Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Obama's Release of 46 - Let's Respond with Demands

 Black Agenda Report

brings a weekly dose of reality each Wednesday of facts and critical analysis.  It is a dose of reality that tries to cut through the mainstream debate that ranges from far right of republican extremism to the more moderate right wing politics of the mainstream Democratic Party including of the Obama Administration. 

This week, Margaret Kimberley takes on the release of 46 non-violent offenders from federal prisons by President Obama and the media blitz the Whitehouse is conducting around the release:

Do the math:
Margaret Kimberley :
Barack Obama attempts to create a phony legacy as the prison “reform” president by extending clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders – not all that many, by presidential standards. Yet, he went to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep 5,000 non-violent crack-cocaine offenders locked up. Obama’s “sudden desire to look like the Great Emancipator is an ongoing publicity junket.”

Me: Let's not be fooled that we are any where near winning anything in our decarceration fight by posturing. We need to continue to press clear demands for sweeping massive release - in NJ - 50% - including non-violent offenders, those who have served lengthy time, the elderly and very ill, those that have served substantial portions of their terms, etc - for starters.

Nice sounding words and less than 4 dozen actual releases - after the administration argued AGAINST the release of 5000 and after 6 years of non action on this issue . . . does not mean that we have won anything.
I am not saying this to "dis" Obama - it is not about him - but it is about the policies of this government and the corporations it serves that he among many many others of both parties have dutifully implemented on behalf of their corporate clients.

Lets use this opportunity and respond to the rhetoric with not only demands - but concerted effective action to press the demands - good for the 46 - but there are 2.5 million behind walls and many millions more under some form of correctional control and millions more whose lives are stymied by past involvement with incarceration.

Margaret Kimberley's piece is timely and should be widely aired.

Keep in mind that in 2011 (no reason to think it has changed much) there were an estimated estimated at 1,531,251 arrests for drug violations!

Let the battle be joined and DO NOT be hoodwinked by half measures and sound bite pleasantries. The agenda for decarceration needs to be determined by the communities targeted by these policies and not be set by the servants of the powers that be.

Others are starting to offer their feedback to Obama's apparent posturing on the issue - here is from former Paterson, NJ resident Max Parthas (now of South Carolina) who edits New Abolitionist Radio :

"By focusing on prison reform as the president has clearly done it leads us to believe reform is the best if not the only option, and in doing so we are eliminating the focus from slavery abolition.

This is why there was no mention of policing for profit, prison for profit or the prison slave labor industry. No mention of the well documented constitutional violations against the private prison industry. Not a word.

No mention of the entire prison system of Mississippi being corrupt under the leadership of now prosecuted and convicted commissioner Epps.

No mention of cases like Kaleif Browder who was thrown into an adult prison and never charged with anything. They simply stored his body for 3 years at a price tag of 1 million dollars and then unceremoniously released him without explanation or reason for his entire ordeal of abuse and the ultimate destruction of his life.

No mention of police quotas. No mention of the Kids For Cash scandal where judges have been convicted and jailed for selling thousands of children to private prisons.

No mention of the 10 million a week generated by ticket schemes in NYC or the systemic, unconstitutional exploitation of citizens in ‪#‎ferguson‬.

You can not reform slavery. Kidnapping men, women and children under false accusations, throwing them in cages for profit, warehousing their bodies and exploiting their labor to make or provide commercial goods and services on the open market is a crime. It should be looked at as a crime.

And now so many are applauding him when you should be demanding he call this what it is and not stand there before the world giving slavery legitimacy and implying that all black people are criminals by placing the burdens on us "breaking laws".

Sandra Bland was stopped for an alleged traffic violation. She was assaulted by a police officer and then charged with assaulting him. Taken to jail where normally her and her family would have been extorted for fines, bail and a dozen other financial burdens. Where her freedom, youth and her new job would have all been stolen without a concern.

Instead she was murdered and the killing made to look like a suicide.

How are you going to reform this?

Max Parthas
Maximum Impact Poetry
New Abolitionists Radio
Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery

Another recent piece at Black Agenda Report on the true nature of the current administration policies toward mass incarceration:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On the anniversary of Plainfield rebellion: Appeal to mobilize for July 25!

By John McDevitt

I am not old enough to remember the events that happened today 48 years ago in the town where I was born--I was just a toddler--but the conditions that lead to the Plainfield Rebellion and takeover of the Plainfield Machine Company in order for the community to push back police violence resonates with many still today.

I am writing this blog remembering the spirit of the Plainfield and Newark Rebellions and to appeal to all to come to the Million People's March on July 25 at 12 noon in Newark, NJ.

Be inspired by those organizing this mass march and who will fill the streets of Newark, NJ, demanding and end to police brutality, racial injustice, and economic inequality. Read about their organizing efforts and their stories in the struggle:

Lawrence Hamm

Renee Felton (with Kwadir Felton)

William Morris

Newark Student Union

Max-Evan Aguayo 

Norman Clement 

Tour de Decarcerate Round 2

Recently the founder of this wonderful blog made mention of being in a Decarcerate slump.  I think everyone needs a cleansing period to see how they can take their initiative to the next level.  That all it is.  So just wanted to let Bob Witanek know it's okay to feel powerless. Bob you are NOT disappointing us and you will be ready for a strong stretch soon.  

The events that are going on across the country are damning but we the people are going to take action to MAKE CHANGE!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mass march against police murder: part of the struggle against mass incarceration

The links between racist police terror and mass incarceration are inseparable. But now there is an opportunity to strike against the institutions that maintain the power of the social order of oppression through racism, police terror and poverty. Please see my article that appeared in about the mobilization of dozens of organizations regarding this mobilization on July 25 in Newark, NJ.

Larry Hamm of the People’s Organization for Progress (above) announces mass march.

Please also download the flier to help distribute it in your community by clicking here!

by John McDevitt

“Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Abdul Kamal, Jerome Reid, Kashad Ashford—these are just some of the young men who have been killed by the police. And the killing goes on unabated, but it must not go on unanswered,” announced Larry Hamm, Chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress in New Jersey that is calling for the mass march.

“In response to this crisis in our community the People’s Organization for Progress is calling for a Million People’s March against police brutality, racial injustice, and economic inequality,” explained Hamm about the march that will take place on Sat., July 25, at 12 noon in Newark, NJ, at the Lincoln Memorial in the heart of downtown Newark at West Market Street and Springfield Ave.

“We need as many students as possible to be there, we need as many people as possible to be there. Now is the time for for unity. Now is the time for our community to speak with one voice,” said Hamm. “And most of all now is the time for action.”

“Stop police brutality,” exclaimed Hamm. “Power to the people.”

The march is endorsed and supported by dozens of organizations including the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

For more information on the march visit the People’s Organization for Progress website or call 973-801-0001.

Shelia Reid and Sean Reid (left of photo), mother and brother of Jerome Reid murdered by the police is Southwoods, NJ, at the end of 2014. His murder drew hundreds into the streets from all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania earlier this year.