Prisoners Call for a National Strike September 9 on the Anniversary of Attica Rebellion

http://www.maskmagazine.com/the-toxic-issue/struggle/national-prison-strike-on-attica-anniversary

In Alabama and Texas, prisoners have enacted multiple strikes and uprisings over the last few weeks. Now they are calling for a national prison strike on the anniversary of the Attica Prison rebellion.

More info: http://peoplespowerassemblies.org/sept-9-2016-nationwide-prisoner-action/

Black Women’s Wages

http://portside.org/2016-08-29/black-women%e2%80%99s-wages

However, as the gender wage gap narrowed during the 1980s and early 1990s, the racial pay gap between white and black women grew. By 2015, white women’s wages had grown to 77 percent of white men’s, compared to 66 percent for black women relative to white men—a racial difference of 11 percentage points. The trend is going the wrong way—progress is slowing for black women.

The date behind this figure is from an upcoming report by Valerie Wilson and William Rodgers, which will be released in September.

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Rasmea’s prosecutors deny the horror of torture; Judge Drain accepts their argument

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Rasmea Odeh, a survivor of vicious torture at the hands of the Israeli military, will be compelled to undergo hours of psychological evaluation by a government forensic examiner, according to a ruling by Federal Judge Gershwin Drain.  Drain cancelled a September 22 hearing on the matter in Detroit, where supporters from across the Midwest had planned to join Rasmea.

The 69-year-old Rasmea is a legend in the Palestine national movement. In Drain’s courtroom in 2014, she was convicted of a politically-motivated immigration charge, and in 2015, sentenced to 18 months in prison and deportation. Rasmea appealed the decision, arguing that Drain had denied her defense the right to make its case.

In February of this year, in a major legal victory, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Drain was wrong when he refused to allow defense attorneys to present evidence that Rasmea suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The PTSD caused her to misunderstand the questions about the unlawful conviction and imprisonment she suffered under the Israeli occupation. At the trial, Rasmea was not allowed to tell the story of Israel forcing her to falsely confess to alleged bombings in 1969, when she endured over three weeks of brutal sexual, physical, and psychological torture at the hands of the Israeli military.

The appeals court sent the case back to Drain for an evidentiary Daubert hearing, where the government will challenge the validity and admissibility of testimony by torture expert and clinical psychologist, Dr. Mary Fabri.  With Drain’s latest decision, issued yesterday, Rasmea will be subjected to as many as six sessions (up to 18 hours) of interrogation by a government expert seeking to support its claim that Fabri’s testimony should still be excluded.

By forcing Rasmea to meet with a government expert whose job it is to discredit her, she faces the real possibility of being re-traumatized by the horrible experiences of her torture. The government is clearly using legal maneuvers to convolute a medical diagnosis by a world-renowned mental health professional, and Drain is allowing it.

In his decision, Drain rejected the defense argument that it is harmful to Rasmea’s mental health to be forced to repeatedly discuss the rape and torture she suffered.  He sided with the prosecution, claiming that Rasmea had discussed the torture on “numerous occasions” … “in the media and elsewhere.”

Lead defense attorney Michael Deutsch responded today: “That is just not true.  While Rasmea has become the most famous target of a political trial in the U.S. today, she has always avoided discussion of the crimes committed against her in that Israeli prison in 1969. The government case against Rasmea is based on the word of her Israeli captors, and yet at every turn, Judge Drain has denied her defense the right to challenge those statements in his courtroom. Once again, his latest decision favors the prosecution’s endless attempts to cover up the crimes of Israel against Rasmea.”

The hearing on the challenge to Fabri’s expert testimony is set for November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Rasmea’s supporters are already making plans to stand with her in Detroit that day, and they continue to educate the public on Israel’s crimes and this specific case, as well as raise money for the defense.

http://www.stopfbi.net/

Milwaukee, September 16: Black/Revolutionary/Socialist: Community Conversation with Monica Moorehead, Presidential Candidate for Workers World Party

Community Conversation with Monica Moorehead, Presidential Candidate for Workers World Party

Friday, September 16. 6:30 – 8:30 P.M. 3020 W Vliet Street, Milwaukee at the African American Women’s Center (Former Carpenter’s union hall). Free and open to the public.

Monica Moorehead has been an activist and organizer for more than four decades. Moorehead has long been a supporter of people’s struggles in Wisconsin including the 2011 people’s occupation of the state capitol in Madison to fight for union rights, the struggle for justice for Tony Robinson and Dontre Hamilton and others killed by cops, joining protests against the right-wing Bradley Foundation, supporting the latest Milwaukee rebellion by Black youth and defending Black Lives Matter organizations such as the Coalition For Justice and Young Gifted and Black. Moorehead and her Vice Presidential candidate Lamont Lilly are on the 2016 presidential ballot in Wisconsin.

A member of Workers World Party since 1975, Moorehead now sits on the Party’s national secretariat and is a managing editor of Workers World newspaper. She was WWP’s candidate for president of the United States in 1996 and 2000; in 1996 and 2016 she sought the nomination of the Peace & Freedom Party in California.

Born in Alabama during segregation, Moorehead became politically active as a teenager in Hampton, Va., distributing the Black Panther Party newspaper. She was banned from her high school band for refusing to play the racist song “Dixie.” A graduate of Hampton Institute [now University], Moorehead is a former kindergarten teacher.

She is a founding member of Millions for Mumia of the International Action Center—an anti-death-penalty project—and she co-chaired the historic May 7, 2000 rally of 6,000 people in Madison Square Garden Theater demanding freedom for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Moorehead has written extensively on the prison-industrial complex and anti-racist issues. She co-authored “Mumia Speaks– An Interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal.” She wrote the pamphlet “South Africa—Which Road to Liberation?” and the essay “What Is a Nation?” in the book “A Voice from Harper’s Ferry.” She edited the 2007 book “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle.”

She is a co-coordinator of the International Working Women’s Day Coalition in New York City. She is also an executive board member of the International Women’s Alliance—a global network of women organizers and women’s organizations that fight imperialism, racism, sexism and all forms of oppression.

Moorehead has represented Workers World Party on many international solidarity trips including South Africa, Iraq, Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, South Korea, France the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and the U.S. internal colonies of Puerto Rico and Hawai’i. From the movements against racism, police killings and mass incarceration; to the struggle against imperialist war and neocolonialism; to solidarity with Cuba, Palestine, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, the DPRK, and all peoples struggling for self-determination and sovereignty; to the struggles for women’s and LGBTQ liberation; to battles for union rights, disability rights, environmental justice—from local struggles to international movements, Monica Moorehead has devoted her entire life to the great cause of building a better world.

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Milwaukee, September 1: Community Call to Action re: the Public Safety Action Plan

Community Call to Action re: the Public Safety Action Plan

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
Zora Neal Hurston

Common Council’s Public Safety Action Plan is No Starting Point as Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton Stated
UBLAC’s Community Call to Action this Thursday at the 9 a.m. Common Council Meeting

This speaks truth to power and in many ways is a call to action. Similar to the Milwaukee Common Council’s Safety Action Plan. The draft report of the safety plan was scheduled for release at 4 p.m. Monday, August 21st. This release did not take place. Instead the plan was leaked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a press conference held, and many Milwaukee residents were left trying to figure out how exactly the Common Council managed to create a “plan” for public safety that will have the opposite of its intended effect.

Milwaukee residents have not been silent about our pain and we will continue to make our elected officials feel the pain of residing in the worst city for Black Americans, where 4 out of 5 Black children live in poverty. Milwaukee, where not only are our schools are underfunded, but the suspension rates for Black youth in Milwaukee high schools is also the highest in the nation. If we were to examine the state budget you might get the impression that Wisconsin prefers to fund corrections over education. If you examine the Common Council’s Public Safety Action Plan you will notice a trend. The Common Council’s safety plan acknowledges the aforementioned challenge’s Milwaukee faces while explicitly stating that this is not the plan to address them. Where is the plan to address them? We know that more police do not equal less crime. In fact, if Milwaukee were to hire an additional 280 police officers over the next two years in addition to their ongoing recruitment to replace retiring officers, this would lead to broken windows policing and encounters that can be deadly for Milwaukee residents.

The safety plan favors keeping those who have been arrested for “serious crimes,” including juveniles, in custody until their case is resolved. According to the Justice Policy Institute’s report on the Cost of Confinement, states that have significantly lowered the number of youth incarcerated were more likely to see bigger drops in crime than states that increased their correctional population. The burden of proof is on the Common Council to prove that locking up more youth will definitively improve public safety. Particularly when we are referring to the same youth who have experienced some level of adverse experiences as a child. The same experiences that the common council designated money towards for trauma informed services. Where is the line between trauma informed services and criminality?

Milwaukee we cannot allow this plan to go unchallenged. According to Patrick Curley, the chief of staff for Mayor Tom Barrett, “It’s more of a compilation than a plan,” Curley said. “And there’s certainly a lot of room to talk about the necessary resources for any one of the multiple recommendations.” While there is a discussion of whether this is a compilation or a plan UBLAC is clear that whatever it’s called it will not improve safety in the Milwaukee community. UBLAC invites the community out to the next Common Council Meeting.

WHEN: Thursday, September 1st at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Room 301-b at City Hall, 200 E. Wells
WHAT: Come voice your concerns about the Common Council Public Safety Plan recommendations.

UBLAC (Uplifting Black Liberation and Community)
A coalition of Black women, queer and trans people working toward Black liberation.

Zora Neale Hurston

Sam Marcy’s “In Defense of the L.A. Rebellion”(Solidarity With the Milwaukee People’s Resistance Against Police Terror)

Sam Marcy, the late Chairperson of Workers World Party (http://www.workers.org/), wrote a pamphlet, “In Defense of the L.A. Rebellion,” in 1992 after the people in Los Angeles rose up against racist police terror. What Marcy wrote almost 25 years ago is still applicable today for Milwaukee and other cities where in particular Black and Brown youth are still rising up against racist police terror. Excerpts are reprinted here. For the complete pamphlet: http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/samla/index.htm

Marxism on violence

“…After every stage in the struggle of the workers and oppressed people, there follows an ideological struggle over what methods the masses should embrace to achieve their liberation from imperialist monopoly capital. There are always those who abjure violence while minimizing the initial use of violence by the ruling class. They denounce it in words, while in deeds they really cover it up. That’s precisely what’s happening now.

Yes indeed, they readily admit the verdict in the Rodney King beating was erroneous and unfair. But — and here their voices grow louder — “The masses should not have taken to the streets and taken matters into their own hands.” Their denunciation of the violence of the ruling class is subdued and muffled — above all it is hypocritical, a sheer formality. It’s an indecent way of seeming to take both sides of the argument when what follows is in reality a condemnation of the masses.

In times when the bourgeoisie is up against the wall, when the masses have risen suddenly and unexpectedly, the bourgeoisie gets most lyrical in abjuring violence. It conjures up all sorts of lies and deceits about the unruliness of a few among the masses as against the orderly law-abiding many.

Marxism here again cuts through it all. The Marxist view of violence flows from an altogether different concept. It first of all distinguishes between the violence of the oppressors as against the responsive violence of the masses. Just to be able to formulate it that way is a giant step forward, away from disgusting bourgeois praise for nonviolence. It never occurs to any of them to show that the masses have never made any real leap forward with the theory of nonviolence. Timidity never made it in history.

Indeed, Marxists do prefer nonviolent methods if the objectives the masses seek — freedom from oppression and exploitation — can be obtained that way. But Marxism explains the historical evolution of the class struggle as well as the struggle of oppressed nations as against oppressors…” http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/samla/index.htm

“…Insurrections throughout history

It is impossible to understand the nature and impact of the Los Angeles insurrection unless one considers that it is one of more than 200 rebellions reaching back to the days of slavery. Reporters Jones and Tobar try to divorce this relatively small community from the chain of historical evolution in the Black liberation struggle. This is impossible.

Just alluding to the 1965 Watts insurrection or the ones in Detroit, Newark and elsewhere is still inadequate. For a full-rounded exposition of the nature of the struggle, one has to view it in terms of class and national oppression. It is both a national liberation movement — a national struggle, to use the Leninist term — and a class struggle against capitalist exploitation and imperialist oppression.

Without seeing this dual character of the struggle, one inevitably falls into the trap of confining it to petty reforms and patchwork solutions. Moreover, the white workers must fully awaken to their responsibilities. Otherwise, they will sink ever lower and absorb more of the blows of capitalist oppression and exploitation, adding to the problems rather than becoming, together with the Black, Latino and other oppressed people, part of the solution.” http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/samla/index.htm

http://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/samla/index.htmhttp://www.workers.org/marcy/cd/samla/index.htm

Milwaukee Cops Again Attack Community Residents, Arrest at Least 10, Support Needed

Make contributions for bail at: Disarm, Divest, Dismantle and Abolish the Police

From community activist about August 30 police attacks and arrests: “So the way Milwaukee Police Department attempts to de escalate and begin to repair relations with the community is by lifting the curfew on Sherman Park and showing an enormous amount of police presence at the Park and the Sylville Smith memorial. Then they detained an ACLU advocate/legal observer/lobbyist Jarrett English, a Wisconsin State Representative Jonathan Brostoff, detaining a local community leader Frank “Nitty” II, another local community leader Vaun Mayes Bey, and another local community leader Gab Taylor. This is NOT how you regain trust and de escalate a volatile and delicate situation. It is too little too late to rectify anything after showing this level of disregard for those who have been keeping the peace in that area -the trust is certainly irreparably damaged after this debacle.”

Make contributions for bail at: Disarm, Divest, Dismantle and Abolish the Police

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