#RefugeeStruggle: ‘We Have Rights as Human Beings’

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Excerpt from “Who’s Coming North? – Migrants’ Journeys Through Mexico”

Jorge has already been deported once from the US. His crime, a very serious one according to US authorities, was to work at a car wash.

“There’s not slavery like there was before, but there’s more deaths now,” he said. “They make slaves out of undocumented people, and once the work is done, they kick them out of the country.”

He’s lived more than eight months in the shelter, helping construct a dormitory for unaccompanied children and preparing to make the dangerous journey north to be with his wife and three kids, who are still in the US. He stayed longer than he planned to at La 72 because he believes in what they’re doing and because he wants to help others like himself on their journey.

“Here they give people help, a roof to sleep under, food, security, and they treat people in a dignified way,” he said. Continue reading

CA Prisoners Win Historic Gains with Settlement Against Solitary Confinement

Originally posted on Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity:

Agreement reached in Ashker v. Brown ends indeterminate long-term solitary confinement in CA, among other gains for prisoners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 1, 2015
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

Oakland – Today, California prisoners locked in isolation achieved a groundbreaking legal victory in their ongoing struggle against the use of solitary confinement. A settlement was reached in the federal class action suit Ashker v. Brown, originally filed in 2012, effectively ending indefinite long-term solitary confinement, and greatly limiting the prison administration’s ability to use the practice, widely seen as a form of torture. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of prisoners held in Pelican Bay State Prison’s infamous Security Housing Units (SHU) for more than 10 years, where they spend 23 hours a day or more in their cells with little to no access to family visits, outdoor time, or any kind of programming.

“From the historic prisoner-led…

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A Brief History of Slavery and the Origins of American Policing

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 3.47.43 PMWritten by Victor E. Kappeler, Ph.D.

The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans (National Constable Association, 1995), the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols. In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation’s first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property. Continue reading

In Defence of Black Violence

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Originally Posted in Daily Maverick
By Mbuyiseni Ndlozi I Economic Freedom Fighters
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South Africa
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What do you do when colonial power forms an iron wall with black bodies which you must go through to fight the system? What do you do with house nigger collectives who take up arms to kill the revolutionary, to beat the back community into line? This question is even more crucial today, when our state is run by a black collective which presides over colonial property relations and massacres blacks to protect these colonial properties, than when apartheid managed them directly.
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When Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) commander-in-chief Julius Malema arrived to give an address at the Tshwane University of Technology main campus in the wake of the 2015 Student Representative Council elections, the South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) disrupted the meeting, arguing that the EFF had not booked the venue. In all radical traditions, and in keeping with the spirit of the Freedom Charter, opening the university to radical and diverse views is a significant part of its own transformation. Rather than trying to police access to university premises, Sasco should have, in keeping with radical traditions, listened to what Malema had to say then taken to the stage to robustly argue the points.

Instead, in front of the police and campus security, Sasco members assaulted their way into an EFF public meeting, pushing towards the stage where Malema was about to give his address. Malema said: “Fighters attack.” The result was that ordinary students, as well as EFF members, pushed back and managed to shove Sasco members to the fringes. Relegated to the outskirts of the large crowd, Sasco members then resorted to throwing stones, injuring both students and journalists alike. Still, the police arrested no one.

Many painted this event as “black-on-black violence”, saying Malema’s call for fighters to attack showed a lack of black consciousness. In this piece I will argue that this is a debilitating statement to make to black activists; that they must not defend themselves when attacked by other blacks because they hold a different political view. It denies the right to violent self-defence for activists of decolonisation; in fact they are advised to “run away”.

This argument says that when engaged in the struggle for decolonisation, or the liberation of black people, you must never be violent to other blacks. This is because the objective is to unite blacks, thus, when they attack you run away. This is flawed on many levels, the least of which is that it treats blacks as homogeneous and this goes against all of Steve Biko’s work on the black condition and how we must engage in the politics of decolonisation.

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Loaded gun taken from UC Berkeley police chief’s car

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From InsideBayArea

By George Kelly

RICHMOND — The East Bay Regional Parks on Monday announced that a police gun and badge taken last week in a vehicle break-in were those of UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett and were stolen as she went for a jog.

East Bay Regional Parks spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said that among the items stolen from Bennett’s unmarked vehicle were the loaded Sig Sauer P239 handgun and ammunition, her UC Berkeley police badge and identification card, a black laptop computer, an iPad, and a diamond ring.

A spokesperson for the UC Berkeley Police Department would not address questions regarding the break-in. It’s unclear whether Bennett was on duty, whether she was following protocol when she left her gun, ammunition and department laptop in her locked vehicle, whether any of the items have been recovered, the value of the stolen property or why

she left the items in the vehicle.

Margo Bennett, a University of California Police Department captain with more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, was named UC Berkeley’s

Margo Bennett, a University of California Police Department captain with more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, was named UC Berkeley’s new police chief in 2013. (UC Berkeley Police Department) (Laura Oda)

The incident, Jones said, serves to remind regional parks users about best safety practices.

Bennett reported the incident about 8:30 a.m. after she returned to the vehicle to find the left rear window had been smashed in after she parked in the westernmost lot at Richmond’s Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, Jones said.

“It’s obviously a terrible thing,” Jones said Monday. “No one wants to go to the park, enjoy themselves and find their windows smashed. It underscores the risks and nature of the problem.”

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New less-lethal ammunition being tested by Canadian, U.S. police

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

Blunt Impact Projectiles. The one on the right has been fired and its head expanded from impact. Micron Products Inc., based in Fitchburg, makes the new ammunition, which are much larger than rubber bullets and have silicone heads that expand and flatten on impact, enhancing the pain and incapacitating a suspect. Blunt Impact Projectiles. The one on the right has been fired and its head expanded from impact. Micron Products Inc., based in Fitchburg, makes the new ammunition, which are much larger than rubber bullets and have silicone heads that expand and flatten on impact, enhancing the pain and incapacitating a suspect.

by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, August 25, 2015

Police in more than 20 North American cities are testing the latest in less-lethal alternatives to bullets — “blunt impact projectiles” that cause suspects excruciating pain but stop short of killing them, the Associated Press writes. Or at least that’s the goal.

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I Want to Live as if I Wasn’t a Criminal

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Excerpt from “Who’s Coming North? – Migrants’ Journeys Through Mexico”

Wendy is just 17 years old, but she walked three days alone along the same route where Edwin and his friends were robbed by masked paramilitaries. As an unaccompanied minor making the dangerous journey north, she joins the ranks of what the UN has termed “children on the run,” the more than 60,000 underage migrants coming to the US every year without an adult to guide them.

“My family doesn’t care what happens to me,” she said. “They’re just not interested.”

Like roughly 80 percent of the migrants passing through La 72, Wendy is from Honduras. She says the economic situation and increasing security concerns have made the country all but unlivable.

“The law in my country doesn’t work. The cops don’t help you, you have to pay them first. Every day there’s more crime committed by the police,” she told me. “Someone has to do something.”

Her main goal in leaving Honduras, what she hopes to accomplish in the US, is to get an education. Continue reading