Page 1


new years 2011

issue 50


West Philly Confronts Police Terror page 6

Europe fights cuts pg. 5

Lady Gaga for Palestine pg. 8

Take Back the Land pg. 10

Greek anarchists again pg. 18

also in this issue: Thousands go on strike in Georgia prisons * Students raise hell everywhere * Free Oscar Lopez Rivera * Multitudes strike back * France Protests Austerity * West Philly Rises Up Against Police Violence * Penn Pipelines and Privatization * PA prison report * Over wo(my)n’s dead bodies: on surviving ‘liberation’ * Emma Goldman and Free Speech in Philadelphia * Boondock Ain'ts * Bumbling Terrorists * ACT UP's housing campaign * Legal lowdown on Mumia * Interview with Athens anti-authoritarian movement comrades * John Holloway, Crack Capitalism and Latin America *

Thousands of Georgia Prisoners Go On Strike !

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

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Echoing the calls of prisoners who organized the Attica uprising nearly 40 years ago, thousands of prisoners in Georgia prisons have gone on strike in what looks like the largest mass action in a prison in US history. The prisoners from Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, issued a series of demands for dignity within a ruthless and dehumanizing prison system. Among them are a living wage (most Georgia prisoners live under modern day slavery, forced to work for no pay), health care, education, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, better living conditions and meals, access to their families and just parole decisions. Read more at According to press contact and former Black Panther Party chairman Elaine Brown, the strikes have spread to 10 prisons so far and despite blanket denials by prison officials of anything going on whatsoever, correctional officers have

threatened extreme forms of retaliation including beatdowns and flooding prison cells.

Below is information excerpted from the Black Agenda Report on the net at . The peaceful strike begun by inmates of several Georgia state prisons continued for a second day on Friday, according to family members of some of the participants. Several institutions were placed on lockdown beginning Thursday in anticipation of the inmate protest,

letting the prisoners leave their cells. GA Prisoner Strike Continues a Second Day, Corporate Media Mostly Ignores Them, Corrections Officials Decline Comment by Bruce A. Dixon, BAR Managing Editor Offices of the wardens at Hay's, Macon State, Telfair, and

Augusta state all referred our inquiries to the Department of Corrections public affairs officer, who so far has declined to return our repeated calls. The prisoner strike in Georgia is unique, sources among inmates and their families say, because it includes not just black prisoners, but Latinos and whites too, a departure from the usual sharp racial divisions that exist behind prison walls. Inmate families and other sources claim that when thousands of prisoners remained in their cells Thursday, authorities responded with violence and intimidation. Tactical officers rampaged through Telfair State Prison destroying inmate personal effects and severely beating at least six prisoners. Inmates in Macon State Prison say authorities cut the prisoners' hot water, and at Telfair the administration shut off heat Thursday when daytime temperatures were in the 30s. Prisoners responded by screening their cells with blankets, keeping prison authorities from performing an accurate continued on page 23

200 Students Come Together for Nonviolent Schools On Tuesday, November 9th, the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools hosted the Youth Power Summit. Over 200 students from 45 schools came together for a day of youth led workshops and dialogues.

Workshops included 'Bias Violence: Overcoming Divisions in Our Schools'; 'Know Your Rights'; 'Restorative Justice: Tools for Peace'; 'School to Prison or School to College' and 'Nonviolence: Power that Heals.' Each youth led workshop was designed to arm students with knowledge and concrete tools to take back to their school. At the close of the Youth Power Summit, every student stood and took the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools Pledge: I pledge to reject violence in my words, thoughts and actions. I pledge to identify the root causes of violence. I pledge to stand up against injustice. For a full report about the outcomes of the Youth Power Summit, go to

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on the initiative of wardens of those prisons, ironically responding to a threat of prisoners not leaving their cells by not

The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools (CNS) is a youth-led effort dedicated to addressing the root causes of school violence and its everyday manifestations. The Campaign is built on a strong foundation of

student-led organizing to improve school climate, create pro-student discipline policies, enhance trust and communication between students and school staff, and bring equity in human and material resources to all schools.

The Campaign is building a nonviolent student movement across neighborhoods, schools and organizations, engaging hundreds of youth in exploring the roots of violence in their own lives and developing a personal commitment to nonviolence. Prison-like school environments, a lack of resources, high staff turn-over rates, and suppression of youth leadership are examples of conditions that enhance feel-

ings of anger, frustration, and helplessness that young people may already be struggling with. These conditions help to create school environments which are a breeding ground for physical and emotional violence directed at other students and staff members. The Campaign seeks to address these conditions of Structural Violence by organizing to implement (and supporting where in existence) policies in collaboration with School District leadership that end the School to Prison pipeline and promote equity in human and material resources. For more info on the Philly Student Union see

Help Release Detained Refugees Now by Media Mobilizing Project

automatic life sentence of separation from thier lives and loved ones.

Many in the Cambodian-American community are facing a holiday season without their brothers, sons, friends and fathers. In a video produced by the Media Mobilizing Project, Joe Hanzsum, friend of detained refugees and member of the One Love Movement, a coalition fighting for the release of community members, explains the origins of Cambodian immigration to Philadelphia. Hanszum explains that most were thrown into the same conditions of poverty faced by the majority of Philadelphians when they came here from Cambodia. "We came here escaping genocide where most of our families were torn apart already," says Hanzsum. Yet their status as non-citizens under current immigration law means that any criminal record, large or small, is an

Mass detentions and deportations of Pennsylvanians are inhumane and only serves to deepen the poverty that so many communities are facing. Please read and sign a petition crafted by members of the Cambodian-American community in Philadelphia asking Immigration officials to take a look at these cases. When they do, they will see that these men are outstanding members of the community who have families that depend on and love them. Sign the online petition @ http://www.petitiononline. com/h2o1m5e/petition.html Check out the video here: The rally was organized by the One Love Movement. For

more information and updates visit Facebook. Search for AZI Fellas, Anti-Deportation Organization and the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia.

Listen to WPEB, 88.1 FM Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report Weekdays, 10-11am Free Speech Radio News Weekdays, 11-11:30am & 11-11:30pm Labor Justice Radio Mondays, 7-8pm War News Radio Sundays, 9-9:30pm On the Block (Prison News) Fridays, 9-11pm

Philly Casino Update: SugarHouse Opens, Crime Goes Up, Asians Wanted It's finally happened. In September, SugarHouse Casino opened its doors in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia to the dismay and continuing protests of community activists. Last year, 14 demonstrators from Casino-Free Philadelphia were arrested for blocking access to the construction site. The group has continued to hold vigils up until the casino's opening day. Though it has now been open just three months, there have already been reports of violent casinorelated crimes. In November, three women were robbed as they left the SugarHouse parking lot. One of them was treated at the hospital for injuries from being pistolwhipped in the head. During its anti-casino campaign, advocacy group Asian Americans United voiced concerns that a casino in Philly would follow the industry trend of aggressively marketing to Asians. That prediction has come true: SugarHouse

has posted a job opening for an Asian Marketing Executive, responsible for attracting Asian players, keeping a database of customers, and serving as a liaison between Asian guests and employees. The position's language requirements are clearly tailored to target the ethnic groups who exist in substantial numbers in Philadelphia: residents in the nearby Chinatown, Koreans living in the far northeast, and Vietnamese in South Philly. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has already approved a license for a second casino, to be built on the waterfront in South Philadelphia. As with SugarHouse, the promise of jobs is overshadowing any consideration of the negative impacts to communities. We're only starting to see what a casino does to a city. Do we want more of the same?

Oscar Lopez Rivera Petition Campaign The National Boricua Human Rights Network (NBHRN) - Philadelphia chapter is in crucial need of your support for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera. Mr. Lopez will go before the Parole Committee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons this coming January 2011. We are building support and momentum for this hearing through a national petition campaign.

We are certain that with your support we can bring this campaign to a long awaited victory with the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera to our community. Oscar is now 67 years old and among the longest held political prisoners in the history of Puerto Rico and in the world. The case of Oscar Lopez Rivera speaks to the fundamental rights of all people to struggle for dignity, freedom, and human rights. Your support is the key to his release!   The NBHRN is also available for adult and youth presentations, staff development training, and educational workshops on the history of Puerto Rico and the case of the Puerto Rican political prisoners.    For information regarding the National Boricua Human Rights Network and the campaign for the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, please visit our website at; or email (Leslie) or (Inez)

National Boricua Human Rights Network, Philadelphia Chapter Christ & St. Ambrose Episcopal Church 3552 N. 6th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19140

Reinstate Jim Kennedy!

On December 8, 2010, James Kennedy was fired from Comegys Elementary School afterschool program, part of the University of Pennsylvania's CSSP program. Kennedy is a dedicated teacher who had earned accolades for his work, but was fired for federally-protected union activity protected under section 7 of the NLRA. Penn had attempted to dock hours from his and his coworker's paychecks, and Kennedy stood up for his coworkers and said that that could not be done. He was told that he should not speak up for others, in violation of the law, and then Penn proceeded to find pretexts to fire him. James' coworkers were harassed and intimidated in order to break solidarity. After being fired for no stated reason over the phone, James' employer had a meeting with his coworkers to explain that he'd been fired for saying critical things of the program and his boss on Facebook, which is federally-protected speech under labor law. Please call the University of Pennsylvania at 215 898 7221 and his direct supervisor, Alexis Walker, at 215 913 0599, to demand that they restore James to his position.

Oscar Lopez Rivera was active in various community struggles, mainly in the area of health care, employment and police brutality. He also participated in the development of the Committee to Free the Five Puerto Rican Nationalists. In 1975, he was forced underground, along with other comrades. He was captured on May 29, 1981, after 5 years of being persecuted by the FBI as one of the most feared fugitives from US "justice."

France Protests Austerity by Jake Mautner and Ben Webster

Riots in Greece, militant student mobilizations in Great Britain, general strikes in Portugal and Spain, Ireland on the edge of financial collapse: this is the emerging face of Europe under the threat of economic crisis. And in France over the past few months, millions of workers and students took to the streets to protest the French government’s proposed pension reform bill, disrupting transit and nearly crippling its oil industry. Battles around pensions in France have erupted at key moments over the last 15 years, often resulting in the withdrawal of proposed reforms. Although the bill was signed by President Nicolas Sarkozy on November 10th and is scheduled to go into effect in July, the struggles against cuts in social services revealed sharp antagonisms in France as well as neighboring European countries that show no signs of resolution. Across Europe and beyond, austerity is being imposed by the IMF and the EU as a necessary step towards economic recovery. In France, these measures were implemented though a pension reform scheme which increases the age for full pension benefits from 65 to 67, and partial pension from 60 to 62 by 2018. Not unlike our Social Security system, the current pension system is a minimal guarantee against poverty for the retired and elderly. Implemented by a Socialist administration in 1983, it is a cherished and fiercely guarded right won from the state. If the reforms are implemented older workers will be forced to sacrifice two more years of life to the monotony and wear of work, and younger workers will face a job market with fewer opportunities. President Sarkozy was determined to reform the system despite the mass outrage it provoked in its most recent inception. Throughout September and October roughly two million joined the mass strikes primarily organized by the CGT (General Confederation of Labor) and the CFDT (French Democratic Confederation of Labor), the largest unions in France.

tion centers until police dispersed the workers. A panic was created with the possibility of a long-term fuel shortage, and as many as 2,500 gas stations ran dry while the government continued to deny the existence of the shortages. By the end of October, these efforts were ultimately counteracted by commanding workers to specific worksites, sending riot police to dismantle blockades at depots such as Donges, Le Mans and La Rochelle, and drawing from reserve and imported oil from elsewhere. On October 26th the final draft of the bill cleared the Senate, and was approved the following day by the National Assembly. Protests continued into the following weeks but were unable to sustain the large numbers who came out in mid-October, as many as 3.5 million by some estimates. It is necessary to analyze these events beyond their representation as a defeat, which is ultimately nothing more than a legislative defeat. Workers young and old, waged and unwaged, unionized and non-unionized came out en-masse to make their voices heard and to try to connect their struggles. Despite the fuel shortages and delays in travel, it is estimated that 70% of the French public supported the demonstrations. Thierry Dedieu of the CFDT union asks “Can we continue to extend indefinitely the length of the working life?” Sarkozy, on the other hand, has turned a deaf ear to the public, and contemptuously stated: "In a democracy, everyone can express themselves but you have to do so without violence or excesses." The growing solidarity of workers and students who’ve mobilized on the new terrain of austerity has become a force which Sarkozy and the interests he protects will have to contend with in any further attacks on social services. In this regard, the pension reform effort is but a Pyrrhic victory for Sarkozy, and a tentative victory of consciousness and organization for those opposing it. As 2011 approaches, the target of discontent is the bloated global capitalism that generated the economic crisis, and that now orders the working class to tighten its belt through concessions and cut-backs. The recession is not affecting everyone equally; the wealthy have used this opportunity to increase their wealth, while the livelihood of the vast majority is ever more precarious and miserable. The French example shows the importance of rejecting the imposed definitions and mandates of the politicians and their economists, which are ultimately constructed around corporate interests. Even as the French state hardens against mass protest and develops new tactics to silence dissent, demonstrations across Western Europe and those slowly emerging here in the US show that this economic crisis is a period in which resistance, not austerity, is necessary.

The French example shows the importance of rejecting the imposed definitions and mandates of the politicians and their economists, which are ultimately constructed around corporate interests.

Many strikes began in response to specific workplace or industry conditions, but continued in support of the pension reform protests and strengthened their efforts. Unions called on truck drivers to block busy intersections and distribution centers as well as refineries. Slow-downs stalled major highways and toll booths were occupied allowing free entry. Regional Rail service was reduced, in particular the RER-B line serving Paris airports. Airport traffic controllers joined the strikes, affecting mostly domestic and European flights. By mid-October students in secondary schools joined the protests with walkouts, small demonstrations, and blockades. Their involvement arose in part due to the threat that already high unemployment among youth – reaching almost 25% in the past year – would be compounded by these reforms. In Nanterre, students looted stores and attempted to take the streets amidst spirited physical confrontations with the police. In Paris suburbs such as Montreuil and Argenteuil, as well as in provinces such as Caen, police intervention in student demonstrations turned violent with the use of tear gas and flash balls. Approximately 260 secondary schools offered reduced service in the following week. In Marseilles, workers blocked port gates, while a strike among city workers lead to garbage pile-ups. Joining them were sanitation workers in Nantes who voted to strike. In Fos-sur-Mer, about thirty miles north-west of Marseilles, workers successfully blocked the oil terminals. The most powerful rank and file actions centered on France's twelve oil refineries. Workers at six refineries struck beginning in September, and the remaining plants engaged in partial strikes. Members of the CGT union aided strikers' efforts by blocking fuel distribu-

There is nothing inevitable about austerity, even here in Philadelphia, where every defense of public services is met with an infamous 2-word stonewall: “the Budget.” Public education, libraries, fire protection, union contracts, homeless services, public transit, and neighborhood funds are under fire with every city and state budget cycle. Nationally, once sacrosanct forms of social income like Social Security, the minimum wage, and collective bargaining rights are threatened. A number of local groups are already fighting cutbacks, but the changing political and economic terrain demands that we not only resist, but also advance our own ideas about the lives we want to live. For more non-corporate coverage of the events in France, visit france-against-austerity

such as cutting unemployment benefits, cutting free social services, and raising the costs on public services, such as university tuition. These cuts are often coupled with tax hikes, creating a situation where everyday people's standard of living drops as austerity measures take effect. Governments often take these measures in order to assure international creditors—such as Wall St. banks that trade in bonds or the International Monetary Fund—that they are “credit-worthy” borrowers. If a government were to default on these loans, the powerful financial institutions that loaned to it would lose money.

Austerity is a term commonly used in Europe and throughout the world to refer to the economic policies of spending cuts. Austerity refers to a range of actions governments take to trim their budgets during economic downturns,

In Europe, austerity is understood by many as an attack on working class people, not on the richest members of society or the banks that lend to governments. With the slogan, “We Won't Pay For Their Crisis,” unions, social movements, and everyday people have taken to their streets to protest these economic policies that make things harder for the majority of the population, and benefit the wealthy people who started the economic crisis through

deregulation and speculation. In addition to protests in France, there have been huge demonstrations in Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, England, and Italy. In the U.S., austerity is being imposed as well, although it is usually described with different words. Cuts to state and municipal budgets that provide services, the expiration of unemployment benefits, higher local sales and other taxes, and cuts to social service agencies are all examples of austerity. Congress' and Obama's insistence on extending huge tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting services and support for the majority of Americans under the pretense of “balancing the budget,” shows how austerity is being used to benefit the wealthy. For a look at the politics of austerity in Philadelphia, see defenestrator #44 (Spring 2009), “Philly Budget Wars 2.0: We Won’t Pay for Your Crisis. Tax the Rich, Not Us!”

Meanwhile ....

elsewhere on planet Earth,

the Multitudes

continue to Strike Back

against the Empire

lies that the TV reports are wrong, that the newspapers are lying. With any luck, they'll remember not to believe everything they read, everything they hear. The idea of putting them off protest has backfired spectacularly. This insulting and inhumane treatment of children, this massive indefensible overreaction, has radicalized and educated a generation of ordinary London youth. Next time they'll be back, with thermoses full of soup, winter coats, and a lot to say. I'm delighted. Students occupied the Slade School of Art and the London School of Economics and manifestos, blogs and statements are pouring out of campuses all over the country. Just a sampling: “Welcome to the University for Strategic Optimism, a university based on the principal of free and open education, a return of politics to the public, and the politicization of public space. As our university buildings are being boarded up we inhabit the bank as public space. Not just a public space but the proper and poignant place for the introductory lecture to our course entitled ‘Higher Education, Neo-Liberalism and the State.’ We will take up only five minutes of your time for our inaugural lecture but will reconvene in different locations on the dates to be found on the syllabus that should be circulating. Please do check the website for further information and for details about assessment.

by bronwyn lepore Yesterday (November 28, 2010) Ireland’s multitudes took the streets to protest proposed reductions in pensions and the minimum wage as well as massive layoffs, all repercussions of a “bailout” deal with the EU which, as elsewhere in Europe, means cuts to health care, education, social security and infrastructure. Let’s call it the post-Reagan “US Model.” The continuing global Crisis created by out of control, runaway banks and real estate developers in sycophantic relationships with governments who then step in to guarantee the bank debts, while the rest of us are, as the Irish would say, “fecked.” Debts incurred, US economist Paul Krugman points out in a recent column “Eat the Irish,” “not to pay for public programs, but by private wheeler-dealers seeking nothing but their own profit – yet ordinary Irish citizens are now bearing the brunt…” Earlier in the week (November 24), in a national day of action against cuts in education and rising tuition cuts, protests, flash mobs (Twitter and Facebook the organizing tools of a new generation), building occupations, street blockades and other direct actions erupted all over Britain: from Millibank to Manchester to Bristol to Cardiff and Glasgow! Teachers, grad students,

university students, workers, activists and high-schoolers flooded the streets in response to proposed austerity measures. The day of action was called on November 10 due to the hugely inspiring success and numbers who took to London’s streets to protest cuts in university funding and higher tuition fees – “We went off script: the script that said a few thousand would turn up, complain a bit, and go home; and the cuts would go through pretty much as planned” said Chessum, 21, a sabbatical officer at University College London. “That has changed. Now students really feel they can stop this.” Of course, the typical media response decried anarchist hooliganism and violence against the police, but a surprising number of university faculty, lecturers, union reps and even an occasional Vice Chancellor, stuck by those involved (despite being roundly condemned by the government and press). Union presidents of the universities of Sussex and London published a statement defending building occupations as “a long established tradition in the student movement,” while the lecturer’s union at Goldsmiths declared that “the real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatization that will follow…” In an article posted on Indy Media London on the November 24 actions in London,

Jenny Bloom describes how “a good number, maybe half of the people protesting in Whitehall were underage – sixth formers to skiving twelve-year olds who’d walked out of school, looking for a march, some shouting and maybe to change the world. What they got was a sharp lesson in media manipulation, police thuggery and the politics of protest.” Cordoned off in pens by police, thousands were denied access to food, water or toilets for hours on one of the coldest days of the year, garnering more support than enmity. And, as Bloom concludes: Fundamentally, this is what those young people took away with them. They took away the knowledge that in these situations, the police are agents of the enemy. They are willing to hurt you, they are willing to trick you, and they won't have any compassion. These kids will have spread the word to their classmates when they returned to school about freezing cold, thirst, and being shoved about by lines of riot police. About parents who arrived at about 6pm, after night fell, pleading for the release of their children. About kids whose parents didn't know where they were, and couldn't get home. These young people are the ones who will have gone home and told their fami-

How much was spent on the bank bailout? - £850 billion Who’s paying for this? - students - workers - pensioners - the unemployed We at the University for Strategic Optimism reject the false antagonisms set up by the media between these groups and declare our solidarity with them. We are told that we must tighten our belts and sharpen our elbows so that the markets might be appeased, the collapse of society staved off. Along with Joseph Stieglitz, Nobel-prizewinning economist, we puzzle over a world in which the poor subsidize the rich. All of those involved in the protests today did so in defense of a society we need to reclaim from the impending cuts, a society based on community, not corporation. Those that question the normalization of these ideological interests are harassed and witch-hunted, such as the whistle-blowers in the NHS (National Health Service) who have brought to light the deaths and endangerment of hundreds of patients under the auspices of mis-management. Yet, we will not be intimidated by these developments because we have a vision for a society that is sustainable, egalitarian and perfectly viable outside the narrow continued on page 23

West Philly Uprising Who run these streets? Not the police!

by onion On September 3rd police approached Askia Sabur in the doorway of a Chinese Restaurant at 55th and Landsdown where he was waiting for food. Police threw Askia to the ground and subjected him to a storm of violence. For nearly 3 minutes, 6 cops swung down on him with clubs, cracking his skull and breaking his arm in the process. A video recorded from a cell phone shows Askia on the ground, handcuffed by one hand, blows raining down with no indication he was even physically resisting the abuse, let alone attempting to fight off the cops. One cop in an apparent frenzy of rage and violence pulled his gun and pointed it at individuals in the crowd including the person filming. Police then did what they always do after sending someone to the hospital: they pressed charges. For being a victim of the beatdown, Askia was charged with assault on an officer as well as attempted robbery (of the cops baton).

West Philly Takes the Streets

The cell phone video that circulated through listservs and social networks in the days that followed quickly made its way around Philly and within days West Philly was getting organized. An organization called the Poor Righteous Party of the Black Nation quickly pulled together a ‘Mass Community Build’ on the 11th of September, attended by roughly 50 people, the first of a series of 'People's Court' speak outs. Cautiously the organizers set up a sound system in an empty lot adjacent to the scene of the violence, but were quickly moved to the front of the restaurant where the actual beating took place, then into the street by the crowd that showed up. The community was not shy. One after another people testified about issues in the community from police harassment to calls for community solidarity. One young girl took the mic: “I’m not going to go look for no cop if something bad happens to me, I have to run to somebody else. If I run to somebody else, I want it to be one of yall. I don’t want it to be no cop.... there are

cops patrolling these streets every day and there’s stuff happening on the street every day around here and they don’t care. It’s like what are they here for, ain’t nobody protecting us. We protect ourselves.”

In response the police announced a series of 22 community meetings to address the issue of police violence across Philly on September 29. A West Philly (19th district?) event drew crowds of angry locals who had personal experience beWord about the Community Build spread ing harassed or brutalized by the police. and the protests that followed grew expoAgain over a dozen people testified they nentially. By the next day the crowd had had personally experienced violence by doubled. The day after crowds swelled the police. The police bureaucrats at the again. Though the crowd maintained an meeting feigned ignorance. When one angry edge, all the marches stayed peacewoman complained she had been sexually ful. Still, the police were ready for an harassed by cops on her block, a police escalation of conflict as were apparently a bureaucrat offered his personal phone number of West Philadelphians who spoke number. The out of character politeness out publicly reminding the crowd about the of the cops at the meeting was not lost on imminent possibility of reciprocal violence those who had come to express their grievfrom the people if such a case were to hapances. Will Mega, from the Askia Coalipen again. tion Against Police Brutality sharply The march on the criticized some of 17th of September the language put 1. To publicly support and defend Brother was the culminaout by the police: “I Askia and his family tion of the previous think it's unfair to 2. To support the people’s resistance in dedays of People’s lay the premise that fense of the HUMAN RIGHTS of the Black Court, the day suggests the people community when demands need to learn how 3. To learn from our people the real facts of and concerns were to interact with the what happened that night brought to the 19th police, not that the District. Some 300 police need to learn people marched the constitution and through West Philly learn to interact 1. Black People Unite and get Organized! energetically taking with the people. 2. Drop all charges against Askia and pay the streets to hand Truth be told, the monetary restitution to his family the 19th District officers when get3. Jail the Police Thugs! Stop the War on the Police a “people's ting out or addressBlack Community! subpoena,” deing anyone need to mands accumulated speak to people in a over the days of People's Court. The crowd respectful manner.” chanted “Stop and Frisk Means Beat Your Ass” and “Who Runs these Streets, Not the Police” as they made their way to the 19th In the aftermath of the police beating Askia District. was lucky to have a community and family who expressed defiance and courage to Pam Africa, of the MOVE organization be vocal despite a situation were Askia is addressed the crowd in front of a heavily still facing serious charges and the police guarded and locked down 19th District: have been nothing less than aggressive. “People, what you're witnessing here is an His sister Naima and father in particular uprising of the black community. A comhave been especially present, helping with munity that is sick and tired of being beat the organizing and speaking out at protests down, shot down, jailed illegally! People and in the media against police terror that Join Us!” touched their family.

Purpose of Mass Community Build:

Demands of Mass Community Build:

Targeting the Family

Cops Call a Meeting

But a family critical of the police will also catch their

attention. On October 26th, 19th district cops demanded entry into the the home of Tanya Yates, Askia’s cousin, allegedly looking for Odell Balmer, who police say they suspected in a shooting. When Askia’s 80 year old grandfather Paul Balmer demanded to see a warrant, cops responded by kicking at the door until it was opened. Seeing Tanya, one cop pointed in her direction and said “That’s the one” at which point she was beaten badly with batons in the head and kicked repeatedly in the stomach. Police also beat Paul Balmer. As for Odell Balmer, who cops had originally come looking for, he had his room searched and was brought in and released without charges. Cops later claimed they would not have entered the house, had they been aware of the family's relation to Askia. That Askia faced charges for being beaten by police was only compounded by being on probation for an earlier case. After having his probation extended when harassed by cops years before, Askia was just about ready to be done with it when the incident in September may be adding extra years to his decade of probation, another instance of being punished for being subject to violence. But Askia's court dates have been well attended by supporters and at a hearing on December 1st Officer Jimmy Leocal, the most reckless cop involved in the Askia's beating, didn't show up to court; the judge in turn dismissed all the charges relating to the beating incident. Leocal is still under investigation by the District Attorney's office. But Askia still has other charges pending for assault on Donyule Williams, another cop involved in the beatdown, for allegedly punching, biting and reaching for the Williams' gun, none of which is at all apparent from the video.

Crooked Cops in a Busted System

It's no secret the Phila PD is a total mess. The reinstatements of the cops involved in the highly publicized 2008 beatdown of 3 young Black men happened despite attempts by high level brass to have them fired. The out of control nature of the Phila PD is a liability for the State, which relies on police to maintain their own power.

Even the FBI have been busy infiltrating and busting Philly cops including inspector Daniel Castro, a cop who was vying for Ramsey's position. Castro went down for robbing drug dealers, the 15th Philly cop to be arrested since March 2009. Ramsey also recently announced plans to beef up Internal Affairs to some 138 cops as well as cooperate with the FBI on investigations internally. One problem with settling for adjustments in a system that is very apparently broken, is that even an efficient and in-tact system contains profound problems. The role of cops has always been to maintain the status quo. In times of social peace, police still use the threat and exercise of violence to keep a system alive that fundamentally ticks on exploitation and violence. Police violence has flourished and exercised legal legitimacy in numerous acts of anti-social violence by the State. From the enforcement of the dehumanization and violence of slavery, to repression against workers' movements the teens, McCarthyism, the frame ups and assassinations carried out by police as part of the FBI's COINTELPRO program (the Counter Intelligence Program was a brutal campaign of repression directed primarily against the Black power and Native American movements of the 60s), up to the last decade of state terror against Muslims and the radical environmental movement. The same could be said for the War on Drugs, just one aspect of a massive campaign of police harassment, violence and incarceration directed largely at this country's dispossessed Black populations. It's of course easy to see the possibilities of a more rational and sane system when we see police behaving as irrationally as the cops who beat Askia, but even a well oiled and obedient police force will still use violence and the constant threat of violence to maintain social control. And communities feared by the State (in the US particularly Black communities), will always be under the gun of a police occupation, as long as police remain in the communities. Now that a community has been mobilized, further organizing is in the works and much of it has its sights set higher than legal reforms or redress. There's been talk of organizing various forms of Copwatch (people's autonomous street based monitoring of police), study groups and networking among organizations and the communities around West Philly have brought some new enthusiastic forms of solidarity onto the scene. In the midst of which West Philadelphians are increasingly finding their voice and growing more bold in vocally standing up to police harassment and violence.

Police Impunity in the News Askia’s beating and the ensuing protests took place in the shadow of a number of other highly publicized moments of State violence. A little over a year ago, the Daily News reporters broke a story on a series of robberies by a gang of cops, who entered Dominican corner stores, flashed their badges and subsequently cut cables to security cameras before making off with the contents of the cash register. Police thief Joseph Sulpizio on the Narcotics Strike Force made the front page of the Daily News on December 10th, in a report which cited numerous accounts of the cop robbing homes and individuals in Kensington. After numerous accounts of money being stolen by Sulpizio were reported to the police, he was put under investigation by Internal Affairs only to be released back onto the streets after being interviewed. Instead of charging him with theft (the original charge) Sulpizio was charged with “neglect of duty” for not following proper procedure when detaining someone he had robbed. Sulpizio drives a cruiser marked N142. In April 2010 26 year old Vincent Parsons was killed by 3 cops in a Germantown playground. After being chased into the playground, police shot Parsons 16 times, killing him. DA Seth Williams described the shooting as justified and cleared the cops of any wrongdoing. In another incident the gang of cops were filmed in a 2008 Rodney King style beatdown of 3 young Black Philadelphians, won an arbitration hearing with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and had their jobs reinstated. After pulling over a SUV over a dozen cops rushed the van, pulling the occupants from their car and beating them ruthlessly. The FOP threw the rein-

stated cops a party with free beer. The recent repression against Flashmobs, the sensationalized gatherings of black youth, also generated media and police frenzies disproportionate to anything experienced by other Philadelphia rioters in recent years, notably following the Phillies world series victory or the drunken looting and sexual assaults by mostly white mobs on Fat Tuesday in 2001. A number of those arrested in the Flashmobs, notably all Black youth, are still facing serious charges. In another high profile politicized act of police violence, police beat and arrested InPDUM (International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement) organizer Diop Olugbala at a City Council hearing on budget cuts last year. His trial ended on October 13th with a conviction of assault on an officer leaving Diop with two years of probation for the crime of being attacked by Civil Affairs cops (Philadelphia’s political police). Though convicted, prosecutors were pushing for sentences up to ten years for being subject to the assault by police. Across the US, police violence made for headlines when officer Johannes Mehserle was given an especially light sentence of 2 years minus time served for the summary execution of Oscar Grant in Oakland. In response to both the murder and Oscar Grant, Oakland residents responded with a number of raucous protests, civil disobedi-

ence actions and riots which evolved into a number of interesting organizing and solidarity efforts. A lawsuit filed on behalf of 8 Black and Latino Philadelphians by the ACLU against the City for its stop and frisk harassment policy also has generated some discussion locally. Nutter ran for mayor on “stop and frisk” as a major campaign promise, one he unfortunately upheld. Though it’s common knowledge that young black youth are routinely harassed by police already, since Nutter’s election, the practice has seen a sharp increase, more than doubling since 2005, according to the ACLU. Of those harassed by cops, 72% were Black, 8% of which were then arrested. 253,333 stops were on the books for 2009 alone.

The Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality While there is mass unemployment and growing poverty, the City of Philadelphia has spent billions of dollars “fighting crime” and using illegal tactics such as “stop and frisk.” This approach has failed. Philadelphia’s homocide rate is still four times New York City’s. At the same time, criminal activity and brutality perpetrated by the police have skyrocketed. At least 17 police officers face criminal charges ranging from murder and rape to drug dealing and armed robbery. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The effort to root out “crime” must begin with the police department and include economic development for the Black community. Make your voice heard. Tell the politicians to Drop “Stop and Frisk”! Askia Coalition Against Police Brutality For more information call 267.231.9639 •

Strauss Group Revises Website as Hummus Boycott Campaigns Spread to Campuses by Nathaniel Strauss Group, the Israeli company that co-owns the Sabra Hummus brand, softened language on its website relating to its support of the Israeli Defense Force elite unit, the Golani Brigade. The Jerusalem Post reported last week that Strauss support for Golani had been deleted entirely from its English site (but kept up in Hebrew) in response to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement ( aspx?id=195963). This stirred up a maelstrom of controversy for Strauss, with boycott threats from Zionists in and out of Israel, furious that Israel’s second largest food and beverage company would bow to the global BDS movement. “The revised language on the Strauss site makes clear that purchasing Sabra Hummus subsidizes Israeli soldiers who commit human rights abuses and violate international law. That’s precisely the reason for our boycott. Strauss support for the Golani is a political act, not a humanitarian gesture,“ says Susan Landau, a member of the Philly BDS Coalition, the group that organized a “flash dance” action to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” in a supermarket near the University of Pennsylvania last month, urging customers not to buy Sabra hummus. The videotape of the action garnered national and international attention and has been viewed 30,000 times since it was posted on YouTube by Philadelphia Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions ( The original website read: “Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support…We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years…” (Corporate Responsibility, Over 70 years of Community Involvement, www. It was changed to: “As part of its donations program, the Sales Division of Strauss Israel has made a contribution to the men and women who serve in the Golani brigade. The funds are designated for

welfare, cultural and educational activities, such as pocket money for underprivileged soldiers, sports and recreational equipment, care packages, and books and games for the soldiers' club. Yotvata, our dairy in the south, contributes likewise to the southern Shualei Shimshon unit.” This latest move by Strauss happened simultaneously with the public launch of an anti-Sabra campaign at Princeton University http://, and DePaul University’s decision to stop selling Sabra because DePaul refuses to support “Any product or company involved with flagrant human rights violations against Palestinians or any other people does not mirror the principles on which the university is founded and is therefore not welcome on campus.” In 2005, Palestinian civil society representatives issued a call for a global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel until Israel complies with international law by ending its occupation of Palestine lands, dismantling the “separation barrier” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, granting full and equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and recognizing the right of exiled Palestinians to return to their country. Organized along the lines of the Anti-Apartheid boycott movement against South Africa, the BDS movement has burgeoned globally over the past five years, with hundreds of separate campaigns targeting Israel’s economic, academic, and cultural institutions.

Penn, Pipelines, and Privatization: Exploiting West Philly High Schools by Judas Lee A high school pipeline program offered by Penn Medicine draws students from West Philadelphia schools with promises of opportunity. Predictably, Penn is looking after its own interests rather than trying to improve lives in the communities it claims to care about. Imagine my surprise this September when I showed up to my assigned English classes at the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) to find teenaged high school students in the classroom! These youth, I learned, were part of a program administered by the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) to create a “pipeline” of low-income students from three West Philly schools into the health care field. In addition to finishing high school and working part-time jobs, they were taking community college classes for dual enrollment credit. As the weeks went by, I witnessed serious problems with the program. My students were perpetually stressed out and frustrated by the intense demands placed upon them. Their schedules made it impossible to meet all their responsibilities, and they didn't have the support they needed. Most importantly, many students seemed to resent having been misled about the program and its objectives. From what I've experienced and observed, the program seems highly exploitative, taking advantage of young African American residents in impoverished neighborhoods in order to bolster Penn's image of philanthropic generosity. Pipeline programs have a positive reputation for creating much needed opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students. But critical attention to these programs is desperately needed. They are, in fact, a form of privatization: private industries sponsor and/or administer these

pipeline programs in public schools, usually in conjunction with public institutions such as community colleges. Their damaging effects need to be documented and analyzed. Selling a Dream UPHS's High School Pipeline Program sounds wonderful on paper. Now operating in its fourth year, it pays for students to take community college classes while they are also completing their last two years of high school. They are given part-time jobs in various departments within UPHS, receiving a minimum wage paycheck and professional development training and mentoring. The program is marketed directly to students, who must meet a few minimum requirements to apply. Promotional materials place a strong emphasis on students being “highly motivated” and having a “positive attitude.”

sult, they were surprised to find themselves being herded into very narrow directions for their careers and futures. Heavy workloads cause most students to do poorly in the many required activities. One day during class, a student announced in anguish that she often feels like crying because she spends more time attending high school, going to community college classes, working her part-time job, and doing homework assignments than she does with her family. While the program makes tutors available, students have found them poorly suited to their specific needs and backgrounds.

The students are also held to a special standard in our Developmental English class that runs contrary to the spirit of developmental education at community college. At CCP, Developmental English classes are usually graded in a way that allows students to re-take Instead of getting a wellThe daily realities them without penalty of life in this proif they tried their best rounded education that program aren't what did not reach the vides many options, students but one might expect. required level of comare herded into narrowly Several students petency. This system claim they were is crucial to helping defined paths determined by misled into believpeople gradually catch how private industry wants ing they will have up, but my pipeline a wider range of to see its future labor supply students are required career opportunities to pass in a single shot produced. than they actually or be dropped from the will. Repeating the word “opportunity” five program. Contrary to the ideals of developtimes, the program's brochure is clearly de- mental education, my classes are actually signed to make students believe that many being used as a tool to weed out students. doors will be opened for them. One student Program administrators have told me to recalled being told that she could become “just teach the class,” as if working with a “doctor or nurse.” In practice, however, teenagers was no different than working the program has a strong vocational bent with students typically a full decade older. that is aimed at training students to become This is calculated ignorance: one adminCertified Nursing Assistants, which does istrator admitted that Penn only wanted not require a college degree. Some students “the best” of the students to pass and suggested to me that both they and their remain, but this competitive aspect is not parents did not fully understand aspects of mentioned in the program's promotional the program until they started it. As a rematerials, nor are students told their cohort

Thinking About A High School Pipeline Program? Pipeline programs for low-income or disadvantaged high school students seem great, especially in a bad economy, but are they really good choices for you? If you answer “no” to any these questions, that might be a sign that the program could be more damaging than helpful. Know what you want to get out of it. In spite of all their problems, pipeline programs may still offer some genuine opportunities for you. Do you know what you want out of the program, aside from what they emphasize they are offering to you? Ask about requirements, workload, and support. Disadvantaged students are often told they have to work much harder than privileged students to get up to speed. This is true, but if programs don't provide needed support, such as funds, books, computer access, tutoring, and other resources, then it's not a real opportunity at all. Do the time and work commitments seem reasonable? Does the program really give you what you need to succeed? Be aware of the consequences of dropping out or failing. Pipeline programs can be quick to blame students for failing, leaving them with no support when they return to high school. If you leave the program, will you still be in a good position to finish high school and/or continue higher education? Think about alternatives. If you are doing well in high school, it might actually be better to graduate on your own and look for options that give you more control over your future, such as merit-based or need-based scholarships. Is the pipeline program really your best option when you consider all the other alternatives?

is deliberately being thinned out. What's most distressing to students are the severe consequences of failing or dropping out. Under dual enrollment, failing Developmental English means they also don't receive credit for senior year high school English. For the seniors, this means summer school or an additional year of high school in order to graduate. In other words, failing out of the pipeline program puts students in a much worse position than when they started, with no support to help them transition back to simply finishing high school. Some students caught on. They left the program quickly and chose to focus on graduating high school and improving their SAT scores. The many remaining students have voiced their frustrations to program administrators to little or no effect. Faculty have also objected to how the pipeline program works with CCP, but they have received only bureaucratic replies that suggest the administration's willing subservience to Penn. Students are often told that they are getting a rare and valuable “opportunity.” If they can't handle it, they shouldn't be in the program. But what kind of opportunity is this, exactly, when we consider the bigger picture? Privatization: Redefining “Opportunity” Since they are funded and/or administered by private institutions, pipeline programs are a type of privatization, a trend that includes chartered high schools and corporate research funding at public universities. In public schools, pipeline programs are significantly redefining “opportunity” in a climate where economic crises mean few other options for disadvantaged students. With severe budget cuts everywhere, many public schools are failing to provide a basic level of education that includes preparing students for college. As a result, private institutions are stepping in and claiming to provide “opportunities” in the form of pipeline programs. Instead of getting a well-rounded education that provides many options, students are herded into narrowly defined paths determined by how private industry wants to see its future labor supply produced. The vocational essence of pipeline programs becomes obvious when one considers the business codewords used, such as “professional development training.” It's a mistake to imagine a golden age of public education to which we should return. It never existed: state-sponsored public schools have always had a role in reproducing a highly unequal class system. Even so, privatization is clearly changing education for the worse. The focus is placed upon “outcomes” rather than what individual students need in order to learn. continued on page 22


book review:

Take Back the Land, Give Root to Democracy complex, abstract theoretical questions into common language that was easily understood. In this way, he demystifies politics and translates concepts usually reserved for academics or professionals in such a way that average, everyday people can take away something new and useful from the exchange. It’s clear that his primary goal is not an ego-trip to show off his brilliance, or to sell books and make money, but to do something much more difficult and meaningful: to spark movement to force the US government to recognize housing as a human right.

Take Back the Land: Land, Gentrification and the Umoja Village Shantytown by Max Rameau Nia Press, 2008 Review by Alex Knight, endofcapitalism. com I first heard about a group called Take Back the Land, which was illegally moving homeless families into empty homes in Miami, in a study group about the Civil Rights movement and the grassroots organizing that made it so powerful. The reference was highly appropriate. In many ways, Take Back the Land is a direct heir of that bottom-up, Black self-empowerment, civil disobedient, movement-building tradition, and is one of the most inspiring examples of a group renewing and developing that tradition today. In our moment of crisis and stagnation, here is a group full of creativity, improvisation, and highly potent political analysis. Through its actions, the group proclaims: “Families are being foreclosed on and kicked out onto the street? We’re not going to lobby Washington and hope for some crumbs to come down. We’ll take matters into our own hands and move people directly into homes!” This is precisely the spirit of direct action and participatory democracy that kick-started the Civil Rights movement, and the spirit that we need if we are to escape the human suffering the elite are imposing on the poor and working class in this economic crisis. Max Rameau, the book's author and a principal organizer in Take Back the Land Miami, spoke in Philadelphia a few months ago. I was struck not only by how charismatic and effective a speaker he was , but by how Max was able to break down


The book is written in that same frank style. In fact, it’s basically a how-to on grassroots housing organizing. It’s short – only 132 pages – but all you need to know is laid out here: the political context of Miami and nationally in terms of lack of affordable housing and gentrification that drives poor and Black people out of their homes, the strategic decisions and organizing that go into launching a new organization and campaign, the challenges and joys of working with homeless people, and the difficult and deceptive terrain of interacting with politicians, who are often agents of larger and more powerful corporate forces. Max Rameau just tells the story of his group, but in a provocatively specific way. He explains to us exactly how things were done, who did them, who interfered and how, and he’s not at all afraid to name names. The book centers on the incredible story of the Umoja Village, a shantytown built by Take Back the Land and allies on a vacant lot in a poor Black section of Miami. Because “In South Florida… local governments responded to the [housing] crisis by actively decreasing the number of low-income housing units” (pg. 23), Take Back the Land took the initiative to seize land and invite homeless people to take up residence there. The purpose of the action was not only to house people, an immediate need, but to draw attention to the crisis and to the government’s inaction, thereby shaming them into hopefully creating more low-income housing. In the long run, the group’s “Political Objectives” were as follows (72): “1. House and feed people 2. Assert the right of the black community to control land in the black community. 3. Build a new society.” Even before the land seizure, much groundwork had been laid, including debating the strategy and politics of this type of action, discussing the possibility with allies and neighbors of the site, and trying to line up legal, fundraising, and other forms of support that would be necessary. Citing a legal precedent that homeless people had a right to not be evicted from territory where their basic living needs were met, the group was able to dissuade the police from immedi-

ately evicting them once they did move onto the land. Seeing the police cars back away without arresting anyone made a strong impression on the homeless and poor people moving onto this land. “This was a real, tangible victory that the people witnessed with their own eyes” (65). With shanty homes and compost toilets built, the Umoja Village stood on the land for 6 months, and was self-organized by the homeless residents. Take Back the Land prioritized that their group, while inspiring and leading this takeover, would become increasingly unnecessary in the day-to-day operation of the shantytown, so that the residents had total control. The self-empowerment of the homeless was one of the most inspiring aspects of this book.  You read about individuals who had been victims for decades, or their entire lives, and grappling with mental illness and/or drug addiction, becoming confident by working with one another and making the decisions that affect their lives. “[W]e assert that the most marginal members of society are better qualified to run their ‘city’ or ‘village’ than the college educated elected official and bureaucrat. We not only asserted the proposition, we proved it as Umoja’s residents made real decisions about the rules of the Village and the manner in which it was run” (75). Here is precisely the principle of participatory democracy that Ella Baker championed in the Civil Rights movement. Rather than turn for help to political elites, religious leaders, business leaders, or whomever, we can take matters into our own hands and manage our own affairs. Forget what passes for “American Democracy.” Real democracy is about ‘people power’. Demos in Greek means people, cracy means rule. Put it together – Democracy: Rule by the people. Unfortunately, true democracy is rarely tolerated by the U.S. corporate and governmental establishment, and that was the case in Miami. Shortly after the Umoja’s 6-month anniversary celebrations, a “suspicious” fire burned down the entire village. Before Max, the homeless residents, and allies could clear the wreckage and begin the process of rebuilding, the city of Miami sent in the police to permanently evict them from the land. What follows the disastrous fire and eviction is perhaps the most intriguing section of the book. Take Back the Land, still trying to re-occupy the site, is approached by a “progressive” city councilperson, who offers to house all the homeless residents in a new low-income housing unit that Take Back the Land would develop. The group then has to debate whether to accept this deal, which would mean giving up some of

their oppositional character against the government, in order to gain the immediate goal of moving people off the street and into homes. The difficulty of this decision opens up an important question that all grassroots movements need to address at some point: whether to compromise with government/”the system” and receive tangible gains, or hold fast to ideals and principles and potentially miss some opportunities. It is never an easy decision. In Max’s words, “as the opposition, it is difficult for us to accept victory, even when we win. Virtually any settlement between us and our political targets can be interpreted as a sell out simply because there is an agreement or because those in power no longer stand against the demand. Consecontinued on next page

Pennsylvania Prison Report by Human Rights Coalition

Pittsburgh march honors wrongful death of pregnant prisoner Thursday, November 25, marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Medical neglect and deprivation of basic reproductive health care for incarcerated women is a form of state violence against women affecting thousands every year in the United States.   On November 23, Pittsburgh human rights and womens' reproductive rights groups marched on the Allegheny County Jail to demand justice for a woman who died there earlier this year. Amy Gillespie, 27 years old, died in January, along with her unborn child, as a result of Allegheny County Jail's complete disregard for her worsening medical condition. Amy was locked away in December of 2009 for violating the terms of her work release. The violation: becoming pregnant!   While locked in the Allegheny County Jail on the charge of pregnancy, Amy developed pneumonia. By the end of the month, she was complaining of having trouble breathing and of discharge from her lungs. Her complaints went unacknowledged and she was denied diagnostic tests that would have shown that she had bacterial influenza. Instead, the jail treated her for viral influenza and by January 1, her condition became so bad that she was taken to an outside hospital where she died twelve days later. Amy's pregnancy spelled a death sentence for her and her child.   HRC's Pittsburgh chapter, Fed Up! sent out an action alert asking members to voice their outrage over Amy’s death through a letter to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette editor.

On November 23, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, along with HRC-Fed Up!, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Women and Girls Foundation, the Birth Circle, and the Women’s Law Project, held a march to the Allegheny County Jail. The purpose of the march and rally was to address the reproductive justice and human rights issues within the Allegheny County Jail, seek institutional and cultural changes inside and outside of the facility, and to hold the jail accountable for its treatment of incarcerated women.   Solitary Confinement at SCI Muncy   One of the many forms of violence against women that typically go unrecognized is solitary confinement. A woman recently released from the hole wrote HRC about her experience two weeks ago: "Solitary confinement should be abolished. Mental health inmates are placed there and forgotten. The isolation allows staff to abuse their power. Solitary confinement is not required for some of these petty, trumped up charges. Some of the officers take bets on who can write the most misconducts. It’s a game to them. Some inmates are just targeted. Not only are you in solitary but when you’re released it’s still not over. You can’t work, go to school or participate in any prescriptive programming for 60 days. You’re a level 4, you can’t be paroled, you must be misconduct free for 9 months before you can submit any paperwork to parole. The male officers enjoy watching you get undressed while they aren’t supposed to be looking.” Medical Neglect at Green Rock Prison, Virginia  Multiple Pennsylvania prisoners transfered

Take Back the Land continued quently, we, as a movement, must clearly define what constitutes victory, particularly in the context of the US political and economic system” (118).

If the goal is to “Build a new society” and that necessitates sweeping away the existing order of oppression, how do you compromise with elites whose job is to uphold that very order? On the other hand, because those elites have the power to give you what you need, at least in the short term, how can you avoid accepting a deal when they agree to give you something you need? Ultimately, it is a question about “revolutionary reforms” – theoretically a change in policy (reform) that leads to the empowerment of a movement, and therefore the ability to carry on further campaigns towards revolution. But what does that actually look like in a capitalist society that has successfully undercut and co-

opted grassroots social movements for the last century or more, and which even more skillfully ignores and silences those movements so that they feel powerless and marginalized? In a situation as desperate as our own, how do you avoid the temptation to work within the system, even if it means abandoning some of your political principles? And how do you stay true to those ideals while at the same time engaging that system to gain concrete victories? I encourage all to read this book and discover how Take Back the Land wrestled with these and other pressing strategic questions. I hope it won’t be a “spoiler” to say that in the end the city of Miami betrayed the “deal” and the land was never restored, nor was there any new lowincome housing construction. The government failed the public yet again.

to Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham, VA report that medical neglect may have contributed to the death of Howard Morrison in the early hours of Sunday, November 7. According to the reports Mr. Morrison, who had been transferred to Virginia from SCI Dallas, had repeatedly requested medical attention from staff on "B" block  after he began experiencing stomach problems and spitting up blood on November 6. His requests were ignored and he was told that he had to wait until the following Monday for treatment. He died later that night, around 1:30 am, in cell 226. HRC censored by SCI Coal Township An affidavit received by HRC/Fed Up! from a prisoner at SCI Coal Township reported that Dashaun Jamison's cell door was opened and he was attacked in retaliation for filing grievances about physical and racial abuse and other human rights deprivations. The affidavit stated that a guard ordered the officer in the control booth to open Jamison's door because he was "tired of this nigger shit." He was attacked by more than six guards. Several prisoner witnesses reportedly issued statements and filed complaints to Coal Township staff and DOC officials. Mr. Jamison was transferred to SCI Dallas almost immediately thereafter, where prisoners report that they have informed prison officials that they will protest any attacks or retaliation against Mr. Jamison. Also at Coal Township, prison officials issued confiscation slips to multiple prisoners in the solitary confinement unit informing them that mail from the Human Rights Coalition had been confiscated. An investigation letter was sent to more than 20 prisoners in solitary confinement at SCI

The U.S. housing crisis has only gotten worse since this book was written in 2007, especially now that the economy has tanked. An estimated 3.5 million homes were foreclosed in 2010, a 25% jump from 2009. The work of Take Back the Land therefore becomes increasingly relevant and inspiring. As Michael Moore’s latest film Capitalism: A Love Story highlighted, the group has gone from taking over one piece of land to moving many homeless families into abandoned buildings throughout Miami. In this way, they have continued to make headlines and push the issue of housing as a human right. “There is no way to sugarcoat the loss of Umoja Village. The land we controlled for just over six months is now out of our control, a tremendous defeat for the community and the movement. Our efforts to take full and legal control over the land also ended in failure. However, none should confuse the killing of a deal with the killing

Coal Township in the beginning of October, seeking reports of human rights violations after escalating reports of severe maltreatment in the previous weeks. The mail was rejected as "racially inflammatory." The only mention of race in the letter was a request for racial demographics of the prisoner population and staff in the solitary units.   Harassment and Neglect at SCI Dallas A prisoner at SCI Dallas reported on November 30 that another man, Barry Stevens, has been targeted for harassment by staff and has been forced to go on at least one hunger strike due to being served food which he is allergic to. The report also states that Mr. Stevens is losing vision in his right eye and has been denied medical treatment by the prison. Other sources report that according to PA Department of Corrections policy, DOC allows prisoners to become blind if it's only in one eye, and will not operate to save vision in one eye if the other eye remains functional.   Announcements  Every Wednesday: Write On! 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, learn to document crimes committed by prison staff, and help bring an end to the abuse and torture of our brothers and sisters behind bars.   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, or visit our website at

of a movement. Umoja not only forged a model for the adversarial takeover of land, but also established a potential conclusion to the struggle: community ownership of that land.” (130) To solve the immense problems we face in this crisis, not just housing but unemployment, lack of health care, attacks on immigrants and Muslims, the endless wars, climate chaos, etc., requires active, confrontational, and creative social movements. Even more, it requires a return to Ella Baker’s principle of participatory democracy, the taking of power away from unsympathetic elites and into the hands of people who are directly affected by issues on the neighborhood level. Take Back the Land is a particularly striking example of a group hard at work pursuing this vision.


Over Wo(my)n’s Dead Bodies: On Surviving ‘Liberation’ by Farah Mokhtareizadeh

It was a vivid autumn evening. Americans were still grieving from the stun of 9/11, and the only entity that dared punctuate the eerily quiet streets of New York were the lurid faces of the missing, plastered across a thousand white pages on everything that could still stand in lower Manhattan. It was under this tense and mournful atmosphere that first lady, Laura Bush, took to the airwaves. It would be the first solitary address of any president’s wife in U.S. history, and Mrs. Bush would use her airtime to bolster her husband’s military campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom. Just six weeks after the US invasion of Afghanistan, Mrs. Bush spoke with confidence and pride as she described the rejoicing felt across Afghanistan with the fall of the Taliban. 
 Nearly a decade has passed since Mrs. Bush’s address. The military campaign Bush began in 2001 has become known as the War on Terror. Americans have long learned to swallow the irritating truth that the corporate media assisted the political elites of this country in financing its military aspirations by capitalizing on the deep grief of September 11th. And what of those fatuous geographical alignments of “evil” so prudently crafted in order to solidify American resolve for Iraq? Well, they’ve shifted to Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. But so has global solicitude, once ardently vigiling with slogans declaring “we are all Americans,” now shrinks and scowls embarrassed it was inveigled into believing “Enduring Freedom” meant something other than torture, bombing and occupation.   Of all the stories culled into existence in order to facilitate mass compliance and participation in the War on Terror, none has been as politically potent as Mrs. Bush’s initial November appeal. Her call dared all decent people of the world to join the US and its allies in freeing the women of Afghanistan from the “brutal terrorism” of Islamic fundamentalism. Almost ten years later this explanation continues to oblige the US government’s ‘feminist’ agenda in South Asia. Even Time Magazine weighed in with its July 2010 headline, What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan. Notice the punctuation, and picture a melancholic young Afghan woman, wrapped in a purple veil, her black hair framing her warm brown skin, her nose (according the article inside) savagely cut off by the Taliban.   Unfortunately for the young woman, and the millions like her in Afghanistan, the War on Terror has spiraled into a war of terror. And even those of us who smelled the dire stench of imperialism before a single boot fell to the ground in Afghanistan are nevertheless perplexed by why it goes on into perpetuity.   “Moral arguments do not work,” an old professor of mine stated emphatically when I posed the question to him of how we were going to end the wars. “I don’t know,” he


said, followed by a long, penetrating silence, then, “perhaps you, my dear, should write.” He slinks away to call for another drink, and I dare myself not to feel semantically ill-equipped to stop the hemorrhaging of innocent people caught in the cross hairs of a world gone mad on war. Brushing aside my insecurities, I am resolved to address the contention that this war is a necessary step in liberating the women of Afghanistan. Despite Laura Bush’s optimism, I don’t believe the War on Terror has made anyone safer, not least the women of Afghanistan.

I contest Mrs. Bush’s assertion by taking notice of the dynamics of modern Afghanistan that make her promise entirely problematic. You see, firstly I am unconvinced that the majority of Afghans have much access to sources of international news. A recent poll conducted by the International Council on Security and Development found that nearly 92% of men (women were not polled) in Qandahar and Helmund provinces knew nothing of the September 11th attacks. Further, they reported that nearly 40% of all those surveyed believe the war is being waged to “destroy Islam” and others, Afghanistan itself. If after ten years a majority of Afghanis from the most war-torn areas remain unaware of the US’s principle argument for the war, I cannot say that the 2001 invasion held significant political meaning for the majority of Afghan women. Beyond this, Afghanistan is a country where the majority of its citizens, nearly 78% according to a 2008 UNICEF report, live in the provinces. This also means that a majority of Afghanis have extremely limited access to civil infrastructure like electricity, running water, roads or means for transportation. Poverty rates are among the highest in the world, and literacy among the lowest. In the case of women, statistics find that only 12.6% are literate, most of them residing in Kabul and Herat. Several surveys do demonstrate an increase in enrollment of girls in secondary schools in Kabul in comparison to ten years ago. They also find that provinces not involved in the heaviest fighting report improvements for women when it comes to freedom of movement outside the home. Still, many claim that these changes are only cosmetic, and that conditions for women have either stayed the same as they were under the Taliban, or have worsened as a direct result of insecurities caused by war. This past November, twenty-nine nongovernment organizations in Afghanistan submitted a briefing to the NATO Heads of Government Summit at Lisbon. The briefing entitled Nowhere to Turn described the conditions under which most Afghanis were living and described the security situation within the country as “rapidly deteriorating.” The report also chronicles three major concerns the NGOs deem major factors causing insecurity: a marked increase

in night-raids conducted by US Special Operations Forces, a failed counterinsurgency campaign that looks increasingly unable to prevent a civil war, and widely circulated accounts of the US going around the Karzai government and financing and arming any opposition group claiming to be fighting the Taliban.

In a situation where living is far from assured, liberation is unthinkable. Laura Bush’s contention that Afghan women have benefited from the ‘liberation’ brought to them by the US military is problematic because it isn’t backed up by conditions “on the ground” in Afghanistan. But there are several other more insidious issues raised by the U.S. governmental and mainstream media propagation of this notion. The narrative about ‘freeing’ Afghan women only became politically expedient when the aim of capturing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda proved harder to do than anticipated. So the Bush Administration asked Laura to polish off that erstwhile story of the savage East in need of an altruistic West, and they cleverly reinvented orientalism in the guise of “the woman question.” Though emotionally manipulative and strongly lacking in historical credibility (the US financed militia groups throughout the 1970’s and 80’s when it was more advantageous to beat the Soviets than to rally for women) the narrative has become one of the most widely used justifications for continued occupation. Whilst there is no novelty in inculcating historical amnesia at politically opportune occasions, neither are these narratives about ‘East’ and ‘West’ impervious. As we approach a decade of war in Afghanistan we must confront not only the material conditions that make structural improvements in Afghanistan unlikely, but also those narratives that allow continued support for the status quo. For me this confrontation is best expressed in the crucial debates about strategies for resistance. Many post-colonial theorists contend that discursive change must be a precondition for structural transformation. In other words a process of decolonization necessitates not only the transformation of the political and economic apparatus of colonialism, but also its legitimizing narratives. I see this issue of freeing the women in Afghanistan through war as nothing more than a narrative used to legitimize the apparatus of imperialism, and unfortunately it is not only the political elites who are recycling this story.   There was a great and sobering opportunity, following the September 11th attacks, for all those “meaning makers” (journalists, academics, artists, etc.) to seriously contend with the ideology of American exceptionalism that has kept much of the US public naïve about the injurious role US foreign policy has played in the world. Instead public discourse was concentrated

on futile questions like, “why do they hate us?” and determined that the principle issue between ‘the West’ and ‘the Rest’ were civilizational in nature – i.e. Samuel Huntingdon’s foolish “clash of civilizations” theory. Thus, it is no surprise that many people were persuaded that the U.S. must help the abject Muslim women in need of liberation. Notice the refusal by many leftists to critically reflect on the perils of bestowing cultural icons (e.g., the veiled Muslim woman) on serpentine historical and political realities. Rather than seeking to ‘save’ the women of Afghanistan, with the superiority it implies and violence it affects, solidarity activists can critically engage by making a concerted effort to recognize their own responsibility to address the injustices that forcefully shape the world in which we live. Critical engagement also involves struggling to understand and manage cultural differences. Anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod specifies actions we can take , “What does freedom mean if we accept the fundamental premise that humans are social beings, always raised in certain social and historical contexts…that shape their desires and understanding of the world… I do not know how many feminists who felt good about saving Afghan women from the Taliban are also asking for a global redistribution of wealth or contemplating sacrificing their own consumption radically so that [other] women could have some chance of having what I do believe should be a universal human right – the right to freedom from the structural violence of global inequality and from the ravages of war, the everyday right to having enough to eat, having homes for their families… have the strength and security to work out, within their communities and with whatever alliances they want, how to live a good live, which might very well include changing the ways those communities are organized.” For me the issue of what constitutes ‘freedom’ or ‘liberation’ is something subject to historical context, and must be understood in the light of capacities and desires specific to the community in which one lives. If we wish to ‘liberate’ Afghan women from disembodiment and violence, what vision of life after liberation are we asking them to be liberated to? Nowhere on the planet have we yet been able to significantly challenge the male-centric social system of patriarchy that is at the heart of disparate power relations between the genders. Not in Afghanistan, and not here at home. Similarly war and occupation have been the defining features between our society and Afghanistan. This unfortunate reality can also be the impetus for a commonality of purpose between our societies – either we all work to end the war or none of us will survive to benefit from liberation.

Philly Radical History:

Emma Goldman and Free Speech in Philadelphia and anarchists marched on City Hall, was still fresh in the public's memory.

Upon her arrival, the city's Director of Public Safety demanded to see her speech in advance in order to approve it; Goldman refused, instead heading to the Temple at Broad and Cherry Streets where, on the night of her lecture, 10,000 people had gathered outside to hear her. 200 police were deployed to prevent her from entering the building; the scheduled meeting of radicals and free speech defenders continued without Goldman.

In September 1909, Emma Goldman, a well-known anarchist orator, traveled to Philadelphia to deliver a speech entitled "Anarchism: What it Really Means" at the Odd Fellow's Temple. City officials announced their plans to prevent her from speaking, following the decade’s increasingly-organized government suppression of free expression by anarchist and other radicals. Additionally, Philly's own "Broad Street Riot" of 1907, when immigrant workers

The next day, Goldman, with the assistance of the Free Speech League--a first organization founded in the U.S. to defend freedom of expression--drafted a legal injunction against top city officials, including Mayor John Reyburn and the the city's Director of Public Safety. Since Goldman earned money from delivering speeches, the injunction argued, the city officials' actions infringed on her right to earn a livelihood as well as her right to free speech. Goldman remarked that she appealed to the courts "..not because I believed that justice could possibly prevail; but because I wanted the court itself to substantiate the anarchist contention so powerfully set forth by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 'All governments, in essence, stand for tyranny.'" During the court proceedings the judge questioned Goldman on her political beliefs, including whether she thinks government should be abolished. Citing her statements in court and the fact that she had lost her US citizenship earlier that year, the court ruled against her.

The ruling emboldened the Philadelphia Police to target radical gatherings, and several other attempted speeches by Goldman were suppressed. It wasn't until 1914 that Goldman again gave a speech in Philadelphia, aptly-titled "Anarchism and Why It is Unpopular." Goldman continued to fight for free speech until her deportation to Russia in 1919, when further anti-anarchist and anti-immigrant legislation coalesced into the first Red Scare, a massive wave of repression of left, anarchist, and labor movements. The efforts of Goldman and Free Speech League, although often unsuccessful, predated the more widely-known efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, which formed in 1920 in response to the Red Scare.

Boondock Ain'ts As I stare off into the distance of the Walmart parking lot for the 5th time this week I easily think to myself, “I spend a lot of time alone.” No, I'm not reproducing some sort of Cagney and Lacey utopia. I'm spying on the boondockers.

I had always seen people who park their recreational vehicles in the Columbus Blvd, Pier 70 parking lot, but I had no idea why. I saw them as gypsies and they always looked like they were having a very good time at life. While most people plan vacations in snazzy hotels and travel by plane others are boondocking or dry camping. A step up from mattresses on cinder blocks and randomly stained bed spreads die hard boondockers will park their gear in the strangest of places. Boondocking is camping overnight in a space that is free. There are no water, sewer or electric hooks up. Truly roughing it comes to mind. In researching this phenomenon, I had no idea of the networks and communities that either vacation or actually live their life from parking lot to parking lot. Casinos, Walmart, Winco, any large scale 24 hour surveillance parking lot can be used. These lots are often a stop off to a point that is more scenic. Boondocking on the nation's public lands is usually the ultimate goal.

The National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Public Utilities are good places to check with to find more natural spaces to be primitive in your camping style. You are allowed to camp, apparently, on public spaces as long as you aren't blocking any roads, destroying foliage and if there are no signs that prohibit camping. The Walmart at Pier 70 erected signs at the end of October 2010 that read, “Effective immediately, No Parking. Violators will be ticketed at owner's expense.” They put these signs up in a small lot that's on the outskirts. Where I'd previously seen all the gypsy-like set ups. In my second week of staking out the parking lot, on a particularly windy day, I was able to speak, off the record to a self proclaimed Walmart employee fixing the signs as Mother Nature was denying them. I asked the man about the camping and he told me that the police had come and chased them all away due to random illegal activities. He mentioned prostitution and drugs.

signs posted pointed to the contrary. The RVers just seemed to move from that outer lot into the inner lot of Walmart. Most who use these lots aren't there to roll out the BBQ grill and build a make shift patio. True boondockers consider this trashy and advise against it.

From that point forward, when I would stake out the parking lot, I would station myself in this forbidden lot hoping to be approached to move myself from the area. No one ever came. I did notice on every trip to the lot that buses and large rigs were always occupying space there, even though

There are many websites on this topic. Even a listing of the best Walmart parking lots to stay in. One poster on an RVing blog mentioned that she will shop at Walmart before turning in for the night and tape her receipt to the windshield as if it were her overnight parking allowance.

I'm sad to say that the current sweep of the Pier 70 lot has left it rather sparse with boondockers. Not many creatures are spending the night save for the cat-side of Walmart, towards the water, where maybe 50 cats live. One night there was a 16 footer, a rental from, with an Asian family on board. They were parked about 100 feet from the door and stayed in the lot for many hours with the lights out. The idea that it's a safe place seems sort of elusive as I spent so many nights looking continued on page 22


Bumbling Terrorists

by Linh Dinh

Tell me if you’ve heard this one: An FBI agent infiltrates an actual, figurative or virtual mosque, finds the most gullible and angry dork around, encourages him to get even, plots out some dubious plan, gives him bombs that don’t quite work, then arrests this dupe to much fanfare. In every country, at all times, young men can be led to kill or be killed, commit mass murder or blow themselves up. These callow and reckless males need to prove that they are men . Many also don’t think they’ll ever die. Without this endless stream of puppets, fall guys, patsies and war heroes, cynical old farts wouldn't be able to achieve most of their greedy or evil objectives. As we encroached into Pakistan and as our drones zapped their citizens, the FBI set up sting operations to entrap Pakistani-Americans. They’re terrorists, you see, we have to kill them. Now, as we’re eyeing Somalia, a SomaliAmerican fool is conveniently arrested. This incident also serves to dampen the outrage over the state-sanctioned sexual molestation at our airports. Why Somalia? Why now? Follow the money. It’s the oil and natural gas. Before he was ousted in a coup in 1991, Mohammed Siad Barre ruled Somalia for 20 years. As with nearly every other dictator, Barre was very chummy with Uncle Sam. He liked us too much, he leased nearly twothirds [!] of Somali territory to four American oil companies: Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. Most of this dough went into Barre’s personal bank account, of course, not the country’s treasury. With Barre gone, however, we can’t get to that land to drill, baby, drill. The demonization of Somalia is likely prep work for an invasion, unless we’re too far broke to send over 50,000 or so of our youngish soldiers. Uncle Sam always prattles on about democracy, but dictators are his favorite kind of humans. In granting Uncle Sam—let’s just call him Samo, as in Same Old, Same Old—these ridiculous concessions, a dictator gets his cut, so both dictator and Samo are happy. Who cares about the looted and raped population? When they rise up, like they eventually did in Somalia, Samo will send in his troops “to restore order” in a “peace and humanitarian” mission. Similarly, World Bank and International Monetary Fund loans are often just bribes to Samo’s favorite dictators. It’s how Uncle does business. In announcing the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19 years old, the FBI said that he “acted alone,” but this is contradicted by the very narrative told by the FBI itself: The agency provided Mohamud with cash, fake bombs and van. It abetted him every step of the way, but the idea for mass murder came from Mohamud alone, the FBI charges. In the affidavit, the FBI recounts a meeting in a Portland hotel room where Mohamud told an undercover FBI agent that he wanted to be “operational,” that “he wanted to put an explosion together,” that “he has heard of brothers putting stuff in a car, parking it by a target, and detonating it.” In short, Mohamud hatched up the bomb plot entirely by himself, except the FBI has no proof of this. The affidavit states that the agent “was equipped with audio equipment to record the meeting. However, due to technical problems the meeting was not recorded.” All the other meetings were recorded and/or filmed, but this one, where intentionality could have been unequivocally established, was not. Like all patsies, Mohamud doesn’t appear too bright. Before being approached by an undercover agent on June 23rd, he was prevented from boarding an airplane on June 14th. He wanted to fly to Alaska for a summer job. Know-


In announcing the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19 years old, the FBI said that he “acted alone,” but this is contradicted by the very narrative told by the FBI itself. ing that he was on a no-fly list, that he was already on the government’s radar, Mohamud didn’t lie low but fell into the FBI’s trap nine days later. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, was allowed onto an airplane to carry out a bomb plot. Mohamud, on the other hand, was prevented from boarding an airplane so he could execute another bomb plot. Grounded, he could be groomed into a wannabe terrorist by two FBI agents. Dude wasn’t too bright. As quoted in the affidavit, Mohamud could barely stutter his way through a sentence without overdosing on “you know” and other verbal mishaps. In one of the recorded meetings, Mohamud did state that deterrence and revenge were his two motivations. He wanted “in general just a huge mass that will, you know like for them you know to be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holiday. And then for later to be saying, this was them for you to refrain from killing our children, women… so when they hear all these families were killed in such a such a city they’ll say you know what your actions you know they will stop you know. And it’s not fair they should do that to people and not feeling it.” Translation: Mohamud wanted us to stop killing Muslims. It’s not right that we can kill people without feeling it. If our own families were killed, we would know what it’s like and perhaps stop the carnage. Our president was awarded a Nobel Peace prize, hold the laugh track and applause, please, but two years into his reign, we still have nearly 200,000 soldiers occupying two Muslim countries. How many of those are also after revenge and deterrence? Unlike Mohamud, however, with his pathetic, FBI-assisted duds, how many of our young men and women have exploded real bombs, shot real bullets into real bodies, destroyed countless families without remorse? Mohamud may be a fool, even a murderous one, but he’s at least correct in this observation: America can kill without feeling anything. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq have caused over a million deaths, a fact that

Mohamed Osman Mohamud: Dude wasn't too bright. hardly registers here. Like Barbara Bush and her beautiful mind, we have so much else to entertain and distract us. Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a just released novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, "State of the Union," at http://

Community radio jumps through final hoops

After 10 years of tactical begging, cajoling, harassing and embarassing DC politicians to pass the Local Community Radio Act, the Prometheus Radio Project took to desperate hip oscillating measures in their quest for community radio. Targetting the National Association of Broadcasters (nab), whose own lobbying efforts upheld the bill's passage, Prometheus and other low power radio extremists took out their hula hoops in protest. They cheered at the NAB, “Stop making us jump through hoops! Support low power FM radio and the Local Community Radio Act!” They also asked their Congressional leaders to pass this widely loved and bipartisan bill before the end of the 111th Congress. Less than a week later the bill passed. The Local Community Radio Act will expand the low power FM (LPFM) service created by the FCC in 2000 – a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on the radio dial. Over 800 LPFM stations, all locally owned and non-commercial, are already on the air. The stations are run by non-profit organizations, local governments, churches, schools, and emergency responders. For more info, check out: !!!

defenestrator crossword puzzle across 1 “We Won't Pay for Their _____” 4 ______ Village Shantytown, Miami, FL 6 Camping overnight for free 9 'Workforce development' org. in Phila 10 Strike Back! 11 ____ Coalition Against Police Brutality

Support the Asheville 11 On May 1, 2010, eleven people were indiscriminately arrested in downtown Asheville, North Carolina and accused of breaking windows in a nearby tourist district. They were held on $65,000 bail each and charged with 10 misdemeanors and 3 felonies; their trial is scheduled for January 2011. In an effort to discredit radicals of all stripes, the eleven have been aggressively demonized by police and corporate media. Although support for the defendants has been growing steadily, the District Attorney Ron Moore is stubbornly clinging to this opportunity to defame and demonize anarchists.

(available on the Asheville 11 Defense website) in your community. Failing all else, you could simply donate to their support fund directly online at:

Support Poster from the Asheville 11 Defense Committee:

“The Asheville 11 are the casualties of class war. Like many others who are caught up in a struggle they didn't begin, they are our heroes. They are the anonymous “every person.” Anything that happens to the Asheville 11 could happen to any of us. In a society based on superfluous labor, we are all very replaceable. We can lose our jobs for any reason; landlords can You could write a letter to the editor of the evict us from our homes if it serves their pocket books; we can be subtracted by Asheville Citizen-Times, which printed a great deal of hostile invective about the police bullets for having something shiny eleven in the wake of their arrests and con- in our hands of falling mentally ill. Or we could be arrested simply for being present tinues to frame the discourse about their court case. at an event. Any of us could fall victim to the potential consequences of living in this society... You could print and mail out these postcards (available on the Asheville 11 Defense website) demanding that District ...History will tell the story of such “every Attorney Ron Moore drop the charges and persons” who broke down, who accidentally led a charge, and who found each cease publicly vilifying the defendants. You could photocopy and distribute cop- other in their stumbling. The Asheville 11 ies of informative trifolds and pamphlets are of this story. If they are guilty of the crimes, then their deeds are that much more glorious. If they are acquitted or found not guilty, then we are all that much more anonymous. The media and the police conspire to conceal the meaning of Mayday because the Asheville 11 could be anyone. And the truth is, they are.

Ways you can support the Asheville 11:

down 2 Israeli company that owns Sabra Hummus 3 Neighborhood with tons of anarchists in Athens 5 President of Bolivia 7 Emma Goldman's autobiography 8 Landless movement in Brazil


After the Nov 9th hearing in Philly, what does Mumia face, what do we need to do ? WHAT DOES MUMIA FACE LEGALLY AFTER THE NOVEMBER 9, 2010 HEARING BEFORE THE THIRD CIRCUIT? The only legal options that were considered by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal court immediately below the US Supreme Court, at the November 9 hearing were whether Mumia Abu-Jamal is to be executed or get life in prison without parole. The question of Mumia's guilt or innocence and the opportunity of a new trial was not part of this hearing. The Third Circuit decided that issue in March 2008 in a decision made by the same three judges who conducted this hearing. To grasp the significance of this hearing, one needs to revisit Federal District Court Judge William Yohn, Jr.'s decision of December 18, 2001. In that ruling the judge upheld Mumia's conviction but at the same time threw out his death sentence on the grounds that the verdict form used by the jury for sentencing at his trial violated the U.S. Supreme Court's Mills precedent, thereby prejudicing the jury toward the death penalty rather than life in prison. Yohn then gave the state 180 days to convene a new jury trial only on the issue of Mumia's penalty, in which the choices would be either death or life in prison without parole. On the other hand, if the state did nothing, Yohn ruled that Mumia would automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole. At the time he made this decision, Judge Yohn stayed his ruling on overturning the death sentence while the prosecution appealed his decision to the next higher level of federal court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (At the same time Mumia appealed Judge Yohn's decision upholding his conviction). Mumia was therefore never removed from Death Row and remains there to this day.

its unanimous rejection of an appeal from a white-supremacist named Spisak. That man admitted to killing at least two people in Ohio and openly stated that he wished to have murdered more. He had appealed his death sentence also as a violation of the Mills precedent, but involving a different aspect of it than Mumia's case. The Sixth Circuit, as did the Third Circuit in Mumia's case, ruled that the death sentence should On March 27, 2008, the Third Circuit be thrown out. However, the Supreme upheld Yohn's decision on the death Court ruled that the Mills precedent did penalty in a 3-0 vote. Again the decision not apply in Spisak's case, and therefore was stayed while the state appealed to the execution rather than life in prison was the highest federal level, the Supreme Court. appropriate penalty. Based on that decision, (In the same decision, the Third Circuit the Supreme Court questioned the Third rejected Mumia's appeal on the convicCircuit's ruling in Mumia's case, and asked tion by 2-1 that is, finding him guilty and, it to reconsider the issue of execution for as before, Mumia appealed that ruling.) him as well. On April 6, 2009 the US Supreme Court refused to hear Mumia's appeal of the Third Circuit's decision upholding his conviction.

Thus, the hearing on November 9th was on Mumia's penalty only. The choices before the court were either to sustain Yohn's and its own earlier decisions or to reinstate the death penalty. According to those in the On January 10, 2010, the Supreme Court courtroom, the attorney who represented ordered the Third Circuit to reconsider its Mumia on this issue, Judith Ritter, argued decision on the death sentence in light of the applicability of the Mills precedent uz very convincingly. On that basis Mumia's

pics by onion : death sentence should not be reinstated. The history of Mumia's case, however, has shown that precedent and effective arguments, as in the argument of racial bias in jury selection made before the same three judges three years ago, are often ignored by the court in favor of a political agenda at least to keep Mumia locked up if not executed and completely silenced. That racial bias issue easily could have resulted in Mumia's conviction being thrown out, but in a split 2-1 vote, the judges established a new precedent just for Mumia. (All three judges blew off the question of Mumia's innocence). After hearing the arguments and asking questions, Chief Judge Scirica said that the court would 'take the matter under advisement'.) It may be months before a decision is announced. If the Third Circuit reaffirms its earlier decision to sentence Mumia to life in prison without parole, the state will most likely appeal to the Supreme Court. If that court agrees with the Third Circuit, or in the unlikely event that the state doesn't appeal at all, the state then will have 180 days to

implement Judge Yohn's decision. In that case the prosecution would have to decide whether to do nothing and let the life sentence stand or ask for a new penalty trial (which would take place in a Pennsylvania state court) in the hope of "winning" a death sentence again. Mumia would certainly want the latter to happen since it would give him some opportunity to introduce new evidence challenging the prosecution's version of what happened on December 9, 1981, which was the basis for the jury's guilty verdict at his 1982 trial. Thus, while this proceeding would not be a trial on the question of guilt or innocence, but only a hearing on the sentencing issue, new evidence that could undermine Mumia's conviction itself might be introduced. If the Third Circuit rules against Mumia, Mumia will surely appeal to the Supreme Court. But the odds for the Supreme Court to overturn the Third Circuit's decision favoring execution are very small given the reactionary composition of that court. However, even if the Supreme Court rules continued next page


MAYOR NUTTER CLAIMS HE “CAN’T COMMIT” TO ACT UP’S PLAN TO “SAVE LIVES, SAVE MONEY” BY ENDING AIDS HOUSING WAIT LIST; AIDS ACTIVISTS DIE-IN TO PROTEST MAYOR’S INACTION by Max Ray and members of ACT UP Philadelphia Philadelphia – Members of AIDS activist groups ACT UP Philadelphia and Proyecto Sol, along with graduate students in the University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Studies Program and medical school, met with Mayor Michael Nutter on Monday, November 8th. Readers of The defenestrator will recall that ACT UP has been engaged in a long campaign to ensure housing for people with AIDS in Philadelphia and have been repeatedly denied the opportunity to even meet with Mayor Nutter. (see “Over our dead bodies,” fall 2010). The students and activists asked the mayor to commit to spending two to four million dollars to create permanent housing to end the two-year long waiting list for housing for people with AIDS in Philadelphia. ACT UP Members Carla Fields, Cliff Williams, and Carlos Gonzales (along with six other ACT UP members) shared personal testimony of the dangers of living on the streets and in shelters with a compromised immune system. All three had experienced stigma, dangerous diseases, fleas and bedbugs (which are especially dangerous for people living with HIV), poor nutrition, and lack of access to medication while in the city shelter system. Mr. Williams, whose wife passed away from HIV and cancer while on the AIDS housing wait list, pointed out that because shelters are the only options for people with AIDS who need homes, and there are no city shelters for families, he and his wife had to stay on opposite sides of the city while she was dying. Ms. Fields, who volunteers regularly in Philadelphia’s tent cities, and is homeless herself, testified that her experience was not unique. “I’m not doing this for myself. I’m doing this for all my brothers and sisters who are dying and need homes.” Mr. Gonzales added that without the housing he eventually received, he would not be alive today. “Being in a home meant I could take my medicine, get good nutrition, and become a productive member of society.”

Mumia continued

for a death sentence, Mumia would still have some legal options. Back in 2001, when Yohn threw out the death penalty based on the Mills precedent, he did not deal with several other issues raised by the defense. Therefore, Mumia would have the right to go back before Judge Yohn and ask him to address these other significant issues related to the improper sentencing process at his trial. Such a hearing, though limited to life in prison or execution, would inevitably also include challenges to the prosecution's version of what happened at the crime scene. This would especially be

Urban Design students Jonathan Snyder and Phil Dawson and Professor Michael Nairn shared their research into housing models, costs, and ways for the city to fund housing for people with AIDS while reducing long-term costs. They shared that a “housing first” model, which provides stable, permanent housing without requiring long shelter stays and transitional housing, has saved other comparable cities $88,000 per client per year, when compared with the traditional model. In addition, the housing first model means that families like Mr. Williams would not have to spend years shuttling back and forth between mens’ and womens’ shelters, and people like Ms. Fields would not be forced to live for years in shelter systems that were actively making them sick through contagious diseases and insect infestations. Mayor Nutter took detailed notes on each participant’s statement. Promising to review their documents and his notes, he continued, “I can’t commit to anything right now.” He explained that funding for the fiscal year 2012 was uncertain, and said, “I don’t want to make this a political conversation, but I live in a political world… A lot changed [on election day, November 2].” ACT UP recognizes that Philadelphia faces a hostile, pro-business, anti-human needs environment in the Pennsylvania state government. We were outraged to learn that the state can and will hold revenue from the casinos hostage if the city attempts to raise taxes on businesses or individuals and disappointed to learn that the city’s smokelesstobacco tax is earning less than it was projected to. However, ACT UP’s analysis of the city’s budget shows that the prison and

true if grassroots work continues to expose the fraudulent nature of the trial and appeals process as has been done dramatically in the last few years; for example, through the release of the long hidden photographs of the crime scene, and the evidence that four people, not three, were present at that scene. This would also be true if grassroots work continues to press for a Department of Justice civil rights investigation and draws greater support and activism. Not only might the death penalty be once again overturned, but Mumia's conviction itself might get thrown out.

pics by Katie Riek court systems are massive drains on city resources. On top of that, millions are spent to put people into what ACT UP member Cliff Williams describes as “shelter warehouses.” We know that providing homes saves lives and saves money, keeps people out of jail and out of chronic homelessness. Why spend money to warehouse people in prisons and shelters, when for less money we could house them in permanent homes? Mayor Nutter attempted to apologize personally to Ms. Fields, saying that no one should have to face the poor treatment she received in his shelter system. Ms. Fields countered that if he is not willing to commit to providing housing for people with AIDS, then his apology is meaningless. People will continue to get sick and face death in shelters and on the streets until Mayor Nutter finds the political will to end the AIDS housing crisis. He does live in a political world, and ACT UP recognizes that his problem is not financial; it’s not having the backbone to solve the problem.

to provide safe, stable housing to people with AIDS, to save lives and save the city money over time, gathered at City Hall to memorialize those for whom housing comes too late, and remind the mayor of the 8000 HIV-positive Philadelphians with unmet housing needs. “People with AIDS need homes, not excuses,” proclaimed ACT UP and Proyecto Sol member Jose De Marco, before leading the activists in a die-in in front of the City Hall entrance. Chalk outlines of their bodies remained outside the Juniper entrance until it rained, a reminder to the mayor of the anger and disappointment he faced at the meeting the previous Monday.

On Wednesday, November 10th, AIDS activists, angered by the Mayor’s refusal

Mumia's legal situation remains extremely dangerous as the re-imposition of the death sentence would surely be a big setback in his struggle to demonstrate his innocence. The authorities in Philadelphia are mobilizing for Mumia's execution, and the Supreme Court seems likely to be sympathetic to that agenda. But even with that being said, the right that remains for Mumia to go back to Judge Yohn is very important for opening up space to expose the level of injustice, the violation of due process, and the racism that has permeated the entire history

of this case. While the US legal system looks very powerful and impenetrable to justice, the grassroots movement in the US combined with international pressure could force the courts to make decisions that they otherwise would not. Surely Mumia's being alive today, despite three attempts to kill him, twice with scheduled execution days, is a tribute to the massive struggles waged by people across this globe. The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal u{

Violence is a Small River: To be with Society is an Ocean. An Interview with Athens Anti-Authoritarian Movement Comrades By Jake Carman This August I interviewed three comrades from the Athens section of the Anti-Authoritarian Movement of Greece (Alpha Kappa/ AK in the Greek acronym). The folks I interviewed live in Exarhia, a neighborhood with a massive anarchist population in central Athens where the December 2008 Greek Uprising began, around which 200 police maintain a permanent security perimeter. AK, the largest anarchist organization in the country, is based around only three points of unity. These minimum core values are: The antiauthoritarian character of its scope and frame. The direct democracy in the way of decision-making. The denial of occupation of any form of power. Vaggelis Nanos is in his early thirties. He helped found Nosotros, the first and largest social center in Exarhia. He also works on Babylonia, AK's monthly publication which is distributed in kiosks across the country. Sofia is also in her early thirties, and is a member of the AK working group for the creation of an anti-authoritarian economy. Epaminontas “Nontas” Skiftoulis joined the movement at its beginning,around the 1970s struggle against the Military Junta. He is quite influential for his ideas and articulateness. Police also accused him of being a member of an early anarchist guerrilla group. What have anarchists in Greece done well that United States anarchists might learn from? Vaggelis, as a proud founding member of Nosotros, insisted that Social Centers are an integral part of successful modern anarchist movements. His argument, which included tours of some spectacular spaces, was quite convincing. “In 2005,” Vaggelis began, “we started Nosotros. It was the first time we thought about social centers. What remains from the December 2008 uprising is that we have many social centers, which are some of the best things anarchists have made here. Some of these are occupied, some are rented. Some are for winter, some for summer, like the self-organized park Navarinou.” Nosotros, like the other social centers we saw, is a large building with classrooms, computer rooms, libraries, offices, child-care centers, film and music spaces, and invariably an indoor bar for winter and an outdoor bar for summer. Navarinou in Exarhia is a rare place: a park in the concrete landscape of Athens. Once a parking lot, the people of the neighbor-


hood tore up the pavement, put in soil, built a playground, planted trees and bushes, built a stage and some seats for discussions, music and film screenings, and thus created an autonomous park in a city sorely lacking in parks.

ship with society. This is a mistake. Like Marxism and Stalinism, if you believe completely in it and don't allow criticism, we are no better than them. We go straight to one closed system.”

Vaggelis described the essential part Greece's social centers play in the struggle: “Firstly, they are spaces for meetings. Secondly, the free spaces are run by assemblies. So it's an experiment to see if we can run spaces completely with no leaders. So far, it's working. At Nosotros, we have lessons for immigrants, students, lessons in instruments, and more. If you know something, here you can teach it to others. The social centers are also the point from which we start to organize resistance to everything. When there is a problem in the neighborhood, we go there.”

When Void Network comrades, Tassos and Sissy, came through Boston touring to promote their book “We are an Image of the Future,” they explained that Greek anarchists had the power on the streets, that they “could go to parliament tomorrow and throw them out, but then what?” Can you speak to this?

What mistakes have the Greek anarchist made that we in the US may learn from? Sofia told of an act that happened as the Greek Parliament was voting for the IMF bail-out: “On the 5th of May, 2010, there was a huge manifestation. People said they hadn't seen one so big since the first years of the dictatorship. During the manifestation, some people burnt down a bank and three people trapped inside were killed. It hasn't been proven that those who torched the banks were anarchists, but most likely they call themselves anarchists. That morning, society welcomed the anarchist ideas. After, we had to apologize for an incident committed by about three people who we feel acted against all those who participated in the demo. Maybe somewhere it's written that anarchists should burn banks, but we have to think about what's good in a certain situation.” “Similarly,” she continued, “after December 2008, still the movement was going on, but a guerrilla anarchist group shot at policemen in Exarhia. Three hundred police were hurt during December, and the people were fighting alongside us almost every day in the streets. But one shot against one cop turned the people against the movement again. We took a step backwards.” “There are many big mistakes, so what?” Vaggelis said. “But the idea that we know the truth is our biggest mistake. Most anarchists believe we know the truth and the people don't, so the people must follow us. For example, there was a park called the Self-Organized Park of Cyprus and Paticion. The people occupied the park and self-organized. Anarchists went there and said, "this isn't anarchist enough. We can't sell beer. We can't have this concert because the singer isn't anarchist." So in two month's time, the only people who went there were anarchists. Many times we prefer pure anarchy than to have a relation-

on a larger scale. There are four million people in Athens, three million between the three other big cities, and only three million in the countryside. Only one thousand are farmers, and only one hundred are anarchist farmers. So how do we feed the cities?"

Vaggelis described the essential part Greece's social centers play in the struggle. "The social centers are [...] the point from which we start to organize resistance to everything. When there is a problem in the neighborhood, we go there.”

“We've thought of problems we'll have after the revolution, but we can't predict what will happen. Marx said Russia can't have a revolution, it's only farmers. He said only Germany can. Germany had the Nazis, and Russia had the revolution! How will we run schools, and technology? Do we need these or not? Revolution is full of problems. But from the other side, this is nice about revolution: together we figure this out."

“Yes, we are very good fighters,” Vaggelis said, “but we don't have the ways to run society. We have no structure to offer. The truth is, if we want to have these structures we must pics from build them with society, which knows how to produce, how to distribute the things she needs. Together “First, we need experiments. Alternative we must plan the society we all want. We schools, farms that have direct relationcan't isolate ourselves. After December, ships with the city. If these work, then more many of us can see this problem. Maybe people will do it that way. One day the lectures are something society needs, but revolution will come, and we won't even how are we going to take the products of notice it. We must get to the point where the countryside to the city? We haven't both sides have no other choice. We are far found out yet how things will be after the from this.” revolution. How will we decide what kind and how much energy to use—gas, sun, Responding to my question about whether solar, nuclear?" the solutions of classical anarchists have been useful, Vaggelis said, “Authority “The point is, we need to build more move- nowadays is more complicated than it used ments. If we have a big Eco movement, and to be. We have to win many more fights, be another of people from neighborhoods, the equal with women, gays, the environment. two together can decide what energy to use. In 1900, Kropotkin said 'the machines will If we have a strong farmers' movement, save us.' Today we say, 'the machines will we can build horizontal farms to produce pollute too much,' so we can't just trust and share with cities. Some of these farms these dead guys. They're too old. I love exist, and sell to Nosotros and other social them, but we can't trust them. For instance, spaces, but we don't know how to do this nobody today says 'I'm a worker.' We have

one hundred hobbies. We can't say, 'we'll go to a union and have a revolution.' We don't all care about our jobs. Work is important, we spend more than eight hours a day there, but there's more, too.” How are Greek anarchists addressing these obstacles?

Festival of Direct Democracy, held in Thessaloniki in September, the entire second day, called “Exodus from Capitalism,” will focus on the anti-authoritarian economy. As Sofia said, the research process “will last at least one year and hopefully we will have some fruitful results.” Vaggelis added, “I think now we are start-

speaking with society. So when the prisoners revolt we don't impose our ideas about imprisonment, but instead hold assemblies and together discuss the demands such a movement can pose. “You in the US can further help us with protests outside travel agencies and by sending us reports about solidarity actions. You can do a lot for Greece. Now is the right time because the Greek people are waiting to hear from other countries.” As for the present, Vaggelis says, “what we can do for each other is to have actions. When in December you did actions for us we felt we are not alone, so we must go on! The same we can do for you. This is a nice thing.” Money from the resource-rich United States, Vaggelis said, is not necessary nor desired from Greek comrades. “When we had a little social center, we couldn't pay the rent. Then we said 'we'll rent this bigger building, $2000 Euros a month plus $1500 to fix it.' We found the money in one month, because we believed in that project. We don't need anything else. We don't want your bloody dollars,” he laughed. How might Greek Anarchists help US Anarchists?

“Yes, we are very good fighters, but we don't have the ways to run society. We have no structure to offer. The truth is, if we want to have these structures we must build them with society, which knows how to produce, how to distribute the things she needs. Together we must plan the society we all want." Sofia suggested, “Greek anarchists must overcome ideology, to learn to be with society and live within it, not outside it. That's what we've tried to do here in Exarhia. After December 2008, people, not only anarchists, occupied public spaces and tried to manage these places using direct democracy. Also, here there are many anarchists who are open minded and try to build structures, and there are others who are not. I can't speak of anarchists as a unified thing.” As for Alpha Kappa, Sofia continued, “at the May conference we concluded that we want to work on a project of anti-authoritarian economy, exploring the values and the key issues and the applications it can have. That's why a new work group has been formed. It meets once per month. So far we've agreed on some main principles such an economical system should be based on (justice, autonomy, ecological harmony, diversity) and we study several alternative economical systems proposed by Albert, Fotopoulos, Latouche (degrowth) etc., in order to identify their proposals according to some main issues such as property, labour, and decision making inside such an economic system. We agreed to present every month the progress of the meeting in an article published in Babylonia and in an open discussion at Nosotros.” At AK's

ing to try to build these structures, both in Alpha Kappa and in other organizations, but we are at the beginning. We have bookstores, bars, restaurants that work collectively, but too few. We must do this much more to see if this experiment will work.”

Vaggelis began by suggesting (jokingly?) that Greek anarchists pay for social centers in the United States. Then Vaggelis, who is by no means a pacifist, who frequently delighted in showing us Youtube videos of anarchists fighting police, said, “We only do bad things for anarchists elsewhere. People in the United States are starting to believe that fighting is more important than ideas and organizing. Fighting is important, but really the ideas are more important. To have the streets is important, but to do that you must glue the streets with posters, to give the people your papers, and to explain

our purpose is not just to have the fight. In '95, the Polytechnic school was occupied for three days, so we were fighting the cops. Five hundred people were arrested. After that it took many years to have a demonstration with a lot of people. Fights can do some things, but they can just as easily undo things. As we say, its like an umbrella: if it's raining, you take it. If not, you leave it at home!” Nontas spoke similarly: “Here in Greece, the purity of action and activism, the romanticism of the action prevents the reflection and digestion of what we have done until now. Our youngest anarchists have already thrown one billion stones, built one hundred bombs, and fought the police. Today we have thirty anarchists in prison. There are thousands who have gone to prison. We don't only need people to throw stones, we need people to talk to society so they can understand and accept what we propose. We need to be specific about what we propose or else they say 'Bullshit!' to us. When you can relate to society, you have escaped the activism plague. “Everything is starting with the thought. Violence is a small river, to be with society is an ocean. Anarchy is a great, open road. We can't close it, we must discover it little by little by working.” Sofia concluded, “What we need to do is to use our imagination and overcome what is posed to us by the status quo and build structures that are based on principles other than those that are imposed on us. For instance, instead of capital being the major purpose, human dignity and nature should be taken into account. “So whether we manage to build such structures or you do, it will help all the others because in doing so we will have

How can United States anarchists help the Greek anarchist movement? Nontas, sitting outside one such anarchist bar, said, “You are helpful in many ways, but you don't know it yet. At this moment, in order for Greek society to operate again, we need an alternative solution. Because of the rotting state, which can't give society solutions, the economy doesn't work anymore. Society's institutions have been destroyed, like families, education, etc. We are living without meaning, living for ourselves and not a community. “We need a solution that's not ideological, not theological, not messianic, but a direct, logical, rational solution ... That's why we study and invite to our festivals American intellectual radicals. For example, Michael Albert's book Parecon we have used in our analysis of farmers, small cooperatives, and buyers, to be against the middle man. Another example, we used (David) Graeber's opinion of substituting the language of anarchism with direct democracy when

to them what you believe. The last step is fighting the cops. You need all of that—the ideas, the effort, the organizing—to win the streets, not just the stones. It's psychologically easy to fight the cops. You just throw stones, then run away. It's easy to be a macho guy, but you can beat the baby, or you can teach it."

discovered the path. So what we all have to do is to try to build the structures not only globally, but try to apply these principles locally like an experiment. I think these experiments can occur even now inside capitalism, and if they prove to be successful, then we can apply them on a larger scale.”

“We must sometimes have violence, but


John Holloway, Crack Capitalism and Latin America Radical sociologist and anti-capitalist writer John Holloway's latest work Crack Capitalism (Pluto Press 2010) continues to explore the fundamental themes of how best to combat capitalism and change the world anew. Following on from his widely read and contentiously debated book Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today (Pluto Press 2002), Crack Capitalism explores the key question - what now is to be done? Upside Down World's Ramor Ryan talks to John Holloway in Mexico about social movements in Latin America and the ever-present potential for revolutionary change. Ramor Ryan: Your previous book, Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today quickly became one of the quintessential texts of the new anti-Capitalist milieu. In it you contend that the possibility of revolution resides not in the seizure of state apparatuses, but in day-to-day acts of abject refusal of capitalist society, and ask how we can reformulate our understanding of revolution as the struggle against power, not for power. Ultimately, you assert that revolution today must be understood as a question, not as an answer. How do you build on this thesis in your latest work Crack Capitalism? John Holloway: To my delight, Change the World stirred up a lot of discussion, both horrified criticism and cries of delight. But the reaction that made most impact on me was the one that said “Great, we know you’re right, we don’t want to take power, we don’t want to enter into the dirty logic of political parties, but then what on earth do we do?” In the new book I propose an answer – crack capitalism, create cracks in capitalist domination in as many ways as possible and let them expand and multiply and flow together. But of course it’s an answer that is really a question: still the question is how do we do it and do these cracks have any chance of survival? The important thing is to look around and see where we are already, to see the millions and millions of different ways in which people are already creating cracks, breaking with the logic of capital and creating spaces or moments in which different social relations prevail. The Zapatistas are

the most obvious example, or the movement in Argentina in 2001/2002 or the MST in Brazil, but there are millions of examples of people just walking in the opposite direction, against the stream, individually or collectively. So many dignities. What the book tries to do is think from those many dignities, to think how we can understand them as the starting point for revolutionary change. RR: You focus on social movements, not political parties or political leaders, as the place where the answers will emerge to the question of what a revolution will look like today. You have asserted that "At the heart of the social movements of recent years, at least in their more radical variants, is a drive against the logic of capitalist society." Can you elaborate on this idea with particular focus on social movements in Latin America? JH: Yes, I think there is an almost universal and highly contradictory drive against the dynamic of capitalism. Anti-capitalism is the most common thing in the world, though people do not necessarily think of it in those terms. The problem with political parties is that they channel anti-capitalist anger back into a capitalist form, the form of the state. I think it is important to give this anti-capitalist anger an anti-capitalist form of organisation, a form of organisation that helps people to express their anger and their desires, that is based on the mutual recognition of people’s dignity. This is an extremely important tradition in the anti-capitalist movement, from the Paris Commune, the soviets in Russia, the anarchist councils in Spain, the asambleas barriales in Argentina, the communal councils of the Zapatistas with their mandar obedeciendo, the cabildos in Bolivia, and so on. When the organisation gets turned towards the state, as in the case of Bolivia or Venezuela or Cuba, it is not that the revolutionary push just disappears, but it is difficult to maintain the momentum, simply because the state is a form of organisation that was constructed to subordinate social conflict to the dynamic of capital, it is a form of organisation that separates leaders from led, and that excludes people. The state may be the adequate form for bringing about change on behalf of the people, but it cannot be the organisational form of change by the people, and that is what a real break with capitalism requires. RR: Born in Ireland and raised in Scotland, you have lived in Latin America for the last 19 years, based in Mexico. How has the lived-experience of Latin America impacted your work? JH: It’s hard to know. I moved to Mexico three years before the Zapatista uprising and I think that for me, as for many others, the uprising was like a flash of lightning that made things fall into place, that gave a new sense and force to what I had been


feeling and thinking already. It was the great Zapatista announcement that here was a new way of organising against capitalism, of talking against capitalism, a new grammar of anti-capitalist revolution. And then the argentinazo* of 2001/2002 was enormously important in being a sort of urban zapatismo. And of course the constant interaction with colleagues and students who are immersed in memories of revolutionary struggle and in trying to find new ways forward. It is often horrifying, but always an extremely stimulating place to live and think. RR: Your work has spawned considerable debate in Latin America, particularly irking supporters of the regional left-leaning governments (for example, Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia or the FMLN backed government in El Salvador). They argue that by taking political power they are more effectively 'changing the world'. Do you think there is a conflict of interest between social movements and political parties? Is the electoral victory of left parties impacting negatively on the grassroots social movements?

JH: I’m all in favour of combining with people and going together as far as we can. I certainly don’t think we should start off with definitions and exclusions and “we’re not going to work with them because they’re members of a political party”. Left-wing parties include all sorts of people who are there because they genuinely want to change things. And on the whole (though not always) I think it’s probably better for the left to win elections (I would rather have Chávez or Evo or Dilma or Christina Kirchner to the right wing alternatives, and I think AMLO would have been less disastrous than Calderón here in Mexico). That said, that is not our politics, that is not where important anti-capitalist change is going to come. There are just too many forces that pull governments back in to the logic of capitalist accumulation and that means that their interests are opposed to ours. The real issue is that progressive governments are progressive governments and we, on the other hand, are the left that dare not speak its name but must and are beginning to: we are the anti-progressive

left. Not of course in the sense of being against change or the emancipation of social creativity, but in the sense of being opposed to the destructive Progress that is at the core of capitalism. Nearly all the great struggles of recent years, perhaps especially here in Latin America, have been against Progress – the extension of the línea 12 of the Metro in Mexico City, the construction of the paper mills in Uruguay, the building of Walmarts in Cuernavaca and Puebla and lots of other places, the mining of lithium in Bolivia, the destruction of the Amazon in Peru, and so on. Left-wing governments champion Progress, that is the problem. RR: You have argued that the "social movements are not organized as parties: their aim is not to take state power." During the 2009 coup d'état in Honduras and more recently in Ecuador, social movements have come out strongly in support of the Presidents under attack. What do such mobilizations reveal about the relationship between social movements and state power? JH: (You might add Kirchner’s death a few days ago, and what does that tell us?) Of course it’s a very complex relationship. Right-wing attacks on left-wing governments, as in the case of Honduras or Ecuador or the coup attempt in Venezuela a few years ago are very clearly attacks on the people those governments claim to (but do not) represent, so that it makes a lot of sense to mobilise to defend them, but not uncritically. The response of the CONAIE in Ecuador to the attack on Correa a few

weeks ago seemed to me excellent, where they used their defence of the President to criticise his failure to really implement measures of change. RR: The Zapatistas have served as one of the most poignant examples of a movement that created a thriving autonomous zone without forming a political party or seeking electoral mandate, existing outside and beyond the established political scenario and creating a 'crack' in the capitalist system. But the Mexican State appears to have managed to contain and wear-out the Zapatista initiative. Critics (from the left) argue that considering the failure of the Zapatista example, to effectively expand or multiply in Mexico 16 years after the initial uprising of '94, that this must be now understood as an example of the impossibility of attempting to build a revolution without deposing the existing state power. Could you comment on this? JH: I don’t think the Mexican state has outworn the Zapatista initiative. The appearance that that is the case is generated to some extent by the shift in direction of the Zapatista movement after the final failure of the San Andrés agreements a few years ago, the decision that the time had passed for making demands and that they just had to get on with building their own autonomous zone. But yes, the resonance of the movement is not as strong as it used to be and yes there is a failure to expand and multiply. I think this can be explained in many ways – the growth of a climate of fear in Mexico, the impact of the narcos and the growing militarization of the coun-

Theory and practice in lockdown

try, the ebb of the global anti-capitalist movement for the moment. I don’t see taking state power as being an answer, for all the old reasons, but that does not mean that the idea of changing the world without taking power, or cracking capitalism, gives us easy answers either. I suspect that there may be a spread of people, collectively and individually, just getting on with things, working on their own projects of change, of alternative living (by choice or necessity) especially in the face of the current crisis. But precisely because these movements are subterranean, it is hard to be sure. The question you ask is certainly not to be closed by an easy answer. Preguntando caminamos – I don’t think we have any choice. Ramor Ryan is a Chiapas-based Irish writer, and author of Clandestines: the Pirate Journals of an Irish Exile (AK Press 2006). His next book, Zapatista Spring, will

be published by AK Press in Spring 2011. * The Argentinazo was a major uprising in 2001 against Argentina's economic crisis and government.

A review of Defying The Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin “Rashid” Johnson Featuring Exchanges with an Outlaw

(Kerspledebeb 2010) “Like the scene at my emergence from the womb, I fought like hell, defying the tomb.” This work collects correspondence and articles by two politicized inmates incarcerated at the time in the Virginia state system, one of whom (Kevin “Rashid” Johnson), remains in Red Onion State Prison under extremely repressive conditions.

tion in a isolated and repressive environment all find a place in the texts assembled here. No one should read this book expecting perfect ideological consistency or simple answers. It's a practical process of development recorded in writing, one snapshot of a small group among the exploited seeking to break through the enemy encirclement we all live under.

Beginning with a enthusiastic and critical introduction by well known Black Liberation Army vet Russell Shoatz, it chronicles the development of political consciousness and organizing efforts in one local corner of the American gulag.

Again and again we are reminded often quite eloquently that short of grappling with the urgent questions of how to organize a revolutionary resistance, little remains for us but the dim prospect of personal survival in the face of increasing misery and fascism.

The search for a world view which transcends capitalistpatriarchal culture, the need to move beyond a street criminal mentality and the everyday victories and defeats of agita-

Of course it's with the “how” that matters become contentious: On the one hand many of Rashid's contributions provide a sober and undeniably accurate critique of the disorganization

and hobbyism rampant in the insular world of the North American radical Left. On the other hand the solution offered, a vanguard party based in the “science” of “Marxism-LeninismMaoism,” is to put it charitably less then convincing. However, even the errors of those experienced in real world resistance and rebellion tend to be more interesting for the reader then the finest moments in the polemics of those whose “correct” perspective remains disappointingly academic. Whatever our strategy may be this book does its part in making one fundamental truth eminently clear. In the struggles ahead, nothing less then total commitment will be sufficient.


Governments and Corporations Attempt to Repress WikiLeaks: Holding Up Mirrors from Australia IMC WikiLeaks has struggled to stay online after initiating the slow release of over 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables on 28th November 2010. The releases, dubbed “Cablegate,” have been carried in newspapers around the world. The four-year-old WikiLeaks organisation has been under constant political attack, especially from the conservative side of politics, whilst its website has been subjected to a series of sophisticated cyber-attacks. Reporters Without Borders condemned this hounding of WikiLeaks. Spokesperson for WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was put on Interpol's most wanted list for detention and extradition to Sweden in relation to two allegations of sexual abuse against him which had previously been dropped. The Swedish prosecutor is

described as “overzealous” in the mainstream German weekly, Die Zeit. Assange surrendered his passport to British police and offered sureties of £180,000, but a Westminster Court denied his bail application. The courts later reversed this decision, allowing Assange out on £200,000 bail on the condition that he stay at a known residence, observe a curfew, be tagged, and report daily to police. Global resistance in support of WikiLeaks and Assange is taking the form of over 1,200 websites mirroring WikiLeaks and street protests in Australia. The Indymedia Network is hosting one of

Penn, Pipelines, and Privatization, Cont'd Those who perform poorly are cast aside with the justification that they simply didn't have the drive or the intelligence to succeed. The criteria for the “best” students are determined by what private industry desires in its ideal workers. Most importantly, there is little that can be done to hold these programs accountable or to demand transparency. No wonder that the UPHS High School Pipeline Program is partially funded by a grant from the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), whose philosophy of helping youth is centered on workforce development. The board of this nonprofit consists entirely of executives from private sector industries, including a Vice President of the insurance company HealthAmerica. The nonprofit connection helps the UPHS pipeline program appear philanthropic in spirit, even as health industry interests are clearly at work. Under this arrangement, funding can sud-

denly disappear without anyone being held accountable for the reasons why. Among students, PYN seems to have a reputation for pulling the plug on projects with little regard for what happens to those involved.

No wonder, also, that the pipeline program issues regular press releases showing off images of the African American youth it is supposedly helping to improve their lot in life. These so-called “outreach” efforts are an obvious form of public relations management. For half a century, Penn's gentrification of West Philadelphia has displaced thousands of Black residents and destroyed vibrant working class communities. The pipeline program is a token gesture of amelioration whose rhetoric of “opportunity” preys upon the hopes of youth and their families. Putting Pressure on Pipeline Programs

Boondock Ain'ts, Cont'd around at the odd debauchery that seemed to occur in the lot. Parking lots in general seem pretty shady so the fact that people are staying there for the security is ironic.

For some, this is more than vacation, it is their way of life. Gene Teggatz from http://, is a full time RVer and owner of a list server that connects and socializes those that boondock. Tips and hints are shared for this practice. He tells me “It would appear that with the difficult economic times, a number of people are using an RV and parking it in a commercial parking lot for a night and then moving to another lot. Some are even in a rotation between various stores.” He also suggests getting permission from the Walmart store manager before attempting to spend the



Teggatz helpfully informed me that of all the Walmarts, “about 10 percent of the stores are 'no parking stores.'” There's even magazines dedicated to it like Escapees. Escapees is a bi-weekly magazine and an RV club. These people believe they are not only truly living off the grid but that they are also mobile in addition which makes them even more subversive. In mid-October 2010, an article appeared in the Portland Tribune profiling Danny Williams and his wife. They were homeless, well some might still consider them as such, until they bought a 21-foot 1970 Winnebago for $260 and now spend their time between parking lots. Most community action agen-

these Mirrors. Noam Chomsky, Professor Peter Singer and other prominent people in Australia have released an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling for Julian Assange to be given full support as an Australian citizen and urged a statement of Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication. In retaliation against corporate censorship action against WikiLeaks, anonymous hackers working as Operation Payback have taken down a bank website that froze Julian Assange’s defence fund and the MasterCard site was subjected to massive attacks after

Interest in pipeline programs is rapidly growing, especially in the medical and legal professions. Government agency reports and articles in Academic Medicine and the Journal of the National Medical Association tend to regard these programs as successful. Their measures of success, however, are defined by the “pipeline” paradigm: experts dictate the desirable percentage of disadvantaged students who should make it through the various stages from high school to college to vocational or pre-professional programs and finally into the careers where they are underrepresented. Critical analysis of pipeline programs is sorely lacking when compared to other types of privatization that have received much more attention. Critics should ask questions excluded from the pipeline paradigm by design. Do these programs undermine the kind of broadbased education that many impoverished

cies for the homeless do not consider these vagabonds as not having a home because they have a roof over their heads. Though not a fan of traveling myself, I have to admit the idea of sleeping in an RV in general has become more appealing to me. As I imagine pulling up to a sparsely populated beach and digging in for the night, I guess I could add to the fantasy a quick overnight in a Walmart parking lot. To rest until I reach that beachy destination I would heavily consider it. If I were to park in the Pier 70 lot, I'd be sure to get a nice view of the Ben Franklin Bridge with the sound of the community of cats mewing me to sleep. See you in the lot.

WikiLeaks donations were banned. US constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald said on Democracy Now that the freedom of the whole internet is now at stake. The manner of these revelations has been described as “holding a mirror” to the mainstream press and their friends in governments. The governments clearly don't like to see the ugliness of their own depravity, which is usually hidden from view by the press. Will we allow WikiLeaks and Julian Assange to be destroyed for daring to tell the world the truth about wars and the criminal deeds of governments around the world? Or will we support the upholding of mirrors - both technical and journalistic - in the struggle for openness?

individuals and families want to see in a public school system? Are a limited number of participants expected to succeed and is that information disguised by other language? What kinds of ethical concerns are taken into account when marketing these programs to disadvantaged youth who have little knowledge of either higher education or the industry sector sponsoring them? How transparent and accountable are the private institutions that fund and/or administer these programs? While it is difficult to criticize such programs in such bad economic times, the alternative of selling out our kids to the whims of private industry is much, much worse.

MULTITUDES CONT'D terms of economics. We demand breadth and freedom of choice in education, not the baseless pitting of sciences against the humanities. We demand an education that is not underwritten by financial gain but by the sake of learning itself.

Our quest is to protect education from the neo-liberal market. We will press for the resistance, and continue our own vociferous and active resistance, of the obstruction of learning as an empowering experience. We will continue to highlight the greedy agenda of those who want to rollout their private wealth. With this affect, they command the productive wealth of our society. We the students, refuse to accept the labels 'selfish' and 'lazy'- our actions of solidarity across generations today disproves these."

Millbank was just the beginning, something to inspire the struggle, not the struggle itself. It is direct action - strikes, occupations, sit-ins, and walkouts - that sufficiently disrupt capitalism that will force the abandoning of the austerity program. This must be widespread and occurring up and down the country, not just at pre-meditated places and times. It

seems that the government is knowingly dressing down the humanities' status in favor of disciplines whose end result is net private profit, with the effect the population is coerced into financialised and managerial modes of work." The Midnight Notes Collective’s excellent essay “Promissory Notes”* posits that, “One of the mysteries of the crisis has

The Anarchist Federation statement of support for the student direct action insists that: "This movement will not be sustained by the occasional union-led national demonstration, but by the daily action of people in our own communities and places of education and work. The momentum created by

* See

Georgia Prisoners Go On Strike Cont'd count, a crucial aspect of prison operations.

As of Friday, inmates at several prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike. “We are going to ride it,” the inmate press release quotes one, “till the wheels fall off. We want our human rights.” The peaceful inmate strike is being led from within the prison. Some of those thought to be its leaders have been placed under close confinement. The nine specific demands made by Georgia's striking prisoners in two press releases pointedly reflect many of the systemic failures of the U.S. regime of mass incarceration, and the utter disconnection of U.S. prisons from any notions of protecting or serving the public interest. Prisoners are demanding, in their own words, decent living conditions, adequate medical care and nutrition, educational and self-improvement opportunities, just parole decisions, just parole decisions, an end to cruel and unusual punishments, and better access to their families. It's a fact that Georgia prisons skimp on medical care and nutrition behind the walls, and that in Georgia's prisons recreational facilities are non-existent, and there are no educational programs available beyond GED, with the exception of a single program that trains inmates to be Baptist ministers. Inmates know that upon their release they will have no more education than they did when they went in, and will be legally excluded from Pell Grants and most kinds of educational assistance, they and their families potentially locked into a disadvantaged economic status for life.

been the delayed and sporadic responses by workers [et al.] To its serious implications in the U.S. Few actions have taken the financial or economic crisis directly at its point of opposition in the U.S.” As one protest slogan stated, “We are the working people who produce the goods – we are not going to pay for its crisis.” All over Europe, austerity measures brought on by banks and corporations and supported by governments are meeting lively, angry and well-justified confrontation. Instead of living in fear and trepidation, we should be learning from the assertions of people power elsewhere and put our bodies, voices and creativity on the street and in the face of those fucking us over. Jobless benefits are expiring for hundreds of thousands of Americans, foreclosures continue, students are looking at years of endless debt, and yet too many sit and wait for things to what? – smooth themselves out? The hope Obama promised is not tangible. We need to ACT! NOW! May the force be with you!

Despite the single biggest predictor of successful reintegration into society being sustained contact with family and community, Georgia's prison authorities make visits and family contact needlessly difficult and expensive. Georgia no longer allows families to send funds via US postal money orders to inmates. It requires families to send money through J-Pay, a private company that rakes off nearly ten percent of all transfers. Telephone conversations between Georgia prisoners and their families are also a profit centers for another prison contractor, Global Tel-Link which extracts about $55 a month for a weekly 15 minute phone call from cash-strapped families. It's hard to imagine why the state cannot operate reliable payment and phone systems for inmates and their families with public employees at lower cost, except that this would put contractors, who probably make hefty contributions to local politicians out of business. Besides being big business, prisons are public policy. The U.S. has less than five percent of the world's population, but accounts for almost a quarter of its prisoners. African Americans are one eighth this nation's population, but make up almost half the locked down. The nation's prison population increased more than 450% in a generation beginning about 1981. It wasn't about crime rates, because those went up, and then back down. It wasn't about rates of drug use, since African Americans have the same rates of drug use as whites and Latinos. Since the 1980s, the nation has undertaken a well-documented policy of mass incarceration, focused primarily though not exclusively on African Americans. The good news is that public policies are ultimately the responsibility of the public

to alter, to change or do do away with. America's policy of mass incarceration is overdue for real and sustained public scrutiny. A movement has to be built on both sides of the walls that will demand an end to the prison industry and to the American policy of mass incarceration. That movement will have to be outside the Republican and Democratic parties. Both are responsible for building this system, and both rely on it to sustain their careers. The best Democrats could do on the 100 to 1 crack to powder cocaine disparity this year, with a black president in the White House and thumping majorities in the House and Senate was to reduce it to 18 to 1, and then only by lengthening the sentences for powder cocaine. On this issue, Democrats and Republicans are part of the problem, not the solution. Prison is about corruption, power and isolation. You can help break the isolation by

Crossword Puzzle Solutions ACROSS 1. crisis 4. Umoja 6. boondocking 9.PYN 10. Multitudes 11. Askia DOWN 2. Strauss Group 3. Exarhia 5. Evo Morales 7. Livin My Life 8. MST calling the wardens' offices at the following prisons. Prisons, naturally, are open Saturdays and Sundays too. We will post updates as they develop at


Rebel Calendar Friday January 1 Dear Afghanistan:A New Year's Call for Peace Call Afghani youth to show your solidarity against occupation and war! For more info, see: 7.05 pm Eastern Standard Time everywhere Sunday January 2 Philadelphia Alliance For Labor (Birth) Support MTG 2:30pm at A-space Tuesday, January 4 Wooden Shoe Science Fiction Reading Group Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (1818) The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886) 7:30pm at Wooden Shoe Books Friday, January 7 Celebrate People's History: Book Release & Poster Show This show celebrates the legacy of movements for social justice and the poster series, as well as the release of a book collecting them all. Many of the artists will be present to talk about their work while sharing images and

footage about the movements that have inspired them. 7pm at Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave. Sunday, January 9 People's Movie Night: Skin Trade What would you do if you found out the "faux" fur trim on your neck was really made of dog fur? 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books Tuesday January 11 Legal Observer Training This Legal Observer training is designed to prepare local legal workers to serve as legal observers, and facilitate and offer opportunities for then to serve as legal observers at different marches, rallies, and protests in Philadelphia. 5:30pm at Community Legal Services - 1424 Chestnut Street, 5th Floor Conference Rm. Wednesday January 12 Philly Philm Slam It's like a poetry slam's film. info: 7pm at the Arts Garage, 1533 Ridge Ave Thursday January 13 Film: The Documentary Cortile Cascino

dir. Michael Roemer and Robert Young, US, 1962, 16mm, 46 mins,b/w This film is a sensitive but excoriating look at the Cortile Cascino slum in Palermo, Sicily, where poverty and death are in constant competition with the church, the Mafia, and a rigid social structure. 7pm I-House 38th & Chestnut Sunday, January 16 Movie Night: Soldiers of Conscience To kill or not to kill? After World War II, a US Army study revealed that three quarters of combat soldiers given the chance to fire on the enemy failed to do so. Today, despite intense Reflexive Fire Training that has helped raise firing rates in combat, many soldiers continue to suffer emotionally from the choice to pull the trigger. 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books Friday January 21 Covered: Women & Tattoos Screening W/ Director Beverly Yuen Thompson 7pm at A-Space Saturday January 22 People's Movie Night: Private A Palestinian family living between an Arab village and an Israeli settlement finds their house beseiged by the Israeli army. Rather than leave, the family stays confined to a few rooms, living as virtual prisoners in their own home. 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books

Sun, February 6 People's Movie Night: The Baader Meinhof Complex Uli Edel's 2008 film is the best popularized account of the Red Army Faction, aka the BaaderMeinhof Gang, being the most notorious of the radical left terror groups of the 70s. Moving from event to event with the speed and force of an action-adventure flick, the feature film registers both the social importance of the RAF and the problems of its tactics. 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books Sunday February 20 People's Movie Night: Germany in Autumn 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books Wednesday March 2 Philadelphia Alliance For Labor (Birth) Support MTG 2:30pm at A-space Sunday March 6 People's Movie Night: The War You Don't See 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books Sunday March 13 People's Movie Night: Hackers Wanted (AKA Can You Hack It) 7:30pm at Wooden Shoe Books Friday March 18th Porn You Can Salute: Alternatives to Mainstream Pornography with ScrewSmart 7pm at Wooden Shoe Books

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) for more info, see 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@ for more info. Books Through Bars Packing CafĂŠ Every Tuesday from 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm The A Space; 4722 Baltimore Ave. E-mail: info@ for more info

International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Interested in being involved in the campaign for Mumia’s release either email or call 215 476 8812 PRAWN (Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network) Meets 1st Tues. at Local 4, AFSCME, 1606 Walnut. 6:30-9pm The Philadelphia Icarus Project: A Radical Mental Health Collective Philadelphia Icarus holds its meetings the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month from 6-8 pm at the A-Space Anarchist Community Space. Wooden Shoe Books People's movie night Free movie screenings held every saturday at

Wooden Shoe Book Store. 7:30 PM, 704 South Street -- 215 413 0999 Quaker Peace Vigil at Independence Mall Every Sunday - 4 to 5 PM, Quaker Peace Vigil at Independence Mall - North side of Market between 5th and 6th Streets. Info 215-421-5811 the Gathering The Gathering Philly's longstanding hip-hop, deejay, break-dancing happening. Every last Thursday 10pm at The Rotunda 40th & Walnut

Tuesdays and Thursdays in January Free Creative Writing Workshop for Girls! (ages 10-12). Intensive Power Writing! Mighty Writers 1501 Christian St. 267-239-0899 or mightywriters. org Substance Use Support Group Mutual aid for dealing with substance habits that might be impeding us from fulfillment. Moving away from reliance on medical or governmental institutions and from religious terminology, we can help each other! Every Wednesday 7pm at A-space

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 *

A-Space A collectively 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 Philadelphia, PA 19143 215.727.0882 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 Philadelphia, PA 215.413.0999 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, and Saturday from 3-6pm. 40th and Locust Walk, behind St. Mary's Church Crossroads Women's Center- open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-2pm or by appointment 33 Maplewood Mall, Germantown 215-848-1120

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West Philly Confronts Police Terror new years 2011 Europe fights cuts pg. 5 Lady Gaga for Palestine pg. 8 Take Back the Land pg. 10 Greek an...