Isaac's blog

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.

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.

“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.

To All:

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.

Egypt: Hundreds of thousands set to strike

Over the coming few days hundreds of thousands of workers will exercise their right to strike and organise sit-ins, in defiance of all attempts to intimidate them and prevent them from exercising these rights, such as the law criminalising strikes and protests. The 22,000 textile workers of Misr Spinning in Mahalla have shown that this law does not frighten them, and it will not prevent the strike that they have set for 10 September demanding a new rate for the minimum wage, a 200% rise in bonuses and increased investment and the provision of the necessary raw materials in order for to the company to operate.

Hundreds of thousands of teachers in six provinces are also threatening to join protests on the same day followed by strikes to demand that their colleagues on temporary contracts are given permanent jobs and a 200% rise in bonuses.

Postal workers in several provinces have already been out on strike this week to demand the restructuring of their wages, increased bonuses, equal recognition for educational qualifications and an end to corruption. Even before Eid, 5,000 workers at Kabu textile mills in Alexandria went on strike demanding that corrupt bosses are brought to justice, the payment of delayed wages and permanent contracts for temporary workers. Staff working in cultural centres demonstrated for raises to their bonuses, permanent contracts for temporary workers, an end to corruption and the sacking of management consultants.

‘Our future is not for sale’: The Chilean Student Movement Against Neoliberalism

by Manuel Larrabure and Carlos Torchia

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the radical left today is to articulate a politics that decisively breaks with the disastrous experiences of many 20th century socialisms. This is a difficult task that requires self-reflection, active questioning, and openness to new expressions of struggle by the always complex and fluid global working-classes. Making this task even the more difficult is that neoliberalism has destroyed or co-opted traditional forms of working-class organization over the last thirty years. This has resulted in the expansion of the logic of capital to every corner of the world. As the ‘great recession’ that began in 2008 demonstrates, capitalism is more global than ever.

Against this backdrop, Latin America has arguably been at the forefront of struggles that challenge the neoliberal claim that ‘there is no alternative.’ Indeed, it was in 1989 that poor communities in Venezuela climbed down from the barrios to protest the neoliberal package about to be delivered by the government. This event, known as ‘el caracazo,’ became the first great mass insurgency against neoliberalism in the region. Soon, others would follow: the Zapatistas in Mexico, the water and gas wars in Bolivia, ‘el saqueo’ in Argentina, to name the most memorable examples.

Obama Announcement: More Cosmetic Changes to DHS Deportation Policy

In a bid to win the Latino vote, President Obama announces plan to stall the deportation of some.

Today, the Obama Administration will once again attempt to hide that they are deporting DREAM Act-eligible youth and our families. The Obama Administration has attempted time after time to win our support with token appeasement. Coming just weeks after the June 17 Morton Memo, which still has not been implemented, it remains to be seen whether this change will provide actual relief for youth and our families.

The real Geronimo and "Operation Geronimo"

The heroic resistance of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apache is one of the most potent legends in North America. Caught in the crosshairs of the United States' expansionist ambitions into their land, Geronimo led a small group of less than two hundred. For over a year, they evaded the efforts of one-quarter of the U.S. Army to wipe them out. His surrender in 1886 was one of the final episodes in centuries of U.S. wars of conquest and extermination against the indigenous tribes of North America.

After his death, his skull was stolen (supposedly by George W. Bush's great-grandfather) for the Yale secret society and ruling class incubator known as Skull and Bones. And now, we learn that the mission to kill Osama bin Laden was supposedly named "Operation Geronimo", or that bin Laden himself was codenamed "Geronimo". It's in insult, but also very telling about those at the reins of U.S. empire, and their nostalgia for the brutal conquest of the West.

The real story should be told. For part of that story, this PBS documentary, Geronimo and the Apache Resistance, gives a complex view of Geronimo's resistance with interviews by his descendants and the descendants of those who knew him.

Bin Laden is dead, but does it really matter?

After twenty-odd hours of blaring announcements, everybody in the TV-watching parts of the world must now know that Osama bin Laden was recently killed by U.S. forces in a "compound deep inside of Pakistan". So, the al-Qaeda leader is dead at the hands of covert U.S. intervention in the mountains of Central Asia. If that sounds a little bit familiar, it's because his political career began thirty years ago with covert U.S. intervention in the mountains of Central Asia. In retrospect, the documentation of the U.S. alliance with fundamentalist Mujahideen "freedom fighters" in Rambo: First Blood Part 3, might make that one of the most regretted pieces of Hollywood propaganda.

In his televised address, Obama spoke for a full nine minutes without making a single joke about murdering people with predator drones, as he did at the White House correspondent's dinner one year ago. More somberly, he assured viewers that the wars will continue, despite the death of their mascot.

Video: Undocumented, unafraid in Georgia

The video of this speech by Mohammad Abdollahi of Dreamactivist.org gave me goosebumps. This coming weekend, undocumented youth from around the country will gather in Atlanta to plan a structure for the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, a new network that was formed by activists who, in fighting for the DREAM Act, engaged in daring direct actions last year. Thanks to Adam K for the video.

My name is Mohammad. I am undocumented. I am queer. And I am no longer afraid.

I can't think of a better place to come out than in front of nine thousand wonderful people. My family immigrated to the U.S. twenty-three years ago when I was just three years old. They came here and told me, if I worked hard, if I went to school, I would have an opportunity.

When I graduated from high school I realized that was a lie. Because of my legal status I was not going to be able to go to college. I sat back and I thought, "America's a great place. They won't waste opportunity. Something will change, something will get fixed."

So I waited. A year later I found myself at an admissions counselor's office waiting for something to change. I was given an acceptance letter by the university and told I could attend. Five minutes later, they told me they made a mistake.