A youth’s view from Durham to Wall Street

Lamont Lilly, New York City, Oct. 8.
WW photo: Rachel Duell

By Lamont Lilly
Occupy Wall Street, N.Y.

The scene was a perfect storm of organized chaos. Here were the young and old, students and workers, immigrants and oppressed, all addressing the failures of capitalism’s current worldwide crisis, outlining the destructive forces of global banking systems and highlighting the lack of communal values in a place that loves to cry patriotism.

Right-wing, conservative press would have you to believe that the only “fanatics” there were Ivy League, white, college kids — the privileged and idle-minded, or simply a cadre of recent graduates who have yet to find jobs after completing master’s degrees. But that wasn’t true at all. The idea of occupying Wall Street may have begun as a young, white thing, but by the time we arrived on the evening of Oct.8, there were participants of all nations, all races and all ages — raising a range of pertinent issues.

There were Haitians from the Bronx who had marched across the George Washington Bridge earlier that day in a show of solidarity. There were domestic and sanitation workers from Queens. There were the unions and labor organizations from all over the country — working-class adults who currently live the effects of capitalism from the front lines; blue-collar folks whose wages have been decimated by the manipulation of global markets, international corporatism and “Third World” exploitation. For this one night, I was living what democracy really looks like: the common masses united in a single front. Continue reading

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FIST launches in Detroit

By Derek Thacker
Detroit

Detroit FIST

The founding meeting of the new Detroit chapter of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together — FIST — was held on July 22.

Detroit has not had an active branch of the militant youth organization for about a year. But since late 2010, new youth have begun taking an interest in activism and have gravitated to work with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs, and Workers World Party.

Some of these youth moved to form a new FIST branch in Detroit in order to combat the effects of imperialism at home and abroad. The attendance was excellent at the initial meeting and the discussions were meaningful. Introductions were conducted, and the revolutionary program of FIST was introduced and reviewed. Continue reading

Another Black man tased to death by police

By Larry Hales

NYC FIST

“He looked right at me and said, ‘Babe, help me I’m dying.’” These were Alonzo Ashley’s last words to his companion, Elaina, words she said in tears to an interviewer for the Denver FOX News affiliate.

Ashley at the time was on the ground after a contact taser was used by Denver Police to subdue him, leading him to convulse and then become unconscious.

The incident occurred at the Denver Zoo July 18, where, according to Ashley’s family, he had gone three times in one week. Zoo officials said one of their staff had seen Ashley passed out near the elephant exhibit. When zoo security responded, Ashley was drinking from a water fountain and wetting his head. Elaina says that earlier he had vomited.

Ashley asked the zoo security to go away several times, but instead of leaving the couple alone or calling for medical help for someone exhibiting signs of a heat-related illness, zoo security called the Denver police. Continue reading

Budget cuts clog courts, increase jail time

By Julie Fry
New York

As the massive budget cuts agreed upon this spring by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature are imposed on workers and the oppressed throughout the state, those who seek justice through an already massively unjust court system are finding themselves at an even greater disadvantage.

This year’s state budget includes $170 million in cuts to the state Office of Court Administration, which, coupled with an equal amount of cuts in the money spent on arrests or evictions in this state, might be cause for celebration for the poor and oppressed.

Instead, these cuts have led to a reduction in court hours without a commensurate reduction in arrests. This means those seeking what little relief there is to be gained from the bourgeois court system are forced to wait much longer. Often this wait takes place in jail. Continue reading

‘We will not stop until Mumia is free’

In November 2010, Suzanne Ross, representing International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, addressed the International Liaison Committee, a broad grouping of political and trade union organizations at the Open World Conference Against War and Exploitation in Algiers, Algeria. Following are excerpts from Ross’s interview published in the ILC’s May 2011 newsletter. Go to http://tinyurl.com/63qucj9 to read the entire interview. Ross is also co-chair of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition in New York City.

Mumia Abu-Jamal

ILC: Mumia Abu-Jamal was one of the cases at the center of our conference in Algiers. The comrades who came to the conference would like to know about the important recent developments in Mumia’s case

SR: We are very concerned about the possible execution of Mumia since the prosecutor and the State of Pennsylvania are aggressively demanding more serious consideration of execution. This has not happened since 2001 when a federal judge ruled that Mumia should be sentenced to life in prison without parole rather than face execution because of faulty instructions to the jury in the original trial. Continue reading

FBI steps up anti-communist witch-hunt

By Michael Martinez
Los Angeles FIST

The sun had not dawned yet on the cold, crisp morning of May 17 in Alhambra, a neighborhood east of Los Angeles. It was hard to believe spring had arrived that morning when at 5 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team assembled in front of Carlos Montes’ driveway and front yard. The silence was shattered along with Montes’ door as the officers rammed it down and then sprang into his home bearing automatic rifles.

May 20 protest at Federal Building in Los Angeles.
WW photo: John Parker

Montes is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. He has been a long-time activist for immigrant rights and Chicano liberation in southern California. He was a founder of the Brown Berets and a fighter with Chicano Moratorium.

A leader in the Southern California Immigration Coalition, Montes has led the big May 1 immigrant marches in Los Angeles since 2006, along with many other fighters like BAYAN USA, Union del Barrio and the International Action Center.

Although the LASD claimed they raided Montes’ residence over an illegal weapon’s charge, the true nature of the raid was revealed when they ransacked his house and took historical political documents dealing with more than 40 years of his activism, photos, his computers and his cell phones. Continue reading

Mumia Aub-Jamal from death row: On Libya

Taken from a March 29 audio message. Go to http://www.prisonradio.org to hear Abu-Jamal’s audio columns and http://www.millions4mumia.org for updates on the struggle to free him.

And like that — blink — a new war. Just as the Arab spring erupted across the region of Mediterranean Africa and people took to the streets in opposition to their sclerotic kleptocratic rulers, the West has thrust its large nose into the tent and, voila, a new war has emerged — blessed by both the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League. Continue reading