Troy Davis: A Martyr in the Struggle to Abolish the Death Penalty
by Theresa El-Amin
All of the prayers for Troy Davis have been answered. And the answer is: “Troy Davis is a martyr in the struggle to end the death penalty in Georgia.”
As a veteran of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, I will do all that I can to honor Troy and the millions around the world who worked to save his life. Troy Davis understood that he is not the first innocent man to be killed at the hands of the state. His last words forgave his killers. Can DA Chisolm and the Board of Pardons and Paroles forgive themselves?
Eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable evidence that can be provided. Chisolm said, “There are two Troy Davis cases, the legal case and the public relations case.” Unfortunately, Mr. Chisolm couldn’t see that his “legal” case fell apart years ago when seven of the nine witnesses recanted. Unfortunately, Mr. Chisolm was so bent on winning his case that he ignored the fact that his case disintegrated as the whole world watched.
My condolences to the MacPhail and Davis families. For me, the death of a loved one is a wound that somehow never really goes away. I’ve said to my family, “If I’m murdered and they cut my body up in a thousand pieces, don’t kill them for me.”
I’m convinced that a state should not have the right to take a life.
Hawkins campaign in Syracuse: Priorities are progressive taxes to fund schools, living wage jobs
Howie Hawkins made the following statement at his announcement on September 14 that he is running as the Green Party candidate for 4th District Common Councilor in Syracuse:
We chose this location at the corner of South Salina and Colvin streets to announce my candidacy for 4th District Councilor because it demonstrates how the government is shutting down services and failing to meet the needs of this community.
Public Services Are Closing Down
Look across the street. That post office, the Colvin Station, is slated for closure. They already closed the Elmwood Station on South Avenue. That post office is an anchor for this business district we are working so hard to revive. If it closes, the residents and businesses of this neighborhood will have to travel miles away to get services from the post office.
Behind me is a church building that is being destroyed by water damage. It needs a new roof. But our government doesn't have the resources to protect this community asset. The sanctuary in there has been the site of innumerable community meetings, a sanctuary where the acoustics are so good they allow someone speaking in a conversational voice to be heard by a capacity crowd of 1200 people.
Our public schools have suffered 470 teacher and other staff layoffs this year.
Israeli Social Justice Protests: Links Round-Up and Commentary
Growing from a handful of students in early July to almost half a million people last week, the protests for "social justice" in Israel appear to have established a new front in the global resistance to neoliberalism. Like any region of the capitalist world, Israelis have seen rising costs of housing, transportation, and childcare. From professionals to the working poor, salaries and wages have been declining as the top one percent continues to become incredibly wealthy. The picture by now is an all-too-familiar one for people everywhere.
Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed a special committee to investigate solutions to quell the protesters and its full recommendations are due to be released on September 29. About 90% of Israelis identify with the protests, a real contrast to the surge in popularity Netanyahu experienced after his trip to Washington only a few months prior.
A Man Was Lynched Yesterday
“This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.” -Troy Davis
The hypocrisy of the United States was on full display late Wednesday night, "International Peace Day," as the Supreme Court ruled that Georgia should proceed with the execution of Troy Davis. His body was strapped to a table, injected with a mixture of poisonous chemicals at 10:53 PM, and pronounced dead fifteen minutes later. Outside the prison, crowds of supporters rallied, while vigils were held at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta [photos here] and on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The state's determination to kill Davis based only on the flimsy testimony of two witnesses had exposed the racist injustice of the death penalty to millions worldwide.
Troy maintained his innocence at his arrest in 1989 for the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, when he was sentenced to death in 1991, and finally as he addressed the MacPhail family from the death chamber. But like countless Black men in the United States, the police effort to catch and incriminate him by any means possible put him in jail through the manipulation and intimidation of witnesses.
Atlanta Vigil for Troy Davis (Photos)
Hundreds of people gathered on short notice beneath the gold dome of the Georgia capitol in the final hours before Troy Davis was executed. Davis was killed on September 21 at 11:08 PM, charged with killing a Savannah police officer twenty years ago. His case was a symbol of the inherent injustice of the death penalty and galvanized the outrage of thousands. Read more here and here.
Although Davis has been killed, the movement continues. Check Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Amnesty International, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the NAACP for information about future actions.
The capitol grounds are decorated with monuments to the state's racist legacy. Behind this person is a statue of Richard Russell, a white supremacist Governor and US Senator from Georgia, who led congressional opposition to Civil Rights legislation for decades.
“To All” – A message from Troy Anthony Davis
This letter from Troy Davis was written some weeks ago. More recently, he has had all his possessions taken away, including writing utensils, and is subjected to around-the-clock observation. There is still time to act to save his life: calling Chatham County DA Larry Chisolm at 912-652-7308 and Judge Penny Freesemann at 912-652-7252 to ask them to remove the death warrant.
I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.
As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy.
Southern Center for Human Rights Urges Execution Staff to Strike & Refuse to Kill Troy Davis
Today, the day before Troy Anthony Davis is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection, Georgia Senate Democratic Whip Vincent Fort and Southern Center for Human Rights Executive Director Sara Totonchi have issued a joint statement calling upon the individuals charged with carrying out the execution to refuse to participate in the killing of a possibly innocent man.
Davis is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00pm at Georgia Diagnostics & Classifications Prison in Jackson, Georgia. The statement, included below and sent to all parties mentioned, appeals to the basic humanity of individuals who each play roles in carrying out an execution including the private medical company that contracts with the state to be involved in executions and the Corrections staff at the prison.
Statement from Senator Vincent Fort and Sara Totonchi to Those Who Will Carry Out the Execution of Troy Davis
“The execution of Troy Davis is immoral and wrong. Almost all of the witnesses against him have recanted. The courts and the parole board have failed to use their power to prevent this imminent miscarriage of justice. However, Troy Davis' execution cannot take place unless human beings at the Georgia Diagnostic & Classifications Prison make it happen. They can refuse to kill Troy Davis.
We call on Dr.
Auto Talks Go Past the Wire
The contracts between the Big Three corporations and the United Auto Workers (UAW) expired at midnight September 14 but were extended as negotiations continued. The official union strategy had been to target General Motors as the lead. As union and company signed off on various issues, these were then taken to Chrysler and accepted, or modified. In the final hours, the UAW negotiating team huddled with GM.
Workers at General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant listen as officials of the United Auto Workers union and GM give speeches marking the beginning of negotiations over the 2011 union contract. [credit: Jim West]
The Palestinian UN Statehood Initiative: What’s At Stake?
A Statement by the Solidarity Political Committee
On September 23, 2011 the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization intend to take an appeal for statehood recognition to the United Nations Security Council. When that is rejected – as it will be, since the Obama Administration has promised to veto it – the PA is expected to turn to the General Assembly, where there’s no great-power veto, for “non-member observer state” status which will give it access to UN institutions, including the ability to bring charges against Israeli occupation practices.
On one level, this may look like a purely symbolic gesture by the feeble PA/PLO leadership of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). No one believes it will change the situation on the ground – the blockade of Gaza, the cancer of Israeli colonial settlements in the West Bank, the apartheid-annexation Wall, the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinian activists and hundreds of children, and for that matter the police-state behavior of the PA’s own security forces.
Chicago Burning: Review of "People Wasn't Made to Burn"
By Carl Finamore
"People Wasn't Made to Burn: A True Story of Race, Murder, and Justice in Chicago" Joe Allen, Haymarket Press, published July 2011
“People Wasn’t Made to Burn,” by journalist Joe Allen, reads like a lively, creative work of fiction with its abundance of larger-than-life characters and a seemingly over-dramatized back story of shocking events awaiting one Black family escaping southern rural poverty and landing amidst northern urban racism. The story includes corruption, greed, a heavy dose of Chicago political intrigue and finally, arson, death and murder. It even has a surprise ending.
It has all the ingredients of a late-night bedside read, but it is all too real.
It is, in fact, the actual and very personal story of one Mississippi Black sharecropping family that faced multiple tragedies after moving north to Chicago in 1947. Within a year of their arrival, their dreams of a better life were extinguished. Four of their young children died in a fiery blaze in their overcrowded, dilapidated tenement.
Locked exit doors, inaccessible fire escapes and other intolerable conditions prevented the children from escaping.