defenestrator issue 49
fall 2010 Inside: Philly independent union growing (pg.2), Community radio in West Philadelphia (pg.6), ACTUP demands housing for people with HIV and AIDS (pg.4), Remembering the protests against the Republican National Convention (pg.14), Police lock down South Street (pg.5), Philadelphia group calls for boycott of Israeli products (pg.5), Puerto Rican Independence Prisoner freed (pg.7), The dangers of "fracking" (pg.9), Interview with the Dirty Lady Time radio show (pg.8), The meaning of Ariziona's racial profiling laws (pg.13), Prison Health News returns (pg.11), Parole manipulation in Pennsylvania prisons (pg.11), Protest at Geno's Steaks (pg.12), Review of Uses of a Whirlwind (pg.17), & MORE...
Marilyn Buck: ¡Presente! by Mumia Abu-Jamal
For nearly 30 long, tortuous years, Marilyn Buck was a political prisoner of the state, a captive in the federal prison system for her role in the liberation of former Black Panther, Assata Shakur. She wrote gripping lines of radical poetry, often about the lives and plights of her fellow imprisoned women, as well as of prisoners who were active in the Black Freedom and Nationalist movements. For example, back in 2000 she wrote “Black August,” an excerpt of which follows: Would you hang on a cliff’s edge Sword-sharp, slashing fingers While jackboot screws stomp heels on peeled flesh bones and laugh “Let go! die, damn you, die!” could you hang on 20 years, 30 years?
The defenestrator is Philly's sporadic newspaper for resistance, creative revolution and action. To defenestrate Power means total refusal of its tools and tentacles. Like the Hussites who had their oppressors thrown down from the Prague castle into the angry mob below, the defenestrator wrestles power and privilege from its highest and most protected strongholds and casts the beast out of the window and down into the angry hands of the people.
Prison Staff! Caution ! Protected Private Property
This newspaper remains property of the sender unless it has been personally and materially accepted by the prisoner to whom it has been addressed. In the event that the prisoner is denied direct access to this publication, it must be returned to the sender with notice of reasons for failing to deliver to addressee.
20 years, 30 years and more brave Black brothers buried in US concentration kamps they hang on Black light shining in torture chambers Ruchell, Yogi, Sundiata, Sekou, Warren, Chip, Seth, Herman, Jalil, and more and more they resist: Black August.... Marilyn wrote that poem in 2000. She was released in July 2010, and recently passed away from the ravages of cancer. Marilyn Buck was imprisoned so long because of her support of the Black Liberation Movement, which made her a traitor, of sorts, to the White Nation. Like John Brown, she fought to free the unfree. Her spirit of resistance never left her. Marilyn was 62.
Cover Art by Erik Ruin of Just Seeds Artist Get on the defenestrator Cooperative. To see more, email list! visit: www.justseeds.org We send out announcements for demonstrations, emergency mobilizations, benefit events and defenestrator events. If you want on, send a blank email from your address to defenestrator-subscribe@lists. riseup.net or click the link on our website. The list is low traffic (usually about 1 message a week) and easy to get off if you so choose.
the defenestrator PO Box 30922 Philadelphia PA 19104 usa
Electric rates to increase as much as 20 percent Thanks to a 1996 deregulation of electric companies in Pennsylvania, we all will soon pay at least 10% more on electric bills starting in January. PECO has made an offer with their Early Phase-in Program: we can start paying more now. Aren't they generous? As the matter stands, it seems that the rate increase is a done deal. However, that may not be so. In many different places in the world, people frequently reject rate increases and privatization of basic services such as electricity, heating, water and transportation. In 1996 in Dublin, Ireland, people organized and successfully defeated the government's attempt to charge a service fee for water. When the charge was implemented, tens of thousands of residents refused to pay their bills. When their water was shut off, so many people illegally turned their water back on that county jails could no longer hold the number of people who were defying the water charge. In the end, the government went back on its plan. Denis P. O'Brien, the CEO of PECO knows where his interests lie. As a start, why not give him a call and tell him what you think about the PECO rate hike? His number is 215-841-5670. Or, send a fax at 215-841-6706. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get organized and resist!
A-space needs your art! The A-Space needs your art! The A-Space, an anarchist community space & art gallery in West Philly, is currently creating our calendar of art shows. Our newly renovated (and air-conditioned) space is small, but we have two walls of dedicated art space with rails to hang twodimensional pieces on, and small bits of space on the other two walls. Our space does not work as well for three dimensional art, but there are always some creative possibilities. We usually hang shows for 4-6 weeks, and encourage artists to have opening and/or closing receptions where they can sell pieces and talk about their work. We have slots available beginning in mid-August. Contact Programming Coordinator Clarissa Rogers at email@example.com, leave a message on our A-Space Anarchist Community Space facebook page, or use the Plan an Event form on our website, www.the-aspace.org, to book your show now.
Independent union expands horizons by Daniel Duffy
The Philadelphia security guards that defied company pressure and formed their own independent union last year are now pushing to grow further. In late August guards working for the Scotland Yard security company said they filed a petition to vote on union representation with the Philadelphia Security Officers Union (PSOU). The guards, who guard the Norman Blumberg housing projects in North Philadelphia, said their employer has consistently compromised their safety. With a union contract they intend to negotiate safer working conditions. “This weekend alone guards had to break up two violent altercations on the site,” said Charles Mannings a security officer at the site. The guards are oftentimes expected to be at the front line of protection for residents at the housing project complex. Guards
reported that there have been dozens of violent confrontations over the past year. For many of the guards, the risk of injury or death seems barely worth the low wage they receive, less than $15,000 per year for some guards. Among those who are ex-convicts, other employment in legitimate sectors simply isn’t available. “We do our best to make sure that our residents are safe and try to take care of each other, but when you see a kid who has gotten stabbed in the head, you ask yourself if you can do this for poverty wages and in these bad conditions,” said David Williams, security officer at the North Philadelphia site. The guards say their employer takes advantage of their precariousness, putting the burden of worker safety on the guards themselves. “Most of us don't even have bullet proof vests because our employer, Garnett Littlepage, owner of Scotland Yard Security, makes us pay for them out of our own pocket,” said Mannings. Meanwhile PSOU guards who organized at the Philadelphia Museum of Art last year are negotiating their first ever contract. For those guards as well it has been a hard struggle for a voice on the job. Their company, AlliedBarton Security Services, refused to negotiate with the union even after guards voted for representation in a historic election that included community and City support.
Philadelphia radical history The first labor party in the United States was formed in Philadelphia in 1828. Called the “Working Men’s Party,” the short-lived party supported skilled artisans and craftsmen in challenging their master. They called for a 10-hour workday, free public education, and the abolition of debtor prisons. The party formed in New York as well in 1829, although factional disputes lead to its dissolution in 1833. For more information, see For All People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America by John Curl
However the guards claimed victory this summer. After teaming up with City Hall and community groups to seriously call into question AlliedBarton’s worker rights violations, the company discontinued allegations against the union and began negotiations.
(Photo by Eduardo Soriano-Castillo)
Over our dead bodies dying homeless people with AIDS on the streets of philadelphia by Sam Sitrin and members of ACT UP
CT UP Philadelphia (AIDS COALTION TO UNLEASH POWER), the AIDS activist group, is inciting action in response to the City of Philadelphia having the worst record for housing sick people with AIDS in the continental United States. The only cities that are part of the United States with more people homeless with AIDS are in Puerto Rico and Guam. ACT UP Philadelphia compiled a housing report on the sick people with AIDS living on the street. On June 30th, in rage and fury, one hundred Philadelphians delivered this report to Mayor Nutter’s office in City Hall after a powerful demonstration outside his window. The report reflects that people in this city are struggling to stay alive on the street and are being denied the essentials for survival. People reported their difficulty accessing medication and the ability to keep and take medication when on the street, the challenges of eating nutritiously, and the detrimental effect of extreme temperatures on health. Cities like New York have larger numbers of people with AIDS than Philadelphia, but they provide immediate housing to keep people from getting sick. Large cities in the US receive money from the federal government program HOPWA (Housing Opportunities For People With AIDS), but this money is not enough to house all people living with AIDS. For that reason, other cities provide supplemental money. The City of Philadelphia contributes zero dollars to house people with AIDS, unlike most other large cities that manage to house people. The City of Philadelphia’s Aids Activities Coordinating Office grants vouchers; people living with AIDS then only have to pay 30% of their income for housing. Most people with AIDS are living on a small government subsidy such as welfare or disability and cannot afford so-called market rents. They are disabled and not able to work. This problem has created a nearly two-year waiting list for people living with AIDS. To be eligible for this waiting list you must have an AIDS diagnosis and have suffered a serious AIDS defined illness. That translates to one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel before a person can even be considered eligible for the two year waiting list for AIDS housing. People with AIDS have died on this listing waiting for safe, affordable, and stable housing. Many people with AIDS are already sick and some are homeless on the streets; some are in unsafe and unsanitary shelters. Shelters are potentially dangerous places for people with compromised immune systems. ACT UP members that have been in shelters
have contracted scarlet fever, bed bug bites, scabies, exposure to TB and have been susceptible to a myriad of contagions which can be life-threatening if your immune system is weakened from HIV infection. Additionally AIDS medication is often confiscated by untrained shelter workers who have control over their medication dosing. One missed dose could cause the person to develop resistance to whatever HIV medication they depend on—these medications are life sustaining. Everyone deserves housing. It is a human right. Being seriously physically ill with AIDS and homeless is a death sentence, and ACT UP believes that as a society we must protect our most vulnerable. According to the Health Department, six people with AIDS died on the streets in the last 18 months. Spokespeople for the Health Department cowardly claimed they did not die from AIDS. Everyone knows no one dies from AIDS: they die from AIDS complications. Maybe if they were housed they would still be alive and living with AIDS. Imagine having a really bad flu and having to walk the streets with no place to go. That scenario is mild compared to some AIDS opportunistic infections that people with AIDS endure. People are more likely to succumb to death if living on the streets. Sick homeless people can be compelled to exchange sex to simply get out of cold and snow for a night or two respite from the streets. We find not providing housing to be outrageous and unacceptable when we know that millions of dollars of federal stimulus money came to Philadelphia four months ago for housing. The money will be and probably has been used to make low-income neigh-
borhoods attractive and inviting for yuppies and hipsters to move to.
HIV/AIDS keeps us out of hospitals and off the Medical Examiners table.
ACT UP has attempted to talk with city council members repeatedly, only to be turned away or have their meetings repeatedly canceled. The most glaring example of this is Councilwoman Janie Blackwell, the City Council's person on housing who has not sat down with people with AIDS after months of attempts to arrange a meeting. In fact, her office canceled three meetings. Ms. Blackwell does have a big holiday dinner for the homeless every year. However, we need roofs over our heads, not turkey dinners and publicity opportunities for Councilwoman Blackwell serving holiday dinners.
This is gross and obscene injustice. The city is essentially telling homeless people with AIDS to drop dead. We know that as people with HIV/AIDS we are poor, people of color, queer, formerly incarcerated, sex workers, transgender, and former and active addicts. We are victims of a social and economic system that does not work for us. It keeps us poor, powerless, sick, and homeless. I am sure they wish we would just drop dead and we are doing just that. Six people with AIDS already have died on the streets of Philadelphia this year. We demand to live and die with human dignity.
Mayor Nutter could allocate general city funds to alleviate this problem. ACT UP members approached him at AIDS education month in June this year about this issue and he did not have time to discuss a solution with us. He said, “I have a group looking into that” and walked briskly out the door. His office still refuses to meet with us after several attempts and a fiery action. We know that Philadelphia is claiming that they have no money, but there is money for a fancy new ultra-modern convention center on Broad Street to compliment the two convention centers that already exist. We know that millions in federal housing stimulus money was not used to house the homeless. We know that Philadelphia has thousands of abandoned homes that sit empty and are deteriorating. Our report found that it is actually cheaper to provide people permanent housing than it is to warehouse them in shelters. Housing homeless people with
The city of Philadelphia is getting away with this and stepping over our dead bodies. ACT UP Philadelphia members refuse to die in the streets. We need your brains, bodies, and rage. We need you to fight back with us shoulder to shoulder against a city that has thousands of empty abandoned homes, builds more convention centers, and uses federal housing stimulus money for gentrification rather than providing housing to the most physically vulnerable and stigmatized people. We need your help and ask for your support to help us fight this life threatening injustice. We meet every Monday night at St. Luke’s church at 330 S. 13th Street at 6pm. Light snacks are provided and tokens are available if needed. Call 215 386 1981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cops take South Street by members of the defenestrator collective
n the night of July 10th, a few of us from defenestrator hung out at Tattooed Mom's, tossing back beers and making plans for insurrection, like we usually do. It was a good time. When we left the bar around midnight, however, we stumbled onto a chaotic scene on South Street that dissolved our good spirits. Groups of black youth were walking very quickly westward. There was a lot of shouting. There was almost no car traffic. We saw the rows of cops marching toward us. They were shutting down South Street. Many black youth were out Saturday night for Philly Greek Weekend. Sponsored by African American fraternities and sororities, Greek Weekend was a toned down substitute for the more raucous Greek Picnic celebrations of past years,which have traditionally
drawn a large police presence, and have seen many businesses and bars on South Street voluntarily close down for the weekend. The event draws many black youth to South Street who do not officially participate in it. Knowing this, the police planned a preemptive shutdown of South Street. The Inquirer later reported that the owner of Lickety Split, a former cop, closed his restaurant early in the evening and allowed police to use the space as home-base to patrol South St and when the shutdown commenced later in the night. However, newspaper coverage made it seem as if the police were responding to a threat that suddenly emerged from nowhere: “Philadelphia police shut down 11 blocks of South Street between 1 and 2 a.m. Sunday after officers decided that large crowds, estimated as high as 20,000 people, were in danger of overwhelming the area.”
In reality, the police had decided there was a “danger” long before the night began, something which they have done in the past in response to crowds from the Greek Picnic.
ten depict young people as pointless mobs, on the street it felt as if youth were asserting their basic right to occupy the public space of the streets.
The police cleared both the street and sidewalks using horses and motorcycles, yelling at people to move towards Broad Street and shoving them along. One of us saw a kid get beat up by the cops and arrested. . It was down the block, and we were trying to get away from the cops on horses. Police on foot chased individual young people with nightsticks who tried to walk down a side street away from South Street where they were being forcibly corralled. An eyewitness who worked at Tattooed Mom's reported seeing a person tasered in the street later that night. He also saw police violently pulling drivers out of cars.
Flash Mobs and The Culture of Fear
In spite of the police brutality—or maybe because of it—there was an antagonistic, even festive, atmosphere in the streets. Many youth resisted the cops by taunting them aggressively and laughing in their faces when told to move. Others defiantly strolled toward Broad Street at their own calm, casual pace, refusing to be hurried by the police behind them. While the media of-
Part of why the police acted so harshly is because of the fairly recent but widespread fear of so-called “flash mobs” as a result of racist and anti-youth media coverage in the past few months. Flash mobs are spontaneous gatherings without an organized leader that participants hear about through social media and text messages. Television and news reports have portrayed flash mobs as groups of dangerous black youth threatening to overwhelm the city and unleash destruction upon innocent bystanders. The media covered the police shutdown of South Street on July 10 with the same racist sensationalism, making the pre-emptive action and police brutality seem appropriate and justified. While in the past, police have taken similar actions that were not without substantial support from businesses and residents, the flash mob media sensational-
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No justice no (chick) peas: the local campaign to boycott Israeli goods by Julie
Art by Erik Ruin (www.justseeds.org)
t the 2001 NGO forum against racism in Durban South Africa, 3,000 international organizations signed on to Article 425 advocating “the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel.” In July 2005, 171 members of Palestinian Civil Society— including political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations— created the global Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, calling for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian refugees abroad.
To explain how it came to this involves detailing over 60 years of brutal violations of international law. Such acts have included the expulsion of nearly an entire population and the systematic economic, political, and cultural subjugation of those remaining. While this history is hotly debated, the reality of over 7.4 million refugees and internally displaced people speaks for itself. It was this reality that prompted over 3,000 NGOs and 171 Palestinian organizations to call for BDS, demanding the boycott of all Israeli products and institutions including cultural and academic, as well as the divestment from and sanctions of the Israeli state. And it is in response to this call that BDS Philly was formed by a coalition of local activists working on issues of justice in Israel-Palestine and their allies. Together they are embarking on a consumer boycott campaign targeting both Sabra and Tribe hummus under the slogan “No Justice No
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Community radio in West Philly an interview with Renee McBride-Williams, interim station manager for WPEB, 88.1 FM What is WPEB?
WPEB stands for West Philadelphia Educational Broadcasting. It's a community radio station and its intention is to educate and to bridge the voices of West Philadelphia, so that we have a clearer understanding of people's specific purpose and help to represent their voice and their concerns. Also, we're open for volunteerism—people to come in and work with one another, and hopefully we can achieve a greater understanding of the place we live in and the people around us. How long has it been around? What are some of the ways WPEB has tried to bridge the community together? Well, it's been 2 and a half years since we've been here—this is its second resurrection. Our parent company is Scribe Video Center. One of the ways we've been operating is to have different organizations or disc jockeys that represent either the music, the news or different points of view. We have many different shows, everything from the Mystery School—which is one of the older shows—which talks about supernatural events and spiritual things. We have the Lion's Den, which represents Caribbean and West African music, jazz and R&B shows, the University City Review, and recently we've had classical music. So, through music, and through talk and conversation, we're trying to get a dialogue going so we can do better.
into the position of board managers who represent labor justice or immigrant rights, cultural issues, neighborhood issues, business issues, and so on. How can people get involved in the station? We have two different ways. One is by coming in, joining, and becoming an “active member,” where you donate 20 hours or more a year, working on the studio or making phone calls. Then we have the “general membership,” just by making contributions. That contribution can be financial, or it can be your time. For more information Read more about WPEB and check our their program schedule at: http://wpeb881fm.org Learn more about the Scribe Video Center at: http://www.scribe.org/ You can reach WPEB by phone at 215-472-0881 or stop by 541 S. 52nd Street at 52nd and Hazel Tune in at 88.1 FM!
New Program on Criminal Justice!
What's coming up for the station? What are you working on? We're working on more programs. We have some new programs: one is with a broadcaster named Roan Fraser who is talking about authors and books. Happy News: we have a show host named Rose Kenney, who is finally on the radio talking about the good things going on in West Philly. Then we're having a restructuring of the station; we're actually getting ready to have an election to vote in a board, people to represent different areas of what we feel encompass the neighborhood. For instance, we have members who are going to be elected
"On the Block" is a radio show that takes a critical look at the United States' criminal justice system. It is a collective effort of Block Report Radio, the Human Rights Coalition, and Philadelphia's WPEB Radio, where it airs every Friday night from 9pm until 10pm. Check out the website at http://www.ontheblockradio.org/
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Hands off Oakland rebels! Greetings from California, Comrades!
s many have heard, a relentless anti-police movement has grown from the tragedy of Oscar Grant's murder on January 1, 2009 by former officer Johannes Mehserle.* Recently, Mehserle was convicted of the deplorable charge of involuntary manslaughter, a weak charge which carries a sentence of probation to four years in prison. When the news of Mehserle's verdict reached the people of the Bay Area on July 8, the streets heated up in a style reminiscent of the anti-police riots a year and a half ago. Downtown Oakland swelled immediately after the release of the verdict. For hours after the verdict was released, people milled about, yelling at police, and listening to angry speeches. As the sun went down, the police moved in to end the spontaneous demonstration, threatening arrest of anyone who stayed on the streets. The sky was littered with helicopters and planes. Every police force in the region had gathered in downtown. Despite these threats, in the hours that followed, blocks and blocks of Oakland were wrecked, bank windows smashed, stores looted, and trash cans set on fire by people outraged by the state and society's sickening disregard for Oscar Grant's life, and by extension, those who are always the victims of police violence in the state's constant war against people of color, women, and the poor. The night of July 8th, and long after the riots had
ended, the Oakland Police Department as well as other Bay Area police departments, snatched at least 78 people from the streets. Twelve of those comrades are still in jail. Seven of them are being held without bail for parole violations. The five others face various felonies including burglary, rioting, and arson. They have bails ranging between $60,000 and $70,000, with one man being held for $525,000. With a bail bondsman we can free them by posting around 10% of the bail. We are hopeful that some of these people will get their bail reduced in the coming weeks after their pre-trial. Regardless, raising funds now is imperative. Defendants will be held in jail until the conclusion of their trial
if we do not bail them out. (During the last Oscar Grant riots in January 2009 one man was charged with arson. His trial dragged on a whole year before the city dropped the charges due to lack of evidence. This scenario is destined to repeat itself at the expense of those arrested on the 8th.) We, the anarchists and autonomists of the Bay Area of California, lovers of rebellions, and haters of cops for their ceaseless violence against us, do humbly request for solidarity to help free these brave rebels. If your collective, scene, squat, movement has the capacity to throw a benefit, or otherwise come into money, for this legal defense fund. We couldn't need it more in order to keep our movement against the murderous police fierce and alive! Thank you. In Solidarity, The Oakland 100 Support Committee http://supporttheoakland100.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/hands-off-oakland-rebels/
Philly delegation travels to Puerto Rico to celebrate the release of Carlos Alberto Torres by the Wild Poppies Collective
n July 26th, Carlos Alberto Torres was released from federal prison in Illinois after serving 30 years for his participation in the Puerto Rican independence movement. Charged with “seditious conspiracy” for his participation in the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN), a clandestine independence organization that began in 1974, Carlos has dedicated his life to the liberation of Puerto Rico from the colonial rule of the United States. That dedication, from his days as a community organizer in Chicago’s Puerto Rican community to his time underground and his three decades in prison, made him a symbol of Puerto Rican pride and heroism, both on the island and in the United States. The day of his release, Carlos was taken on a tour of the community institutions that the local movement had built in the Humboldt Park section of Chicago during the time he was incarcerated—including an alternative high school, a cultural center, and a day care center, all housed in an eightblock stretch bookmarked by two giant steel Puerto Rican flags. The tour ended with a crowd of five hundred people welcoming him home to Chicago, the place where Carlos began organizing in the late 1960s. People sang, danced and cheered as Carlos made his way through the crowd to the stage. After Chicago, he flew home to Puerto Rico, where a crowd of 300 people waited to greet him at the airport, and more than a thousand gathered at a concert that night to celebrate his release. At the airport, Carlos was greeted as a national hero. An intergenerational crowd of political allies, some elected officials, family, friends and press waited for two hours in the heat chanting, waving Puerto Rican flags, flashing pictures, greeting comrades old and new—the energy rising more than the temperature. When Carlos arrived the program was cut short as photographers and supporters rushed through the barriers in a frenzy usually reserved for Hollywood celebrities. A delegation from Philadelphia traveled to San Juan to join in the activities. The delegation was led by people from the local chapter of the National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN), a leading organization in the campaign to free Puerto Rican political prisoners and resist U.S. control over Puerto Rican lives and land. Members of the Wild Pop-
pies Collective, a new anti-imperialist group that has been working in solidarity with the NBHRN in the past year, was invited to join in the celebrations in Chicago and in Puerto Rico. While in Puerto Rico we were honored to meet with several of the other former political prisoners, including Rafael Cancel Miranda, one of the four Puerto Rican Nationalist Party members who participated in the 1954 attack on Congress, was freed by an international campaign in 1979, and has been an inspiration and guiding force in the movement for decades. We also had the opportunity to meet with striking students from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas and their teacher, Elizam Escobar, also a former political prisoner. We met with the students at their protest encampment in front of the school, and they spoke with us about their struggle to stop massive budget cuts against public education and the art school in particular. The encampment has been up for more than 80 days, and the students have faced harassment from school officials and police. Many of the students had also participated in islandwide student strikes during the spring, in which the students of public universities occupied the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico for more than a month. The students have drawn the support of labor, their families, and working people across the Island—re-invigorating both the brutality of state repression and the vibrancy of Puerto Rican social movements. The release of Carlos is the most recent chapter in a long history of the independence movement successfully freeing political prisoners. In 1979, due to massive movement pres-
sure, Jimmy Carter freed unconditionally the five Puerto Rican Nationalists who had been incarcerated for their attacks on President Truman and on the US congress. In 1999, Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 11 former FALN members, again due to a strong and broad-based campaign for their release. Those freed in 1999 included most of Carlos’s codefendants, although he was inexplicably not included in that arrangement. Carlos was scheduled to be freed in 2009 but the Bureau of Prisons tried to set him up in hopes of keeping him in prison for life. A campaign that included more than 10,000 letters of support from around the world succeeded in winning parole for Carlos. Even with Carlos free, however, there are still two political prisoners from the Puerto Rican independence movement incarcerated in the United States. One, Avelino González Claudio, was arrested in 2008 after years underground, and is serving a seven year sentence for his alleged involvement in a 1983 $7 million dollar robbery from Wells Fargo to
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U.S. Court sentences Lynne Stewart to die in prison
n July, a judge changed Lynne Stewart's prison sentence from 28 months to 10 years, effectively giving the 70 year old lawyer who suffers from health issues a death sentence. In 2005, Stewart was convicted of providing support to a terrorist organization. While defending a known terrorist, she released a statement from her client to the
press. In doing so, she violated an agreement with the US government to not pass information between her client and the outside world. Many lawyers view Stewart's conviction as a government attack on defense lawyers that severely restricts their ability to properly represent their clients. Judge Koeltl originally gave her a short sentence because of strong public support. Stewart has had a long career of
protecting the civil rights of the poor. So why did the judge change her sentence to 10 years? Because a higher court ordered him to do it, to make an example of her in “the war against terrorism.” To find out more about how this outrage occurred and about ongoing efforts to support Lynne Stewart, visit the website: http://lynnestewart.org/
Dirty Lady Time by Jessica L Smith
o you ever get tired of listening to the barrage of constant male voices on the radio? Sure men dominate everything but isn't is supposed to be “girly” to be in a band and sing? Two local women are doing their best to battle this injustice, every Sunday on Voltaradio.com at 1pm. On Sunday April 18, 2010, Lady M and the Bard sat down to do their first live internet radio show, Dirty Lady Time. Trying to catch up with them to ask questions about the show was very difficult. Because their security measures are so enormous they would only allow me to ask them questions via email in Q&A style.
How do you two know each other? M-We met in federal prison. It was dead end justice. B-We met at an underground feminist meeting. What's w/ the theme song? M-We start the show spouting off about how all the males are gone. Then we play Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows because when they are finally gone the song reflects how we will feel. Happy. Plus Leslie Gore is a dyke. B-Why not? It's a really fun song, sung by a lesbian, that repeats the word rainbow. The song should make anyone crack a smile. Describe the in-studio experience?
Lady M-It's a lighter version of a secret movement that I cannot get into. But it's working. All serious revolutions need to be peppered with something light, or dirty. Bard-It's time for women to take over radio. I'm tired of hearing male dominated airwaves. Aren't you?
M-When it's just us, imagine two old broads singing along loudly and most likely dancing around to the music. Or we play Yahtzee. For an in-studio performance we like to decorate w/ feminist icons and draw female symbols on the walls. We often concoct a drink called Dirty Panty Punch. Which tastes just as good as it sounds. B-It's a supportive environment filled with a sense of camaraderie, that you don't find every day. The estrogen powered chemistry combined with live music is very exhilarating.
Why the fake names?
Are you anti-male?
M-What fake names? B- I'm not sure I understand the question...
M-We aren't here to say all men are vile talentless pigs. We are here to support females
Q&A Why Dirty Lady Time?
who are making music. B-Yes. Its a shame more women don't follow suit. Many women won't be on, or support the show for fear of backlash. Fear of a female planet, I say. Do you have any pre-show rituals? M-Either watching Charlie's Angels or reading verses from the tome “For Lesbians Only.” B-I like to have a snack. Why should women listen? M-Women should listen if they have a soul. B-It's important for the female community to join together and rise above. What better way than to start listening and supporting DLT and women artists. Do you want any male listeners? M-Of course not. Why would we? B-No. This internet radio show is the stepping stone to a new dawn sans men. Do you do this for cash or fame? M-For the pussy? Or... We can't be bought or sold. I do this to hang out and listen to music. I'm too old to be standing at some rock and roll club until 2am fending off drunken oppressors. One pm on a Sunday is my peak time. B-Not at all. This is for the movement and support of women artists. In addition to my musical enjoyment. What is the preparation like for the show?
M-A lot of discussion occurs over poached eggs. I keep all of my male music separate from my female music, on my pc and on my shelves. B-Checking in w/ M, researching women artists and attending concert events. Who is your dream musical guest? M-Joan Jett or Morrissey after a sex change (him not me). B-Carrie Brownstein-Sleater Kinney What can listeners expect when they put on DLT? M-No male voices save for some background sounds on the songs. But that's what men are to us, background noise. B-Two female positive ladies spinning all genre's of women's music. Having a good time and sending out estrogen laced vibes. Will we ever hear Melissa Etheridge? M-It depends, is she packing? B-Maybe if M falls sick one day and is absent from the show. Do you two have similar music tastes? M- No. B- We can overlap, but its rare. What do you wish you could play but won't?
continued on page 19
ACROSS 3. Gas drilling company 7. DLT's favorite band 11. Site of parole manipulations 12. Aids ____ to Unlease Power 13. Wikileaks spokesperson
DOWN 1. Solitary confinement unit 2. Puerto Rican independence organization 4. PA's gas drilling “ground zero” 5. Civil rights/leftist lawyer in prison 6. Recently-passed comic laureate of Cleveland 8. Student ___ Action Movement 9. Phila police commissioner during 2000 RNC 10. Federal agency that detains immigrants (answers on page 19)
The environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing by Sara Lee for Pennsylvania from Below
arter Road, in Dimock, Susquehanna County, has earned the nickname “ground zero,” as it gains fame in the natural gas controversy of Pennsylvania. Residents of Carter Road organized to file suit against Cabot Oil and Gas after 14 wells used for drinking water became undrinkable. While Cabot denies that deep rock hydraulic fracturing caused the water contamination, the company was heavily fined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and later forced to plug three wells in Dimock. Lawyer Ken Komoroski represents Cabot Oil and Gas in public forums, and appeared at a gathering organized by the League of Women Voters in Susquehanna County. He attempts to reassure the residents of Dimock that Cabot is taking care of their water problems, but someone shouts “Why doesn’t Pat have water?!” The Pat in question is Pat Farnelli, mother of eight and resident of Carter Road. Pat was convinced for months that the illness plaguing her family was a simple bug being passed between children and parents. Mostly, her children complained of stomach cramps and extreme nausea. Pat couldn’t understand why her children felt fine all day at school but would double over in pain, vomiting, shortly after arriving home in the afternoon. It turned out to be their afternoon glasses of water triggering their nausea. Now she knows that her water is saturated with 12% methane, and unacceptable amounts of barium. Farnelli began to put the pieces together after a conversation with her neighbor Jean Carter. “Jean’s my closest neighbor. She leaned over to me and said, ‘Pat, I think our water well’s gone bad.’ I asked her what she meant. They’d been drilling for two months. She said ‘I’m not sure what I mean…but the water’s gone bad. It smells strange, and it just doesn’t taste right. After I drink it, I just don’t feel right.’ ” Farnelli’s other neighbor had drawn herself a bath and noticed sediment at the bottom of the tub. Her husband assured her it was probably just dirt, which sometimes collects in certain weather in their well. At his direction, she continued to let the water run until it cleared. It never did. As the water ran, it began to change col-
ors until it appeared orange. Jokingly, her husband suggested they light it on fire. The water in their bathtub burned for eleven full minutes.
ture alone. One resident, Lynn Senick, tells us she "can't remember seeing them this bad before." As our group drove, we saw holes the size of small sedans in the road. At one
edges of practically every road are shredded to jagged bits. Natural gas extraction even threatens the
Another resident was fortunate enough to be out of her home when methane built up so much in her well house that it exploded, propelling a concrete wall across her property. Cabot has been responsible for the contamination of fourteen water supplies in Dimock alone, according to the DEP at press time. Komoroski acknowledges the water contamination in Dimock but maintains that to date, there have been no reports of groundwater contamination due to hydraulic fracturing activity in the Marcellus Shale. He argues that the methane in the water on Carter Road migrated from a shallower formation through natural fractures in the ground. One anonymous Dimock resident argues that this excuse amounts to a coverup. He found research claiming the methane was tested, and the results were inconclusive; it could be from shallow formations, it could be from the Marcellus Shale. Cabot and the DEP exchanged emails during testing, with Cabot asking the DEP to be “sensitive” to the potential for scandal if the methane was found to be from the Marcellus Shale. By making it public that the methane was from a shallow formation, the oil and gas industry shifts blame for the incident to an accident or individual operator. However, if the methane was found to be from the Marcellus Shale, public perception of “safe” drilling would drastically change, as people would begin to realize that the danger doesn’t lie with individuals or circumstance, but with an inherently unsafe process.
point, we were directed through a one lane passage as a crew frantically used a backho to try to fill in one of these cavernous ditches with gravel to at least make it passable. The
Rachel Fetrow, pafrombelow.info ozone and the air of Pennsylvania. Compression stations in particular give off high
continued on page 19
Komoroski makes the case that surface spills are the issue to worry about, admitting “that is where we have the potential for contamination.” Several area residents interviewed expressed concern that surface spills are another red herring, mentioned in order to draw attention to the many measures used to prevent the spills. Their fear is that if the general public is analyzing the potential for surface spills, it is not inquiring about the potential for gas leaks deep underground, or other dangerous and more likely situations.
Living with Fracing: Road Damage, Air/ Noise/Light Pollution, Forest Fragmentation The drilling picks up in the late spring, after the ground is softened by the annual thaw. The spring thaw also brings yearly destruction to the roads in and around Dimock. This year, however, the terrible condition of the roads cannot be blamed on mother na-
The Marcellus Gas Shale
prison pages HRC legislative watch
n August 2, former prisoners LuQman Abdullah and Nathaniel Lee testified at a Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee Hearing about abusive conditions inside solitary confinement units (also known as the “hole”) in PA’s state prisons. The hearing also featured testimony by human rights investigator Bret Grote, Pennsylvania Prison Society Executive Director William DiMascio, and Department of Corrections Deputy Michael Klopotoski. The former prisoners, who are both now social workers, gave detailed accounts of Pennsylvania’s use of solitary confinement, which is the practice of holding prisoners 23 or more hours a day in small bathroom-sized cells with little or no contact with other people. The hearing was convened at the Yeadon Borough Hall by Representatives Ronald Waters and Thomas Caltagirone. Representative Vanessa Brown was also in attendance. “Isolation is used arbitrarily and often when there is no threat of violence or mass disturbances involved”, said Nathaniel Lee. This observation was echoed by LuQman Abdullah, who related his personal experiences with the “hole”: “I was first put in solitary for holding an educational study group”, stated Mr. Abdullah, who spent over a year and a half in the “hole” at State Correctional Institute (SCI) Rockview before being transferred to SCI Greene, where abusive conditions continued unabated. “I have witnessed guards at SCI Greene ram a baton up another prisoner’s rectum and punch, kick and stomp prisoners down to the ground until they were unconscious, as was done to me.” LuQman spent a total of five straight years in solitary. Both men, whose combined experiences total more than 40 years inside prison, highlighted the general atmosphere of impunity and abuse within the units. “No one will develop respect for the law when governed by those who abuse the laws they wish to instill respect for,” said Mr. Lee. Their testimony was supported by that of Bret Grote, an investigator with the Human Rights Coalition who has spent the last three years documenting widespread abuse within Pennsylvania’s solitary confinement units such as physical assault, racist slurs and threats from guards, retaliation for filing grievances, and inadequate mental health care. Mr. Grote gave as an example the 2009 suicide of Matthew Bullock at SCI Dallas: “Mr. Bullock had attempted suicide multiple times while incarcerated, and had his medications cut prior to hanging himself . . . days later we received reports that guards had been encouraging him to com-
mit suicide.” “Walk through one of these special housing units and you will be stunned by the demented wailing and catatonic stares of the inmates and chilled by the exercise cages where for one hour a day . . . they are held like dogs in a kennel”, said William DiMascio, whose testimony highlighted the damage wrought upon prisoners’ minds by PA’s “holes”. “The effect of this psychologically devastating strategy heightens the prospects for violence against staff and, ultimately, the citizenry, and fails to in any way correct the aberrant behavior that led the person into the criminal justice system to begin with.” Also present was Michael Klopotoski of the PA Department of Corrections, whose testimony chiefly consisted of a recitation of DOC policy regarding the units. Mr. Klopotoski left before he could be questioned about the rampant abuse at SCI Dallas during his tenure there as Superintendent. No evidence was provided in support of the DOC’s allegations that solitary confinement is a necessary and fair practice. The 25 people in attendance consisted almost solely of prisoner rights advocates, many of whom have family serving time in the state prison system. Calls for the abolition of solitary and sweeping changes to the entire prison system were met with approving nods and cheers. In contrast Mr. Klopotoski’s testimony generated audible frustration, with many audience members feeling compelled to voice their criticism of the DOC. As the hearing drew to a close, Representative Waters spoke of the need for advocates to educate the public about the reality of torture and abuse inside the state prisons in order to mobilize public opinion in support of change in the system. It is uncertain what the House Judiciary plans on doing following this hearing.
The News from Inside SCI Greene prison: Prison law library staff and the prison administration have targeted jailhouse lawyer Frederick Ray for helping other prisoners with their cases and for speaking up about the inadequacies of the prison's law library Mr. Ray was sent to the Restricted Housing Unit (which means solitary confinement cages also known as RHU or "the hole") on May 28. He was accused of "making complaints of racism and unfair treatment" about library staff and of having copies of other prisoners' legal work. A review board determined that he therefore presented a "danger to himself or others" and found him guilty of making claims that the librarians found
insulting. He was sentenced to a year in the hole and his belongings were confiscated, including vital and time-sensitive legal paperwork on cases that he is currently litigating. After Mr. Ray went on a brief hunger strike and concerned citizens called prison officials, most of his property was returned to him, but he has since been sentenced to an additional 270 days in the hole, coming to a total sentence of nearly 2 years. Other prisoners who use the law library have testified in support of Mr. Ray's version of events. He continues to fight his confinement. SCI Coal Township prison: On the same day that members of the Human Rights Coalition were testifying at a hearing on solitary confinement in Yeadon, PA, jailhouse lawyer Andre Jacobs was targeted by prison staff for filing grievances and lawsuits against prison officials. HRC received reports from Mr. Jacob's grandmother and from 13 other prisoners that on August 2, guards who were delivering meals to prisoners in the RHU at Coal Township refused to feed Andre, telling him that it was because he "liked to file paperwork". When he protested, he was handcuffed, taken from his cell, and prison guards removed all of his belongings- including vital legal paperwork, all of his clothing and his mattressand he was returned to his now-empty cell wearing only a "suicide smock". Over the following days he was periodically starved. On August 9, the Human Rights Coalition was informed of the situation and put out an alert for people to call in to the prison and to the Department of Corrections administration. It is still unknown if Andre remains under these same conditions. SCI Frackville prison: On July 23rd at least 8 prisoners in the solitary confinement unit at SCI Frackville went on hunger strike over substandard conditions and abusive treatment by staff, including extreme heat and inmates being charged with fabricated misconduct. There were only 2 strikers left when inquiries were made to the prison on July 29th. HRC is still waiting more detailed reports regarding the hunger strike and is continuing to monitor conditions there.
SCI Albion prison: Maurice Williams spent the month of July on hunger strike at SCI Albion and has reportedly lost 70 pounds according to multiple prisoners. Mr. Williams is protesting the prison's refusal to properly treat his Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that produces a variety of symptoms affecting his mouth and his entire digestive system. These symptoms were further inflamed when Mr. Williams was attacked with pepper spray by guards in riot gear in mid-July. Mr. Williams began eating on August 2nd, but resumed his strike two days later when the prison refused to give him a medically appropriate diet. SCI Cresson prison: Damont Hagan is being deprived of food on a consistent basis in the Secure Special Needs Unit at SCI Cresson and is reportedly losing weight. The Secure Special Needs Unit is solitary confinement for people the DOC recognize as having a need for mental health treatment. Mr. Hagan has been in solitary confinement for at least the last 4 years at SCIs Fayette, Camp Hill, Pittsburgh, and Cresson. Hagan continues to face frequent retaliation, including threats, deprivation of commissary, and sexual harassment. He has two current lawsuits against DOC employees and officials, and the Human Rights Coalition has copious documentation of systematic torture that corroborate Mr. Hagan's claims of multiple assaults, frequent deprivation of food and other necessities, destruction of property, retaliation, filthy conditions, and racist abuse he was subjected to while in the Special Management Unit at Camp Hill.
HRC Announcements Every Wednesday: Prison Letter Writing Night at the LAVA space at 4134 Lancaster, 6-9pm. Come help us stay connected with the many prisoners who write to us with news from inside, with words of wisdom, or who are in need of help. If you'd like to know more about the Human Rights Coalition or would like to get involved, call us at 215-921-3491, email email@example.com, or visit our website at www.hrcoalition.org.
Parole manipulation at SCI Greene By Sadot Williams
ell over a year after Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell lifted the moratorium he imposed on the PA Board of Probation and Parole in conjunction with the Department of Corrections (DOC) to bring to a complete halt all prisoner releases, parole eligible prisoners at SCI Greene, located in southwestern Pennsylvania, who fall under the classification of violent offenders are still feeling the ramifications of Governor Rendell’s actions. Sadly, they have become pawns in the quest for continued prison expansion here in PA. At SCI Greene, parole eligible prisoners numbering into the hundreds are being systematically positioned to not make parole well before ever seeing the board. It starts with PA Corrections unit counselors delaying the paperwork process until the very last minute of enrolling prisoners into PA Parole Board mandated rehabilitative programs such as drug and alcohol classes, victim awareness education and violence prevention, to name a few. All of these programs take 6-9 months to complete. If these programs are not completed at the time corrections unit counselors start compiling the prisoner’s paperwork for the parole board, the prisoner will not receive a favorable recommendation from the institution. Also, there are
many prisoners who have successfully completed these programs, been certified in a vocation and remained clear of misconduct for years and still cannot get the institution’s support for parole. The commonly used, open-ended excuse given is “more adjustment time is needed.” Most of these prisoners are well over their minimum release date and likely would have received institutional support at another PA facility. Without this support recommendation there is a 95% chance that the prisoner will not receive parole. The PA Parole Board policy states that no parole decision under a year can be appealed. So prisoners in this category receive six and nine month review hits repeatedly. With this kind of intentionally manufactured overcrowding taking place unchecked by the current governor and state legislators in a ploy to create jobs by constantly expanding the Prison Industrial Complex, it’s very easy to see why tens of millions of PA tax dollars are being sent out of state yearly to Michigan and Virginia to warehouse thousands of PA prisoners until construction is fully completed on numerous new prisons. Madness. Where is the outrage?
Stencil by Erik Ruin (www.justseeds.org)
Prison Health News is back
fter a few years' break, Prison Health News is back and better than ever— with four extra pages of health care and advocacy information in each issue, and a network of over 2,000 subscribers and contributors in prisons and jails across the country. In 2001, Prison Health News was launched to meet a critical need for information written by and for people who have been in prison or are currently behind the walls. Our readers are living inside a system that denies them prevention tools and treatment information about HIV, hepatitis, and other health issues. They are dealing with medical neglect, daily humiliations driven by intense stigma, and the destruction of their communities by mass imprisonment. Prison Health News works to build community across the prison walls that divide us. Now a joint project of the Institute for Community Justice and Reaching Out: A Support Group with Action, each Prison Health News issue is produced by a Philadelphia-based collective of writers and editors, most of whom have been in prison and are living with HIV. Through our collaboration with the Philadelphia FIGHT AIDS Library, we are able to answer the many letters to us from people in prisons and jails asking for resources and health information. We also work in partnership with organizations across the country who assist with distribution, support and advocacy for people incarcerated in their cities and states. Contact one of our Resource Partners to get involved in your local area! Prison Health News Cross by Tyler Kemp
Our relaunch issue features: Getting Out Alive: Advocating for Your Meds – on the strategies one PHN writing collective member used to fight for her access to meds while incarcerated From the Crack House to the White House – on the inspirational journey of one PHN writing collective member from her incarceration to her involvement in national and international advocacy work Hearts on a Wire – on the work of a Philadelphiabased collective fighting alongside trans folks in the prison system and those coming home for justice, dignity and respect “To Help Our People Through This” – on the political forces underlying one PHN partner's work to heal relationships divided by prison walls Staying Safe and Healthy in Prison – on the basics of HIV prevention in correctional settings, based on a Roll Call presentation conducted every June in the Philadelphia Prison System You can view Issue 8 online. You can also download a printable version of Issue 8, formatted for double-sided photocopying at www.community-justice.org/projects/phn. Prison Health News Address: 21 S. 12th Street, 7th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Protests of antiimmigrant fundraiser at Geno's Steaks by Kim Coughlin
n July 14th Geno’s Steaks in South Philly held a fundraiser to support the state of Arizona in its impending legal battle with the federal government over SB 1070, the controversial immigration law. SB 1070 came under fire from immigrants’ rights activists, the Obama administration, and many on the left. Section 1 of SB 1070 declares the intent of the law to be to “make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” Acts of attrition would include requiring Arizona police to determine the immigration status of all people suspected of being in the country illegally and making it a crime for undocumented people to work in the state. Joey Vento, outspoken owner of Geno’s Steaks, has garnered criticism for his unwavering support of the Philadelphia Police Department, including staunch support for Daniel Faulkner’s family who oppose any appeal process for Mumia Abu-Jamal, wrongfully imprisoned for Faulkner’s killing. Geno’s Arizona fundraiser mobilized over a hundred people. Many of the speakers on the Big Talker, which hosted the event, spoke of how Arizonans are afraid to leave their homes for fear of being caught up in drug turf wars or human trafficking. When questioned about why they were out in support of Arizona’s law and legal battles, members of the Geno’s crowd cited a fear of “criminals and rapists and all sorts of bad people coming in here illegally. We don’t have a problem with law abiding people coming to this country,
we just want to know who they are and for them to come here legally.” In 48 hours immigrants' rights organizations like the New Sanctuary Movement were able to mobilize a multi-generational, multi-racial crowd of over a hundred people to show their opposition to Vento’s fear mongering fundraiser. The climate of the demonstration was tense as police lined each side of the street and Geno’s supporters antagonized demonstrators. Meanwhile, demonstrators’ shouts of, “Don’t give in to racist fear, immigrants are welcome here!” could be heard over Jan Brewer’s claims that racial profiling by police would not be accepted under the new law. “Reactionary laws like [SB 1070] and the surrounding rhetoric tend to obscure history” said one demonstrator. “Politicians appeal to people’s sometimes legitimate fears of increased violence as a result of drug cartels. But they don’t speak to the US failed war on drugs that has fueled violence on the border as drugs become big business. They ignore the economic and political realities in immigrants’ home countries that bring people here. When talking about day laborers politicians rarely talk about free trade agreements that push people off of their land and turn farmers into wage laborers.”
Since the fundraiser, Arizona’s law has taken effect, with some of the more controversial aspects blocked by a federal judge. Across Arizona people continue to resist anti-immigrant sentiments inflamed by the bill, as well as still existing rules that allow the Sherriff’s Department to enforce federal immigration law. Philadelphians should continue to come out in support of immigrants’ rights, which are human rights to dignified work, health care and safe spaces, free from police abuse, employers and bad neighbors like Geno’s Steaks. You can find the New Sanctuary Movement at http:// nsmphilly.blogspot.com For the text of SB 1070 see www.azleg.gov/ legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf
The battle of Arizona: a prelude to the future? by Robert Saleem Holbrook
he state of Arizona has become Ground Zero in the national debate over the status of undocumented persons in the United States and more importantly, their contribution to the changing racial and ethnic demographics of the United States. The passage of SB 1070, the Arizona Bill that would legalize racial profiling and subject persons of color to invasions of their privacy and unconstitutional detention was the first shot in this battle. Fortunately this racist bill, which hearkens back to the days of Jim Crow laws, was essentially struck down and gutted by a federal judge on July 28, 2010 who found its provisions unconstitutional. Opponents of the bill celebrated this victory; however the proponents and sponsors of the bills remain undeterred and have appealed the decision to the Circuit Court. In addition, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self proclaimed toughest sheriff in the United States, announced his deputies would continue to detain and question people they stop about their legal status in the United States. Arpaio has decided to circumvent the federal judge's decision by conducting sweeps for undocumented persons under the guise of "Crime Sweeps" in the areas under his jurisdiction. Under these so-called crime sweeps Arpaio's deputies dress up as storm troopers and harass and detain people for petty violations, often traffic violations,then question them on their legal status in the United States. Undocumented persons who are caught up in these sweeps are detained and handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation proceedings. The police involved in these sweeps are specifically targeting people who possess Latino characteristics.
is all about politics, and not protecting "our" borders- in the border states (Arizona & Texas) that are embracing these anti-immigrant bills. Whites in these states are the majority, but Latinos are fast on their heels to overtake them as the majority. Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in Southern states like Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas. To people who hold a narrow vision of the United States and equate being American with being white or somehow exceptional the reality that in the coming decades the United States will no longer have a white majority is frightening and depressing. It is this fear and resentment at the loss of white entitlement that the right wing has been exploiting in galvanizing support for their anti-immigrant bills. The fear of crime is a trump card that is frequently exploited in American politics by both parties. However the extreme right has perfected it as a wedge issue and an issue that appeals to people's perceived or actual fears. In Arizona the right has effectively framed the debate over undocumented persons as a criminal issue by using false statistics and blaming undocumented persons for an increase in crime in Arizona. During a television interview, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio claimed undocumented persons have caused Arizona's crime rate to skyrocket the past three years; however this lie was busted in another television interview by Tuscon Arizona Police Chief Roberto Villasenor who stated that the statistics show that violent crime is actually down in Arizona. By coincidence, the only county in Arizona where crime has not fallen is in the so-called toughest Sheriff in America's jurisdiction, Sheriff Arpaio’s own Maricopa, Pina County has the highest rate of crime in the state.
What is being lost in this debate is the way the political Right has caused so-called crime prevention measures to legitimize policies that violate people's civil rights under the U.S. Constitution as well as people's inherent human rights. Also, noone wants to call out these anti-immigrant/undocumented persons bills that are gaining momentum in border states and many Southern states for what they are, and that is ethnic cleansing under the guise of crime prevention and illegal immigrant reform. Arizona is just the proving ground for a concerted effort by right wing conservatives to diminish and arrest, through legislative means, the changing racial and ethnic demographics of the country. This is the true backdrop the anti-immigrant debate should be viewed against. It is a push to cleanse states of Latino populations that threaten to overtake white majority populations in the border states.
The proponents of Arizona's anti-immigrant bill clearly stated that their intent was to drive undocumented persons out of the state, either through police measures such as detention and deportation by ICE or by undocumented persons “self-deporting.” Sheriff Arpaio's storm trooper deputies in Arizona are not stopping blond hair and blue eyed people and questioning whether they are undocumented persons from Germany or Sweden. They are targeting brown skinned persons of Latino descent and inquiring if they are citizens of the United States. This is clearly racial profiling and should a Latino citizen feel insulted by this intrusion into his privacy and ethnicity and refuse to answer the question, he or she will be detained by the police until their legal status or identity can be confirmed by the police. You see, in the United States, a civilian cannot refuse a question posed by the police, if you are minding your business and a cop walks up to you and demands to see your ‘identification' (your papers, please) and you decide you’ve done nothing to warrant this intrusion and refuse to provide it you can be legally detained until your identity is determined, regardless of whether or not there was probable cause or suspicious behavior. Thank the War on Drugs for that one.
Minorities, in particular Blacks and Latinos, are increasing in population in many states conservatives once had a complete lock on. Latinos are the fastest growing minority in the United States. These minority communities are becoming key swing voters for the Democratic party. The narrow and racist conservatism practiced by the base of the Republican Party is overwhelmingly rejected by minority communities who, while not sold on the Democratic Party, at least are welcome within its tent. The right wing base of the Republican party has come to recognize people of color as people of the opposition. Make no mistake about it, this
The lesson the right has learned through beating back the gains of Blacks made during the civil rights movement is if you want to deprive a person of their constitutional rights and eliminate the gains made by an ethnic group, label them a criminal and associate crime with an ethnic group. The war on drugs was used by the right to associate crime and drugs with Black youth (later Latino youth) to appeal to white voters who felt threatened by perceived out of control crime rates. The right is at it again, this time using the perceived criminality of undocumented persons as a means to justify the ethnic cleansing of Latino populations from
states that are in danger of losing white majority populations. Of course, no one wants to call it ethnic cleansing; even many opponents of the anti-immigration bill because we don't do that in the United States. Yet when you specifically target and associate an anti immigrant bill with an ethnicity, in this case Latinos, to achieve a political end, it doesn't matter if the means are labeled crime sweeps, anti-immigrant measures or protecting our borders; when it comes to the intended end result (the exodus of latinos) it is still ethnic cleansing. Even more foreboding, several right wing U.S. Senators have been circulating the idea to amend the 14th amendment to the Constitution that guarantees U.S. citizenship to all persons born on the soil of the United States. These Senators want to amend it so that children of undocumented persons born in the United States will be denied citizenship based on the "illegal" status of their parents. Again, with Latinos being the majority of undocumented persons in the U.S. and constituting the fastest growing minority this measure is clearly racially motivated. When Europeans were the largest ethnic group of undocumented persons the idea to amend the U.S. Constitution, which is held as sacred to many, was never considered. The reason being undocumented Europeans looked like and resembled culturally the white majority. They didn't represent a threat to the status quo. A majority of minorities threatens the cultural, social and political fabric of the United States and this is a scenario white cultural conservatives don't want to see happen. Stripping children of undocumented persons of their citizenship would be another step in attempting to prevent the inevitable. I say inevitable because the right will not be successful in preventing the demise of the white majority in this country. In the coming decades minorities will overtake whites as the majority population regardless of what tactics the right pursues. However, having a majority does not guarantee political power or the ability to change the empire's course and this is something the right is well familiar with. By disenfranchising black communities through the criminal justice system and War on Drugs and ethnically cleansing and criminalizing Latino communities using anti-immigration sweeps under the guise of crime prevention measures, the right hopes to maintain their grip on power and influence by imposing a right wing, white, minority rule. This is the real danger of policies and bills that target minority communities and strip them of their civil and human rights. It strips them of a voice in the political and social process and renders them civilly dead. It opens the door for them to be hunted down, detained and deported by a state that doesn't want the status quo threatened and will use whatever means necessary in pursuit of its ends. Robert Saleem Holbrook #BL-05l4O SCI-Greene 175 Progress Dr. Waynesburg, PA 15370 8.08.10
his past July marks 10 years since Philadelphia was the site of the 2000 Republican National Convention. The week of August 1, 2000, during the Republican Convention, thousands of activists took to the streets of Center City Philadelphia to interrupt business as usual and draw attention to the criminal injustice system as part of a week of protests in Philadelphia. We were riding on an exciting wave of mass direct actions against global capitalism following the previous November’s actions which shut down the meetings of the World Trade Organization in Seattle and large scale street actions against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank the following April in DC.
ten years after the Republican National Convention protests or stayed around after to deal with the legal defense, the RNC was a transformative event. While for many, direct action in the street and our confrontations with the state was new and something that would shape lives, the direct action during the Philly RNC was also an attempt to help transform the quickly emerging movement against capitalist globalization. Some of the strongest criticisms of the Seattle protests which hit close to home to many of the organizers of the August 1st Direct Action was the movement’s overwhelming whiteness, as well as it’s focus primarily on far away places as the victims of corporate greed. It wasn’t long before the freshly-formed Philadelphia Direct Action Group, along with comrades primarily in the NY Direct Action Network and Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM) chose to use the RNC as an opportunity to attack both political party’s role in the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).
While we were organizing to shut down the city on August 1st and simultaneously helping with vast logistical needs for the multitude of other protests and actions that week Throughout the 90s, in Philly (collectively On November 30, 1999 in Seattle, prison populations dubbed R2K), the PhilaWashington, well-organized and had exploded along delphia Police Departmassive street demonstrations with a lucrative priment in tandem with (made up of teamsters, anti-global- vate prison industhe District Attorney’s ization activists, unions, black bloc try, a direct result of office and judges were anarchists and numerous others) powerful corporate planning repression on overwhelmed police and successlobbies and a well a scale we hadn’t anfully shut down the WTO (World thought out racist poticipated. In the months Trade Organization) Ministerial lice strategy under the leading up to the RNC, conference. Over 600 protestors guise of the war on organizers were spied were arrested and detained. drugs. And for Philaon, picked off the street, delphians, issues to infiltrated and harassed. do with police, prisons or other forms of On August 1st, starting with an early morninstitutional racism were ubiquitous. In the ing raid of a warehouse and mass arrest of previous few years Philly had seen Grays artists and puppet makers, cops with blessFerry nearly erupt in race riots, the 39th Disings of police commissioner John Timoney trict Police scandal; and just months leading and the DA Lynn Abraham (and a million up to the RNC, Philly cops had murdered a dollar insurance policy protecting the City number of young black Philadelphians inagainst police brutality lawsuits) chased, brutally beat, and arrested over 400 activists cluding Erin Forbes, a young activist who a on the streets, about 40 who faced serious number of R2K organizers knew personally. Philly was also the home of political prisonfelony charges on bogus charges. ers like Russel Maroon Shoatz, the MOVE 9 For many who organized for, attended and/ and Mumia Abu Jamal, for whom thousands
had recently mobilized.
took over the Liberty Bell.
This July, a number of R2K vets pulled together a two day exhibit and party to reflect on where we’d come since 2000. Part of the exhibit included a sound station with interviews from our compas from SLAM.
Kai Lumumba Barrow: SLAM took quite a few arrests. At the time of R2K, a lot of us made the decision that we didn’t want to get
See pictures from the exhibit at: http://tinyurl.com/r2kplus10 Hear the interviews and more at: http://slamherstory.wordpress.com /2010/07/30/slam-r2k-10-audio-inteviews/
Looking back: SLAM interviews The Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM) was a radical multiracial organization at the City University of New York (CUNY) that participated in planning the protests against R2K. For more info about SLAM, visit www.slamherstory.worpress. com. A longer version of this article and audio segments are also there, so you can hear these words in the voices of the people who said them. Suzy Subways conducted these interviews in July 2010. What was SLAM’s experience with militant direct action before the lockdowns and flying squads of R2K? Sandra Barros: SLAM had embraced direct action since its inception in the mid90s. We were facing tuition hikes, cutbacks in Open Admissions, and really deep community issues like immigration rights and police brutality. I had participated in arrest situations at least five times before R2K. Kazembe Balagun: We disrupted CUNY Board of Trustees meetings. Amadou Diallo was shot by the police 41 times, and there was 41 days of civil disobedience. SLAM members were part of that. On July 4th, 1999, in defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, we
arrested. I was making pretty clear distinctions between civil disobedience and direct action. So being part of this flying squad was an opportunity to disrupt business as usual, and at the same time, not intentionally put ourselves in the hands of the state. Why did R2K organizers decide on a day of direct action against police and prisons? Kai: Some of us felt like we needed to link issues of global capital to conditions of people of color in the U.S. It became a real struggle, because some of the anti-globalization people felt like, “This dilutes our message.” We were like, “No, what you’re saying–to not privilege this–further invisibilizes the struggle we’ve been engaged in as colonial folks since we’ve been here.” Also, we had to be like, “Look, we are bringing what this movement does not have, which is
predominantly female-bodied, queer, poor and young people of color, who are coming to this action from our own particular experiences, our own analysis, which is completely different from the analysis that is currently existing. And that has value.” One of the best things about R2K was the political education.
house. I had been going to these amazing strategy meetings where I learned how the consensus process could be used really well. One of the interesting things for me was trying to work in consensus in a minute-byminute heightened mobilization. These efforts at democratic participation – they’re not just concepts we talk about. They can’t be used mechanically. There ended up being an impromptu 80-person meeting, and what we really needed to do was get out of there very quickly.
Kazembe: For the Republicans, Philadelphia was symbolic in terms of “the cradle of liberty.” For activists, we know Philadelphia as the place of Frank Rizzo parading Black Panthers naked in the streets at Kazembe: We were having a meeting about gunpoint. We know Philadelphia as Wilson whether to give ourselves up or make a run Goode dropping a bomb on the MOVE cen- for it. They didn’t have a search warrant, ter in the Black community. We know Phil- so technically, we could have ran out. But adelphia as the place Mumia, a journalist, within three hours, they were able to get a writer and educator, was framed for murder search warrant. So we got arrested. and placed on death row. Many of us took it as a direct challenge to us to bring our poli- Anna Ortega: Some people got out just in tics around prisons to the time – they went to smoke a forefront of the national On August 1, 2000 during cigarette. The smokers surthe RNC in Philadelphia, consciousness. vived! the Puppet Warehouse, Sandra: SLAM played a used as a space to make Kazembe: It was 110˚ that leading role amongst peo- art and puppets to convey day. They had us in a school ple of color led organiza- a powerful visual mesbus for hours. And subsetions to say, “We have to sage during street protests quently, I passed out. I got bring our issues to the table against the criminal justice dragged out of the bus by because they are the issues. system, was raided by my arms, shirt, and hair. Our communities are being the police. All the puppets affected, so we’re going were destroyed and over Anna: The little plastic ties to participate in shutting 70 people were arrested around our wrists were redown the Republicans.” and detained. Charges ally tight. Kazembe was Historically, the people of were eventually dropped. screaming a lot – I think color Left and what might traditionally be seen as a white anarchist scene were seen as separate and disparate. From R2K, we learned that we actually have so much to learn from one another. What was your experience on August 1st? Mariano Muñoz: Because of my status at that time, I thought I shouldn’t be arrested because I would face imminent deportation. I was sort of a double agent – I got dressed as a reporter. I was on the periphery of a flying squad that was a decoy to buy time for another flying squad to block streets. But once you see your friends being attacked by police, it’s within you to get involved. Then I would just go to the side, wipe the sweat off my face and take some pictures, and the police would run right by me and chase the people who were moving. I would join them a couple blocks down the road. Nermeen: When the puppet space got raided, I was outside smoking. I ended up meeting up with SLAM folks and doing the flying squad thing. It’s glamorous to be like, “We’re gonna cause havoc and turn over garbage cans!” but message-wise, lockdowns are a much better concept. When you’re locked down, if a reporter comes and asks you a question, you have time and an arsenal of things you can say. The puppetmaking was beautiful and strategic, because with some of the puppets, there was PVC piping which we were supposed to be chaining ourselves inside. So while a puppet might look like a big tree, our hands would be inside the tree. Sandra: I was arrested in the Puppet Ware-
he was screaming in pain. I saw him in the aisle passed out, and then they were dragging him off the bus. Everyone went berserk. There was definitely a moment of “Wow, there’s nothing we can do – we can’t stop them. Our hands are all tied.” I was worried about him bleeding or hurting his head. What was it like in jail, or supporting comrades in jail? Kazembe: We didn’t have access to water or phone calls. But also, people started singing, chanting – the sisters were holding on strong. Some people were really resistant. When they took me out of the cell [to be processed], they brought four officers, and as we were being dragged out, this anarchist brother locked arms with me. So they had to break him off and drag me out. To me, that was the spirit of solidarity. This was someone I didn’t even know.
people, like an hour after – I’m being facetious, but seriously, it seemed like an hour after people were arrested, they were like, “We’re going on a fast.” And we were like, “No, escalate to that!” And people’s parents coming, trying to get lawyers – it was madness. The parents were like, “Why do you have our kids up here doing this shit?”
And I was like, “Really? It’s right there.” So I got the ball. I was there temporarily, so no one said anything when I did it. They saw that also. Like, “All you guys are going to be leaving, and we’ll still be here.” But the women who spoke to me were happy we were there – like, “Good, somebody is looking, noticing.”
Mariano: In order to protect some of the more vulnerable protesters, people were withholding their names. Because of that, they weren’t given phone calls, so we didn’t know who was being held where or how they were treated. In Seattle, a lot didn’t give their names, and after a two or three day stalemate, they were released. In Philadelphia, they weren’t letting anybody out that wasn’t giving their names. Access to lawyers was very limited. We would hear gruesome stories of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. I didn’t introduce myself as a lawyer, but I acted as if I were representing some of them. I would go down with my briefcase. Unbeknownst to us, after leaving one of the precincts – we found out months later – apparently, the cops there got scared and let a good dozen people out immediately after I visited, because they knew they had no proof against these kids.
Sandra: It gave us a unique opportunity to learn what it was like inside the prison. The men were actually organizing – they came up with a list of demands for what was happening in prisons for the men in general, not the activists. We made a point to sit and talk with the women about [the protests]. What were they watching on television? They were like, “Yeah, we saw those cop cars, we saw people slashing the tires.” They were really excited to see it, but the truth is, they had no idea why that was happening. And when they heard us talking about, “This is about you – you know, like, why are you here? Why is this jail filled with queer women, Puerto Rican women, Black women?” – they couldn’t believe it.
Anna: Once we got transferred to the prison, we were able to connect with the women who were in the Philly prison system. They immediately said, “We’ve gotten more food because you guys are here. Usually there’s one egg, and today there’s two. They’re trying to make it look better. Once you get your pen and paper, we want to tell you about our story. There were college programs, and they’re getting cut.” I felt very related, like I could have known them from anywhere. When we were playing volleyball, if the ball went out of the lines, they couldn’t get it because they would be given more time in jail.
What do you think were some of the lessons of R2K? Mariano: We didn’t have a lot of community support. A lot of people who weren’t from Philly had caused a big headache for people trying to get to work, get their children to childcare. You can’t expect the corporate media to cover protest from your point of view, but you can do more groundwork before such a big action. As working class people, maybe you have family and two or three jobs, and you may not have time to organize, even though you understand the need. But if you’re made aware of what’s going on, you can plan around it. Sandra: I think about direct action today and the media coverage it’s receiving. Our
Kai: I think I was in Philly a total of three weeks. I was like, “God, I live here!” Not only dealing with the decision-making, and hearing that
job as organizers is to make sure we contribute to framing things. If we don’t want this corporate-dominated world that we’re living in today, literal corporate destruction, then what kind of world do we envision? What kind of economy do we want to see? What kind of school system? Direct action is fueled by this deep, humanistic core value of the kind of society we want, and to say, “We want to build that society, and that’s why we’re putting our bodies on the line.” Nermeen: We really did disrupt the convention – they were stuck in traffic for hours and couldn’t get there. Our purpose is not just to make sure that you understand what we’re saying. Our purpose is to try to disrupt your event, and to make sure that you’re not going to get around us easily. And we were extremely successful in that. If everyone who was arrested had been able to do what they were planning on doing, I think Philly would have been at a standstill for the better part of a week. Kazembe: Direct action is central to dismantling the state and capitalism, and done correctly, it can foster solidarity across racial and gender lines. We need to maintain this sense of a national network and be innovative. We consistently go back to reference the anti-WTO protests in Seattle, but the police state’s learning curve has increased since Seattle – to disrupt communications networks, massive shows of force, basically militarize the city. What are we going to do in terms of re-imagining our tactics?
Cops take South Street (Continued from page 5) ism has provided a new pretense for social control. The actual dangers posed by the crowds of youth were absurdly exaggerated. The news reported that there were “disturbances” as they gathered on South Street, but no real details were given. From what we saw, the vast majority of people in the streets were simply hanging out and not engaged in any criminal activity. In the past, celebrations following Greek Picnics have involved incidents of sexual assault and violence on the street. However, during this year's police sweep towards Broad Street, only 15 arrests were reportedly made for minor offenses, such as disorderly conduct and under-age drinking. Even so, such “minor” incidents did not stop the police from using brutal techniques of repression. It's likely that any incidents that night were not much worse than what usually happens outside the South St bars and clubs on weekends. But the police don't shut down South St every Saturday because of a few bar fights or a couple of rowdy assholes on the street. The difference,
of course, is the fact that the crowds of youth that night were overwhelmingly black and young. In our last issue, an article on flash mobs pointed out that when the Phillies won the playoffs in 2008, there were numerous incidents of arson, property damage, and physical violence. Yet these crimes did not prompt the police to shut down the celebrations or prohibit Phillies fans from gathering in the future. At the time, Commissioner Ramsey commented that the crowds were generally under control, even in light of a few “celebratory fires,” as he called them. Perhaps an even starker contrast with how police have responded to Greek Weekend can be found at the annual Mummers Parade, where the police generally tolerate raucous participants and spectators. Media coverage often lacks perspective in pointing out how cops treat some perpetrators of violence leniently while they harshly repress others.
South St: Safe For Whom? The racist hysteria over flash mobs
and the police shutdown are parts of a larger picture. There is a strong police presence on South Street, especially on the weekends, and police harassment has become more common. Cops terrorize not only black youth, but anyone who gives them the slightest excuse to be considered a threat or danger. As we worked on this article, we heard many stories from friends and acquaintances about incidents of police brutality on South Street. Media racism provides the cops with the pretense of protecting the public from dangerous black youth, but in reality, they use their increased presence on South Street to harass lots of different people. South Street is not just a commercial strip. It is a public street where everyone should be able to spend time without being subjected to police harassment. Keeping it that way involves being critical of police repression conducted in the name of public safety, finding ways to oppose it, and taking mainstream media to task for their biased coverage in support of business interests.
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Book review: Uses of A Whirlwind Uses of a Whirlwind: Movement, Movements, and Contemporary Radical Currents in the United States, edited by Team Colors Collective, AK Press Review by Colin and Judas Lee
ses of a Whirlwind is not your father's book on social movements, harping back to another time and another world, as so many works on radicalism are inclined to do. This essay collection offers valuable accounts and analyses of how contemporary movements are responding to the dizzying era of neoliberalism so many of us are continually trying to understand better. The Team Colors Collective declare up front that “our personal radicalizations came about through participation in strands of the alter-globalization movement at the tail end of the twentieth century.” Accordingly, the struggles and ideas in these writings reference such world-changing touchstones as the Zapatista rebellions in Mexico in 1994, the protests against the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, the anti-war movement, and the recovery efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans. This is very much a book about the here and now. The book's title and organizing metaphor comes from a distinction drawn between radical social movements of the past and those of today. Team Colors (TC) characterizes the period of the late 60s and 70s as one of “fires,” when one movement would spark another into existence, growing and spreading quickly. Since then, capital and state apparatuses have responded in ways that organizers and intellectuals are still grappling with: the curtailing of freedoms because of “too much democracy,” massive privatization and de-regulation, major setbacks for organized labor, the rise of the non-profit industrial complex, and the greater penetration of finance capital into all areas of life. In this climate, radical movements no longer have the character of fires, but “whirlwinds.” They are composed of multiple currents that are “fluid, open, and constantly shifting across the terrain.” The whirlwinds metaphor is a highly nuanced way of assessing the contemporary terrain. TC is not pessimistic about the fragmentation of movements. They carefully avoid the trap of nostalgia for a unified working class or a revolutionary proletariat, instead recognizing that the many disparate movements existing today are multiple sites of struggle, each with their own unique relationships to neoliberal hegemony along lines of race, gender, sexuality, environmentalism, urban justice, etc. The main challenge today, the collective suggests in an optimistic tone, is that of creating forms
of solidarity that amplify different struggles across a highly varied political landscape into powerful bursts of allied rebellion. A great strength of this volume is that theory and practice are absolutely inseparable. Evident throughout is the collective's editorial devotion to militant research, “research by invested militant activists for the purpose of clarifying and amplifying struggle.” To that end, each selection uniquely teases out a different aspect of the complex dynamics of whirlwinds, helping organizers and intellectuals to better understand what it means to struggle under and against neoliberalism. The section “Organization Case Studies” offers studies of the organizational forms that have emerged as alternatives to traditional labor unions, non-profit institutions, and state-sanctioned protest rallies. To cite a few examples, the collectivist structure of Bluestockings Bookstore in NYC, the radical tactics of Direct Action to Stop the War in San Francisco, and the organizing of precarious labor by the Starbucks Workers Union all reflect important efforts to find efficacious new forms for organizing. Amidst the organization case studies, there can be found a refreshing honesty and selfreflective tone which gives voice to some genuinely thoughtful writing and opens a dialogue with those whose minds are worn weary and raw from the grinding ubiquity of the standard, non-profit organization, press release-style essays which clutter listserves, and all too often, the pages of radical newspapers and books. In “A Conversation on Organizing Models for Social Justice in the City,” for example, tensions are permitted to rise to the surface about levels of engagement with the government, as Take Back the Land Organizer Max Rameau states, “We don't think about power in the sense of how to meet with elected officials or get elected officials to concede to certain demands. We think about the capacity of our community and how we can maximize and then expand that capacity.” “Movement Strategies” takes a broader perspective, examining the contexts of struggles and the way they have formed alliances and connections to bring whirlwinds into convergence as powerful gusts. One essay makes the case for food sovereignty as an integral part of the global justice movement. Another piece surveys the history of Independent Media Centers (IMCs), not only in terms of their challenge to the state repression of information and corporate media conglomeration, but also with respect to the new challenges of autonomous media in the face of new social media. A brilliant, innovative and intimate essay by TC collective member Stevie Peace titled “The Desire to Heal” demonstrates both a new method of questioning as well as what it means to write about social movements seriously and passionately. The placement of
himself in the essay is necessary, useful and shows a reflective self-awareness that many professional writers are only able to caricature. Peace takes two movements—Critical Resistance and Restorative Justice Community Action—and places them on a new plane of assessment—harm—as opposed to the standard measures of success such as money raised, protest attendance, number of campaigns, and so on. By introducing harm as a concept in a very deliberate, cautious, and attentive way, Peace not only compels us to think about how movements address harm in their work as well as in our daily lives, but also displays a possibility of what the critical, personal and radical essay can look like. Might there be a multitude of frames people can use to explain, narrate, analyze and make sense of the many currents of whirlwinds? Might we be able to realign our focus forward, “walking while asking questions,” that are as imaginative as they are generative like Peace's question, “what would it mean to heal?” The essays in the section, “Theoretical Analyses,” contribute new conceptual tools in a variety of directions. One piece constructs a map of relationships among the food, energy, and labor crises of 2008-09 and analyzes the possibilities for working class recomposition. Another essay uses a strong class analysis to explain the Wall St crisis, as a corrective to the more prevalent emphasis usually given to the predatory workings of global financial capital. The last section, “Interviews,” comes full circle by situating the neoliberal present within the past in insightful ways. In these dialogues, there is a strong commitment to “revolution” even as this term is reconceptualized away from its grand utopian connotations toward concrete projects of creating new worlds which sustain thoughtful considerations of what “justice” can mean within them. Some of the pieces in Uses appear to stand stronger than others in relation to TC's overall framework. Some of the pieces were more reflective than others. One or two were noticeably less critical in their approach to writing about social movements. However, their very presence highlights just how much of a breakthrough TC has made with this collection; it is truly a unique accomplishment for a collection of this size
to avoid the over-self-congratulatory tone of so much organizer and activist writing. What seems to be aspired to and obtained in brief, sublime, flashes in some of the more gripping essays is a synthesis of the critical, the theoretical and the intellectual, on one hand, and the pragmatic, the strategic and the passionate on the other. TC is quick to acknowledge that Uses does have limitations, mostly coming from the rush to release the book which they compiled on short notice. But the book is overwhelmingly successful in its proposal for a method, its push for critical action and inquiry, and its articulation of a desire for a return to radical community organizing. Released in May of this year, Uses of a Whirlwind appears at just the right moment to help us understand why there is a widespread sense of potential and paralysis at the same time. The book shows us how the work we do as organizers, activists, and participants falls in danger of dissipating like a weak breeze, or how it can whip together into tornadoes of change. The metaphor of “whirlwinds” is as much a useful diagnostic as it is a call to specific forms of action crucial to struggles against neoliberalism.
no justice no (chick) peas (continued from page 5) (Chick) Peas!” The official launch date for the campaign is October 21, 2010.
Life in Palestine The fabric of day-to-day life in the West Bank and Gaza is confined by the will of the Israeli state. The West Bank has been occupied since 1967, and while Israel technically “disengaged” from Gaza in 2005, it has been under siege since. In these regions the blistering economic conditions were not precipitated, as elsewhere, by the global financial crisis, but rather by a deliberately devised, finely tuned apparatus instituted by the Israeli government. Israel decides what is allowed in and out of the West Bank and Gaza, thereby crippling access to foreign markets and, more so in Gaza, to adequate food and medical supplies.
Of over 3 million Palestinians living as refugees abroad, more than 45% experience food insecurities. With many living in refugee camps in countries neighboring Israel, Palestinian refugees have no actual citizenship and are thereby unable to reap the benefits of statehood—international mobility, protection of local laws and court systems, etc. Though originally from what is now Israel, the Israeli government denies these refugees the right to return to their homeland, or to reunite with their families. The aforementioned realities of Palestinian life paint only a partial picture of Israel’s human rights abuses, all of which coalesce to produce the overwhelming need for the
Within the state of Israel, where about 20% of the population is indigenous, Palestinians are systematically discriminated against through laws favoring their Jewish counterparts. Economic, educational, political, and social inequalities are stark: The Follow-Up Committee for Arab Education notes that the Israeli government spends an average of $192 per year on each Arab student compared to $1,100 per Jewish student. Arab workers earn 29% less than Jewish workers, and when it comes to land ownership, the laws are stacked: Arab-Israelis continue to see their historic homes confiscated in the name of the settler movement, one that only continues to pick up speed.
But the BDS movement is making headway. Around the world, activists and organizations are responding to the call by Palestinian civil society to get Israel to “end its occupation and colonization of Arab lands, dismantle the Wall; recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.” Recent hallmarks of the global BDS movement include: Olympia Food Co-op’s boycott of Israeli goods; Oakland, California, Swedish, Norwegian ad South African dockworkers refusal to dock and unload Israeli ships, and the refusal of celebrities and musicians such as Gil Scott Heron, the Pixies, Meg Ryan, Dustin Hoffman, and Santana to appear in Israel. In addition, this year the European Union ruled that products from Israeli settlements on the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not eligible for the trade benefits with European Union, and in 2009 Britain blocked the sale of spare parts for Israel’s fleet of missile gunships because they were used in the 2009 bombing of Gaza, revoking five of Israel’s arms licenses with the UK.
Israel controls other basic services, such as access to water for drinking and irrigation. After over 40 years of military occupation, Israel has yet to build advanced wastewater treatment plants. Sources of fresh water that used to be public have long since been staked out by private Israeli water companies and sold back to Palestinians at rates they can barely afford for themselves let alone their crops. As a result, poverty and unemployment continue to grip the West Bank and Gaza, where farming was once a sustainable industry. Furthermore, Israeli settlements and the Apartheid Wall annex much of the most arable land, and Israeli goods flood Palestinian markets further damaging the already crippled manufacturing sector. At its will, the Israeli government can detain, torture, and kill Palestinians with impunity. According to B’tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, “Israel holds hundreds of Palestinians for months and years under administrative orders, without prosecuting them” a policy constituting a “grave infringement of human rights, in breach of international humanitarian law.” Palestinians are routinely killed, struck with bombs, automatic weapons, knives, and tear gas canisters, at the hands of Israeli soldiers as well as by settlers living in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
manitarian crisis.” Meanwhile, local and international peace activists are being stifled, such as peaceful protesters in the West Bank and international activists on aid missions to Gaza.
Why Boycott Sabra and Tribe? Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. When governments fail, ordinary citizens must act.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions In response to the blatant violations of international law committed by Israel against Palestinians, the BDS movement seeks to delegitimize these policies in support of a just resolution. The BDS movement is a nonviolent affront to a government created and sustained through violence The BDS movement is not the first tactic, but rather the most recent in a string of tactics aimed at putting an end to Israel’s human rights violations. Appeals by the international community, such as hundreds of United Nations’ resolutions calling on the state of Israel to abide by international law, have failed to redirect Israel’s agenda. Rather, the state of Israel is more steadfast than ever in its policies against Palestinians. Publicly, Israeli politicians deny or playdown the realities of Palestinian life. When asked if Israel could show more concern for the problems of the Palestinian people in Gaza, prominent Israeli politician Tzipi Livni replied, “I know that there is no hu-
Sabra and Tribe are two hummus companies with local distribution that both subsidize the Israeli government’s abusive policies against Palestinians. Both companies are subsidiaries of large Israeli corporations: Sabra operates under the Strauss Group and Tribe under Osem. Both the Strauss Group and Osem have ties to the Israeli government and military, with the Strauss group funding a brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and Osem supporting the Jewish National Fund (JNF in its present destruction of Bedoin villages in the Negev desert. The Strauss Group and Osem are proud of these dealings. On its website, the Strauss group boasts of its 30-year support for the IDF’s Golani Brigade and Givati platoon, groups responsible for carrying out violations of international law. According to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, the Golani brigade is responsible for “abuse of Palestinians.” Breaking the Silence, a group composed of ex-Israeli soldiers, has documented numerous cases of IDF abuses, including a December 2005 incident in which a Golani Brigade officer was convicted of beating a Palestinian detainee and threatening to dismember him. Osem partners with the JNF, an Israeli pseudo-governmental organization which has been responsible for illegal land acquisition
and appropriation within Israel’s borders, as well as a tree planting campaign to cover up the remnants of Palestinian heritage within Israel. According to Hazem Jamjoum, the communications officer for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, the Israeli government has “systematically subcontracted the JNF for the implementation of demographically engineering the land in [Israel].” Along with supplying aid to the Israeli military and para-governmental organizations, both companies annually take part in a conference aimed at delineating Israeli domestic and foreign policies. Hosted by the Institute for Policy and Strategy as well as the Laudner School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, the Herzliya Conference conducts research and publishes on the subjects of "Israel's Foreign Relations", "Israel and the Arab World", "Patriotism and National Strength", "Radical Islam", and "Deterrence". Participants of the Herzliya Conference include dozens of government representatives and advisors, as well as prominent members of the IDF. According to the hosts, "The annual Herzliya Conference on the Balance of Israel’s National Security, which has become a key event for Israel’s political, military, intelligence, economic, and social leadership, is considered the center stage for the articulation of national policy." With hands in both the Israeli government and military, Sabra and Tribe hummus are prime targets for a local BDS campaign.
Criticisms Critics of the BDS movement have labeled it a thinly veiled attempt to procure Israel’s demise. Other critics worry that the BDS movement will hurt Israeli workers, depriving innocent people of their livelihoods. But in reality, the BDS movement is intended to hold Israel accountable to the very international laws that it has already signed on to. In no way is the BDS movement an attack on Israel’s citizenry, but rather the policies of its government. With regards to Israeli workers, it is true that workers who manufacture goods for export may be adversely affected, but by and large these workers are themselves operating under a system of slave labor within the Israeli state. Industries that had previously employed Palestinian workers from Gaza and the West Bank—such as construction, agriculture, and elderly care—are now filled with systematically exploited migrant workers from Southeast Asia. These workers, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, are forced to pay exorbitant fees, are overworked, denied wages and deported at will. Rather than Israeli workers, what will suffer most from BDS are the policies behind Isra-
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the dangers of hydraulic dirty lady time (continued from page 8) fracturing (continued from page 9) levels of both nitrogen and oxides, which combine with toxic results. The mayor of Dish, Texas, Calvin Tillman, travels around the country speaking in areas with natural gas drilling to warn them of the air pollution his town suffered after fracing was used to infiltrate the Barnett Shale. Stadium lights are used to keep drill sites active around the clock. Residents near these sites complain that sleeping is nearly impossible at night. Many have given up and spent their personal money on heavy-duty curtains guaranteed to keep light out. Senick describes the experience of owning a home near drill sites as "living next to a carnival...but without the rides or prizes." Low level noise from machinery hums around the clock, punctuated by the occasional blast. “It’s getting to the point where I think we’re getting hearing loss. It’s just so constant,” Farnelli says. The construction of drill pads also damages the state’s remarkable forests. Even if trees are spared the direct axe, the digging associated with drill pad construction causes root damage, which can kill or weaken trees. Weakened trees are most susceptible to pests, boring beetles in particular. Opening the canopy to create a pad in the middle of a stand of trees puts extra stress on the trees at the edge, and they become more susceptible to damage by cold, wind, water, or sun. Access roads build for trucks also cause fragmentation of natural ecosystems. Komoroski himself admits “it is a disruptive process.” The official stance the landmen have, and tell the people whose land they lease,is that the land will be left as it was after the drilling (eventually) commences. “They say, ‘we’re
gonna put everything the way it was’… what are you, a magician??” Vera Scroggins asks. She describes how a company will replant a pad with grass, where there was once a vital, thriving forest ecosystem. In the end, it is clear to residents and visitors alike that this land is not what it once was. “This year they’re putting in 73 more horizontal wells, and ten vertical wells, all in a nine square mile radius. This is my neighborhood now,” local resident Vicky Switzer says. Scroggins, too, notices the changes. “I moved to the country because I wanted to have a country life, and it’s being changed. It’s like we’re being sacrificed so the world can have more fuel… Think of something else. They’re pumping billions into this… [They should] pump it into other technologies, ones that don’t change the ecosystems of our county.” When environmental disaster happens in our own backyards, it is vital to get the story from below. The media above and the gas company “coalitions” would have us convinced this is an isolated incident and completely unrelated to Marcellus Shale. We know better, and must use this information to make better policy decisions about natural gas drilling in our state. “Until Carter Road is everywhere, till everyone’s kids are vomiting and getting leukemia, no one’s gonna do anything,” Scroggins fears. The full version of t his article is available at: www.pafrombelow.info Contact Sara at: firstname.lastname@example.org
no justice no chick peas (continued from previous page) el’s international-law violations. In the end, Israeli and Palestinian workers alike will benefit, as Israel aligns itself with justice and international investment flocks back in their direction.
The Philly Connection Each year, the state of Pennsylvania sends roughly 126 million dollars in federal tax revenue to the state of Israel, primarily in the form of military equipment. As Pennsylvanians, our tax dollars go towards checkpoints in the West Bank, bulldozers in East Jerusalem, and bombs in Gaza. While not in our name, what the state of Israel does is subsidized by us. Not only could our dollars be put to better use at home—towards public schools, libraries and healthcare—what they are currently funding constitutes numerous violations of international humanitarian law.
What You Can Do While we may not as easily be able to redirect federal funding, we can redirect our consumer behavior and make a statement with our wallets. In persuading local businesses to de-shelve Israeli products we are telling Washington and the world that we will not support these crimes. In this campaign, making a difference is as simple as buying hummus from a company other than Sabra or Tribe, or making your own (see below). If a store stocks Sabra or Tribe, ask the manager to deshelve. Together we can hold Israel to account, one chickpea at a time. Check out defenestrator.org for the No Justice, No (Chick) Peas Hummus Recipe!
M-I don't think I can answer that. B- I can't think of any, but there might be things I should play, but just can't bring myself to do it. How can someone get their music played on your show? M-All they need is a vagina and a song, or a vagina song. You can email songs to Dirtyladytime@gmail.com or regular mail 630 N 3rd Street, PMB60 , Philadelphia, PA 19123 Rapid fire favorites: Favorite DLT moment M-The covers show or when we had the musical war. Oh and the Dirty Rap hour. B-First instudio and Lady M's introduction Favorite DLT show segment M-DJ Tourettes B-Peaches corner Favorite cover song M-“Hospital Beds” - Florence and the Machine B-“Cupid” - Amy Winehouse Favorite thing about the show
anger, violence and/or darkness. Favorite thing about female musicians? M-Much like the style of Susanna Hoffs, short dress/skirt with low hanging guitar. Or their pretty, pretty voices. B-Watching them play their instruments. Favorite local band M-Little x Little, http://little-x-little.com/ B-Post Post/Little x Little The thought behind the show is something the women of DLT like to call “the dial test.” Start near WXPN, 88.5 FM on your radio dial and use your search/seek button to advance from station to station. Count how many female voices you hear. I did this “test.” I went all the way to 107.9 FM and heard only 3 female voices out of over 20 station stops. Aren't there more women than men in the world at this point in time? Just like three female Supreme Court Justices, 3 female voices on Saturday afternoon radio doesn't seem like an adequate representation of females in our musical society. Luckily, we have Dirty Lady Time to help settle the score even if they seem to not agree on anything. Listen live Sundays 1-3pm on Voltaradio.com or listen later at http://www.podomatic.com/profile/dirtyladytime.
M-Lack of schlong. B-Playing music with women expressing
Philly delegation travels to Puerto Rico (continued from page 7) support the work of Los Macheteros, another clandestine independentist organization. The other remaining political prisoner is Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has served almost 30 years for “seditious conspiracy.” Lopez Rivera rejected the 1999 offer because Torres was not included in it and because it would have required him to serve 10 more years in prison. At the celebrations for Carlos, both in Chicago and in Puerto Rico, every speaker emphasized the importance of continuing and strengthening the campaign to bring Avelino and Oscar home. To find out more and figure out how to get involved, check out http://boricuahumanrights.org or email us at email@example.com The Wild Poppies Collective is a Philadelphia based anti-imperialist collective that works to end state repression and the prison industrial complex. The name Wild Poppies is taken from a poem by former antiimperialist political prisoner Marilyn Buck to honor her life, commitment, and legacy of anti-racist, anti-imperialist struggle.
Crossword Puzzle Solutions ACROSS 3. Cabot 7. LittleXLittle 11. SCI Greene 12. Coalition 13. Assange DOWN 1. Hole 2. FALN 4. Dimock 5. Stewart 6. Pekar 8. Liberation 9. Timoney 10. ICE
Rebel Calendar Friday September 10 Fundraiser for “Audacity of Hope” US ship for next Gaza Freedom Flotilla Poet Remi Kayazi and Anne Wright Dinner buffet. $25. $10 for students, retirees Tabernacle Church 3700 Chestnut St. 6:30-8:30 pm Saturday September 11 Really (Really!) Free Market Exchange stuff! LAVA 4134 Lancaster Ave. Noon Friday September 17 Food Not Bombs Benefit Eric Peterson, Sour Mash and On the Water LAVA 4134 Lancaster Ave. 7 pm Thursday September 23 Cindy Milstein, author of Anarchism and its Aspirations
Wooden Shoe Books 704 South St 7 pm Saturday September 25 Daniel Burton-Rose author of Creating a Movement with Teeth: A History of the George Jackson Brigade Wooden Shoe Books 704 South St. 7 pm Wednesday October 6 Critical Reading Group: Discussion of The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex Wooden Shoe Books 7-8:30 pm Saturday & Sunday October 9 & 10 Act Up Dinner and Yard Sale LAVA 4134 Lancaster Ave. 10:30 am – 5pm Sunday
October 9-11 Summit Against IMF/World Bank Washington D.C. More info: www.imfresistance.org Sunday October 17 Fall Benefit for the Jewish Dialogue Group Music, food and fun The Rotunda 40th & Walnut 6 pm Now thru October 29 Exhibit: Inside/Outside Art by Prison Inmates and Ex-offenders 2nd & 4th floors City Hall This Fall/Winter Author and Activist Silvia Federici in Philadelphia! Check http://endofcapitalism.com/ for updates.
Ongoing Events and Meetings... Food Not Bombs In a country hungry for war, that bombs countries hungry for food.. Rain or shine: Servings are Sundays at 5:00PM and Mondays at 7:00PM across from the Free Library on Vine Street between 19th and 20th Streets In West Philly : sharings happen every Wednesday @ 5pm-CEDAR PARK (50th and Baltimore)
ACT UP Weekly Meeting Every Monday from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm St. Lukes Church; 330 S. 13th St. (between Pine & Spruce) Email: actupphilly@ critpath.org for more info.
International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Interested in being involved in the campaign for Mumia’s release either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215 476 8812
Books Through Bars Packing Café Every Tuesday from 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm The A Space; 4722 Baltimore Ave. E-mail: email@example.com for more info
PRAWN (Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network) Meets 1st Tues. at Local 4, AFSCME, 1606 Walnut. 6:30-9pm www.prawnworks.net
Spaces... LAVA The Lancaster Avenue Autonomous space is a center for radical media and organizing located at 4134 Lancaster Ave. in the Belmont Neighborhood of West Philly. info: 215.387.6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org * lavazone.org A-Space A ollectively run anarchist gallery and meeting/community space. Events are free and generally start at 7:30pm unless otherwise noted. Accessible by the 34 trolley. Plenty of parking for cars and bikes. They pass the hat to cover rent. 4722 Baltimore Avenue
215.727.0882 a-space@defenestrator. org Wooden Shoe Books and Records Anarchist bookstore owned and run by an unpaid collective of geniuses with nothing better to do than sit around talking philosophy and riots. Carries a wide range of anarchist and radical books, periodicals, pamphlets, T-shirts, patches, CD's records etc. 704 South Street, PA 215.413.0999 email@example.com Firehouse Bikes- A worker owned collective bike shop. 50th and Baltimore
The Divine Bicycle Church - Bike repair co-op at Neighborhood Bike Works. Tools,advice and recycled parts available. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6:30-9pm 40th and Locust Walk, behind St. Mary’s Church www.neighborhoodbikeworks.org Crossroads Women's Center- Open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-2pm or by appointment 33 Maplewood Mall, Germantown 215848-1120
Wooden Shoe Books People's movie night Free movie screenings held every Sunday at Wooden Shoe Book Store. 7:30 PM, 704 South Street -- 215 413 0999
The Friends Center - American Friends Service Committee HQ. Contains meeting spaces and offices for a gazillion different entities. 1501 Cherry Street