Tag Archives: civil rights

International Solidarity event this Friday night!

It’s not too late to reserve your seat at this wonderful International Solidarity event this Friday night!

Come out, eat some food, hear some music and news, and help build the delegations in solidarity with the waterfront Brothers and Sisters of Buenaventura, Colombia!

STOP THE MURDER OF UNION WORKERS!

ATTEND AN EVENING fundraiser for

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY:

AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!

“The basic aspiration and desires of the workers throughout the world are the same. Workers are workers the world over.

International solidarity, particularly to maritime workers, is essential to their protection and a guarantee of reserve economic power in times of strife.”

–VIIIth Guiding Principle

FRIDAY, decEMBER 12th

6 pm reception, 7pm dinner

With music, guests and a live video address from the Longshoremen of Buenaventura, Colombia!

seattle mlk labor temple, 2800 1st ave

Rising up out of slavery!

More union members are murdered in Colombia each year than anywhere else on Earth. Less than ten percent of reported violent crimes against Colombian union members are ever prosecuted. Most of Buenaventura’s 370,000 inhabitants are Afro-Colombian (African descendants of slaves brought to Latin America over centuries by the Spanish). Over 80 percent of Buenaventura’s people live in poverty, and a third are unemployed, four times the Colombian national average. Two-thirds of Buenaventura’s homes have no sewage connection, and almost half have no drinking water. Life expectancy in Buenaventura is 51. Today, Longshoremen in Colombia’s largest port city of Buenaventura are fighting back! Against all odds, The Union Portuaria De Buenaventura conducted a month-long strike there in May 2013, and two strikes the year before that, in which all of the strikers risked their lives. The Union Portuaria then sent its president, Jhon Jairo Castro, on a voyage to the US to ask for solidarity from workers here. In Seattle, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and African American Longshore Coalition are answering that call. This event will raise funds to send our labor-community delegation from the Puget Sound to Buenaventura.

Oppose the privatization of earth’s waterfronts!

The Colombian Port Authority was privatized in 1994 and replaced by the privately-run Regional Port Society of Buenaventura. A second private company, TECSA S.A., runs port operations under contract. TECSA then brings in a third private “intermediary” which hires a fourth private “temporary employment agency” company. The agency uses a fifth private entity, a “labor contractor”, who has no office and simply stands on the street hiring longshoremen. The contractor has no financial resources for meeting a payroll, thus forcing workers to wait weeks to get paid, or to sell the promise of a paycheck to a sixth private company known as a loan shark. Corporations worldwide are looking to Buenaventura as their future vision for what every port in North, South and Central America will look like. In particular, Philippines based International Container Services Inc (ICTSI) is converting Buenaventura’s Aguadulce Peninsula into a new container terminal that will vastly expand the influence of both ICTSI and the present Buenaventura labor-management model. ICTSI is complicit in labor and human rights abuses in Colombia, the Philippines and Honduras, and is also attacking the jurisdiction of the ILWU ( http://www.ilwu.org/ilwu-refuses-to-stand-down-as-rogue-pma-member-ictsi-continues-to-violate-longshore-contract/ ).

Support the continuation of Pacific coast solidarity!

In 1937, many West Coast maritime workers went to went to Spain to join the international fight against fascism, in defense of Spain’s labor unions and collectivized farms ( http://www.ilwu.org/nate-thornton-ilwu-retiree-brigadista-internationalist-1915-2011 ). Although the fascists and their allies crushed the Spanish Republic, the legacy of these veterans stands out as the beginning of a long coastwide tradition of working class internationalism. In 1939, the West Coast Longshoremen honored the first major West-Coast-wide community based international picket line when young Chinese students protested the export of scrap iron that was being used by Japan for its invasion of China (www.ilwu19.com/history/1930.htm ). Supported by sailors, warehouse workers, truck drivers, and progressive residents of all West Coast towns, these workers continued the militant struggle against both fascism and apartheid throughout the next four decades, taking action in solidarity with workers from pre-statehood Hawaii to Chile to South Africa ( http://www.ilwu.org/death-of-nelson-mandela-recalls-decades-of-ilwu-support-for-anti-apartheid-struggle ). The tradition continued into the nineties with the Longshoremen’s support for the sacked Liverpool Dockers, and for the wrongfully imprisoned labor journalist Mumia Abu Jamal ( http://www.labournet.net/docks2/9905/mumia1.htm ). In May 2008, the Longshoremen shut down most of the West Coast US ports in protest against the US government’s war on Iraq.

Awards will be given at dinner to recognize particular labor organizations for outstanding achievements in working class outreach and solidarity.

TABLE FOR 10: $400 or SINGLE SEATS: $50

Contact APRI President Gabriel Prawl to reserve a table: prawl4@gmail.com ; (253) 886-8129

Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.

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When we look back on what happened in Ferguson, Mo., during the summer of 2014, it will be easy to think of it as yet one more episode of black rage ignited by yet another police killing of an unarmed African American male. But that has it precisely backward. What we’ve actually seen is the latest outbreak of white rage. Sure, it is cloaked in the niceties of law and order, but it is rage nonetheless.

Read more FULL REPORT

Mandela’s radicalism often ignored by Western admirers

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The South African leader was a politically complex figure shaped by national liberation struggles and Cold War tensions.

For many who followed his life closely, that commitment to socialist values and instinctive solidarity with those he saw as fellow strugglers against oppression, colonialism and imperialism continued to burn strongly even in the years after his release from prison and the end of apartheid.

“He came out of prison a senior statesman-in-waiting. He went into prison as a militant revolutionary leader,” said Peter Hain, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and friend of Mandela’s.

Read more FULL STORY

Occupy Oakland At Lakeview Elementary: Police Raid Encampment Outside School

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This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly’s The Snitch.

By Jeff Sandstoe

Oakland Police stormed the sit-in at Lakeview Elementary early this morning, breaking up the three-week-old encampment and arresting two people.

Authorities arrived on scene just after 4 a.m. and ordered protesters (a.k.a. teachers, parents, and probably some tutors) to disperse — now. Like obedient students, most protesters listened, however, police handcuffed two individuals who refused to leave.

The sit-in which started in mid June, was initiated by parents, teachers, and others in the community (yes, some occupiers) who are vehemently opposed to the school district’s plan to close five of its elementary schools, including Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park, and Santa Fe.

The school district tolerated the group, which modeled itself after Occupy Oakland, sans the police scuffles, for long enough. But when it became really clear these parents planned to spend the whole summer vacation occupying the site, district officials called in the big troops.
“We allowed the protesters to stay for 17 days even though they were trespassing,” said Troy Flint, spokesman for the school district. “But we finally moved in because we had to start preparing for the new school year.”

The shuttered school buildings will be used as family services buildings, which includes student services, enrollment, translation, and mental health facilities. “People think that we’re moving the superintendent into these buildings, but that’s not the case … they’ll be used for basically everything that supports the social and emotional side of what goes in school,” said Flint.

On a positive note, Flint was happy that the squatters did not cause any damage to the property — in fact they took pretty good care of it. Still, that wasn’t good enough reason to let them stay.

“We are taking some defensive measures to safeguard the site and prevent a recurrence,” said Flint.The district has installed a temporary fence with personnel on the lookout and has also begun changing the locks around the property.

“We don’t want anyone to interpret this as provocative, or a challenge, but we will be monitoring the site,” Flint said.
Source: FULL STORY

Seattle education activists arrested for trespassing

Seattle education activists arrested for trespassing
by Renee Lewis

November 20, 2013 8:18PM ET

Group ‘Africatown’ teaches culturally-based curriculum for black students

AFRICATOWN ARREST

Seattle police on Nov. 19 move in before the fourth arrest at Seattle Public Schools’ Horace Mann building, which has been used by community groups for educational enrichment programs.Ken Lambert/AP

Four men were arrested for trespassing at a Seattle school building where their organization taught a culturally-based curriculum for African-American students, police said Wednesday. They were released hours later, vowing to continue their work to close what they call a racial achievement gap in education.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS), which owns the off-campus Horace Mann building, said that it wanted to renovate the facility and called the police because some members of the organization had refused to leave.

The four who were arrested are part of an organization called Africatown, part of a nationwide community development initiative. In Seattle, Africatown says it aims to transform the historically black Central District into a vibrant cultural center. The group says its aim with respect to Horace Mann, which is located in the Central District, was to provide quality education that addresses the history and culture of African-American students who are in public schools.

“We want a correct curriculum. We don’t want this European colonial storytelling,” Omari Tahir-Garrett, a historian who was among those arrested Tuesday at the school, told Al Jazeera. “The problem is it’s a colonial curriculum that doesn’t teach the truth about indigenous peoples, or about how they kidnapped us from Africa and brought us here.”

“It doesn’t work for African-American children,” he said. “Our kids are on the streets, driven from the school system.”

Africatown had provided summer enrichment programs at the Horace Mann school building since the beginning of the summer, using the facility under an agreement with another community organization that leased the building from SPS.

SPS said it had rented the building to the organization, but had decided to renovate it and use it for a planned alternative school program.

“We gave all of the organizations notice six months ahead of time that they needed to vacate … and everyone left by Aug. 1 with the exception of one group of folks, the Africatown group,” Teresa Wippel, a spokeswoman for SPS, told Al Jazeera.

In every SPS lease, Wippel said, there is a clause saying the school system reserves the right to take over the building if needed.

At the request of SPS, police entered the Horace Mann building Tuesday afternoon and arrested the four men from Africatown for criminal trespassing, said Mike Jameson, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department.

“The people inside were there against the will of the owner. They were asked to leave, but they refused,” Jameson told Al Jazeera.

He added that the department had information that led officers to believe the men inside might be armed, prompting the department to send in its tactical team to make the arrests. No weapons were found, Jameson said.

“They threw the SWAT team at us over nothing. The same mainstream press that blew up the story (about weapons) had to come clean and admit there were none,” Greg Lewis, an Africatown supporter who was inside the building at the time, told Al Jazeera.

Africatown members said that their group is nonviolent, and two of the men who were arrested at the building Tuesday said they were running a small radio station from the building and making posters there when the police arrived.

“We were making signs that say, ‘Decolonize Apartheid Curriculum’ when all of a sudden we heard loud banging. I opened the window and see five policemen pointing guns in my face,” Tahir said.

‘Decolonizing’ education

More4Mann, a group of activists who support Africatown, said that the police presence to extract the four men could be called “excessive,” and that police officers were “knocking down doors with rams and climbing in through roof top hatches.”

Lewis said the officers did not have a search warrant or probable cause. Jameson said they did not need a warrant because the owner of the building, SPS, had called the police to remove the men.

Lewis and Tahir said they are looking for another building because the one SPS offered as a replacement is not in the same area and is more expensive.

Tahir said it is important that they succeed in their mission.

“Schools need to stop teaching lies to black children; they don’t feel good about going to school and are pushed into the school-to-prison pipeline,” Tahir said. “How can you tell black children that Jefferson and Washington are their heroes?” he said, adding that Washington was a slave-owner. Washington had owned 318 slaves, which he released in his will when he died.

Tahir said his organization believes the curriculum should be career-based, so graduates can find jobs in a tough economy – instead of having to depend on what he called the “equal-opportunity employment” of dealing drugs on the streets.

“You can lose money and get it back, but time you’ll never get back,” he said. “And these kids are running out of time.”

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

Rallies Against Zimmerman Verdict Being Held in US

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From New York to California, outrage over the acquittal in George Zimmerman’s murder trial poured from street demonstrations and church pulpits Sunday as protesters called for justice for the unarmed youth he killed and demanded federal civil rights charges against him.

Protests were planned later Sunday in Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, San Francisco and other cities over the Florida case, which unleashed a national debate over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. One protest in California hours after the verdict late Saturday ended with vandalism while police dispersed another crowd by firing beanbag rounds.

In Washington, the Justice Department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.

RALLY: End Seattle Police Brutality: Rally for Leo Etherly

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In response to video of a controversial SPD arrest at 23rd and Union was released late last month, the Seattle King County NAACP and the No New Jim Crow Coalition group are holding a rally Saturday against police brutality.

The rally gets under way at 3 p.m. Saturday December 15, 2012 at 23rd and Union.

Here is Rally information on the Facebook post

SPONSORED BY: Seattle King County NAACP, No New Jim Crow Coalition

In Seattle, the steady stream of police brutality continues.

This past winter, Seattle Police Officer Faust beat Leo Etherly into submission. Dash cam video of the incident was just released.

The DOJ initially backed down when the police refused to give them this video. It took the threat of a lawsuit by a private attorney to force the SPD to show this video.

We cannot rely on the City of Seattle or the Department of Justice for police accountability. Time and time again, we see who the Seattle Police Department is best at protecting: themselves. We can no longer leave accountability in the hands of the police to police themselves. Instead, we leave this up to the will of the people.

Join this rally as we stand with Leo Etherly, and all victims of police brutality. This rally will be located at the original scene of the crime, on 23rd and Union.

GOALS

–Bring pressure on the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SPD to allow the release of all videos showing use of force to the general public in an expedited manner—without threat of lawsuits.

–Create impetus to force a policy of greater scrutiny on the small number of officers who are repeatedly involved in questionable use of force incidents.

–Organize a Citizen’s Review Board to report police brutality and misconduct

MCGINN REAPPOINTS POLICE WATCHDOG, HIRES RESPECTED L.A. ADVISER

Mayor Mike McGinn took two significant steps Tuesday in the wake of the city’s settlement with the Department of Justice, announcing a long-delayed reappointment of the civilian director who oversees police internal investigations and hiring a nationally recognized civil-rights attorney who played a key role in spurring widely praised police reforms in Los Angeles.

McGinn nominated Kathryn Olson, who oversees the Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), to the job she has continued to hold without required City Council confirmation after her initial three-year term officially expired more than two years ago.

But McGinn’s biggest move was the naming of Connie Rice to advise him as the city moves forward in addressing the Justice Department’s concerns about the use of excessive force and discriminatory policing.

As a civic leader, she helped bridge divides between Los Angeles police officers and gang members. She also played an instrumental role in guiding the city through a consent decree with the Justice Department that was hailed for changing community perceptions of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

“Twenty years after the police beating of Rodney King was caught on videotape, and 10 years after the Justice Department imposed a consent decree to battle pervasive corruption … this has become a department transformed, offering itself up — in a way that not so many years ago would have been unthinkable — as a model police agency for the United States,” The New York Times reported last year.

Rice, who had regularly sued the department, told the newspaper, “We’ve gone from a state of war to becoming partners here.”

In January, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck threw a book-signing party for Rice at the new LAPD headquarters. During her introduction, Beck said he is often asked what he thinks of Rice and how to describe her role in the city.

“I think of her as the conscience of the city of Los Angeles,” said Beck, whose remarks were captured on a video posted on the book’s website. “She is the North of our moral compass. While I don’t always agree with Connie in her methods, I always agree with Connie on where we are going to go with those methods.”

Rice, who served for years in the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, is now co-director of a civil-rights organization called the Advancement Project.

Rice, the second cousin of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is the author of what McGinn labeled an acclaimed book, “Power Concedes Nothing,” about her work in education, transportation, incarceration and public safety.

Olson, whose first term expired in May 2010, was nominated by McGinn to serve through May 2013, the equivalent of what would have been a regular term. She is eligible for a third term but can serve no more than nine years overall.

“Kathryn is a dedicated and knowledgeable public servant,” McGinn said in a statement in which he credited her for improving the quality and timeliness of OPA investigations. “Our settlement agreement with the Department of Justice clearly lays out required policy changes to be made on a set timeline. Kathryn will help us make those changes on that timeline.”

McGinn drew recent criticism from the current and past chairs of the council’s public-safety committee, Bruce Harrell and Tim Burgess, for letting Olson’s reappointment languish.

Harrell said last week that while the Justice Department complimented the OPA’s work and Olson enjoys the support of police, she has been criticized by community organizations and accountability advocates.

Aaron Pickus, McGinn’s spokesman, said Tuesday the mayor held off on the appointment in deference to the Justice Department’s nine-month investigation of the Police Department, which concluded in December, and the subsequent negotiations that led to a settlement in late July.

Under the agreement, a court-appointed monitor, who has yet to be chosen, will track the reforms.

During a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart, who is overseeing the settlement, raised concerns about the status of the OPA position. Robart gave his provisional approval to the agreement, while staking out more say over the selection of the monitor and asking for more frequent reports on the progress of the reforms.

McGinn on Tuesday also announced the hiring of Glenn Harris, who previously worked as Southeast District coordinator at the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, to work on the staff of the Community Police Commission. The commission is to make recommendations on reforms.

FULL STORY