at City Hall has lost a lot of its original momentum. The Left in Philly united on July 2nd for the original occupation, but it has been fractured by burnout and internal conflicts. A lot of us are wondering, how did we get here and how do we move forward?The Encampment at City Hall
After the camp was dismantled on July 5th by homeland security and Philly cops, a meeting took place in the evening. Hundreds gathered, sharing reflections and potential strategies for moving forward so that we could effectively pressure Mayor Kenney to not renew the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) contract, which allows ICE access to the PPD’s database.
Following the meeting, an autonomous group decided that one strategy in continuing the fight was to begin a camp at City Hall in order to be a confrontational presence for city officials, and to educate the public about both PARS and ICE. Within minutes, they set up at City Hall, bringing yoga mats, signs, umbrellas, chairs, and food.
Picking up on the momentum of the previous camp, many came around to provide support. The camp was quickly built up with a medic and food storage tent, as well as a table of leftist literature, including flyers on both #EndPARS and #AbolishICE. Participants were flyering; workshops and teach-ins happened throughout the day; food and water and other supplies were consistently being dropped off; chants were constant; and general assemblies were held twice a day (and they still are).
That being said, within the past week, the energy at the camp has been fizzling out. I was at the camp this morning and counted around 15 present.
Skepticism of the New Camp
A number of leftists in Philadelphia have expressed skepticism of the camp.
This is fair.
More than half of those present at most general assemblies are white, and a majority of the principal organizers are white. Whiteness is a destructive force for all, with material consequences for those that cannot access its privileges. For those who are white or can access whiteness, it hinders empathy and results in moral deterioration to those who reap benefits from whiteness. We need to see and combat the way whiteness operates among us, making it a priority to center the needs and the voices of POC. In my experience, this is a constant struggle in leftist spaces, and in this sense the encampment is not unique.
It seems that a major reason why people have either backed away or have chosen not to support this camp is because they see the occupation as ineffective and believe greater action is needed. What should be noted is that this camp began with this in mind. A diversity of tactics is sorely needed and this camp was never envisioned as THE tactic for all to take. This camp was started to agitate at City Hall as part of a larger project which would include the continuing work of the original #OccupyICEPHL coalition as well as autonomous actions.
There is also skepticism because of the camp’s independence from the original coalition. Those in the camp desire to work alongside the coalition but are intentionally not bound to the coalition, structured so that those on the ground and actively involved decide the direction of the camp.
Some skepticism feels neither political nor strategic, but personal.
Infighting among leftists has been present throughout the whole occupation, even prior to the new camp. The first night of the occupation included coalition organizers squabbling with a few anarchists of a more illegalist, insurrectionist tendency. This was aired out very publicly through a zine that was published online and passed out at the final assembly at the previous occupation.
Tensions between those of a more anarchist orientation and those of a more Marxist orientation were heightened.
Some smaller orgs, especially those with a more autonomous bent, have expressed that they felt unheard and even shut down by the larger coalition.
A skepticism of anarchist organizers continues, leading some to view the new encampment as an anarchist project. Though the organization of the new camp is more horizontal, it is not solely anarchist-organized. Such thinking dismisses those houseless folks who are actively flyering, chanting, and keeping the camp smoothly operating – that do not identify as anarchists – as well as the presence of Marxists.
Again, I think some of this skepticism is a projection of people’s personal issues with specific organizers.
The stress of the original occupation, where participants were constantly surrounded by cops and federal officers, exacerbated disagreements among organizers. I cannot blame individuals for withholding their support because of being made to feel unsafe by certain organizers, but it would be strategically unwise to fully dismiss this camp because of that.
In the past week hundreds have come together to publicly agitate at City Hall. This camp is not meant to last forever, but it would be wise to not let it sputter and die out on such a sour note in such a public space. The forces-that-be want our inactivity and burnout so that the PARS contract can be renewed without a fight.
This occupation ending in such a way will reflect badly on all of us, and even more importantly, could hinder and even sabotage the campaign to #EndPARS.
Last week, running off the energy of the first encampment, the camp became a base for activity.
Occupiers were constantly talking to those passing by, providing information on the PARS contract and getting folks to sign the petition put out by Juntos. Media and public attention on the camp highlighted the PARS contract. Mayor Kenney and other officials were flooded with phone calls.
This base is limited, as action-planning cannot occur in such a public space. That said, it has been a space for educating, connecting organizers and people of good conscience, and most importantly, a very public way of getting Kenney’s attention.
I don’t think as much energy needs to be put into this project as the first encampment, but I think it is worth actively supporting this camp in order to strengthen our message. If more people were out on the ground, more people could take shifts. The burden of this camp would not remain on the same 20-30 people, many of which have slept in their own beds only a handful of times since the original occupation.
But, again, we need to do more.
We need to continue calling city officials, handing out flyers, flooding social media with information on PARS; but we also need to begin agitating with more creativity. Perhaps also at other strategic locations – maybe not to the point of occupation, but at least picketing. We need to be creative in finding ways to get our message out to the public and to our so-called “leaders” as well as hinder ICE operations. We cannot afford to waste time on infighting. We cannot lose sight of the goal, and therefore we must not lose sight of our current moment. Upset over ICE continues, despite the media trying to move on. The time is ripe. We must act.
In Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital, John Restakis, a veteran of the Canadian co-op movement, argues for increasing the role of co-operatives and economic democracy, without suggesting that they are a panacea.
Restakis’ argument is firmly grounded in a critique of corporate capitalism; the 2007-2008 financial crisis still loomed very large when the book was published. But Restakis is also highly critical of the disastrous and dehumanizing effects of authoritarian systems with centralized, planned economies.
Go to the GEO front page
Together, these 15 people are Open Data Services. They have no office, no base, no hierarchy… but it is no problem. It is a co-operative of workers and in just three years the number of owners has almost quadrupled in size while annual turnover has leapt from £250,000 to in excess of £800,000. The four founders opted to set out as equal owners, with an equal say and equal share of profits. And as the co-operative has grown it has remained true to its original values and ethos.
Open Data Services co-founder Steven Flower said: “It was always in our minds, in our designs to grow and we needed people to make that happen. Programmers need to work with other programmers. And we wanted to use being a co-op as a way to attract people who share our values.”
Go to the GEO front page
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked …
— Bob Dylan
“I’m here today to continue the proud tradition of bold American diplomacy,” said Donald Trump at the outset of his July 16 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. It went downhill rapidly from there.
“Proud” is not the word being bandied about in most corners of the United States today. “Mortified” and “Terrified” would be closer to the mark. In the roiling aftermath of Trump’s performance with Putin in Finland, the people of this country — especially the ones who supported Trump — have come face to face yet again with the horror of this thing we have unleashed upon ourselves.
In the weeks ahead, much will hinge on the manner in which ardent Trump voters respond to what went down yesterday, and by proxy, how the politicians who represent them likewise respond.
“America First,” goes the Trumpian refrain on an endless loop (even as Trump’s daughter deals in Chinese goods and his resorts seek underpaid immigrant labor). It’s a nationalist rallying cry that never fails to whip the president’s supporters into a froth at his virtually fact-free rallies.
Was that “America First” on display yesterday? I know Trump supporters have been led to believe the FBI is nothing more than a giant hive of anti-Trump activity, but really, just how deep does this so-called “Deep State” conspiracy go? Is the CIA in on it, too, and the NSA, and the other intelligence branches, and the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, and the White House director of national intelligence, and a busload of Republican members of congress … all of them are in on it and out to get Trump?
That’s pretty goddamn deep. Occam’s Razor tells us the simplest explanation is almost always the correct one. Apply the Razor to what went down in Helsinki, and the simplest explanation does not involve some Byzantine pan-dimensional plot to make Donald Trump look bad. Rather, we have the fairly straightforward tale of a failed real estate mogul who has owed his financial well-being to shady Russian financiers since long before he decided to run for president. They did their part to get him elected in 2016, and now the bill is coming due.
On that bill: Trash every Western alliance and trade deal Trump can get his hands on, destabilize NATO, praise his Russian friends to the skies, and as soon as possible, get rid of those darned sanctions. If you think this sounds farfetched, you didn’t see what happened in Helsinki. Donald Trump was not the president of the United States yesterday. He was, by all appearances and according to an ever-increasing pile of evidence, an asset sitting with his handler.
Even the folks at Fox News could not stomach what they saw. Neil Cavuto called Trump’s behavior “disgusting,” Trish Regan called it “horrible,” Brit Hume called him “lame,” and Stuart Varney along with several other notable Fox personalities could only agree. Putin “outmaneuvered our president” Ashley Webster said. Abby Huntsman, when confronted with the argument that it was all a negotiation tactic, said, “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”
That, right there, is the canary in the coal mine. If Trump can’t get Fox to cover for him, he is well and truly way out there in the blue.Even the folks at Fox News could not stomach what they saw.
Speaking of damage, here’s some more to contemplate: Because Donald Trump does not want to be indicted for a variety of serious crimes, he has rearranged reality in a way that has left many liberals and progressives expected to view the US intelligence community — specifically the elements empowered to investigate Trump — as a clutch of wounded victims, beleaguered “good guys” just trying to do their jobs under brutally unfair circumstances.
Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t want to work for a Trump-run government, either, but for the luvva crumbcake, really? The US intelligence community — by and large, foreign and domestic — is among the most dangerous, lawless collections of humanity ever assembled. Trump is a preposterous menace, but the FBI wrote the book on crushing civil liberties, the CIA topples governments and the NSA has your phone number. The idea that they are what passes for the “good guys” these days means we, too, are way out there in the blue.
And then there’s this. Please read the following out loud to give it the full force and effect it requires:
Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press: My first question for you, sir, is who do you believe? My second question is would you now with the whole world watching tell President Putin — would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?
Trump: So let me just say that we have two thoughts. You have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven’t they taken the server? Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying?
Every one of those words is English. I understand them all individually. Strung together and heavily seasoned with the bent spices of far-right conspiracy kitchens where nonsense is prepped and served in ample portions, what we have is simply gibberish. God only knows what Trump said in private with Putin. If the Russians recorded their conversation, not an unlikely possibility, one can only imagine the blackmail material they have now … especially if Trump is as guilty as he looked on Monday in Helsinki.
If the Russians have audio of Trump admitting in any way to knowledge of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the “Pee Tape” will be left in deep shade. He has gotten away with being unspeakably gross ten dozen times by now. A digital recording of treason, however, might actually be enough to motivate the Republicans in Congress to actually act.
Republican Senator John McCain led the GOP pushback against Trump’s Finland calamity with a blunt and brutal assessment: “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
McCain’s critique is all well and good, but in truth he is also deeply responsible for this mess: He paved the way for a Trump presidency by elevating Sarah Palin to national prominence, an act that introduced the US to the idea that a wholly unqualified right-wing noise machine could actually run the country. He should now sit back and own this mess right alongside enablers like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
The GOP has been slow-cooking this Trump stew for 40 years and now they’re suddenly shocked (shocked!) to find the meat rancid and the vegetables rotten. It must be difficult to shave if you can’t look in the mirror, but then again, that suggests a sense of shame. They left that behind a long time ago.
Republicans in Congress have hauled enough water for Donald Trump to topple the Hoover Dam. Now, they have a decision to make, and we are all going to find out what kind of country this is very soon. Silence is acceptance, obedience is surrender, and time is growing mortally short.
The post Even Fox Commentators Agree: Putin’s Helsinki Hustle Humiliated Trump appeared first on Truthout.
The post Seven Reasons Anarchists Should Go All Out for August 21st appeared first on It's Going Down.An analysis on the importance and need for anarchists, anti-authoritarians and autonomists to get behind and support the upcoming #PrisonStrike.
Earlier this year, prisoners in South Carolina announced a call for a national strike, to begin on August 21st, the anniversary of the revolutionary prisoner George Jackson, and continue until September 9th, the anniversary of the Attica Uprising.
It goes without saying that, as anarchists, we are collectively invested in promoting, generalizing, and showing solidarity with these prisoners’ efforts. As a movement that has recently faced heightened repression, from the J20 prosecution to proposed “anti-antifa” legislation, that knows the feeling of visiting friends and family behind bars and has our own historic legacies of resistance on the inside, we directly identify with these prisoners’ struggles. We don’t just hate prosecutors, judges, wardens, and COs philosophically, we hate them personally.
But there’s more to it than that. In the midst of a busy August that will see continued (and necessary!) efforts to disrupt ICE, stop pipelines, dismantle the police, and stop the Alt-Right, here are seven reasons we particularly want to urge our comrades across North America to step up their game for August 21st.
- The April 15th massacre at Lee Correctional in South Carolina, which (partly) prompted the call for the strike, was the most violent prison riot that the US has seen in years. Prisons across the country are slashing their budgets and cutting down on staff, limiting the resources that prisoners have and creating situations that are ripe for internally directed violence. Now, as Trump is flooding federal prisons with immigration detainees, the already overcrowded prisons are becoming powder kegs. This strike initiative can set a precedent of solidarity, mutual aid, and collective struggle among prisoners and gangs within the system, as opposed to the brutal, state-engineered competition over diminishing resources. Collective resistance may be the only alternative to prisoner-on-prisoner violence.
- The September 9, 2016 national strike was an incredible success. Two years ago an unprecedented, nationally coordinated, prisoner-led protest hit around 26 facilities, resulting in marches, sit-ins, mass labor withdrawal that forced administrations to bring in scabs, riots that destroyed prison infrastructure, and more. To our knowledge, never before has a prison protest been pre-planned and coordinated over so many US facilities. Despite retaliation, administrations met many prisoners’ more immediate demands shortly thereafter. The concept of “prison slavery”, the loophole of the 13th amendment, and the uncompromising voices of radical prisoners forced their way into living rooms across the country. Prisoners found that they could be powerful, and that they had support on the outside. Anarchist organizing on both sides of the wall was key to this, spreading the word about the strike and facilitating prisoner organizing with conference calls, mailings, and more.
- We’re much stronger now than we were then. Anarchists in North America have been busy the last two years. Our participation in anti-pipeline struggles has spread from North Dakota to a whole range of different camps across the US and Canada. Local assemblies exploded in size after Trump’s election. Though they still exist, we’ve largely pushed the Alt-Right off the streets and back into their chat-rooms and basements. Tenant organizing in many cities has taken off. We’ve soundly beaten the prosecution in one of the largest group political felony trials in American history with decentralized coordination, robust solidarity, and an absolute refusal to snitch. The various kinds of anti-prison agitation and infrastructure we had in 2016 have grown and matured. More broadly, social movements have started to find their courage. For reasons both practical and philosophical, it feels like more people are willing to concede the anarchist position that there is no “political” solution to the disaster that is this world.
- Prisoners have already been throwing down, and are pledging their participation for August. This spring and summer there has already been a wave of small to medium-sized rebellions at US prisons. In January, Florida prisoners organized Operation PUSH across seven different facilities, forcing admins to lockdown prisons across the state. Following the massacre at Lee Correctional, there was a work stoppage at the famous Angola prison in Louisiana in early May, in which prisoners vowed to participate in the national strike in August. Less than a week later, prisoners at the Crossroads facility in Missouri staged a peaceful sit-in. After their demands were ignored, they hot-wired several forklifts and used them to enter and destroy the food area, kitchen, and a manufacturing facility. These prisoners directly mentioned the national strike as well. Then on July 4th, prisoners in Tipton, MO had their own sit-in, and ultimately rendered a housing unit uninhabitable by smashing windows, walls, and furniture. Just this week, a prisoner in North Carolina’s Lanesboro CI announced a call for NC prisoners to join the national strike with “Operation POW.”
- It’s time to go on the offensive. Whether it’s occupying airports over the travel ban, de-platforming the far-Right, defending our friends from legal prosecution and Grand Juries, or occupying ICE over family separations, many of the more spectacular, and often successful, struggles we’ve put our collective weight behind in the last couple of years have had to be reactionary in nature. But this strike is not a reaction to a new state-driven policy or some media-sensationalized act of Trump putting his racist foot in his racist mouth. As a force that directly and fundamentally has the power to subvert the dominion of 21st century state, capital, and whiteness, prisoners are proactively testing the waters of their own power. We are a part of that power, not as allies, but as accomplices who recognize with our actions that prison increasingly has no walls, that both the border and the correctional facility permeate all aspects of daily life. We’ve been on the defense. Let’s go on the attack.
- The recent wave of occupations of and encampments at immigrant detention centers were also an attack on prisons that made large sectors of society newly familiar with a relevant tactic. As one former detainee made clear at a recent anti-prison conference in Pittsburgh, “all detention centers are prisons.” Prisoners in SC have specifically expressed their solidarity with the occupations and with immigrants detained by ICE, and articulate their strike as a related struggle. There is no reason why a wave of encampments and barricades couldn’t also appear at jails and prisons across the country on (or before) August 21st, preventing guards’ shift changes as well as the busing in of scabs to replace prisoners’ labor. Likewise, there’s no reason this strike shouldn’t result in a renewed wave of attention and interest in already existing #OccupyICE encampments.
- The Left is badly positioned to co-opt or capture this struggle. Unlike certain Democrats’ cleverly timed (albeit completely meaningless) call to “abolish ICE”, or non-profits’ strategic positioning to capture the struggle against the Alt-Right and Trump, the institutionalized Left has very little organizational presence in the anti-prison movement on either side of the walls. The few reform-oriented groups that do exist desperately avoid engaging with prisoner-led actions, preferring to instead do little more than plead, “See, we told you so” to the authorities once the smoke and dust from the riots clear.
This is in direct contrast to anarchists’ involvement in this movement, which has grown tremendously in the past 5 years and directly emphasizes prisoners’ own initiatives. Our infrastructure here is broad: it includes dozens of newsletters with prisoner-generated content, an array of podcasts and websites, prisoner reading groups, constant noise demos and call-in days, books-through-bars programs, commissary warchest funds, legal advocacy, radio shows, hundreds of prisoner members of the IWOC, and the largely invisible but constant personal relationships developed through one-on-one correspondence, visitation, and support. Some of this is done by large, publicly facing organizations like IWOC and Anarchist Black Cross; a lot is done by the myriad of smaller collectives and affinity groups coordinating with each other across regions. All of it will matter this August.
It hopefully goes without saying that this is not a declaration of priority or hierarchical importance; we are not attempting to raise this strike above other struggles or ask our comrades to set down their other work in favor of this singular moment. This strike will not be a momentary rupture but rather a period of heightened conflict in an ongoing social war, of which prisons and jails are simply one battlefield. But for the reasons laid out, we think it is particularly important to pull out all the stops in August, and not accidentally treat this as one more 24-hour, attention-grabbing news headline, after which a new series of crises and “holy shit 2018 is crazy” moments take over.
We are in this for the long haul, and our approach is multi-faceted and increasingly expansive. Because of this country’s history of chattel slavery and anti-blackness, and because prisons and jails are what they are, revolt against these institutions necessarily aligns with and heightens other struggles, even as it exposes the most brutal and contradictory elements of society at large. We have a world to destroy, and our freedom to win.
TLDR = August is gonna be lit,
Until every cage is empty,
The post Report from 2018 July National Conference of Bangladesh Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation appeared first on It's Going Down.The following report details a recent conference held by our comrades in Bangladesh and details ways to support anarchist organizing there.
The Bangladesh Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation (BASF) held a conference in Sylhet, Bangladesh on 8 July 2018. The federation’s secretariat organized the conference. About half of the participating delegates were women, and the other half were men. International Workers’ Association (IWA) liaison Laury Akhi was present as a special facilitator and main guest.
In the meeting, workers’ delegates said that the concept of “anarcho-syndicalism” is absolutely new in Bangladesh. Up to now, there has been a totalitarian labor movement as part of the outrageous, authoritarian politics here. The labor movement has done some positive work, but in general, it has produced a class of people who use their class privileges and resources for their own interests. In some cases, people in the political sphere who are not a part of the working classes enjoy their privileges and benefits that are possible due to the subjugation of our class.
Politicians use the working classes to satisfy the needs of political parties and not for working-class emancipation. The laboring classes are currently dependent on the whims of politicians. The attending delegates said that in order to strengthen the true labor movement, the existing revolutionary workers’ associations would have to create free labor organizations in their own workplaces. The conference’s special guest, IWA liaison Laury Akhi gave an overview of the international workers’ movement and its struggles, with insights of the struggle in Poland. She said that the people of the laboring classes are the creators of all human civilization, but they have been victims of oppression, exploitation and various deprivations throughout the ages. Farm workers produce food while they do not get food; clothing workers make clothes, but they do not have the clothing they need; workers build cars and roads and are the basis of civilization, but they do not have respect nor status in present society. Laury Akhi said that after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the laboring class hoped that their fate would change. But under the Bolshevik’s “revolutionary” politics, the old, oppressive social system was replaced with a new oppression.
The Communist Party replaced the czar. The legitimacy of the State was the ruling idea. And this manifested in a strict authoritarianism, a state patriarchism that was imposed on all the people, including peasant and workers. The country became a prison in the name of socialism. As a result, people built up resistance against the oppressors. But the Communist Party ruthlessly suppressed dissidents and protests. Many people were killed in Russia. Mass murders and disappearances were part of daily life. To the delegates’ agreement, Laury Akhi insisted that the anarchist movement’s trend in Bangladesh must not be authoritarian or cadre-based socialism. Rather, common people must freely participate in independent associations, federations, and confederations. The most effective work will be to create workers’ organizations in every sphere of production.
Farmers’ and workers’ association will be formed in the factory and fields. Similarly, news staff, shopping malls and other services and organizations will be formed in those areas. Each organization will then be able to maintain and protect their own self-interests by voluntarily forming federations with one another. The development of anarchist society will accelerate through federations.
AKM Shihab (basfsylhet [at] gmail.com)
We implore you to help develop the anarchist struggle in Bangladesh by donating money through their new website. Even small amounts of money in western currencies will go a long way in helping develop workers’ centers, education, strike funds, co-ops, and poverty relief. Donate here.
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