Friday, August 29, 2014

Community-Labor Alliance counters fascism in Ferguson, Missouri

"On the other side of Ferguson, a different kind of protest"
2014-08-29 by Teresa Albano fro "People's World" []:

FERGUSON, Mo. - Two and a half miles separate two worlds here: one on South Florissant Road and the other on West Florissant Ave., also known as Ground Zero. Mass protests and police violence, in the wake of what many call the murder of an unarmed Black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, Aug. 9, have taken place on W. Florissant. But protests of a different kind have and are taking place on S. Florissant as well - right across the street from the Ferguson Police Department headquarters.
W. Florissant has all the markings of a working-class main street with its all-night Chinese restaurant, fast-food chains Taco Bell and McDonald's, an Auto Zone, and locally owned meat market, liquor and grocery stores. While S. Florissant boasts its own share of fast food and auto parts, it also has a public library, banks, a wine bar and a micro-brewery - all the hallmarks of so-called upscale America.
Yet even the manicured hedges along S. Florissant could not block the community's response to the outrageous killing, and the police department's attempts to cover-up and other manipulations. Every day since the killing, residents have held a vigil across the street from the police department. Holding signs and sitting in lawn chairs, these protesters - mostly African American, many older - carry on away from TV cameras, and ironically, the heavily armed robo-cops. Even when there was a midnight curfew, it was reported that these protesters stood their ground without interference from law enforcement.
A tent - the kind you would take camping to eat in and avoid the mosquitoes - stands in the far corner of a local business, Andy Wurm Tire and Wheel. People sit in there to take a break from the relentless sun, and to store bottles of water. One woman said the owner (presumably Andy Wurm) had given permission for the protesters to use the property and is well known among African American residents. "He's got a relationship with the black community," she said.
As the afternoon sun began to lengthen the shadows, another woman comes to join the vigil. Pushing a baby stroller with her rescue dog in it and a sign that reads "Paws up, don't shoot," she places her chair on the sidewalk among the "I [heart] Ferguson" signs. She told us about the obstacles she had to overcome in helping her dog overcome the trauma in his pre-rescue life. At the same time three men come up with Little Caesars Pizza slices, offering them to protesters and journalists alike. They had come from Los Angeles and Cleveland, Ohio, to show support for the Ferguson community, Mike Brown's family, and the fight for justice. Wearing a "Random acts of kindness" shirt, the pizza-giver said he wrote comedy scripts in L.A. and proceeded to show why he was a comedy professional.
This crowd holding vigil may not have been as big as those that march at night on W. Florissant that have captured so much media attention, but they are just as concerned and passionate and organized. The two different scenes - W. Florissant and S. Florissant - could be compared to two different kinds of athleticism: sprint and long distance. The W. Florissant protests exploded the fight for justice for Mike Brown and all victims of police crimes and racism into the national consciousness. The S. Florissant protests proceed at a pace sustainable for longer periods of time. Both types are necessary for any track or swim team.
To add one more dimension to the community response, up the road on S. Florissant, stood Amanda Pope, grandmother of a student at the Ferguson-Florissant school district, holding another sign, "Teachers here to teach." Along this stretch, black and white volunteers hold the signs outside the library and a church, both sites for "vacation school" for public school students whose first day of school, Aug. 14, was postponed in the wake of the killing. Banding together, teachers, parents, grandparents, and local volunteers set up art, music, and computer classes to keep the children "motivated" and "involved" during the day, Pope said.
The school cancellation - opposed by some in the community as an over-reaction by the school board - created numerous problems for working parents and disappointed students. "My grandchild is a student and they asked me if I could volunteer, and I said 'What do you want me to do?'" Pope said. "Kids were so disappointed that they couldn't get to school the first day of school. Kids were devastated that 'I can't go to school.'"
Pope said the first day there were 40 students at the public library, and "today there are hundreds." So many that they set up another location at the church. One teacher - a music educator - walked down from the library with a school aide and the aide's grandchild, a fourth grader, to set up class for the overflow. The teachers in the local district are members of the National Education Association.
The fourth grader said the postponement was a let down for her. "The night before [the first day] I couldn't really go to sleep so I'd wake up in the middle of night saying I can't go to bed waiting for school. I woke up at nine and I was like 'Am I late for school?' But grandma said we wouldn't have school for another week. So that's really sad that I can't go to school and learn. But now I can," she said, referring to the volunteer-run school.
This type of community effort - pulling together, volunteering and pitching in when city leaders seemed unable or unwilling to - just added to the unity building, across race, socio-economic and residential lines, during a time of profound crisis.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Aug. 28th, 2014, Northbay Uprising radio news

Tune in Thursdays 4 to 5pm (PST), with our online webstream [link], and in the San Pablo Bay Area at 89.5FM KZCT [link]. News Beat track is "Education" by Casket Taste of Vallejo.
Hosted by Dr.G., Minister of Information of the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society, with a California-wide network of journalists, organizers, and entertainers, breaking the blockade of censorship, with research archives and verified sources! View past headlines [link]. Join the Community Journalist program, send news & info to [].
Know more with the Community Journalist's Notebook [link]!

The managers of 89.5FM KZCT, their associates, and sponsors, are not to be held liable for the information and commentary provided by the Northbay Uprising Radio News, produced by the Northbay Movement for a Democratic Society, as a non-partisan research and education project. BTW: This is not the "Hate Whitey" hour. Northbay MDS is not demonizing anybody but the damned fascist plutocracy and their useful idiots, can y'dig it?

In honor of Labor Day, this news broadcast contains an extensive segment on labor news. 
Towards a Labor & Community Alliance!

The process of community liberation, for the captive nations encaged within the USA, is created and maintained by the community members. The New African's ideal of a community free from economic captivity is inspiring many to declare their freedom to organize for common liberation for all, for Inter-Communal solidarity. Individual actions can adhere to ideology, but in the context of cultural perception. International unity can break down many walls, especially the barriers of racial disharmony. Behind these prison walls of the fascist state, enemies of the state are forced to give up power as an individual, but are free to unite against fascism.

The George Jackson Story, a documentary about a man whose life laid the foundation for Black August! 

Chicano Liberation Day, first established Sep. 16, 1969, by the Crusade for Justice,
and re-dedicated 2006 [link] (photos [link]), honors the sacrifices made in the efforts towards community liberation por el Nacion de Nueva Aztlan, while commemorating the Xicana Moratorium Day of 1970, when 30,000 marched for peace and justice, and police attacked, killing three people, including journalist Rubén Salazar, followed by regime of repression against Chicano community organizers throughout the 1970s, alongside cultural disruption conducted through the drug war and by drug-distributions sponsored by clandestine state agencies. After a generation of an attempt by the fascists to destroy a nation, La Raza's spirit has awakened, and is moving forward towards community liberation.

Interview with
Argelio El PaXucotl
, Chicano community organizer with L@s Autonomous Brown Berets of Sonoma County [link], who have been organizing in Santa Rosa for justice [link] and against repression of a community by local security agencies [link], while facing repression against their own membership, especially against Ramon Cairo [link].

Stories are reviewed and provided by Northbay MDS Committees.

Reinstate the Urban Dreams Website! No To Police Censorship of Mumia, and Teachers! [link]

Chevron spending $1.6 million to control Richmond city elections [link]

Radiological disaster risk at PG&E's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant [link]

"Government-sanctioned Murder by Cop - in Sonoma County and Beyond"
2014-08-19 by Elbert "Big Man" Howard:
It is late at night and I am watching the 24-hour coverage by the major television news media stations of the murder of Michael Brown and the goings-on in Ferguson, Missouri. I am very tired but still I watch, transfixed. Once again, a young, unarmed Black man, an 18-year-old child really, had been gunned down by a cop in broad daylight, for all to see. Brown was not shot during the commission of a crime but in a position of surrender with his hands held up. Yet, still he was shot, at least six times, including once in the top of his head.
The news media reporters in Ferguson are now being charged by law enforcement with making actions by "outside agitators" worse and many of them have been tear-gassed , and some arrested, along with peaceful protestors, who have not been allowed to stand still and have to keep moving. Now the people are told to disperse or be arrested, although the two-day curfew has been lifted. The images of the multitude of combat-ready, armed-to-the-teeth, totally militarized law enforcement officers, including the National Guard and the arrests occurring before my eyes, the tear-gassing and the anger, are all too familiar to me. I am now seventy-six years old, and still here, despite being one of an "endangered species" both as an African-American male, and also as one of the original six founders of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which formed in October 1966, originally for the purpose of ridding our communities of police brutality and murderous, racist, bullying cops.
The murder of 13-year-old Andy Lopez on October 22nd, 2013, and the decision, so many months later, by Sonoma County D.A. Jill Ravitch, to clear Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus of the crime, is still fresh in my mind. I think of the mind-boggling, insulting, reprehensible decision to send Gelhaus back out this week to patrol and terrorize the Latino community members and others - no surprise to me, but sickening all the same. It was a bright and sunny day that October 22nd, recognized as the date for all to stand up against police brutality, when Gelhaus, a "trained weapons instructor and firearms expert", spotted Andy, who was carrying a toy gun and was on his way to a friend's house. Within seconds, Gelhaus fired eight shots, seven of which struck and killed 13-year-old Andy.
So many other victims come to mind, like Oscar Grant, the young Black man who was shot down and killed while handcuffed, defenseless and on the ground, by a Bart policeman in Alameda County. An unarmed young Trayvon Martin in Florida was returning home when an armed security guard decided to follow him because he "looked suspicious" and then killed him. Eric Garner, 43, died on July 17th, after an officer put him in a chokehold while other officers held him down, during an arrest on Staten Island. No first aid was administered to him by either the police or the EMTs. In Santa Monica, on the side of a freeway, this past July, we saw on video, 51-year-old grandmother Marlene Pinnock being held down on the ground and beaten by a uniformed cop, without apparent reason.
No cop has ever been arrested for any of these crimes, except for Oscar Grant's killer, who was incarcerated for a few short months. Why? It could be said that law enforcement organizations make large contributions to select political candidates and leaders which keep them in control and in power. When public protests against police brutality occur, the police roll out their military dress and hardware, which include automatic guns, armored personnel carriers and tanks. Most of this hardware is issued to the state and county by the US Department of Homeland Security.
As we have seen in Ferguson, Missouri, military force is now what meets those engaged in peaceful protests. All human and civil rights appear to be null and void, as does the Constitution. Yet we continue to elect officials who trample on our rights and allow killer cops to shoot down our children of color, and others, in cold blood. Make no mistake about it - what we are seeing here is a POLICE STATE.
I am reminded of what James Baldwin said in 1966, "The law is meant to be my servant, not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." If we, as a society, are judged by how humanely our governing bodies and their hired "enforcers" treat human beings, in this country and abroad, we have absolutely devolved and failed our children and the generations to come, miserably.
Elbert "Big Man" Howard                                                                              Santa Rosa, CA
Elbert "Big Man" Howard is a founding member of the Black Panther Party and is an author, lecturer, volunteer radio DJ and community activist in Sonoma County.

Carlos P. of the Solidarity Network, 2014-08-20:
Several hundred peaceful protesters were met by an army of Oakland police ready to make war today. Especially disgusting given that in the crowd were children and parents of people who have been killed by OPD and other law enforcement. As one of three simultaneous marches approached the OPD headquarters, armed with nothing but a list of demands for justice, we were met by a line of riot cops, with FOUR helicopters swirling overhead (remind me again how we can't afford to keep elementary schools open?), and we were instantly threatened with arrest if we moved forward.
I had to leave early but I hope everyone got home safe, and I also hope that everyone got home ready to come back out and fight against this shit in the future. the struggle is a long one and we need to look out for each other and keep pushing forward.
Ras Ceylon: #hereNnow #Oakland #Solidarity wit #Ferguson!! Been xtremely busy organizing a #YouthLeadership training 4 this wknd but had to show love to my #Comrades in the streetz #Salute Needa, Luta, BlackLight, OG Gerald & all the #ServantsofthePeople out here keeping it #Movement #Justice4MikeBrown #Justice4EmAll #endpoliceterror still #ByAnyMeans #AllPower2ThePeople

Young people in Atlanta listen to speakers at a rally last week in solidarity with Ferguson, Mo.

Northbay Copwatch [link]:
** Vallejo PD acquires heavy assault vehicle from USA Dept. of Defense [link]
** Sonoma Co. Sheriff's Deputy caught publicly torturing an alleged drunk near Guerneville [link]
** Justice for Cristian Flores (of Davis). Drop all Charges! [link]
** A Sacramento newspaper publicly identifies UC Davis Police Dept. Officers who publicly tortured participants of Occupy actions at UC Davis, 2011 [link]
** "Davis City Council votes 3 to 1 to return military vehicle" [link]
** Victor White III, lynched by Louisiana State Police dept., successful cover-up [link]

We passed the 700 mark today least 700 killings YTD 2014....I think thats one every 8 hours
Killed By Police
At least 700 people have been killed by U.S. police since January 1, 2014.
At least 1449 have been killed since May 1, 2013.
At least 1087 were killed May 1, 2013 - May 1, 2014.
Source: Police reports via corporate news reports.

"Justice for Jared Huey" campaign update from Michael Huey, father of Jared:
I've been informed that an "Expert", has reviewed the evidence in this case and has found that the Police were not following common procedures, they by-passed many common steps that they're trained to use in those kinds of situations that, when implemented, allows them the ability and the means to affect a safe arrest at practically no risk to their safety, or the public's safety.
But no way my boy wasn't allowed to live and learn some respect for the law these un-American "robotic neo-Nazi human-tracking-chip controllers" are committing murder against this public, in horrible, irresponsible fashion then spits in our faces and stomps them into the dirt.
GOD BLESS my many Kin folks down in Ferguson that realize whats coming their way. They ain't havin' that shit against their people! We better show them that folks up in California aren't havin' that kind of bullshit disrespect also.
Please show your will to make this known to our local government on sept 2nd when we take to the streets in support of Mario Romero's Family!

Sonoma County Solidarity Statement to Ferguson, to the People of Ferguson, generally, and the St. Louis County NAACP, August 24, 2014:
Thank you for your efforts in seeking transparency and justice for those killed at the hands of local police, particularly Michael Brown. Our hearts are saddened and our minds filled with outrage as the war machines and militaristic tactics moved on citizens in peaceful protest.
The undersigned organizations stand in solidarity with you in your continuing efforts to seek justice for Michael Brown and so many others.
Here, in Sonoma County, we have worked, since 1999, to expose the documented sixty-four (64) citizens who have lost their lives or been wounded in similar circumstance. That number includes a broad range of ages and ethnicities. One of the most recent involved Andy Lopez, a 13-year old Latino child..
At the very least, you have gained the attention of the U.S. Justice Department—we have not.
We send this message of solidarity to encourage you to continue the struggle, for we believe the death of Michael Brown and the events of Ferguson will strengthen our united fight for justice, fair, and equal treatment.
In Peace, Unity and Solidarity,
[signed] Santa Rosa - Sonoma County NAACP []; Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez; Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County

Hands Off Our Homes [link]
** "Greedy nonprofit housing developers have minimum income requirements" [link]

San Pablo Bay Sovereignty think-tank [link]:
** "Analysts Say: Bike Share Programs Are Good For All" [link]
** "How America's Largest Worker Owned Co-Op Lifts People Out of Poverty" [link]

Student Power!
** "Print-In" action by worker & student alliance at San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College [link]

Worker's Defense Committee [link]:
Call to Action!

TAKE ACTION: Gerawan foreman ordered pesticide applicator to lie after workers get sick
When it comes to pesticide safety we work hard to create laws and regulations to protect both consumers and workers who labor in the fields. But what happens when the people we trust to respect the law lie?
That's what happened at Gerawan Farming, producers of Prima-brand plums, peaches, nectarines and grapes, according to pesticide sprayer Angel Garcia Davila. Angel has been working on Prima peaches since 2011, as a pesticide sprayer. Workers became ill after entering a field he sprayed. When the Fresno County agricultural commissioner representative investigated the poisoning incident, the Gerawan foreman ordered Angel to lie about what happened. (The county agricultural commissioner enforces state pesticide protection laws.) Angel needed to keep his job, so he followed the foreman's order and lied to the agricultural commissioner's investigator.
But the truth kept eating away at him so, when the UFW asked him what happened, Angel told the truth. Here is the real story he told us: "[We] were spraying Block 13A. We finished a little before 6 a.m. A bit later, the crews went in to pick peaches and nectarines. I don't remember the type of chemicals we used but a lot of the workers started feeling sick because of the chemicals. Someone from the state came... A few days later, our foreman, Pedro Rosas, spoke with us three [pesticide applicators] and said that someone from the state was going to come and to tell that person that we sprayed at 3 a.m. Later, a person from the state came and we signed a paper that said the time the foreman told us to say [that the pesticides were sprayed at 3 a.m.]. I signed the paper knowing it wasn't true because of fear that the foreman would take my job away."
One of the workers who entered the field tells us, "As soon as we entered the block we smelled a strong odor of pesticides.... After 5 to 10 minutes I felt dizzy and started vomiting ... After that they moved us to the other end of the block and we continued working. The rest of the day I felt the dizzy sensation and urge to vomit."
Workers called the UFW, asking for help. We called the agricultural commissioner's office and made a report on behalf of the workers. A year has passed and all the agricultural commissioner’s office has told us is that the case is still being investigated. After we spoke to Angel, who told us about the lie the foremen made him tell, we shared this information with the agricultural commissioner.
Send the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner an email today and tell him to stop delaying. It's time to make a decision and hold Gerawan accountable. A supervisor at this company that grows Prima fruit ordered employees to lie to a government agency. This is absolutely unacceptable. Gerawan is not above the law and the agricultural commissioner needs to act so such behavior is not tolerated. Take Action![]. After you take action, please ask your friends and family to take action too. You can send them an e-mail, post this campaign on your Facebook and/or Twitter page by clicking here or by going to: []
"UFW leader fired for taking a picture while anti-union workers allowed to", published 2014-07-28:
Take Action! []
On Friday, July 25th, Gerawan Farming Inc., which produces Prima-brand fruit, fired pro-UFW worker leader Pablo Gutierrez for taking a picture! Yes, you read that correctly. FIRED FOR TAKING A PICTURE!
What makes this outrageous is that anti-union workers at Prima have taken many pictures at work and have posted them all over social media. The company has never disciplined them.
Pablo tells us, “I was fired by Prima for taking a picture. I was talking to my co-workers about the conditions and how [having to] eat next to the bathrooms can affect us and the fruit. I believe this was retaliation by Prima.”
Worker leaders gathed this afternoon in Fresno to detail official charges that have been filed with the state of California. In addition, the state is still investigating other charges that the company has refused to recall union activists to their jobs. Also pending against the company are four complaints, equivalent to indictments, issued since last year against Prima by the state Agricultural Labor Relations Board general counsel alleging serious and repeated labor law violations.
As the biggest purchaser of Prima-brand products, Walmart can use its purchasing power to make a difference. Walmart publically claims to hold its suppliers accountable in the giant retailer’s supplier standards, which include "compliance with laws" and "freedom of association and collective bargaining." Unfortunately, despite workers reaching out to Walmart, leafleting in front of its stores and more, Walmart has chosen to do nothing. Take action now!

Worker's Defense Headlines!
** "San Francisco: 142,000 workers to get raise from minimum wage ballot measure" [link]
** "Open Letter Alleging Racism At The East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation" [link]
** Call for solidarity with the worker's 'Committee of Interns and Residents' at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland [link]
** "Napa County: Workers rally against cuts to lowest-paid workers" [link]
** "'Unbalanced Recovery': Wages Falling, Low-Paid Jobs Rising Across US" [link]
** Public jobs program versus reliance on private monopolies: "Casino workers turn to prayer to save their jobs" [link]
** "Rail Workers Revolt against Driving Solo" [link]
** All fastfood franchise restaurants are legally bound to respect Worker's Rights! [link]
** "In North Carolina, Fast Food and Moral Mondays Movements Build Ties" [link]
** Community and labor stand together in peaceful cry for justice for Eric Garner [link]
** "Labor joins community at Ferguson march" (2014-08-20) [link]
** Labor Fightback Network Demands Justice for Michael Brown and the People of Ferguson! [link]
** UFCW statement in solidarity with member Lesley McSpadden, whose son Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Full Statement [link], begin excerpt: At the UFCW, we are a family.  When tragedy strikes one of us, it is felt by all of us. Our sister Lesley McSpadden, a member of UFCW Local 88, is dealing with the loss of her son Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. ... This entire episode highlights systemic problems that still plague our nation — abject poverty, the lack of good jobs, an absence of racial diversity in the halls of power. We need to address these challenges head on — and labor has a role to play by offering workers the opportunity for a better life. In the meantime, we stand in solidarity with our sister Lesley McSpadden and join her calls for a fair investigation and justice under the law.
** Stand Up, Bite Back! Join Workers fighting for Jobs in Silicon Valley! Call for Solidarity with the Worker's Action, Thursday, August 28, at the San Francisco Apple Store (1 Stockton St, San Francisco). There’s a lot of talk about service workers, including janitors and security officers, being left behind as the profits at big tech companies like Google and Apple keep soaring. The growing trend of outsourcing security and other service jobs is leading to declining wages, poor working conditions, and a lower quality of life for workers and their families. The economic divide between big tech companies like Apple and Google and low-paid workers is widening. It's time to do something about it. Join working families, political leaders and community supporters for a town hall discussing ways to bring economic opportunity to Silicon Valley by lifting the jobs of service workers – the other face of the high-tech industry. Read more about this fight in USA Today [link] and join us in Biting Back!

‘Hands Up, Don’t Ship!’ Minneapolis UPS Workers Protest Shipments to Missouri Police (2014-08-26) []. A dozen part-time UPS workers took protest action after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company whose shipments they handle each day.

Committee to Free 'em All! [link]
Emergency! Take Action To OPPOSE Solitary Confinement Legislation SB 892!
a Call to Action from "Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity" campaign [link]:
Please be sure to read the Five Urgent Action Requests at the link!
On behalf of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and others who joined an emergency conference call this evening to address the imminent vote by the California Assembly and Senate on SB 892 (Senator Hancock) dealing with the critical issue of solitary confinement, we want to inform you of the following and urge you to widely distribute this message to your email lists.
Between now and Sunday night (Aug 31), the CA Assembly and Senate will vote on SB 892, drafted by Senator Hancock, who got involved as a result of the prisoners’ hunger strike in the summer of 2013 to denounce the conditions in solitary confinement and CA’s unique “gang validation” policy. California’s Department of Corrections (CDCR) has what is probably the WORST, MOST COSTLY, AND MOST INHUMANE solitary confinement policy of any state in the country. As a result of CDCR policies, California has the largest population of prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in the U.S. and more than any other country on earth! A prisoner in CDCR’s custody commits suicide every ten days. Instead of reforming this policy–including placing prisoners who have engaged in no rule violations in long-term solitary for mere alleged gang membership (“gang validation policy”)–SB 892 for the first time in history adopts this draconian policy into state law.

Call for Compassionate Release for Robert C. Fuentes from Pelican Bay, from "Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity" [link]:
Please sign the petition (link below) for Compassionate Release for Robert C. Fuentes, who has been incarcerated for 32 years, 20 years at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) and never debriefed to get out of SHU. He is dying from liver cancer that could have been treated had it been diagnosed sooner; in February/March of 2014 he was given a diagnosis of inoperable liver cancer. He has been sent to hospice in California Medical Facility Vacaville.
His sister Cynthia has initiated the petition "Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard and Martin Hoshino: Release Robert C. Fuentes before he dies in prison," asking for compassionate release (CR) of Robert to his family in Corona (parents Frank and Frances Fuentes, five siblings, two children, 3 grandchildren,  and countless extended family members).
Although the prison system has refused compassionate release, his family, Justice Now, and supporters will fight to get him out. "We have seen his once healthy 210 lb frame dwindle down to 126 lbs as of 7.12.2014." He cannot eat much at all and is in constant pain. His release is urgently needed.
Sign the Petition here [link]

Committee for the Study of Fascism, domestic [link], and worldwide [link]:
** Rev. Pinkney brought to trial despite lack of evidence (2014-08-25) [link]
** "NPR Presents CIA-Backed Group as Independent Expert on Snowden's 'Harm'" [link]
** Federal Congress Leader proud to be "owned" by private billionaires, works against anything that benefits workers, students, the elderly and disabled [link]
** Famous conservative actor speaks on the state terrorism against the People of Ferguson, in support of the state [link]
** St. Louis County Police Officer speaks at Oath Keeper gathering: "I kill everybody. I don’t care." [link]

Domestic Security agencies conduct hostile operations against the New African People of Ferguson, Missouri! a special committee report.
Eyewitness reports from the front lines of Ferguson, from "Liberation News" radio:
* Listen now [link]: Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, shot by a rubber bullet during demonstrations in solidarity with Michael Brown's family, describes the resilience of the community fightback in the face of police repression.
* Listen now [link]: John Beacham, ANSWER Chicago, reports from Ferguson on the militarization of the police and extreme measures to crush any voices for justice.
* Listen now [link]: Ana Santoyo, a Liberation News militant journalist locked up by police during the protests that have drawn worldwide condemnation, talks about her arrest with dozens of others in Ferguson.

** Ferguson Rebellion addressed by Universal African People’s Organization (2014-08-21) [link]
** Rod Starz of Rebel Diaz: Ten important observations to know about Ferguson (2014-08-23) for the "San Francisco Bayview" newspaper []
** Faith organizations terrorised, members kidnapped, [] Image from []

War Profiteer of the Month: Combined Systems Inc. (CSI) [link]. Says a former employee at CSI:
 “Haha! I used to work at CTS, worse f*cking company ever! Gas house burned down, and they made us go back to work at! They say less lethal... I worked in m213 building, it was fuses made for m60 grenade... horrible place, and yes they always has an israeli flag over the building, the company is owned by them...

When police arrived to enforce a federal warrant at the Bundy Ranch, Fox news called them out for "oppression" and "overreaching". When police shoot at and publicly torture unarmed black people protesting human-rights abuse in Ferguson, MO, Fox news praise them as a "heroes" and suddenly love "law and order".


The NBPP has not killed a single person since they first surfaced 1989 (just after Huey Newton, co-founder of the original Black Panther vanguard, had been assassinated by a security agency asset aka "snitch"). Their efforts to protect New African voters from terrorism by fascists during Obama's election was labeled "voter intimidation" by the self-described "conservative" news media. Fox News, a national television network, has targeted the NBPP for absolute vilification throughout the past 20 years, while ignoring the rise in lynchings and vigilante death-squads across old Dixie, Texas, Arizona and KKKalifornia...
** Lynching in Jackson, Miss., August 2014 [link] !!!
** "KKK raising money for ‘hero’ Ferguson cop who shot ‘Jewish controlled black thug’" [link] !!

Chawn Kweli, National Chief of Staff for the NBPP, released a statement against self-described "conservative" news journalist Alex Jones, Aug. 23rd, concerning Mr. Jones' allegations about the NBPP:
Many of you have asked me where this slanderous campaign has come from. Of course you know where.. but thanks to our dynamic research team, we have uncovered and exposed those whose hands are shown in an effort to Defame, Slander and Falsify information- with the intention to mislead and cause libel.
[begin message]
Dear Mr Alex Jones,, and all other social media outlets, affiliates, and third party providers,
Consider this your Official Cease & Desist notice of your slander of our / my good name or face legal action for your words and falsified allegations of being "Fed Run" Communists in Ferguson, MO with intent to "advocate violence". Since you used and other news/ social media outlets to continue to distribute your Defamation campaign as a crux for your own personal gain, that makes (as an entity), and all outlets who use your fraudulent document/s, blogs, or posts, an accomplice of the criminal acts of libel, defamation and slander, and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You have until Sunday Aug 31st, 2014 to retract your lies and a Public statement of apology on your page, and all involved parties, either directly or third party. If you fail to do so then we/I will have no other recourse than to file charges on you and anyone involved in the malicious slander, of myself (Chawn Kweli), Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz, Hashim Nzinga and the New Black Panther Party. Your slander of our motives in Ferguson, MO using and other connected social media outlets hold you and those who used the falsified information responsible for any damages, presently or long term. You have until Sunday, Aug 31st, 2014. Come Monday morning, September 1st, 2014, we're going to file and press for all damages, defamation, and libel.
[end message]
Here are three of the guilty Devils who were assigned to Defame and slander our Good names and works:
1. Jim Hoft of "Gateway Pundit"; 2. Alex Jones of ""; 3. Roche Madden, Fox 2 News Now (St. Louis)

Go to [] and check out one of these plans of action via National Chairman Hashim Nzinga. We answer all our critics! Get all the latest updates, and make a donation to help us!

** Also see: NBPP guards the people protesting police violence in Ferguson, Missouri [link].
Chawn Kweli writes: Some of ya'll thought we were wrong for investing time in these young hood Generals across the country .. they have proven to be great defenders and helpers contrary to media depiction of them. Don't give up on your young.
Photo posted Aug. 17th, by anonymous: "Two CRIPS and a BLOOD gang member, together preventing people LOOTING this shop".

(1) Photo posted Aug. 17th, by anonymous: "Crips &Bloods in St. Louis UNITED!!! There was no fear!!! Like the homies told me in Lou, (not just B'z & C'z, but G'z too), 'We do this shit for real.' #Respect to those brothers for embracing me/us in the cause. 1 Love."
(2) Photo showing B's and C's United to Protect a Church Minister who later was shot by police. Read more about it here [link].

Denzel "Jaba" Curnell, 19, died from a bullet wound to the head after an encounter with a South Carolina police officer on Friday night in, what authorities claim, was a suicide. But witnesses tell a different story.
Several witnesses say that Officer Jamal Medlin told Curnell to get down and put his hands behind his head before he shot him. An autopsy revealed that Curnell died from a bullet wound to the right side of his head. Curnell, according to family, is left-handed.

Committee for the Study of History and the Current Context [link]:
** 1968, Richard Nixon's plan to make sure the Vietnam war continues at all cost [link]
** 1939 "Why Negroes Should Oppose the War" pamphlet by CLR James (as JR Johnson), a political theoretician from Trinidad, republished with "On the 100th Anniversary of World War I (the "War for Democracy") and Events in Ferguson: The Role of Blacks in the U.S. Army", from "La Verite" magazine no.82 of France, a special double issue devoted to the 100th anniversary of World War I, which introduces the pamphlet reprint with the fact that "some 200,000 Black workers were thrown onto the European battlefields during World War I, in a much higher proportion to the actual ratio with the population of the US."
[begin pamphlet]
The war was a war for "democracy", but the Negroes were segregated. There was not a single regiment consisting of white and Negro soldiers mixed. American "democracy" did not want to have even American coloured officers, and it took a hard fight to have a few hundred. When they did agree, they trained Negroes as officers in a special Negro camp. And these men were informed by the State Department that when they visited the South, they should not wear their uniforms.
Democracy" was sending the Negro to fight for "democracy," but could not bear the sight of him in the officer's uniform of "democracy." (. . .) When they went to France, the discrimination continued. American "democracy" forced most of the black soldiers to be common labourers. (. . .) Far from practicing any sort of "democracy" to Negroes, the American commanders did their best to make the French maltreat the Negroes. (. . .) But when the American officers saw this and the friendly way in which Negro soldiers were being welcomed both by French men and women, they issued a military order, Order No.40, instructing Negroes not even to speak to French women.
For this offense against "democracy", many Negroes were arrested, though the French people, men and women, had made no complaint. The American officers, in this war for "democracy", wrote a special document to the French commanding staff, telling them that Negroes were a low and degenerate race, that they could not be trusted in the company of white people, that although some Negroes were officers, the French officers should have nothing to do with them, except in matters relating strictly to fighting. The French, said this American order, should not eat with Negroes, nor even shake hands.
As soon as the war was over, there was such a desperate series of race riots in America as had not been seen for many years. In Washington, in Chicago, white mobs inspired and encouraged by American employers and American capitalist police, shot down Negroes, many of whom had lost relations in the great war for "democracy". The Southern whites were so anxious to put the Negro back in his place that they lynched Negroes who dared to wear the uniform of a private. The great war for "democracy" and the bravery and the sacrifices for "democracy" of the Negro people ended with thousands of them having to fight desperately, not for "democracy", but for their lives in "democratic" America.
[end pamphlet]

newsclipping from 1967 "Policeman's Gazette", depicting the "Battle of Milwaukee"

Originally posted by Chawn Kweli: On the same day that the world buries Michael Brown 8-25-2014, murdered by a rabid Racist Officer Darren Wilson, we must also take time to remember the martyred Tommy Lewis (18), Steve Bartholomew (21), and Robert Lawrence (22), gunned down by Los Angeles Police in broad daylight, after pulling into a gas station.
Steve and Robert gunned down while attempting to exit the vehicle...
Tommy was able to defend himself, but died later after receiving serious injuries and being UNATTENDED TO BY EMERGENCY PERSONNEL at Los Angeles Central Receiving Hospital.
(Newspaper clipping, late 1968)

A Black August Salute to Tupac Shakur!
Originally posted by Chawn Kweli: The Honorable Khalid Muhammad and Honorable Tupac Amaru Shakur had great plans. Khalid reportedly cried when he heard "Whiteman's World" on the Makaveli Album [link], because he knew Pac had him on his mind. There is alot that can be said here but suffice to say that these Outlawz knew how to link up and work - we better do the same today. LONG LIVE Dr. Khalid Muhammad! LONG LIVE Tupac Shakur! Shouts out to comrade Watani Tyehimba (seen in background), Pac's former Manager and comrade! LONG LIVES ALL SOLDIERS!

Originally posted by Jamie Zeno-Longino, slightly edited by the Committee for the Study of History and the Current Context:
This picture means so much to me. Respect your brothers and sisters who put their lives up for your freedom, which Dr. KHALID MUHAMMAD and TUPAC did!
When me and Brother Aaron Michaels was together, people underestimated the NBPP. I become NBPP Minister Of Defense in 91 or 92. It was less then 10 of us at the time. Fighting outside the Media's attention until we went public, that's when the Master's running-dogs sent they coon negros to infiltrate us! We fought the Klan for real! My Chief, Aaron Michaels, the Founder of the NBPP, gave me the go-ahead, and I did, in the most guerrilla way. The Honorable Dr. KHALID MUHAMMAD heard our cry in Dallas!
The NBPP was going to handle domestic terrorism on blacks, and Tupac was handling International Terrorism against Africans, with the New African Panthers. The Compton Police will never like the NBPP because we help shut those low-lifes down. They couldn't stand how, in the early 90's, we was bringing the NOI, Crips, Bloods, GD's, 5%, and Vice Lords together. They charged me with everything from extortion, to intimidation, just for asking community stores to give something back to the People who makes them rich. Believe it or not, during this time (of the photo), we was trying to buy Sao Tome and Principe on the west coast of Africa. The Panthers was going to be the elite military force for this New Africa-America country of our own. No black seeking asylum would have been turned away, all prior felonies don't exist in our new country. Plus, we would have demanded the release of all political prisoners so they may be judged by their own peers. I see that over the last 20 odd years, this racist American Government means us all the harm. Power to the People! Black Power! Our family and friends are in Danger!

5th World News, from the "Dawnstar" Indigenous Nations Committee [link]:
James Browneagle []: In 2006 during an EPA Superfund Project my Tribe the Elem-modun (Pomo) was validated by two obsidian Spear Points found that were carbon dated at 14,000 and 22,000 thousand years old! This has been covered up by EPA to try and hide their direct violation of section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, destroying 7,000 thousand cubic feet of our 1906 mainland village. "All My Relations"
Help Put An End To The Desecration of American Indian Sacred Sites & Burial Sites!
STOP The HATE CRIMES Against Native Americans!
Call to Action from the United Native Americans []:
A Hate Crime (also known as bias-motivated crimes) occur when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion,sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation.
A Hate Crime is a Criminal Offense. Violators Will Be Prosecuted In a Court of Law.
Hate crimes do more than threaten the safety and welfare of all citizens. They inflict on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage and tear at the very fabric of free society. Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs.


#Digital Story Telling on the illegal theft of the Black Hills at the Homestake Gold Mine
August 29th 2014
* Digital Story Telling — 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
* Press Conference — 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m.
RALLY to DEMAND JUSTICE for the illegal theft of the Black Hills at the Homestake Gold Mine @ Homestake Gold Mine, 160 West Main Street, Lead, S.D. 57754
United Native Americans Demand Reparations and Accountability from the Hearst Corporation for CONTINUING VIOLATIONS OF THE FORT LARAMIE TREATIES OF 1851 & 1868!
United Native Americans invites members of the press and community to join us, to both attend and participate in our upcoming rally to demand Justice for the the Lakota Nation.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, U.N.A. is demanding the Hearst Corporation contribute to the struggling Lakota Sioux Nation whom they have stolen land and precious Natural resources from. Professor Lehman Brightman states that the Hearst Corporation “has never tried to make amends with the Lakota Sioux Nation.” The heir to the Hearst fortune, William Randoph Hearst III, has “not given one red cent to the Sioux Indians. They could easily afford to set up a scholarship program or improve dilapidated housing on Sioux Territory.” Nearly 97% of the Sioux Nation's population lives below Federal poverty levels.
The United States Government and the Hearst Corporation can be prosecuted for violations of International Law. Art. VI of The United States Constitution states, “All treaties made, or which shall be made ... shall be the Supreme Law of the Land." U.N.A. believes it is time that punitive damages be paid to the Lakota Sioux Nation for direct violation of the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 & 1868.
Reparations need to happen to heal the wounds that capitalism has inflicted upon the people the mainstream media indicates are the least important: indigenous communities, people of color, children, people in poverty, disabled people, elders, and mothers. Daily newspapers are the media through which we consume ideas about what to do and who to be, and tell stories to make us understand where we come from. These newspapers, like the Hearst-owned SF Examiner, tell us stories about what sort of ideal human we should all strive to be. The problem is, most media in wide circulation has been taken over by corporate interests, and ignores atrocities against folks who need their land back, like the Lakota people of the Black Hills, because indigenous people, we are told, are not the ideal humans we all want to be. "Very few people know about these facts," says Quanah Brightman, a Lakota/Sioux leader of the UNA . Manipulation of the media is a strategy that individualizes, like the Hearsts have used throughout history, and now indigenous people are turning the tables with their own people-led media at the Hearst Castle this weekend!
Please join U.N.A for our educational and peaceful protest to Demand Justice for the Lakota Sioux Nation at the Homestake Gold Mine , 160 West Main Street, Lead, S.D. 57754
For more information find us on @ United Native Americans, Inc.
Quanah Parker Brightman is a Lakota Sioux and Creek Indian who was born in Oakland California. Quanah Brightman is Executive Director of United Native Americans Inc., a non-profit indigenous movement organization formed by Dr. Lehman L. Brightman in San Francisco, California in 1968 to promote the decolonization and unity of all Indigenous People. In his capacity as member of UNA, Mr. Brightman has testified before the United Nations Listening Sessions and the U.S. Department of Education’s Urban Indian Education Listening and Learning Sessions. Quanah Parker Brightman has led and participated in many pro-indigenous protests, marches, and sit-ins throughout the United States. Mr. Brightman is a strong advocate against the many hate crimes that are affecting Indigenous people around the world. He advocates for the enforcement of all indigenous treaties made with the United States, reparations and accountability of the theft of tribal ancestral lands and natural resources, the protection of Native American sacred sites and burial sites, pro-indigenous curriculum to be taught in public schools (K-12), ending the use of the blood quantum, improving the negative image of indigenous people and ending tribal corruption in Indian gaming. If you are interested in scheduling Quanah Parker Brightman to present a workshop or be a guest lecturer, please call (510) 672-7187 or []

Dear friends and allies of United Native Americans.
I am informing Each of You Now that Our Family has been Evicted from Our Resident here in Sacramento, California.
If you can help us Raise monies to Help pay to fix our for our two storage units and to help us with security deposit & first months Rent, it is all appreciated. If there is anything you can help with, please contact me. Wopila tanka.
Contribution needed for: Storage Units, Security Deposit & First Months Rent for New Facility
If You have Any Recommendations or Suggestions, Please E-mail Me Back or Call me ASAP.
Contributions Large or Small can Be Made
Directly into Our Bank Account at
ACCOUNT NUMBER # 106012446
#WesternUnion or #MoneyGram is available.

CISPES’ 15th National Convention
Migration: Causes and Responses, Perspectives from the US and El Salvador
Friday, August 29th at 6:30 pm
Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. San Francisco (between Valencia and Guerrero, 16th St. BART)
This space is wheelchair accessible; Spanish-English interpretation provided
Suggested donation: $10-$30
Stay for refreshments, live music, DJs and dancing!
While the mainstream news is finally talking about the poverty and insecurity that are separating families in México and Central America and forcing so many to leave their homes, there is little analysis of the role that U.S. policy plays in creating those conditions. Even less is being said about what left and progressive governments are doing, for example in El Salvador and Nicaragua, to reduce poverty and inequality, which often involves standing up to transnational corporations and the enormous power they wield through trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA.
The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) is thrilled to welcome Claudia Escobar, one of the women in leadership of the Salvadoran Union Front, which formed in 2005 as the Salvadoran working class’ “instrument of struggle.” She is the president of her union, which represents workers at the Ministry of Labor, and has a unique perspective on both labor and women’s struggles under the new FMLN government.
She will be joined by Angela Sanbrano, president of the National Alliance of Latino and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), and by David Bacon, who has written extensively on the root causes of migration, especially when it comes to US economic and foreign policy.
We will also take the opportunity to celebrate many generations of the Central American solidarity movement being under one roof so please stay for refreshments, live music, and dancing!

1st Annual Sonoma Blossom Festival
Saturday, Aug. 30, 2:00 p.m. to midnight
Early in the day will be an educational event for medical cannabis patients, including Advocacy Training Videos, Know Your Rights Role-plays, a legal panel with local attorneys and live music bands and live painting artist and more.
Arlene Francis Center will be serving food at their café, menu T.B.A
This will be an alcohol-free event.There will be a 215 Area for patients, medical cannabis recommendations will be REQUIRED.
Presale $15, at the gate $20
Proceeds benefit Sonoma Chapter of Americans for Safe Access
Arlene Francis Center, 99 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa

Dorothy Day Working Group of Occupy Santa Rosa
Monday, Sept.1, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Ongoing work on the issues of homelessness and mental health in Sonoma County.
The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa

Take Labor Day to the Wharf: 
Join UniteHere! In March against Non-Union Hotel
Date: Monday, September 1 (Labor Day)
Time: 10:30am — Noon
Where: Pier 39
Marchers will gather at a park on the corner of Beach St & The Embarcadero and will march to the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf.

Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf workers have been engaged in a struggle for dignity, respect, a voice on the job and a majority sign up process since 2008. The Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf was the first of 15 non-union Hyatt hotels to publicly call on Hyatt to agree to a fair process for workers to organize.
The Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf is now owned by the real estate company Chesapeake Lodging Trust, but workers are still not afforded the same basic benefits and protections that unionized hotel workers across San Francisco have, like quality affordable health care, pension, and job security. We must show our power to the non-union Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf who intends to destroy our standard of living!

Picketing for Andy Lopez at the Hall of Justice
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez's on-going weekly picket to demand Justice for Andy Lopez.
600 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa

"Print-In" action by worker & student alliance at San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College

"Newest SEIU 1021 members hold 'print ins' to win support heading into bargaining"
2014-08-26 from the "1021 Newswire":
Adjuncts at the San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College are trying an unusual tactic this week — "print ins" — to gain the support of students, staff and fellow faculty as they head into their first contract negotiations since joining SEIU 1021 this spring.
This Monday, August 25, was the first day of fall semester classes at SFAI. As students entered the courtyard between classes, they were met by visiting faculty members who gave them informational fliers (and snacks) while adjunct professor and printmaker Art Hazelwood offered silkscreened prints of original designs (pictured).
The designs were labor-themed and appealed to viewers to support visiting faculty as they begin to negotiate their first contract with SFAI administration. They invited students, faculty and staff to attend an all-SFAI social on Sept. 10 to discuss campus issues and their hopes for their first contract, and to build connections for a more cohesive academic and artistic community on campus.

Grist for the Mills -
Mills College adjuncts will hold a similar "print in" of their own as students head back to classes on August 27. Mills Action, an organization of students supporting the new adjunct faculty union, will be inviting students to a Sept. 10 "SpeakOut" where all students, faculty and staff are welcome to come discuss their issues and hopes.
There is much to discuss at Mills: Since adjuncts voted to unionize, the administration has made a slew of budget cuts, including heavy staff layoffs and changes to course rules that result in fewer course offerings and larger classes. Mills Action and the adjunct union are protesting these cuts.
The Mills College adjuncts were the first to join SEIU 1021 (in May), by a 78 percent margin. Visiting faculty at SFAI voted to join in June, also with 78 percent. Both of these new chapters have several actions planned for the coming weeks as they get down to work negotiating their first contracts.

"San Francisco: 142,000 workers to get raise from minimum wage ballot measure"

2014-08-26 from "1021 newswire":
A new report by economists from the University of California, Berkeley, finds that an upcoming San Francisco ballot measure to raise the minimum wage would significantly benefit workers in the city and strengthen the local economy.
The study finds that about 142,000 workers — 23 percent of the city's workforce — will receive a raise under the proposed law. Pay for those workers would rise an average of $2,800 per year, for a total increase in aggregate earnings of $397 million in 2014 dollars by 2018.
"A citywide minimum wage can help make the economy more equitable without harming economic growth," said Michael Reich, director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and a minimum wage scholar. "That's more money in low-wage workers' pockets for a healthier city and a fairer economy."

A tale of two city's propositions -
The ballot measure — Proposition J on the November 4 ballot — reflects a consensus among the Campaign for a Fair Economy (which includes community groups and labor unions), business associations, Mayor Ed Lee, and all 11 members of the Board of Supervisors. It would increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2018, with guaranteed cost-of-living increases.
Oakland will also vote in November to raise its minimum wage to $12.25 by 2015. An earlier study from UC Berkeley showed that more than one-quarter of all Oakland workers — up to 48,000 people — would directly or indirectly receive a wage increase if the measure passes, generating $115-126 million in additional wages. Roughly 56,700 would win paid sick days.
In both cities, these increases would especially benefit women, working families, and workers of color. In San Francisco, 26 percent of female workers will receive a raise and 71 percent of workers receiving a raise would be people of color. Incomes will increase for more than three-fourths of working-poor families.

Back to the future -
San Francisco's current citywide minimum-wage ordinance has had little effect on overall employment or hours worked, the study shows, and the numbers indicate that the costs of the 2003 minimum-wage law were absorbed through increased worker productivity, decreased turnover and small, one-time increases in restaurant prices.
The Coalition for a Fair Economy builds on the coalition that ten years ago passed San Francisco's first minimum-wage law, and includes ACCE Action, California Nurses Association, Chinese Progressive Association, Jobs with Justice, SF Labor Council, SF Progressive Workers Alliance, SF Rising, SEIU 1021, UNITEHERE Local 2, and Young Workers United.
"Proposition J will set a new standard for working conditions in the Bay Area, and inspire other cities and counties — around the Bay and across the nation — to take on their own minimum wage fights," said SEIU 1021 Vice President Gary Jimenez.

Media coverage:
* SF Bay Guardian: "Koch brothers and other right-wing outsiders challenge Bay Area minimum wage measures" []
* East Bay Express: "Koch-Backed News Site Attacks Oakland's Minimum Wage Initiative" []

Friday, August 22, 2014

Freedom Summer in Ferguson, Missouri, with young people organizing for worker's rights and human rights

"New generation finds its voice and power in Ferguson, Mo."
2014-08-22 by Teresa Albano for "People's World" []:
Photos: From left to right, Rasheen Aldridge, Shermale Humphrey, Josh Kersting and Jeanina Jenkins, leaders of the Show Me $15 movement [], take their organizing skills and dedication to justice to the protests in Ferguson, Mo. (Photograph by Earchiel Johnson/PW)

Video by Teresa Albano []. "People protested peacefully in Ferguson, Mo., August 19. However the police gave contradictory directions, brandished their military hardware, and arrested demonstrators who were not doing anything violent. Organized chaos. But no tear gas or rubber bullets."
Also See [].

FERGUSON, Mo. - As nighttime fell Tuesday on this St. Louis suburb of 21,000 residents, squad cars began to block the streets leading to the neighborhood where an unarmed black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer, Aug. 9. Anyone wanting to participate in the nightly protests had to park their car in a nearby Save-A-Lot parking lot and walk the mile or so down W. Florissant Ave. to Canfield Dr., the residential street where 18-year-old and soon to be college freshman Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Passing stores and restaurants, boarded up windows were juxtaposed with their spray-painted "Open" signs. Police and National Guard troops stood with rifles, helmets and shields in the shadows as at least 1,000 people - predominantly black, but not exclusively - began to gather for the peaceful yet grim ritual: "Hands up, don't shoot" and "I am Mike Brown" marches.
Yet among the many young people, the mood was anything but grim. The best word that came to mind was resilient. Amidst the anger and grieving, the people of Ferguson and their supporters, through their demonstrations and organizing, are creating a new movement for racial justice and democracy.
Among the unsung heroes and sheroes of this new movement are young fast food workers involved in the fight for $15 an hour and rights on the job, including the right to join a union []. Standing outside the W. Florissant McDonald's, Rasheen Aldridge, Shermale Humphrey, Jeanina Jenkins and Josh Kersting prepared themselves for the long night ahead. They wore protective masks around their necks for easy access in case the police unleashed tear gas like they had in previous nights. Humphrey had a bullhorn and spray bottle full of antacid to wash out the painful gas from skin, eyes, noses and mouths. Each person had attended multiple demonstrations and strategizing meetings, protected protesters and property from police violence or acts of looting and led marches up and down the street.
Despite the aggressive police tactics that have resulted in hundreds of arrests, along with the tear gas and rubber bullet wounds, Humphrey is optimistic.
"People still find a way to get out here and protest. I feel that justice will be served," she said. "They see that that's what the people want, what the people demand and what the people deserve. People do have hope, people do have courage ... [they] are resilient people."
Later that night, when the police were corralling protesters and media into smaller spaces down the street, brandishing high powered rifles, spraying pepper spray and making arrests along the way, Humphrey displayed her courage as she tried to get protesters to safely stand together. As police charged the crowd, pinning one woman against a fence, people started to run, while Humphrey on the bullhorn shouted to the police, "Let us go home. We're trying to go home." And then to the protesters, "Stop running and stand your ground! Let's get in a circle. United we stand, divided we fall." But by then, police had frightened enough people and they ran across the street.
The police declared that night a "turning point" because no tear gas or rubber bullets were employed and only 47 people were arrested. This reporter witnessed a single water bottle thrown towards police during the hour and a half stand off and at least two arrests of young men who were not doing anything violent. One young man complied with police orders to walk down the street, but he filmed the scene ahead of him with his phone. He was grabbed by the arms and placed under arrest. When asked why he would be arrested for that, another police officer said, "Filming is not walking." From my vantage point, it seemed arrests were often arbitrary.
Earlier that evening, Brooke Miller of St. Charles, Mo., and her husband Elliot, who grew up in the area, confirmed that viewpoint from their own experiences at the demonstrations.
"It's been peaceful protesting," Brooke Miller said. "The media puts out [the message] otherwise ... that the protesters are the ones being violent." She said the police "initiated" the violence the night before by preparing to attack the crowd because they were "loud" or "obnoxious," not because of threats or violence.
While decrying any violence from protesters, Brooke echoed the sentiment heard from many others, "Yes, stuff were thrown at the cops, but that wasn't until the fact the cops initiated it, which people don't see that on the media. They flip flop it. They make it seem the protesters are the ones doing this, the ones doing that. But that's not the case."
The Millers are no strangers to police harassment. Brooke, a nurse, and Elliot, a teacher - both of whom are in school getting their masters degrees - have been pulled over by police and harassed for no apparent reason, except race. Police once told Elliot that he and his friends could not hang out in front of his father's home.
"I've had personal experience," Elliot Miller said. "I grew up in Bellefontaine, right down the street. They told me I wasn't allowed to stand in front of the house with a group of my friends. It's my house, my property, you can't tell me what I can and can't do in front of my house."
Those kinds of negative, controlling interactions between African Americans and police helps to fuel the widespread distrust and anger that eventually explodes into public view when a killing by police occurs.
"It's not just here in Ferguson, it's everywhere. I can't tell you the number of times I've been profiled," Brooke Miller said. The Millers brought their four-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter to the evening protest. They want their kids to be part of this historic uprising against police crimes.
Yet, both young parents went out of their way to say they don't want to paint every police officer with the same racial profiling brush. There are many who do help, they said, but it is scary and unfortunate that some African American children are actually frightened of the police - the very people who are supposed to "serve and protect" you.
For Brooke, the demonstrations are also about First Amendment rights for African Americans. The freedom of assembly and freedom of speech space should not be infringed upon by a show of force by the government through its police force, she said.
"It's a right. We have a right to stand wherever we want and march wherever we want," she said. Heavily armed cops not only "instigate" violence, they infringe on our rights. "It's absolutely ridiculous," Brooke said.
When asked what it will take to change the situation, Elliot immediately said, "We gotta get out and vote. Young people we got to exercise our right to vote. Because a lot of these people that get in office, they don't care...If we - not even just young black people, but we as people, get out and exercise our right to vote then those people that don't deserve to be in office don't get there."
Sporting a t-shirt with the Greek letters of his fraternity - Phi Beta Sigma - on it Elliot was proud of the role of black fraternities and sororities in registering people to vote. Just that day, NPR's show Code Switch just reported that members of Alpha Phi Alpha took to the apartment complexes, which lined the street where Brown was shot and left for hours, registering people to vote.
Brooke raised the importance of the petition calling on the White House to make "cops wear cameras all the time. That can make a difference."
They were hopeful that the protests and the national attention they have garnered would spark positive outcomes on the issues of race and police crimes.
"I think it will change," Elliot said. "I think it already has," Brooke added.