Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Oscar López Rivera’s 32 Years of Resistance to Torture --Will President Obama pardon the longest held Independentista?
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Read the full article, written for Prison Radio, here.
UPDATE: We won! Mumia is in general population. Below is a photo of his second visit (the first photo of him since the mid 1990s):
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A new film, entitled "The Barrel of a Gun" was unveiled in Philadelphia on September 21. The film is officially endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and "Murdered by Mumia" authors Michael Smerconish and Maureen Faulkner, and based on the two trailers that have been released and public statements by the filmmaker, Tigre Hill, that he believes death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal is unequivocally guilty, we can safely expect that the film will be biased against Abu-Jamal, as is the case with the majority of mainstream media coverage about Abu-Jamal, particularly so in Philadelphia.
Supporters of Abu-Jamal mobilized to confront Hill's film. This film can be particularly dangerous now because of Abu-Jamal's current legal situation, where the death penalty may be reinstated by the US Third Circuit Court. In response, Journalists for Mumia has just published the latest issue of our newspaper (viewable here), where we confront Hill by laying out evidence of innocence and why Mumia's trial was unfair.
Read the full article, co-written with German author Michael Schiffmann, published by Truthout, here.
Monday, April 26, 2010
book review -- The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther, Keeping the Faith in Prison, & Fighting for Those Left Behind
The late Safiya Bukhari (1950-2003) is not the most famous veteran of the Black Panther Party (BPP), but the compilation of her writings, The War Before, edited by former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn at the request of Bukhari's daughter, Wonda Jones, should be required reading alongside the memoirs of BPP cofounders Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.
The War Before makes many significant contributions to scholarship, including its examination of women in the BPP. Bukhari recognizes serious problems of sexism and misogyny, but argues that this was symptomatic of the Left in general and, relative to other leftist groups, the Panthers had gone much further to address the problem. Women were involved in the party at every level and, in 1970, Huey Newton issued an important public statement of support for the women's and gay liberation movements. Bukhari writes that the Panthers "may not have completed the task of eradicating sexist attitudes within the Party and in the community. But we did bring the problem out in the open and put the question on the floor."
This book review was published in the April issue of Z Magazine. Read the full article here.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Voices of Participatory Democracy in Venezuela --A review of Venezuela Speaks! Voices from the Grassroots
There are many different ways that the corporate media continues to misrepresent the Bolivarian Revolution in
Read the full article at Upside Down World. This article has also been reprinted by Truthout, Dissident Voice, The Statesmen, Axis of Logic, Venezuela Analysis, Venezuela Indymedia, Infoshop, Mostly Water, Op Ed News, Philly IMC, and Indybay.
Watch the interview with co-author Carlos Martinez below.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
From 1997 to 2001, Craig Rosebraugh acted as a public spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a self-described “international, underground movement consisting of autonomous groups of people who carry out direct action in defense of the planet.”
On February 12, 2002, Rosebraugh was made to testify against his will before the US Congress’ House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. The FBI had recently declared the ELF the #1 domestic terrorist threat, and Congress had subpoenaed Rosebraugh demanding he help them investigate “eco-terrorism.” Rosebraugh had already received seven grand jury subpoenas from various federal investigations, but had always refused to cooperate. After he rejected this particular Subcommittee’s offer to voluntarily testify, they seemed to think that intimidation might help. They were wrong.
Rosebraugh invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 54 times that day, instead issuing his now-famous 11-page statement declaring that “the US government by far has been the most extreme terrorist organization in planetary history,” He cited a long list of crimes, beginning with the history of Black chattel slavery and the genocide of indigenous peoples, and concluding with a long list of US military interventions since WWII. He argued that it was hypocritical to label the ELF “terrorist,” since all ELF actions had been directed towards corporate property, and had never injured anyone: “This noble pursuit does not constitute terrorism, but rather seeks to abolish it.”
Rosebraugh has since continued his public advocacy of direct action and has edited a new book entitled This Country Must Change: Essays on the Necessity of Revolution in the USA.
Read this full review at www.TowardFreedom.com
Monday, November 02, 2009
book review - The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther
This new book was released on November 1, and my review of it is featured at TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events. Below is an excerpt. Please read the full article here.
On the morning of December 4, 1969, lawyer Jeffrey Haas received a call from his partner at the People’s Law Office, informing him that early that morning Chicago police had raided the apartment of Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton at 2337 West Monroe Street in Chicago. Tragically, Hampton and fellow Panther Mark Clark had both been shot dead, and four other Panthers in the apartment had critical gunshot wounds. Police were uninjured and had fired their guns 90-99 times. In sharp contrast, the Panthers had shot once, from the shotgun held by Mark Clark, which had most likely been fired after Clark had been fatally shot in the heart and was falling to the ground.
Haas went straight to the police station to speak with Hampton’s fiancée, Deborah Johnson, who was then eight months pregnant with Hampton’s son. She had been sleeping in bed next to Hampton when the police attacked and began shooting into the apartment and towards the bedroom where they were sleeping. Miraculously, Johnson had not been shot, but her account given to Haas was chilling. Throughout the assault Hampton had remained unconscious (strong evidence emerged later that a paid FBI informant had given Hampton a sedative that prevented him from waking up) and after police forced Johnson out of the bedroom, two officers entered the room where Hampton still lay unconscious. Johnson heard one officer ask, "Is he still alive?" After two gunshots were fired inside the room, the other officer said, "He’s good and dead now."
This article has also been featured at Black Commentator, Z Net, Infoshop, Philly IMC, Peoples' Voice, Daily Kos, Mostly Water, OpEdNews.com, Eat The State!, Political Affairs mediaLeft, and Assata Shakur Speaks.
(In this photo, reminiscent of the photos of southern lynchings, smiling police carry away Fred Hampton's body)Watch the 1971 film "The Murder of Fred Hampton."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Other: An Asian & Pacific Islander Prisoners’ Anthology (AK Press) is an impressive book featuring writing and art by 22 people imprisoned in the U.S. The publisher, the Asian Prisoner Support Committee, writes that it “works with API (Asian and Pacific Islander) prisoners to educate the broader community about the growing number of APIs in the U.S. being imprisoned, detained and deported.”
Other contributes significantly to both prison-abolitionist and ethnic-studies literature, each of which has badly neglected this issue. In the preface, journalist Helen Zia argues that the resulting invisibility of API prisoners extends to the “mainstream media and ethnic media alike,” where they essentially “do not exist.” While the arrest rate among API youth is increasing, APIs still do have a lower arrest and incarceration rate than other racial groups; however, in 2004, the Services and Advocacy for Asian Youth Consortium in San Francisco reported that the API conviction rate is 28 percent higher than other racial groups.
The plight of API prisoners who were legal residents with green cards at the time of their arrest is illustrated by the story of coeditor Eddy Zheng. When granted parole in March 2005, Zheng was ordered deported and was immediately transferred to immigration detention. He promptly appealed the deportation order but was held in detention until February 2007, when he was released after an outpouring of public support. As of this writing, his deportation appeal was pending at the Ninth Circuit Court.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Read the rest of the article in this month's Z Magazine. here.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The “Old City” neighborhood of Philadelphia is renowned for its many historic sites related to the “founding fathers” and the US colonial era. Yet, very few know about this same neighborhood’s significant anarchist history. Since 1997, local historian Robert Helms has led an “Anarchist Historical Walking Tour” that presents this history of resistance from the poor and working classes, who viewed the rhetoric about “American Democracy” as a fraud, and organized themselves to challenge the power of the ruling class. Helms is the editor of the just-released English translation of Chaim Leib Weinberg’s (1869-1939) autobiography: Forty Years in the Struggle; The Memoirs of a Jewish Anarchist.
This article was published in the July/August issue of Z Magazine. You can read the full article here.
(PHOTO: Chaim Leib Weinberg)
Thursday, September 03, 2009
As the largest recipient of
Throughout Blood & Capital, author Jasmin Hristov seeks to expose the rational motivations behind state violence for capitalism’s economic elites in the
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My review of Victoria Law's new book Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women was published today at Alternet. You can read the full article at Alternet, but here is an excerpt:
The central thesis of Resistance Behind Bars is truly profound. In clear, non-academic language, Law argues that recent scholarship documenting and radically criticizing the increased incarceration rates and mistreatment of women prisoners "largely ignores what the women themselves do to change or protest these circumstances, thus reinforcing the belief that incarcerated women do not organize." Alongside academia, Law also harshly criticizes radical prison activists, arguing that "just as the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s downplayed the role of women in favor of highlighting male spokesmen and leaders, the prisoners' rights movement has focused and continues to focus on men to speak for the masses."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Staughton Lynd, coming from the Marxist perspective, harshly criticizes the influence of vanguard politics on Marxist revolutionary movements, whereby these movements have adopted authoritarian and anti-democratic practices, with these abuses of power being justified by the argument that their particular group is the vanguard of the revolution, and is therefore entitled to lead the revolution as it sees fit. Lynd sees the Zapatistas’ rejection of vanguard politics as representing a “fresh synthesis of what is best in the Marxist and anarchist traditions.” The Zapatistas, Lynd writes, “have given us a new hypothesis. It combines Marxist analysis of the dynamics of capitalism with a traditional spirituality, whether Native American or Christian, or a combination of the two. It rejects the goal of taking state power and sets forth the objective of building a horizontal network of centers of self-activity. Above all the Zapatistas have encouraged young people all over the earth to affirm: We must have a qualitatively different society! Another world is possible! Let us begin to create it, here and now!”
Read the full book review at Upside Down World.
Monday, June 22, 2009
--This is the first paragraph in my new article, which can be read in full at UpsideDownWorld.org.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The DA’s office withheld two items from Abu-Jamal’s defense: the actual location of the driver’s license application found in Officer Faulkner’s pocket; and Pedro Polakoff’s crime scene photos. Then, at the request of prosecutor McGill, Judge Sabo ruled to block three items from the jury: prosecution eyewitness Robert Chobert’s probation status and criminal history; testimony from defense eyewitness Veronica Jones about police attempts to solicit false testimony; and testimony from Police Officer Gary Waskshul.
Read the full SF Bay View article here.
--Download the 4 page PDF version of this article here.
--Take action supporting the campaign at FreeMumia.com!
--Read letters to Attorney General Eric Holder from Cynthia McKinney and U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
**This article has also been featured by Philly IMC, Black Commentator, Z Net, Dissident Voice, Infoshop, Op Ed News, Daily Kos, Poor Magazine, Guerrilla News Network, The People's Voice, Workers World, Free Peltier Now Blog, Mostly Water, Break All Chains Blog, and others.
Monday, June 15, 2009
(PHOTO: Aviva Chomsky with delegate Sandra Díaz from Appalachian Voices)
Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and Latin American Studies at Salem State College in
Chomsky is also a founder of the North Shore Colombia Solidarity Committee, which has been working since 2002 with Colombian labor and popular movements, especially those affected by the foreign-owned mining sector. She just returned from the Witness for Peace delegation (May 28 – June 6) that traveled to two regions devastated by coal mining: the state of
Read the full interview here.
PHOTO: Cerrejón mine, Colombia
Sunday, May 03, 2009
“My soul cries from all that I witnessed and endured. It does more than cry, it mourns continuously,” said Black Panther Robert Hillary King, following his release from the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary at
Robert King, Albert Woodfox, and Herman Wallace are known as the ‘Angola Three,’ a trio of political prisoners whose supporters include Amnesty International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Congressman John Conyers, and the ACLU. Kgalema Mothlante, the President of South Africa says their case “has the potential of laying bare, exposing the shortcomings, in the entire
The joint federal civil rights lawsuit of King, Woodfox, and Wallace, alleging that their time in solitary confinement is “cruel and unusual punishment,” will go to trial any month in
An 18,000-acre former slave plantation in rural
The Angola Panthers saw life at
Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace
Both convicted of murder for the April 17, 1972 stabbing death of white prison guard Brent Miller, Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace have recently had major victories in court that may soon lead to their release. In response,
Woodfox and Wallace were inmates at
On September 19, 2006, State Judicial Commissioner Rachel Morgan recommended overturning Wallace’s conviction, on grounds that prison officials had withheld evidence from the jury that prison officials had bribed the prosecution’s key eyewitness, Hezekiah Brown, in return for his testimony. However, in May 2008, in a 2-1 vote, the State Appeals Court rejected Morgan’s recommendation and refused to overturn the conviction. Wallace’s appeal is now pending in the State Supreme Court, with a decision expected any month.
On June 10th, 2008, Federal Magistrate Christine Noland recommended overturning Woodfox’s conviction, citing evidence of inadequate representation, prosecutorial misconduct, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and racial discrimination. Then, on November 25, US District Court Judge James Brady upheld Noland’s recommendation, overturned the conviction, and granted bail. Attorney General Caldwell responded by appealing to the US Fifth Circuit. In December, the Fifth Circuit granted Caldwell’s request to deny Woodfox bail, but indicated sympathy for the overturning of the conviction, writing: "We are not now convinced that the State has established a likelihood of success on the merits." On March 3, oral arguments were heard by appellate Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Carl E. Steart and Leslie H. Southwick, and a decision from them is now expected within six months. If the three judge panel affirms the overturning of Woodfox’s conviction, the state will have 120 days to either accept the ruling or to retry Woodfox. The state has already vowed to retry him if necessary. If the Fifth Circuit rules for the state, Woodfox’s conviction will be reinstated.
Ira Glasser, formerly of the ACLU, criticized AG Caldwell, writing that following the October 2008 announcement that Woodfox’s niece had agreed to take him in if granted bail,
When the October 27-29 National Public Radio (NPR) series on the case reported directly from
As NPR documented, there is no physical evidence linking Woodfox or Wallace to the murder. A bloody fingerprint was found at the scene but it matches neither prisoner’s prints. Prison officials have always refused to test that fingerprint against their own inmate fingerprint database.
Pardoned in 1986, and now deceased, Brown always denied receiving special favors from prison authorities in exchange for his testimony. However, prison documents reveal special treatment, including special housing and a carton of cigarettes given to him every week. Testifying at Woodfox’s 1998 retrial, former Warden Murray Henderson admitted telling Brown that if he provided testimony helping to “crack the case,” he would reward him by lobbying for his pardon.
In early 2008, a 25,000-signature petition initiated by ColorOfChange.org, calling for an investigation into Woodfox and Wallace’s convictions and solitary confinement, was delivered to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal by the head of the State Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Cedric Richmond. To this day, Jindal remains silent on the case.
In March, 2008, following a visit from Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee; Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck; and Cedric Richmond, Wallace and Woodfox were transferred from solitary and housed together in a newly-built maximum security dormitory for twenty men. This temporary release from solitary lasted for eight months, during which time Woodfox reflected: “The thing I noticed most about being with Herman is the laughing, the talking, the bumping up against one another…we’ve been denied this for so long. And every once in a while he’ll put his arm around me or I’ll put my arm around him. It’s those kinds of things that make you human. And we’re truly enjoying that.”
In April, following his visit, Conyers wrote a letter to the FBI requesting their documents relating to the case, stating: “I am deeply troubled by what evidence suggests was a tragic miscarriage of justice with regard to these men. There is significant evidence that suggests not only their innocence, but also troubling misconduct by prison officials.” The FBI responded by claiming that they had no files on the case, because, they had supposedly been destroyed.
In his deposition taken October 22, 2008, Warden Burl Cain explained why he opposed granting Woodfox bail and removing him from solitary confinement. Asked what gave him “such concern” about Woodfox, Cain stated: “He wants to demonstrate. He wants to organize. He wants to be defiant…A hunger strike is really, really bad, because you could see he admitted that he was organizing a peaceful demonstration. There is no such thing as a peaceful demonstration in prison.” Cain then stated that even if Woodfox were innocent of the murder, he would still want to keep him in solitary, because “I still know he has a propensity for violence…he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates. I would have me all kinds of problems, more than I could stand, and I would have the blacks chasing after them. I would have chaos and conflict, and I believe that.”
The only other known
Robert Hillary King
The new book From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Robert Hillary King has just been released by PM Press, and King is currently touring the East Coast to promote the book. This inspiring book tells of King’s triumph over the horrors of
King first entered
Upon release, King was again arrested on robbery charges, and was convicted, even though his co-defendant testified that he had only picked King out of a mug shot lineup after being tortured by police into making a false statement. King appealed, and while being held at New Orleans Parish Prison, he escaped, but was re-captured weeks later. Upon returning to Orleans Parish he met some of the
In 1972, King moved to
King writes about the fight, started in 1977, to end the practice of routine rectal searches of prisoners: “Coming to a consensus conclusion that this practice was a carryover from slavery (before being sold, the slave had to be stripped and subjected to anal examination), and after months of appealing to our keepers, we decided to take a bold step: we would simply refuse a voluntary anal search. We would not be willing participants in our own degradation.” When King and others refused, they were viciously beaten. Woodfox hired a lawyer on the prisoners’ behalf and they filed a successful civil suit. The court ruled to ban “routine anal searches.” Another victory came after a one month hunger strike that stopped the unhealthy and dehumanizing practice of putting the inmate’s food on the floor to be slid underneath the cell door, whereby food would often be lost and the remaining food would usually get dirty.
In 1973, King was accused of murdering another prisoner, and was convicted at a trial where he was bound and gagged. After years of maintaining his innocence and appealing, his conviction was overturned in 2001, after he reluctantly pled guilty to a lesser charge of “conspiracy to commit murder” and was released on time served.
Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore
On June 21, 2008, Robert King attended the unveiling of a 40-foot mosaic dedicated to
The mosaic adorns the back of activist/artist Carrie Reichardt’s home in the
Imprisoned since 1977, Whitmore met Herman Wallace while imprisoned in 1973 at the East Baton Rouge Prison. Whitmore was released but then arrested and subsequently imprisoned at
Three court cases are now pending: the federal civil rights lawsuit at the US Middle District Court, Albert Woodfox’s appeal at the US Fifth Circuit, and Wallace’s appeal at the State Supreme Court. At this critical stage, a new DVD has just been released by PM Press, titled The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation. The DVD is narrated by death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, and features footage of King’s 2001 release, as well as an interview with King and a variety of former Panthers and other supporters of the Angola 3, including Bo Brown, David Hilliard, Geronimo Ji Jaga (formerly Pratt), Marion Brown, Luis Talamantez, Noelle Hanrahan, Malik Rahim, and the late Anita Roddick.
The perpetuation of white supremacy and slavery at
Longtime Japanese-American activist Yuri Kochiyama says that Woodfox and Wallace “love people and will fight for justice even if it puts them on the spot. I think of them as real heroes…who hated to see people in the prison get hurt.” San Francisco journalist and former BPP member Kiilu Nyasha adds that “it behooves us to not forget those who were on the frontlines for us….We need to come to their rescue because they came to ours.”
The many years of repression and torture have failed to extinguish the
For more information, please visit www.angola3.org
11-year old Brit "Poppy" visited Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace for four hours on August 8, 2008. Poppy said afterwards: “When I first saw Herman and Albert I ran up to them and gave them a huge hug. It was weird to think that this is a rare treat for them, just to have a hug from another human being.”
VIDEO: Robert King Wilkerson (one of the Angola 3) and Louisiana House Judiciary Chairman Cedric Richmond deliver 25,000 petition signatures from ColorOfChange.org members calling on Governor Jindal to investigate and intervene in the Angola 3 case.
VIDEO: Outraged by the injustice of their situation after having visited Herman and Albert in March of 2008, Conyers spoke about the case at the Student National Medical Association's (SNMA) annual conference.
VIDEO: The first official act from the Angola 3 London - an unveiling of a mosaic on the back of The Treatment Rooms in Chiswick, by Baroness von Reichardt. The mosaic is dedicated to the memory of Anita Roddick who first introduced the Baroness to Herman Wallace one of the Angola 3 in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary - "The Farm". The ceramics within the mural contain life enriching quotes from both Herman and Anita. Power to the People!
Created by www.bondageforfreedom.com To raise awareness of The Angola 3. Sung by The Gospel Choir of Chowchilla Female Prison, California.