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April 2015

A Grand Alliance to Save the Postal Service

Clearing the FOG speaks with APWU President Mark Dimondstein about the new alliance of postal unions that are working desperately

#DontreDay March On One Year Anniversary Of Killing

Milwaukee, WI April 30th, 2015 -- -- “They wanted us to go away. They wanted us to stop. They wanted us to be satisfied. But we are not, and we wont be until Black life is valued and respected in our city,” says Nate Hamilton, brother of Dontre Hamilton. TODAY, April 30th, at3:00PM, the Coalition For Justice and Hamilton Family will march from 2727 W. Foundulac Ave to Red Arrow Park, marching to Ground Zero with the community that has supported them for the past year. The march will arrive at Red Arrow Park at 5:30PM for the memorial celebration. Today the family and Coalition for justice are declaring a city-wide day of remembrance in Dontre's name, #DontreDay. Co-Founder of The Coalition For Justice, Curtis Sails, says, “We wont be satisfied until the stigmas around mental health, and homelessness are lifted from the veils or our city officials and community members.

‘Gag Mumia Law’ Struck Down For Now

We won! As of yesterday, we defeated Pennsylvania's "Gag Mumia Law", SB 508. It's hard to rejoice in this victory when Mumia is under medical neglect, riot police are terrorizing Baltimore, and the state violence that killed Freddie Gray and is putting Mumia's life on the line is not unique but ingrained in the U.S.' racist system of policing, surveillance and imprisonment. But we want to take this moment with you to recognize this enormous win, which shut down the Fraternal Order of Police in their tracks and will keep Mumia and all prisoners able to speak to the public. Email us at and we will send you the order. We must be vigilant the FOP has vowed to go back to the legislature and try to silence Mumia again.

One-Third Of Baltimore Can’t Afford Ever-Increasing Water Rates

A Food & Water Watch research brief released today finds that Baltimore’s current water shutoff campaign is indicative of bigger issues for the city: one-third of the city’s residents cannot afford water and sewer service. Because of this lack of affordability, ever-increasing water rates, and inaccessible, insufficient assistance to low-income residents, the city risks violating the human right to water by shutting off water service to households unable to pay these rates. Food & Water Watch’s analysis highlights a startling statistic: while the United Nations has established that affordable water and sanitation service should be no more than 3 percent of household income, one-third of Baltimore households earned less than $25,000 per year, yet paid an average of $804 per year on water and sewer services as of April 2015. That means that one-third of the city’s residents, or 80,000 households, simply cannot afford their water rates.

Baltimore Protests & Solidarity Events In 8 Cities

As protests over the in custody death of Freddie Gray enter their 12th day in Baltimore, solidarity events are scheduled to be held in Los Angeles, Washington DC, NYC, Boston, San Diego, Denver and Chicago. It is highly likely we will see more actions in Oakland and Ferguson as well. A call for all Baltimore College & High School students to meet at Penn Station at 5:45 to march to City Hall went out this morning. Members of Baltimore’s Latino community also plan to gather on Wednesday evening in a show of solidarity at 6 p.m. at the CASA Baltimore office near Patterson Park “to march for justice and pray for peace in solidarity with African-American brothers and sisters.” (all times listed are in local timezone’s).

Broke Cities & Broken Bodies – It’s Time To Make Connections

On the evening of Saturday, April 25, protests in downtown Baltimore against the death-in-custody of Freddie Gray turned violent; according to many accounts, white thugs instigated violence and the cops responded to the response. The scene was ugly and tragic. Forty miles away, comedians, elected officials and media celebrities wore tuxedos and drank wine as they listened to the President of the United States joke about partisan politics. The juxtaposition of police-induced riots in Baltimore with the opulence of the White House Correspondents' Dinner led Ted Scheinman to declare: “If you've worried that the political class is out of touch with its criminalized underclasses, Saturday evening offered a grim case study.”

Campaign Against Glyphosate Steps Up In Latin America

After the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen, the campaign has intensified in Latin America to ban the herbicide, which is employed on a massive scale on transgenic crops. In a Mar. 20 publication, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that the world’s most widely used herbicide is probably carcinogenic to humans, a conclusion that was based on numerous studies. Social organisations and scientific researchers in Latin America argue that thanks to the report by the WHO’s cancer research arm, governments no longer have an excuse not to intervene, after years of research on the damage caused by glyphosate to health and the environment at a regional and global level.

NYPD Violently Arresting Protesters During March For Freddie Gray

The NYPD is on the offensive tonight, swiftly arresting numerous protesters marching in solidarity for Freddie Gray. Officers in riot gear violently shoved protesters to the pavement near Union Square in Manhattan, shortly after a rally ended and activists stepped into the street. Gothamist reporter Christopher Robbins estimates that roughly 3,000 to 4,000 marchers who were halted by police officers forming a human barricade just west of Broadway at East 17th. The police were "shoving people everywhere, knocked people down and started arresting people," he said. He saw at least 12 arrests, possibly more. Police have asked that protesters march on the sidewalk, but given the size of the crowd, that seems unlikely, if not impossible. The NYPD's swift and aggressive response to protesters' attempt to march in the street appears to be a departure from officers' more restrained approach during previous Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Revealed: Alberta’s Ploy To Break First Nations’ Pipeline Opposition

The Alberta government escalated its campaign to build tar sands pipelines under Premier Jim Prentice by seeking to have First Nations become full-blown proponents of the projects in return for oil revenues. Documents obtained by the Guardian show that under a proposed agreement the province would have funded a task force of Alberta First Nations and government officials to “work jointly on removing bottlenecks and enabling the construction of pipelines to tide-water in the east and west coasts.” The push was part of a broader diplomatic offensive launched by Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice after he came to power in late 2014, making approval of pipelines his highest priority. Prentice is currently struggling to win re-election.

Veterans Call On National Guard To Withdraw From Baltimore

We know that the death of yet another black person at the hands of police is not unique or new in our country. We also know that the rage we are seeing in the streets is the direct result of a legacy of police departments and a prison system that dehumanizes and targets black people and people of color and the result of a morally bankrupt economy that continues to profit off of the backs of poor people across the country. We stand with those people who have lifted up the banner of #BlackLivesMatter to ensure that fundamental change takes place in our country. The irony of the National Guard deployment to quell protests due to the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police is not lost on us as we approach the 45th anniversary of both the Jackson State and Kent State shootings, where the National Guard and police were deployed to silence protestors with deadly consequences.

Activists Disrupt For-Profit Prison Corporation Meeting

As the for-profit prison corporation GEO Group held its annual shareholder meeting in Boca Raton, Florida on Wednesday, human rights organizations calling for an end to incarceration converged on the company's headquarters to demand accountability and divestment from the prison industry. The prison-industrial complex "not only profits off the imprisonment of of America's most vulnerable, but also corrupts our system through draconian legislation and our education system," said one activist, Joshua McConnel, who joined the march organized by Dream Defenders, Prison Legal News, Grassroots Leadership, SEIU Florida, and other groups. Taking up the call for other institutions to divest from the prison industry, McConnel continued, "My own university, the University of Central Florida... takes my tuition dollars and so many others and invests in companies just like GEO Group and CCA [Corrections Corporation of America]."

Baltimore Shuts Off Water To 1000s, Ignoring Corporate Debtors

Detroit activists garnered international attention last year for the plight of their city’s most impoverished residents, who faced water shut-offs for unpaid bills despite the city’s high unemployment rate and collapsed economy. United Nations experts were among many who expressed concern that water shut-offs violate basic human rights. Following Detroit’s lead, Baltimore has started issuing shut-off notices to residential water customers with overdue bills. According to the Baltimore Sun, residents were notified of impending shut off if their accounts were more than six months overdue and they owed more than $250. The efforts have proven profitable: City officials report collecting $1 million from 1,500 overdue accounts. That total reflects only a small portion of the $40 million owed to the city, however. Commercial accounts owe roughly $15 million, and of that total, 40 businesses owe $9.5 million.

The “Longue Durée” Of The Québec Spring

This new “Québec spring” is neither a marginal nor a momentary reaction to any particular government's policy. In 2012, there certainly was the specific trigger of the tuition hike prompting a major student strike. But a closer look at what happened shows that several steps in the prior decade allowed for the movement to gain strength. In 2000 for instance, the Québec women's federation (Fédération des femmes du Québec, FFQ) organized a very important movement for advancing the condition of women. In 2001, the “Americas People's Summit” in Québec City and the protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) promoted by the Canadian and U.S. governments led to the renewed wave of protest across the hemisphere, and the eventual defeat of the FTAA.

O’Malley Was Warned His Policing Policy Would Produce Disasters

To make matters worse, O’Malley replaced Daniel with a former NYPD official and old CompStat hand, Edward T. Norris, who is white. In the mostly black city, hackles went up. CompStat’s model of “zero tolerance” policing had by that point already been associated with civil rights abuses and higher police brutality rates. (During the election, one of O’Malley’s opponents had circulated postcards with an image of the Rodney King beating and the words “Are you ready for zero tolerance?” On the back was a photo of O’Malley.) Meanwhile, Maple and Linder —“O’Malley’s New York consultants,” as they were invariably described by the media—and their $2,000-a-day consulting fee, were staying on.

Idle No More Helped Aboriginal Canadians Break Cycle Of Despair

The Idle No More movement first grabbed headlines more than two years ago, when thousands of First Nations people and their supporters took to the streets in protest over conditions for Aboriginals that in many cases were far below what other Canadians have come to expect. In this excerpt, Coates explores the history of abuse and exploitation that led to what has been an amazingly optimistic and powerful expression of Aboriginal unity and engagement. Many Canadians have long since forgotten about the movement. But Coates says the movement’s legacy continues today. Ken Coats“The combination of deeply entrenched grievances, sustained prejudice, and serious community difficulties, with the recent significant achievements and important victories of real re-empowerment has proven to be an extremely powerful mix”, he writes.
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